SB 1.7 - Aśvatthāmā punished

Arjuna understanding the motives of the Lord took his sword and severed the hair and jewel from the head of Aśvatthāmā. Separating the jewel from the head is as good as cutting off one’s head, yet the life is saved. Arjuna had promised he would cut off Aśvatthāmā’s head. But he cannot cut off Aśvatthāmā’s head because that would displease Draupadī. To fulfill both, Arjuna cut off Aśvatthāmā’s jewel on his head along with his hair because the jewel represents the head. So cutting of the jewel was cutting off the head. But in a literal sense, the head is not cut off. Aśvatthāmā once said that this jewel was more valuable than all the wealth of the Pāṇḍavas and Kauravas put together. The jewel would keep him away from all harm and that he would never part with this jewel. Having lost his bodily luster due to infanticide, Aśvatthāmā lost even more strength after losing his head jewel. He was unbound and driven out of the camp. Cutting the hair from his head, depriving him of his wealth and driving him from his residence are the prescribed punishments for the relative of a brāhmaṇa. There is no injunction for killing the body. Thereafter, the sons of Pāṇḍu and Draupadī performed the funeral rites for the dead bodies of their relatives.