Kripacharya, also often called Kripa, was the chief priest at the court of Hastinapura, in the Mahabharata.
He was the son of Sharadvan and Janapadi. His twin sister Kripi married Drona, the weapons master to the court.
He fought in the great battle of Kurukshetra for the Kaurava side. Afterwards, he was appointed to be the teacher and preceptor of Parikshita, the grandson of Arjuna.
Maharishi Gautam had a son called Shardwan. Shardwan was born with arrows and was a born archer. He was from his early childhood, more interested in archery than in the study of the Vedas. He meditated and attained the art of all types of warfare. He was such a great archer that no one could defeat him. This created panic amongst the gods and specially Indra, the king of the gods felt the most threatened. He then sent a beautiful divine nymph from the heaven to distract the celibate saint. The nymph called Janpadi came to the saint and tried to seduce him in various ways. Shardwan was distracted and the sight of such a beautiful woman made him lose control. As he was a great saint he still managed to resist the temptation and controlled his desires. But his concentration was lost and he dropped his bow and arrows. His semen fell on some weeds by the wayside and divided the weeds into two from which a boy and a girl were born. The saint himself left the hermitage and his bow and arrow and went to the forest for penance. Coincidentally, King Shantanu, the great-grandfather of the Pandavas was crossing from there and saw the children by the wayside. One look at them and he realised that they were the children of a great archer Brahmin. He named them Kripa and Kripi and decided to take them back with him to his palace. When Shardwan came to know of this he came to the palace and revealed the identity of the children and performed the various rituals which are performed for the children of Brahmins. He also taught the children archery, Vedas and other shashtras and the secrets of the Universe. The children grew up to become experts in the art of warfare and this boy Kripa came to be known as Kripacharya who was now assigned the task of teaching the young princes all about warfare.