Chapter 1. Despondency of Arjuna: Verse 7

Sanskrit Verse

अस्माकं तु विशिष्टा ये तान्निबोध द्विजोत्तम |
नायका मम सैन्यस्य संज्ञार्थं तान्ब्रवीमि ते ||


Asmaakam tu vishishtaa ye taannibodha dvijottama
naayakaa mama sainyasya san-jnaartham taanbraveemi te

English Translation

Listen too, O best of Brahmanas, about the generals of my army who are prominent, I speak for your information.

Commentary & Explanation

After assessing the strengths of the opposition Duryodhana now speaks of the strengths of the Kauravas army. He talks about the prominent figures in the Kaurava army.

In this verse Duryodhana refers to Drona as Dvijottama, meaning the best among Dvijas (Brahmanas). 

Dvija is he who is twice born. First time born from the mother's womb into the world, second time born into the spiritual world after being trained into the spirituality by the Guru, studying the scriptures and practically experimenting with the spiritual concepts.

Why does Duryodhana refer to Drona as Best of Brahmanas?

A Brahmana is one who spends his time contemplating on the highest reality, generally warfare is not advised to a Brahmana, however it is valid for everyone including Brahmana to take up arms for the sake of righteousness. Drona knew he was not fighting for the sake of Righteousness (in fact he was fighting against the righteous Pandavas), he must have had guilt about it. Duryodhana is trying to praise him by calling him as 'Best of Brahmanas' and perhaps lift Drona from his self-doubt.

Who is a Brahmana?

According to Gita

According to Gita itself, A Brahmana is one who is predominantly Sattvic, he whose endeavours in life revolve around knowledge,  happiness in the least and Liberation(Mukti). A person's Varna depends on his Gunas(qualities of Sattva, Rajas & Tamas).

Four fold division comes from me on the basis of qualities and actions of a person. Bhagavad Gita 4:13

Peace, control, asceticism, purity, forgiveness, simplicity, knowledge, realization, positive faith are the actions of Brahmana produced by nature- Bhagavad Gita 18:42

As per Vedas (Purusha Sukta)

From His(cosmic person) face came the Brahmanas. From His two arms came the kshatriyas. From His two thighs came the vaishyas. From His two feet came the shudras. Text 13 of PurushaSukta

MeaningHe whose in intelligent, does his actions thoughtfully is a Brahmana.

As per Mahabharata

There was a discussion between Yudhisthira and his ancestor Nahusha, now reborn as a mighty Python which had captured even the mighty Bhima. The Python on Yudhisthira's request offers to leave Bhima go free if Yudhisthira answers him correctly. Here is the conversation:

Python: Who is a Brahmana?

Yudhisthira: A Brahmana is one who has qualities of truthfulness, generosity, forbearance, good conduct, total absence of cruelty, self-control & compassion.

Python: These qualities may be found even in a person who is Sudra by birth. Can he also then be considered to be a Brahmana?

Yudhisthira: If the qualities of truthfulness and other are found in a Sudra and not found in a Brahmana, that Sudra is not a Sudra and that Brahmana is not a Brahmana. Only he is a Brahmana in whom wualities like truthfulness, good conduct, self-control, compassion exist.

Python: If conduct is the decisive factor, does Birth have any significance?

Yudhisthira: It is difficult to decide who is a Brahmana on the basis of birth. When a child is born certain sacraments are performed. Till the sacraments are performed that child is like a Shudra. Swayambhu Manu also said that. If the child has not gathered good qualities and conduct after the study of Vedas then the child is not a Brahmana.

According to Buddha

Buddha, in Dhammapada (chapter 26) lists numerous virtues by which to identify a Brahmana, according to him a Brahmana is one who:

  1. Is Bright in Meditation.
  2. Is free from Anger, Hatred, Pride, Desire, Envy, Attachment (Kama, Krodha, Lobha, Moha, Mada, Matsarya)
  3. Has no wish to cause pain to others, nor to kill nor cause slaughter.
  4. Is Controlled in body, Mind & speech
  5. No one is Brahmana because of his hairstyle or birth or family or because of his mother.
  6. Is truthful and righteous
  7. Has understanding of suffering
  8. Finds no fault in others
  9. Tolerant with the intolerant, mild with fault finders & free from Passion among passionate.
  10. Is above both good and bad, above the bondage of both; free from Grief, Sin and impurity.
  11. Has stopped entertaining both pleasure and pain.

Psychological view: A self-doubting man whenever faced with a strong opposition to overcome fear has to re-remind himself of his strengths, sometimes to the extent of boasting to oneself in an exaggerated tone despite the reality being something else. 

Topics:Brahmana Duryodhana


VishishtaaEspecially powerful
NibodhaJust take note of, be informed
Dvija-uttamaO best of the brahmanas
SainyasyaOf the soldiers
San-jnaarthamFor information
BraveemiI am speaking