Episode # 386 – Guru Dhronacharya’s “double standards” in following Varnashrama Dharma – Story of Ekalaiva!!!


In the previous episode, we had witnessed the significance of “Varnaashrama Dharma” and how necessary is it for a person to stick to his / her “Varnaashrama Dharma” for leading a happy and a peaceful life. In due course, we had also witnessed how people in the Mahabharata deviated from their Varnaashrama Dharma and at the end how all of them paid a heavy price for it. We witnessed the example of Guru Dhronaachaarya, wherein he was basically a Brahmana by birth. As a Brahmana, he wasn’t supposed to enter a battle field and take the weapon in hand. However, due to whatsoever reasons, he did it. Subsequently, all of us know how did he meet a tragic end to his life in the battlefield. It was the same Guru Dhronaacharya who had denied to teach the small child “Ekalaiva” the art of usage of weapons. I’m sure that some of our readers might be aware of this episode, but it’s worth to revisit this in this context. I shall keep it very brief here. We can clearly witness the “Double Standards” followed by Guru Dhronaacharya, which was also one of the reasons for his tragic end.

Guru Dhronaachaarya was approached by a small little boy by name “Ekalaiva”, who was from a hunters’ community (considered to be part of Shudras). Upon witnessing the Paandava brothers, Duryodhana and Co. learning from an impeccable Guru in Dhronaacharya, this little boy Ekalaiva was so impressed and he too developed the interest in learning artillery. So he approached Guru Dhronaachaarya one fine day and expressed his interest for the same. Ekalaiva wanted to learn artillery only from Guru Dhronaachaarya. But did Dhronaachaarya accept the little boy’s request? He denied it by saying that he is not “eligible” to learn the art, as he was not a Kshatrya. Poor Ekalaiva upon hearing this, was so disappointed, but he never gave up. Being a child, he had lot of willpower in him. He was determined that he would learn the artillery only from Guru Dhronaachaarya. Now that his “Guru” had deserted him, he made a small statue of Guru Dhronaachaarya and learnt the artillery from the statue! From this, one can witness the steadfast determination and will power to learn something, whatever maybe the circumstance one is put into!

Once Ekalaiva had mastered the art of using the bow and arrow, he goes to his Guru in person and thanks him for teaching him (even though it was through a statue, Ekalaiva had the devotion to go to his Guru and thank him.) But, what was Guru Dhronaachaarya’s reaction? He was shell-shocked upon witnessing Ekalaiva’s expertise. Instead of appreciating and motivating the little child, Guru Dhronaachaarya wanted to make sure that Ekalaiva wasn’t allowed to excel more than his students in Arjuna and Duryodhana. So Guru Dhronaachaarya made a smart move – He asked Ekalaiva for the “Guru Dakshina” for whatever he has learnt. Of course, Ekalaiva was more than ready to offer anything at the feet of his Guru. But what did Guru Dhronaacharya ask? He asked Ekalaiva to cut his index finger and submit it to his feet, as a token of “Guru Dakshina”!

How cruel can one be to a little child – A child who was dedicated and steadfast in his approach – A child who was innocent and naïve in approaching Dhronaacharya to take him as his teacher – A child who excelled in his learning, despite being insulted by his Guru for just not being a “Kshatrya”! Despite all this, little Ekalaiva took his arrow and cut his index finger of the right hand – The finger that is vital for using the bow and arrow. He did not even bother that by cutting the index finger, he wouldn’t be able to use the bow and arrow for the rest of his life! Such is the dedication and “Guru Bhakti” that Ekalaiva had. By this, Guru Dhronaachaarya made sure that Ekalaiva would not be able to come near any artillery usage for the rest of his life! But for what reason? Ekalaiva was not a Kshatrya! If a person can “punish” an innocent child so badly for deviating from the Varnaashrama Dharma, how on earth would he go unpunished if he himself deviates from his Varnaashrama Dharma? Isn’t this “double standards” at its highest level? Can Bhagawan Krishna tolerate such cruelty to an innocent and a dedicated child like this? Thus he waited for the right time and punished Guru Dhronaachaarya by giving him a painful death in the Kurukshetra battlefield.

Thus, from this episode, we can clearly witness how people even during the “Dwaapara Yuga” deviated from their Varnaashrama Dharma and exposing their double standards and hypocrisy over it. We’re talking about hypocrisy in today’s world in the Kali Yuga, but this was existing even in Dwaapara Yuga itself!

So for today, let us understand how people play “double standards” when it comes to Varnaashrama Dharma and how this concept was misused for personal mileage even during the Mahabharata time! If such was the case then, we needn’t even talk about the happenings in the present Kali Yuga! Howevver, let us witness this context in the next episode! Stay tuned!





Published by Dr. Jeayaram

Holds a PhD in Management Psychology from Universite Paris Saclay, Paris, France. Also an Asst. Professor of Human Resources management at Bharatidhasan Institute of Management (BIM) Trichy, India A professional South Indian classical musician (singer) performing concerts. Through this blog, I'm trying to bring out the richness of Indian culture & values and I request your support and feedbacks in making this humble effort a success!!

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