Mahabharata for children
Mahabharata Episode 7
Kripacharya in his childhood days, known as Kripa, came to King Shantanu, Bheeshma's father, along with his sister Kripi, as orphans from a Brahmin family. Shantanu was a kind-hearted person. He raised Kripa and Kripi with best care. Kripa, through his best effort became a master in martial art and was then known as Kripacharya. Kripi was married to Drona, the son of sage Bharadwaj; Sage Bharadwaj was the best archer of his time. He ran a school to teach martial arts to the princes. His father, Bharadwaj, personally trained his son Drona. During his student life, Drona became a close friend of prince Drupada who promised Drona that he would share his kingdom with him when he became king. But when Drupada became king, he forgot all about his childhood promises to Drona.
After the death of Bharadwaj, Drone took over his father's responsibilities and was known as Dronacharya. In those days, an ideal teacher provided free education to all of his students and was satisfied with the honor showered by his students and the community. As a result, he stayed poor in meeting his daily needs unless some royalty provided financial support. Drona was no exception. He had a son named Ashwathama whom he loved dearly. One day Dronacharya witnessed that his playmates mocked his son because he was poor. He decided to go to his former schoolmate Drupada for financial help. Drupada, drowned in his royalty, ignored his childhood promises to Drona. He insulted Drona in his open court. Drone took the vow that one day he will get even with Drupada and left the court in rage. He soon left his hermitage and arrived at Kripa's residence along with his wife Kripi and Ashwathama.
Drona was passing by one day, when the princes of Hastinapur were playing ball. He saw the bouncing ball fall into a nearby well. The princes were puzzled as to get the ball out of the well. Then Drona came forward. He listened to the princes and then threw his own ring into the well. Then he boasted that he would get both the ball and the ring with the help of his archery. The princes were amazed to see that he kept his promise. They all requested Drona to see their grandfather Bheeshma. Bheeshma, the old warrior, heard what happened and was amazed by the ability of Drona. He immediately appointed Drona as the teacher of archery for the princes. Drona was very pleased with his position that considerably improved the economic condition of his family. He began to instruct the princes with great care and love. He was confident that his royal disciples will one day help him to defeat Drupada, and he will be able to fulfill his vow of getting even with him.
Of all the disciples, Drona loved Arjuna the most. He was most skillful and Drona promised Arjuna that he would make him the best archer in the world. One-day prince Ekalavya, son of king Nishad, came to Drona and requested Drona to take him as his disciple. King Nishad belonged to a low cast and Drona was committed only to the royal princes of Kuru dynasty. Thus, Drona refused to take Ekalavya as his disciple. Ekalavya was disappointed but did not lose hope. He went into a deep forest, made an idol of Drona and considering him as his guru, practiced archery daily. Through his devotion and constant practice, Ekalavya excelled in the game of archery.