58.THE PANDAVA GENERALISSIMO
GOVINDA reached Upaplavya and told the Pandavas what had happened in Hastinapura. "I spoke urging what was right and what was also good for them. But, it was all in vain. There is now no way out except the fourth, that is, the last alternative of war. The foolish Duryodhana would not listen to the advice tendered to him by the elders in the assembly. We must now prepare for war without delay. Kurukshetra is waiting for the holocaust." "There is no longer any hope of peace," said Yudhishthira, addressing his brothers, and issued orders for marshalling their forces in, battle array. They formed the army in seven divisions and appointed Drupada, Virata, Dhrishtadyumna, Sikhandin, Satyaki, Chekitana and Bhimasena at the head of each division. They then considered who should be appointed Generalissimo. Addressing Sahadeva, Yudhishthira said: "We should select one of these seven to be Supreme Commander. He should be one capable of successfully facing the great Bhishma, who can burn enemies to ashes. He should be one who knows how to dispose his forces as circumstances require from time to time. Who do you think is most fitted for this responsibility?" In the olden days, it was the practice to ascertain the views of younger people first, before consulting elders. This instilled enthusiasm and self-confidence in the younger folk. If the elders were consulted first, it would not be possible for others to speak with freedom, and even honest differences of opinion might savor of disrespect. "Let us take as our Supreme Commander the king of Virata who helped us when we lived in disguise and with whose support we now demand our share of the kingdom," replied Sahadeva. "It seems to me best to make Drupada the Generalissimo, for, in point of age, wisdom, courage, birth and strength, he is supreme," said Nakula. "Drupada, the father of Draupadi, has learnt archery from Bharadwaja, and has for long been waiting for an encounter with Drona.