The Gods got involved, and Drona was told he could not possibly die whilst ASHWATTHAMA lived. Do you know what those crafty PANDAVAS did? They spread the word that ASHWATTHAMA was dead.
However, this wasn’t exactly a lie as they owned an elephant with exactly the same name, which was indeed dead. Possibly not from natural causes. These facts were only added in the faintest of unheard whispers. Drona, heartbroken and doomed, hurled himself into the fray until he was indeed killed.
When ASHWATTHAMA got to hear about this trick he was more than furious — he set off after nightfall, hell-bent on revenge. The Pandava camp appeared to be guarded by a giant at which the crazed ASHWATTHAMA hurled himself, and right in the middle of a merry old scrap he recognized the giant as being SHIVA.
Utter panic — one just does not attack great Gods. SHIVA himself seemed far from amused as well. To try and atone for such behavior ASHWATTHAMA hurled himself into the fire and declared himself a sacrifice.
SHIVA watched most of him burn, seemed satisfied and plucked plucky ASHWATTHAMA from the ash and hurled him into the Pandava camp. He wasn’t happy before but now Oooooooh! Screams, howls and a great deal of ghastliness were unleashed.
Early morning and from the Kaurava camp a silhouetted figure was seen approaching. Was it an emaciated onion-seller with a long string of onions..? No, it was a charred skeletal figure with a long string of human heads tied with their own hair.
It is said that the sight induced so much nausea that neither men nor Gods could face onion bhajis for a week.
ASHWATTHAMA still cannot die. He is an immortal mortal. Where is he now? Sightings in the Himalayas defy credibility. Instead we point the finger at the Narmada River. Who else would leave those suspiciously large footprints in the river bank?