Arjuna grew up with the
strong conviction that none in the world could match him in archery, and he was Drona's
closest disciple. The sight of a jungle-boy that could challenge him set him worrying. And
the boy said he was a disciple of Drona. Can a respectable person likeDronacharya fail to
keep his word?
"Is it true that Dronacharya is your master? ,". Asked Arjuna of Ekalavya.
'Don't be so arrogant as to question my word. My father did not live long to teach me
archery completely. But he taught me to be truthful and not to tolerate untruth. Do you
doubting me? Who are you to doubt even my Master?'
At this retort from Ekalavya Arjuna replied in an equally spirited tone: 'I am the son
of king Pandu. My name is Arjuna, and my Master is Dronacharya. He hails from a
distinguished clan and would never teach a jungle-boy like you. All his disciples come
from superior races."
Ekalavya felt like laughing at Arjuna's words but without making fun, he said: 'Arjuna,
my Master does not bother about these classdistinctions. It matters to him little whether
a disciple is an 'Arya' or a hunter. Why should it matter in one's learning of archery? As
our Master says, the disciple should possess determination and concentration in practice
to achieve excellence. The teacher should be genuinely interested in his pupil. My Master
Dronacharya has heartily blessed me, and I am confident that I will become a master archer
with his blessing.'
Arjuna could not accept Ekalavya's words. 'No', he protested, 'What you are saying is
false. I wont believe it. Did Master Dronacharya deceive me?
Arjuna's words angered Ekalavya. He suddenly whipped out his bow and shouted at Aijuna:
'You keep your mouth shut Say one word insulting my Guru, and I shall cut off your
Sensing that the war of words was getting out of hand, Dharmaraya, the eldest of
Pandavas, pacified Arjuna saying, -0 dear Arjuna, why this unnecessary acrimony? Let us go
and ask Dronacharya himself.'