Pradyumna: “Translation: There are the mighty Yudhāmanyu, the very powerful Uttamaujā, the son of Subhadrā and the sons of Draupadī. All these warriors are great chariot fighters.”
asmākaṁ tu viśiṣṭā ye
tān nibodha dvijottama
nāyakā mama sainyasya
saṁjñārthaṁ tān bravīmi te
Translation: O best of the brāhmaṇas, for your information, let me tell you about the captains who are especially qualified to lead my military force.”
Prabhupāda: So formerly, five thousand years ago, the same system, military—ordinary soldiers, then the captain, then the commander, the commander-in-chief—as there are gradations in the modern age, the same thing was there. But mahā-ratha, they had good qualification. Mahā-ratha means alone he could fight with many other charioteers. They are called ati-ratha, mahā-ratha. There are different grades of fighters.
So, so far Pāṇḍavas are concerned, their son. Saubhadra… Saubhadra means Abhimanyu, Subhadrā’s son. Because he was Subhadrā’s son, his name was Saubhadra. Draupadī’s sons, they are called Draupadeya. In Sanskrit, just like bhaginī, sister, bhaginī, her son is called bhāgineya, nephews. So there is link. As soon as we speak Saubhadra, that means Subhadrā’s son. Subhadrā’s son, he was only sixteen years old at that time. He was married with Uttarā, the daughter of Mahārāja Virāṭa. So they were all mahā-rathas, ordinary, not ordinary fighters. This Abhimanyu was killed by conspiracy by seven commander-in-chief. Bhīṣma, Karṇa, Droṇācārya, Aśvatthāmā, they all surrounded him, and they did not allow him to come out. They were very experienced commanders. So this is kṣatriya spirit. He was simply a boy, sixteen years old and he had to be killed by the combined efforts of very, very, big commander-in-chiefs. He was so great fighter, Abhimanyu. Abhimanyu-vāda (?). So Saubhadra, Draupadī… Similarly, Draupadī’s sons also there. Sarva eva mahā-rathāḥ [Bg. 1.6]. Mahā-ratha means one who could fight with one thousand chariots on the other side. They were called mahā-rathāḥ.
Then Duryodhana, first of all he pointed out the military strength of the opposite side. This is intelligence. One should take calculation of the opposing elements or the enemy’s side. In fighting the first thing is to take estimation of the enemy’s side, how much they are strong, how they have arranged. Then one should calculate how to counteract, how to fight with them, this is intelligence. Without taking any calculation of the other side, if you are not prepared, then how you can become victorious? This is sane proposal, that is, upayan cintayet prajño apayan ca cintayet.. A prajña, an intelligent man, not only think of the bright side on this business, or this fight, or this any…, so many things we have to deal with. Simply we should not calculate the brighter side. There is darker side also. We should always think, “If there is some thief, if there is some rogue, they cheat us, then what precaution I am going to take?” This is intelligence. If I simply calculate that “In this business I will make so much profit.” In the meantime, somebody comes and cheats me and go away, then… Therefore upayan cintayet prajña apayan ca cintayet. Darker side also should be thought of. That is intelligence. Just like they are doing. After calculating the darker side—enemy means darker side—they can defeat me at any moment. That is darker side.
So after calculating their strength, then Duryodhana is speaking about his own strength, asmākaṁ tu viśiṣṭā ye. Viśiṣṭā, not to speak of the ordinary soldiers. They’re viśiṣṭā. Viśiṣṭā means who are specifically to be mentioned, high officers. Asmākaṁ tu viśiṣṭā ye tān nibodha dvijottama [Bg. 1.7]. He was in commander-in-chief. For eighteen days there was fight, and one after another, a commander-in-chief was killed. And sixty-four crores of men were killed in the Battlefield of Kurukṣetra. And the battle was finished within eighteen days, not lingering for some years. No. Fight to the best capacity and finish the business.
So everyone, both the sides, Pāṇḍava’s side and Kaurava’s side, all were killed. This Saubhadra, Draupadeya, everyone was killed. And the other side also. Only the five brothers they remained, and the one grandchild who was in the womb of the mother, he remained. Otherwise everyone was finished within eighteen days. Such a great fight it was. And people from all parts of the world, they joined the Battle of Kurukṣetra.
Somebody was criticizing me that “Swamiji, you are introducing this Hare Kṛṣṇa movement. People are becoming coward. They simply chant Hare Kṛṣṇa.” So I replied that “You will see the power of Hare Kṛṣṇa movement in due course of time.” He required… Because there were two battles in India: the battle between Rāvaṇa and Rāma, Rāma-Rāvaṇa, the battle of Rāmāyaṇa; and another battle was Battle of Kurukṣetra. And in these two battles the hero was Vaiṣṇava and Viṣṇu. In the Rāma-Rāvaṇa battle Lord Rāmacandra was there and His devotee Hanumān, Vajrāṅgajī. Similarly, in the Battlefield of Kurukṣetra, Kṛṣṇa was there and His devotee Arjuna was there. So Vaiṣṇavas, they do not simply chant Hare Kṛṣṇa. If there is need, they can fight under the guidance of Viṣṇu and become victorious. A Vaiṣṇava’s one qualification is… Out of the twenty-six qualifications, one qualification is dakṣa, expert. If there is need of fighting, they can fight like very expert. That is also needed. Kṛṣṇa consciousness does not mean one-sided. Kṛṣṇa as all-pervading, the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement also should be all-pervading. It should touch everything, even politics, sociology, everything, if required. That is the aim. Because Kṛṣṇa’s mission is: yadā yadā hi dharmasya glānir bhavati bhārata [Bg. 4.7], paritrāṇāya sādhūnāṁ vināśāya ca duṣkṛtām [Bg. 4.8]. There is two mission: not only to give protection to the devotees, but also to kill the demons. To kill the demons, that is one side. So the devotees of Kṛṣṇa should be trained up both ways: not only to give protection to the devotees, to give them encouragement, but if need be, they should be prepared to kill the demons. That is Vaiṣṇavism. It is not cowardism. It is not cowardism. When need be. Generally, a Vaiṣṇava is non-violent. Just like Arjuna. In the beginning he was non-violent, Vaiṣṇava. He said, “Kṛṣṇa, what is the use of this fighting? Let them enjoy.” So by nature he was non-violent, but he was induced by Kṛṣṇa to become violent, that “Your non-violence will not help. You become violent. You kill them. I want.” So if Kṛṣṇa wants we shall be prepared to become violent also. And Kṛṣṇa, that is open secret, that paritrāṇāya sādhūnāṁ vināśāya ca duṣkṛtām [Bg. 4.8]. Two business of Kṛṣṇa, two side. So those who are devotees of Kṛṣṇa, they should be trained up both ways, they should be prepared. But generally, there is no question of becoming violent, unnecessarily. As the modern politicians, unnecessarily they declare war, a Vaiṣṇava does not do so. No, unnecessarily, there is no need of war. When it was completely impossible to settle up the things between the Pāṇḍavas and the Kauravas, then Kṛṣṇa said, “All right, then there must be fight.” When Duryodhana declined to spare even a portion of land holding the sūcyagra, the point of a needle… he refused that “I cannot spare even so much land which can hold the point of a needle.” Then the war was declared. There is no question of settlement. Otherwise, Kṛṣṇa requested that “These five Pāṇḍavas, they are kṣatriyas. They cannot become merchant or brāhmaṇa. Brāhmaṇa’s profession is paṭhana pāṭhana yajana yājana dāna pratigrahaḥ. Brāhmaṇa can take charity from others. A sannyāsī can take charity from others. Not a kṣatriya or a gṛhastha. No. That is not allowed. “So they are kṣatriyas; they cannot take the professions of a brāhmaṇa, neither they can take the profession of a mercantile man, business man. They must have some land so that rule over, take taxation. And that is their living means.
So spare only five villages to these five brothers and settle up.” But Duryodhana replied, “No, Sir. What to speak of five villages, we cannot spare even so much land which can hold the point of needle.” Then the war was declared. So Vaiṣṇava, they are non-violent. But if need be, they can become violent for Kṛṣṇa’s sake. This is the Battle of Kurukṣetra. So any more? Or end here? All right, end here. Chant Hare Kṛṣṇa. (End)