Dronacharya (द्रोणाचार्यः)

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In the great literature, Mahabharata, guru Droṇa (Samskrit: द्रोण,) or Droṇacharya was the son of Bharadwaja Muni. He was a great devotee of Brahma and was royal preceptor to the Kauravas and Pandavas. He was also the teacher to the Vrishnis, the Andhakas and other famous and powerful dynasties. He is said to be an expansion of Brihaspati, the celestial seer and preceptor of the gods. His wife was Kripi who was the sister of Kripacharya. He had a son named Asvatthama. Although a brahmana, Droṇa was inclined toward martial arts. While living in his father’s hermitage he had learned the science of arms from Agnivesha, another powerful rishi. He had also received knowledge of the celestial weapons from the great Parasurama.

Birth and Early life

The sage Bharadwaja had once seen Gritachi, a divinely beautiful Apsara, and as a result he had dropped his vital seed. He caught his seed in a pot and from that seed Droṇa was born. As a child Droṇa had been friends with Drupada, who had come to study at Bharadwaja's hermitage.

Guru Parasurama

Some time after Drupada left the hermitage, Droṇa heard that the invincible Brahmana-warrior Parasurama was retiring to the forest and was giving away all his possessions in charity. However, by the time he was approached by Drona, Parasurama only had his weapons left to give away. He offered to give Droṇa the weapons as well as the knowledge of how to use them. This is how Droṇa obtained the greatest weapons in his possession.

Life in poverty

Despite having such great learning, however, Droṇa remained a poverty-stricken brahmana. He could hardly maintain his family. He could not even afford cow’s milk for his son – Asvatthama. His son was drinking water mixed with wheat flour and had to impose the understanding that it was milk that he was drinking.

As a Teacher

As a teacher he did not teach anything other than warfare. He taught skills, archery, mace fighting, little politics but along with that he did not give his students the purpose behind all these teachings. He did not develop their character. Therefore even though kauravas and Pandavas studied under the same teacher both families did not change. Their character remained the same. The Pandavas remained righteous as what they had grasped from their mother and the sages. On the contrary, the kauravas remained the same as what they had assimilated from their parents which was to be envious and arrogant.

Guru with an agenda

Drona was poverty-stricken and was hoping to be engaged as the princes’ teacher at Hastinapur. He expected good living conditions for his family and revenge from King Drupada. Drona had an extreme degree of ambition and was imposing friendship on someone who has out rightly rejected him. So when Bhisma approached Drona for training the princes, he clearly told Bhishma that when their training is complete, he will want them to capture Drupada alive. Bhishma was more eager for kids to learn so he agreed. The teachers with an agenda mold the personality of their students based upon their agenda. Drona taught the other basic skills to all his students but focused mainly on Arjuna for his agenda and on his son because of fatherly attachment.

Favorite Student

Among all the boys Arjuna excelled at Droṇa's lessons. He remained always at his side, eager to learn any little skill or extra tips. His ability, speed, perseverance and determination were unequalled by the other princes. Arjuna became foremost; Droṇa felt none could match his skills. He was so ardent a student that he used to practise bowmanship even at night and for all these reasons Dronacharya determined to make him the topmost bowman of the world. He passed very brilliantly in the examination of piercing the target and Dronacharya was too much pleased. Because of his devotion to studies and his guru, he became Droṇa's favorite student.

He saved Dronacharya from the attack of a crocodile and the acharya being pleased with him rewarded him with a weapon of the name Brahmasira. The confidential treatment of the weapon Brahmasira being explained to Arjuna, Dronacharya got it promised by Arjuna that he would use the weapon if necessary when he (Dronacharya) personally became an enemy of Arjuna. By this the Acharya forecasted the future battle of Kurukshetra where Droncharya was on the opposite party.

Biased towards son

Out of his natural fatherly affection, Droṇa also wished to impart extra lessons to his own son, Asvatthama. He gave all the princes narrow-mouthed water pots and asked them to fill them at the river, but to his own son he gave a wide-mouthed pot so he could return first and receive extra teaching.