I searched for my favorite childhood superhero story about Arjuna of Mahabhrata (ancient Indian text) taking aim at a bird in a cage, and lo! I found this post. It was wonderfully well-written with a beautiful illustration. So I am reblogging it.
Looking back, I think had understood the message wrongly. I now even think a lot of my attention difficulties arose as a result of my admiration of it.
There is an interesting video that gives a counterpoint: The Gorilla Experiment. This experiment is being quoted now a lot to illustrate how we do not ‘actually see’ all that we see with our eyes. Anyone can try this experiment and verify that he is also a victim of this human limitation.
I have always thought that attention the target and disregarding all else is supreme. This may be true in the case of single-minded obsessions, which are actually rare in real life. The Gorilla Experiment demonstrates that when we bring any one feature of our observation into focus, we lose attention of a lot of other glaring things. This was lauded in the story I have referred here. But in reality a balanced attention would be preferable.
What are your thoughts on this?
The Eye of the bird
Once, Guru Dronacharya took all his disciples to the forest to test their skills of archery. Amongst them were the hundred and five princes of the reigning Moon Dynasty – five sons of Pandu or the Pandavas and hundred Kauravas, the sons of Dhritarastrya. Penetrating the depths of the forest the revered teacher led his students to the tallest tree. Assembling his disciples he called up Yudhishthira the Pandava, the eldest of all the princes to step forward.
Addressing the prince, Dronacharya pointed up to the highest branch of the tree.
“On the highest branch of this tree there sits a bird. Can you see it?” he asked.
“Yes, Master” Yudhishthira replied.
“Take up your bow and arrow and try to shoot down that bird through the eye.” The venerable one instructed his disciple.
On his Master’s command, Yudhishthira picked up his bow and arrow…
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