Tuesday, July 5, 2016

24. Drona becomes the Teacher of the Kuru Princes

Drona came to Hastinapura and continued to live in Kripa's house, silently suffering his humiliation at the hands of Drupada. Even while Kripa was teaching the Kuru princes, Drona's son Aswathaman would, now and then, give the princes some lessons in the use of arms.

Once the princes were playing with a ball which fell into a well.  Their efforts to retrieve the ball did not bear fruit. At that time, they saw a lean Brahmin, dark in complexion coming that way. The princes went to him. That Brahmin, who was Drona teased them by saying that it was shameful that the princes belonging to the Bhrata race could not retrieve the ball. He said that he would throw his ring also in the well and retrieve both the ball and the ring, using just a blade of grass, if only the princes could offer him a dinner that evening.

Yudhishtira prayed to him that with Kripa's permission, Drona could get from them something that would last him for his entire life, rather than an evening dinner.

Drona threw his ring into the dry well. He showed the princes the blades of grass he was carrying in his hand and told them that he would empower those grasses with his Mantras, make one blade of grass pierce the ball, create a chain using a few more blades and then pull up the ball. bring up the ball. He did exactly that. He then pierced the ring by shooting an arrow from his bow and the bow returned to him with the ring.

Astonished by these feats, the princes wanted to know who he was and what they could do for him. Drona told the princes to describe his appearance and what he did to Bhishma, who would be able to identify him.

When the princes narrated their experience to Bhishma, he immediately recognised that it was Drona. He also thought that Drona would be the best teacher for the princes. He went to Drona and brought him to the palace. When he asked Drona how he came to reside in Hastinapura, Drona narrated his story. He said that after he was humiliated by Drupada, he came to the Kuru kingdom expecting to get intelligent and obedient disciples.

Bhishma requeted Drona to train the Kuru princes in the use of weapons. He provided  house for Drona and made arrangements for his comfortable stay. He then took his grandsons to Bhima and handed them over to him.

Drona told the princes even at the outset, "I have a purpose in  mind. Promise me that you will accomplish it for me after you become skilled in the use of arms.  While all other princes remained silent, Arjuna vowed  to fulfill his uru's desire. Drona embraced him with joy.

The Kuru princes remained silent. But Arjuna instantly vowed to accomplish the purpose of his Guru. Drona hugged Arjuna and shed tears of joy. Drona then taught the princes the use of many weapons including celestial weapons. Some other princes including the Vrishnis and the Andhakas and Karna, the adopted son of Radha were also taught by Drona along with the Kuru princes. Karna was jealous of Arjuna and had some brush with him quite often. He received support from Duryodhana, who had developed a hatred for the Pandavas right from his childhood days.

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