The Story of Drona and Drupada

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Dronacharya and Arjuna

The Story of Drona and Drupada

Who was Drona?

Drona, the son of the famous sage Bharadvaja, was a Brahmana renowned for possessing great knowledge and holiness, but devoid of any material wealth. That was the reason why he had come to the court of the Kurus.

But to understand the reasons for the arrival of this important character, we have to go back a few steps and go to the times of his childhood.


When he was little more than a child, Drona had been the playmate of Drupada, the son of the king of Panchala. During their games Drupada had promised him on several occasions that, as a sign of deep appreciation for him, when he inherited the throne of his father he would give him half of the kingdom.

Many years had passed and the two friends had lost sight of themselves. Drona had married Kripi, daughter of Gautama Muni and sister of Kripa. As we have already said, their life was centered on studies and religious worship, so they were full of spiritual knowledge and inner serenity, but they had nothing, to the point that they could not even afford to give milk to their son Asvatthama.

But that matter had not seemed so terrible to Drona until the day when Asvatthama’s friends didn’t hesitate to taunt him and, having prepared a drink based on rice powder, they brought it to him saying:

“Drink, this is milk. We saved it especially for you.”

The boy, who couldn’t believe his eyes, drank it all in one gulp. And such was the happiness of having finally been able to taste the milk that he ran to his parents dancing and shouting:

“I drank milk! I drank milk!”

On that occasion Drona realized that their state of poverty was really exaggerated and that his son was suffering too much, and since he had never forgotten the promises made by his friend, he thought that it was time to go to Drupada. But when Drupada heard the Brahmana’s request he mocked him in a contemptuous tone.

“How could you have taken such a promise seriously?” He asked. “When you are a boy you say so many senseless things … did you really believe that I wanted to give you half of my kingdom?”

Everyone present laughed at him.

After being mistreated and mocked, Drona was kicked out. Later he tried in various ways to obtain the well-being that would have benefited his family so much, but on those days there was a great economic crisis and no one could satisfy him.

One day he learned that Parasurama was distributing his wealth to the Brahmanas, but the unfortunate Drona had arrived too late; Parasurama had only his weapons left. So, he accepted those along with all the secrets to use them in battle. He had not found riches, but at least he had a trade and also the means of avenging himself from the humiliation caused by Drupada.

For this reason he had come to Hastinapura. With disciples like the princes of Bharata and with an ally like Bhishma, he could surpass wealth and even revenge.

Thus began the teaching course of the Pandavas, held by the wise and severe teacher.

Although Drona was totally impartial, he found that among all, the best was Arjuna, the third of the Pandava brothers, so he conferred on him the secret of how to launch and withdraw the Brahmastra, a deadly atomic weapon, which he did not even entrust to his own son. However, he warned him to use it only against enemies who were not of this world. Arjuna accepted the gift with that natural modesty that had always made everyone love him.


This is a section of the book “Maha-bharata, Vol. 1”.

To buy the complete book, click above

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