The commander-in-chief of the Kaurava army was Grandsire Bheeshma, a remarkable warrior blessed with an extraordinary boon that allowed him to choose the time of his own death, rendering him nearly invincible. Duryodhana believed that under Bheeshma’s leadership, their army was invulnerable. On the other hand, the Pandava army was entrusted to Bheema, Duryodhana’s sworn enemy. Consequently, Duryodhana began to draw comparisons between the strengths of his Grandfather Bheeshma and his cousin Bheema.
As the proverb wisely states, “Vinaash kale vipreet buddhi,” meaning that when one’s end is approaching, ego often leads to boastfulness rather than a humble evaluation of the situation. This tragic twist of fate is exemplified in Duryodhana’s self-aggrandizing belief that their army, under Bheeshma’s protection, was limitless in its might.
It is essential to remember that both the Kauravas and Pandavas were Bheeshma’s grandchildren. As the eldest living member of the Kuru family, he had genuine concern for their well-being. Bheeshma’s heart held compassion for the Pandavas, yet his unwavering commitment to the ethical throne of Hastinapur and its subjects bound him. Consequently, albeit reluctantly, he assumed command of the Kaurava army against the Pandavas.
Bheeshma was well aware that this holy war involved not only the world’s greatest warriors but also the Supreme Lord Krishna Himself, who stood with the Pandavas. This alignment with Dharma gave the Pandavas a divine advantage, making it evident that no force in the entire universe could tip the scales in favor of Adharma.
Bheeshma had vowed to protect the kingdom of Hastinapur and its subjects, and he bore the responsibility to fulfill that pledge. Despite his awareness of the Kauravas’ wrongdoings, Bheeshma’s decision to lead the Kaurava army underscored the strength of his character and the enigmatic nature of his personality.