'Ekalavya, I have to demand a
supreme sacrifice from you to fulfil my word. Pardon me, son! Can you please give me the
thumb of your right hand as my fee?'
Ekalavya stared at Dronacharya for an I while. He could sense the Master's agony. He
then stood up and walked. To the idol with determination, placed his thumb upon a stone
and cut it off with an arrow from his left hands in an instant. Blood started gushing out.
Meanwhile, Arjuna was keenly listening to the dialogue between Drona and Ekalavya. He
was worried whether he could match Ekalavya in the skills of archery, but felt confident
that Drona would keep his promise. When the Master asked Ekalavya's thumb as his fee,
Arjuna was shocked. By the time he collected his thoughts and turned to Ekalavya, the
thumb had already rolled down to the floor.
Ekalavya then prostrated before Drona who was sitting with his eyes closed and said: '0
Master, please accept my fee.' Opening his eyes, Drona saw the thumb soaked in blood; the
disciple stood before him with a smile on his face. Drona, while feeling grieved at the
injury he inflicted upon Ekalavya, was at the same time deeply touched by his ardent
devotion. He embraced him saying: 'Son, your devotion to the 'Guru' is unmatched. I feel a
sense of fulfillment in having had a disciple like you. May God bless you.'
Arjuna was standing there dumbfounded.
Later, the threesome returned to Hastinavati.