Srila Bhaktivedanta Svami Prabhupada:

Krsna said, “Kill all these demons. Even Bhisma. Even Dronacarya. Kill all of them, because they have taken side of the wrong side. Kill them.” That is Krsna’s order….

…read on for the explanation 🙂

pitra canumato raja
cakara rajyam dharmena
pitr-paitamaham vibhuh

So he was Dharmaraja Yudhisthira. He was ruling dharmena. Dharmena means just according to the desire of the Supreme Lord. This is dharma. Dharmam. Dharmam tu saksad bhagavat-pranitam [SB 6.3.19]. Dharmena means, religious principle means to act according to the order of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This is religious principle.

It is not that you manufacture some dharma: “We are Hindus,” “We are Muslims,” “We are Christians.” These are not dharmas. Nobody cares for God. Nobody carries out the order of God. Nobody knows what is God. Nobody knows what is relationship with God. So where is dharma? The, all bogus.

Therefore Bhagavata says: dharmah projjhita-kaitavo ‘tra [SB 1.1.2]. This so-called cheating type of religious system is kicked out in Bhagavatam. Real dharma. What is that real dharma? Param satyam dhimahi. Namo bhagavate vasudevaya. This is dharma. Namo bhagavate vasu… Beginning. Om namo bhagavate vasudevaya. Vasudeva, Krsna, Vyasadeva is offering respect.

Why? Now satyam param dhimahi. He is the Supreme Truth. What is that Supreme Truth? Janmady asya yatah [SB 1.1.1]. That Supreme Truth from whom everything emanates. And this is confirmed in the Bhagavatam, uh, Bhagavad-gita: mattah sarvam pravartate. Aham sarvasya prabhavah. This is confirmed. The Vedanta-sutra gives hint that the Absolute Truth, Brahman, is that which is the original source of all emanations. That is Absolute Truth. Athato brahma jijnasa. What is Brahman? Brahman means the original source of everything. So this is the Vedanta-sutra. And Krsna says:

aham sarvasya prabhavo
mattah sarvam pravartate
iti matva bhajante mam
budha bhava-samanvitah
[Bg. 10.8]

So when one becomes budha… Budha means well aware of everything. Then he understands Krsna is the source of everything. He’s the Supreme. So… And dharma, as it is stated in the Srimad-Bhagavatam, in reference with the Ajamila-moksana, that Yamaraja said: dharmam tu saksad bhagavat-pranitam [SB 6.3.19]. Nobody can manufacture dharma.

So here Yudhisthira Maharaja ruled over this planet, Bharatavarsa, dharmena. Here it is said, cakara rajyam dharmena. Exactly… And here also it is confirmed, that bhismoktam acyutoktam. Nisamya bhismoktam atha acyutoktam. So if such kind of king is there, then everything is all right. Everything. And establishing such pious king… Here it is stated, yudhisthiram prita-mana babhuva, isvara, isvara, nivesayitva nija-rajya isvaro yudhisthiram prita-mana babhuva.

And Krsna, why He took part in the Battlefield of Kuruksetra? He wanted that these rascals should be removed, the Duryodhana and company. And Yudhisthira must be there. Therefore He personally supervised the warfare. He took the reigns of Arjuna’s chariot to give him direction: “Kill all these demons. Even Bhisma. Even Dronacarya. Kill all of them, because they have taken side of the wrong side. Kill them.” That is Krsna’s order. “Although Bhisma is respectful, respectable, Dronacarya’s respectable, your guru, your grandfather, and such great personality, certainly they are respectable. But because they have taken side of the wrong side, they must be killed. They must be.” This is the instruction.

So dharma is so strong. Dharma means to abide by the order of Krsna. That is dharma. If we remain faithful to Krsna, and what Krsna says, if we do that, that is perfect dharma…

I told you sometimes, I think, in New York Airport. So seeing us, the sadhus, one young man came to me. So introduced himself, “Sir, I am Christian. I faithfully discharge my religious principles.” So I, I told him, “No, no. You do not faithfully discharge your religion.” So he was surprised that without talking with him, immediately I charged that “You don’t follow your Christian religion.” “No, why do you say like that?” “Do you eat meat?” “Yes, sir.” “Then you are not a Christian. You are not a Christian. Because in the Christian religion the first commandment is ‘Thou shalt not kill.’ So you are encouraging killing. How you are a Christian? You are not a Christian.” The actually everyone is very proud of becoming Christian, Hindu, Muslim, but nobody is following. Nobody’s following. All bogus.
Because if they would have followed… We don’t say follow this religion, that religion. If actually they would have followed, then the symptom would have been they had become devotee of God, lover of God. And as soon as he becomes lover of God, he becomes fully qualified with all good qualifications. Yasyasti bhaktir bhagavaty akincana sarvair gunais tatra samasate surah. This is the test. He hasn’t got to be trained up how to become honest, how to become clean, how to become this, how to become that. If he becomes a lover of God, Krsna, then all the good qualities automatically reveal. Just like when you are out of diseased condition, all your healthy symptoms are revealed, manifest. It doesn’t require to bring them separately, to bring them separately. It is already there. Because every living entity is part and parcel of God, Krsna, he has got all the good qualities of Krsna, very minute quantity. The Gosvamis have analyzed: seventy-eight percent. Not in full, but in minute quantity. It is not joke. Seventy-eight percent of the qualities of Krsna is there in living entity. And Krsna means all-good; they’re all good qualities.

So actually when one becomes a devotee, he is qualitatively one with Krsna. Because one cannot become devotee without acquiring the Krsna qualities. You cannot go into the fire without being fire. Without being Brahman, you cannot approach Brahman. Just like if you want to be secretary of a very big man, so you must have necessary qualification. Not that any, any man can become secretary of a big man. So when one becomes devotee, it is the statement of sastra: yasyasti bhaktir bhagavaty akincana… Akincana-bhakti. Akincana-bhakti means without any motive. That is akincana-bhakti. “I’ll become devotee because I’ll get this opportunity to exploit Krsna.” That is not devotion. When one shall be ready to be exploited by Krsna, then he’s a devotee. Not that with a motive, that “I shall become a devotee and exploit Krsna and Krsna consciousness movement and aggravate my position as sense gratifier.” No, that is not devotion.

anukulyena krsnanu-
silanam bhaktir uttama
 [BRS 1.1.11]

That is uttama-bhakti. And that, when one attains that uttama-bhakti, then he’s first-class follower of religion. Sa vai pumsam paro dharmo yato bhaktir a… [SB 1.2.6]. It doesn’t matter whether you are Christian or Muhammadan or Hindu; we want to see whether you are lover of God, you are a devotee of God, you can sacrifice everything for God. Then you are religious. Otherwise, I…, there is no question of religion.

So Yudhisthira Maharaja was that type of religious man, dharmena. And as soon as you become, then ajitasraya. Your shelter becomes under the lotus feet of Krsna. It is not story. Krsna says, aham tvam sarva-papebhyo moksayisyami ma sucah. It is not story. Krsna says, confirms: “You just become My devotee, and I’ll give you all protection.” Kaunteya pratijanihi na me bhaktah pranasyati. So many assurances. “Immediately I give you protection.” Aham tvam sarva-papebhyo mo… If I am released from all reaction of my sinful activities, then where is my difficulty? Difficulty’s there so mo…, so long one is sinful. We suffer the reaction of sinful activities. But if there is no sin, I become purified, then where is suffering? There is no question of suffering.