Episode # 157 – Ekalavya – An epitome of “Guru-Bhakti”, but cheated by the Guru!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed Ekalavya’s arrival into the scene, wherein he challenges Arjuna to be a better person in terms of handling the bow and arrow. Ekalavya was spotted by Arjuna and the other kids as he had stitched seven arrows in a dog’s mouth, without harming it even a bit. This requires enormous precision and expertise and upon investigation, Arjuna came to know of Ekalavya and his dedication towards the Guru! Ekalavya’s Guru was none other than Guru Dhronaachaarya himself, but not directly! When Ekalavya had once approached Guru Dhronaachaarya for education, he had rejected Ekalavya primarily because he was a hunter’s son, and most importantly, since Guru Dhronaachaarya knew of Ekalavya’s potential, he did not want him to challenge Arjuna by any means. Guru Dhronaachaarya had a special corner for Arjuna and if someone tries to excel beyond Arjuna’s capacity, he did not like that and hence, downplayed that person. Ekalavya was a soft target for Guru Dhronaachaarya in this regard. However, as we had witnessed in the previous episode, Ekalavya never got dejected when Guru Dhronaachaarya rejected him. He took it in the positive sense and designed a statue exactly similar to Guru Dhronaachaarya, and with that, Ekalavya learnt all the skills and expertise of the bow and arrow with the help of that statue itself! 

Thus, we can see how much of “Guru-Bhakti” Ekalavya had. Without even seeing the Guru if a student would be able to gain such an enormous amount of expertise, only Ekalavya can do such a thing ever! Thus, Ekalavya is an epitome of “Guru Bhakti” and demonstrates how one should respect the Guru even though he rejects you. Till now we’ve witnessed how Arjuna was exhibiting enormous “Guru-Bhakti”, but Ekalavya was a step more in this! Of course, Arjuna had no problems in exhibiting “Guru-Bhakti” because anyways he was getting the due attention from his Guru for whatever he did. In fact, Arjuna got special attention than anyone else in the group. Hence, it is not new that Arjuna would exhibit “Guru-Bhakti” towards Guru Dhronaachaarya. However, Ekalavya’s case wasn’t this. He was rejected by Guru Dhronaachaarya for a petty reason, if not anything else. If another kid would have been in his position, he would have taken vengeance on Guru Dhronaachaarya and tried to avenge the insult. But Ekalavya wasn’t in that category isn’t it? His mind was determined only to follow Guru Dhronaachaarya’s path and teachings, and even though Guru Dhronaachaarya rejected him, Ekalavya did not take that as an insult. Instead, he took it in a positive way and followed Guru Dhronaachaarya even more! If one has to gain expertise by just looking at the statue of a Guru, we can witness how much dedication and devotion did Ekalavya have towards his Guru. This of course, made Ekalavya a stand-out person when it comes to exhibiting “Guru-Bhakti” and not many people can match this! 

Moving on further, as the kids go and inform Guru Dhronaachaarya about this “new boy” who has extreme expertise in the bow and arrow technique, he too came down to investigate who this boy was. As Guru Dhronaachaarya realized that this boy is none other than Ekalavya, whom he had rejected earlier, he was puzzled! On one hand, his ego was haunting him! How can someone whom he had rejected, come out with flying colors like this? On the other hand, Guru Dhronaachaarya had given a certificate to Arjuna to be the best in bow and arrow techniques! What if this Ekalavya challenges that and proves Guru Dhronaachaarya wrong? Several thoughts were running in his mind! 

After a few minutes of pondering, Guru Dhronaachaarya comes to a conclusion. He decides to act smart here – He asks Ekalavya thus, “Oh Ekalavya! Now that you’ve learnt everything from me, you should give me a “Guru Dakshina” for what you’ve learnt, isn’t it? What are you going to give me?” Upon this, the innocent Ekalavya answered the Guru, “Oh Guru! I’m ready to give whatever you ask for! Please ask me anything!” Guru Dhronaachaarya saw this as a chance to cut down Ekalavya’s growing popularity. He immediately asks Ekalavya thus, “Oh Ekalavya! You’ve to cut down your thumb finger of your right hand and give it to me as your “Guru Dakshina”! Are you ready to do this for me?” Upon hearing this, Ekalavya did not even talk a word back! He immediately took his bow, aimed one arrow on his thumb finger on his right hand and cut it open! As blood was flowing out of his hand like a river, Ekalavya gave his bleeding right thumb as a token of “Guru Dakshina” to Guru Dhronaachaarya! 

Upon receiving it from the little child, everybody around were in tears! The main reason for people being moved to tears is that the world had lost a great person in terms of bow and arrow on that day, thanks to Guru Dhronaachaarya’s arrogance and jealousy! With this, Guru Dhronaachaarya was very happy and relieved that Ekalavya was no more in contention with Arjuna in terms of the bow and arrow! What a shallow mindset this is for a so-called great “Guru”! This is where “Adharma” comes to play yet again! We’re able to witness how a Guru or an Aachaarya should not conduct himself to a student. 

However, this did not deter Ekalavya! He was more than happy to give away his right thumb and with this, he still practiced using the bow and arrow with the remaining four fingers. However, because of the absence of his thumb, he was not able to hold the bow properly in his hands, and thus, he slowly lost his expertise in the art! How sad this could be! So for today, let us understand how Guru Dhronaachaarya put poor Ekalavya into untold misery for no fault of his! His dedication and Guru-Bhakti failed him miserably since he went behind a person who did not deserve his devotion and dedication! We shall wait till the next episode to continue this discussion further! 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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