“Vaisampayana said, ‘Desirous of giving his grandsons a superioreducation, Bhishma was on the look-out for a teacher endued with energyand well-skilled in the science of arms.
Deciding, O chief of theBharatas, that none who was not possessed of great intelligence, none whowas not illustrious or a perfect master of the science of arms, none whowas not of godlike might, should be the instructor of the Kuru (princes),the son of Ganga, O tiger among men, placed the Pandavas and the Kauravasunder the tuition of Bharadwaja’s son, the intelligent Drona skilled inall the Vedas. Pleased with the reception given him by the great Bhishma,that foremost of all men skilled in arms, viz., illustrious Drona ofworld-wide fame, accepted the princes as his pupils. And Drona taughtthem the science of arms in all its branches. And, O monarch, both theKauravas and the Pandavas endued with immeasurable strength, in a shorttime became proficient in the use of all kinds of arms.’
“Janamejaya asked, ‘O Brahmana, how was Drona born? How and whence did heacquire his arms? How and why came he unto the Kurus? Whose son also washe endued with such energy? Again, how was his son Aswatthaman, theforemost of all skilled in arms born? I wish to hear all this! Pleaserecite them in detail.’
“Vaisampayana said, ‘There dwelt at the source of the Ganga, a great sagenamed Bharadwaja, ceaselessly observing the most rigid vows. One day, ofold, intending to celebrate the Agnihotra sacrifice he went along withmany great Rishis to the Ganga to perform his ablutions. Arrived at thebank of the stream, he saw Ghritachi herself, that Apsara endued withyouth and beauty, who had gone there a little before. With an expressionof pride in her countenance, mixed with a voluptuous languor of attitude,the damsel rose from the water after her ablutions were over. And as shewas gently treading on the bank, her attire which was loose becamedisordered. Seeing her attire disordered, the sage was smitten withburning desire. The next moment his vital fluid came out, in consequenceof the violence of his emotion. The Rishi immediately held it in a vesselcalled a drona. Then, O king, Drona sprang from the fluid thus preservedin that vessel by the wise Bharadwaja. And the child thus born studiedall the Vedas and their branches. Before now Bharadwaja of great prowessand the foremost of those possessing a knowledge of arms, hadcommunicated to the illustrious Agnivesa, a knowledge of the weaponcalled Agneya. O foremost one of Bharata’s race, the Rishi (Agnivesa)sprung from fire now communicated the knowledge of that great weapon toDrona the son of his preceptor.
“There was a king named Prishata who was a great friend of Bharadwaja.About this time Prishata had a son born unto him, named Drupada. And thatbull among Kshatriyas, viz., Drupada, the son of Prishata, used every dayto come to the hermitage of Bharadwaja to play with Drona and study inhis company. O monarch, when Prishata was dead, this Drupada of mightyarms became the king of the northern Panchalas. About this time theillustrious Bharadwaja also ascended to heaven. Drona continuing toreside in his father’s hermitage devoted himself to ascetic austerities.Having become well-versed in the Vedas and their branches and havingburnt also all his sins by asceticism, the celebrated Drona, obedient tothe injunctions of his father and moved by the desire of offspringmarried Kripi, the daughter of Saradwat. And this woman, ever engaged invirtuous acts and the Agnihotra, and the austerest of penances, obtaineda son named Aswatthaman. And as soon as Aswatthaman was born, he neighedlike the (celestial) steed Ucchaihsravas. Hearing that cry, an invisiblebeing in the skies said, ‘The voice of this child hath, like the neighingof a horse, been audible all around. The child shall, therefore, be knownby the name of Aswatthaman, (the horse-voiced). The son of Bharadwaja(Drona) was exceedingly glad at having obtained that child. Continuing toreside in that hermitage he devoted himself to the study of the scienceof arms.
“O king, it was about this time that Drona heard that the illustriousBrahmana Jamadagnya, that slayer of foes, that foremost one among allwielders of weapons, versed in all kinds of knowledge, had expressed adesire of giving away all his wealth to Brahmanas. Having heard of Rama’sknowledge of arms and of his celestial weapons also, Drona set his heartupon them as also upon the knowledge of morality that Rama possessed.Then Drona of mighty arms, endued with high ascetic virtues, accompaniedby disciples who were all devoted to vows ascetic austerities, set outfor the Mahendra mountains. Arrived at Mahendra, the son of Bharadwajapossessed of high ascetic merit, beheld the son of Bhrigu, theexterminator of all foes, endued with great patience and with mind undercomplete control. Then, approaching with his disciples that scion of theBhrigu race Drona, giving him his name, told him of his birth in the lineof Angiras. And touching the ground with his head, he worshipped Rama’sfeet. And beholding the illustrious son of Jamadagni intent upon retiringinto the woods after having given away all his wealth, Drona said, ‘Knowme to have sprung from Bharadwaja, but not in any woman’s womb! I am aBrahmana of high birth, Drona by name, come to thee with the desire ofobtaining thy wealth.’
“On hearing him, that illustrious grinder of the Kshatriya race replied,Thou art welcome, O best of regenerate ones! Tell me what thou desirest.Thus addressed by Rama, the son of Bharadwaja replied unto that foremostof all smiters, desirous of giving away the whole of his wealth, ‘O thouof multifarious vows, I am a candidate for thy eternal wealth,’ ‘O thouof ascetic wealth, returned Rama, ‘My gold and whatever other wealth Ihad, have all been given away unto Brahmanas! This earth also, to theverge of the sea, decked with towns and cities, as with a garland offlowers, I have given unto Kasyapa. I have now my body only and myvarious valuable weapons left. I am prepared to give either my body or myweapons. Say, which thou wouldst have! I would give it thee! Say quickly!’
“Drona answered, O son of Bhrigu, it behoveth thee to give me all thyweapons together with the mysteries of hurling and recalling them.’
“Saying, ‘So be it,’ the son of Bhrigu gave all his weapons untoDrona,–indeed, the whole science of arms with its rules and mysteries.Accepting them all, and thinking himself amply rewarded that best ofBrahmanas then, glad at heart, set out, for (the city of) his friendDrupada.'”