Thursday, July 31, 2008

Drupada and Dronacharya

Friendship day is near. I have a story (again from Mahabharat :)) for this day.
This is a unique story of friendship between Drupad and Dronacharya which, I believe, has always got less attention.

Drupad and Drona became friends in the ashram where they used to study in their childhood. Drupad was the prince of the kingdom Panchal(Kam pillai), while Drona was son of sage Bharadwaj.

Drawn by Mrinal Rai
Drupad used to say to Drona, "O Drona, you are my dear friend. And friends should share their belongings equally. So whatever is yours, half of that would be mine and whatever is mine, half of that would be yours. You'll see when I become king, I'll give you half of my kingdom", and Drona used to feel proud of his friendship.

Years passed. Drupad became the king of Panchal, but Drona had to suffer a harsh fate. Poverty struck him. He was so poor that his wife Kripi used to put some water dipped in rice powder over the mouth of their son Ashwatthama, to show others that he is having milk every day.
Drawn by Mrinal Rai
It was at that time when Drona remembered the promise of his friend Drupad. He told Kripi, "In these harsh times, only my friend Drupad can help us and he will help us for sure"

Drona went to Drupad and reminded him of his promise. He said that since he owns half of his kingdom as per said during their childhood, he demands nothing but just 1 cow from his kingdom. Drupad laughed at Drona. He said, "You Idiot, you're still struck to the promises made in childhood. O Drona, friendship is always between people who are equal in status. Look at me, I am king of Kam pillai, and look at you, who are you, a poor brahmin. There can be no friendship between us. So don’t demand anything on the basis of friendship. You are a brahmin though, if you beg for something, I can give you even more than a cow".
Drawn by Mrinal Rai
Drona felt humiliated. He said nothing and left.

Fate later turned in favor of Drona when he was invited by the mighty Bheeshma to teach archery and warfare skills to his grandsons the Pandavas and the Kauravas, young princes of kingdom of Hastinapur. Drona imparts all his knowledge he learnt from his guru, the invincible Parashuram, to the five pandavas and 100 kauravas. When he trained all of them, he asked that in Guru-Dakshina (the ritual to give something to the teacher after the education is complete), he wanted them to capture King Drupad. The 100 Kauravas fail to capture the warrior king Drupad, but the five pandavas without any army capture Drupad alive and bring him in front of Drona.
Drawn by Mrinal Rai
Drona tells him, "See, now I have filled the gap we had in our positions. Now we can be friends, can't we Drupad? You failed to keep your promise but I will not, my friend. I own your kingdom now, but I will give you your share. You keep half of the kingdom and I will give half to my son Ashwatthama". Drupad felt insulted and decided to take revenge, he was though greatly impressed by the archery skills of Arjun, the third among the pandav and Drona's favorite student.

In rage of vengeance, Drupad performed a yagya and produced a son named Drishtadyumna who was declared as the slayer of Drona.
Drawn by Mrinal Rai
He also got a daughter named Draupadi whom later Arjun won in her Swayamvar. But later she was married to all the five pandav brothers. Drupad was happy that he became father-in-law of the greatest warriors.

Though Drishtadyumna was destined to kill Drona, he was sent by his father to Dronacharya himself to learn archery.
Drawn by Mrinal Rai
Drupad knew that Drona was the best teacher for archery in the world. Drona, though having full knowledge that Drishtadyumna will kill him one day, accepted him as his student because he was his friend's son.

The eldest Kaurav son, Duryodhan was jealous of his cousins Pandavas and he invited all his pandav brothers once for the game of dice. He wickedly defeats them and wins their kingdom and their wife Draupadi. She was brought in the assembly hall of Hastinapur by dragging through hair. She pleads to Drona, "Hey Acharya Drona, you are my father's friend. Please save me from these evil souls here. Being the closest person to my father, is it not your duty to save me?"
Drawn by Mrinal Rai
But Drona was helpless. He could not oppose the king's sons, even though he was their teacher, because he was indebted by Hastinapur kingdom.

The humiliation of Draupadi brought about a war between Pandavas and the Kauravas in Kurukshetra. This war once again brought Dronacharya along with his son Ashwatthama face to face to confront Drupad and his son Drishtadyumna.
Drawn by Mrinal Rai
Drona had to aid the Kuaravas side because of his duty towards Hastinapur while Drishtadyumna was the commander in chief from the pandavas side. After the fall of Bheeshma, Dronacharya became the commander in chief from the Kauravas side.

On the 15th day of the war, the great duel between Drona and Drupad was fought. Before the war, Drona sked Drupad, “This is our final chance to meet each other Drupad, lets greet each other”. But Drupad replied, “You are not even worthy of my greetings, Drona”. Drona destroyed Drupad's bow and mace. They fought with swords then, and after a long battle, Drona struck the sword in the chest of his friend Drupad killing him.
Drawn by Mrinal Rai
On the same day, when Drona became invincible in the battle then on the advice of Krishna, the clever charioteer of Arjun, false news of Ashwatthama's death was given to Dronacharya. This made him disheartened and he dropped his weapons. He sat down in the battlefield in yoga position. It was then the vengeful Drishtadyumna came from behind and cut off Drona's head.
Drawn by Mrinal Rai
After the war of that day got over, the dead body of Drupad was lying on the field and his crown dropped a little above his head to match the crownless head of his friend Drona lying very close to his body.
drawn by Mrinal Rai
Thus there remained no difference between the friends. Both were sharing their belongings (of eternal glory of great warriors lying dead in the battlefield) equally as once told by Drupad.

(All the drawings in the post are drawn by me as part of rough sketches for my book "Kurukshetra Yuddha". You can buy the book from here:


Anonymous said...

Hi Mrinal,
Its a cool one.
Happy friendship day.
Keep your "netra" open :) and ignite us as always :)

MR said...

Thanks Aakash!!
Happy Friendship day to u too!!

M.P.Singh said...

its gr88 dude, keep on going.. happy frndship day

Anonymous said...

Thank you!!! it helped me in my homework.......A LOT!

Sudhir Joglekar said...

There is only one detail that is wrong here - Krishna did not plan Dron's death. It was
Bheem who did it... I have given the sequence of events on my blog. I hope it is ok to post the link here than write it all over again.

MR said...

Sudhir Joglekar: It was Krihsna who gave the idea. Bheem just followed his advice: तरस्तान कुन्तीसुतान दृष्ट्वा दरॊण सायकपीडितान
मतिमाञ शरेयसे युक्तः केशवॊ ऽरजुनम अब्रवीत
67 नैष युद्धेन संग्रामे जेतुं शक्यः कथं चन
अपि वृत्रहणा युद्धे रथयूथप यूथपः
68 आस्थीयतां जये यॊगॊ धर्मम उत्सृज्य पाण्डव
यथा वः संयुगे सर्वान न हन्याद रुक्मवाहनः
69 अश्वत्थाम्नि हते नैष युध्येद इति मतिर मम
तं हतं संयुगे कश चिद अस्मै शंसतु मानवः