Continued from here
On the other side, Duryodhana entered Dronacharya’s tent. He was visibly agitated.
“Acharya, how long will these contemptible Pandavas keep putting up fight against our might? Why aren’t we destroying them already? Fourteen days and all we could do was kill a couple of kids. Forget about the Pandavas, even their secondary kings are alive. Why aren’t you unable to pierce their formations?”
Unwilling to be slighted by such accusations, Dronacharya deflected the question, “How is Radheya? Will he recover fully? We need him in the battle today. He is our main commander against a raging Savyasachi”, but instantly realized he had used the wrong appellation to describe their archenemy. A jealous Duryodhana did not need to be reminded of Arjuna’s supreme expertise in ambidexterity.
“He is a faithful, a warrior, and a champion. He will give his life to the Kaurava cause. Even if he half fit, he would lead from the front, and decimate the enemy”, he said disdainfully.
Again, not wanting to engage in frivolous conversations before the start of battles, Dronacharya smiled and said, “He needs extra protection today. Double up on his protective circles, at least in the morning”
Duryodhana was impatient. He wanted the teacher to shoot a retort, so he could berate the commander in chief. He was disappointed at the lack of fuel in this potentially explosive conversation.
“You are his best friend and closest confidant; you have his best interests at heart. Make sure you stay within close reach. I am certain Bheema will make an attempt, and who better to counter him than you”
The crafty mention of his nemesis Bheema potentially posing mortal danger to his best friend caught Duryodhana by surprise, and instantly shifted his thoughts towards protection of Karna. He turned back and stormed out, animatedly shouting instructions, and called for Dusshasana. He wanted to ensure both the brothers formed an impenetrable wall around the best archer in their side.
But his slightful words did have an effect on the veteran. The venerable teacher was torn between good and bad, and recognized that he had not been giving his all. His restraint had already resulted in both Bheema and Nakula escaping severe injury. He felt severely conflicted. He didn’t owe any allegiance to Duryodhana, and detested him. But he certainly was loyal to the throne of Hastinapura, and to its blind king.
How symbolic was Dhritarashtra’s blindness, the sage thought. He was physically sightless, but also completely blind to his son’s shenanigans. He was blinded by his love for his son, he was blinded by the jealousy towards Pandu and his 5 sons. He was blinded by his brother-in-law’s injustice to his nephews. And he was blinded by the illusion of strength that Karna gave his army. His complete obliviousness would cause the destruction of a generation, a genocide from which it would take decades to recover, emotionally and economically. This war would bring down every kingdom in the land, no matter which side they were on. It would wipe out almost every able man. To what end? Because a blind, indulgent father failed to discipline his ignorant, resentful child.
As a result, today, he, Dronacharya, the greatest of instructors in the entire world, the man whose lifeless sculpture exuded such power as to turn a tribal novice into a skillful archer, had to bear insults from an insolent brute of a man. It made him unhappy first, and then angry.
He turned to his attendant, and asked him to find out about the Pandavas’ vyuha today, “Of particular interest to me is the placement of Drupada. I need to know where he will be, how far from Arjuna and Drishtadyumna, who will be flanking him, and what weapons is he packing”
He had some old scores to settle.