Droṇa in the Ekalavya Episode in Sāralā Mahābhārata
This chapter attempts an understanding of Droṇa’s action in the Ekalavya episode in Sāralā Mahābhārata. It is organized in three parts. The first informs us about the poet and, in the process, introduces Sāralā Dāsa’s magnum opus. This introduction is aimed at preparing us for a significantly different narrative of the Ekalavya episode. The second outlines the Droṇa-Ekalavya story briefly, while the third considers Droṇa’s asking for Ekalavya’s right thumb as guru dakṣiṇā from various perspectives. This section argues that his action, cruel though it was, was not without sound justification considering that particular cultural milieu. However, going beyond the ethical, there is a political dimension to the episode, which is ultimately subsumed or negated within a broader perspective of bhakti consistent with a purāṇic text.