The name Drona comes from the Sanskrit root dru “to melt”. Therefore, Drona implies “that which remains in a melted state”.

A thought or physical act once performed does not cease to be, but remains in the consciousness in a more subtle or “melted” form as an impression of that gross expression of thought or action. These impressions are called samskaras. They create strong inner urges, tendencies, or propensities that influence the intelligence to repeat those thoughts and actions.

Oft-repeated, such impulses become compelling habits. Thus, we may simplify the translation of samskara in this context as inner tendency or urge, or habit. The preceptor Drona symbolizes samskara, broadly defined as inner tendency or habit.

According to the historical story in the Mahabharata, Drona was the masterly preceptor who had taught archery to both the Kurus and the Pandavas. During the battle between the two parties, however, Drona sided with the Kurus.

The good discriminative tendencies of the soul’s pure intelligence (buddhi) and the wicked mental tendencies of the sense mind (manas) had both learned from Inner Tendency, Drona, the battle arts of wielding, respectively, the weapons of soul-revealing wisdom, and of truth-obscuring sense consciousness.

The subconscious urges of one’s samskaras, if good, help to create present good thoughts, actions, and habits. When these innate urges are evil, they rouse wicked thoughts that turn into evil actions and habits. Just as a bird turns its head to focus one eye at a time on a given object, so Drona, the samskara– or habit-guided intelligence, uses one-sided vision and supports the dominant tendencies.

Thus Drona, the inner urge, joins the wicked mental tendencies (Kurus) when they are predominant in a man. Therefore, unless samskara, or the sense-habit inclination, is purified by wisdom, it will be found to be a follower of Duryodhana, or King Material Desire. This is why, in the devotee who has yet to win the victory in the battle of Kurukshetra, Drona or the bad-habit-influenced intelligence joins the side of the Kurus or the wicked mental tendencies, helping them to direct their arrows of piercing evil against the discriminative powers.

~Paramahansa Yogananda

Excerpt from God Talks With Arjuna: The Bhagavad Gita


Note: The Bhagavad Gita is not, as is commonly supposed, a record of the events that happened during the battle of Kurukshetra. This part of the epic poem Mahabharata is an analogy. Its purpose is to guide, equip and mentor a seeker of God-consciousness. It seeks to familiarize the seeker with his inner domain, his bodily kingdom. It introduces him to the enemy and to the vast armies who stand in his support. Finally, it introduces him to his own Kurukshetra- his spiritual battleground- where he will fight (and win) the war against those forces within him which cause him to forget his relationship with the Supreme.

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14 thoughts on “Drona”

  1. So a samskara is what makes me crave for chocolate cake at midnight on the day I had it? 🙂 (Not making fun of it, just wondering if I grasped it right, plus I was thinking of cake.)

    I like the idea of tendencies going toward the dominant side. I have seen it happen too. Trivial things perhaps, but still, it counts. 🙂 Focus on Good and Good will focus on you. But doesn’t happen everytime perhaps.

    1. You grasped it right Vinay. Every thought or action leaves an impression behind which can be recalled and re-created whenever you want. The more chocolate cake you eat, the more ‘remembrance’ there is in you, of it. 🙂

      To have your Drona remind you of good actions and thoughts, do them oftener!

  2. So good of you to share this insightful passage here. Loved reading it. Breaking the hold of our sanskaras is such an uphill battle. Imagine the freedom that can be gained if we could win this battle – individually and collectively.
    A thought that has come to me often – you know, all that talk of ‘hamare sanskar’ or ‘sanskari log’ that we often hear. Well I wonder if people who use such phrases actually know the meaning of this term sanskaras, (and the related one, sanskriti) or they just use it out of a pseudo-sanskara that they have been carrying within them. A habit of pretending to be sanskari without really knowing what it means 😉 We end up as victims of our own uninformed and prejudicial discourse because we don’t take the trouble to find out what the words, concepts and ideas used in the discourse really mean. Does this make sense? Somewhere in my mind it does 🙂
    I remember the first time when I read Bhagvat Gita, it was the Gita Press version in Hindi. I had just started college at the time but I remember having that aha moment when I understood in a casual conversation with my mother how it was all really about the inner battle, the kurukshetra within.

    1. In one of his commentaries, Paramhansa Yoganandji talks of the ‘klesh’ which troubles humans. Of the many forms of ‘klesh’, one is ‘avidya’ or ignorance. This ignorance makes people believe that everything they see and believe is the true reality.

      I think that’s what you are saying too. Without having the faintest idea of the true reality, people believe that the things they imagine to be real are the reality.

      I suppose we must have been at that level of consciousness once… if not in this life then in the last one. I hope everyone would grow up together! 😛

      Thank you for this lovely comment. As I said to you before, I wish I could have met your mom. Maybe in the next life! 😀

  3. Wow, you have really given a much more in-depth meaning and substance to what I think I was trying to say. I wasn’t thinking that deep, but after reading your comment now I am thinking maybe I was, without my knowing it of course 😉 I’ll blame the avidya of course 😀

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