ALL was ready for the battle. The warriors on both sides gathered together
and solemnly bound themselves to honour the traditional rules of war.
The code of conduct in war and methods of warfare vary from time to
time. It is only if what was in vogue at the time of the Mahabharata war is kept in mind
that we can understand the epic. Otherwise, the story would be puzzling in places.
From what follows, the reader may have some idea of the rules of
warfare followed in Kurukshetra battle. Each day, the battle was over at sunset, and the
hostiles mixed freely like friends.
Single combats might only be between equals and one could not use
methods not in accordance with dharma. Thus those who left the field or retired would not
be attacked. A horseman could attack only a horseman, not one on foot.
Like wise, charioteers, elephant troops and infantrymen could engage
themselves in battle only with their opposite numbers in the enemy ranks.
Those who sought quarter or surrendered were safe from slaughter. Nor
might one, for the moment disengaged, direct his weapons against another who was engaged