Yuyudhana (Sanskrit: युयुधान, Yuyudhāna), better known as Satyaki (Sanskrit: सात्यकि, Sātyaki), was a powerful warrior belonging to the Vrishni clan of the Yadavas, to which Krishna also belonged. According to the Puranas, he was grandson of Shini of the Vrishni clan, and son of Satyaka. A valiant warrior, Satyaki was devoted to Krishna and was a student of Arjuna. He is also known as the unconquerable Satyaki.
Satyaki strongly and passionately favored the cause of the Pandavas over the Kauravas in the Kurukshetra War, despite the fact that the Vrishini army had been promised to Duryodhana by Krishna. Satyaki accompanied Krishna to the Kuru capital, with Krishna as the emissary of peace which was ridiculed and turned down by Duryodhana.
During the war, Satyaki is the commander of one akshauhini of the Pandava army.
The fourteenth day of the conflict is the day which Satyaki plays a big part in. With Arjuna attempting to pierce Drona's chakravyuha, in order to fulfill his oath of killing Jayadratha, Satyaki defends Yudhishthira from Drona, who was attempting to capture the emperor. Rescuing Dhristadyumna from Drona, Satyaki engages in a long fight with Drona, in which he breaks Drona's bowstring 101 times successively. Drona gets so frustrated by Satyaki, that he even uses divine weapons, which Satyaki counters using his knowledge of divine weapons from his education under Arjuna.
Later in the day, Yudhishthira gets worried that he cannot hear the twang of Arjuna's Gandiva bow. Despite his protests that protecting the king was more important, Satyaki is ordered to find and aid Arjuna. At the entrance to the chakravyuha, he meets Drona. Drona tells Satyaki how Arjuna avoided Drona by asking permission to leave; permission which Drona granted. Satyaki tells Drona that he also must leave then, as Arjuna is Satyaki's guru, and the disciple should follow the teacher's example.
As Arjuna is being attacked from multiple sides, Satyaki appears, along with Bhima, to help Arjuna. Satayki fights an intense battle with archrival King Bhurisravas with whom he has a long standing family feud. After a long and bloody battle, Satyaki begins to tire, and Bhurisravas pummels him and drags him across the battlefield. Arjuna is warned by Krishna of what is happening. Raising his sword, Bhurisravas prepares to kill Satyaki, but he is rescued from death by Arjuna, who shoots an arrow cutting off Bhurisravas's arm. Bhurisrava wails out that by striking him without warning, Arjuna had disgraced the honor between warriors. Arjuna rebukes him for attacking a defenseless Satyaki. Moreover, he criticizes Bhurisravas for his actions during the death of Abhimanyu. Recognizing his shame, Bhurisravas lays out his weapons and sits down in meditation. Satyaki then emerges from his swoon, and swiftly decapitates his enemy. He is condemned for this rash act, but Satyaki states that the moment Bhurisravas struck his semiconscious body, he had sworn that he would kill Bhurisravas. With the day's battle nearly over and Jayadratha still far away, the soldiers present all agree that it isn't the time or place to debate the morality of Satyaki's actions.
In the Kurukshetra war, Satyaki and Kritavarma were two important Yadava heroes who fought on the opposing sides. Satyaki fought on the side of the Pandavas, whereas Kritavarma joined the Kauravas.
Satyaki and Kritavarma both survived the Kurukshetra conflict. Kritavarma is involved in the slaughter of the Panchalas and the sons of the Pandavas in the undeclared night attack with Kripacharya and Ashwatthama. 36 years after the war, the Yadavas, including Satyaki and Kritavarma are involved in a drunken brawl, with Satyaki accusing Kritavarma of killing sleeping soldiers and Kritavarma criticizing Satyaki for his beheading of the unarmed Bhurisravas. In the ensuing melee, Satyaki, Kritavarma and the rest of the Yadavas are exterminated, as it was ordained by Gandhari's curse. Krishna desired to remove the Yadava clan from earth at the same time as his Avatar is fulfilled, so that the earth may be free of any possibly sinful and aggressive warriors, which was the wider purpose of the Kurukshetra war.
Satyaki is also noted as an ayurvedic physician who was an expert in Shalya (surgery) and Shalakya (Eye/ENT), he is mentioned by Dalhana in Timir and Annantvat(sushrut Uttartantra) and by Chakrapani in Netraroga (Charak).
- Pargiter, F.E. (1972) . Ancient Indian Historical Tradition, Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, p.107.
- Pargiter, F.E. (1972) . Ancient Indian Historical Tradition, Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, p.284.