Friday, October 3, 2014

The Gurus of Hastinapur - Part 3

Bhishma knew that though Kripacharya was a good teacher, if he needed to make his grandchildren excellent warriors, he needed to find a teacher par excellence. His own teacher was Parashurama...Bhishma shook his head sadly as he realized that his teacher would never teach his grandchildren. Parashurama and Bhishma had had a terrible fight when Amba had approached Parashurama to avenge her. After that fight, there was no way that Parashurama would come forward to teach anyone related to Bhishma. (Parashurama was a sage and he hated all warriors. He had been unwilling to teach Bhishma initially. But because Ganga (Bhishma's mother) had repeatedly requested Sage Parashurama, Parashurama had taught Bhishma.)

And so Bhishma was surprised when once, all his grandchildren came running to him breathless. 'You would not believe what we saw today!' Yudhishtara started as Duryodhana interrupted him. 'A tall, dark man...he got...our ball out of the well, with mere blades of grass!'

Bhishma listened attentively as Arjuna said with something close to reverence in his voice. 'That man aimed the grass at the ball! The blade of grass pierced the grass...Then he threw one blade after another which attached to the other blades....making a chain! Then he threw his ring inside the well and brought that out of the well, as well! He brought the ring out with a bow and arrow!'

Bhishma smiled as he realized the only person who it could be. He was suddenly anxious as he looked at his grandchildren. 'Where is he? He did not....'

Yudhishtara looked surprised as he looked at Bhishma and continued. 'That man said that if we were tell you all this, you would know who he was!' Bhishma smiled as Yudhishtara continued. 'Do you know him, grandfather?'

Bhishma chuckled. 'Why Yudhishtara? He is going to be your teacher! He is your acharya from now on!'

Yudhishtara paled on hearing this. Bhishma sensed something wrong and looked enquiringly at the young boy. 'Not knowing who he was....I...I....' Yudhishtara fumbled. Bhishma waited patiently as Yudhishtara continued. 'I spoke in an insulting manner....'

'What did you tell the man?' Bhishma asked alarmed.

'I told him that if he got the ring and the ball out, we would make sure he would be fed to his fill!' Yudhishtara muttered.

Bhishma laughed. 'Do not worry! The man that you speak about has spent his life in meditation and penance! He would not take offence to anything! He would forgive anyone!' Bhishma said as he got ready to bring the man to the palace.

Bhishma did not know how wrong he was about the man....

*********

Bhishma went and saw Drona in the exact place where the boys had left him, near the well. 'Drona! It is good to see you! What....' Bhishma stopped as he saw that all was not well. The man who stood before him was not a man of kindness or compassion but a man consumed by hatred.

'What happened to you?' Bhishma asked worried.

Drona shook his head angrily. 'I heard that you were looking for a teacher who would teach your grandchildren! I wish to teach them...Would you....'

'Drona!' Bhishma called Drona sternly. 'What happened?'

Drona looked at Bhishma as suddenly all the fight left him. 'Ashwattama! My son....' Drona began seemingly irrelevantly. He shook his head as he realized that he was being incoherent. 'I was always interested in penance and meditation! Making money was never a passion with me....' Drona told Bhishma about how Ashwattaman asked for milk and how the boys gave him powdered milk. 'As I was staring speechless at my son...I heard people looking at me insultingly! They said....that I was a bad father....that it was because of me that my son was drinking powdered rice and calling it milk...' Drona whispered as a tear escaped him.

'What happened after that?' Bhishma asked gently.

For some reason Drona looked dangerously mad as he continued. 'Drupada!' Drona spat out of the name. 'He studied in my father's ashrama! We were childhood friends!' Drona said panting angrily. 'When we were younger...he promised....he promised...' Drona's voice chocked off unable to continue.

'I decided to go to him for help!' Drona said finally. 'When I went to Drupada....right there in the open court, he insulted me!' Drona said furiously, turning a dangerous shade of red. 'He said that friendship could be only between equals! He said that I was poor beggar whereas he was the king of Panchala! He had me thrown out of the court!' Drona said bitterly. 'He said that he was friends with me when we were younger because it was necessary at that time! He said that I was foolish to expect that all that he spoke when he was younger was real!'

Drona breathed angrily as Bhishma was silent for some time.

'After that, I came to Hastinapur! I have been staying in Kripa's house! I learnt that you were looking for a teacher to teach advanced weapons! I will take the job!' Drona said quietly.

'What do you wish in return?' Bhishma said.


'Revenge!' Drona said with burning hatred. There was a poisonous smile in his lips. 'I will teach your grandchildren everything I know about weapons! In return as my gurudakshina (fees which is given to the teacher, after the complete of education) I will ask my students to defeat Drupada and bring him to me....' Drona said looking almost mad in anger. 

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