Arjun, the king of Hastinapur and Indraprasth, was a very skillful warrior. He was the son of Pandu and Kunti, born from the divine mantra given to Kunti by a Sage. Kunti calls upon Indra, the God of gods and the result of them is Arjun. Arjun is trained along with his brothers, by Drona, the most skillful teacher. Arjun excels in all weapons of the war, but he was highly skillful in Archery. He was man of talent. As the story goes he could pierce the eye of fish, rotating on a wheel, by looking in the oil placed in a big bowl. This was a test for winning the hand of Draupadi, the daughter of Drupad. He goes on to become one of the greatest king and warrior in the battled field of Kurukshetra and kills all his rivals in the war, who were his own brothers, teachers, relatives and his own clan. He gets aid from Krishna, the king of Dwarka, the avatar of Lord Vishnu. Krishna preaches him the essence of Life and explains him the duty of life. He tells him the Bhagwad Gita. Arjun then is successful in defeating the opponents and claiming the right on Hastinapur along with his brothers, the Pandavas.
What is more to this ? Well, was Arjun was even great as he is showcased as ? Was he even the greatest archer of his time ? Did he just got lucky to be born with golden spoon and surrounded by people with wisdom, intent and purpose in every walk of life ? What would have happened of Arjun, without Dron or Krishna ? Is Arjun, something on his own, if so is he so legendary as the story goes, on his own ?
Well, I have two good contenders against him, in the field of archery to be specific. First of them is Eklavya. Eklavya is a tribal boy who learns the art of archery by himself. He places the idol of Guru Drona and using his concentration, determination and will power, achieves to learn everything about archery and excel at it. If we speculate in the very systematic way, it might happen in some cases, he might have listened to all the teachings from the top of a tree or secretly hiding in bushes. Whatever the way he acquired the skills, he didn’t have any formal teaching nor any particular background. When the Pandavas, come to know of such a skillful archer and when Arjun questions Eklavya, sadly, how he acquired the skills, he comes to know of Drona being his teacher. When taken to Drona, he disagrees and comes to know of how Eklavya, learnt by self. Drona, was a wise man, a man of virtue, but he wanted to see his student, Arjun to be the best at archery.
What Drona did next is something I would like to speculate over and over again and every time I would land into different possibility of why Drona did so ? He asks Eklavya to cut his thumb and provide him as a Gurudakshina. Eklavya, does so without a thought and provides Drona with his thumb. Hence, without thumb, Eklavya could never use a bow and his chapter in the history of Archery and Mahabharata is over. In the books of Moral, it is showcased this story as Eklavya, was without a Guru and it is said that knowledge without Guru, is blind. But I would like to think it is otherwise. It is not about the knowledge or skill being blind. It was the determination and the ability of Eklavya that strikes me more and that provokes me to think of it. Was the world condemned to make Arjun the great ? Is it the story tellers, who mixed the stories and modified it ? Were Drona and Krishna, men with higher ability, aware of consequences of everything and they decide to take some steps, that are not of understanding to a common man ?
I would always been revisiting this chapter of history or mythology, whatever you call it, to know what is it in the realm of this story, that one should take and make out of ? I want to know what is your view on the story and legend who never became one – Eklavya.
The second contender in the next post.