TEXT 55
sūta uvāca
arjunaḥ sahasājñāya
harer hārdam athāsinā
maṇiṁ jahāra mūrdhanyaṁ
dvijasya saha-mūrdhajam
SYNONYMS
sūtaḥSūta Gosvāmī; uvāca—said; arjunaḥArjuna; sahasā—just at that time; ājñāya—knowing it; hareḥ—of the Lord; hārdam—motive; atha—thus; asinā—by the sword; maṇim—the jewel; jahāra—separated; mūrdhanyam—on the head; dvijasya—of the twice-born; saha—with; mūrdhajam—hairs.
TRANSLATION
Just then Arjuna could understand the motive of the Lord by His equivocal orders, and thus with his sword he severed both hair and jewel from the head of Aśvatthāmā.
PURPORT
Contradictory orders of different persons are impossible to carry out. Therefore a compromise was selected by Arjuna by his sharp intelligence, and he separated the jewel from the head of Aśvatthāmā. This was as good as cutting off his head, and yet his life was saved for all practical purposes. Here Aśvatthāmā is indicated as twice-born. Certainly he was twice-born, but he fell down from his position, and therefore he was properly punished.

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