“Vaisampayana said, ’Desirous of giving his grandsons a superior education, Bhishma was on the look-out for a teacher endued with energy and well-skilled in the science of arms. Deciding, O chief of the Bharatas, that none who was not possessed of great intelligence, none who was not illustrious or a perfect master of the science of arms, none who was not of godlike might, should be the instructor of the Kuru (princes), the son of Ganga, O tiger among men, placed the Pandavas and the Kauravas under the tuition of Bharadwaja’s son, the intelligent Drona skilled in all the Vedas. Pleased with the reception given him by the great Bhishma, that foremost of all men skilled in arms, viz., illustrious Drona of world-wide fame, accepted the princes as his pupils. And Drona taught them the science of arms in all its branches. And, O monarch, both the Kauravas and the Pandavas endued with immeasurable strength, in a short time became proficient in the use of all kinds of arms.’
“Janamejaya asked, ’O Brahmana, how was Drona born? How and whence did he acquire his arms? How and why came he unto the Kurus? Whose son also was he endued with such energy? Again, how was his son Aswatthaman, the foremost of all skilled in arms born? I wish to hear all this! Please recite them in detail.’
“Vaisampayana said, ’There dwelt at the source of the Ganga, a great sage named Bharadwaja, ceaselessly observing the most rigid vows. One day, of old, intending to celebrate the Agnihotra sacrifice he went along with many great Rishis to the Ganga to perform his ablutions. Arrived at the bank of the stream, he saw Ghritachi herself, that Apsara endued with youth and beauty, who had gone there a little before. With an expression of pride in her countenance, mixed with a voluptuous languor of attitude, the damsel rose from the water after her ablutions were over. And as she was gently treading on the bank, her attire which was loose became disordered. Seeing her attire disordered, the sage was smitten with burning desire. The next moment his vital fluid came out, in consequence of the violence of his emotion. The Rishi immediately held it in a vessel called a drona. Then, O king, Drona sprang from the fluid thus preserved in that vessel by the wise Bharadwaja. And the child thus born studied all the Vedas and their branches. Before now Bharadwaja of great prowess and the foremost of those possessing a knowledge of arms, had communicated to the illustrious Agnivesa, a knowledge of the weapon called Agneya. O foremost one of Bharata’s race, the Rishi (Agnivesa) sprung from fire now communicated the knowledge of that great weapon to Drona the son of his preceptor.