The Greatest Archer

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Eklavya was a bright boy who had an intense desire to excel. He was ambitious too. He wanted to excel in archery and had heard that a great teacher Drona was teaching martial arts to the kuru putras in his ashram. His mother told him that Acharya Drona teaches the princes only and would not accept him as his disciple.

Eklavya was disappointed, but he was not one to give up. He was determined to learn. He made a small tunnel-like opening in the forest through which, from his end he could watch the body movements of Drona at the other end, as the Guru taught archery to his pupils. He observed them intently, and practiced them. Eklavya made a clay idol of Dronacharya that he worshiped as his Guru. He would pay reverence to his Guru every morning and evening. The talented young Eklavya soon acquired high knowledge in archery. He attributed his success to his Guru, Dronacharya.

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One day, as it happened, Acharya Drona and Arjuna were passing near the hut of Eklavya. It was a pleasant and peaceful afternoon and people were taking rest. The tranquility and silence was broken by constant barking of a dog. Eklavya did not like this, and he shut the mouth of the dog with an arrow. Dronacharya and Arjuna were surprised to see the dog with his mouth sealed with an arrow.

Curious Arjuna asked his Gurudev as to who could have done this delicate job. Even Dronacharya was amazed and knew the archer must be an exceptionally skilled artist. They decided to trace the extraordinary archer and reached the spot where Eklavya was practicing with his bow and arrow in front of the clay image of Drona. It took no time for Dronacharya to understand the situation. He was overwhelmed by the dedication of Eklavya, but knew that the need of creation was different.

Dronacharya went to Eklavya and said, “Who has taught you such wonderful skills in archery? Who is your Guru?”

Seeing the Guru in front of him, the boy was more than overjoyed and said, “This is your grace! I worship you as my Guru and I used to learn from the tunnel and practice the teachings in front of your image.”

Drona blessed Eklavya and asked him for a dakshina. Eklavya was overwhelmed at having being accepted by Dronacharya as his disciple and conceded his good fortune to be able to give a dakshina to his Guru.

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