KING Shantanu, one day, left his palace to go for a walk. So engrossed was he in his thoughts that he reached a forest and there came across a pair of twins – a boy and a girl – lying on tiger skin and a trident and a pot placed nearby. Evidently the children belong to a sage, he thought.
He was right because the twins were children of Sage Sharadwana and an apsara named Janpadi. King Shantanu took the twins home and brought them up very well. He named them Kripa and Kripi.
When Kripa grew up, he became very learned and Bhishma appointed him as a teacher to the five Pandavas and the hundred sons of Dhritarashtra.
Meanwhile Kipi was married to Drona who was the son of Sage Bhardwaja. Over the years, Kripi gave birth to a son whom she named Ashwathama, but the poor child did not get proper nourishment. His father Drona was too poor to keep a cow even to provide milk to his son. On seeing the plight of her child, Kripi said to her husband, “Why don’t you visit your childhood friend Dhrupad, who is the king of Panchala and ask him to gift you a cow?”
At first Drona hesitated but when he remembered that during their childhood days, Dhrupad had offered to share all his wealth with him, he felt brave enough to go and voice his request.
When he reached Dhrupad’s kingdom and made his request, Dhrupad burst out laughing and said, “What is common between you and me now? Nothing at all. I am very rich and a king in comparison to you, who is a poor sage’s son. I can give you alms in charity but not cows.”
Drona felt very small and humiliated at Drupad’s words. He immediately left Panchala to return home. He felt angry for having visited his friend. Why so?
This was because Drona felt he had not been treated as an equal. In friendship nobody is higher or nobody lower. Drona had not been treated as an equal but was made to feel small. Dhrupad on his part felt he had been right in his action as he was following the Dharma of giving alms to saints and sages.