Question: Guruji, whenever I see You, I start running after You. Is this devotion or lack of self respect?
Guruji: In the beginning you run, it is ok. But then you should learn to stop and look within. Dive deep within yourself then I will run after you and the whole world will run after you.
A story from mythology comes to my mind. The story is from Mahabharata. Venerable Dronacharya was teaching archery and warcraft to young Kauravas and Pandavas. However, that he had a soft corner for Arjuna troubled Duryodhana’s mind. Unable to control his jealousy, one day he uttered loudly “What is so great about Arjuna? He is like all of us’, making sure Dronacharya who was standing within the earshot heard his remark. Dronacharya heard him but did not say anything.
Next day Dronacharya hung a wooden bird amidst the branches of a tree. He called out to all the princes, made them stand 100 yards away from the tree and said
“There is a little test for you”.
Yudhishtira being the eldest, he called him to come forward first.
“Aim your arrow to the bird” he said.
Yudhishtira pulled back his arrow aiming at the bird and waited.
“What do you see Yudhishtira?” Drona asked.
“Why?! The bird, the tree, branches, my brothers and you of course, my revered teacher”, exclaimed Yudhishtira perplexed at the question.
“ Laydown your weapon” said Drona.
Yudhishtira retraced his steps.
“Now, it is your turn Duryodhana”, called out Drona.
Smirking at Yudhishtira, Duryodhana came forward. As it is, he was not happy about his poor cousins getting the lessons from Dronacharya as his equals.
He aimed the arrow at the bird.
‘What do you see” asked Drona.
“The bird, the tree and you my venerable master” replied Duryodhana and was about to shoot when Drona said,
“Place the bow and arrow on the ground and go back to your place”.
All the other younger princes came forward and failed the test.
It was Drona’s son Ashwathama’s turn. Ashwathama said that he could see nothing but the wooden bird. Little disappointed Drona sent him back reluctantly. After all he was his own son!
Now Drona calls Arjuna to come forward and aim the bird. Arjuna, with supreme confidence yet with lightness and in a relaxed manner pulls back his arrow and waits.
Here I paused…..Time for Manana (Contemplation). This is the crux of the story I thought. I am sharing my personal thoughts with you, my dear readers. It connected so well with what Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar answered to the question about running after Him. Arjuna was Dronas favorite student which means he need not had to run after Drona.
The ‘supreme confidence’, ‘lightness’ and ‘relaxed manner’ of Arjuna at the time of taking test where all his predecessors had failed stems from him being established in the self, I thought. If others had failed, it was because of lack of self awareness and feverishness to please their teacher, perhaps?! As explained in Ashtanga yoga of Patanjali, Arjuna must have mastered Yama, Niyama, Asana and Pranayama that gave him steadiness to move confidently towards his goal. The physical presence of his teacher Drona did not distract Arjuna from his goal.
Drona asked “What do you see Arjuna?”
“Only blackness in the eye of the wooden bird my revered teacher” answered Arjuna without wavering his gaze.
“Don’t you see anything else, the forest, tree, branches…” urged Drona.
“No sir, I see only blackness in the middle of the eye of the bird” replied Arjuna still keeping his gaze steadily at the target.
The 5th limb of Ashtanga Yoga, Pratyahara, that occupies the middle place, needs a sadhak to retrieve his senses just as a tortoise retrieves its limbs into its shell to get established in Samadhi. Arjuna must have shut off all the external stimuli of senses like tress, branches, people around him including his revered teacher to get ‘fixed’ (Dharana) in his goal, to shoot the bird’s eye. Our mind is often compared to the tortoise shell and its limbs the senses. Mind is also likened to the Queen Bee after who runs all other labour bees, the senses. When Queen Bee stops running, all other labour bees also freeze! Then one is prepared for Dharana. Revelation indeed !
Exulted by Arjuna’s answer, Drona says “Shoot!”
Next moment the bird lay on the ground with an arrow pierced in its eye, right in the middle!
Was Arjuna in a state of Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi when he shot the arrow? Was his one pointed devotion and focus to whatever he wanted to achieve the key for success in life, worldly or otherwise?
Is there something profound for us to learn from Arjuna, especially when all others see ‘Dronacharya’ while aiming the bird except Arjuna? Does it connect with what Sri Sri Ravi Shankar says; when you look within yourself I will run after you. The whole world runs after you.
A Master manifests in physical body to make one realize whatever He is, so is His disciple. He walks us through the path with utmost love, compassion and patience till we reach home. But then, is it not my responsibility to keep the focus on the path rather than making a relationship with the Guru Principle?
“In the beginning it is ok to run. But then you must stop and look within yourself. Then I will run after you. The whole world runs after you”.
Gurudev’s words pregnant with profound meaning.
The truth struck like lightning!
It is crystal clear. The only aim and focus walking the path with Sri Sri is to become Arjuna.
Manana (Contemplation) continues…..Thank You Sri Sri.