I was recently listening to a discourse by Sri Bannanje Govindacharya. In addition to being a great scholar, he is also an amazing speaker. In addition, his ability to look at our scriptures and epics from a fresh perspective is unmatched.
The topic he was speaking about was the Bhagavadgita and he was talking about the psychology of Duryodhana just before the beginning of the war. Duryodhana approaches Dronacharya, the commander of his army and starts to describe the two sides and their leaders. While he outwardly appears to be boasting of his side’s capability, his statements are a giveaway that he does not have any confidence in his own side and is already aware of the impending defeat.
Duryodhana starts by first talking about the army of the Pandavas and not his own army. He names Bhima first amongst the Pandavas, even though the Pandavas are led by Dhrishtadyumna and not Bhima. Duryodhana is first of all aware of the power of Bhima and further indirectly concedes that Bhima is his biggest obstacle.
He names 11 people from the Pandavas’ side as being the people who are leading their army. From his own side, he only names 7!! (one of the other figures in the Mahabharata which add up to 18!).
The most interesting aspect in the whole conversation between Duryodhana and Drona is the names of the 7 people whom Duryodhana mentions. Bhishma is very old and is well known as a sympathizer of the Pandavas. He also names Kripa and Ashwatthama. Both are brahmins and not really warriors at all, though very well qualified in warfare. He also names Bhurishravas who is extremely aged. Karna, whom he also mentions, is his good friend but is actually the brother of the Pandavas. He also names Vikarna, who is one of his 99 brothers. It is interesting that he does not name Dushashana here but Vikarna. Strangely, Vikarna is the only one amongst the 100 Kaurava brothers who had protested the Vastrapaharana of Draupadi!! And Duryodhana thinks of him! He also names Jayadratha, his brother-in-law.
Finally, he mentions to Drona that all these great warriors are preparing to protect Bhishma!!
It is very clear that Duryodhana is well aware and prepared for the inevitable consequence of the war.
I am sure most people who commit mistakes and still appear unfazed offer many clues exposing their lack of confidence in themselves. It is just a matter of identifying the same.