asmākan tu viśiṣṭā ye
tān nibodha dvijottama
nāyakā mama sainyasya
saṁjñārthaṁ tān bravīmi te

“O Dvija-uttama, best of the brāhmaṇas, for your information I am also mentioning the names of those in our army who are particularly talented in the art of military strategy.”

Now Duryodhana refers to Droṇācārya as the greatest of brāhmaṇas. First he called him Ācārya, now he calls him dvijottama, the greatest of brāhmaṇas. The purport is, if you are truly a great brāhmaṇa then you will never change your ways.

“Don’t fear, Oh best of the brāhmaṇas, there are many great heroes on our side.”

With these words, Duryodhana explains that there are so many heroic enjoyers on his side. Therefore, seeing the opposing army he need not fear.

Those who fight for the side of dharma, who are peaceful and whose bodies are the very embodiment of love, who are very beautiful and always self-satisfied—seeing them, Duryodhana fears that Droṇācārya will change his loyalty. He may realize, “I am with the wrong side. I am staying with wicked men. Look at all these other soldiers on the opposing side, they’re all very self-satisfied and fearless.”

Therefore Duryodhana is telling his Guru, “Don’t worry, there are many great heroes on our side. Understand well that our army is no less than the other side.”

Who is defeated in the battle of love’s play? Who loses in the battle of Cupid—that person who is weak or who has no strength. When an attractive woman tries to seduce a man, the man is likely to lose his composure. Such was the case of Śiva Ṭhākura when he was charmed by the beauty of the Lord’s female incarnation, Mohinī. Śiva Ṭhākura ran after Mohinī all over the world and in the end, he could not control himself. All his vital fluid fell and was lost. Once his vital fluid was lost, he became devoid of strength and could not chase Mohinī further.

This is losing in the battle of kāma. A man can fight this battle as long as he has some vitality. When his vital fluid is lost, he becomes like a coward devoid of any strength or energy. When that vital fluid is lost, he becomes like a dead man.

Duryodhana saw that the Pāṇḍavas and their men were all bright-faced and cheerful, while those on his side were downcast. Duryodhana said to Droṇācārya, “Don’t think that the warriors on our side are any less heroic than those on the side of the Pāṇḍavas.” Here, an acquaintance of devotees—those on the side of bhakti and dharma, is given, as well as that of enjoyers. Those who take the side of devotees will be filled with spiritual power, and those who fight against devotees will become weak and fearful. They will always have doubts and will be filled with sorrow and lamentation.

bhavān bhīṣmaś ca karṇaś ca
kṛpaś ca samitiñjayaḥ
aśvatthāmā vikarṇaś ca
saumadattir jayadrathaḥ

Bhagavad-gītā 1.8

In my army there are heroes like your good self (Droṇācārya), Grandsire Bhīṣma, Karṇa, Kṛpācārya who is ever-victorious in battle, Aśvatthāmā, Vikarṇa, Bhūriśravā, the son of Somadatta and Jayadratha, the King of Sindhu.

anye ca bahavaḥ śūrā
mad-arthe tyakta-jīvitāḥ
sarve yuddha-viśāradāḥ
Bhagavad-gītā 1.9

“There are many other heroes who are prepared to give up their lives for my sake. All are equipped with varieties of astra-śastra and are expert in warfare.”


Endeavoring to show the preeminence of his side, Duryodhana began to mention the great heroes who had sided with him for battle and were ready to give up their lives for his sake. He first mentions Droṇācārya himself, addressing him as ‘bhavana’ (your good self). Then he mentions Bhīṣma.

“With us is Bhīṣma, the great life-long brahmacārī. He has conserved and collected his strength and mental power throughout his entire life and now he is the greatest warrior.”

Bhīṣma once captured three girls, Amba, Ambika, and Ambalika to give to his younger brother Vicitravirya in marriage.

However, Amba objected and said, “I will marry only you, not your younger brother.”

“I have made a vow never to marry,” Bhisma replied.

“Then remember this well; if you do not marry me, I will become your greatest enemy. I will be the cause of your death. If you are a brahmacārī, why then did you capture me? It is not the dharma of brahmacārya to touch or converse with a lady. If you are a brahmacārī, the upholder of dharma, then why did you steal me from my svayaṁvara? Since you brought me, you must marry me.”

“I made a vow not to marry.”

“Then why did you come to me and touch me.”

“For my brother.”

“Why didn’t he come himself? At heart, I had already chosen King Śālva as my husband. He had in his heart also chosen me for his wife. This was also approved by my father. At the svayaṁvara I would have garlanded him and accepted him as my lord if you had not forcibly taken me away.”

“How could you selfishly come and capture me just to please yourself and your brother without considering my own desire? Now that you have brought me, you must marry me.”

Bhīṣma refused.

Amba then sought the help of Paraśurāma to settle the dispute. Bhīṣma was the disciple of Paraśurāma, thus Paraśurāma ordered him, “Marry this girl.” However, Bhishma refused.

A great battle ensued. They fought together for a long time without either gaining the upper hand. Finally, Śiva and other gods came and settled the fight between Bhīṣma and Paraśurāma. However, the girl had given up her life. In her next birth she was born as a eunuch named Sikhandi.

When the time for war came, Sikhandi took the side of the Pāṇḍavas. She knew that she would be the cause of Bhīṣma’s death. By taking the side of adharma and fighting against the side of dharma, one will suffer a very dire fate.

Bhīṣma himself was a brahmacārī, but he thought of the marriage of his brother. He worried about others. He said to his brother, “I will help you. I will build up your estate and get you a good wife.”
This is also one type of sense enjoyment. A person will try to enjoy his senses as much as possible. Seeing others such as his relatives enjoying, he will become very happy. An old man will clap and dance seeing his grandson wedded. This is bhoga-vada.

Duryodhana said, “All these great heroes are ready to give up their lives for me. Aside from you oh Ācārya, all are ready to do so. Don’t think we are any less than the Pāṇḍavas.”

aparyāptaṁ tad asmākaṁ
balaṁ bhīṣmābhirakṣitam
paryāptaṁ tv idam eteṣāṁ
balaṁ bhīmābhirakṣitam
Bhagavad-gītā 1.10

“Our forces, though protected by Bhīṣma, are not sufficient. On the other hand the army of the Pāṇḍavas, under the careful protection of Bhīma, is fully competent.”


On our side is Bhīṣma–a perfect brahmacārī. He is full of brahma-śakti; divine power. He never lost any of his śakti. Thus his strength is so immense it will never wane.

Those who lose their vital energy become cowardly and weak. They quickly become afraid and easily lose hope. If they are too scared they may even die out of fright. Their heart may fail. Bhīṣma however, was very powerful having controlled his vital fluid without wasting a single drop during his life. Therefore Duryodhana thought that his army had greater power, beyond that of the Pāṇḍavas.

He said, “Bhīma only has a little power. Sometimes he goes off and collects a new wife. In the jungle he had a son with Hidimba, a rākṣasī. Sometimes he meets with Draupadī and sometimes any other. He doesn’t have any control of himself and doesn’t follow any rules and regulations.”

Some people say, “I am a male, how can I be in love with God, the Supreme Male.” Yet if I consider the śakti I possess; who is its proprietor? All śakti is the property of God. Therefore if one has śakti within him, then it will be natural for him to have love for God. That is the innate tendency of śakti.

When Kṛṣṇa raised the wheel of the chariot, and ran forward to kill Bhīṣma, Bhīṣma folded his hands and smiled with great love for the Lord.

Previously, upon hearing that Kṛṣṇa would not engage in battle during the war Bhīṣma made a vow, “I will not call myself the son of Santanu if I cannot make the Lord raise arms in this battle.”

When Duryodhana returned from meeting Kṛṣṇa in Dvārakā he told Bhīṣma, “Keśi’s killer will not fight. He will remain silent in the humble position of a charioteer.”

Bhīṣma-pitāmaha said, “That is not possible. He only cheated you.”

“No, he made a promise not to fight.”

Bhīṣma then became determined to break this vow of Kṛṣṇa.

Later, during the heat of battle when Kṛṣṇa picked up a chariot wheel and began spinning it and running towards Bhīṣma, Bhīṣma-pitāmaha began to recite beautiful prayers to the Lord.
When a lover attacks her beloved, she scratches him and piercing his flesh, making him bleed. In this way, Bhīṣma shot so many arrows at Kṛṣṇa and they all pierced Kṛṣṇa’s flesh, making Him bleed profusely. Streams of blood were running from His body.

Some say that at this time demons had entered the mind of Bhīṣma, otherwise how could such a great devotee attack the Lord. Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura explains that this is not so. It is not that a demon had entered the mind of Bhīṣma. When a lover comes to her beloved, she cuts him with her teeth and nails. The beloved enjoys this and embraces his lover, kissing and trying to enjoy with her. Seeing Kṛṣṇa before him, Bhīṣma-pitāmaha began to act like a lover does with her beloved, shooting arrows that pierced His flesh and made His blood flow so that He would come to meet with him.

Because Bhīṣma is full of God’s śakti, he had great love for the lord.

Duryodhana said, “Bhīṣma is on our side. He is the greatest warrior for he has always preserved his brahma-śakti. The Pāṇḍavas are cowards. They don’t have any potency.”

However, what the Pāṇḍavas possess is not with any others. Why do people become celibate? Why do people become brahmacārīs? Why don’t they become householders? In householder life, the brahma-śakti given by God through the rays of the sun and the five elements; earth, water, fire, air, and ether, is all gradually lost. Then where can love for God come to them from? They have no śakti. Then how can they have love for śaktiman Kṛṣṇa? It is not possible.

Enjoyers always want to increase the population of their own party or group. Those who have no love for God always remember, or cause others to remember their own material relatives. The devotees however, always remember God, His names and His associates.

Duryodhana was very clever, “Ācārya, best of the Brāhmaṇas Droṇācārya, do not fear. Your son Aśvatthāmā is also on our side. He is very powerful.”

The mentality of enjoyers is always confined to their own family and relatives. They cannot think beyond that.

Often it is seen when people come for bhajana, if they see any of their relatives like their father, brother or in-laws they become very happy. Yet they won’t speak with sādhus. They won’t take the name of sādhus, or make any relationship with them. They stay physically in the proximity of sādhus and eat what is given by sādhus, but their conception and consciousness stays present with their blood relations.

Duryodhana’s relationship is like that. Krpacarya, as the uncle of Aśvatthāmā is trying to get Droṇācārya to remember these kinds of relationships.

Duryodhana says, “There are many heroes here who are ready to give up their lives for me.” What Duryodhana is really saying is, “They are ready to help me in my enjoyment. I did not come here to fight only with faith in you. Even if you leave me and don’t fight on my behalf then I have many other supporters.”

Now he is showing the nature of enjoyers.

Who has the potency of God present within them? Bhīṣma-pitāmaha is a lifelong brahmacārī, the conqueror of three worlds. He is full of brahma-śakti.

“On the enemy side, the greatest hero is Bhīma,” says Duryadhana. “He is a glut, and an enjoyer.”

Those who are antagonistic towards God criticize His devotees. They do not have the ability to see good qualities in anyone who is not favorable to their enjoyment.

That foolish person is himself worthy of criticism. One who is a criticizer of others is actually the greatest of cowards. Such a person can never help anyone. He does not have any ability, so all he can do is insult or criticize others. Duryodhana is revealing all this by his own activities.