Drona also called as Dronacharya was the royal guru of Hastinapur who taught the art of warfare to Pandavas and the Kauravas. He was a skilled fighter and had many devastras(weapons) in his possession. Dronacharya is a son of Bharadwaj( an avatar of Brihaspati) and a student of Parshuram. Brihaspati is the teacher of all Devas. Drona is often regarded as the world’s first test tube baby. His birth itself is a very interesting story which is mentioned in Adi Parva and Sambhava Parva of the great epic Mahabharata.
Bharadwaj is one of the saptarishi( seven great sages) of the current Manvantara, the remaining six are Atri, Vasishiṭha, Viswamitra, Gautama, Jamadagni and Kasyapa. He is the son of Devarishi Brihaspathi. Brihaspathi in turn is the son of rishi Angirasa(son of Lord Brahma). Thus making him a descendent of Lord Brahma. Rishi Bharadwaj had his hermitage on the bank of river Ganga. Once, Bharadwaj went to bath in the river Ganga. During the same time, a beautiful apsara named Ghritach had also come to bath in the river, she was taking bath with her fellow companions. The beauty of the celestial nymph pulls desire in Rishi Bharadwaj just by watching her taking bath. The sage goes through sexual feeling, causing him to ejaculate. Rishi then collects discharged semens and puts them into a vessel(Drona). Drona means vessel or pot in Sanskrit.
**[Rishi Bharadvaja is often called as the father of Ayurveda. Bharadvaja is a sanskrit word which is made up of two words “bhara(d) and vaja(m)” that means “bringing about nourishment”. Bharadvaja is mentioned in the ancient Hindu medical text “Charaka Samhita”. Rishi Bharadvaja had learned ayurveda from Indra. During those days Ayurveda was only known to celestial beings. Seeing the suffering of humans regarding health in the mortal world, Rishi Bharadvaja prayed to Lord Indra(king of heaven) to teach him Ayurveda for the benefit of mankind. Indra taught Ayurveda to Bharadvaja and thus knowledge of Ayurveda is passed from gods to sage.]**
***[Brief description about Ayurveda. Lord Brahma is considered as the creator of this divine medical science(Ayurveda). Brahma passed on this knowledge of Ayurveda to his son Daksha Prajapati. Daksha Prajapati in turn taught Ayurveda to Ashwini Kumaras(twin brothers), Ashwini Kumara’s later became practitioner physicians of the Gods. Lord of heaven(Indra) learnt this science from Ashwini Kumaras. From Lord Indra, it came to Rishi Bharadvaja. Another version is that, Dhanvantari (Avatar of Vishnu) who emerged from the churning of the milky ocean, is said that Lord Brahma had thought him beforehand to treat living beings of the earth who had uncommon diseases.]***
With the knowledge of Ayurveda, Rishi Bharadvaja was able to convert his semen into a child without having a mother’s womb. Since the child was born in a pot(dronam), he was called Drona. Thus, Dronacharya became the first test tube baby who was born without a mother’s womb. Rishi Bharadvaja was delighted to have a son, whom he took to his hermitage and raised the child with utmost love and care. Drona got his initial education under his father. Thus, Bharadvaja was both father and teacher to Drona. Drona had a friend called Drupada. Drupada( the prince of Panchala) also came to study under Rishi Bharadvaja ashram. During this time, Drona met Drupada and became best friends. Drupada used to often tell that, he would give the half kingdom to Drona when he ascended the throne.
After completing his studies, Drona married Kripi, the sister of Kripa. Kripi was born to Sharadvan and apsara Janapadi in a similar way to him( to read more about Kripacharya click here). A son Aswathama was born to them. Drona never desired to acquire wealth and was living in poverty. Drona was attached to his wife and son for whose well being tried to acquire wealth. During the same time, he heard Parashurama was distributing his wealth among brahmans. Drona decides to try his luck and goes to Parashurama. Unfortunately, by the time Drona arrived, Parashurama had already given away all his wealth. Parashurama did not want Drona to go back empty-handed. Parashurama offered to teach him the use of weapons to which, Drona was happy and felt blessed. Under the guidance of Parashurama, Drona became an unrivalled master of military art. He also gained many celestial weapons but, his financial condition never changed.
Meanwhile, Drupada ascends the throne of Panchala after the death of his father. On recalling the friendship that Drupada and he had shared during childhood, Drona approaches him with great confidence with his friend’s generosity. But on reaching Panchala, things changed completely. Drunk with power and wealth Drupada said “O Brahmana, How dare you address me as your friend? Wat friendship can be there between a king and wandering beggar? Friendship can only exist between equals. A beggar cannot be the friend of the King. Leave at once”. Drona was heartbroken, there was blazing wrath in his heart. He vowed revenge on the arrogant Drupada for this insult.
Years passed and Drona later became the royal guru of Hastinapur. To avenge the insult of being treated like a beggar by Drupad, Dronacharya vowed to train worthy students who would avenge him. Drona’s gurudakshina( a tradition of repaying one’s teacher after the completion of formal education) from his students was to defeat and capture King Drupada. First, Kauravas attacked the Panchala kingdom but was easily defeated by Drupada as he was a great archer. Next, Pandavas approached Guru Dronacharya. Drona acharya agreed to give them a chance as well. When Pandavas attacked the Panchala kingdom, the Panchal army was overconfident from defeating the Kauravas. Drupada also attacked with full force however, Arjun easily repelled his attacks and made him captive.
Arjun then presented King Drupad in front of Dronacharya. Drona acharya told Drupad that his revenge was complete. He gave half the Panchal kingdom back to Drupad and kept half for his son Ashwatthama to rule. After Drona acharya’s revenge and gurudakshina were complete, both Kauravas and Pandavas returned to Hastinapur.