The target: to hit the right eye of the bird

1001 Tales told by the Master Discourses

Osho states, “In science, in archery, in other arts, concentration may be of great use – but it is not meditation.”

Arjuna with bow and arrow

In the ancient story of Mahabharata – the great Indian war that happened five thousand years ago – there was a famous archer, Dronacharya. All the princes used to come to learn archery from him. His most intimate disciple was Arjuna, whose concentration was the reason for this intimacy, because archery depends on concentration.

One day Dronacharya was examining his disciples. He asked one disciple, Yudhishthira, Arjuna’s eldest brother… Dronacharya had hung a dead bird on a tree, and the dead bird’s right eye was the target. He told Yudhishthira – he was the first, being the eldest – “Take the bow and the arrow, but before you shoot, I have to ask you something.”

He became ready with his bow and arrow, and Dronacharya asked him, “What are you seeing?”

He said, “I see everything – all the trees, all the birds.”

The second man was called in and asked, “What are you seeing?”

He said, “I can see only the bird.”

The third man was Arjuna. Dronacharya asked him, “What are you seeing?”

Arjuna said, “Only the right eye of the bird.”

Then Dronacharya told all three to shoot their arrows. Yudhishthira’s arrow went so far off… you cannot even say it missed – the distance between his arrow and the bird was so big. The second man’s was a little closer, but still did not reach the right eye – it hit the bird. But Arjuna’s arrow hit exactly the right eye of the bird. And the right eye of the bird on a faraway tree is such a small spot…

But Dronacharya said, “Just your answers had given me a sense of who was going to hit the target. If you see so many trees, you are not focused. If you see only the bird you are more focused, but still you are not focused on the right eye. The whole bird is a big thing in comparison to the right eye. But when Arjuna said, ‘I can’t see anything else except the right eye,’ then it was certain that his arrow was going to reach the target.”

In science, in archery, in other arts, concentration may be of great use – but it is not meditation. […]

Meditation is going beyond the mind. It has nothing to do with the mind – except going beyond it. It is not a faculty of the mind, it is transcendental to mind. When you can see without the mind in between you and existence, you are in meditation. It is not concentration. It is utterly silent. It is not focusing… it is absolutely unfocused awareness.

Osho, The Great Zen Master Ta Hui, Ch 11 (excerpt)

Series compiled by Shanti
All excerpts of this series can be found in: 1001 Tales

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