यद्ब्रह्मबन्धो: शिर आततायिन: ।
त्वाक्रम्य यत्स्नास्यसि दग्धपुत्रा ॥ १६ ॥
yad brahma-bandhoḥ śira ātatāyinaḥ
gāṇḍīva-muktair viśikhair upāhare
tvākramya yat snāsyasi dagdha-putrā
tadā — at that time only; śucaḥ — tears in grief; te — your; pramṛjāmi — shall wipe away; bhadre — O gentle lady; yat — when; brahma-bandhoḥ — of a degraded brāhmaṇa; śiraḥ — head; ātatāyinaḥ — of the aggressor; gāṇḍīva-muktaiḥ — shot by the bow named Gāṇḍīva; viśikhaiḥ — by the arrows; upāhare — shall present to you; tvā — yourself; ākramya — riding on it; yat — which; snāsyasi — take your bath; dagdha-putrā — after burning the sons.
O gentle lady, when I present you with the head of that brāhmaṇa, after beheading him with arrows from my Gāṇḍīva bow, I shall then wipe the tears from your eyes and pacify you. Then, after burning your sons’ bodies, you can take your bath standing on his head.
An enemy who sets fire to the house, administers poison, attacks all of a sudden with deadly weapons, plunders wealth or usurps agricultural fields, or entices one’s wife is called an aggressor. Such an aggressor, though he be a brāhmaṇa or a so-called son of a brāhmaṇa, has to be punished in all circumstances. When Arjuna promised to behead the aggressor named Aśvatthāmā, he knew well that Aśvatthāmā was the son of a brāhmaṇa, but because the so-called brāhmaṇa acted like a butcher, he was taken as such, and there was no question of sin in killing such a brāhmaṇa’s son who proved to be a villain.