The fight between Karna and Ghatotkacha began in the middle of the night. They were bent upon killing each other. Satyaki was with Ghatotkacha. Seeing this, Duryodhana sent Dussasan to help Karna. In the menatime, a rakshas, son of Jatasura came and requested Duryodhana that he wanted to fight from his side to avenge his father’s death at the hands of Bhima. Duryodhana very gladly welcomed him and gave him all the honour and said that there was Ghatotkacha the son of Bhima. He could start his revenge against Bhima by killing his son first. The rakshas went to fight against Ghatotkacha. He was terrible fighter and well versed in the art of maya tactics. After a gruelling fight Ghatotkacha was able to cut the head of his foe. He threw the head of the raksha in the chariot of Duryodhana, Then he resumed his fight against Karna. Karna was very much impressed by the fighting skill of the son of Bhima. He was quite an expert in maya tactics. He was able to frustrate many of the astras of Karna. Ghatotkacha was destroying Kauravas army at an alarming rate. He was causing such havoc that wherever he turned his face Kaurava army ran away screaming. Another rakshas name Alayudha came to Duryodhana and offered his help. He had come with a huge army. This pleased Duryodhana very much, he asked the rakshas to kill Ghatotkacha first.
It was clear to all that Karna was better than Drona, Kripa, Ashvatthama and Kritavarma. Now Ghatotkacha faced Karna as well as Alayudha. Bhima came to help his son. Now seeing Bhima Alayudha rushed to kill him. A duel between them took place and went on for a long time. Yudhisthira asked Arjuna to go to help Bhina and Ghatotkacha. But Ghatotkacha was able to kill Alayudha.
Ghatotkacha war cry filled the sky. He attacked the Kaurava army with all his might and he put his maya tactics to utmost use. His fury was such that everyone thought, he alone would bring the war to an end. No Kauravas warrior could face him for long. All the terror stricken soldiers went to Karna and pleaded with him to save them from Ghatotkacha. Karna tried all his astras like vayavastra, but failed to kill Ghatotkacha. He was furious and decided to use his ‘Shakti’ He was not fated to use it against Arjuna. Indra’s words came to him that even his Shakti was useless against Arjuna so long as Krishna protected him. The Shakti could have been used against one enemy only. After killing the enemy the shakti would go back to Indra.
Karna knew that his intention to kill Arjuna was futile. It was he, who had been fated to be killed by Arjuna with the curses of his guru Parashurama, and the Brahmin and his Kavacha and Kundaa taken away by Indra, the only thing he had was the Shakti. But Krishna sent Ghatotokacha just to deprive him of that too. So be it he thought.
He took the Shakti in his right hand and sent it towards Ghatotkacha. The Shakti entered his chest and the son of Bhima knew his end had come. He fell down on the Kauravas army dead, crushing hundreds of their soldiers under his body. Duryodhana and Kauravas sides were jubilant.
Bhima was stunned with shock and his might frame sagged as if under the tremendous load of grief. Yudhisthira too was beside him with grief knowing about the death of his favourite nephew.But the Pandavas were intrigued to see the strange serenity on the face of Krishna as some heavy load, had been taken off his mind. Krishna said that the Shakti was the greatest obstacle in the way of the Pandavas victory. Karna had saved it for Arjuna. Throughout the days Karna had been in the field. Krishna had to use his charioteering skills to maximum, just to ensure that Arjuna did not have to face Karna so long the Shakti was with him. Now the Shakti gone, Arjuna can face Karna.
Krishna said, When I had gone to Hastinapura as messenger of the Pandavas, I had talked to Duryodhana. He had hoped to win the war only on the strength of Karna, Bhishma, Drona and so many other great warriors were on his side but he instinctively had faith in Karna only. He was right, I knew it. Love of Duryodhana for Karna is great. Love has some perceptive power not given to the others. Even Bhishma erred in his estimation of the powers of Karna. He said that with curses of his guru and the Brahmin and his Kavacha and Kundala gone, Karna was not even a Maharathi, he was merely an ardharathi.
But Karna with his Shakti was more powerful that all the gods put together. He was invincible. Sone of you think that Arjuna is the greatest warrior but I know Karna is far superior. But for the curses of two Brahmin and the loss of Kavacha and Kundala he was not amenable to my Sudarshana Chakra even. Even now no one in the world can match his skill of archery. Even lord Parashurama said it. I know it and Yudhisthira knows it too. So, please do not grieve for the death of Ghatotkacha too much. He died a hero’s death. To be killed by Karna in a duel is no mean honour.
All the Pandavas were down with grief when they heard the war cry of Drona. Yudhsithira asked Bhima to go and fight. Bhima wiped his tears and left. Yudhsithira was in the depths of despair and despondency. He said that only to avoid this all he had asked for merely five villages from Duryodhana. At the cost of his self-respect, he wanted to avoid the war. Krishna consoled Yudhisthira and then sage Vyasa came too. He said that whatever was happening had been ordained by the gods. After five days Yudhsithira would be the emperor of the earth. Go and fight with your army, he told Yudhsithira, before leaving. Realising his duty as the leader of his side, Yudhisthira once again got ready for the battle. He left all the grief’s behind. Krishna was smiling too.