Thursday, December 19, 2013







Aparyaaptham tadasmaakam balam Bheeshmaabhirakshitam  |

paryaaptham tvidam yeteshaam balam Bheemaabhirakshitam  ||

Meaning :

"Boundary-less or Limitless is our army which is under the protection of Bheeshma; while very limited is the army of theirs, under the protection of Bheema."

Here, Duryodhana is expressing his satisfaction with the sheer size of his army, which consists of 11 Akshouhinis and expresses contempt for the smaller size of the Pandavas' army, which consists of 7 Akshouhinis. He is proud that his own army is under the protection of the Great Bheeshma; while that of the Pandavas is only under the protection of Bheema.

Some explanation is needed here about the size of the armies facing each other  in the Maha Bharat battle field.

Akshauhini means - a battle formation which consists of 21,870 chariots; 21,870 elephants; 65,610 cavalry and 109,350 infantry, as described in Maha Bharat (Adi Parva 2.15-23). The ratio is 1 chariot : 1 elephant : 3 cavalry : 5 infantry soldiers. Chariot will have a charioteer who handles the horses drawing the chariot and a fighter standing  in the chariot; Elephant includes the fighter on the elephant; Horse includes its rider.

Altogether 2,18,700 humans (and 87,480 animals) together form an Akshouhini Army Unit.

In each of the above number groups (21870, 65,610, 109350, 218700), the individual digits add up to 18.

In Mahabharata war - 18 Akshouhinis participated and were almost totally destroyed by the time, the war ended. Therefore, 39,36,600 humans and 15,74,640 animals were killed.

Mahabharata Epic itself - has 18 chapters - each called a "PARVA".

The Mahabharat War also was fought for 18 Days.

Bhagavad Gita also has eighteen chapters - each called a "YOGA"

The Great Puranas are also ashtaadasa or 18 in number.  Thus, we find, Veda Vyaasa attached great importance to the number 18 in all his works.

By any standard, 11 Akshouhinis of Duryodhana were mammoth in size and could be called aparyaaptham , or boundary-less. Comparatively, Pandavas' army of 7 akshouhinis is much less, though, by itself, it is of huge size.

In this sloka, Duryodhana looked at the Bigger size of his own army and called it boundaryless and under the protection of Bheeshma. In comparison, the army under the protection of Bheema looked very less and weak to the eyes of Duryodhana.

Therefore, he was much satisfied with the sheer size of his army - and of its commander in chief Bheesma, who, everyone knew to be superior to Bhima.


Ayeneshu cha sarveshu yathaa baagamavasthitaah   |

Bheeshmamevaabhi rakshanthu  bhavanthah sarve yeva hi   || 

Meaning :

"All of you assume your respective positions in your respective army units , for protecting Bheeshma especially, by all means."

Having thus described the warriors on both sides and expressing his satisfaction with the huge size of his own army, Duryodhana now requested the Acharya Drona and all others to take their respective Positions along with their armies - so that their commander in chief Bheesma is adequately protected by them, from attack by the Pandavas and their army.

Duryodhana was now asking the warriors in his army to protect Bheeshma. If Bheeshma was well, he would be able to protect the Kaurava army with all his might.This was of course standard practice; that some warriors should be guarding against the possibility of the rival army commanders attacking their chief especially and killing or capturing him. Such a move by rival army can even end the war - even if the rest of the army is intact.


Tasya samjanayan harsham kuruvriddhah Pitaamahah   |

Simhanaadham vinadyocchaih sankham dadhmou prataapavaan  || 

Meaning :

" To make Duryodhana happy, the Oldest of the Kurus , the mighty Grand Sire of Kouravas, Bheeshma,  roared loudly like a Lion and blew his Conch "

Bheeshma is the Commander-in-chief of the Kaurava Army. The war is just about to begin. Therefore, he wanted to enthuse King Duryodhana and also the rest of the Army. It is for the commander in chief of the Army  to embolden other warriors and army-men and make them battle-ready. Towards this end, Bheeshma now roared like a lion and also blew his Conch.

Each Great warrior had a personal Conch, which he used to blow at the start of the battle and also at times of any great win in the battle, to embolden their own side and send fear into the hearts of the opposite side.

.....Will Continue.

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