November 16, 2018

Bhagavad Gita Chapter 1 Arjuna Visaada Yoga; 2nd part

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2nd Part; The first chapter of the Srimad Bhagavad Gita is called Arjuna Visaada Yoga or The dialectical conflict of Arjuna: Lamenting the Consequence of War.

Duryodhana confesses that every one of the soldiers in his horde can overwhelm the soldiers of the Paandavas headed by Dhrishtadyumna and that Drona should not consider Paandavas invincible. Duryodhana tells Drona merely because the Paandava army commanded by Dhrishtadyumna is numerically smaller than ours it does not imply they can be easily defeated. Their warriors are all great bowmen; the arrows released from their bows can never be frustrated by any foe. The intrepid warriors Yuyudhana also known as Satyaki, virtuous king Virata, Drupada and others are all mighty bowman they are distinguished as maha-ratha meaning one who is a master in the science of warfare and the use of all weapons and can fight against 10,000 bowmen at the same time and not be defeated applies to all three warriors as well as Arjuna and Bhima. He recounts the vigour and gallantry of the individual warriors and adds in the Paandava ranks there are many valiant heroes, hence it is not possible for their army to be defeated by anyone single-handed.

Duryodhana qualifies Dhristaketu (the son of Sisupala), Cekitana and Kasiraja (the famous King) of Kasi as viryavan meaning heroic, he calls Kuntibhoja and Purujit both brothers of Kunti they were the conquerors of many battles, he describes Saibya as nara-pungavah meaning noblest of men, a man of character. There are other heroes equally illustrious in the Paandava army; they are the gallant Yudamanyu, very commanding Uttamauja, Abhimanyu (the son of Arjuna and Subhadra) and the five sons of Draupadi all of them maha-rathi’s. Draupadeya refers to the five sons of Draupadi namely Prativindhya, Sutasoma, Srutakirti, Sutanika and Srutasena. Arjuna and his brothers are not mentioned because it is well known to all that they are all unrivalled maharathas.

After mentioning the names of the chiefs of the Paandava army Duryodhana next proceeds to request Acharya Drona to be aware of commanders of the Kaurava military. It could be put forward even after unease in his mind Duryodhana is stating his superiority over the Paandava army reasoning that Drona the mentor of the leaders of both armies is with Kaurava army fighting against the Paandavas. If Duryodhana justly considers that the forces of the Paandavas is resolute, in that case why is he so firm to clash with them, instead he could formulate harmony and agree to amity. He adds there is no scarcity of valorous warriors in his own army and that he was mentioning only a select few. He uses the word dvijottama meaning best of the twice born, Brahmans, implying Dronacaraya is merely a Brahman; a masked mention meaning pusillanimous.

The names Duryodhana reveals are Bhavan referring to Drona himself, Bhishma, Karna, Kripa, Asvatthama, (the son of Drona) virtuous Vikarna one of the hundred sons of Dhritaraashtra the younger brother of Duryodhana and Bhurisrava the son of Somadatta and he uses the adjective Samjitinjayah meaning forever victorious in battle. Omitting the names of Salya, Bahlika, Bhagadatta, Jayadratha and other Maharathis and conveying them all in a generic manner, intention of Duryodhana is to state that the heroes mentioned by him are only illustrative and not exhaustive. Duryodhana pushes his point further by stating that is not all; there are innumerable others equipped with various missiles as their weapons, they are all formidable in battle who have all pledged their very lives for his sake with their extraordinary strength and their unsurpassed skill in military science. Duryodhana to mask his trepidation croons that his army is unlimited and furthermore they are protected by Bhishma who is the most intelligent maha-ratha; whereas the Paandava army is protected by Bhima of contemptible intelligence; hence the victory for Kauravas is assured. He by his tone implies that the army of his with all the impressive heroes is protected by Bhishma seems inadequate due to the fact that Bhishma being warm to the Paandavas is not totally committed towards his victory; whereas the army of the Paandavas which is protected by Bhima seems adequate to him. Anxious Duryodhana is striving to conceal his fear at the might of the Paandava army, misleadingly addressed the preceptor laced with the words of odious allusion implying subtle sarcasm and these words Dronacarya ignored.

Declaring that his army protected by Bhishma as unconquerable, Duryodhana urges his generals stationed in their respective positions to guard Bhishma from all sides. Here he says that all of his army situated in their intended positions must support and protect Bhishma who is the commander of the army; the inference is where the commander is protected the army is protected. Duryodhana knew full well that the great grandsire possessed the power to protect himself; yet bound by the tenets of gallantry, Bhishma regarded Sikhandi as a female, hence would not face him in the battle. Sikhandi and Dhrishtadyumna were both the sons, of Drupada, Sikhandi was the elder and Dhrishtadyumna was the younger, Sikhandi was born a girl but later transformed into a man and Bhishma was aware of this.  Impelled by lurking fear of Sikhandi confronting Bhishma on the field of battle, thereby endangering the life of Bhishma, Duryodhana exhorts his generals to take exceptional care to keep Sikhandi away from Bhishma.  Duryodhana thoughtful of the implications of negligence thinks the Kaurava victory is reliant on the conscientious protection of Bhishma and the Kaurava army depends entirely on the gallantry of Bhishma.

After Bahlika, Bhishma was the oldest member of the Kaurava clan, he was revered by both the Paandavas and the Kauravas, though advanced in age he surpassed even the foremost heroes younger in age in vigour, might, strength, and valour. Elated Bhishma perceiving Duryodhana’s inner despondency roared like a lion and blew a thunderous blast on his conch shell just to increase Duryodhana’s excitement; in consequence he confirmed to Duryodhana that he had factually assumed his position as commander and chief of the Kaurava army. The soldiers seeing the fervour of Bhishma became enthused for conflict and there was tumultuous blow of conch shells, the boisterous echoes of trumpets and the whack of kettledrums on all sides caused a great din. With him and others, loyalty to duty counted far more than individual conviction; social order generally depends on obedience to authority. With leonine roars Bhishma emphatically declared his confidence; he announced the start of the battle. All the regions were flooded with optimism and support, suddenly all the sections of the martial music from the army commanders from the conches, kettledrums, tabors, drums and horns were struck and the noise was tumultuous.

After the riotous resonance coming from the Kaurava army had settled the ultimate Lord Krishna and Arjuna seated on a glorious chariot determinedly sounded their celestial conches effectively signalling the Paandavas enthusiasm for battle. Sanjaya until this point was answering Dhritaraashtra’s question; after congregating for the fight, what did his children do; now he proceeds to describe the doings of the children of Paandu. The reply from the Paandavas initiated by Sri Krishna the charioteer and the warrior Arjuna was adequate to silence the euphoria and dampen the hopes and aspirations of the Kauravas.  Even though there were many chariots on the battlefield the rationale for making mention of the chariot of Lord Krishna and Arjuna was that this chariot by which the triune could be subjugated was bequeathed by Agni, the god of fire and in consequence was particularly commanding. The conches used by Lord Krishna and Arjuna were the amazing ones dazzling in appearance and particularly of rare array hence they are called celestial.

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About Sridharan Lakshmanan 12 Articles
Retired officer from Syndicate Bank
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