Guru Drona, also known as Dronacharya was the teacher who taught the arts of war to both the Pandava and Kaurava princes. He mastered the divine weapons. Arjuna was his favorite student and love him more than his own son Ashwathama. He is seen as a partial incarnation of Brihaspati, the teacher of the gods. He represents the experience of being the oldest of the Kaurava clan. He is also a very powerful valuable leader, with a flaw, that is to be easily convinced by others.

He is the hero of the ancient Sanskrit epic Mahabharata whose banner has a lion’s tail. Drona possessed knowledge and proficiency in various types of martial arts, including the art of wielding divine weapons.

Dronacharya Facts

Dronacharya
Art by Molee on DeviantArt

Let’s know some important facts about the main character of Mahabharata:

1. Birth of Drona

Dronacharya was the son of the sage Bharadwaja, and according to legend, he was born in the place where the city of Dehradun is now located. His name translates as a vessel or born in a vessel, as according to legend he was born not from a woman’s womb, but from a vessel. Once Bharadhwaja went to bathe in the Ganges, where he met a beautiful apsara named Ghritachi, who was bathing in the waters of a sacred river. At the sight of the apsara, Bharadhvaja ej*culated, collecting the seed in a vessel. From this seed, Drona was born.

2. Marriage

Drona married Kripi, Kripa’s sister. Kripa was the royal teacher of the princes of Hastinapura. Like Drona, Kripi and Kripa were not born from the womb. Kripi and Drona had a son, Ashvathama.

3. Drone and Parashurama

Drona visited Parashurama to study with him. When he arrived, Parashurama had just bequeathed all of his possessions to the Brahmins. He offered his body or his weapons to Drona. Drona chose the weapons. So, he came into possession of all his weapons including the particularly effective Brahma staff, which was even more powerful than the Brahmashtra.

4. Drona and Drupada

Drona wanted to escape poverty. He remembered his friendship with Drupada (Father of Draupadi) and asked for help. Drupada was aware of the social difference and sent Drona away saying he was a beggar. Drona went away humiliated and swore vengeance.

When the training was over, Drona asked his students to imprison Draupada as a Gurudakshina. The Pandavas, under the leadership of Arjuna, defeated Drupada, tied him up, and brought him to Drona. Drona freed Drupada, but demanded what was promised, namely half of the kingdom. That was the end of the matter for Drona, but Drupada sought revenge. He made a fire offering to ask for a son to kill Drona. The twins Dhrishtadyumna and Draupadi appeared from the fire. Years later, in the Kurukshetra War, Dhrishtadyumna beheaded Drona.

5. Arjuna and Dronacharya

Of all the students, Arjuna was the most talented. He even surpassed Drona’s son Ashvathama. Arjuna’s devotion towards his teacher had deeply impressed Drona. For this, he gave Arjuna mantras to master the invincible Divine Weapon Brahmashtra. Drona predicted Arjuna that he would become the greatest archer on earth. He imparted more knowledge to Arjuna than any other of his students.

6. Drona’s biasedness towards Eklavya

Ekalavya was a young prince of the Nishada, a hunting tribe. He wanted to become a great warrior by learning the skills of Dronacharya. He approached Dronacharya, but the latter returned him, as Ekalavya was from a lower caste in the community. Ekalavya was wounded but did not give up his will to become an archer. He gathered the soil on which Dronacharya walked and made it an idol. He treated Dronacharya’s idol as a symbolic teacher and perfected himself in archery through several years of practice.

When Dronacharya found out about Ekalavya’s skill, he visited him to know about his Guru. Ekalavya then showed him the idol and said, “You are my Guru”. Dronacharya was worried that Ekalavya would become a better archer than Arjuna. Therefore, he asked Ekalavya to give the thumb as Guru Dakshina (teacher’s fee).

Without question, Ekalavya cut his thumb and gave it to Dronacharya, thus missing the opportunity to be a better archer than Arjuna.

7. Drona as Commander in Chief for five days

Drona was the teacher of most of the warriors who faced each other in the Kurukshetra War. He was obliged to fight on the side of the Kauravas, although his affection belonged to the Pandavas. As the most powerful of all warriors, he killed thousands of Pandavas. After Bhishma fell, he became commander in chief of the Kuru army for five days.

8. Drona planned to imprison Yudhishthira

During the battle, Drona planned to take Yudhishthira prisoner. To carry out this plan, Duryodhana called for the help of King Bhagadatta, the son of the great Asura Narakasura. Bhagadatta was the ruler of the kingdom of Pragjotish, located in the territory of modern Burma. Desiring to avenge his father Narakasura, who had previously been killed by Krishna, Bhagadatta agreed to fight against the Pandavas. But despite the help of Bhagadatta, Drona could not captivate Yudhishthira.

9. Death of the greatest warrior

On the 15th day of the battle, prompted by Dhritarashtra, Drona decided to use the powerful brahmadanda weapon, which possessed the power of the seven great sages. Since no one except Drona knew how to wield this weapon or resist it, Drona was invincible throughout the fifteenth day of the battle. Observing everything, Krishna then came up with a cunning plan with which it was possible to break the invincible Drona.

Following Krishna’s plan, Bhima found and killed an elephant called Asvathama and began to shout loudly that Asvathama had been killed. Drona, however, did not believe Bhima and went to Yudhishthira for confirmation, knowing that he would not lie under any circumstances. When asked by Drona, Yudhishthira answered a cryptic Sanskrit phrase that roughly meant: Ashwathama died, be it a man or an elephant. While Yudhisthira was pronouncing these words, at the order of Krishna, the soldiers suddenly blew into the shells, the sound of which absorbed the last part of the phrase.

Believing the news of the death of his son, Drona laid down his arms, got off the chariot and closed his eyes, sat down on the ground. Dhrishtadyumna seized the moment and beheaded Drona. It is said that by the time Dhrishtadyumna’s sword cut off Drona’s head, his soul had already left his body as a result of his meditation. The death of Drona brought great sorrow to Arjuna, as he hoped to capture his dear teacher and thus save his life.

So, these are some of the facts about the greatest warrior and teacher of ancient Mahabharata. These facts allow us to learn something that we can apply in our lives.

(Last Updated On: July 7, 2021)