What happened to dead bodies in Mahabharata

The Mahabharata is one of the most significant and influential texts in the Hindu religion and Indian culture. It is a vast epic that tells the story of a great war between two families, the Pandavas and the Kauravas. The war lasted for eighteen days and resulted in the death of numerous warriors, including royalty and commoners. In this article, we will explore what happened to the dead bodies of the warriors in Mahabharata, and the cultural and religious significance of these events.

The Battle of Kurukshetra: An Overview

The Battle of Kurukshetra is the central event in the Mahabharata. It was fought between the Pandavas, who were five brothers, and the Kauravas, who were one hundred brothers. The Pandavas were exiled from their kingdom by the Kauravas and sought to regain their rightful place in the kingdom. The Kurukshetra war was fought to determine who would rule the kingdom of Hastinapura.

The war lasted for eighteen days, and it was one of the most brutal and bloody battles in history. Thousands of warriors died on both sides, and the battlefield was littered with dead bodies.

The Significance of Dead Bodies in Mahabharata

In Hindu culture, the body is considered to be a vessel for the soul. When a person dies, their soul is believed to leave the body and move on to the next life. In Mahabharata, the dead bodies of the warriors were not just physical remains but also symbols of their honor, bravery, and sacrifice.

Treatment of Dead Bodies in Mahabharata

The treatment of dead bodies in Mahabharata was influenced by various cultural and religious beliefs. According to the text, the dead were either cremated or left to decompose on the battlefield. The choice of the method was determined by the caste and status of the deceased.


Cremation was the preferred method of disposing of dead bodies in Mahabharata. The bodies were placed on a funeral pyre and set on fire. The ashes were then collected and scattered in a sacred river. Cremation was considered a purification process that allowed the soul to move on to the next life.

Leaving Bodies on the Battlefield

In some cases, the dead bodies were left on the battlefield to decompose. This was usually done to dishonor the enemy and show disrespect for their bravery and sacrifice. It was also a practical solution as the number of dead was too high to be cremated.

Signs of Death in Garuda Purana