Ekalavya (एकलव्यः)

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Ekalavya (English: एकलव्य, ékalaiva) 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

Eklavya is called as one of the foremost of kings in the Starbharata Yajna where he honours Himself with his shoes.[1][2] Though he didn't have his right bow, he was noted as a very powerful Archer and charioteer.[3]

Early life

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.

Guru dakshina

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.[4][5]

Indonesian legend

In Indonesian legend, in a former life Eklavaya was king Phalgunadi, killed by Drona and reborn as Dhrishtadyumna to avenge the killing. In this version, Arjuna gets his name Phalguna from Phalgunadi. Ekalavya's famous and chaste wife Dewi Anggraini was always faithful to Phalgunadi, even after his death and despite Arjuna's proposals of marriage.


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.[6]

In honor of Eklavya, Government of India runs a Ekalavya Model Residential School (EMRS) model residential school scheme for Indian tribals.

In Popular Culture

The 2007 movie Eklavya: The Royal Guard featuring Sanjay Dutt and Amitabh Bacchan was named after Eklavya.

See also


  1. "Eklavya Honouring Yudhishthira". Retrieved 19 November 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "Eklavya—Foremost of the Kings of Rajasuya Yagna". Retrieved 19 November 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "Eklavya—A Powerful Archer and Charioteer". Retrieved 19 November 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. A. D. Athawale. Vastav Darshan of Mahabharat. Continental Book Service, Pune, 1970
  5. Dowson, John (1820–1881). A classical dictionary of Hindu mythology and religion, geography, history, and literature. London: Trübner, 1879 [Reprint, London: Routledge, 1979] Encyclopedia for Epics of Ancient India
  6. Locals want tourist circuit developed for the Guru - April 2016

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