Bhagavad Gita 1.8 Explained: Duryodhana’s Roll Call of Warriors

भवान्भीष्मश्च कर्णश्च कृपश्च समितिञ्जयः।
अश्वत्थामा विकर्णश्च सौमदत्तिस्तथैव च।

श्रीमद्भगवद्गीता 1.8

Bhavan Bhishmashcha Karnashcha Kripashcha Samitinjayah
Ashvatthama Vikarnashcha Saumadattistathaiva cha

Shrimad Bhagavad Gita 1.8

“You come first; then Bheeshma, Karna, Kripa, great soldiers; Ashwaththama, Vikarna and the son of Somadhatta;”

English Translation of BG 1.8

In this verse, Duryodhana continues to enumerate the key warriors on his side, including himself, Bheeshma, Karna, Kripa, Ashwatthama, Vikarna, and Bhurishrava, emphasizing their unmatched prowess and valor in the field of battle.

Insights into BG 1.8: Reflecting on Swami Ramsukhdas Ji’s Divine Commentary

This particular verse captures Duryodhana’s strategy of psychological warfare, where he seeks to instill confidence in his own ranks while subtly attempting to intimidate the opposition. By listing the formidable warriors on his side, Duryodhana not only highlights their individual capabilities but also seeks to project an image of invincibility around his army.

The Essence of True Valor

Duryodhana’s mention of these warriors serves as a reminder of the diverse sources of strength in life. Each warrior represents different virtues: loyalty, bravery, expertise in warfare, and dedication. However, the narrative also subtly hints at the limitations of physical might and the importance of moral and spiritual strength. True valor is not just about prowess in battle but also encompasses righteousness, selflessness, and the pursuit of dharma.

The Role of Individual Qualities in Collective Success

The enumeration of these warriors by Duryodhana underscores the significance of individual qualities in the success of any collective endeavor. Just as each warrior brings a unique strength to the battlefield, in every aspect of life, individual talents and virtues contribute to the collective achievement of goals. This teaches us the importance of recognizing and valuing the diverse skills and qualities each person brings to a team or community.

The Illusion of Invincibility

While Duryodhana’s confidence in his warriors is palpable, this verse also reflects the potential pitfall of overconfidence. Believing in the invincibility of his side, Duryodhana overlooks the spiritual and moral dimensions of warfare, which are crucial in the Mahabharata’s broader narrative. This serves as a cautionary tale about the dangers of arrogance and the illusion of invincibility, reminding us that true victory is grounded in righteousness and moral integrity.

A Reflection on the Dynamics of Power

This verse invites us to reflect on the dynamics of power and how it is perceived. Power, when grounded in virtue and righteousness, is a force for good. However, when divorced from dharma, it can lead to downfall. This highlights the importance of aligning one’s actions with higher principles and the pursuit of truth and justice.


Through the lens of this verse, the Bhagavad Gita teaches us about the complex interplay between individual strengths, the collective endeavor, and the moral foundations of success. It reminds us that while valor and prowess are commendable, they must be aligned with righteousness and ethical conduct. As we navigate the challenges of our lives, let this wisdom guide us to act with integrity, humility, and in harmony with the universal principles of dharma.