Why did Drona despite being a brahmana desire revenge against Drupada?
Transcribed by: Shalini Ahluwalia
Question: Why did Drona crave for revenge against Drupada when he was a brahmana and he knew about dharma? Why was he so bent on taking revenge?
Answer: Although Drona was a brahmana he had a significant Kshtriya bent to his nature. Brahmana on the one side can tolerate insult also, they are to some extent told to practice titikshava, so honour or dishonour they are told to take equally to some extent.Kshatriyas for them – maan bhanga amrishataam – for them to be dishonoured is impossible to tolerate, it is worse than death. So he had that sort of mixture of – he was a Brahmana but he had a Kshtriya sort of bent and also circumstances were such that he desperately needed help. He although he was a Brahmana he was so poor that one day when he came home and he saw that his son Ashwathama had been playing with his friends and his friends told him that he drank milk and it was so delicious. And he was so poor that he had never drunk milk. And he came to his home and asked his mother Kripi – What is milk? Can I have milk? And he had heard that milk is white so his mother mixed some white flour with some water and she told him this was milk. And then he drank it and he told his friends I have also drunk milk. So when Drona saw this his heart broke. He felt I have to do something and he was in desperate need at that time he approached Drupada and Drupada had said when they were together in the guruashrama that we are such close friends that whatever is mine is yours. In the future when I become a king I will give half of my kingdom to you. So Drona went and reminded Drupada of that promise. Now Drupada also although he is a virtuous king but at that particular time he was overcome by a moment of insolence, a moment of weakness and he said – O Brahmana, friendship can be only among equals. And as a brahmana if you want charity I will give you charity. But don’t make this audacious demand of half a kingdom. We are not friends at all. That rejection stung Drona especially when you need something and somebody has promised us to give that and you go expecting for that thing and then not only are you not provided that thing but there is a public rejection and humiliation then that hurts a lot. And that’s why Drona could not forget that. Of course we see that even when Drona arranged to have Drupada defeated through his disciples, the Pandavas, he did not kill Drupada. He actually paid him back in the same way by dishonoring him.So now its not that we say what he did was right, its just that we can try to understand the psychology that motivated him to do that. And that’s how eventually when he, when Drupada lost his kingdom then Drona said that I would like to resume our friendship but friendship can be only among equals. And now you have no kingdom whereas I have the full kingdom. So how can we be friends? Therefore, I will give you half the kingdom back and Drupada could do nothing but accept biting the dust at that time. So that’s how Drona had that vengeful desire because of his extreme need, because of the promise that had been made, because of the expectation had been created in his mind. Thank you, Hare Krishna!