Analysis of Mahabharatha – part 2

It was really heartening to know the interest that Mahabharatha and its inherent meanings generated in many of my friends. So here comes the much awaited 2nd part of the same. In the last write-up, I had very briefly mentioned some points about various characters and some psychological insights into them.
Today being Janmaashtami, I began reading the Bhagavad Gita, and one character that really intrigued me was that of Duryodhana. Duryodhana represents the product of the animosity and vice that was vested in many Kauravas. And so great was their viciousness that even the great stalwarts like Bheeshma and Drona failed to convert him. And yet, we cannot write-off Duryodhana as being an entire novice. Let us first look at his birth!
Gandhari wanted to be the first one to give birth to a child. Though she and kunti both became pregnant at the same time, it was Kunti who bore Yudhisthira first! Overcome by jealousy, she destroyed her womb! The zygote was broken into a 101 pieces, which Shri Veda Vyasa is said to have nurtured in pots and eventually gave rise to the 100 kaurava princes and 1 princess. Thus, the factor of jealousy was instilled in him right at his birth, through his mother!
His father, Dhritaraashtra (as the name itself signifies) was very attached to the throne, and was insecure about it. Insecurity only fuels the jealousy, and to air this fire of hatred, there was the ever present Shakuni! He formed the much needed covering that was necessary to protect this fire from the counter efforts of Bheeshma/Drona/kRupa and Lord Krishna himself.
As we know, the evil succeeded in executing this plan of “self-destruction”, eventually resulting in the biggest war ever fought – the Mahabharatha.
It is in this war though, that the real psychology of Duryodhana is beautifully put forth by the master writer, Maharshi Veda Vyasa. In the first canto of Bhagavad Gita, Duryodhana is seen approaching Drona and debriefing him about the armies on both sides. The surprising fact being that, it was Bheeshma who was the commander of the army! Then pray why should the prince approach another warrior and brief him about the army instead of the Commander!!!!
This belies the inherent disbelief he had in the faithfulness of the grand old man of Hastinapura! Duryodhana never believed anyone amongst his circle! He knew that even Drona for that matter was inherently with the Pandavas. Though his trust in Karna was great, Karna had vowed that he would not fight the battle as long as Bheeshma was on field! So Karna was just an appendix! Thus when Duryodhana stood arrayed in the battle, he knew that for all practical purposes, he was there all alone!
It is this realization that prompts him to say “aparyaaptam idam balam bheeshmaabhirakShitam” – this power of ours being protected by Bheeshma is inadequate! And yet he realized that the power being protected by Bheema (though Drushtadyumna was their commander in chief) was adequate to vanquish the vast army of the Kauravas – paryaaptamtwidamEtEShaam balam bheemaabhirakShitam“.
Thus one can but see that Duryodhana was well aware of the futility of this war, and yet he went ahead with it! The question being, why?! Was a person so well aware of his powers, yet so foolish enough to go to an absolutely vain war! He was sure of his defeat even before the war started! Here we see the big picture of ego! Solely it was Ego which drove Duryodhana to war. Ego rises only when a person is insecure! And Duryodhan was an epitome of insecurity, and thus he had an even huge ego! An ego that was bruised time and again! To Duryodhana, probably this war was the means to end all the inherent suffering he was undergoing! If he won, he could revel in the riches. If he lost, well it would put to end, once for all the bickerings of his mind for power!
It is such complexities that makes Duryodhana’s character really worthy of studying.

2 comments

    • mounibaba on August 28, 2005 at 11:53 PM

    maybe duryodhana was trying to live upto the expectations of his parents…

    more later

    • Praveen on August 29, 2005 at 1:44 PM

    Well.. Duryodhana hardly bore any respect for his parents! Towards the end, Dhritarashtra and Gandhari themselves were against the war! Yet, he decided to go on with it.

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