Written By Niyati Narasimhan
Not long after the death of their father, King Pandu, the five pandavas along with their mother Kunti had to return to the glorious city of Hastinapur. Yet, after arriving, they were met with hostility from the 100 Kauravas, also their cousins. To abate this bitterness, Bhisma- the grandfather of both Pandavas and Kauravas, decided to send them to Gurukula, where the revered Guru Dronacharya would train them to be competent princes and lead their clan into glory. It so happened that one day Dronacharya, who also happened to be a great archer decided to test which one of his students was meant to be a great archer. He called all of his students and showed them a wooden bird which he had placed on top of a very tall tree. The task was simple- to pierce the eye of the bird with one single arrow without making it fall off. So, one by one each of Dronacharya’s disciples took turns to complete this seemingly easy task. Just as the eldest of the Pandavas, Yudhisthira was going to shoot his arrow, Dronacharya stopped him and asked him what he saw in front of him while aiming at the target. Being the righteous follower of Dharma, Yuddhisthira replied “Gurudev, in front of me is the wooden bird atop a tree and it seems that there is also a nest in the lower branches and an ant hill on the ground, therefore I must make sure that when I hit my target, it must not fall as to destroy the nest as well as the anthill.” Astonished by his answer Dronacharya stopped him and told him that he would be a great king and leader as he correctly examined all aspects present in front of him, yet, he was not fit to be an archer. Still in pursuit of a great archer, Dronacharya repeatedly asked the same question to all those who were tested. When he asked Bheem, the latter replied saying that he could see the yummy fruits on the tree and how eager he was to eat them, disappointed, but having
understood that Bheem’s true strength was his physical prowess, Dronacharya stopped him from taking the aim. Then it was Duryodhan’s chance and when asked all he replied was that he saw a bird. This certainly was not the answer Dronacharya was expecting. One by one each of the Kauravas took turns and so did the twin Pandava brothers Nakul-Sahadev, but each kept disheartening their Guru with their common responses. Finally, the 3rd Pandava brother Arjuna’s turn came and when asked he replied “All I can see is the bird’s eye Gurudev.” Dronacharya’s joy had no bounds, he was filled with delight and happiness and in response allowed Arjuna to take his aim and lo!- It was a perfect aim. The arrow pierced the bird’s eye without toppling it over. Everyone else stood there, astounded, and questioning why Arjun was allowed to release his arrow and what was so special about his answer. Dronacharya responded, “ a true archer is one who only and only focuses on his aim and target. The rest of you all mentioned other sights which were not the true target and hence you all proved yourselves as unworthy archers.”
This event is extremely important in the Mahabharata as it acts as the reminder of Arjuna’s archery skills and prowess which during the later part of the epic are significant to the battles fought by the Pandavas and their fight against adharma. Moreover, this is a lesson to all of us as it teaches that in life we must never deviate from our goals, only focusing on our target.
Featured Image Courtesy – Jetking English