Drupada, the king of Panchala, organised a competition where the challenge was to string a bow and hit a target; the winner would be chosen to marry his daughter Draupadi. Arjuna was victorious and was garlanded by Draupadi. The Pandavas returned with her to their mother Kunti, who, even before she saw them, asked them to share whatever they had got. She realised her mistake when she saw Draupadi, but her command could not be violated. After much deliberation, Yudhisthira decided that Draupadi would be their common wife. When Drupada was told about this, he protested. However, the seer Vyasa arrived and told him that the Pandavas were in reality incarnations of Indra, whose wife had been reborn as Draupadi, and they were thus destined for each other. Vyasa added that in another instance a young woman had prayed to Shiva for a husband, and in her enthusiasm, had prayed five times instead of once. This woman was now reborn as Draupadi, and Shiva had fulfilled her prayers. Convinced by these stories, Drupada consented to the marriage.
- How does this story reveal that mother was considered as the highest guru?
- Why didn't Kunti save Draupadi from the dire situation?
- Why did Drupada and Sage Vyasa decide Draupadi's strange marriage with five men?
“Proper” social roles
"Proper" social roles Here is a story from the Atli Pan'an of the Malmbharata : Once Drona, a Brahmana who taught archery to the Kuru princes, Was approached by Ekalavya, a forestdwelling nishada (a hunting community). When Drona, who knew the dhartna, refused to have him as his pupil, Ekalavya returned to the forest, prepared au image of Drona out of clay, and treating it as his teacher, began to practise on his own. In due course, he acquired great skill in archery. One day, the Kuru princes went, hunting and their dog, wandering in the woods, came upon Ekalavya. When the dog smelt the dark nishada wrapped in black deer skin, his body caked with dirt, it began to bark. Annoyed, Ekalavya shot seven arrows into its mouth. When the dog returned to the Pandavas, they were amazed at this superb display of archery. They tracked down Ekalavya, who introduced himself as a pupil of Drona. Drona had once told his favourite student Arjuna, that he would be unrivalled amongst his pupils. Arjuna now reminded Drona about this. Drona approached Ekalavya, who immediately acknowledged and honeyed him as his teacher. When Drona demanded his right thumb as his fee, Ekalavya unhesitatingly cut it off and offered it. But thereafter, when he shot with his remaining fingers, he was no longer as fast as he had been before. Thus, Drona kept his word : no one was better than Arjuna.
- Why did Drona refuse to have Ekalavya as his pupil?
- How did Ekalavya react to the demand of his Guru?
- Mention two versions of Guru-Shishya Parampara mentioned in the given extract.