Shalya Parva - 3 : Duryodhana falls
Just as they were about to fight, Balarama made his appearance. Balarama had gone on a pilgrimage to all the holy places during the war. He went along the path of the Saraswati. Prabhasa, Udapana, Vinashana, Gargasrota, Naimisharanya, Oushanasa, Vasishtapavaha, Badarapachana, and Samantapanchaka were the holy sites Balarama visited.
When he reached Kurukshetra, the sage Narada told him about the duel that was about to start between his two students, Bheema and Duryodhana. Balarama hurried and reached the place. Both the great warriors challenged each other and hurled insults before they started fighting. Thunderous sounds erupted as their clubs clashed.
Both of them struck each other but managed to get up and continued to fight even as everyone watched. Krishna then told Arjuna that since both were evenly matched, Bheema could win only if he uses unfair means. Krishna blamed Yudhishtira’s stupidity for this situation. Krishna said that Duryodhana can be beaten only if his thigh was broken.
Hearing this, Arjuna loudly slapped his thigh. Seeing this, Bheema got the message. Waiting for a chance, Bheema broke through Duryodhana’s defence and struck him on the thigh, shattering it. Duryodhana fell on the ground crying in pain even as terrible omens manifested.
Bheema then reminded Duryodhana of his oath and kicked Duryodhana on the head. Yudhishtira rebuked Bheema for doing adharma and wept, seeing Duryodhana suffering. Balarama was wild with anger because Bheema had committed an act unbefitting a warrior. He picked up his plough and rushed to Bheema angrily, but was stopped by Krishna.
Krishna then reminded Balarama of Duryodhana’s sins and of Bheema’s vow to kill him by breaking his thigh. Praising Duryodhana’s valour, Balarama left for Dwaraka.
The Pandavas celebrated the fall of Duryodhana and the end of the war. Duryodhana accused Krishna of being part of adharma, but Krishna rebuked him for all the sins he had committed.
When they returned, Krishna asked Arjuna to first get down from the chariot. Arjuna followed Krishna’s instructions, following which Krishna got down. The ape flag then disappeared, after which the chariot exploded in a ball of flame. Krishna then told Arjuna that the chariot had absorbed the energy of weapons but was not harmed because of his presence. The moment Krishna got down, the effect of the weapons destroyed the chariot.
Krishna was then asked by Yudhishtira to meet Dhritarashtra and Gandhari. He went there and consoled them for the loss of their sons. Krishna then realised that Ashwatthama was planning to kill the Pandavas and so left. He then returned to the camp of the Pandavas in Kurukshetra.
Duryodhana lay on the battlefield suffering from pain. Ashwatthama, Kripa, and Kritavarma visited him. Ashwatthama was furious that his father and Duryodhana were both slain by deception. Duryodhana then appointed Ashwatthama as the Commander of the Kaurava forces. He asked Ashwatthama to continue the fight. The three warriors left even as Duryodhana lay bleeding on the ground.
End of Shalya Parva