The Perfect Marksman

Dhanush was an up and coming archer. His skill with the bow and arrows had fetched him many prizes at contests. These victories went to his head and there came a day when he was convinced that he was the last word in archery.

One day he challenged his guru Aanandji, to a contest.

Aanandji looked at Dhanush keenly. He realised that his student had become an upstart. He needed to be taught a lesson. Guru Aanandji accepted the challenge.

Dhanush set a target for them far, far away. He then took aim. His very first arrow hit the bull’s-eye. Then he despatched a second arrow. It split the first arrow into two.

He then turned to his Guru and said triumphantly, “See that! Can you match it, sir?”

Aanandji kept silent. He did not take out his bow immediately. After a brief silence, he asked Dhanush to follow him. Aanandji led Dhanush to some mountains nearby. Both Guru and disciple climbed a peak in silence all that could be heard was their breath that came out in deep gasps. When they were close to the top of the peak, they stopped. Now they were overlooking a deep gorge between this peak and another one close by. The gorge was bridged by a flimsy and shaky log.

Aanandji then stepped on to the middle of the precarious bridge. He chose a far away tree as his target, drew his bow, and shot an arrow. It found its mark. Stepping back on to safe ground, Aanandji said, “Now it is your turn, my boy.”

Dhanush looked down at the gorge in front of him. His head reeled. He felt faint. He took one tentative foot forward on the log. It bent ever so slightly under his weight. He felt giddy. He drew back. Aanandji sensed his predicament, and said: “You have mastered the skill of marksmanship, but have you learnt to control the mind that lets loose the arrow?”

Dhanush hung his head in shame.

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