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Drona - the Great Teacher who knew poverty

Updated: Feb 27, 2022


Blog # 11 -

You might be the son of the great Sage Bharadwaj (one of the original Saptarishis, the 7 sages) and trained in weaponry by the Great Sage Parashurama. You might be undefeatable in war. But knowing poverty can color everything you see, think and do.

Mahabharata Context:

Drona was the son of Sage Bharadwaj and grew up around princes who studied with his father. He was spurned and insulted by his dear friend King Drupad when he wanted a fresh start in life. Wandering about, he came upon the Pandava and Kaurava children and taught them to string blades of grass to retrieve a ball from a well. Appointed the teacher of the Hastinapura princes, he teaches them well and is a sincere employee as he lifts his family from poverty. He shows his bias towards his favorite pupil, Arjuna when he extracts a terrible fee from another renowned boy-archer, Ekalavya.

After Bhishma's passing, he becomes Commander in Chief of the Kaurava army and works hard with his beloved son Ashwathama, to win the war for the Kauravas, even though he knows they are in the wrong. Finding him undefeatable in battle, the Pandavas assisted by Krishna, hatch a devious plan that convinces Drona that his son is dead in the battlefield. He lays down his weapons and meditates, as King Drupad's son slays him in a surprise attack.

Our null hypothesis of the Drona persona:

Drona's early life poverty colored his personal choices. He was very knowledgeable and a great teacher. But his decisions are colored by his financial insecurity, and the subsequent loyalty to the Hastinapura throne arise from that. His bias towards Arjuna, the Pandava prince is also an example of his survival instincts, honed by his early experiences with poverty. He needed to ensure his students emerged as the best! He was also a man of honor. Despite having access to the Divine weapons, the Divyastras, he consistently refused to use them despite being criticized by Duryodhana. He was a man of principle and knew the bad consequences of using weapons of immense power

Lessons Learned:

They say knowledge gives power. True. But isn't poverty the greatest teacher? The people we interact with on a daily basis may come from different financial backgrounds. This impacts their risk-taking abilities and we need to consider that human aspect as we work with each other. Additionally, the next time you judge people by the clothes they wear, or home they live in, or the car they ride, think about what they might know. You might just learn something by having a conversation with them! Poverty is just as great a teacher as Drona.

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