Bhishma, the grandsire of both the Kauravas and the Pandavas, analyzed each warrior on both sides of the battle. He said there are 3 types of warriors. They are the Rathi, the Atirathi and the Maharathi. Based on his judgement and knowledge of the science of weapons he classified every warrior involved in the Mahabharata war. According to him the highest level of a warrior is the Maharathi.
He defined the three classifications as follows:
Rathi: A warrior capable of attacking 5,000 warriors simultaneously.
Atirathi: A warrior capable of contending with 12 Rathi class warriors or 60,000 warriors simultaneously.
Maharathi: A warrior capable of fighting 12 Atirathi class warriors or 720,000 warriors simultaneously, and having complete mastery of all forms of weapons and combat skills.
Classification of Warriors from the Kaurava Side:
- Sudhakshina, the ruler of the Kamvojas
- Sakuni, King of Gandhar and uncle of Kauravas
- Duryodhana’s son Lakshmana and the son of Dushasana
- Jayadrath, the king of the Sindhu and brother in law of Kauravas
- All 99 brothers of Duryodhana, including Dushasan, are single Rathis
- Duryodhana is classified as a warrior equal to 8 Rathis
- Bhoja chief Kritavarman
- The ruler of Madras, Salya
- Bhurisravas, the son of Somadatta
- Kripa, also known as Kripacharya, the son of Saradwat
- Alambhusha, the Chief of Rakshasas
- The ruler of Pragjyotisha, the brave Bhagadatta
- Vrishasena, the son of Karna,
- Guru Drona
- Asvathama, the son of guru Drona and the avatar of Lord Shiva. (Even though he was classified as a Maharathi, in reality he was peerless and equal to Lord Shiva in battle according to Bhishma; but the only pre-condition is that Asvathama has to become extremely angry to unleash his full potential.)
- Karna is equal to 2 Maharathi.
- Bhishma, even though he never classified himself. Later it was revealed that Bhishma was equal to 2 Maharathi warriors.
Classification of Warriors from the Pandava Side:
- Sikhandi, the son of the king of the Panchalas
- Yudishtira the son of Pandu and Kunti, is a Rathi.
- Nakul and Sahadeva are single Rathis
- Bhima is regarded as equal to 8 Rathis.
- Satyaki of the Vrishni race,
- Dhrishtadyumna the son of Drupuda
- Kuntibhoja,the maternal uncle of Pandavas
- Ghatotkacha, prince of Rakshasas and master of all illusions, son of Bhima and Hidimva.
- Virata King
- Drupuda, King of Panchalas
- Dhrishtaketu, the son of Sisupala, the king of the Chedis
- All sons of Draupadi are Maharathis
- Abhimanyu, the son of Arjuna is equal to 2 Maharathi.
- Arjuna is equal to 2 Maharathi warriors.