Bhagavad Gita – Chapter 1, Slokas 4 to 9

Newsletter on Bhagavadgita by Dr. P.V. Nath

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Sloka 4, 5 and 6

ATRA SHOORA MAHESHASA BHEEMARJUNA SAMA YUDHIHI
YUYUDHANO VIRATASHCA DRUPADASHCHA MAHARATAHA

DHRSHTAKETUS CHEKITANANHA KASHI RAJASCHA VEERYVAN
PURUJIT KUNITBHOJASCHA SHAIBHYASCHA NARA PUNGAVHA

YUDHAMANYUSCHA VIKREANTAHA UTTAMAUJASCHAVEERYVAAN
SOUBHADOR’ DROUPADEYASCHA SARVA EVA MAHARATAHA.

In the Pandava army, there are heroes and mighty archers equal to Bhima and Arjuna. they are Yuyudhana, Virata, Drupada, of the first order of warriors. Drishtaketu, Cekitana, the valiant king of Kasi, Purujit, Kuntibhoja, Saibya, the best of men, the strong Yudhamanyu, (Satyaki), valiant Uttamouja, Abhimanyu, the son of Subhadra and Arjuna, and the sons of Droupadi, all of them divisional commanders.

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Herein are the names of the warriors of repute in the Pandava army.
Duryodhana is giving those names to his teacher Drona. He puts some adjectives like valiant, best of men, strong in front of some warriors.

All these were given the title of “Maharati.” “Maharati” is he who can fight single handed with 10000 archers. He is also a master in the use of various weapons of warfare.

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Sloka 7

ASMAKAM TO VISHISHTAYE TANNIBODHA DWIJOTTAMA
NAYAKA MAMA SAINYASYA SAMJNARTHAM TAAN BRAVEEMI TE’

O best of twice born, now, I will recall to you, for your information, the names of those who are most distinguished amongst ourselves, the leaders of our army.

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Duryodhana continues his discussion with his teacher Drona and reiterates the names of the great warriors on the side of his Kaurava army.
He addresses Drona as “best among twice born.” Drona was brahmin by birth. The brahmin have a tradition of “sacred thread ceremony” about the age of 7-11yrs. After the child passes through the infancy and learns the alphabets and early childhood and comes out of playful moods, it is time for initiation into the higher studies. It was also the arrangements for the kshatriya (warrior group of men/women) and vysya (business class) men in the community.

The Hindu philosophy stresses that every individual is ignorant at birth irrespective of the caste he/she is born into. To let the individual into society to act according to the dharma needs initiation into the spiritual education.
The first common entry for all is “entry into the material world (ignorance).”
The entry after the ceremony is “entry into the world of knowledge.”
This initiation into spiritual education is considered to be “second birth” for the individual.
Drona is therefore addressed as “best among the twice born.”

There is another subtle hint Duryodhana is throwing at his master. Even though Drona was a great warrior, he was a brahmin by birth. Brahmins generally are not warriors and not physically strong to take part in the battle. Duryodhana was a tactical warrior. He knew how to get the adrenaline flow in his master. By stressing that Drona was a brahmin (timid) and by giving names of great warriors on his side, Duryodhana is making Drona get madly angry.

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Sloka 8 and 9

BHAVAN BHEESHMASCHA KARNASCHA KRIPASCHA SAMATINJAYAHA
ASHWATHAMA VIKARNASCHA SOUMADATIS TATHAIVA CHA

ANYE CHA BAHAVAHA SHOORAH MADARTHE TYAKTA JEEVITAHA
NANA SHASTRA PRAHARANAHA SARVE YUDDHA VISHOORADAHA

Yourself, Bhishma and Karna, also Kripa the victorious in war, Ashwathama, Vikarna and also the son of Somadatta, as also many other heroes who are prepared to give up their lives for my sake, armed with various weapons and missiles, all well-skilled in battle.

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This is the list of main warriors on the side of Kauravas. It is not as though Drona did not know anybody. If we read the Mahabharata we will know more about these great skilled warriors.
While naming the warriors it is interesting to note that Duryodhana places the name of Drona first, ahead of Bhishma the commander-in-chief. It is possible that Duryodhana realised that he had gone too far and used the word “Brahmana” by addressing Drona as “twice born.”

Copyright for the texts on Bhagavad Gita by Dr. P.V. Nath, UK.
Questions concerning the text please direct to Dr. Nath at “snath@btinternet.com“.

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