Ślōka no. 9

If so, what were his thoughts about the remaining people? The next ślōka describes it –

अन्ये च बहवः शूरा मदर्थे त्यक्तजीविताः |

नानाशस्त्रप्रहरणाः सर्वे युद्धविशारदाः ||९||

An’yē ca bahavaḥ śūrā madarthē tyaktajīvitāḥ |
nānāśastrapraharaṇāḥ sarvē yud’dhaviśāradāḥ ||9||

[There many other valiant ones too. They are ready to lay down their lives for my sake. They have descended to fight with a variety of weapons. All of them are well experienced in war]. 

At the surface level this appears to be a brag praising the brave ones on his side. If one looks at the developments so far, in toto as per the text so far, this statement ends in a totally different tone.

Not just these seven people, अन्ये च बहवः (An’yē ca bahavaḥ) – there are many here that can be counted. That does not mean they are incapable सर्वे युद्धविशारदाः (sarvē yud’dhaviśāradāḥ) – all are experts in the art of warfare. नानाशस्त्रप्रहरणाः (nānāśastrapraharaṇāḥ) – true that they have come to war carrying weapons in their hands. But, of what use is it? Are these warriors as enthusiastic as him? Is it possible for them to be so? They have come here, trapped by some obligation. Some compulsion has led them to step into this war. Will they wholeheartedly fight for his cause?

The army battalions had come from some outside countries. Scarce did many people know as to who should win or who should lose. Their task was just to hold the sword aloft and march ahead in the direction indicated by their commander. It mattered little to them as to who lost or who won.

Some among them could also be favourably inclined towards the Pāndavas – like Śalya. Were all these ready to wage a war? Or even if they fought out of some motivation, considering the well-organised, cohesive battalions of the Pāndava army, could this loosely knit, uncommitted battalion of brave hearts on his side, that has descended to the battle field, emerge victorious? Duryōdhana’s mind is increasingly drawn towards ‘no’ as the answer. Right at the start, his inner-conscience is fettered by gloomy thoughts. It is thus he declares: ‘मदर्थे त्यक्तजीविताः madarthē tyaktajīvitāḥ’ – they have forsaken the attachment to their lives, for my sake.

Even if apparently it seemed that they had staked their own lives to fight for his victory, Duryōdhana’s mind chases only undesirable conclusions, in thought – these are ones who have come to die for me and not, they are capable of making me victorious.

Probably all his calculations are being upset; all his preparations have become useless. In front of the heroes on the side of Pāndavas, all brave ones from across the world have become sacrificial animals because of him – that his dreams may never become real, is his fear; the torment woven deep inside the sub-conscious of the cowardly Duryōdhana is beautifully picturised in this ślōka –

अन्ये च(An’yē ca) – others too; बहवः(bahavaḥ) – many people; शूराः(śūrāḥ) – valiant ones; मदर्थे (madarthē) – for me; त्यक्त+जीविताः(tyakta+jīvitāḥ) – lay down their lives; नाना+शस्त्र+प्रहरणाः(nānā+śāstra+praharaṇāḥ) – capable of fighting with a variety of weapons; सर्वे(sarvē) – all of them; युद्ध+विशारदाः(yud’dha+viśāradāḥ) – experienced in warfare.

About Dr. Bannanje Govindacharya