dhristvaa tu paandavaanikam vyoodham duryodhanstadaa |
aachaaryamupasangmaya raaja vachanambraveet || 2 ||
Observing that the Pandava army was organized into a military formation, Duryodhana approached his teacher Drona and spoke these words.
tadaa: during that time
vyoodham: organized into a military formation
paandavaanikam: the Pandava army
aachaaryam: Dronacharya – teacher Drona
Let’s look at the character that is introduced in this verse – Duryodhana. Duryodhana was the son of Dhritrashtra, and leader of the Kaurava army in the Mahabharata war. He was a skilled and strong warrior, almost equal in prowess to Bhima, the strongest warrior in the Pandava army.
Since childhood, Duryodhana grew up with the idea that he was the rightful heir to the throne and not Yudhishtira, who was the eldest brother of the Pandavas. Going back to the theme of the previous verse which is that of attachment, he was extremely attached to the throne. But because he perceived the Pandavas as an obstacle to the throne, which was something that he was extremely attached to, he developed an aversion towards them.
Think of aversion or in other words, hatred, as the polar opposite of attachment. But interestingly enough, it is born out of attachment itself. For example, we saw that Mr. X from the last post was extremely attached to his car, and saw that someone had made a large dent in it. What feeling do you think Mr. X had for the person who caused that dent? That is aversion. Aversion is usually caused when we perceive a person, situation or object as an obstacle between us and the object of our attachment. And aversion, just like attachment, strengthens the ego. Examples are people (I hate my boss), objects (I hate my old TV), positions (I hate anyone who believes in communism) or situations (I hate my job).
Now, why did Duryodhana approach his teacher Drona? He saw the military formation of the Pandavas and began to get scared. As is the case, most people run to someone superior when they get scared, so he approached his teacher for counsel.
Drona was a teacher to both the Pandavas and Kauravas, and had equal affinity to both of them. And unlike some of the other senior warriors, Drona was not a blood relation to the Kauravas. Duryodhana also sensed that he needs to check in with Drona to understand his state of mind, because he needed Drona’s prowess to win this war.
There is an interesting leadership lesson here. If you are leading a team – in a business, political or any context – your success is not guaranteed unless everyone buys into a common vision that you as a leader have articulated.
1. There is a redundancy here in the phrase “vachanambraveet”. Usually if you write “say”, most people know that you mean “say words”. But here the word “abraveet” is used in addition to “vachana”. This could mean that the words that Duryodhana is going to speak in the next verse are not ordinary words, they could perhaps be very negative or hurtful.
2. Sanjay uses the word “raaja” or king when referring to Duryodhana. Perhaps he is hinting here that the root cause of this war is over the question of who the legitimate king is.