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Yuva Spot: Arjuna — An Ideal Student

Why is Arju­na con­sid­ered the ide­al stu­dent?

When a teacher sees a lot of stu­dents, actu­al­ly he or she can rec­og­nize those stu­dents who stand out in cer­tain qual­i­ties. And he or she will do what­ev­er is in their capa­bil­i­ty to enhance those qual­i­ties, not just for their own ben­e­fit, but for the ben­e­fit of the whole world. Dronacharya clear­ly saw phe­nom­e­nal qual­i­ties in Arju­na. In fact Dronacharya favoured Arju­na over Ash­watthama, his own son, because of Arjuna’s qual­i­ties.

A Guru always sees more than just the skill of his stu­dent. He looks deep­er into many aspects of his atti­tude and char­ac­ter. The qual­i­ty of Arju­na was that he would do any­thing for his Guru. His Guru bhak­ti was very great. There are many episodes to illus­trate why Arju­na is such an ide­al student.Once on a time, every­body dis­cuss­es with each oth­er,” This Arju­na! He alone gets spe­cial treat­ment from our Guru. How can that be?” Guru Dronacharya knows what is hap­pen­ing in the ashra­ma. He makes a plan to actu­al­ly show his oth­er stu­dents why Arju­na is much supe­ri­or to them. They go for their reg­u­lar ablu­tions to the riv­er and Guru Drona cre­ates a sit­u­a­tion in which a croc­o­dile actu­al­ly catch­es hold of his leg and starts pulling him in. Guru Drona,with his awe­some skill could eas­i­ly take care of the croc­o­dile. But he lets out a cry. The moment he lets out a cry, the croc­o­dile is dead! The croc­o­dile is shot dead before any­body could even real­ize what was hap­pen­ing. They are all hav­ing fun and frol­ick­ing in the riv­er. But all of Arjuna’s atten­tion is on his Guru, Drona. In one moment he had strung his bow, fit­ted arrows, shot and killed the croc­o­dile, before any­body could as much as exclaim, “Ah!”. That was his Guru bhak­ti! After this inci­dent, peo­ple real­ized why their Guru favoured Arju­na over all of them. This is how a moth­er is with her child. What­ev­er be the activ­i­ty she is engaged in, her eye is always on her beloved child. Like­wise when there is bhak­ti, it does not mat­ter whether it is night or day, whether one is engaged in this work or that, one con­stant­ly thinks only of one’s object of devo­tion, and that is pre­ma, excep­tion­al pre­ma!

Arju­na was well-known for his vikra­ma. Kra­ma means effort. He was capa­ble of putting in parakra­ma, super­hu­man effort! But he was known for vikra­ma, effort­less effort. Cer­tain peo­ple put in a lot of effort and it shows. Cer­tain oth­er peo­ple put in mas­sive effort and it does not show, they car­ry it light­ly. Arju­na was like that. One of the episodes dis­plays awe­some qual­i­ty of Arju­na. Guru Dronacharya had actu­al­ly advised the cook to not serve his stu­dents food at night. But one day it so hap­pens that while Arju­na is eat­ing, the lights go off. In a trice, Arju­na van­ish­es from the place to start prac­tic­ing! The eight days around amavasya (new moon) are dark. So dur­ing this time, Arju­na could not prac­tise dur­ing the nights. Oth­er­wise he was so sys­tem­at­ic that the day’s lessons would be prac­ticed imme­di­ate­ly and mas­tered. And he would move for­ward.

As he ate in the dark, he real­ized that there was auto­mat­ic coor­di­na­tion between his hands and mouth. He did not require vision to put his hand into his mouth. This was an amaz­ing dis­cov­ery for him. He imme­di­ate­ly takes up his bow and arrow to prac­tise in the dark. He learns how to ori­ent him­self towards the tar­get, through his sens­es and oth­er signs. And from then on, the entire month, he would prac­tise day and night! Day and night- just prac­tice. Oth­er­wise he could not have gained such mas­tery, as he dis­plays through­out the Mahab­hara­ta.

Arjuna’s pow­ers of con­cen­tra­tion are very well-known. He did not see any­thing else but the tar­get. In fact, that is a very impor­tant les­son for us. Gen­er­al­ly what hap­pens to all of us is we get con­fused because we don’t see the tar­get. Once Guru Drona takes his stu­dents for the day’s les­son and asks them to pre­pare to shoot the eyes of a wood­en bird kept on a tall tree. Guru Drona then asks each of his stu­dents what they see. Every­body sees the tree,the leaves the branch­es, the sky and also the eyes of the wood­en bird. But Arju­na sees noth­ing but the eye of the bird.

Nowa­days being able to see every­thing is con­sid­ered good, while actu­al­ly it is not good. At this present moment, one should see noth­ing except what one needs to do; one should elim­i­nate every­thing else, but that. This is called selec­tive vision. At the present moment, if we see any­thing else oth­er than what needs to be done in the present moment, we can­not act with swift­ness, with clar­i­ty and with deci­sive­ness. Once we have decid­ed upon a course of action, we should see only that, at that point in time. That is all. Oth­er­wise the mind will get con­fused. We may have a grand plan, but we must work it out to what needs to be done this moment, and act on it deci­sive­ly. It should be deci­sive action. It should not be con­tem­pla­tion. Arju­na had that qual­i­ty. He would see only that which was required at that point in time. As one goes high­er up the lad­der, as one becomes the leader of a big orga­ni­za­tion, one will see that there are so many con­flict­ing require­ments, that if one is not deci­sive in action, one’s mind will becomes crowd­ed with var­i­ous con­flicts and start to vas­cil­late. One will be inde­ci­sive at best, and one can­not be called a leader.

Guru Dronacharya was an excep­tion­al­ly capa­ble mas­ter. He was not a nor­mal human being. He was an amsha avatara (par­tial incar­na­tion) of Rishi Bri­has­pati, who is the Guru of the devas. Arju­na was hard­work­ing, obe­di­ent, and had all the qual­i­ties of an ide­al stu­dent. Arju­na dis­played such tremen­dous qual­i­ties, excep­tion­al hard work and at the same time he could car­ry his hard work, sim­ply, light­ly, with­out show­ing any strains of putting in effort. That is the dif­fer­ence between a pure­bred horse and a mule! Hence he was Guru Dronacharya’s obvi­ous favourite.


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