Mahabharata for children

Mahabharata Episode 8

One day the Kuru princes went hunting into the jungle where Ekalavya lived. Their hunting dog strayed from the party and saw Ekalavya. It began to bark while Ekalavya was busy with his practice of archery. Ekalavya shot a volley of arrows at the dog such that it corked its open mouth. The dog ran back to the royal party and the princes were amazed to see its plight. They all came to Ekalavya, along with Drona, in order to identify the person who has surpassed them in the art of archery.

Seeing Drona Ekalavya fell at the feet of his guru. Drona was highly pleased by his devotion and diligence. He soon recognized that Ekalavya will eventually become the indomitable rival of Arjuna and Drona may not be able to keep his promise. So, Drona asked for his right thumb as teacher's reward (guru dakshina) and Ekalavya obeyed, cutting his right thumb and placing it at the guru's feet. What a glorious example of obedience to teachers!

When the princes had completed their training, grandsire Bheeshma arranged for a competition in order to demonstrate their sportsmanship. Various dignitaries were invited in the grand ceremony. Arjuna surprised everyone by his feats of archery. When the tournament was about to complete, Karna arrived on the scene. No one knew that he was the illegitimate child of Kunti raised by a charioteer. He challenged Arjuna. At this point, Kripacharya objected.

"The competition is meant for royal princes only and is not open to ordinary people."

Hearing the objection, Duryodhan, a rival of Arjuna, came forward and offered Karna the state of Anga, making him a prince. Karna was as good as Arjuna and no one could decide the superiority of one over the other.

The day completed and the royal princes, came to Drona to pay respect and pay guru dakshina (teacher's reward). Drona asked them to capture Drupada, the king of Panchal, and bring him to Drona as a prisoner. Kauravas and Pandavas had no problem to run over Panchal and present Drupada to Drona.

Drona reminded Drupada of the insults he inflicted on him and said, "Drupada, as a friend I am returning half of the kingdom to you, but I hope that in the future you will remember the lesson and respect the promises that you make."