The Mahabharata Home
(Chaitraratha Parva continued)
"The Brahmana said, 'At that region where the Ganga entered the plains there lived a great Rishi, devoted to the austerest of penances. Of rigid
vows and great wisdom, he bore the name Bharadwaja. One day, on coming to the Ganga to perform his ablutions, the Rishi saw the Apsara Ghritachi, who had come before, standing on the bank after her ablutions were over. And it so happened that a wind arose and disrobed the Apsara standing there. And the Rishi beholding her thus disrobed, felt the influence of desire. Though practising the vow of continence from his very youth, as soon as he felt the influence of desire, the Rishi's vital fluid came out. And as it came out, he held it in a pot (drana), and of that fluid thus preserved in a pot was born a son who came to be called Drona (the pot-born). And Drona studied all the Vedas and their several branches. And Bharadwaja had a friend named Prishata who was the king of Panchalas. And about the time that Drona was born, Prishata also obtained a son named Drupada. And that bull amongst Kshatriyas, Prishata's son, going every day to that asylum of Bharadwaja, played and studied with Drona. And after Prishata's death, Drupada succeeded him on the throne. Drona about this time heard that (the great Brahmana hero) Rama (on the eve of his retiring into the weeds) was resolved to give away all his wealth. Hearing this, the son of Bharadwaja repaired unto Rama who was about to retire into the woods and addressing him, said, 'O best of Brahmanas, know me to be Drona who hath come to thee to obtain thy wealth.' Rama replied, saying, 'I have given away everything. All that I now have is this body of mine and my weapons. O Brahmana, thou mayest ask of me one of these two, either my body or my weapons.' Then Drona said, 'It behoveth thee, sir, to give me all thy weapons together with (the mysteries of) their use and withdrawal.'
"The Brahmana continued, 'Then Rama of Bhrigu's race, saying, 'So be it,' gave all his weapons unto Drona, who obtaining them regarded himself as crowned with success. Drona obtaining from Rama the most exalted of all weapons, called the Brahma weapon, became exceedingly glad and acquired a decided superiority over all men. Then the son of Bharadwaja, endued with great prowess went to king Drupada, and approaching that monarch, that tiger among men, said, 'Know me for thy friend.' Hearing this Drupada said, 'One of low birth can never be the friend of one whose lineage is pure, nor can one who is not a car-warrior have a car-warrior for his friend. So also one who is not a king cannot have a king as his friend. Why dost thou, therefore, desire (to revive our) former friendship?'
"The Brahmana continued, 'Drona, gifted with great intelligence, was extremely mortified at this, and settling in his mind some means of humiliating the king of the Panchala he went to the capital of the Kurus, called after the name of an elephant. Then Bhishma, taking with him his grandsons, presented them unto the wise son of Bharadwaja as his pupils for instruction, along with various kinds of wealth. Then Drona, desirous of humiliating king Drupada, called together his disciples and addressed them, 'Ye sinless ones, it behoveth you, after you have been accomplished in arms, to give me as preceptorial fee something that I cherish in my heart.'
[paragraph continues] Then Arjuna and others said unto their preceptor, 'So be it.'--After a time when the Pandavas became skilled in arms and sure aims, demanding of them his fee, he again told them these words, 'Drupada, the son of Prishata, is the king of Chhatravati. Take away from him his kingdom, and give it unto me.' Then the Pandavas, defeating Drupada in battle and taking him prisoner along with his ministers, offered him unto Drona, who beholding the vanquished monarch, said, 'O king, I again solicit thy friendship; and because none who is not a king deserveth to be the friend of a king, therefore, O Yajnasena, I am resolved to divide thy kingdom amongst ourselves. While thou art the king of the country to the south of Bhagirathi (Ganga), I will rule the country to the north.'
"The Brahmana continued, 'The king of the Panchalas, thus addressed by the wise son of Bharadwaja, told that best of Brahmanas and foremost of all persons conversant with weapons, these words, 'O high-souled son of Bharadwaja, blest be thou, let it be so, let there be eternal friendship between us as thou desirest!' Thus addressing each other and establishing a permanent bond between themselves, Drona and the king of Panchala, both of them chastisers of foes, went away to the places they came from. But the thought of that humiliation did not leave the king's mind for a single moment. Sad at heart, the king began to waste away.'"
Next: Section CLXIX