Reading Guide. Now that the royal boys have completed their training under Drona, he demands the guru dakshina, the payment that they owe to their teacher — but the price the princes will pay is not so terrible as the price Drona demanded from Ekalavya. What he wants the boys to do is to bring about his revenge against King Drupada, his childhood friend who had treated him so badly.
Image. The illustration shows Bhima with his weapon of choice, the mace — Sanskrit gada.
Source. Indian Myth and Legend by Donald A. Mackenzie (1913). [500 words]
The Pandavas and Kauravas had now become accomplished warriors, and Drona, their preceptor, claimed his reward. So he spoke unto his pupils and said, "Go forth against Drupada, Rajah of Panchala; smite him in battle and bring him to me."
The cousins could not agree to wage war together by reason of their jealousies. So the Kauravas, led by Duryodhana, were first to attack Drupada; they rode in their chariots, and invaded the hostile capital, and slaked their thirst for battle. The warriors of Panchala arose to fight; their shouting was like the roaring of lions, and their arrows were showered as thickly as rain dropping from the clouds. The Kauravas were defeated, and they retired in disorder, uttering cries of despair.
The Pandavas then rushed against the enemies of Drona. Arjuna swept forward in his chariot like to the fire which consumeth all things at the end of time, and he destroyed horses and cars and warriors. The battle-roar of Bhima was like to the roar of ocean stricken by a tempest; wielding his mace, he struck down elephants big as mountains, and many horses and charioteers also, and he covered the ground with rivers of blood; as a herdsman driveth his cattle before him, so did Bhima drive before him with his mace the terror-stricken hosts of Panchala.
Drupada endeavored to turn the tide of battle; surrounded by his mightiest men, he opposed Arjuna. Then a great uproar arose among the Panchala forces, for as the lion leaps upon the leader of a herd of elephants, so did Arjuna rush against Drupada. A boastful warrior intervened, but the strong Pandava overcame him, and at length, after fierce fighting, Arjuna seized Drupada as Garuda, king of birds, seizeth a mighty snake after disturbing the waters of the ocean.
The remnant of the Panchala host then broke and fled, and the Pandavas began to lay waste the capital. Arjuna, however, cried unto Bhima, "Remember that Drupada is the kinsman of the Kauravas; therefore cease slaying his warriors."
Drupada was led before Drona, who, remembering the proud words of the fallen rajah, spoke and said, "At last I have conquered thy kingdom, and thy life is in my hands. Is it thy desire now to revive our friendship?"
Drona smiled a little and continued thus, "Brahmins are full of forgiveness; therefore have no fear for thy life, O king. I have not forgotten that we were children together. So once again I ask for thy friendship, and I grant thee, unasked, the half of the kingdom; the other half will be mine, and if it pleaseth thee, we will be friends."
Said Drupada, "Thou art indeed noble and great. I thank thee, and desire to be thy friend."
So Drona took possession of half of the kingdom. Drupada, who sorrowed greatly, went to rule the southern Panchalas; he was convinced that he could not defeat Drona by kshatriya power alone, which is inferior to brahmin power, and he resolved to discover means whereby he might obtain a son who could overcome his brahmin enemy.
Thereafterwards the Pandavas waged war against neighbouring kings, and they extended the territory over which the blind maharajah held sway.