The sound of shell conch coming from the temple in nearby monastery announced beginning of the day after the Great War. But this sound was probably not getting through his ears. He was able to hold his consciousness in the unconscious state as if waiting for something before the longest sleep. Duryodhana, shattered and diminished by Bhima during the battle in the last day of war, lying on soil of Kurukshtra, was trying hard to hold and extend his last few breaths yet remained. His egoistic self-esteem was not letting him to accept the fact that he had lost the battle, and Hastinapur would now go to Pandavas. His stubborn persistence was not even allowing his soul to leave the body, perhaps waiting for Ashwatthama, appointed general of Kauravas by him on the eve of eighteenth day of battle, with a hope that he might be coming at any moment with a message of assassination of Pandavas. War was still on, in the mind of Duryodhana, war with self in accepting a defeat.
He tried to open his eyes with an exhale forcing ground dust enough to rise through the air. He could, at the moment, face the sun with blinking eyes. The sound of shell now started reaching, and his consciousness started awaking. Duryodhana saw the vultures flying around waiting for him to die. He tried, with all the remaining powers, to lift himself. Sun, the symbol of life was rising to live but Duryodhana; the symbol of evil and adharma was falling to die. He was still awake in his consciousness, waiting to see Ashwatthama for the message of his life, the message of assassination of Pandavas, with hope. He could remember the last evening when Ashwatthama and Krupacharya come to rescue him, for all possible medications to save their king. He could hear his own words “give me Hastinapur or let me die with a pride of a true fighter in the battle field” and the echo of Ashwatthama’s promise of taking revenge from Pandavas for both his king and dishonorable killing of his father Dronacharya and the roar of the vow that he would return only with beheaded heads of Pandavas.
Ashwatthama returned keeping his promise with five beheaded heads holding their hairs together. He told the story of war he had executed against the polity in the midnight, when along with Krupacharya, he attacked Pandava’s camp killing almost everyone and beheaded Pandava’s head while they were sleeping. He was aware that he had done an unethical act against dharma, against law of war and against polity. The only thing he could justify was his promise. And the best niti (polity) in war is winning. Duryodhana, as if got a new life, asked him to handover head of Bhima.
And that was the biggest shock of his life for Duryodhana, even bigger than the losing the battle to Bhima; he found that the five heads were of sons of Pandavas instead of Pandavas. He identified sons of Pandavas and understood that Ashwatthama mistakenly identified sons of Pandavas as Pandavas. Duryodhana realized biggest loss in life and first time he wept, with all the power he had he cried cursing Ashwatthama ” what have you done?.You’ve killed son of Pandavas; my fight was with Pandavas not with Hastinapur, you, horribly done the mistake of not only your life but the whole Yuga; you killed not the sons of my enemies but the successors of Hastinapur.”
This point in time, Duryodhana became Suyodhana, wept in regret and cried for everything he bet keeping the kingdom at stake. In a flash, he could see his whole life, his stubbornness and lust for kingdom, the war and the outcome. He realized the time to let everything go, even the ego which crafted the war. He accepted the defeat and allowed the death to take everything, including his ego and soul.