But it was Krishna himself who made
the Pandavas go through with this terrible battle. Not only that
Krishna encouraged the Pandavas to bend or break the traditional
rules of chivalry in Indian warfare in order to deal with a more
numerous and more cunning enemy that did not always respect these
rules either. The deaths of Bhishma, Drona, and Duryodhana all
involved such a breaking of the usual rules of combat.
the war when Yudhishthira lamented the loss of life in the battle,
with so many friends and kinsmen slain, not only Krishna but all the
sages came to point out the value of such a Kshatriya role in spite
of the dire consequences. This section of the text, Raja Dharma
Parva, on the role of Kings, is worth much study in this context.
There is an entire chapter on the greatness of the Raja Danda or
royal use of punishment (Shanti Parva XV.7) which states, "They
sink into blinding darkness if the Danda (rod of punishment) is not
When Yudhishthira wanted to leave the
world and become a monk he was told not to and taught, "The
Danda is the Kshatriya Dharma, not shaving one's head (becoming a
monk, XXIII. 47)." The same section teaches skill in battle and
a righteous war not only as the duty of the Kshatriya but as the
foundation of any healthy society, and the basis of spirituality
because without the protection of a spiritual Kshatriya, Brahmins,
monks and yogis themselves will have no protection or support.