The assembly of armies – Part I of Chapter 1

The scene was set to witness the greatest war fought by the most exemplary and skilled warriors the universe had ever seen. The war as ordained by the Supreme Creator left no one in doubt of its impending and inevitable result.

 

Bhagavad Gita starts with the conversation between Dhrutharashtra and Sanjaya who was blessed with Divine Vision by Veda Vyaasa Maharshi to witness the happenings of Kurukshetra while residing in Hastinapur. Dhrutharashtra asks Sanjaya what his sons and others in the great army of Kauravas as well as in the army of Pandavas did when they assembled in the great sacred kshetra or field of Kurukshetra.

dhrtarastra uvaca
dharma-ksetre kuru-ksetre
samaveta yuyutsavah
mamakah pandavas caiva
kim akurvata sanjaya

 

Sanjaya replied to the query of Dhrutharashtra saying that when Duryodhana saw the army of the Pandavas in formation of a battle array, he approached his teacher or Acharya namely Drona and mockingly said, “O great teacher, please see this vast army of the sons of Pandu, impressively arrayed for battle by the son of Drupada, your intelligent disciple. Here are warriors of valour wielding great bows, who in battle are in comparison to Bheema and Arjuna, Yuyudhāna or Sātyaki and Virāta and the mahāratha or great chariot-rider Drupada. Dhrustaketu, Cekitāna, the valiant king of Kāsi, Purujit and Kuntibhoja and Saibya are the choicest among men and the chivalrous Yudhāmanyu, and the valiant Uttamaujas, son of Subhadrā and the sons of Draupadi – all of whom are, verily, mahārathas or great chariot-riders”.

 

Duryodhana continued, “But, best among the Brāhmanas, please be appraised of those who are foremost among us that is the great commanders of my army. I speak of them to you by way of greatness and skill. They are your venerable self, Bheeshma and Karna and Krpa who is ever victorious in battle and Ashvattamā, Vikarna, Saumadatti and Jayadratha.

There are many other heroes who have dedicated their lives for my sake and who possess various kinds of weapons and missiles and all of whom are skilled in warfare. Our army is under the complete unlimited protection of Bheeshma and others but this army of our enemies is under limited protection of Bheeshma and others.

However, venerable ones, all of you without exception, while occupying the positions assigned to you as per the battle formation in different directions and especially you, please fully protect Bheeshma in particular”.

 

The valiant grandfather and eldest of the Kurus loudly sounding a lion roar blew the conch to raise the spirits of Duryodhana.

[Chapter 1, Slokas 1.01 – 1.12]

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