I Belong to KnowledgeMay 17th, 2011
In the epic Mahabharata, upon the recommendation of Bhishma, King Drithrashtra appointed Dronacharya as the teacher of both the Kauravas and Pandavas. Dronacharya’s son, Ashwatthama, is also learning under the tutelage of his father.
One day, a disturbed Ashwatthama approaches his father, and impatiently asks, “Father, I heard you are teaching a special archery technique to Arjuna. Is this true?”
“Yes, my dear son, but why are you asking this?” guru Dronacharya asked.
Ashwatthama continued, “Why are you not teaching me this technique? Why are you teaching it to Arjuna?”
Dronacharya calmly responds with a question, “Who is asking me this question? Are you asking this question as my son or as my student? Please clarify this first.”
Ashwatthama was surprised by this question. “Of course, I am your son and I am asking. Don’t you love me? Don’t you think what belongs to you first belongs to me, your son, before it is shared with others?”
Dronacharya thoughtfully and patiently, yet firmly responds, “My son, I love you so much that I live for your sake. If I ever hear that you have died, I shall die that very moment.” (In the epic, in the war of Kurukshetra, as Dronacharya hears of his son’s death, that very moment, he dies)
“But if you love me so much, why don’t you give me that knowledge?” Ashwatthama asks with disbelief.
Dronacharya gives his son great wisdom which is an incredible balance between ‘love and affection’ towards his son and ‘DUTY’ towards his knowledge.
“My dear son, as you are my son, all of my property and wealth belongs to you. But my knowledge belongs to my student and not to my son. It is so because the knowledge does not belong to me, I belong to it. By coming to someone, knowledge gives freedom and happiness. Because knowledge gives all of that, you have to be humble and respectful to that knowledge. Therefore, you belong to the knowledge and not otherwise. I, therefore, belong to the knowledge. The knowledge does not belong to me. Therefore, I have the responsibility towards the knowledge to pass it on to someone who deserves it.”
“But how do you say that I am not the deserving student?” Ashwatthama further questioned.
“My son, the very fact that you are asking this question is evidence that you do not deserve and have not proved your deservedness in the eyes of your teacher. I do not really owe any further explanation.”
The next day Dronacharya set an exam and proved that Arjuna was the best student.
This is a beautiful incident from an epic Mahabharata, where a great teacher did not deviate from his Dharma, or duty, as a teacher. He did not come under the spell of his attachment to his son. Though Ashwatthama is his son and Dronacharya loves him absolutely, he could RIGHTLY discriminate the difference between love and attachment on one side and duty on the other side.
Dronacharya exhibited that knowledge does not belong to him but he belongs to knowledge. Most importantly he must be humble and responsible with this knowledge.
This story from Mahabharata is not just a story but it is a lesson of a higher and subtler reality. We recently published our first ever book ‘Keep Moving’. Inspired by this incident we have specifically written in the second last page of ‘Keep Moving’, “Please feel free to use any content of this book for any good use. No prior permission is required. Keep Moving”
I pray, I too always understand the opposing pull between attachment and responsibility. May I too always have the strength and humility, for my sense of responsibility to always win.
It is so true…As I live…I learn.
Lets ‘Keep Moving’ with responsibility and humility.
With love, prayers and best wishes,
As I live…I learn