My name is Eklavya and I’m the greatest warrior that this world has ever seen. I was dropped in the wood at the age of ten to train to be the greatest. It was a long time before
I would achieve the title of the best archer and it would be an before I could face Drona and his “greatest” pupil Arjun.
“Bow down and prove your loyalty! You say you lived in these woods since you were a boy and fashioned a likeness of me out of sticks. Therefore, I became your master and taught you the greatness of the mighty bow?! Prove it and bow…prove it and…”
Without a second though Eklavya bowed down and lowered his head out of respect for the master who taught him his heroic ways.
“….now prove your loyalty. Prove it by dismembering the very finger that has made you the best archer. An archer that even surpasses Arjuna.”With that Drona put his hand proudly on Arjuna’s shoulder and looked down at Eklavya in disgust. How dare this person of non-noble blood say that I would do such a thing, thought Drona.
With a quick motion Eklavya slid his golden dagger from his sheath and Drona looked at the knife with wide eyes at it glistened in the sunlight through the trees.
“How could you possibly have the dagger of the the great Shiva, you a simply peasant that
worshiped a statue of a man who did not want to train you! Who did not want to waste the time on such a waste of space! It belongs to Arjuna, he is great one!” With the wave of his hand Arjuna brought up his bow and pulled back the thin string causing the bow to bend in Eklavya’s direction.
“You call me unimportant, a peasant and nothing compared to your great Arjun. Yet, I’m the one that was lead to these woods by the great gods. To live out the life of solitude and enlightenment. It is I who was wise and bold enough to choose the greatest master. To learn his ways….to know his mind, to fulfill the destiny in which I was given.
“Destiny!Ha! What destiny could you possibly have!”, Drona tilted his head back in laughter and Arjuna also stifled a laugh seemingly unaffected in composed.
“To kill you before you bring about a great war”, with this he through the golden dagger, at the same time Arjuna released his arrow it spun and whirled it’s way towards Eklavaya. Just as the dagger spun toward the heart of Drona.
As quickly as both weapons were released from the hands of Arjuna and Eklavya they hit their targets. Well…sort of. At the time that dagger hit the heart of Drona he fell over with a thud, gasping and gurgling blood, the arrow did not necessarily hit Eklavya where it was intended instead it hit his thumb. This caused the thumb to fly in the air and for it to gush with blood everywhere. As quick as he could Arjuna ran over to Drona and wept at the side of his master, not realizing the man who caused the great Drona’s death was slowly standing and walking towards him.
Grabbing the bow, that Arjuna carelessly tossed aside in his dismay he pointed it at him.
“A great warrior would never be so careless as toss his greatest weapon aside. Especially, for a man who will cause him great pain and death in the future. Do not weep for him Arjuna, he is a demon himself.” Eklavya, met his eyes and felt a tinge of sadness go through him.
Arjuna turned his eyes brimmed with tears and looked at him. “I never thought I was as great as you and now I know I never will be. I know this because I did not have the courage to stop the very man who cause so much death.”
Eklavya looked at him with a shocked expression. Unbeknownst to him Arjuna new and lacked the courage to defend so many lives. He was weak indeed and this saddened Eklavya, because a weak man will undergo so much heartbreak before he grows in strength.
“I do not have the heart to kill you. You will go through so much pain, but you must to become stronger in your next life.”
Lowering his head Arjuna spoke softly. “I understand”.
Author’s Note: Having been inspired by the story of Eklavya in the Palace of Illusions. I was really torn about the treatment he endured from Drona, even though he only had a bit part in the entire story it made a lasting impression. So much so, I wanted to re-tell his story. The very first part of my story starts off a lot like the original the only difference is in the wording. I didn’t want to change that because I thought that was a great foundation to really show the cruelty and the haughtiness Drona has. What I did change is Arjuna and Eklavya’s role in the story, instead of Eklavya chopping his own finger I thought I would showcase the fact that Arjuna had a failed shot (because in this story Eklavaya was actually better than Arjuna with archery). That way it shows that Arjuna is not perfect as he is often portrayed in the story. I also did not like how Arjuna basically dismissed Eklavaya and frowned upon him for not being of noble blood. Also, he basically through a temper tantrum about he was supposed to be a best archer. So, I wanted him to really be brought down a few notches and sense his destiny is riddled with death and war I thought Eklavya would tell him why he must endure this and why he can’t die at this moment. A you can tell I also made Eklavya have contact with various Gods. I wanted him to be special, so special he outshines Arjuna in every way, I thought he deserved that after his treatment in Palace of Illusions.
Bibliography:“Palace of Illusions”,2008 by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni.