The Indic Wisdom : Lessons from Dronacharya


In Part 2 of our series , we see why the mighty Dronacharya lost to his disciples


KK Shanmukhan

Abandoning his illustrious lineage of teaching the Vedas Dronacharya took to learning martial arts. He grew up in his father’s Ashram where he learnt martial arts from his father and saint Agrinesha. After his preliminary education in arts, Drona came to know that Parasurama was distributing his enormous wealth among Brahmins before retiring to the forest. So e went to Parasurama.
“All my wealth has been already distributed,” said Parasurama. “My mastery over weapons that I acquired from Lord Shiva shall be imparted to you.” Thus Drona became an unrivalled archer.
With the intention of acquiring some powerful disciples, Drona visited Hastinapura. The grandsire Bhishma had initiated basic training in archery to the Pandavas and the Kauravas, with the help of Kripacharya. Bhishma was looking for a special instructor for the princes. The princes chanced to meet Dronacharya and witness his amazing skills at archery. As the magical skills of a stranger unfolded Bhishma surmised that it must be none other than Drona himself. Bhishma appointed him as his royal instructor.
Arjuna excelled in every branch of martial arts. With the help of Arjuna, Drona conquered Drupada in war. On the tenth day of the Mahabharatha War, Bhishma lay wounded struck by arrows all over and fell on the bed of arrows. Drona became the new Commander-in-Chief.
Arjuna’s son Abhimanyu, sixteen years and a few months old now, just married for twenty one days, with the request of Yudhishtira, broke the Chakravyuha formation of Drona. Arjuna was not on the main battlefield. He was away fighting with the Rakshasas. Although Bhima promised support to the young hero, he was effectively prevented by Jayadratha, a general and brother-in-law of Duryodhana. Abhimanyu pierced the enemy rank and penetrated the formation. But he was soon isolated. The undaunted hero, encircled by eight generals, Drona, Karna, Duryodhana, Duhsasana, Jayadratha etc., however, fought fiercely and inflicted heavy damage on the Kauraga army. Whoever opposed him were­­­­ wounded and ran away.
“It is impossible to defeat the boy in fair war.” Murmured Drona in Karna’s ears. He continued: “He is valorous than Arjuna himself. Defeat him in treachery. Cut out the reign of his bow unnoticed from behind and thus disable him.”
A great Acharya’s war ethics! Karna did accordingly. In the combined attack Abhimanyu was slain. Hearing the details of the wretched and heinous way of Abhimanyu’s murder, Arjuna took an oath to the effect that Jayadratha, who caused the boy’s death would be slain the next day before sun set.
The next day, Arjuna with full of revenge in his mind entered the battlefield; looking for Jayadratha, who was protected by a heavy force of Duryadhana. But then, the Samsarpakas challenged Arjuna for a fight and he had to encounter them. Drona prevented Arjuna’s proceedings and gave a tough fight. Krishna advised him to avoid Drona and Arjuna obeyed. Yudhishtira’s anxiety grew mainfold, for he did not hear the twang of Arjuna’s bow nor Krishna’s conch. He persuaded Satyaki to follow Arjuna. Satyaki was prevented by Drona and was long engaged in battle. Yudhishtira’s patience ended. He called Bhima and bade him to find out Arjuna and support him.
As Bhima proceeded towards Arjuna’s destination, Drona challenged him saying, “I am not going to show you any mercy. Fight your enemy, defeat him and go.”
Drona was expecting a respectful treatment from Bhima. Hearing the arrogant uttering of Drona, Bhima became furious. Bhima hurled his powerful mace at Drona. The guru narrowly escaped death as he jumped out of his chariot in time. Nevertheless, his charioteer and horses were killed and the chariot was smashed into pieces.
Drona summoned another chariot and continued to attack Bhima. With uncontrollable wrath, Bhima lifted Drona along with his chariot and hurled him to death.
Look at the shameful condition of Dronacharya who was defeated by his own disciple! Where did his arrogance vanish? So a­­rrogance is no good at all!