The Pandava Generalissimo
GOVINDA reached Upaplavya and
told the Pandavas what had happened in Hastinapura.
"I spoke urging what was
right and what was also good for them. But, it was all in vain. There is now no
way out except the fourth, that is, the last alternative of war. The foolish
Duryodhana would not listen to the advice tendered to him by the elders in the
assembly. We must now prepare for war without delay. Kurukshetra is waiting for
"There is no longer any hope
of peace," said Yudhishthira, addressing his brothers, and issued orders
for marshalling their forces in, battle array.
They formed the army in seven
divisions and appointed Drupada, Virata, Dhrishtadyumna, Sikhandin, Satyaki,
Chekitana and Bhimasena at the head of each division. They then considered who
should be appointed Generalissimo.
Addressing Sahadeva, Yudhishthira
said: "We should select one of these seven to be Supreme Commander. He
should be one capable of successfully facing the great Bhishma, who can burn
enemies to ashes. He should be one who knows how to dispose his forces as
circumstances require from time to time. Who do you think is most fitted for
In the olden days, it was the
practice to ascertain the views of younger people first, before consulting
elders. This instilled enthusiasm and self-confidence in the younger folk. If
the elders were consulted first, it would not be possible for others to speak
with freedom, and even honest differences of opinion might savor of disrespect.
"Let us take as our Supreme
Commander the king of Virata who helped us when we lived in disguise and with
whose support we now demand our share of the kingdom," replied Sahadeva.
"It seems to me best to make
Drupada the Generalissimo, for, in point of age, wisdom, courage, birth and
strength, he is supreme," said Nakula.
"Drupada, the father of
Draupadi, has learnt archery from Bharadwaja, and has for long been waiting for
an encounter with Drona. He is much respected by all kings, and is supporting
us, as if we were his own sons. He should lead our army against Drona and
Dharmaputra then asked Dhananjaya
for his opinion. "I think, Dhrishtadyumna should be our chief in the
battlefield. The hero who has his senses under control and who has been born to
bring about Drona's end. Dhrishtadyumna alone can withstand the arrows of
Bhishma whose skill in archery made even the great Parasurama hold back. He is
the only man fitted to be our commander. I can think of no one else,"
Bhimasena said: "O king,
what Arjuna says is true, but the rishis and elders have said that Sikhandin
has come into the world to kill Bhishma. My inclination would be to give the
command to Sikhandin whose radiant face is like that of Parasurama. I do not
think any one else can defeat Bhishma."
Yudhishthira finally asked Kesava
for his opinion. "The warriors mentioned are, each one of them, worthy of
selection," said Krishna. "Any one of them would fill the Kauravas
with fear. All things considered, I would endorse Arjuna's choice. Anoint
Dhrishtadyumna, therefore, as your Supreme Commander."
Drupada's illustrious son, who led Draupadi at the swayamvara and gave her away
to Arjuna, who for thirteen long years was brooding over the insult that his
sister had to suffer in Duryodhana's court, and who was waiting for an
opportunity to avenge the wrong, was anointed Supreme Commander of the Pandava
The lion-roar of warriors, the
blowing of conchs and shells and the trumpeting of elephants rent the air, With
warlike cheers which made the sky ring, the Pandava army entered Kurukshetra in