Hope everyone knows about this story, for those who don’t know let me give quick recap in my own words, there is a small incident narration in Mahabharata which goes like this:
Once Dhronacharya takes his all students to forest for archery practice, while they practicing they get disturb by a dog barking loudly. Dhronacharya gets irritated and tells his students to point the dog’s mouth and stop the barking without hurting it. Arjuna is expert in archery among all of them. Everyone starts pointing towards dog mouth and misses one by one, even Arjuna fails to point the dog’s mouth. After some time dog barking stops, curious Dhronacharya go search for the dog and surprised to see the bow exactly on dog’s mouth in such a way that doesn’t hurt dog. Curious Dhronacharya start searching for the person who pointed so exactly, he found one boy holding bow and standing silently behind the tree, very curiously Dhronacharya ask the boy “is this done by you?”, the boy nods. Surprisingly Dhronacharya ask him “what’s your name?” “who is your guru?” boy replies “my name is Ekalavya and You are my guru”, shocked dhronacharya ask him again I don’t know you at all how come I become your guru, boy explains as follows:
I belongs to tribal community, I am very much interested in Archery, I used to follow you and learn while you teaching your students. I have made your sculpture out of mud and practice in front of that, this is how I learnt till now, can you please accept me as your shishya and teach me further?, I am very curious to learn all techniques.
Dronacharya impressed by the boy’s story, feels happy and scared at the same time. He thinks for a while and replies angrily, I am a Raja guru how dare you asking me to consider you as my student and teach archery? Whatever you did is against the Rules of Majesty. Well, you consider me as guru right then give me Gurudakshina.
Ekalavya very happily asks Dhronacharya, “Acharya ask me whatever you want, I can do anything for you”.
Dhronacharya replies “Well, Gift me your right hand thumb”, Ekalavya shockingly looks at acharya being aware of the thing that he can’t practice archery ever after, still being happy by guru asking for gurudakshina cuts his thumb and keep it in Dhronacharya’s hand and do sastang namaskara. So this is how Dronacharya puts full stop to the ekalavya story to follow the rules of majesty.
Now, I would like to put my views on this story, there are different angles to look at this story, let me start with Ekalavya point of view:
Shocked by the Dhronacharya’s demand, with great respect on Dhronacharya without putting second thought ekalavya gets ready to cut his finger, but in his mind thinking, I would have given my life instead of my thumb, how can I live without archery, I never thought anything other than archery. While taking out knife, his hands were shivering, without any option left, he cuts his finger and put it in Dhronacharya’s hand.
More than the physical pain, he was suffering from mental pain, he lost his consciousness, after few hours he gets up, still in the same pain he goes back home, he took long time to come out of this shock.
Many a time he thinks of ending his life but his family members faces and the situations keep him alive. Daily 1 thought run in his head that why God did this to me?
Few months passed like this, One day he observe a bird trying to fly with single wing, by keep watching it more closely, he observes it’s damaged wing, but that bird trying to fly and falling down again and again. That moment brings some changes in him, he starts thinking, I can also try practicing, I have lost only one finger not the hand.
New era of his life starts from that moment, again he starts practicing with great energy and passion, first few days looks like impossible but it’s gets better day by day. Slowly he gets comfortable and start practicing the technique he learnt before.
One day he saw some kids from his own community playing game of war, where in 2 Raja’s with their army fighting each other with their hand made archery toys. This makes him to ask them are you guys interested in archery, kids replies: “yes we are very much interested”. That makes him think it’s not only he who wants to learn archery, so he decides to teach those kids who are interested, he offer those kids to teach the techniques he learnt. He teach them starting from making the archery to the great techniques he learnt in his journey.
After seeing his potential in archery duryodhana maintained good friendship with ekalavya from the beginning, later he participated in Kurukshetra with his small army with kauravas.
Now let’s look at the same story from Dhronacharya’s point of view:
After listening to the story from Ekalavya, Dhronacharya felt happy to see a great student and amazed by his dedication, at the same time he knows being a Rajaguru he can’t allow anyone being great archery practitioner outside Raja family. In this case Ekalavya considers Dhronacharya as his guru, which is very dangerous for both of them. So he thought of punishing him and closing the chapter without bringing it in front of majesty.
Now the point is why Dhronacharya ask for thumb even after knowing about the fact that he can’t practice archery any more, it would kill Ekalavya alive. But after seeing his dedication towards archery Dronacharya’s gut feeling was telling Ekalavya will find a way to practice. This will be an ideal punishment so that his talent will not get highlight anywhere and his life will be safer. Dhronacharya being a great leader takes this tough decision behalf of ekalavya for his betterment. Even he remember his promise to his favorite student Arjuna to make him master in archery. This solution even safeguard his team at the same time.
My point of view about a great leader:
I heard this dialogue in one of the web-series and I quote “there is no right or wrong thing in this position, few things looks right from this side, which looks wrong from other side, same way few things looks right from other side looks wrong from this side, sometimes you can’t judge things right or wrong and just forced to do it”.
Being a great leader is not easy thing, I was in the assumption that leader traits can be learned by anybody who has interest to learn, I myself learnt a lot of things working with many great leaders I met in my life. I have sensed the pain inside a leader very closely, it’s not easy for a leader to take tough decision in some situation. Especially convincing others about that decision when they themselves are not sure about the result.
Most of the time leader’s decision will make or break others life. Sometime negative result of their decision will impact on themselves very badly, coming out of that emotional impact and convincing themselves is not at all easy task.
May be this is the reason everybody can’t become a great leader. Leadership is one thing never lost its worth over generations. Every position has it’s own plus and minus, no job is easy in the world. I am putting full stop for my thoughts with due respect on each and every leaders for their self struggled emotional life.