Ekalavya (Sanskrit: एकलव्य, ékalavya) is a character from the epic The Mahābhārata. He was a young prince of the Nishadha, a confederation of jungle tribes in Ancient India.

Mahabharata character
Ekalavya trains himself
In-universe information
FamilyHiranyadhanus (father)
Ketuman (son) and another son

Ekalavya is called as one of the foremost of kings in the Rajasuya Yagya where he honours Yudhishthira by offering shoes with respect.[1][2] Though he didn't have his right thumb, he was noted as a very powerful archer and warrior.[3]

Life and LegendsEdit


Princes surprised at dog

In the Mahabharata, Ekalavya was the son of Hiranyadhanus, the chief of Nishada. He served under King Jarasandha's army as General. His father Hiranyadhanu was the commander of the most powerful king of that time, Jarasandha. Ekalavya still didn't give up on his resolute will to master archery. He once stayed hidden in the forest while guru Drona was teaching the Kaurava and Pandava brothers, after they left for the ashram, Ekalavya collected the mud on which his Guru walked, as a symbolic gesture of reverence for his Guru's knowledge and footsteps. Later he went into the forest and fashioned a statue of Drona under a big old well-grown tree. He began a disciplined program of self-study over many years. Accepting the statue as his guru, he practised before it every single day.

Guru DakshinaEdit

Eklavya's dakshina of his right hand thumb to his guru

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: as he had promised Arjuna that he would make him the greatest archer in the world. Wondering who such a fine archer could be, Drona and his students investigated and came upon Ekalavya. Upon seeing Drona, Ekalavya came and bowed to him.

Drona asked Ekalavya where he had learned archery. Ekalavya replied "under you, Guruji", and showed Drona his statue while explaining what he had done. Drona then reminded Ekalavya that to truly be Drona's pupil, Ekalavya would have to pay guru dakshina. Readily, Ekalavya offers to do anything for Drona. Drona knew Ekalavya in the future will work for Magadha which was the enemy of Hastinapur. Drona asks Ekalavya to cut off his right thumb as Guru Dakshina. Happy and smiling, Ekalavya cuts off the thumb and presents it as Gurudakshina to Dronacharya.[4]

Later lifeEdit

The Bhagavata Purana mentions that Ekalavya assisted Jarasandha, when he attacked Mathura, to take the revenge of the death of Kamsa.[5]In this battle Ekalavya was killed by Lord Krishna, because Krishna knew about the future war of Mahabharat and Ekalavya could become an obstacle in the establishment of dharma.


There is an Ekalavya temple (Hindi: एकलव्य मंदिर) temple in honor of Mahabharata fame Ekalavya in Khandsa village in Sector 37 of Gurugram city in Haryana state of India. As per folklore, this is the only temple of Ekalavya and it is the place where Ekalavya cut his thumb and offered to guru Drona.[6]

In honour of Ekalavya, the Government of India runs an Ekalavya Model Residential School (EMRS) model residential school scheme for Indian tribals. Ekalavya Award is awarded by the Government of Karnataka for outstanding performance in sports. Eklavya inspires a life-long learning philosophy and his presence seems to be a celebration for the masses. In this EklavyaParv, the motto is 'You Create Yourself" and the legend of Eklavya is a testimony that is forwarded by many thinkers as well. The discipleship that Eklavya represents is the best for a student and enables one to be the creator of one's own destiny. Eklavya's exemplary discipleship is a life lesson in this age.[7][8]

In popular cultureEdit

The 2007 movie Eklavya: The Royal Guard featuring Sanjay Dutt and Amitabh Bacchan was named after Eklavya.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Ekalavya Honouring Yudhishthira". Retrieved 19 November 2013.
  2. ^ "Ekalavya—Foremost of the Kings of Rajasuya Yagna". Retrieved 19 November 2013.
  3. ^ "Eklavya—A Powerful Archer and Charioteer". Retrieved 19 November 2013.
  4. ^ "GURU DRONACHARYA & EKALAVYA". Times of India Blog. 21 February 2019. Retrieved 15 September 2020.
  5. ^ Bhagavata Purana Skandha X Chapter 50 verse 10.2-4, Vrindavana Edition.
  6. ^ Locals want tourist circuit developed for the Guru - April 2016
  7. ^ https://eklavyaparv.com/eklavyaism/insights-views/241-what-is-eklavyaism-eklavyaism-is-you
  8. ^ https://wisdom.srisriravishankar.org/story-eklavya-devotion/