Indian Mythology (by ApamNapat)

Susarman - The Leader of the Samsaptakas


Susarman was the King of the Trigartas, with their capital at the city of Prasthala. From the time the Trigartas were conquered by Arjuna when he set out on his campaign of conquest (to enable Yudhishtra to perform the Rajasuya sacrifice), the Trigartas were the sworn enemies of the Pandavas.

The Trigartas were also closely allied with the Saindhavas, particularly their king Jayadratha. They assisted him when he tried to abduct Draupadi from the Kamyaka forest. She had been in exile then along with the Pandavas, but they had gone out to hunt.

[Note: during this incident, Susarman is not mentioned as the King of the Trigartas, two other names are mentioned: Kshemankara and Suratha. Susarman is mentioned as their King only after they assist Duryodhana in the raid on the Matsya king's cattle.]

However, the Pandavas soon caught up with the abducting party and after a short battle, in which both the Trigartas and Jayadratha were worsted, they rescued Draupadi. Jayadratha was humiliated by Arjuna, who caused his head to be shaved.

The Trigartas were also the bitter enemies of Virata, the king of Matsya, and had been repeatedly vanquished by his commander and brother-in-law Keechaka. When the news of Keechakas death reached them, they induced Duryodhana to attack the Matsya Kingdom, to expose the Pandavas, for it was suspected that Keechaka had been slain by Bheema. This raid was unfruitful, as the Pandavas, excepting Arjuna, took part in the defence and easily trounced the Trigartas.

During the Kurukshetra war, Drona said that he could capture Yudhishtra, if only Arjuna could be drawn to a different part of the battlefield, Susarman volunteered to do this task, along with his loyal followers, the total numbering one hundred. These were known as the Samsaptakas, warriors who had sworn to either kill Arjuna or die in that attempt.

They successfully drew away Arjuna by challenging him to battle. Arjuna killed many of them that day. The plan of Drona did not succeed as expected, for his lotus array that was to have captured Yudhishtra was pierced by Abhimanyu. However, Yudhishtra's capture was avoided at a high price. Prevented by Jayadratha from following Abhimanyu into the battle array, the Pandavas could not aid him. After fighting valiantly, the brave Abhimanyu was slain in contravention to the rules of combat, when he was simultaneously attacked by eight of the most powerful Kuru warriors, and was killed.

Arjuna swore to avenge his sons death by slaying Jayadratha on the following day. The Sindhu king wanted to flee to his native country, but Susarman promised him his protection, with a new army of hundred brave warriors led by himself to thwart Arjuna.

Despite their valiant efforts, Arjuna succeeded in killing Jayadratha, with the help of Krishna's powers of illusion. Most of the Trigartas were slain that day, but Susarman survived, and was finally killed on the last day of the war by Arjuna.

Last Modified At: Thu Jun 16 21:54:54 2005