Friday 18 January 2013

Why drona did not teach archery to ekalavya?

When we hear the word Ekalavya, Guru Bhakti will come to our mind immediately. He gave his thumb, an important finger as Guru Dhakshina for the education obtained from Guru. However, Ekalavya was actually a grey character: partially good and partially bad. Before practicing the shastras (shastra vidya) in front of Drona’s idol, earlier he learned Paishacha vidya from group of devils (pishachi). From this force only, he fought against Sri Krishna with Jarasanda and got defeated. Ekalavya attacked Krishna for the second time and got defeated. Ekalavya thought that it’s not possible to kill Sri Krishna using Paishacha Astra. In order to get Divine astras, he came to Dronacharya with bad intention. Acharya Dhrona had promised to Arjuna that he would make him as supreme in Dhanur vidya after liking his conduct. To keep the promise Acharya Dhrona didn’t taught it to Ekalavya first. Also Ekalavya came to learn archery with the bad intention. When Dronacharya came to know that Ekalavya was worshipping him to obtained Astra Vidya, Dronacharya went and got Ekalavya’s thumb as Gurudakshina to teach him the Astra Vidya. After Dronacharya obtained the Guru Dakshina, he then started to teach Ekalavya the Astra Vidya. Here, Dronacharya didn’t violate the promise of Arjuna (because Ekalavya cannot be as efficient as Arjuna) but at the same time he (as a guru) didn’t disappointed his disciple. This is pointed out by Madhwacharya.

Ekalavya was an amsha of Manimanta, the leader of a certain group of demons although he was talented and came from hunter family. Even demons show devotion towards their master but their actions are demonic and their intentions are against what is good for the society. You will find many demons who worship demigods but they dislike Vishnu because He is in charge of reducing the burden of earth. Earth was actually filled with demons at the time Krishna incarnated. If you read the story of Krishna, you will see many demons planning to kill Krishna since His birth without knowing that He is the cause of all causes. One can have peace only when one develops faith in Absolute God and dedicates all his actions for the good as well as to that God.

You will find devotion, talent and hardship even in demons but we cannot support them because they can misuse the skills that are taught. Regarding the social status of Ekalavya, one has to understand the hindu caste system properly.

The caste system was actually called as swa-dharma. It means duty( dharama) according to one’s swabhava(nature). There are 2 types of dharmas according to Vedic system. Samanya (Normal) and vishesha(Special) dharma. Samanya dharma is common to all. It includes being kind, courteous to all beings, etc. Vishesha dharma is what differs and it is also called swa-dharma. Vedic scriptures has explained to us that our actions must match our energy-nature, our prakriti. Our actions, including our livelihood, must be consistent with our state of conscious, our swabhava. Our swadharma, the mode of life and duty that is natural to us, being based on our karma(deeds of previous lives) and samskaras (impressions in our mind).

According to the Hindu religion, the 3 types of natures of the human being are: mode of goodness, mode of passion and mode of ignorance. Hence, the class of people who are completely in mode of goodness (brahmana=one who has gained the brahma gyana (one who has the correct knowledge about the brahmanda(everything about the universe))) are considered as intellectual class since their mind is not biased towards bad things. That is why they were ministers or priests in the king’s court in olden times. The class of people who are in mode of passion and goodness is considered to be belonging to administrative class(kshathriya). That is why they were kings or warriors because the rulers and warriors have to be very active and brave. They must not only be good towards their citizens( mode of goodness) but also should have the courage to punish the culprits (mode of passion). If a king loves even the criminals like a saint, then the society will not be peaceful. The third class of people is a businessmen (vaishya) who is in the mode of passion and ignorance. The last class of people is ones who are driven by immoral thoughts or who do not have control over their mind to decide what right or wrong or even lazy people. They are worker class(sudra). They were not given highest position because they can misuse the powers. For example, the knowledge about making the bombs/guns is misused by terrorists by killing innocent people. This is because they are in the mode of ignorance. By doing manual work, they would gradually rise above the mode of ignorance and would be getting the higher posts in the future or same life. Hence, this system also worked as purification process for the human beings.

If this division is not done properly in a society, there will be no peace, prosperity as well as spiritual progress of individuals. That is why the meaning of Dharma is that which is meant for the stability of the world. It is also means to be both secular and spiritual welfare of living beings.

The 3 natures explained before are found in ‘varying degrees’ in all individuals, be they Indian, American or British. So God made a broader classification of the individuals. The natures present in individuals fall under the various people in the order of predominance as follows:

BrAhmaNa: sattva–>rajas
kShatriya – rajas–>sattva–>tamas
vaishya – rajas–>tamas–>sattva
shUdra – tamas

In the satya, dwapara and tretayugas it is told that God was helping us to establish good governance in the world. You may ask how God was helping us. The four divisions of human beings were originally done by God to divide the people according to their quality so that there won’t be any waste of time or confusion in selecting the right candidate for different positions in society. God used to fully control the births of the people in previous yugas and decide who has to take birth in which family. We all say that God is the controller of everything but we cannot admit this truth. In the previous yugas, only a pure man, when his punya [karmic merit] becomes exhausted, descends from heaven to earth and is born in kshathriya(administrative class of people) lineage and such man was selected as a king. Such a person is indeed great and is a portion of God on earth. Because Lord Vishnu entered the body of that monarch and helps the citizens to give good governance. Hence we can see the God’s responsibility for the welfare of the world or society. The form of government that is the oldest, most prevalent down through the ages, and most widely found around the globe is that of the divine monarchy. These were found in India, China, Japan, Mexico, Peru, Babylonia, Mesopotamia, Sumer, Ur, Egypt, Ethiopia, the Sudan, in ancient Greece, as well as in Scandinavia and Celtic Europe. In all these civilizations the king was spoken of as divine representatives. That is why we can see great kings like shibi, Satya harishchandra in earlier yugas. There are also instances of sudra getting purified in the same life and getting all the respect. For example, Sage valmikki who came from hunter family has written epic historical book ramayana. Also Vidura the son of a maid-servant has served as minister of Hastinapura. In Mahabharatha, Krishna has even declined the gorgeous feast of Duryodhana, who came from kshathriya clan and went straight to the hut of Vidura who was born from Sudra mother. Vidura had nothing to offer Krishna except some plantain fruits. In his joy, which made him lose his body-consciousness, he offered the peels to Krishna and threw the pith away, not knowing what he was doing. Such was the delight he was immersed in, on seeing Krishna in his cottage. Sri Krishna uttered not a word. He went on swallowing the peels. He noted that the plantain stuff was being thrown off, but said nothing. At that time, it appears, the wife of Vidura was taking a bath. When she heard that Sri Krishna had come, she ran without even dressing herself properly. She forgot herself equally. When she saw Vidura giving peels to the Lord, she yelled, “Oh! What are you giving?” The moment she uttered these words, Vidura came to consciousness and he immediately told her, “Go and put on your clothes, please.” Neither she knew that she had no proper clothes, nor Vidura knew that he was feeding the Lord with peels. When both began to realise the mistake they had made in their overwhelming joy, the one rushed to put on decent clothes and the other offered the fruit instead of the peels. But Sri Krishna is reported to have smilingly remarked, “Now the taste of the fruit has gone. The peels were tastier.” God loves only himself. He cannot love anything else, because anything else does not exist.

However, this caste system is distorted in kaliyuga because it is controlled (partially) by great demon called kalipurusha. Hence, determining the quality of a human cannot be determined merely from birth or caste in this yuga. The entire system has also collapsed because the caste system is no longer formulated as per the inherent guNas in an individual. It is now a caste system based on the individual’s birth. Even now, if an individual objectively examines his nature, he will come to know of his real dharma (duty that purifies oneself).

In the beginning of satya yuga, there was actually no such caste system. Because all the people were thinking well about others and were pure in heart. As people started to think unethically there was a need to divide the people according to their nature.
In the Bhagavd-Gita Lord has told: “Even a man of knowledge acts according to his own nature, for everyone follows the nature he has acquired from the three modes. Thus, from this sloka it is clear that even if we educate a person who is in the mode of ignorance he will still act according to his nature. Even if his intellect says that it is wrong to do the misdeeds, he will still do it because of the impulse of the sense organs.

All scriptures enjoin that the only way to learn is by approaching a spiritual master, inquiring submissively from him and rendering service to him. When Drona refused to accept Ekalavya[until the thumb was said above] as a disciple at the time this potential relationship ceased to exist. However Ekalavya persisted unilaterally. Disciple means subjecting oneself to the discipline of the Guru. However Ekalavya did not do this, he actually used Drona solely for the purpose of enhancing his own reputation as a warrior. Drona thus considered Ekalavya’s behavior to be improper. Ekalavaya violated both these tenets. Perhaps it was because of his unswerving, though misguided faith in Dronacarya that Ekalavya received the benediction of being killed by none other that the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Sri Krishna Himself.

“From within his heart I inspired Drona to ask for the thumb of Ekalavya and I later killed Ekalavya in battle” reveals Sri Krishna to Arjuna

Drona is a Trikalagya (one who can see past, present and future). Both Eklavya and Karna were made incapable to use archery against Arjuna because both would be in the side of Duruyodhana and both Drona and Parshuram knew it in advance.

Ekalavya-ism, which is a bhava (ideal or sentiment) in the Mahabharata, is a philosophy of self learning with a meditative mind without physical presence of a Guru something which is technologically possible today.


  1. If Ekalavya was evil, he would never have donated his thumb to someone who merely inspired him in archery. tell me, how many people, once they excel in some field, say even a simple thanks to their teacher, leave alone a huge financial sum. And here, you have a person, donating his very basic tool (a key body part), of his trade to somebody , who he simply believes as having taught him. Drona,Krishna were there to protect Arjuna, and the supremacy of the upper castes over the tribal's and other section of society. Drona is no liberal person, and Krishna was no God. At most a scheming person, who wanted Arjuna protected at all costs. After all he eventually had Ekalavya killed by stabbing on his back, to protect Arjuna in the impending battle of Mahabarata.

    1. Where the intention of the person is wicked, they should not be supported. Sweet words of praise and worship can also come from evil / negative minded persons, but one should remain cautious of those actions.
      Dharma (even civil law, laid by constitution in many countries, including India) is very sensitive - any person performing an act which will support the execution of a negative / anti-social / evil plot would also be guilty of abetting the crime.
      Drona never saw his caste, but saw the purpose / intention of Ekalavya. He still taught him the astra vidya to a lower degree to keep his words of teaching the astra vidya. Knowledge of great earth shattering / genocide actions should be given only to those who can use it responsibly.
      Think beyond caste.

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    3. I wonder how people bring in caste in every incidence from the epics. Even Ravana was very devout that he would give his life to Shiva. That does not make him absolved from the karma that he committed by kidnapping Sita. Don't mix unrelated things to pacify your casteist agenda.

  2. So in Summary - he was a casteist !! he did not want to teach people of lower casts .. its that simple .

    1. Every person understand things based on their on psyche. If this is what you understood, nothing to say more.

  3. doing partially for bad people from taking power is not casteist...Think beyond caste...Duryodhana was so greedy that he was not even ready to give a pinpoint land to Pandavas. Pandavas were ready to share a small portion of the property with Kauravas but Duryodhana did not allow to give. This is the mentality of terorist. Even Ravana was brahmin but he was denied from carrying Atma Linga by devatas and finally Raama killed Ravana? So you think upper castes

  4. @ DEEPAK PALAN @ Aditya
    doing partially for bad people from taking power is not casteist...Even doing trickery or telling lies to kill a big criminal is not unrighteous...It is like encountering a rowdy who has killed many normal people...Think beyond caste...Duryodhana was so greedy that he was not even ready to give a pinpoint land to Pandavas. He even make several attempts to kill Panadavas. Pandavas were ready to share a small portion of the property with Kauravas but Duryodhana did not allow to give. This is the mentality of terrorist. We gave pakistan and made it a muslim country but still they are not satisfied. They want even Kashmir. Even Ravana was brahmin but he was denied from carrying Atma Linga by devatas to Lanka and finally Raama killed Ravana.

    Teaching the knowledge of astras to everyone is equal to teaching how to use atom bomb with everyone. Only the person who has good intentions must use it. Only certain knowledge must be available for free but not every knowledge.

    Lord Krishna was protecting Arjuna because of his goodness. Go through Mahabaharata . The site gives it.