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Army Strength Limited or Unlimited

Post Author: Swami Gaurangapada    Date: 2006-01-14 06:54:29
Title: Army Strength Limited or Unlimited
User: Swami Gaurangapada    Date: 2007-03-15 06:01:51

Nityananda! Gauranga! Hare Krishna! All Glories to ALL Vaisnavas! Dearest Maharaja and dearest devotees?Please, accept my humble obeisances? In the Bhagavat Gita Chapter1 verse10 Duryodhana is describing to his military teacher Dronacarya about the strength of his army, after having described in the previous verses about the strength of the opposing army of the Pandavas. It is interesting to see how Srila Prabhupada and Srila Visvanata Cakravarti come to a different translation which leads to a different understanding of this verse.

Translation Srila Prabhupada:Our strength is immeasurable, and we are perfectly protected by Grandfather Bhisma, whereas the strength of the Pandavas, carefully protected by Bhima, is limited.

Translation Srila Visvanata Cakravarti:Our forces, though protected by Bhisma, are not sufficient. On the other hand the army of the Pandavas, under careful protection of Bhima, is fully competent. The difference in translation is mostly based on the words aparyaptam and paryaptam: The word aparyaptam is translated by Srila Prabhupada as immeasurable while Srila Visvanata Cakravarti translates this word as incompetent or insufficient.

The word paryaptam is translated by Srila Prabhupada with limited while Srila Visvanata Cakravarti translates this word with competent. I looked both words up in different Sanskrit dictionaries and one dictionary goes with Srila Prabhupada, and another with Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti. I know that a word in Vedic Sanskrit can have many meanings and is mostly determined by the context in which it is used. However, in this case the different translations lead to different conclusions: Srila Visvanata Cakravarti says that the strength of Duryodhana's force is insufficient through the fact that Grandfather Bhisma favors both sides (because of his affection for the Pandavas). Because of this Duryodhana feels apprehensive. Srila Prabhupada says that Duryodhana's conclusion is that the strength of his army is immeasurable and he feels confident that he will be victorious because of the presence of grandfather Bhisma who is the most superior general.

In Srila Visvanata Cakravarti's interpretation Duryodhana was from the very beginning of the war aware that he and his army would be defeated in the great Mahabharata war. In Srila Prabhupada's interpretation Duryodhana was in total illusion about the outcome of the war and firmly believed that he would be victorious. Maharaja, I am fascinated by the fact that these differences are there, the different interpretations make understanding the ways of Krishna so variegated and colorful. Both conclusions are perceived with unalloyed love for Krishna and both are expressions of the Divine Truth. Who can say that one conclusion is better than the other? Why not glorify the different angels of perception as complementary to the One Who is above all mondane contradictions? O, Nityananda, although your ways are inconceivable you allow this fallen soul to glimpse into your Eternal Glories!

Your eternal servant, Hadai Nityananda dasa

Answer by Swami Gaurangapada:

Nityananda! Gauranga! Hare Krishna! The answer is simple. Duryodhana's army was materially aparyaptam meaning materially unlimited and gigantic compared to Shrila Bhima's army. Shrila Prabhupada gives this meaning. On the same hand, because Lord Krishna was on the side of the Pandavas, Duryodhana's army was spiritually paryaptam i.e. limited in comparison to the unlimited spiritual prowess of the Supreme Personality of Godhead Lord Krishna and His devotees, the Pandavas. So Shrila Vishvanatha Chakravarti Thakura gives that meaning. So both Acharyas are right in their own respects as always.

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