The Pandava army
The news reached Duryodhana. At once he called together his advisers. Bhishma, Drona,
Kripa, Karna, Shakuni, Dusshasana - they were all there. And Duryodhana sought their
Dronacharya offered sound advice:
"Duryodhana, the Pandavas are mighty heroes. And they have a huge army. And, most
important of all, they enjoy God's grace. Shri Krishna himself is with them. They are dear
to him as life. We have Bhishmacharya to shield us. He is elder to all of us. Make him the
Duryodhana bowed to his advice and made Bhishma the commander of his army. And very
proudly he declared, "Our army is bigger than that of the Pandavas, and Bhishma is
its commander. Now it will not be afraid of even Lord Parameshwara. Now Pandavas have to
go back to the forest; who on their side can equal him?"
Karna was enraged when he heard these words. He said, "My Lord, you have gone mad.
Bhishma may be able to teach Dharma. But his skin is hanging loose. He has lost his teeth.
His moustache is white. His head is shaking, his shoulders droop and his back is bent.
Will not the world laugh at us if he is our commander? If you want poor Bhishma to be
killed, why throw him to the enemies? The mere twang of my bow will be enough."
Drona rose in anger and shouted at Kama:
"Karna, put an end to your raving. Do not blabber just because of your young
blood. Do you imagine you are the equal of Bhishmacharya? He is the patriarch of the Kuru
dynasty. He is elder to all of us."
Bhishma stood up. He spoke with great majesty and took an oath: "If I tail to make
ten thousand heads roll before sunset every day, I am not Bhishma. If I do not force Sri
Krishna to take up Sudarshana, his mighty wheel, I am not Bhishma. If I do not beat back
the chariot of Arjuna, with Lord Hanuman in the flag, I am not Bhishma.
What does it matter if
The people assembled cried, tory to Bhishmacharya!"
But Kama withdrew saying that he would not fight as long as Bhishma was alive.