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Ekalavya (Samskrit : एकलव्यः) is a character from the epic The Mahābhārata. He was a young prince of the Nishadha, a confederation of jungle tribes in Ancient India. He was the son of Vyatraj Hiranyadhanus. Ekalavya aspired to study archery in the gurukul of Guru Drona
In the Mahabharata, Eklaivan was the son of Hiranyadhanus, who was King Jarasandha's army commander and leader of the Nishadhas. He approached Drona to tutor him in the arts of war, especially archery.
Deeply hurt by Drona's rejection, Eklaivan still didn't give up on his resolute will to master archery. He once stayed hidden in the forest while guru Drona was teaching the Kaurava and Pandava brothers, after they left to the ashram, Eklaivan collected the mud on which his Guru walked, as a symbolic gesture of want to follow his knowledge and foot steps, later he went into the forest and made a statue of Drona under a big old well grown tree. He began a disciplined program of self-study over many years. Eventually, Eklaivan became an archer of exceptional prowess, greater than Drona's best pupil, Arjuna. He accepted the statue as his guru and practiced in front of it every single day.
One day when Drona and his students were going out into the forest, Arjuna saw a dog that was unable to bark due to an amazing construction of arrows in and all around his mouth. This construction was harmless to the dog, but prevented the dog from barking. Drona was amazed, but also distressed: he had promised Arjuna that he would make him the greatest archer in the world. Drona and his students investigated, and came upon Eklaivan. Upon seeing Drona,Eklaivan came and bowed to him.
Drona asked Eklaivan where he had learnt archery. Ekalavya replied "under you, Guruji", and showed Drona his statue while explaining what he had done.
Drona then reminded Eklaivan that forEklaivan to truly be Drona's pupil, Eklaivan would have to pay guru dakshina. Readily,Eklaivan offers to do anything for Drona. Drona stoically asks for the thumb from Eklaivan's right hand. Hesitant at first, Eklaivan asks for Drona to confirm the command; Drona harshly does so. Smiling, Eklaivan cuts off the thumb and presents it to Drona.
Later life and death
Later, Ekalavya worked as an archer of King Jarasandha. When Jarasandha planned to besiege Mathura, he was aided by Eklavya who was a skillful archer. Eklavya also helped Jarasandha and Shishupala by chasing Rukmini while she eloped with Krishna. After Jarasandha's demise, Ekalavya sought to avenge him by campaigning to destroy Kuntibhoja and every Yadava in Dwarka. During the attack, he is slain by Krishna.
There is a Eklavya temple (Hindi: एकलव्य मंदिर) temple in honor of Mahabharata fame Eklavya in Khandsa village in Sector 37 of Gurugram city in Haryana state of India. As per folklore, this is the only temple of Eklavya and it is the place where Eklavya cut his thumb and offered to guru Drona.
- A. D. Athawale. Vastav Darshan of Mahabharat. Continental Book Service, Pune, 1970
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