ID Fiction – A story from Mahabharat retold – Ashwathama Hatah – Nara va Kunjarah?

Instructional Design or ID Fiction, Short Stories and Cases set in the e-Learning and Corporate Training EnvironmentsYudhishthara stood on his chariot shooting arrows that found their targets almost effortlessly, yet his thoughts were elsewhere. It isn’t the right thing to do, he told himself once again. After all, not everyone who had decided to fight on the side of the Kauravas was evil. Guru Dronacharya, who taught both Pandavas and Kauravas with equal love and care wasn’t evil; he just got caught in the war and had to be on the other side. None of the Pandavas including Arjuna was ready to take arms against their Guru, and that was the reason why Guru Drona was continuing to decimate the Army of the Pandavas, unhindered.

While Yudhishthara was busy analyzing the ethics of the solution proposed by Krishna, Krishna had already convinced the most impressionable of the Pandavas. Bhima’s booming voice penetrated Yudhisthara’s reverie. “Ashwathama is dead! Ashwathama is dead!”

Yudhishthara was afraid to look at Guru Drona. He knew what effect Bhima’s cry would have on the old man, and it wasn’t something that he wanted to see at all. But then, Guru Drona wasn’t someone who could be fooled so easily. Dronacharya knew his pupils well, and he knew that the only way he could know the truth was if he asked Yudhisthara, because Yudhishthara never lied.

“Yudhisthara, is Ashwathama really dead?” he asked.

Yudhisthara turned and found himself looking into his Guru’s eyes. The eyes that saw everything, were today asking him to tell the truth.  He looked away, but Krishna’s penetrating gaze was equally difficult to bear. He knew Krishna’s viewpoint, and he knew that Krishna was right, yet he couldn’t bring himself to lie.

“Yes,” he said, looking into Dronacharya’s eyes, “Ashwathama is dead,” and then his inner voice made him add, “either the man or the animal.” The last part of his sentence was lost in the all-encompassing sound of the conch that Krishna chose to blow at that very moment.

Guru Drona heard what he was meant to hear. He heard that his only son was dead, and he then had nothing left to live for. So he dropped his bow, closed his eyes, and sat down to pray, giving Dhristdyumna the chance to sever his head and save the Army of the Pandavas from annihilation.

Assuming that Krishna used the principles of Instructional Design to anticipate Guru Dronacharya’s response, which two principles he must have used?