Ślōka no. 3

पश्यैतां पाण्डुपुत्राणामाचार्य  महतीं चमूम् |

व्यूढां द्रुपदपुत्रेण तव शिष्येण धीमता                             

 paśyaitāṁ pāṇḍuputrāṇāmācārya mahatīṁ camūm |
vyūḍhāṁ drupadaputrēṇa tava śiṣyēṇa dhīmatā 3

 [Behold Ācārya, this battalion of Pāndu’s sons, set into orderliness, by Drupadā’s son, who is your shrewd pupil].

 Each word in this verse, meaningfully projects, Duryōdhana’s emotional confusion. Duryōdhana calls the Pāndava army as ‘महतीं चमूम् (mahatīṁ camūm).’ In reality, it was Kauravā army and not the Pāndavās’, that was larger in numbers. Despite that, seeing the well-organised, neat formations of the Pāndavā army, Duryōdhana felt that the seven akṣōhiṇis of Pāndavās’ was larger than his own eleven akṣōhiṇis. This mirrored the state of his wickedly confused mind. Another significant specialty is in ‘एतां(ētāṁ).’ ‘In close proximity,’ is its meaning. समीपतरवर्ति चैतदो रूपम्(Samīpataravarti caitadō rūpam).’ It was Duryōdhana’s own army that was in his proximity, in real terms; not that of the Pāndavās. Yet, Pandavas army appears nearer to him. It becomes clear from this word, that he reels from the delusion that the well-organised Pāndava army is adjacent to him, in readiness to fight. That is why he alerts Acarya as ‘पश्य(paśya)’[behold]. His statement appears to hold the sense that an elder who holds a responsible position, such as Drōṇācārya, is sitting irresponsibly ignoring this, while I have been the first to spot it. ‘A serious threat confronts us. How is it that none of you have noticed it? Finally, was it required that I had to come and point this out to you? At least be alert now, to the situation,’ seems to be the cautious tone of his speech.

Rhyming with this inner-confusion of his, is the affirming combination of ‘पाण्डुपुत्राणाम् आचार्य pāṇḍuputrāṇām Ācārya,’ lending a beautiful poetic-overtone. The venomousness within, the rot, in Duryodhana is reflected in this specially composed phrase. In the real sense the term, ‘पाण्डुपुत्राणाम् (pāṇḍuputrāṇām)’ relationally corresponds to ‘चमूम् (camūm).’  However, the term ācārya which is juxtaposed in between, gives rise to another tonal world in itself – ‘Though you are on our side, though you are a leader of our army, within yourself you continue to remain the ācārya of the Pāndavās. Whatever be it, Arjuna happens to be your favourite pupil, doesn’t he? As such, despite being on our side, you do not cooperate wholeheartedly with us. Even now, instead of being the ācārya of Kauravas, you appear to be the acarya of Pandavas only,’ seems to be the sarcasm contained in ‘पाण्डुपुत्राणाम् आचार्य pāṇḍuputrāṇām Ācārya!’

In the latter half of the verse, he refers to Dhṛṣṭadhyumna, the chief of army of the Pāndavās, intentionally without naming him directly, through three qualitative descriptions – ‘द्रुपदपुत्रेण, तव शिष्येण, धीमता (drupadaputrēṇa, tava śiṣyēṇa, dhīmatā).’ The army chief of Pāndavās who very proficiently arrayed their forces, was seen – first as Drupada’s son; second as Drōṇācārya’s pupil; third as an expert strategist who was well-versed in all war-tactics! Through these three unique qualitative descriptions, Duryodhana clearly exhibits his inner mental conflicts.

The foremost of his fears rests on nothing but Pāndavās army chief being Drupada’s son. Dhṛṣṭadhyumna was the Agniputra[40] that Drupada had yearned for and obtained as the fruit, in a fire-ritual, a son who would one day kill Drōṇa. This way, Dhṛṣṭadhyumna who was born with the sole intent of killing Drōṇācārya, is a commander in the face off. This is Duryōdhana’s first cause for worry.

The second aspect was that he was Drōṇācārya’s pupil. He had been taught weapon-craft by none other than Drōṇācārya and here he was all set to use this, to Drōṇācārya’s detriment; why was it that neither Drōṇācārya nor anyone else in his team, concerned about this, was his prime worry.

The third aspect, was that he was intelligent. He had very adroitly grouped his army into a formidable array. ‘If one observes this, on our side, in place of such brilliance what is glaring, is grand indifference. Even though their strength in numbers is lower, their strength is astutely projected to seem greater than ours.’ This is another, of the serious issues that tormented Duryōdhana’s mind.

‘Atleast now, do take note of these problematic issues, and act with heightened alertness,’ was the tone in which Duryōdhana seemed to be directing Drōṇācārya –

आचार्य (Ācārya) = Guru Drōṇa, द्रुपद+पुत्रेण (Drupada + putreṇa) = King Drupada’s son, तव((tava) – your, शिष्येण(śiṣyeṇa) =  pupil, धीमता(dhīmatā) = from the intelligent Dhṛṣṭadhyumna, व्यूढां (vyūḍhāṁ) = arrayed, पाण्डु+पुत्राणाम् (pānḍu + putrāṇām) = of the pānḍavās, एतां(etāṁ = this, महतीं (mahatīṁ) = that which is big, चमूम् (camūm) = army, पश्य (paśya) = behold.

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[40] A son born as the result of a fire ritual

About Dr. Bannanje Govindacharya