Personal Development

Anyone, Anywhere & Anyhow Learning: Limits Don't Apply

Ekalavya was a passionate learner who continued with his passion for learning against all odds. Many quote Ekalavya as an epitome of passionate learning & guru bhakthi. Ekalavya’s story teaches a lot more apart from guru bhakthi – Determination, Resilience & Persistence to quote a few.

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Anyone Can Learn

Ekalavya challenged the age-old belief that archery can be learnt only by someone with royal blood. He showed the world that ‘Anyone’ can learn an art if only there is a yearning. Your genes or your social strata are not the limiting factors for learning.

We have seen many role models who have taken up this #AnyoneCanLearn very passionately. Our one and only people’s president Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam went on to become the missile man of India and the only apolitical President of India hailing from a fisherman family. There are many such examples which if listed can fill up this episode. Ekalavya was the first to establish ‘Anyone can Learn’ mantra.

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Learning Possible Anywhere

Ekalavya failed in getting admission to the best archery school, Dronacharya’s School of Archery. This did not dampen his spirit and eventually managed to outsmart someone who came graduated from Dronacharya School of Archery. I fail to understand why our parents and children attach too much significance to getting admission in the best schools and colleges. Ekalavya was the first to establish that a committed student can learn ‘Anywhere’.

I studied in a government school for my schooling and an ordinary college for my engineering graduation. I never had any qualms about it and I am happy that I got lots of opportunities to learn in my life.

Anyhow Will Learn

Ekalavya suffered repeated setbacks in his quest for learning. He was first denied admission by Drona. He started his learning watching the lessons given to the princes from a distance. Even this opportunity was snatched from him, and he was thrown out of the hermitage. But he was not disheartened. Ekalavya went on to prove that a curious learner can learn ‘Anyhow’.

The learning did not come easy or by luck for Ekalavya. He achieved by hard work, trial, error and sheer determination.

Any focused and committed student can learn anywhere and will learn anyhow.

Arjuna was the favorite disciple of Dronacharya (who was the best teacher of archery at that time). He had the best resources available, trained with the best competition available, had personal training from the best guru. Eklavya on the other hand could not get the resources to practice, no companion to practice with, no background of archery and in fact- no teacher to guide. Yet he outsmarted Arjuna.

No matter your resources, no matter your competition, with immense dedication and hard work you can still beat Arjunas in any field. Stop whining ‘I could not get a great school/college/exposure’. You could probably be the modern Ekalavya and could end up beating Arjunas.

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What is Drona’s Statue has to do with the Learning?

How could a student learn a skill from a statue? Does it sound idiotic? Not at all. Drona’s statue is nothing but symbolic to show the power of our lifetime experiences. Our experience is our best teacher. We have a teacher constantly working with us all the time, everywhere, so that we can continue to learn. This teacher is invisible but traveling with every one of us. Are we learning from our mistakes or keep continuing to make the same mistakes? Are we learning something new when we encounter a new experience? Passionate learner can learn from lifetime experience until his/her last breath.

Is Drona Wicked?

Now comes the most intriguing and much talked about discussion from Ekalavya’s story. Was Drona right in asking guru dakshina from Ekalavya when he did not teach anything to him? Is it treachery?

Dronacharya is commonly viewed as being cruel and self-centered. The perceived understanding is, this boy who has learned the skill on his own and is good at it, is made to give it up for the vested interest of Dronacharya.

Though on the outside, it seemed as if Dronacharya had done injustice to Eklavya, actually Dronacharya uplifted Eklavya from just being a student to becoming an epitome of discipleship. 

Dronacharya blessed Eklavya with immortality by asking him for his thumb. So when people think of devotion, they think of Eklavya, and not Arjuna. (Wisdom from Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar The Story of Eklavya and Dronacharya - Wisdom by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar).

Drona was the cause for Ekalavya’s name getting etched in history as immortal and Ekalavya becoming the motivation for generations of learners. Our scriptures are very intricately laced with powerful rationale and meaning.

Nothing Can Stop a True Seeker of Knowledge

A determined seeker of knowledge can attain knowledge irrespective of his/her birth, caste, wealth as can be seen from the story of Satyakama Jabala in Chandogya Upanishad. Story of Satyakama Jabala in the next episode. If you are a curious learner, seeker of knowledge, you can browse the story of Satyakama Jabala until then.

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Jaganathan T
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Jaganathan T
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