Gita 01.04 explained
Transcript of Bhakti-Shastri class on this verse by Chaitanya Charan
atra śūrā maheṣv-āsā
yuyudhāno virāṭaś ca
drupadaś ca mahā-rathaḥ
Word for word:
atra — here; śūrāḥ — heroes; mahā–iṣu–āsāḥ — mighty bowmen; bhīma–arjuna — to Bhīma and Arjuna; samāḥ — equal; yudhi — in the ﬁght; yuyudhānaḥ — Yuyudhāna; virāṭaḥ — Virāṭa; ca — also; drupadaḥ — Drupada; ca — also; mahā–rathaḥ — great ﬁghter.
Here in this army are many heroic bowmen equal in ﬁghting to Bhīma and Arjuna: great ﬁghters like Yuyudhāna, Virāṭa and Drupada.
atra means here, śūrā maheṣv-āsā, mahā–iṣu–āsāḥ there are many formidable and they are like bhīmārjuna -samā yudhi -> like Bhima and Arjuna. There are many like that yuyudhāno virāṭaś ca, drupadaś ca mahā-rathaḥ -> So Virata and drupada were elderly but they are also formidable warrior, so he is enlisting various warrior with whom he has to content
So first army is arranged formidably and in this formidable army there are many formidable warrior so that makes things even more difficult
Duryodhana is describing what he is seeing on the opponent side, 2nd verse it is described how he has approached Dronacharya, 3rd verse described how Dristadumna has arranged armies expertly formidably Dhimata, and now after giving general assessment of the third verse now he is making specific statement about different warriors.
atra śūrā, here there are different sura different heroes
they are extremely powerful there are bow fighters. In Kurukshetra war bows and arrows were the primary method of fighting even Duryodhana and Bhima before final war with maces they fought on several occasions with bow and arrows. So maheṣv-āsā these are great archers. Javelins, maces and othe weapons were also used but primarily it was bows and arrows, so great archers are generic reference to great warriors,
so yudhi, there are warriors like Bhima and Arjuna.
Now Duryodhana knows that greates obstacles for him are Bhima and Arjuna although Yudhisthir is the eldest, his military might does not match with his two younger brothers. And now relatively speaking if you look at the subsequent war that took place, Arjuna fought much more destructively and Arjuna killed more Maharathas than Bhima. Of course Bhima killed all 100 Kauravas. That was the vow he has taken and other Pandavas warrior helped him by not killing other warrior even if they came in front of them. Bhima was formidable warrior. Arjuna was most formidable he went to heaven and acquired celestial weapons, but in Duryodhana’s mind Bhima is formidable because he is the person who has vowed to kill Duryodhana and he knows that Bhima is exteemely angry furious full of rath and he has to be overcome, so ofcourse Bhima is also elder so bhīmārjuna-samā yudhi. So he refers to Bhima and said there are many warriors equal to them. At one level there is no one equal to Arjuna and Bhima (in mace fighting except Duyodhana) so when actually there is no one equal then why he is saying there are many warriors like that? Actually this is not absolute comparisons it is relative comparison to say that they are all great warriors now Arjuna was the greatest among the great archers. In the category of great
yuyudhāno virāṭaś ca
yuyudhān refers to Styaki, In vedic times warriors had different names, Arjuna himself had ten names. Satyaki was one of formidable warrior and one of the days he checked Duryodhana and almost defeated him, but he did not killed him because he was conscious of Bhima’s vow, the greatest war he has done on 14th day when he was told to assist Arjuna when Arjuna vows to kill Jayadrata, he was also student of Dronacharya, he has also learned further things from Arjuna so he considered himself a student of Arjuna also so he was facing responsibility that my teacher is facing a grave responsibility a grave challenge and I must help. So on 14th day he helped Arjuna when he was targeting Jayadharatha, Satyaki was also able to penetrate along with Arjuna the military phlanxes and since Arujuna was attacked from all side Satyaki helped in protecting Arjuns as he engaged other warriors and this helped Arjuna progress further towards his target. He killed Bhurishrava who at one time got hold of him and dragged and kicked him then he killed Bhurishrava’s father Somadutta and the same day Bhima killed Somadutta fatherBhalica these were all maharathas. This was sakyaki’s greatest accomplishment.
Now apart from that,
yuyudhāno virāṭaś ca
Virata was also commander of one akchohani, there were 7 ackchohani under Dristadumna and each ackchohani were having one commander like Drupada, Shikhandi, Bhima. Arjuna was not commander of any unit but he will fight freely at all places and he would planning and executing those strategies with Dristadumna. Virata and Drupada were from older generation. Both of them were killed by Drona who was accques by Duryodhan that he is not fighting whole heartedly. Which makes him put full energy to fight with furiousness.
So here Duryodhana is naming five warrior actually naming three and comparing them with two others. Here Duryodhana is emphasizing gravity of the situation which Drona knows but Duryodhana is repeating to make Drona serious.
End of transcription.