Hara Hara Shankara, Jaya Jaya Shankara

Hara Hara Shankara, Jaya Jaya Shankara

Thursday, August 29, 2013

The Greatness of a GURU

GURU - The remover of ignorance

Dronacharya was the teacher for the pandavas and the kauravas.  He taught them the art of warfare - archery, mace fight and others. Though all of them were competent and extremely proficient in their skill, it was Arjuna who won Drona’s heart.  Drona was very proud of Arjuna because of his diligence and commitment to his skill. One day, Drona was so pleased with Arjuna that he promised to make Arjuna the best archer in the world. He proclaimed that he would teach Arjuna all the skills in a masterly way and that no in the world could equal him.

Little did Drona realise that there was another archer in the making. And that was Ekalavya. This boy wanted to learn archery from Drona and approached him for his lessons. Drona turned him down citing his caste as an excuse. This did not dither Ekalavya. He made an idol of Drona and having him as his “manasika” guru, he learnt all the lessons of archery. Drona was totally unaware of this.

Once, when the pandavas were in hunting in the forest, they heard a dog which was repeatedly barking. This annoyed Arjuna and he aimed his arrow in the direction of the sound. His aim was so perfect that the arrow stuck the dog’s mouth and the sound subsided. But to everyone’s surprise, when the pandavas along with Drona went to the spot, they found two arrows. One was that of Arjuna and the other?

They looked around and found a young lad approaching them, with a bow in his hand. He claimed that the other arrow was his and it was his shot that silenced the dog. Arjuna was amazed at this skill and asked Ekalavya about his guru. Ekalavya bowed to Drona present there and pointed to the idol that he had made. Drona too was perplexed at this. This angered Arjuna and was apprehensive about his own mastery now. But Drona intervened and said, “Ekalavya, you claim that I am your guru. Then, where is my guru dakshina”.  Ekalavya was ready to give anything as fees. Drona asked Ekalavya his right thumb as a guru dakshina which was immediately satisfied. This humbled Drona and others. A thumb is a very important organ for people who are learning archery. It is this finger that gives support to the arrow and helps in aiming at the target. Ekalavya had to part with something which was vital to prove his mastery.

Now, a general misconception was that by asking Ekalavya his thumb, Drona had protected himself. He did this to keep up his promise to Arjuna. We would feel Drona did not do justice to Ekalavya. 

But friends, just ponder. If Drona would not have asked for the thumb and Eklavya would not have obeyed, would we have ever known Ekalavya? Ekalavya would have been any other ordinary warrior who fought for Duryodhana in the Mahabharatha war. Would there be any remote chance of upholding Ekalavya as probably greater than Arjuna. That is the greatness of a Guru. At the cost of getting a bad name, Drona lifted his pupil high in the eyes of the world. This is what a guru does. He lifts his student and places him at a peak which gives the student name and fame. All we have to do is surrender like Ekalavya. Have no pinch of doubt : if things will be taken care. Drona did what best befits a guru. He gave Ekalavya a special place in the Mahabharatha inspite of tarnishing his own name. So, not to blame Drona for taking off the thumb from Ekalavya. In fact, after this incident Ekalavya learnt to aim his arrows without the thumb. A double advantage and an added fame.



  1. Nice article on Guru. Ekalavya's dedication towards his Guru is unmatchable. Reading the last paragraph from the above article… If Drona did not ask for thumb or Eklavya did not obey, the story on Eklavya might not be part of Mahabharatha as it carries no significance. Very True that Ekalavya would have been an ordinary warrior. Ekalavya, without formal training from a Guru would not have been greater than Arjuna. When Drona asked for Ekalavya's thumb, it would be possible that Drona did think of his promise to Arjuna on making him the best archer but the thought of getting a bad name would not have crossed his mind. In those days, promises once made are kept irrespective of situations... importantly from a person of Drona's stature. Drona's act inadvertently helped Ekalavya find a place in Mahabharatha. So, I doubt from this episode, "Drona did what best befits a guru" is true. Yes, it was god's will to make Arjuna the best archer as there were others equally competent in Karna and Abhumanyu. Karna had 2 problems as you had mentioned in other article: 1. Curse 2. Supporting Adharma. In case of Abhimanyu, Krishna did not finish his Chakravyuha explanation to the pregnant sister of his even though the child was listening in the womb.

  2. Well shyam, i seem to partially disagree with you. You see, drona was no ordinary teacher. He was a bramha gnani. He did promise arjuna to make him the best warrior and lived upto it. To guess what might have crossed his mind is something which is debatable. Also, there is one more reason why drona did that act of asking the thumb of ekalavya.

    A person needs to learn only those skills which befits his clan and birth. If he goes against what he is supposed to be leanring, it could prove dangerous to the world like in the case of Ekalavya. He belonged ot the tribal community so he ought to learn what his tribe and clan prescribes for him. You see, by learning archery without a guru, he became a friend of duryodhana and supported adharma. SO, all his learning is misused.
    In our vedas and shastras, it is said that a brahmana must do his duties and ksatriya his...similarly vaishyas ans sudras are supposed to be doing their duties. We cannot do the duty of another varna. It is because brahmins are not doing their duty of sandya vandana and veda abhaysam is the world suffering today. It may sound stupid and unrelated but this is the fundamental reason....peace and harmony is there only when each member of the family does what he/she is supposed to do else the entire house is in a mess. the same holds good for varna ashram too...
    hope this answers your questions...