Bhagavad Gita: Chapter 1, Verse 10

अपर्याप्तं तदस्माकं बलं भीष्माभिरक्षितम् |

पर्याप्तं त्विदमेतेषां बलं भीमाभिरक्षितम् || 10||

aparyāptaṁ tadasmākaṁ balaṁ bhīṣhmābhirakṣhitam
paryāptaṁ tvidameteṣhāṁ balaṁ bhīmābhirakṣhitam

aparyāptamunlimited; tatthat; asmākamours; balamstrength; bhīṣhmaby Grandsire Bheeshma; abhirakṣhitamsafely marshalled; paryāptamlimited; tubut; idamthis; eteṣhāmtheir; balamstrength; bhīmaBheem; abhirakṣhitamcarefully marshalled


BG 1.10: The strength of our army is unlimited and we are safely marshalled by Grandsire Bheeshma, while the strength of the Pandava army, carefully marshalled by Bheem, is limited.


Duryodhan’s words of self-aggrandizement were the typical utterances of a vainglorious person. When their end draws near, instead of making a humble evaluation of the situation, self-aggrandizing people egotistically indulge in vainglory. This tragic irony of fate was reflected in the statement of Duryodhan, when he said that their strength, secured by Bheeshma, was unlimited.

Grandsire Bheeshma was the commander-in-chief of the Kaurava army. He had received the boon that he could choose his time of death, which made him practically invincible. On the Pandavas’ side, the army was secured by Bheem, who was Duryodhan’s sworn enemy. Thus, Duryodhan compared the strength of Bheeshma with the might of Bheem. Bheeshma, however, was the uncle of both the Kauravas and the Pandavas, and he was genuinely concerned about the welfare of both sides. His compassion for the Pandavas would prevent him from fighting the war wholeheartedly. Also, he knew that in this holy war, where Lord Krishna himself was present, no power on earth could make the side of adharma win. And so, in order to honor his ethical commitment to the subjects of Hastinapur and the Kauravas, he chose to fight against the Pandavas. This decision underscores the enigmatic character of Bheeshma’s personality.