Learning from Masters

In OMAH, learning from Masters was inspired from Eklavaya [Bambang Ekalaya]’s story about understanding the essence of wisdom by one’s wisdom without seeing his master directly. The process of mastering the knowledge in learning from the master consists of the deep level of understanding architect’s expenditures, alchemy, and experimentation. The process of analysis by the tutor is started by collecting the references from books, journal, movies, even novelty credible stories from expertise. The lecturer who has been involved ought to suspend his or her judgment, by simulating the real condition that the architect’s analysis in the lecture.

Here is the story of the Eklavaya looking in the Mahabharata story. Eklavaya was the son of Hiranyadhanus, who was King Jarasandha’s army commander and leader of the Nishadhas. He approached Drona to tutor him in the arts of war, especially archery. Drona was a Brahmin teacher working under the employ of Hastinapur to teach the young Kaurava and Pandava princes martial arts. Drona was quite impressed by Ekalavya’s sincere desire; however, he soon discovered Eklavaya’s background. Foreseeing political circumstances that would engender from training a member of an army that was in opposition to Hastinapur, Drona turned him away. In certain versions of the story, Drona turns Ekalavya away because of Ekalavya’s caste, either compelled by his own belief or the rules set forth by Hastinapur. In other versions, it is a combination of Ekalavaya’s caste and allegiance that influences Drona’s decision.

Deeply hurt by Drona’s rejection, Eklavaya returned home, but being resolute and with the will to master archery, he went into the forest and made a statue of Drona. He began a disciplined program of self-study over many years. Eventually, Eklavaya became an archer of exceptional prowess, greater than Drona’s best pupil, Arjuna. He accepted the statue as his guru and practiced in front of it every single day.

One day when Drona and his students were going out into the forest, Arjuna saw a dog that was unable to bark due to an amazing construction of arrows in and all around his mouth. This construction was harmless to the dog but prevented the dog from barking. Drona was amazed, but also distressed: he had promised Arjuna that he would make him the greatest archer in the world. Drona and his students investigated, and came upon Eklavaya. Upon seeing Drona, Eklavaya came and bowed to him. Drona asked Eklavaya where he had learned archery. Eklavaya replied “under you, Guruji”, and showed Drona his statue while explaining what he had done.

Drona then reminded Eklavaya that for Eklavaya to truly be Drona’s pupil, Eklavaya would have to pay guru Dakshina. Readily, Eklavaya offers to do anything for Drona. Drona stoically asks for the thumb from Ekalavaya’s right hand. Hesitant at first, Ekalavaya asks for Drona to confirm the command; Drona harshly does so. Smiling, Eklavaya cuts off the thumb and presents it to Drona.

This incident glorifies Eklavaya’s sacrifice and dedication to his guru. However, it also demonstrates the shrewd action that Drona takes to preserve the status-quo and the further political spheres in the politics of Aryavarta. The story is one example in architecture knowledge, the relationship between master and pupil. Do we need a status to learn ? to get master’s expenditure, alchemy, and experiments? The learning from master showed a clairvoyant intention for achieving knowledge from the master, the willingness for not preserving the status quo and willingness for long life learning in the respect of the knowledge of master of architects who lived before us.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ekalavya