Dharmayuddha - Dharmayuddha in The Mahabharata

Dharmayuddha in The Mahabharata

In the Mahabharata epic, which describes the Kurukshetra war, the two sides agree on the following rules:

  • Fighting must begin no earlier than sunrise and end exactly at sunset.
  • Multiple warriors may not attack a single warrior.
  • Two warriors may duel, or engage in prolonged personal combat,only if they carry the same weapons and they are on the same mount (no mount, a horse, an elephant, or a chariot).
  • No warrior may kill or injure a warrior who has surrendered.
  • One who surrenders becomes a prisoner of war and will then be subject to the protections of a prisoner of war.
  • No warrior may kill or injure an unarmed warrior.
  • No warrior may kill or injure an unconscious warrior.
  • No warrior may kill or injure a person or animal not taking part in the war.
  • No warrior may kill or injure a warrior whose back is turned away.
  • No warrior may strike an animal not considered a direct threat.
  • The rules specific to each weapon must be followed. For example, it is prohibited to strike below the waist in mace warfare.
  • Warriors may not engage in any 'unfair' warfare whatsoever.
  • The lives of women, prisoners of war, and farmers are sacred.
  • Pillaging the land is forbidden.

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