Indian Mythology (by ApamNapat)

Drona - Guru of the Kuru Princes


Drona was the son of Bharadwaja. One day, when the Rishi Bharadwaja saw the Apsara Ghritachi rising from the river after her ablutions, his vitality emerged spontaneously from his body. He stored this in a pot (drona), and his son Drona was born from this pot. See [Maha:1.168].

He learned the scriptures and the use of arms under a Brahmana named Agni Veshya, who was a disciple of his father. Drupada, the prince of Panchala was also a student there, and became a close friend of the young Drona.

He married Kripi, the twin sister of Kripa, and the grand-daughter of sage Gautama. They had a son named Ashwatthama. When poverty became unbearable, Drona remembered his childhood friend Drupada, who was now the King of Panchala. However, when he went to the court of Panchala and tried to remind the King of his friendship, Drupada insulted him, telling him that friendship can occur only between equals.

Stung, he came to Hastinapura, where he impressed the Kuru princes and Bhishma with his knowledge of weapons. He was appointed the teacher of both the Kauravas and the Pandavas. When their education was complete, he asked them to conquer and produce Drupada before him as a prisoner. The Kauravas failed, but Arjuna succeeded. It was now Drona's turn to insult Drupada.

Thirsting for revenge, Drupada performed a Yagna (sacrifice), and obtained a daughter (Draupadi) who would marry Arjuna and a son (Dhrishtadhyumna) who would slay Drona. Despite knowing the purpose of the Panchala prince's birth, Drona also taught Dhrishtadhyumna along with many other princes.

In the Kurukshetra war, he wished to remain neutral, but sided with the Kauravas, since his son Ashwatthama was a great friend of the eldest Kaurava Duryodhana. Because of this, his brother-in-law Kripa also fought on the Kaurava side. After Bhishma fell in battle, Drona was made the commander-in-chief of the Kaurava army, in which position he wreaked havoc on the Pandava army.

Having gotten Arjuna out of the way, fighting the Shamshaptakas (100 warriors who had vowed to slay him or die trying), he arranged his forces in the Chakra formation, which was nearly impregnable. Only Arjuna knew the its secrets. Faced with imminent defeat, Yudhishtra persuaded Abhimanyu, the sixteen year old son of Arjuna to pierce this formation. (The young prince knew how to get in but not how to get out).

The young warrior got in, but the rest of the Pandavas could not get in, for the entry was sealed by Jayadratha, who had obtained a boon that he could defeat the Pandavas (excluding Arjuna) for a single day. Caught alone in the formation, the young prince proved more than a match for all the Kaurava leaders, and at last, in desperation, Drona ordered him slain by treachery.

Since the Pandavas realized that the war could not be won as long as Drona was alive, they came up with a strategy to kill him. According to this, Bheema killed an elephant named Ashwatthama and started shouting, "Ashwatthama is dead!". When Drona heard this, he was stunned. He did not believe it, and asked Yudhishtra (who was known never to have uttered a falsehood) whether this was true.

Yudhishtra replied, "Yes, Ashwatthama is dead, the elephant...". Of course, in the din of war, the last two words were drowned. Drona lost all will to live. He abandoned his weapons and struck a pose of meditation in the middle of the battlefield. Waiting for this opportunity, Dhrishtadhyumna struck off his head with his sword.

Last Modified At: Wed Oct 20 00:15:40 2004