Story of Eklavya – The Epitome of Guru Bhakti

The story of Eklavya is glorified in the "Mahabharata epic". Eklavya was the son of a tribal chief by name Hiraṇyadhanura. The boy was very fond of archery and wanted to learn the art from Dronacharya, the greatest master of martial arts and weaponry of his time and teacher to the Kauravas and Pandavas. However, Drona did not accept Eklavya as his disciple because of his low birth status. Determined to learn archery from none other than Dronacharya, Eklavya made a clay statue of Drona and began practicing archery in front of the statue. The boy soon mastered the art of archery.

One day Kauravas, Pandavas and Drona ventured into the forest to hunt. In the forest they found a dog, which was not able to bark as an archer skillfully shot arrows into the dog’s mouth without harming it. Upon enquiring about the archer, they met Eklavya who was practicing archery in front of the clay idol of Drona. Eklavya bowed before Drona and explained that he had shot the arrows into the dog’s mouth as it was barking and disturbing him. An astounded Drona asked Eklavya who his teacher was. Eklavya explained that he learnt archery from Drona himself and showed him the clay statue. This disturbed the Guru a lot as he promised Arjuna that he would make him the greatest archer in the world and Arjuna was no match to this tribal boy. In order to keep his promise, Drona asked Eklavya to cut his thumb and offer it as Guru Dakshina. Eklavya readily accepted his Guru’s orders and offered his thumb as Guru Dakshina. Eklavaya is thereby remembered for his utmost devotion to his Guru.

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