Ashwatthama or Drauni was the son of guru Drona and he is the grandson of the Brahmin sage Bharadwaja. Ashwatthama is a mighty Maharathi who fought on the Kaurava side against the Pandavas. Ashwatthama is considered as avatar of one of the eleven Rudras and one of the seven Chiranjivi. Along with his maternal uncle Kripa, Ashwatthama is believed to be a living survivor of the Kurukshetra War. The rumours about his death led to the death of Drona by Prince Dhrishtadyumna. The final commander-in-chief of the Kauravas, Ashwatthama slaughters many in the Pandava camp in a sneak attack.According to The Mahabharata, Ashwatthama means “the horse-voiced. It is so called because when he was born he cried like a horse.
Ashwatthama was the son of Dronacharya and Kripi. Drona did many years of severe penance to please Lord Shiva in order to obtain a son who possesses the same valiance as Lord Shiva. Born a Chiranjivi, Ashwatthama was born with a gem in his forehead which gives him power over all living beings lower than humans; it protected him from hunger, thirst, and fatigue. Though an expert in warfare, Dronacharya lived the simple life of a Brahmin, with little money or property. As a result, he had a difficult childhood, with his family unable to even afford milk. Wanting to provide a better life for his family, Drona goes to the Panchal Kingdom to seek aid from his former classmate and friend, King Drupada. However, Drupada rebukes the friendship, claiming a king and a beggar cannot be friends, humiliating Drona.
After this incident, and seeing the plight of Drona, Kripacharya, invited Drona to Hastinapur. There, he came upon the attention of his co-disciple Bhishma. Thus, Dronacharya became the guru of the Pandavas and of the Kauravas in Hastinapur. Ashwatthama was trained in the art of warfare along with them.
Bhishma himself declared that it will be virtually impossible for anyone to kill or defeat him in war as he is the part incarnate of Lord Shiva and because he was born to become a Chiranjivi. Bhishma said when Ashwatthama becomes angry then it will be impossible to fight him as he becomes a second Shiva. No one can handle his wrath and fury. Bhishma told Duryodhana.
“ Amongst the warriors of both armies, there is no one who can be regarded as his peer. ”