Did The Hindu Pandavas Use Justifiable Means To Win The War? – Nirmal Laungani

Hinduism allows freedom and liberty to all well wishers and critics to raise doubts and questions. At the same time, it also provides logical, convincing and practical answers to all such queries.

Many people have cast aspersions on the means that the Pandavas employed to defeat the Kauravas. On the face of it, it may appear that the Pandavas won through deceit, but we have to keep in mind the following background before jumping to conclusions, that is:

– right from childhood, the Kauravas, especially Duryodhan, had been extremely unfair to the Pandavas
– the unfair partitioning of the kingdom in favor of the Kauravas (even when Yuddhisthira was the heir and had the support of the people)
– the Kauravas repeatedly tried to kill the Pandavas (even Kunti)
– the Kaurvas won the game of dice through unfair means / cheating
– the attempted disrobing of Draupadi, in the royal palace
– the refusal to return the kingdom to the Pandavas even after completion of their exile and hiding

Each of these would have justified a war, especially in the way that Draupadi was treated, since ancient Hindus had extremely high regard and respect towards women.

Yet, giving Duryodhan one more chance before the war, Lord Krishna Himself went to the Kauravas as a peace emissary. He told them that even though the Pandavas had the moral right to get back their entire kingdom, to avoid war and the ensuing bloodshed, He was prepared to accept just five villages on behalf of the Pandavas. And, we all know that Duryodhan made his famous statement that he wouldn’t part with land “equivalent to the tip of a needle”. In fact, Duryodhan even made attempts to get Lord Krishna arrested!!!

So, war was unavoidable. It was generally fought according to the ancient Hindu code of dharmayuddh, and we know that till the 13th day, battles were only fought from sunrise to sunset. After sunset, the soldiers belonging to both camps intermingled freely. Women, children and civilians were never touched (so unlike the medieval age barbaric invaders from Arabia and Central Asia who butchered mercilessly, not even sparing women and children)

One may claim that Bhishmah Pitamah was defeated because Arjun used Shikhandi (who was a woman in his past life) as a shield, but I do not find anything wrong in it. After all, it was impossible to defeat the Kauravas with Bhishma Pitamah in command, since he had received a boon to die only when he wanted to die. And, Bhishma’s personal choice of not fighting with Shikhandi was cleverly used by the Pandavas as a war strategy, and could not be considered as unfair, since Shikhandi was not a woman in this life.


There was no anger in Bhishmah’s mind when he fell; on the contrary he was full of love for Arjun, insisting that his “bed” be created using Arjun’s arrows (even after the war was over, he left his mortal body only after giving Yuddhishthira valuable lessons on administration / politics and Vishnu Sahasranam)

unnamed (1)The real “breaking” of rules actually began on the 13th day, when all the Kaurav warriors (including Karna) attacked Abhimanyu, brutally killing him. They had seemed to forget one of the golden rules of dharmayuddh namely that “Multiple warriors will not attack a single warrior”

From then on, Lord Krishna also persuaded the Pandavas not to follow rules when killing Dronacharya, Karna or Duryodhan, and there is no doubt about it, that had Lord Krishna not been with the Pandavas, they would have surely lost the battle. Hindus should follow the example set by Lord Krishna – one cannot deal with persons like Duryodhan in a fair and justified way. Before the commencement of war, his mother Gandhari had pleaded with her son not to start the battle, as she had the intuition that it would cause total destruction, but he had refused to even heed to his mother’s advice – he was totally beyond reason or logic.

At the start of the battle, Lord Krishna instructed Arjun the Bhagwad Geeta. The immediate message of the Geeta is that one should never forsake performing his dharma and Arjun’s dharma as a Kshatriya was to fight for righteousness, justice and upholding Vedic dharma and despite the fact that he was fighting against his own uncles, cousins and friends, they were fighting on the side of adharma and asatya – so the battle at Kurukshetra was necessary violence for a greater cause.

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One may of course argue that Mahatma Gandhi taught something else, but sooner or later, we need to introspect and realize that Gandhiji, for all his simplicity and religiousness, was a failed leader. He had once claimed that partition would only take place over his dead body, but partition took place right before his very eyes. The ideal of ahimsa may have been good for saints and renounced persons, but it was definitely not practical or logical for the general populace. It was not going to work against people who were demonic in nature. It is the duty of every government to protects her citizens from such criminals who were determined to create disorder and worked against righteous principles.

We also know that during World War II, many attempts were made by the allied powers to liquidate Hitler through supposedly unfair means, but today, history does not judge those attempts in a poor light, since finishing off Hitler earlier could have meant saving countless number of Jewish lives.

Actually, India would have been a stronger and resurgent country had the Hindus learnt from the examples drawn from the Mahabharat – one can deal with aggression and aggressors in a peaceful way, only until a certain point – when the enemy is unrepentant and determined to exterminate all that is considered as ideal and just, then the only dharma should be to fight them on their terms. Upholding Vedic Dharma / Sanatan Dharma should be the prime responsibility.

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“The Bhagavad-Gita is the most systematic statement of spiritual evolution of endowing value to mankind. It is one of the most clear and comprehensive summaries of perennial philosophy ever revealed; hence its enduring value is subject not only to India but to all of humanity” – Aldous Huxley

“In the morning I bathe my intellect in the stupendous and cosmogonal philosophy of the Bhagavad-gita, in comparison with which our modern world and its literature seem puny and trivial” – Henry David Thoreau

Reported by: Nirmal Laungani