Indian Mythology (by ApamNapat)

Drona

Mahabharata


Once the vitality of sage Bharadwaja spontaneously emerged from his body. He stored it in a container. The son born from that container was named Drona (In Sanskrit Drona=container). He was sent to the hermitage of a learned Brahmana named Agniveshya to learn the scriptures. At the same time, the young prince of the Panchala kingdom, Drupada, who was the son of King Brushadha was also a student in the same hermitage. A friendship grew up between the prince and the scholar. Both of them swore an oath that whatever belonged to one would belong to both. After their education was complete, they went their separate ways.

Saradhwan was the son of sage Gautama. From his vitality twin children, a boy and a girl were born. These children were found in the forest by King Shantanu, who brought them up himself. The girl child was named Kripi and the male child was named Kripa, who was also known as Kripacharya, due to his mastery over the Astras. When Kripi came of age, she was married to Drona. They had a son named Ashwatthama, for he had neighed like a horse when he was born. (In Sanskrit, Ashwa = Horse). Though Drona was a very learned man and skilled in warfare, he remained very poor. One day his son came crying to him and asked him for milk, for all his friends were drinking it, but he had never tasted it. Kripi had to trick him by giving him rice flour mixed in water and calling it milk. Stung by this incident, Drona decided that he would earn wealth. He then remembered his childhood friend Drupada. He went to the Panchala king's court and reminded him of their childhood pact to share all equally.

Unfortunately, years of being the king of the Panchalas had made Drupada rather vain. He ridiculed his friend and said, "I am the King of the Panchalas, and you are a poor Brahmana. Do you not know that friendship can exist only between equals? You talk about a pact made when we were children. I have forgotten it. If you had even a bit of common-sense, you would have forgotten it too. If you come to me as a needy supplicant I shall certainly give you alms. Do not talk about the friendship, for it was so long ago. Ask me what you want, but only as a supplicant."

A great anger rose in the heart of Drona. Humiliated, he silently left the court. His resolve to obtain wealth and glory was strengthened. He heard that the great Parashurama was giving away all his wealth, so he went to meet that sage. Unfortunately, by this time all the worldly wealth of Parashurama had already been given away. Parashurama said, "Drona, I am very sorry. You are too late. I have just finished giving away all the material wealth I had. However, I do not like to send you back empty-handed. The only worthwhile things I have are my Astras. I will instruct you in their use and transfer my powers to you."

Drona gladly accepted this offer. After learning the secrets of all of Parashurama's Astras he became the most powerful warrior on earth, unequaled in warfare. Still, he had not fulfilled his goal of obtaining wealth. Then he remembered that his brother-in-law Kripa was at the court of Hastinapura, and also recalled that the young Kuru princes must now be of an age to require an instructor to learn the art of war, so he traveled to Hastinapura.

When he reached the city, he happened to see all the young princes, playing at a park in the outskirts. They were playing with a ball which had fallen into a nearby well, and were arguing about the best way to get it out. While they were arguing, Yudhishtra's ring also fell into the well. The princes were helpless. Seeing their predicament, Drona approached them and said, "Is their no one among you who can accomplish such a simple task? Let me show you how a warrior should solve this problem". He cut off dried blades of grass from a nearby field and struck the ball in the well with one of them. He then struck another blade on top of the first, and in such a manner, created a string of grass that was bound to the ball. He then pulled the ball out. After this, he borrowed a bow and arrow from a prince and fired the arrow at an angle into the water. The arrow bounced back from the well, carrying the ring at its tip.

The princes were astounded by these feats of marksmanship. Yudhishtra then said, "Sir, It is evident that you are a warrior of no mean order. If you would accompany us to our grand-sire, he is sure to reward you for the help that you have rendered us. Please come with us."

To this Drona replied, "Go to your grand-sire Bhishma and tell him about my appearance and the feats that I performed, he will know who I am."

The princes went to Bhishma and narrated the incidents in the park. At once, Bhishma realized that the Brahmana could be none other than Drona. He thought that he would be the most suitable teacher for the Kuru princes. He consulted Kripa and Dhritharashtra. Both of them were unanimous in their approval. Bhishma then went to the park, and brought Drona to the palace, with all due respect, and requested him to undertake the education of the royal children. Drona consented. He established his hermitage outside the city, in the forest. Both the Kauravas and Pandavas went into residence there. In addition to them, Drona's son Ashwatthama was also a student there.

The education of the princes began in dead earnest. Duryodhana and Bheema outstripped everybody else in their skill with the mace. Arjuna proved to be a peerless archer. Indeed, he was Drona's favorite student, for he was most dedicated to his lessons and the most ardent in practice. Yudhishtra displayed the great skill in charioteering.

When their education was nearing its completion, Drona summoned all his disciples and said, "You will soon have learned everything that I could teach you. There is the question of the fees to be paid to me. I will set you all a very difficult task. Who is willing to promise now that it shall be done?".

All the princes were silent. However, Arjuna said, "O Teacher, No matter how difficult that task may be, I shall accomplish it. Either I shall succeed in this attempt, or I shall die trying". Needless to say, this gladdened Drona's heart.

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Last Modified At: Sun Nov 7 16:20:04 2004