paundram dadhmau maha-sankham
Word for word:
pancajanyam — the conchshell named Pancajanya; hrsika-isah — Hrsikesa (Krishna, the Lord who directs the senses of the devotees); devadattam — the conchshell named Devadatta; dhanam-jayah — Dhananjaya (Arjuna, the winner of wealth); paundram — the conch named Paundra; dadhmau — blew; maha-sankham — the terriﬁc conchshell; bhima-karma — one who performs herculean tasks; vrka-udarah — the voracious eater (Bhima).
Translation by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada:
Lord Krishna blew His conchshell, called Pancajanya; Arjuna blew his, the Devadatta; and Bhima, the voracious eater and performer of herculean tasks, blew his terriﬁc conchshell, called Paundra.
Purport by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada:
Lord Krishna is referred to as Hrsikesa in this verse because He is the owner of all senses. The living entities are part and parcel of Him, and therefore the senses of the living entities are also part and parcel of His senses. The impersonalists cannot account for the senses of the living entities, and therefore they are always anxious to describe all living entities as senseless, or impersonal. The Lord, situated in the hearts of all living entities, directs their senses. But He directs in terms of the surrender of the living entity, and in the case of a pure devotee He directly controls the senses. Here on the Battleﬁeld of Kuruksetra the Lord directly controls the transcendental senses of Arjuna, and thus His particular name of Hrsikesa. The Lord has different names according to His different activities. For example, His name is Madhusudana because He killed the demon of the name Madhu; His name is Govinda because He gives pleasure to the cows and to the senses; His name is Vasudeva because He appeared as the son of Vasudeva; His name is Devaki-nandana because He accepted Devaki as His mother; His name is Yasoda-nandana because He awarded His childhood pastimes to Yasoda at Vrndavana; His name is Partha-sarathi because He worked as charioteer of His friend Arjuna. Similarly, His name is Hrsikesa because He gave direction to Arjuna on the Battleﬁeld of Kuruksetra.
Arjuna is referred to as Dhananjaya in this verse because he helped his elder brother in fetching wealth when it was required by the king to make expenditures for different sacriﬁces. Similarly, Bhima is known as Vrkodara because he could eat as voraciously as he could perform herculean tasks, such as killing the demon Hidimba. So the particular types of conchshell blown by the different personalities on the side of the Pandavas, beginning with the Lord’s, were all very encouraging to the ﬁghting soldiers. On the other side there were no such credits, nor the presence of Lord Krishna, the supreme director, nor that of the goddess of fortune. So they were predestined to lose the battle – and that was the message announced by the sounds of the conchshells.