If this was the fate of the venerable Bhīṣma, invincible veteran of the Kurus, the confidence that Dhr̥tarāṣṭra had built up in his mind, about the victory of his sons, took a beating. But, how was this possible? What did it mean when one said Bhīṣma was vanquished? What transpired at all in these ten days? On each day who prevailed, who lost? How did the war commence? Dhr̥tarāṣṭra longed to hear everything in granular detail. It is in this backdrop that the question arose – किमकुर्वत सञ्जय (kimakurvata Sañjaya).
This is not merely war-related keenness. Prior to commencement of the war, what did the elders on both sides do? How did the war start? This was the sense of the basic question posed by Dhr̥tarāṣṭra to Saṅjaya. Saṅjaya who knew the intent of Dhr̥tarāṣṭra, in the same vein narrated the Bhagavadgītā, in eighteen chapters. Even as Saṅjaya described it, Bhagavadgītā was from that part of the war, which had already passed. His next description formed the forty-third chapter of the Bhīṣmaparva, the status of Dharmarajā; only post all this did he go on to narrate the saga of the war.
Having familiarized ourselves with this backdrop, let us proceed to the next ślōka.
सञ्जय उवाच –
दृष्ट्वा तु पाण्डवानीकं व्यूढं दुर्योधनस्तदा ।
आचार्यमुपसंगम्य राजा वचनमब्रवीत् ॥२॥
Sañjaya uvāca –
dr̥ṣṭvā tu pāṇḍavānīkaṁ vyūḍhaṁ duryōdhanastadā ।
ācāryamupasaṅgamya rājā vacanamabravīt ॥2॥
[Sañjaya responded: Seeing the neatly arrayed Pāndavā army, King Duryōdhana then, moved over to the Ācārya and spoke].
There are certain important aspects that may be noticed by us in this verse. In the beginning, Duryōdhana had come to the war, extremely high on confidence. Eleven akṣōhiṇi army was on his side. The most valiant of warriors from across the world, were in his side. His side had the likes of Drōṇa – Bhīṣma. He thought, ‘The army on the Pāndavās side is just seven akṣōhiṇis. Even those are largely relatives of Pāndavās. They are on their side out of obligation. Therefore, our victory is a certainty.’ ‘पाणौ फलमिवाऽहितम् (Pāṇau phalamivā̕hitam) – This matter is as clear as a gooseberry on the palm,’ is how he had reasoned out with his father too.
Though he had arrived with much confidence, the well-organized army of Pāndavās portrayed the sight of a unified front and swiftly dampened his spirits. Unity was more important than numbers; he was engulfed by a fear that the strength in numbers may not match up to the organized set-up of the Pāndavās.
All these feelings are packed into the two words – ‘दृष्ट्वा तु (dr̥ṣṭvā tu).’ दृष्ट्वा तु (dr̥ṣṭvā tu), means ‘at the mere sight of.’ It implies that Duryōdhana who had come in with false confidence, on merely seeing the neat rank and file of the Pāndavā army, lost courage and with fear in his eyes, ran to Ācārya Drōṇa.
The suspecting nature of Duryōdhana becomes more prominent here. In reality he should have gone to his army chief, Bhīṣmācārya. He however did not do that but instead approached Drōṇācārya. The reason was clear – he suspected Bhīṣma too. He felt, ‘Though he is the head of my army, mentally, he is inclined towards the Pāndavās. Having him as the head, is it possible for me to win the war?’ This quirk, dormant in his sub-conscious, became active on seeing the well-knit army of the Pāndavās. That’s why he turned to Drōṇācārya, avoiding Bhīṣmācārya. He tried to give prominence to Drōṇācārya, to further his crooked selfish ends.
The last phrase, reflects the mental state of Duryodhana – ‘राजा वचनमब्रवीत् (rājā vacanamabravīt). He did not approach Ācārya as a pupil. He came to him, as a pompous king.
सञ्जय उवाच(Sañjaya uvāca) = Sañjaya responded, राजा (rājā) = one who came with the pomp of a king, दुर्योधनः(Duryōdhanaḥ) = Duryōdhana, व्यूढं(vyūḍhaṁ) = organized in a well-knit pattern, पाण्डव+अनीकं (pāṇḍava + anīkaṁ) = the Pāndavās army, दृष्ट्वा तु (dr̥ṣṭvā tu) = on seeing (eyes filled with fear), तदा (tadā) = the very moment, आचार्यम्(Ācāryam) = Drōṇācārya, उप+सं+गम्य (upa+saṅ+gamya) = coming towards, अब्रवीत् (abravīt) = said.
Essentially Duryōdhana was a prince who had dreamt of being the king. His demeanour, as he approaches Drōṇācārya, is shaped by this dream. “I come not as your pupil with a prayer. I am directing you as the king. You are my subject, at my beck and call, as the one who provides your food. It is your duty to follow my orders,’ are the thoughts of vanity that fill his mind, reverberating in his speech. All his further statements are as a result of the dirt in his mind.