Ekalavya worships Drona12

The young Ekalavya was determined to become a great archer. Although the master-archer Dronacharya could not teach him because he was of a low caste, the young man was adamant.

“I will pray to God,” he said to his father. “Day and night I will pray. Drona’s heart is good, but his mind was not good when I approached him. His heart sympathised with me, but his mind was afraid of what society would say if he taught a Sudra. But I want to have him as my teacher.

“So I have resolved to make a statue of Drona out of mud and clay, and I shall worship that statue as my teacher, my only teacher. From this statue I will get inspiration and be able to learn.”

His father said, “That is a wonderful idea. If you retain that kind of faith in your teacher, my son, I am sure you will succeed.”

So the young man made a statue that looked exactly like Drona. Constantly he used to pray to Drona and receive inspiration from him through the statue. In this way the young man was able not only to acquire the skills of archery, but to so master them that he became absolutely unique. He even learned how to stop the barking of dogs in such a way that his arrow pierced the dog’s mouth and stuck there. He had that kind of capacity. He was an unparalleled archer and the feat that he could perform with dogs not even Arjuna himself could dream of doing.

One day Ekalavya was meditating in the forest. A dog started barking and it was disturbing his meditation. So he picked up his bow and shot some arrows into the dog’s mouth. The dog, silenced, but not bleeding, ran away.

It so happened that Arjuna and the Pandava brothers were also in the forest, amusing themselves. When they saw the dog passing by, no one paid any attention to it. But Arjuna noticed to his astonishment that the dog had arrows inside its mouth but was not bleeding. He said, “Who can be such a great archer?” Overcome by curiosity, he followed the dog, which took him directly to Ekalavya, who was in a meditative consciousness.

Arjuna approached Ekalavya and, pointing at the dog, inquired, “Who has done this?”

“I have done it,” Ekalavya said.

“You! You have such capacity? Who taught you?”

“My Guru.”

“Who is your Guru?”

“My Guru is Drona,” said Ekalavya.

“Drona is your Guru in archery!” Arjuna exclaimed. “He is my Guru!”

“Yes, Drona is also my Guru.”

“When did he teach you, then? He is always with us in the kingdom.”

“Oh no,” said Ekalavya. “Here he is. Look, I have made a statue of him and I worship him in this statue. It was he who gave me the inspiration and the capacity to do this.” Arjuna said quickly, “Thank you. I am very happy, very happy. I am very proud of you.”

Although Arjuna felt sad that Ekalavya had far surpassed him in skill, he was very moved by the devotion and faith that the young man had for Dronacharya.

GIM 92. 23 January 1979