1.6 -“The valorous Yudhmanyu, the mighty Uttmauj, Saubhadr, ant Draupadi’s five sons, all great warriors.”
The heroic Yudhmanyu of warlike temper; Uttmauj with the spirit of abandon that flows from sacred excellence;Abhimanyu (Saubhadr), Subhadra’s son, with a mind without fear because it is propped up by righteousness, and the five sons of Draupadi who herself is a form of discernment of the divine, all are great warriors named tenderness, beauty, compassion, spiritual repose and consistency. All of them are noted for their ability to traverse the path of spiritual fulfillment with perfect skill.
Duryodhan thus enumerates to his teacher about a score of names from the side of the Pandav, which represent some vital principles of divine excellence. Although the monarch of impulses that are alien to the essentially spiritual character of the Self, it is ignorance (attachment) that first motivates us to strive for the realization of the treasure of divinity.
As for his own side, Duryodhan dwells on it but briefly. Had it been an actual, external war, he would have given an elaborate account of his army. But only a few perversions are cited, for they have to be conquered and they are destructible. There are mentioned only about half a dozen of these, at the heart of all of which there yet dwells an unworldly propensity.
1.7 -“Be it known to you, O the worthiest of the twice-born (Brahmins), the names of those who are most eminent amongst us, the chiefs of our army; these I now name for your information.”
“The worthiest of the twice-born.” That is how Duryodhan addresses his teacher Dronacharya before he introduces to him the chiefs of his army. “The worthiest of the twice-born” would hardly be an appropriate term of address for a commander-in-chief if the war were a physical, external war. In fact, the Geeta dwells upon the conflict between contradictory innate impulses, upon the dual conduct which is Dronacharya. The world of matter exists and there is duality if we are even in the least isolated from God. However, the urge, too, for overcoming this duality of object-spirit is derived first from the teacher Dronacharya. It is imperfect knowledge that induces the hunger for enlightenment.
It is now time to have a look at the leaders of the impulses which are hostile to the essentially sacred character of the Self.
1.8 –” Your venerable self, Bheeshm and Karn, and also Kripa-victor in wars, Ashwatthama and Vikarn, as well as Saumdutti (Bhurishrawa, son of Somdutt).”
The commander-in-chief is Dronacharya himself, symbolizing dual conduct. And then there is the grandsire Bheeshm, the very image of delusion. Delusion is the fountainhead of deviation from the ideal state. Since it survives till the very end, delusion is the grandsire. The whole army has perished, but Bheeshm yet lives on. He lies unconscious on his bed of arrows and still continues to breathe. Like Bheeshm, too, are Karn, a betrayer of the sacred character of Self, and the conquering warrior Kripacharya. Kripacharya represents the act of compassion by the seeker in the state before Self-realization. God is the mine of compassion and the sage attains to the same state after fulfillment. But during the period up to accomplishment, so long as the worshipper is removed from God and God is removed from him, when the uncongenial impulses are still alive and strong, and he is besieged by delusion-if the seeker feels compassion at this stage, he is destroyed. For acting with pity, Sita had to undergo penance in Lanka for years.
Vishwamitr fell from grace because he felt tenderness at such a stage. Maharshi Patanjali, the preceptor of yog-aphorism, has expressed a similar view. “Attainments made, through perfect meditation are indeed attainments, but they are also as formidable obstacles in the way of the endeavour of the individual Soul for identification with the Supreme Spirit as sensual desire, anger, greed, and delusion.” Goswami Tulsidas has said, “O Garud, manifold are obstacles built up by maya when we strive to unravel the knots of properties of nature-mere distortions of truth. Attainment of sanctity elevates, but the mind conjures up one temptation after another.”
The illusory maya obstructs in many ways. It brings men accomplishments and untold wealth, and even turns them into holy beings. If a being of such accomplishment just passes by, even a dying man is revived. Notwithstanding the recovery of the patient, however, the seeker shall be destroyed if he regards the cure as his own achievement. Instead of one sickness a thousand maladies will swarm upon his mind, the process of reverent contemplation of the divine will be interrupted, and he will so stray from the right path that the world of matter overwhelms him. If the goal is distant and the seeker feels compassion, this one act alone is sufficient to result in the debacle of his whole army. So he has to be on his guard against the feeling of compassion until the moment of final attainment, although at the same time it is also true that compassion is the hallmark of a saint. But before ultimate fulfillment, compassion is the mightiest warrior among the evil, demoniacal impulses. It is thus that Ashwatthama is an image of inordinate attachment, Vikarn of indecision, and Bhurishrawa of perplexity and confusion.They are all chiefs of the outward flowing current of life.
1.9- “And (there are) many other skilled warriors, too, equipped with numerous arms, who have forsaken hope of life for my sake.”
And many other valiant warriors are resolved, Duryodhan intimates to Dronacharya, to fight for his sake even at the cost of their life. But there is no precise enumeration of them. Duryodhan then points out the innate qualities with which each of the two armies is fortified.
1.10- “Our army defended by Bheeshm is unconquerable, while their army defended by Bheem is easy to vanquish.”
Duryodhan’s army, “defended” by Bheeshm, is invincible, whereas the opposing army of the Pandav, “defended” by Bheem, is easy to conquer. The use of ambiguous puns such as a paryaptam and aparyaptam is itself a sign of Duryodhan’s doubtful state of mind. So we have to look carefully at the power that Bheeshm represents on which all the Kaurav hopes rest, as well as the quality symbolized by Bheem which the Pandav-endowed with the treasure of divinity-rely upon. Duryodhan then gives his final estimate of the situation.