The Staggering Sacrifice

The Staggering Sacrifice

His quaint ashram on the outskirts of the Kurugram forest was a sight to behold. 

While splendid flora in myriad layers and thriving wild fauna held my attention, I was already witness to its mysticism.

I lived as an atypical Shudra boy on the Kurugram forest boundaries with intent dreams surging through my eyes. I coveted being the best archer ever born.

Hidden from direct views of the Royal Hastinapur Princes, I would stand for hours together; unaware of the blazing sun mellowing down to canoodle the horizons, simply admiring the skills of that revered man I had soulfully accepted as my Guru. 

He had the most skilled archery techniques that left me spellbound. I was warned by my tribe never to approach him with the fear of being admonished by the ‘Royal Guru’. 

Nevertheless, that couldn’t stop my heart from idolising his adulate demeanour, could I?

***

I carefully sieved river-bed clay to sculpt his replica; then stood in awe of that bust coming to life through my handiwork.

I prostrated and meditated upon my Guru, Dronacharya, who positioned alive through my crafted sculpture. 

My plain bow and unembellished arrows were under his guardianship. I had drowned in the serendipity of his existence, guiding me to practice more each day. 

With the morning star rising through the crepuscular skies, my meditation began with my rusty bow and petty arrows. 

I never discerned when the day sank into darkness, with glittering stars embellishing the canvas above.

***

A burning pang roused through me to test the years of training I had acquired. 

One day, the constant howling of a wild hound at an unknown distance fulfilled my wish. 

I raised my bow, closed my eyes and ruminated upon my senses, testing the lessons taught by my Guru. I focused on the direction, distance, sound and wind speed before finally darting arrows upon arrows until the sound was muffled by the forest silence.

I approached the scene remarkably astonished to see the mongrel unhurt; yet its vocal cords skilfully blocked by my arrows. What elated me more was that my Guru witnessed the scene incredulously, with his favourite shishya, assumably the greatest archer, Arjuna. 

I bowed and prostrated at the Guru’s feet.

“Who are you?” 

“Oh! Royal Guru, I’m your humbled shishya, mrigya-putra Ekalavya.”

“Me, your Guru? I don’t even know you.”

“I have idolised upon your form, Royal sir. It’s under your guidance that I have achieved this feat.”

The Guru stood dumbfounded. He obviously repudiated anyone except Arjuna to be an archery virtuoso.

“If I’m your Guru, offer me your right thumb as my rightful Guru-Dakshina.”

Without the blink of an eye, I pulled the dagger from my waistline, chopped my thumb to place it at my Guru’s feet. 

The silence of Mystical forest echoed through the endless spaces as my Guru stood flabbergasted and traumatized.  

The adulation from this unexpected avenue had aroused my zest like magic. I glowed uncannily illuminating the powerful aura surrounding me.

Glossary:

  • Kurugram forests- Forests surrounding the area of the current day Gurgaon, where Dronacharya’s ashram was believed to be
  • Guru- Honoured and Revered Teacher
  • Shudra- Lowest/ working class of  The Vedic Dharma or Hindu Caste System or social order (Brahmins/Kshatriyas/Vaishyas/Shudras in that order)
  • mrigya-putra- Son of a hunter

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Lakshmi Ajoy
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