Dharmarāja walked past all the women who were shouting at him, went to the old king Dhṛtarāṣṭra, and bowed down to him. The others too called out their own names and saluted the king. Dhṛtarāṣṭra embraced Dharmarāja without any affection. He asked, “Where is Bhīmasena?” His anger was getting invigorated by winds of rage and it seemed as though he would burn Bhīma to death. Kṛṣṇa, who knew Dhṛtarāṣṭra’s heart, was already prepared for such a situation. He pulled Bhīma back and pushed an iron image of Bhīma towards the king.
Starting from the first day of the war, Sañjaya went to the battlefield from the capital city every day and reported the day’s events to Dhṛtarāṣṭra. As the old king heard that Duryodhana was killed along with his entire army, he was engulfed in sorrow and sat motionless like a stone, unable to speak or think anything. He appeared like a huge tree that had lost all its leaves, branches, and fruits with only a part of its stump left behind. Sañjaya tried to console him with the words – “You don’t have to be morose and miserable at this hour, O king! It serves no purpose.
Duryodhana was alive catching on to his last few breaths. He had trouble breathing and was being eaten alive by foxes, wolves and other wild animals. He was trying his best to shoo them away and hold on to his last moments. Kṛpa and Aśvatthāmā were touched looking at his sad state. Aśvatthāmā said – ‘O dear king! You are Balarāma’s student! How did that mere cook get a chance to beat you up so much? Time and Fate are very powerful. What kind of a man is Dharmarāja – did he simply stand around looking at you getting kicked in an adhārmic manner?
Aśvatthāmā, Kṛpa and Kṛtavarma left Duryodhana and by sunset reached a forest in the vicinity. They fed their horses with water, gulped down sips from a river nearby and rested below a banyan tree. In no time, the Sun went down the horizon and night, like a nurse of the entire world night enveloped the place. The sky that was decked with stars and looked like a saree decorated with flowers. Rākṣasas started roaming around the forest in the darkness. Humans were consumed by deep slumber.
Everyone present there congratulated Bhīmasena. He bowed down before his elder brother and said, “Now the entire world is yours, free of all obstacles. The main person behind all this hatred and enmity is now fallen here with his limb broken. Duśśāsana and the other evil men have been eliminated too!”
Yudhishitra said, “Yes! What you say is true! Thanks to Kṛṣṇa’s generous assistance, we have now won over the entire world. You have vanquished the enemy and have been victorious!”
Just like Yudhiṣṭhira, the other Pāṇḍavas too spoke provocative words. Listening to their humiliating words, Duryodhana decided to fight the battle and said, “You are too many! You have chariots, weapons, and everything needed for a war. I am all alone! I don’t have anything with me – neither chariots nor weapons. I don’t possess even an armour now. I have been grievously injured. Is it right for a person like me to fight you all? How is that justified? I am not scared of any of you! Enraged, I can chase you all away from the battlefield. However, this is not dharma!
After Karṇa’s death, Kṛpācārya suggested to Duryodhana that they could enter a treaty of peace with the Pāṇḍavas. Duryodhana, however, refused to do so and decided to go ahead with the war. He appointed Śalya as the commander-in-chief of the Kaurava forces. On the following day, Śalya organized the Kaurava army in the form of a Sarvatobhadra-vyūha and stood at its helm. Kṛtavarma took a place to his left, Kṛpācārya on the right, and Aśvatthāma stood behind him. Duryodhana was in the middle of these heroes.
On the way to the battleground, Arjuna was profusely sweating all over. He was anxious about the outcome of the day’s war. Looking at his perplexity, Kṛṣṇa said “Gāṇḍīvī! Why are you so demotivated? The ones you have defeated with this bow cannot be defeated by mere mortals. Has anybody survived in an encounter with Bhīṣma or Droṇa. Yet, I wish to give you a piece of advice – you shouldn’t take Karṇa lightly. He is an equal to you. I consider him slightly greater than you in prowess. It is only because of Karṇa’s presence that Duryodhana has gained confidence of being a hero.
After the death of Droṇa, on the fifteenth day of the Kurukṣetra war, Duryodhana retired to his camp and discussed the further course of action with his ministers. Aśvatthāma suggested that Karṇa should be made the commander-in-chief of the Kaurava forces and the war should continue.
The fourteenth day of the war began with Droṇa arranging the Kaurava army in the śakaṭa-vyūha formation within which he arranged the army in the padma-vyūha and inside that created a sūcī-vyūha. At the front of the sūcī, he had arranged Kṛtavarma, Kāmbhoja, Jalasandha, Duryodhana, Karṇa, and along with these heroes, thousands of other warriors; behind all of them stood Jayadratha. Droṇa himself stood at the front of the śakaṭa.
The day’s battle began.