The Chauffeur Strategy

Preparations started as soon as the war became imminent. How to garner support and amass armies, which kingdom would guarantee support and who was a fence-sitter. How to get the provincial lords to switch sides. Messengers were being sent around the empire. Old promises were being asked to be kept. There were assurances for loyalty and threats for the infidels.

Meanwhile, Krishna sat in his chamber meditating. He wasn’t worried about the military preparations. He knew that this war would be won not by the might of the sword but by the power of the mind. The Kauravas would have strength in numbers. They were mighty and smaller kingdoms would be bullied into supporting them. Fence sitters would see that the Pandavas were really weak, out of touch with power and physical strength for the past 12 years. Hence their chances of defeating the Kauravas were slim to none.

Krishna saw that Arjuna could annihilate any army. But he was up against generals he had never come across. Bhishma, Drona, Karna, Kripa, Ashwatthama and Duroyodhana himself. Each of them could match the Pandava hero weapon for weapon and strategy for strategy. All the Kauravas would have to do is wear the five brothers down. Their superior numbers would take care of the rest. Krishna had to devise plans that would put the Kauravas at a disadvantage at every step. Every design had to work to the detriment of them. Every warrior must start his battle with a handicap.

He knew who would be the commanders-in-chief on either side. He knew all the backup plans on either side. He knew who would ally with the Kauravas. He knew his side would be heavily outnumbered. He had specific plans for the defeat and eventual death of all the Kaurava warriors. He calculated exactly how many days the war would take. He knew how long each warrior would last. He knew what the formations would be and how to counter them. He knew who had what weapons and how to defuse them. He knew Karna had the Shakti weapon meant for Arjuna and knew exactly whom to sacrifice for that weapon.

As he laid out his plans in his mind, there was one thing missing – the charioteers. In an evenly matched battle, it’s not the fighters or warriors but the charioteers that make the difference. A charioteer is the engineer of the warrior. He is familiar with every nut and bolt of his car. He can recognize the smallest squeak. He has magical fingers with which he controls the reins. One unbalanced pull and you’ve put a horse at risk, endangering his occupant. He must also have the vision of a hawk. He must sense the mood of his hero and decide which target to pick at that moment. When on song, the warrior can bulldoze his way into the opposition. When he gets tired it’s the charioteer that expertly drives him away from the powerful. He must also know his horses. He should be able to communicate with them through his reins. They need to know exactly what he wants them to do.

Krishna knew Arjuna so well that they were practically one person. He knew Arjuna’s every emotion, every thought. He could read his mind. He knew Arjuna’s capabilities, his strengths and weaknesses. He also knew the opposition well enough to protect or expose Arjuna as the need arose. On top of it all he was an expert charioteer with a love for horses. His five stallions were the best. He picked them when they were ponies for this specific purpose. He personally oversaw their growth and ensured they were the most protected steeds in his kingdom.

He knew only one such person on the Kaurava side that could match him. With his extra large eyes giving him a more detailed picture of the world around him, Sanjaya was an able opponent to Krishna. His experience was unlimited. Additionally he knew all about wars and weapons and strategy – which made him very dangerous in a sticky situation. He also had a calm head that would soothe the nerves of his warrior. If Karna made him his charioteer, he could wreak havoc on the Pandava army. He would be Karna’s Krishna and negate Arjuna’s advantage. Sanjaya could be a game changer for the Kauravas. He was noble. He couldn’t be bought or made to switch sides. He was loyal to the Kaurava clan and would lay his life down if Duryodhana asked him to. Krishna needed to neutralize him. He needed to keep him out of the battlefield. And he knew exactly how.

There was a blind man in a palace jittery and impatient to know the daily proceedings on the battlefield. And there was a man with an astounding vision who could relay it to him.

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