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THE LESSON LEARNT BY THE AVADHUTA BRAHMANA
The arrow maker who was so absorbed in making a straight arrow that
he did not even see or notice the king himself, who was passing right
next to him.
Itisunderstoodthatwhenakingmovesonapublicstreetheisheralded
by kettledrums and other musical instruments and is accompanied by
soldiers and other members of his retinue. Thus, despite this royal extravaganza
passing right by his workshop, the arrow maker did not even notice because he was
completely absorbed in his prescribed duty of making an arrow straight and sharp.
One who is completely absorbed in loving devotional service to the Absolute Truth,
Çré Kåñëa, no longer pays attention to material illusion.
The Theme – Absorption
SLOKA RECITATION
Let us learn a sloka from Neeti Sastras which teaches us something about the
above theme.
Before teaching the present verse, the teacher should begin the class by
chanting all the verses of the 24 Gurus with the children all together.
Chant the seventeeth verse of the 24 Gurus again. Tell the children we will
learn the seventeenth verse and also understand it.
Learn the seventeenth verse. (The teacher recites the sloka line by line and
makes the children repeat and memorize the sloka)
Indriyani ca samyamya
Bakavat pandito narah
Desa kalah balam jnatva
Sarva karyani sadhayet
i Controlling all your senses like the Heron &
ii After carefully considering the factors of time & space and
iii The capacity of the self, the wise accomplish their work successfully.
The heron has this great capacity to forget everything else to concentrate on its
target. We should also adopt it also – Capacity of concentrating one’s mind on one’s
aim or target. Because success depends upon
1/2 60 mins 120 mins
Let us learn a sloka from Neeti Sastras which teaches us something about the
above theme.
Before teaching the present verse, the teacher should begin the class by
chanting all the verses of the 24 Gurus with the children all together.chanting all the verses of the 24 Gurus with the children all together.
Chant the seventeeth verse of the 24 Gurus again. Tell the children we will
Learn the seventeenth verse. (The teacher recites the sloka line by line and
GURU 17 - Arrow Maker
224
i. Able assessment of one’s situation with respect to time & place.
ii. The power of concentration
iii. Capacity to put in one’s total might – should the need arise.
GURU 17 - Arrow Maker
LESSONS FROM GURU
The teacher can explain to the children, the lessons which this Arrow
maker teaches us. The abbreviation “4 C’s” makes it convenient for us to
remember what the guru wants to teach us.
The teacher can write down on the board the below abbreviation and ask
the children to note it down and learn it.
1. Concentrate on the Goal and forget everything else
2. Channelize Your full capacity
3. Controlling senses
4. Understanding your own Capacity
(In this session, after explaining the meaning of “4 C’s“, the teacher will be able to
narrate a maximum of four stories. The remaining stories can be continued in the
next class.)
THE LESSON LEARNT BY THE AVADHUTA BRAHMANA
The avadhüta brähmaëa also received instruction from the arrow
maker, who was so absorbed in constructing an arrow that he did
not even notice that the king was passing right by him on the road.
In the same way, one must strictly control one’s mind, concentrating
it in the worship of Lord Çré Hari.
� CONCENTRATE ON THE GOAL AND FORGET
EVERYTHING ELSE �
One brahmana came to the
kingdom of Janak to recite
Srimad Bhagvatam. Everyday
Janak Maharaj used to listen to
the recitation with rapt attention. When
the king would be late, the Brahmana
would stop and wait for him to come. All
the others in the court would think that
the brahmana is interested in the royal
enumeration. They were thinking that
the brahmana was more than cunning
than them and was trying to seek the
attention of the king.
One day while the recitation
was going on, a messenger
comes for the king and
STORY 1 - JANAK MAHARAJ AND FIRE IN THE HOUSE
Janak Maharaj used to listen to
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GURU 17 - Arrow Maker
informs him that there was a
fire in the treasury. The king did
not get affected and told others
to take care of the issue and he continues
listening to Srimad Bhagavatam. Later
the messenger comes for the others
with the same message that their
houses have caught fire. Hearing this
immediately everyone gets up and runs
to protect their homes.
Only the king and the
brahmana continue sitting
and relishing Srimad
Bhagavatam. Thus it
becomes clear why the brahmana used
to wait for Janaka Maharaja, because he
was addicted to hearing Krishna katha
with full absorption and attention.
STORY 2- KULASHEKAR MAHARAJS ABSORPTION IN THE PASTIMES‘
Kulashekar was absorbed in the glorious
pastimes of Lord Rama. He used to enter
the pastime so much that he actually
went with his army towards Lanka
to attack Ravana who had kidnapped
mother Sita. He kept marching into the
sea till he was actually about to drown in
the water. Lord Rama personally had to
come to rescue him and bring him back
to the kingdom.
STORY 3 - SHAUMAHARI AND THE HUNTER WHO SAW NARSIMHADEV
Shaumahari was a disciple of
Padmapada who was a devotee
of Nrsimhadev. One day while
Shaumahari was meditating
in the forest on Narsimhadev,
he met a hunter. The hunter asked
him, “What are you looking
for?” Shaumahari replied in
a language that the hunter
understands, that he was
looking for an animal that
is half lion and half man. The hunter
becomes determined that he will find
that animal and searches all day but still
does not find the animal. He
gets frustrated and tired and
was about to give up his life.
Just then Nrsimhadev appears
in front of him. Then the hunter becomes
happy and binds up Nrsimhadev and
brings Him to Shaumahari and tells him,
“Here is your animal”. Shaumahari is
not able to see anything. Suddenly he
hears a roaring sound, which tells him,
“Be intense like this hunter and you will
soon see Me.”
looking for an animal that
is half lion and half man. The hunter
STORY 4 - THE KING READING SCRIPTURES AND THE LADY
SEARCHING FOR HER PET.
Once a king went to a temple to
read scriptures. He posted his
bodyguards before the temple,
because he wanted absolute peace. While
reading in the scripture, he looked out
of the window and saw a young lady
running desperately back and forth -
trying to find something. All of
a sudden this young lady was in
the temple and started to run to
different places in the temple in
her desperate search. While searching,
she overlooked the emperor and ran
against him. She hit him so hard that
trying to find something. All of
226
GURU 17 - Arrow Maker
his scripture flew out of his hands to the
floor. The King was so disturbed that he
immediately called for his bodyguards:
“Bring me this young rascal lady!” When
the body guards brought the lady before
him, the king was totally furious with
her: ‘Before you will be hanged, just tell
me what in the world
occupied your mind so
much that you did not
even notice when you
ran over me?”
The young lady shook with fear, since
she was sentenced to death. But then
she collected her mind and said: “Dear
emperor, please excuse me, but I was
searching for my lost pet. I
thought that it had come here
and because I love him, I was
so fixed on him that I looked
everywhere for him without seeing
anyone or anything else. I did not mean
to be impolite.”
The king was even more angry: “How
do you dare to disturb me while reading
the Holy Scripture, ... looking for a
pet! Hang her immediately!” This time
the young lady made a point:
“Dear emperor: May I ask you
if you were actually reading
the scripture. If I am so much
fixed when I search for a pet of
this world, how much more would you
be fixed when you actually searched for
the Supreme God? If you had actually
read the scripture, you would not have
noticed anything or anyone else. But I
think you did not really read, you did not
really pray, you only made an external
show of reading and praying!”
The king saw the lady’s point and set
her free. This absorption of the mind in
Krsna while simultaneously rendering
devotional service is the whole point
of Bhakti Yoga. Someone who does this
has an excellent chance for purification.
Sri Krsna speaks about this in the
18th Chapter Text 58: If you become
conscious of Me, you will pass over all
the obstacles of conditioned life by my
grace. If, however, you do not work in
such consciousness, but act through
false ego, not hearing Me, you will be
lost.
� CONCENTRATE ON THE GOAL AND FORGET
EVERYTHING ELSE �
Dronacarya asked all his disciples to
come together and he pointed out at a
toy bird which he had kept
on the tree. He asked his
disciples to take aim one
by one to shoot at the bird.
When each one came he
asked the same question,
what do you see in front
of you? Some replied that
they could see the bird, the
tree, etc. Duryodhan said that he could
see the bird, the tree, Dronacarya and all
the Pandavas, etc. Drona
did not allow any of them
to shoot the arrow and he
told them even before they
shot that they had failed.
Because he saw that they
were not absorbed in the
target. But when he called
Arjuna and asked him
STORY 5 - ARJUNA AND THE EYE OF THE BIRD
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227
what he saw, Arjuna said that he could
only see the eye of the bird and nothing
else. Drona even before the arrow was
released told that he had won. And Lo
Behold! The arrow actually hit the bird
in the eye.
STORY 6 - THE BOY WHO MASTERED ONLY ONE MOVE IN JUDO
There was a 10-year-old boy whose left
armwasbadlydamagedinanaccidentand
subsequently amputated.
He decided to learn judo.
His Sensai (teacher) was an
old Chinese judo expert.
The boy learned quickly.
After three months, he had learned only
one move. He asked his teacher to teach
him more moves. The Sensai told him
that this was all he would need. Soon
after, the boy entered a tournament,
where he quickly advanced to the finals,
where his opponent was bigger and
more experienced. The boy seemed
rather out matched. After a long match,
the opponent seemed to
lose concentration.
Quickly, the boy took
advantage and pinned
him who seemed to be his
superior opponent. On the ride home,
the boy asked his Sensai. “How could I
win with only one move?” The Sensai
replied, “You have nearly mastered one
of the most difficult moves in all of judo.
And the only defense against that move
is for your opponent to grab your left
arm.” Sometimes your biggest weakness
can become your greatest strength.
Therefore, never be ashamed of your
weakness!
superior opponent. On the ride home,
There is a story
about an expert
c r a f t s m a n s h i p
of a plasterer who worked on the
construction of the Taj Mahal. One of
the top directors of the construction
was inspecting the building
in progress and noticed for
three days in a row a certain
plasterer who was sitting in
the same place mixing plaster.
On the third day the inspector
became angry and said, “Why are you
still simply sitting and mixing
this plaster? You are so lazy!”
The man who was mixing
the plaster also became very
angry, and he threw a handful of his
plaster at the inspector.
The plaster missed the inspector but
landed on a wall. The plaster was so
well mixed, however, so solid and hard,
that no one could get it off the wall, and
it is still there today.
STORY 1 - JANAK MAHARAJ AND FIRE IN THE HOUSE
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STORY 8 - ABHIMANYU PUT HIS FULL ENERGY IN THE FIGHT
It was noontime
now, and still there
was no success
the Pandava army.
Abhimanyu did not
look back to see that
there was an army
behind him, with his
uncles; the isolation
was complete. But the boy, that day,
was all the army put together plus his
uncles and father in their prowess. The
Kaurava forces were dying fast, yielding
space further progress, every minute. It
was like a fruit, rotting from within, but
looking well in shape from the outside.
The dying soldiers fell silently with
the ring of the Vyuha preventing them
from running away to escape. None of
Abhimanyu’s weapons or missiles failed
to reach its targets. It was no easy job,
progressing, with spies attacking him
from all sides, together, unethically:
like brutes attacking a prey. Shakuni,
Shalya and Bhurishravas stood in three
angles of the Swastika near centre
and protected Duryodhana there.
Abhimanyu approached that point by
that noon, killing all who opposed his
advancement on all sides, like lightning
desroying forests in its ravaging fires,
in hot summer, the three who stood
guard at the Swastika, understood the
strategy of the boy and were trying to
push him into rings of circular ‘streets’
of the Vyuha, back, though not much
of those streets were in order. But the
boy avoided being pushed back and was
steadily moving towards the centre.
A great battle took place and the fight
was going on. He singlehandedly fought
the entire kaurava warriors with bravery.
The Sun was about to set. Abhimanyu too
was getting tired, though his enthusiasm
did not decline a bit. He was only getting
disappointed that he could not finish the
wardecisivelyonceforall.Hewassonear
the centre, so near the target, and yet so
far away in reaching it. He redoubled his
efforts and vigour in a determined bid to
clutch at victory, which had somehow
eluded him so long. He was totally
unmindful of wounds on his own body,
everywhere. His charioteer was too
tired to notice wounds on himself and
the boy’s body. He had exhibited all his
skills on that one day, as never before.
He would bless the boy frequently and
say : “Blessed sir, long live yourself; but
see there... see beyond there... let us go
there” and lead him to vantage points
where enemies never expected him in
swift turns and whirlwind-movements,
and fell to his arrows in heaps. This was
victory shared deservedly by an unusual
warrior and his charioteer, which even.
Drona and earlier Bhishma had not
achieved, till then.
Abhimanyu did not
notice that he was alone,
with no army or warrior
or supply of arms
behind him. His stock
of weapons was nearing
exhaustion now. The
boy began slowly realising his isolated
situation, but without fear, dismay or
anxiety. Still, what thousands of ordinary
arrows could not achieve, was being
achieved by his missiles, whose formulae
he distinctly remembered suiting the
appropriateness of their moments of
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229
functioning. He would certainly have
been the architect of the Pandava victory
that day, had not Bhima and others been
prevented by that cursed Saindhava!
Abhimanyu’s presence of mind was a
blessing that had not forsaken him that
day. One thing that did not flash upon
the boy’s mind was that the treacherous
Kauravascouldfolloweviltricksandfoul
short cuts to success in so mean a way
that was to follow. He was so tactfully
fighting without violating war codes,
from :he beginning that day, expecting
reciprocation from the adversaries. That
was Sri Krishna’s training,
and also his own father’s
example. But now he had
to meet those :n wrong
moulds, wrong aims, and
wrong path, throwing
away all decencies,
honour,chivalrytowinds.
The boy never even once
realised this practical
brutal reality that nad not
merely surrounded him, but was about
to grip him. That was tragic.
Kama came from somewhere behind
him, like a shameless thief and cut off
his bow. Abhimanyu wondered for a
moment as to why such a strong bow
that had withstood such pressure since
morning could snap all of a sudden, and
why; he turned round to see what was
there; that one moment was the turning
point! Bhoja, advanced from before and
killed all his horses in one powerful
stroke of his mace. He was followed by
Kripacharya, who rushed on and killed
the charioteer, as well as the supplier
of weapons, in another single stroke !
‘Kripa’ - whose name meaning ‘Mercy’ -
was a parody of Brahminhood, vedded
to Righteousness and God, and such
behaviour! Who could have expected
it? The others on the opposite side
rushed on him to surround him from
all sides with weapons, like errands of
the God of Death! They struck him - a
chariotless lad, without a charioteer,
horses, helpers, throwing all decency of
codes - like brutes, like robbers, beyond
all manners prescribed for even war.
Some of them were ‘Maharathis’,
‘Atirathins’, surrounding him!
Abhimanyu did not lose courage, but
took it as a rare challenging moment,
which had the potential to
make him a unique hero, if
only he could still emerge
victorious, and slay those
powerful advancers. He
seized the opportunity
with redoubled vigour,
even in that tragic trap
of the moment, holding
a sword in the right
hand, a shield in the left;
he jumped off the chariot and rushed
on those foxes like a lion. He flew
everywhere on heaps of dead soldiers, as
a divine eagle in the skies, unmindful of
opposers. The ring around him scattered
at this unexpected show.
Drona, now lost all sense and patience,
as he had to show some point of victory
to his wicked boss,
Duryodhana, on that otherwise eventless
day on his side, somehow. From a
distance the old Brahmin warrior shot
a sharp arrow to cut off that hand of
Abhimanyu holding the sword. Shame!
His Vedic learning, and the knowledge of
the eight-syllabled Manthra, did nothing
for him at the senseless moment.
It was now Kama’s turn to shoot another
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arrowtocutofftheboy’slefthandholding
the shield, and he became Drona’s
‘disciple’ for once, by this imitation, an
ambition that had not been achieved
or an honour not bestowed on him by
Drona, even by silent concurrence or
blessing! Kama - the extraordinary hero
- had no shame, chivalry or remorse.
Abhimanyudidnotmindthepaininboth
blunt arms, weaponless and shieldless.
He still wanted to
fight to the finish.
There was a wheel
of a chariot, in sight
that had slipped
off its place from
a broken chariot,
near by. The boy
picked it up in the
blunted right arm-
shaft and wielded it powerfully, looking
like his uncle Sri Krishna, for a terrible
moment.8 He rushed at Drona, now.
Arrows had stuck up on his body from
all sides, as soldiers on the opposite side
were hectically shooting them in fear, in
senseless shows of valour. Abhimanyu’s
clothes were all red with blood by now,
but he was not to lose enthusiasm even
by a bit. When he threw on the enemies
that dreaded wheel, they all saw to it
that it was destroyed into pieces and did
no harm to them.
Now Abhimanyu somehow clutched a
mace in the broken arm, with difficulty,
and flung it on the enemies. It fell on
Ashwatthama’s horses and killed them in
one stroke; Ashwatthama jumped off his
chariot in time and ran away to save his
life. The brave boy, even in that adverse,
helpless situation of his, somehow
used all and sundry weapons lying
waste around him available nearby, and
eliminated some seventy-seven cousins
of Shakuni, the Gandhara heroes, to the
surprise of all, even in the enemy camp.
He destroyed the chariot of Dusshasana’s
son. The last moment came in the hands
of this ruffian, who clutched a mace and
hit Abhimanyu’s
head with it to crush
it into a pulp! The
boy, now a helpless
heap of shapeless
flesh, was an object
of pity for gods.
The Chakravyuha
had been so
c o m p l e t e l y
destroyed, scattered and defeated, by a
single hero, a mere lad, that day, as the
sun was setting now. The boy’s was an
eventful death of worthy achievement,
after all. Dead bodies were floating in a
river of blood, in a just concluded war of
the day, as mementoes of the valour of
the boy that was no more.
Drona bent his head in shame. By his
side Kama, Duryodhana, Shakuni,
Dusshasana, Shalya and Ashwatthama
were hugging each other to celebrate
the evil victory they had just achieved,
without a sense of shame or guilt.
Such was Abhimanyu’s absorption in the
fight that even at the cost of his life he
saw to it that Maharaj Yudhisthira was
protected and the cakravyuha does not
succeed.
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231
SLOKA RECITATION
Let us learn a sloka from the Srimad Bhagavatam which teaches us something
about the above theme.
Before teaching the present verse, the teacher should begin the class by
chanting all the verses of the 24 Gurus with the children all together.
Chant the 16th verse of the 24 Gurus again.
Indriyani ca samyamya
Bakavat pandito narah
Desa kalah balam jnatva
Sarva karyani sadhayet
i Controlling all your senses like the Heron &
ii After carefully considering the factors of time & space and
iii The capacity of the self, the wise accomplish their work successfully.
The heron has this great capacity to forget everything else to concentrate on its
target. We should also adopt it also – Capacity of concentrating one’s mind on one’s
aim or target. Because success depends upon
i. Able assessment of one’s situation with respect to time & place.
ii. The power of concentration
iii. Capacity to put in one’s total might – should the need arise.
LESSONS FROM GURU
The teacher can revise the previous lessons which was learnt in the last session. In
this session the teacher can complete the remaining three lessons and complete the
theme 4 C’s.
1. Concentrate on the Goal and forget everything else
2. Channelize Your full capacity
3. Controlling senses
4. Understanding your own Capacity
2/2 60 mins 120 mins
Let us learn a sloka from the Srimad Bhagavatam which teaches us something
Before teaching the present verse, the teacher should begin the class by
Chant the 16th verse of the 24 Gurus again.
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232
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� CONTROLLING SENSES �
STORY 1 - WHY ARJUNA IS CALLED GUDAKESA?
Arjuna had conquered sleep and
hence he was called as Gudakesa. He
had once seen Bhima eat in the dark
and from that he learnt a lesson that
it was possible for Bhima to eat in
the darkness.
So similarly he too by practice
would be able to shoot arrows in
the dark and hit the target without
seeing. So he would practice in
the nights too withour bothering
about his sleep.
A disciple and his teacher
were walking through the
forest. The disciple was
disturbed by the fact that
his mind was in constant
unrest.
He asked his teacher: “Why most
people’s minds are restless, and only a
few possess a calm mind? What can one
do to still his thoughts?”
The teacher looked at the disciple,
smiled and said:
“I will tell you a story. An elephant was
standing and picking leaves from a tree.
A small fly flew buzzing near his ear. The
elephant waved
it away with his
long ears. Then
the fly came again, and
the elephant waved it
away once more”.
This was repeated several
times. Then the elephant asked the fly:
“Why are you so restless and noisy? Why
can’t you stay for a while in one place?”
The fly answered: “I am attracted to
whatever I see, hear or
smell. My five senses pull me
constantly in all directions
and I cannot resist them.”
“And what is your secret, how can you
stay so calm and still?”
The elephant stopped eating and said:
“My five senses do not rule my attention.
Whatever I do, I am immersed in it.
Now that I am eating, I am completely
immersed in eating. In this way I can
enjoy my food and chew it better. I rule
my attention and not the other way
around.”
The disciple’s eyes opened wide and a
smile rose on his face.
“I understand. If I am in charge of my
senses and attention, then the mind is
calm. The outside objects are infinite in
number. If I let my five senses pull my
attention, then the mind is constantly
restless.”
“Yes, that’s right”, answered the teacher,
“ The mind is restless and goes wherever
the attention is. Control your attention,
and you control your mind”.
STORY 2 - THE ELEPHANT AND THE FLY
A small fly flew buzzing near his ear. The
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233
STORY 3 - TWO FRIENDS
Two friends were walking along
a footpath. There was lot of
honking, cars moving around, it
was a busy street. One of them
as they were walking suddenly stopped,
he found a little cricket insect lying
along the footpath, he picked
it up and put it back in the
leaves nearby. Now the other
friend asked him that how did
he hear the sound of the insect amidst
this busy street? The 1st friend in reply
took out his a Re 1 coin from
his wallet and put it down, the
coin rolled and made a little
jingling sound fell along the footbath.
Although the coin hardly made any
sound everyone passing observed it and
checked their pockets as to whether this
coin belonged to them. So he pointed
out that just as their consciousness is
absorbed in money they could notice it,
this is selective hearing, so why could he
not hear the sound of that insect.
as they were walking suddenly stopped,
he found a little cricket insect lying
MORAL: The more one is absorbed in Krishna consciousness the more one will hear
the call of Krishna.
� UNDERSTANDING YOUR OWN CAPACITY �
A Prabhupada disciple
went to Prabhupäda’s
room and offered him
two additional traveler’s checks of $100
each. He smiled and exclaimed, “More
cheques! Another $200!”
Tamal Krishna Mahäräja
and his Rädhä-Dämodara
Traveling Sankirtana
Party had recently offered
Prabhupädaadonationof
$20,000. Upon receiving
that cheque, Prabhupäda
said, “Only $20,000?”
As Rämacandra expected
different services from
his different monkeys according to their
capacity, my tiny donation received
a more positive response than Tamal
Krishna Goswami’s.
STORY 4 - SERVE ACCORDING TO ON’ES CAPACITY
two additional traveler’s checks of $100
STORY 5 - CROW AND SWAN - TOLD BY SALYA TO KARNA
The following story told
by Salya to Karna from the
forty-first chapter of the
Karna-parvaofMahabharata
nicely illustrates the dangers
of pride.
There once lived a wealthy vaishya by
the side of the ocean. He performed many
sacrifices and gave generously in charity.
He was quiet, observant of the duties of
his order, and was pure in his habits and
mind. The vaishya had a number of sons
all of whom were pious and kind to all
living creatures. Living in a place that was
ruled over by a pious king, the vaishya
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GURU 17 - Arrow Maker
was peaceful and free from anxiety.
There was a crow that daily
came to the home of the
vaishya to feast on remnants
of the family’s food that the
childrengavehim.Aftereating
every day the opulent milk, puddings,
yogurt, honey, butter and other foods,
the crow became very arrogant and
began to think little of all other birds.
One day, some great white swans, who
were practically equal to Garuda in
terms of speed and range of flight, came
to the shore of the ocean. When the
sons of the vaishya saw the wonderful
swans, they jokingly told the crow, “O
ranger of the sky, you are superior to all
of these big birds.”
Intoxicated with arrogance and false
pride, the crow considered these words
to be true. That foolish crow then
challenged the leader of the swans,
saying, “Let us have a flying competition
to see who is the best.”
Hearing the words of the arrogant crow,
those swans began to laugh. Those
foremost of birds,
capable of flying
anywhere at will, said
to the crow, “We are
swans who live on the Manasa Lake. We
traverse all over the earth, and amongst
winged creatures we are always spoken
highly of for the length of distances we
fly. How can a crow like you hope to
compete with a swan?”
The crow replied, “Great as I am, I tell
you, that before your eyes, I shall fly for
hundreds of yojanas (a yojana is eight
miles) displaying a hundred and one
varieties of motions in flight. Rising
up, swooping down, whirling around,
going straight, proceeding gently, going
backwards, darting forward, moving
with great velocity I shall display my
great strength and expertise in flight.”
One of the swans said, “O crow, you may
fly in a hundred and one different ways. I
however, shall fly in only one way, which
is the way all other birds know. For I do
not know any other. O you of red eyes,
you may fly as you like.”
Hearing this, all of the crows that had
gathered there laughed and said, “Now
we will see our brother crow defeat the
swans.”
The crow and swan then
rose into the sky, the swan
flying in a simple straight
motion and the crow
making many elaborate
movements. Seeing the variety of styles
of flight he was exhibiting, all of the
assembled crows were filled with delight
and began to caw loudly.
For a moment it appeared that the crow
had defeated the swan, then suddenly,
with great velocity, the swan began to
fly westwards towards the ocean. After
following him for some time out to sea,
the crow could no longer see any land or
trees, and he became afraid. He thought,
“When I become tired, where shall I
rest on this vast ocean? The water is
immeasurably deep and is inhabited by
hundreds of monsters who will devour
me.”
Covering a great distance
in one moment, the swan
looked back to see how the crow was
faring. Seeing him far behind, exhausted,
and barely able to stay above the water,
the swan felt pity and went to his aid.
looked back to see how the crow was
GURU 17 - Arrow MakerGURU 17 - Arrow Maker
235
The swan said, “O crow, what is the
name of this special flight which you
are exhibiting now? You are repeatedly
touching the water with your wings and
beak.”
Unable to see the limit of the ocean, and
greatly fatigued by having flown so far,
the crow replied, “O revered sir, we are
crows. We move about here and there
crying, ‘Caw! Caw! Caw!’ O swan, I
seek refuge in you and place my life in
your hands. Please
take me back to the
land.” Speaking thus,
the crow suddenly
fell exhausted into
the ocean.
Seeing him fallen,
with a sorry heart
the swan addressed the crow who was
on the verge of death, “O crow, how
is it that you were previously praising
yourself so loudly? Remember, you said
that you would fly in a hundred and one
different ways. How is it that you have
become so tired and have fallen into the
water?”
Overcome with weakness, the crow
pleaded with the swan, “Eating the
remnants of the family’s opulent foods,
I thought myself equal to Garuda and
did not care for the crows or any other
birds. I now seek refuge with you and
place my life at your disposal. Please
take me to the land and save me from
this calamity.”
Without a word, the swan picked up the
crow, placed him on his back, and began
flying back to the land. Nearly at the
point of death, deprived of his senses,
drenched with water, trembling in fear,
and hideous to look at, the melancholy
crow was weeping. The swan speedily
restored the crow back to the land where
they had originally started. Placing him
gently on the ground and comforting
him, the swan then quickly flew away to
return to Manasa Lake.
[Salya then told Karna that just as that
crow fed upon the remnants of the
vaishya children, became proud, and thus
disrespected his equals and superiors,
similarly, living on
the remnants of
Dhritarashtra’s sons,
Karna had become
proud and thought
himself fit to fight
with Krishna and
Arjuna.]
Sometimes it is seen
that after becoming uplifted by receiving
the mercy of great personalities, some
k�ka-janas, crow-like persons, become
proud and forget the color of their
feathers. After having a little association
with swan-like parama-hamsa devotees,
they begin to consider themselves far
superior to their peers and perhaps even
equal to the parama-hamsas. Instead of
anus�ra, following the instructions of the
Lord’s dear devotees, they take up the
cheap practice of anuk�ra, imitation. By
taking shelter of swan-like persons we
may cross the ocean of birth and death,
but if we try to imitate them we will
certainly fall down into the ocean and
drown.
Thus it is very important to understand
where we stand and what is our capability
before we boast or let pride get the better
of us.
with a sorry heart
GURU 17 - Arrow Maker
236
GURU 17 - Arrow Maker
While building the bridge from
Rameshvaram to Lanka the
monkeys were throwing huge
stones, rocks, trees and boulders
into the ocean to make a bridge.
A small spider in some part of
the bridge was kicking the sand
between the rocks thus doing his bit in
helping build the bridge. Hanuman saw
the little spider and felt what he was
trying wasting his time just kicking the
sand, while others were doing much
more than him.
Lord Rama at that moment
rebuked Hanuman and
acknowledged the spider for his
contribution.
Even the simplest devotee, that
little spider that kicked the sand on
the rocks between Ramesvaram and Sri
Lanka, even that little spider conquered
the heart of Rama.
STORY 6 - HANUMAN AND THE SPIDER
KRISHNA ACCEPTS EVERYONE’S SERVICE
MORAL – one has to continue serving according to ones capacity and the Lord
accepts everyone’s service.
A small spider in some part of
1. Try this activity. For the next five minutes try not to
think about a red monkey. See how your mind reacts. If you watch
carefully, you will see that the only thing that has come in your mind
is a red monkey.
2. Close your eyes for five minutes and observe every thought that comes in
your mind. See how many thoughts come and note down all the thoughts. These
thoughts representthedistractionsthatcomeinyourmindeverysecond.Absorption
is inversely proportional to the distractions. That means the greater number of
distractions then the lesser is your absorption.
3. Another practical way to increase your level of absorption is to find the
activity, which is fitting your nature. Practice that activity which is according to
your nature. You will not only do that activity efficiently but also happily.
GURU 17 - Arrow MakerGURU 17 - Arrow Maker
237
HOW IS IT RELEVANT IN MY LIFE?
Duringexamsorwhilesolvingyourdailyhomework,
how much do you concentrate? When a mathematic
problem has to be solved in 2 minutes, sometimes we end
up spending 1 hour on it. Just because we cannot absorb
ourselves in the work at hand. By absorbing ourselves
in one thing at a time, we do not procrastinate the work
given to us and also we can do more things in the free
time we get. Therefore if we want to do more things in
less time, the best solution is absorption.
Not only in material things we need absorption, but also
in spiritual things we need absorption.
Nature Lessons on Focus
2 Videos on Heron catching fish on.
GURU 17 - Arrow Maker
238
GURU 17 - Arrow Maker
SOME GENERAL INFORMATION ON HERONS
The great blue heron (Ardea herodias) is a large, grayish-blue wading
bird with a long bill, neck, and legs. It is practically the only large “crane-
like” bird in the Pacific Northwest (the sandhill crane (Grus candensis) is
native but uncommon). In flight, the great blue heron can be recognized
by its long neck folded back on the shoulders, its long trailing legs, and
its slow, deep wing beats. Adults can be recognized by the presence of a
blue plume. Males and females are virtually identical.
Great blue herons are found year-round throughout the Pacific Northwest, except
for the arid grasslands and interior forests. They are at home in both salt and fresh
water and are seen on lakes, ponds, rivers, marshes, mudflats, irrigation ditches,
farm fields, and meadows. For information on belted kingfishers, see “Notes on the
Belted Kingfisher.”
Great blue herons reach 4 feet in height and have wingspans of nearly 6 feet.
Because of hollow bones, adults weight an average of only five pounds. They have
long necks and a long bill adapted for grasping prey.
Facts about Great Blue Herons
Food and Feeding Habits
• Great blue herons are stand-and-wait-predators that remain motionless for
long periods of time, waiting for prey to venture near.
• Their large size enables them to feed on a variety of prey, including fish, frogs,
turtles, young birds and bird eggs, snakes, and insects; also mice, moles, gophers,
and other small mammals.
• Herons feed during the day or night (in lighted areas), generally within 3
miles of their colony. They tend to be solitary feeders, but where the food supply is
abundant, they can be found feeding together.
• The adult heron rarely flies straight to the young, perching instead a few
yards from the nest. After a few minutes, the adult goes to the nest and regurgitates
predigested food. The oldest and largest chicks take most of the food share by
grasping the adult’s bill and catching the food.
Nest Sites and Nests
• Great blue herons nest in colonies, often called rookeries
or heronries. Heronries are usually in isolated spots away from
potential disturbance and near suitable feeding areas.
• Herons that have been frequently exposed to human
disturbance may be more tolerant and may nest in large public
parks and greenbelts.
• Herons nest in deciduous or evergreen trees, usually near
the top on vertical branches. Nests are usually constructed in the
GURU 17 - Arrow MakerGURU 17 - Arrow Maker
239
tallest trees available, on islands, or in trees with water around the base, presumably
to reduce the risk of predation by mammals.
• Where trees are absent, nests may be located on large shrubs, cliffs, and
artificial structures.
• Nests are constructed from branches and twigs gathered from the ground,
trees, and old nests. Nests are 25-40 inches in diameter and 12 or more inches thick.
• Heronries may be used for decades; however, herons will relocate their colonies
in response to increased predation on eggs and young, declines in food availability,
human disturbance, and death of trees supporting the nests.
Reproduction
•Herons begin returning to a colony to breed in February and
March. Nest building begins in March or April.
•Three to five pale, greenish-blue eggs are incubated for 25-29
days by both sexes.
•Young first fly at around 60 days of age and leave the nest at 65-
90 days, at which time they are similar in size to adults.
•Great blue herons have one brood (clutch) per year, however,
they may renest if their first clutch fails.
Mortality and Longevity
• Adult great blue herons don’t have many predators, though bobcats, coyotes,
red-tailed hawks, crows and bald eagles do occasionally kill an adult.
• Mortality of the young is high: both the eggs and young are preyed upon by
crows, ravens, gulls, eagles, and raccoons. Heavy rains and cold weather at the time
of hatching also take a heavy toll.
• Herons may live to be 15 years old, but six to eight years of age is the norm.
• Great blue herons were nearly hunted to extinction in the late 1800s because
of a fashion trend for using their plumes on women’s hats. In the 1960s, they were
vulnerable to egg-shell thinning as a result of exposure to the pesticide DDT, which
lowered reproductive success.
Feeding Habits of the Great Blue Heron
The great blue heron has two principal fishing techniques. The
first consists of standing motionless, its neck extended at an
angle of about 45 degrees to the surface of the water. Only its
head and eyes move to locate the prey. If no prey comes within
range after a few minutes, the heron gradually moves a short
distance away and takes up a similar position. When a potential meal comes close
enough, the heron slowly folds its neck back and moves one leg in the direction of the
prey. Suddenly, its entire body unbends, its head plunges into the water, it catches
the prey in its bill, and it swallows it outside the water, using a deft movement of the
Feeding Habits of the Great Blue HeronFeeding Habits of the Great Blue Heron
GURU 17 - Arrow Maker
240
GURU 17 - Arrow Maker
head to drop the prey headfirst into its gullet.
A similar technique is used to hunt small rodents in pastures, meadows and similar
habitats. Herons stab or clamp on their prey, using their bills like barbecue tongs.
Using the second technique, the heron slowly wades around in 6-12 inches of water
until it drives a fish out from its hiding place. The heron then stops and slowly
stretches its neck. When the prey is within range, the bird uncoils its body and
thrusts its head into the water after it. After eating the catch, the heron resumes its
walk. Should the bird fail to find sufficient fish in an area, it flies a short distance
away and resumes fishing.
When its catch is too large to be gulped down immediately or has dangerous spines,
the heron drops it back into the water and grabs hold of it repeatedly and violently
with its beak until it is dazed or the spines snap. Then it can be swallowed more
easily. Sometimes two fish are caught simultaneously.
Other techniques are observed more rarely: for example, great blue herons in flight
sometimes dive underwater to catch fish; others hover over the water and submerge
their heads to catch fish; and some swim in deep water and feed on fish found near
the surface
Ask the children after they see the videos, what do they learn from this
video. The children should also describe how they could connect the video with the
theme of this lesson.

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Guru17 13 15

  • 1. GURU 17 - Arrow MakerGURU 17 - Arrow Maker 223 THE LESSON LEARNT BY THE AVADHUTA BRAHMANA The arrow maker who was so absorbed in making a straight arrow that he did not even see or notice the king himself, who was passing right next to him. Itisunderstoodthatwhenakingmovesonapublicstreetheisheralded by kettledrums and other musical instruments and is accompanied by soldiers and other members of his retinue. Thus, despite this royal extravaganza passing right by his workshop, the arrow maker did not even notice because he was completely absorbed in his prescribed duty of making an arrow straight and sharp. One who is completely absorbed in loving devotional service to the Absolute Truth, Çré Kåñëa, no longer pays attention to material illusion. The Theme – Absorption SLOKA RECITATION Let us learn a sloka from Neeti Sastras which teaches us something about the above theme. Before teaching the present verse, the teacher should begin the class by chanting all the verses of the 24 Gurus with the children all together. Chant the seventeeth verse of the 24 Gurus again. Tell the children we will learn the seventeenth verse and also understand it. Learn the seventeenth verse. (The teacher recites the sloka line by line and makes the children repeat and memorize the sloka) Indriyani ca samyamya Bakavat pandito narah Desa kalah balam jnatva Sarva karyani sadhayet i Controlling all your senses like the Heron & ii After carefully considering the factors of time & space and iii The capacity of the self, the wise accomplish their work successfully. The heron has this great capacity to forget everything else to concentrate on its target. We should also adopt it also – Capacity of concentrating one’s mind on one’s aim or target. Because success depends upon 1/2 60 mins 120 mins Let us learn a sloka from Neeti Sastras which teaches us something about the above theme. Before teaching the present verse, the teacher should begin the class by chanting all the verses of the 24 Gurus with the children all together.chanting all the verses of the 24 Gurus with the children all together. Chant the seventeeth verse of the 24 Gurus again. Tell the children we will Learn the seventeenth verse. (The teacher recites the sloka line by line and GURU 17 - Arrow Maker
  • 2. 224 i. Able assessment of one’s situation with respect to time & place. ii. The power of concentration iii. Capacity to put in one’s total might – should the need arise. GURU 17 - Arrow Maker LESSONS FROM GURU The teacher can explain to the children, the lessons which this Arrow maker teaches us. The abbreviation “4 C’s” makes it convenient for us to remember what the guru wants to teach us. The teacher can write down on the board the below abbreviation and ask the children to note it down and learn it. 1. Concentrate on the Goal and forget everything else 2. Channelize Your full capacity 3. Controlling senses 4. Understanding your own Capacity (In this session, after explaining the meaning of “4 C’s“, the teacher will be able to narrate a maximum of four stories. The remaining stories can be continued in the next class.) THE LESSON LEARNT BY THE AVADHUTA BRAHMANA The avadhüta brähmaëa also received instruction from the arrow maker, who was so absorbed in constructing an arrow that he did not even notice that the king was passing right by him on the road. In the same way, one must strictly control one’s mind, concentrating it in the worship of Lord Çré Hari. � CONCENTRATE ON THE GOAL AND FORGET EVERYTHING ELSE � One brahmana came to the kingdom of Janak to recite Srimad Bhagvatam. Everyday Janak Maharaj used to listen to the recitation with rapt attention. When the king would be late, the Brahmana would stop and wait for him to come. All the others in the court would think that the brahmana is interested in the royal enumeration. They were thinking that the brahmana was more than cunning than them and was trying to seek the attention of the king. One day while the recitation was going on, a messenger comes for the king and STORY 1 - JANAK MAHARAJ AND FIRE IN THE HOUSE Janak Maharaj used to listen to
  • 3. GURU 17 - Arrow MakerGURU 17 - Arrow Maker 225 GURU 17 - Arrow Maker informs him that there was a fire in the treasury. The king did not get affected and told others to take care of the issue and he continues listening to Srimad Bhagavatam. Later the messenger comes for the others with the same message that their houses have caught fire. Hearing this immediately everyone gets up and runs to protect their homes. Only the king and the brahmana continue sitting and relishing Srimad Bhagavatam. Thus it becomes clear why the brahmana used to wait for Janaka Maharaja, because he was addicted to hearing Krishna katha with full absorption and attention. STORY 2- KULASHEKAR MAHARAJS ABSORPTION IN THE PASTIMES‘ Kulashekar was absorbed in the glorious pastimes of Lord Rama. He used to enter the pastime so much that he actually went with his army towards Lanka to attack Ravana who had kidnapped mother Sita. He kept marching into the sea till he was actually about to drown in the water. Lord Rama personally had to come to rescue him and bring him back to the kingdom. STORY 3 - SHAUMAHARI AND THE HUNTER WHO SAW NARSIMHADEV Shaumahari was a disciple of Padmapada who was a devotee of Nrsimhadev. One day while Shaumahari was meditating in the forest on Narsimhadev, he met a hunter. The hunter asked him, “What are you looking for?” Shaumahari replied in a language that the hunter understands, that he was looking for an animal that is half lion and half man. The hunter becomes determined that he will find that animal and searches all day but still does not find the animal. He gets frustrated and tired and was about to give up his life. Just then Nrsimhadev appears in front of him. Then the hunter becomes happy and binds up Nrsimhadev and brings Him to Shaumahari and tells him, “Here is your animal”. Shaumahari is not able to see anything. Suddenly he hears a roaring sound, which tells him, “Be intense like this hunter and you will soon see Me.” looking for an animal that is half lion and half man. The hunter STORY 4 - THE KING READING SCRIPTURES AND THE LADY SEARCHING FOR HER PET. Once a king went to a temple to read scriptures. He posted his bodyguards before the temple, because he wanted absolute peace. While reading in the scripture, he looked out of the window and saw a young lady running desperately back and forth - trying to find something. All of a sudden this young lady was in the temple and started to run to different places in the temple in her desperate search. While searching, she overlooked the emperor and ran against him. She hit him so hard that trying to find something. All of
  • 4. 226 GURU 17 - Arrow Maker his scripture flew out of his hands to the floor. The King was so disturbed that he immediately called for his bodyguards: “Bring me this young rascal lady!” When the body guards brought the lady before him, the king was totally furious with her: ‘Before you will be hanged, just tell me what in the world occupied your mind so much that you did not even notice when you ran over me?” The young lady shook with fear, since she was sentenced to death. But then she collected her mind and said: “Dear emperor, please excuse me, but I was searching for my lost pet. I thought that it had come here and because I love him, I was so fixed on him that I looked everywhere for him without seeing anyone or anything else. I did not mean to be impolite.” The king was even more angry: “How do you dare to disturb me while reading the Holy Scripture, ... looking for a pet! Hang her immediately!” This time the young lady made a point: “Dear emperor: May I ask you if you were actually reading the scripture. If I am so much fixed when I search for a pet of this world, how much more would you be fixed when you actually searched for the Supreme God? If you had actually read the scripture, you would not have noticed anything or anyone else. But I think you did not really read, you did not really pray, you only made an external show of reading and praying!” The king saw the lady’s point and set her free. This absorption of the mind in Krsna while simultaneously rendering devotional service is the whole point of Bhakti Yoga. Someone who does this has an excellent chance for purification. Sri Krsna speaks about this in the 18th Chapter Text 58: If you become conscious of Me, you will pass over all the obstacles of conditioned life by my grace. If, however, you do not work in such consciousness, but act through false ego, not hearing Me, you will be lost. � CONCENTRATE ON THE GOAL AND FORGET EVERYTHING ELSE � Dronacarya asked all his disciples to come together and he pointed out at a toy bird which he had kept on the tree. He asked his disciples to take aim one by one to shoot at the bird. When each one came he asked the same question, what do you see in front of you? Some replied that they could see the bird, the tree, etc. Duryodhan said that he could see the bird, the tree, Dronacarya and all the Pandavas, etc. Drona did not allow any of them to shoot the arrow and he told them even before they shot that they had failed. Because he saw that they were not absorbed in the target. But when he called Arjuna and asked him STORY 5 - ARJUNA AND THE EYE OF THE BIRD
  • 5. GURU 17 - Arrow MakerGURU 17 - Arrow Maker 227 what he saw, Arjuna said that he could only see the eye of the bird and nothing else. Drona even before the arrow was released told that he had won. And Lo Behold! The arrow actually hit the bird in the eye. STORY 6 - THE BOY WHO MASTERED ONLY ONE MOVE IN JUDO There was a 10-year-old boy whose left armwasbadlydamagedinanaccidentand subsequently amputated. He decided to learn judo. His Sensai (teacher) was an old Chinese judo expert. The boy learned quickly. After three months, he had learned only one move. He asked his teacher to teach him more moves. The Sensai told him that this was all he would need. Soon after, the boy entered a tournament, where he quickly advanced to the finals, where his opponent was bigger and more experienced. The boy seemed rather out matched. After a long match, the opponent seemed to lose concentration. Quickly, the boy took advantage and pinned him who seemed to be his superior opponent. On the ride home, the boy asked his Sensai. “How could I win with only one move?” The Sensai replied, “You have nearly mastered one of the most difficult moves in all of judo. And the only defense against that move is for your opponent to grab your left arm.” Sometimes your biggest weakness can become your greatest strength. Therefore, never be ashamed of your weakness! superior opponent. On the ride home, There is a story about an expert c r a f t s m a n s h i p of a plasterer who worked on the construction of the Taj Mahal. One of the top directors of the construction was inspecting the building in progress and noticed for three days in a row a certain plasterer who was sitting in the same place mixing plaster. On the third day the inspector became angry and said, “Why are you still simply sitting and mixing this plaster? You are so lazy!” The man who was mixing the plaster also became very angry, and he threw a handful of his plaster at the inspector. The plaster missed the inspector but landed on a wall. The plaster was so well mixed, however, so solid and hard, that no one could get it off the wall, and it is still there today. STORY 1 - JANAK MAHARAJ AND FIRE IN THE HOUSE GURU 17 - Arrow Maker
  • 6. 228 GURU 17 - Arrow Maker STORY 8 - ABHIMANYU PUT HIS FULL ENERGY IN THE FIGHT It was noontime now, and still there was no success the Pandava army. Abhimanyu did not look back to see that there was an army behind him, with his uncles; the isolation was complete. But the boy, that day, was all the army put together plus his uncles and father in their prowess. The Kaurava forces were dying fast, yielding space further progress, every minute. It was like a fruit, rotting from within, but looking well in shape from the outside. The dying soldiers fell silently with the ring of the Vyuha preventing them from running away to escape. None of Abhimanyu’s weapons or missiles failed to reach its targets. It was no easy job, progressing, with spies attacking him from all sides, together, unethically: like brutes attacking a prey. Shakuni, Shalya and Bhurishravas stood in three angles of the Swastika near centre and protected Duryodhana there. Abhimanyu approached that point by that noon, killing all who opposed his advancement on all sides, like lightning desroying forests in its ravaging fires, in hot summer, the three who stood guard at the Swastika, understood the strategy of the boy and were trying to push him into rings of circular ‘streets’ of the Vyuha, back, though not much of those streets were in order. But the boy avoided being pushed back and was steadily moving towards the centre. A great battle took place and the fight was going on. He singlehandedly fought the entire kaurava warriors with bravery. The Sun was about to set. Abhimanyu too was getting tired, though his enthusiasm did not decline a bit. He was only getting disappointed that he could not finish the wardecisivelyonceforall.Hewassonear the centre, so near the target, and yet so far away in reaching it. He redoubled his efforts and vigour in a determined bid to clutch at victory, which had somehow eluded him so long. He was totally unmindful of wounds on his own body, everywhere. His charioteer was too tired to notice wounds on himself and the boy’s body. He had exhibited all his skills on that one day, as never before. He would bless the boy frequently and say : “Blessed sir, long live yourself; but see there... see beyond there... let us go there” and lead him to vantage points where enemies never expected him in swift turns and whirlwind-movements, and fell to his arrows in heaps. This was victory shared deservedly by an unusual warrior and his charioteer, which even. Drona and earlier Bhishma had not achieved, till then. Abhimanyu did not notice that he was alone, with no army or warrior or supply of arms behind him. His stock of weapons was nearing exhaustion now. The boy began slowly realising his isolated situation, but without fear, dismay or anxiety. Still, what thousands of ordinary arrows could not achieve, was being achieved by his missiles, whose formulae he distinctly remembered suiting the appropriateness of their moments of
  • 7. GURU 17 - Arrow MakerGURU 17 - Arrow Maker 229 functioning. He would certainly have been the architect of the Pandava victory that day, had not Bhima and others been prevented by that cursed Saindhava! Abhimanyu’s presence of mind was a blessing that had not forsaken him that day. One thing that did not flash upon the boy’s mind was that the treacherous Kauravascouldfolloweviltricksandfoul short cuts to success in so mean a way that was to follow. He was so tactfully fighting without violating war codes, from :he beginning that day, expecting reciprocation from the adversaries. That was Sri Krishna’s training, and also his own father’s example. But now he had to meet those :n wrong moulds, wrong aims, and wrong path, throwing away all decencies, honour,chivalrytowinds. The boy never even once realised this practical brutal reality that nad not merely surrounded him, but was about to grip him. That was tragic. Kama came from somewhere behind him, like a shameless thief and cut off his bow. Abhimanyu wondered for a moment as to why such a strong bow that had withstood such pressure since morning could snap all of a sudden, and why; he turned round to see what was there; that one moment was the turning point! Bhoja, advanced from before and killed all his horses in one powerful stroke of his mace. He was followed by Kripacharya, who rushed on and killed the charioteer, as well as the supplier of weapons, in another single stroke ! ‘Kripa’ - whose name meaning ‘Mercy’ - was a parody of Brahminhood, vedded to Righteousness and God, and such behaviour! Who could have expected it? The others on the opposite side rushed on him to surround him from all sides with weapons, like errands of the God of Death! They struck him - a chariotless lad, without a charioteer, horses, helpers, throwing all decency of codes - like brutes, like robbers, beyond all manners prescribed for even war. Some of them were ‘Maharathis’, ‘Atirathins’, surrounding him! Abhimanyu did not lose courage, but took it as a rare challenging moment, which had the potential to make him a unique hero, if only he could still emerge victorious, and slay those powerful advancers. He seized the opportunity with redoubled vigour, even in that tragic trap of the moment, holding a sword in the right hand, a shield in the left; he jumped off the chariot and rushed on those foxes like a lion. He flew everywhere on heaps of dead soldiers, as a divine eagle in the skies, unmindful of opposers. The ring around him scattered at this unexpected show. Drona, now lost all sense and patience, as he had to show some point of victory to his wicked boss, Duryodhana, on that otherwise eventless day on his side, somehow. From a distance the old Brahmin warrior shot a sharp arrow to cut off that hand of Abhimanyu holding the sword. Shame! His Vedic learning, and the knowledge of the eight-syllabled Manthra, did nothing for him at the senseless moment. It was now Kama’s turn to shoot another GURU 17 - Arrow Maker
  • 8. 230 GURU 17 - Arrow Maker arrowtocutofftheboy’slefthandholding the shield, and he became Drona’s ‘disciple’ for once, by this imitation, an ambition that had not been achieved or an honour not bestowed on him by Drona, even by silent concurrence or blessing! Kama - the extraordinary hero - had no shame, chivalry or remorse. Abhimanyudidnotmindthepaininboth blunt arms, weaponless and shieldless. He still wanted to fight to the finish. There was a wheel of a chariot, in sight that had slipped off its place from a broken chariot, near by. The boy picked it up in the blunted right arm- shaft and wielded it powerfully, looking like his uncle Sri Krishna, for a terrible moment.8 He rushed at Drona, now. Arrows had stuck up on his body from all sides, as soldiers on the opposite side were hectically shooting them in fear, in senseless shows of valour. Abhimanyu’s clothes were all red with blood by now, but he was not to lose enthusiasm even by a bit. When he threw on the enemies that dreaded wheel, they all saw to it that it was destroyed into pieces and did no harm to them. Now Abhimanyu somehow clutched a mace in the broken arm, with difficulty, and flung it on the enemies. It fell on Ashwatthama’s horses and killed them in one stroke; Ashwatthama jumped off his chariot in time and ran away to save his life. The brave boy, even in that adverse, helpless situation of his, somehow used all and sundry weapons lying waste around him available nearby, and eliminated some seventy-seven cousins of Shakuni, the Gandhara heroes, to the surprise of all, even in the enemy camp. He destroyed the chariot of Dusshasana’s son. The last moment came in the hands of this ruffian, who clutched a mace and hit Abhimanyu’s head with it to crush it into a pulp! The boy, now a helpless heap of shapeless flesh, was an object of pity for gods. The Chakravyuha had been so c o m p l e t e l y destroyed, scattered and defeated, by a single hero, a mere lad, that day, as the sun was setting now. The boy’s was an eventful death of worthy achievement, after all. Dead bodies were floating in a river of blood, in a just concluded war of the day, as mementoes of the valour of the boy that was no more. Drona bent his head in shame. By his side Kama, Duryodhana, Shakuni, Dusshasana, Shalya and Ashwatthama were hugging each other to celebrate the evil victory they had just achieved, without a sense of shame or guilt. Such was Abhimanyu’s absorption in the fight that even at the cost of his life he saw to it that Maharaj Yudhisthira was protected and the cakravyuha does not succeed.
  • 9. GURU 17 - Arrow MakerGURU 17 - Arrow Maker 231 SLOKA RECITATION Let us learn a sloka from the Srimad Bhagavatam which teaches us something about the above theme. Before teaching the present verse, the teacher should begin the class by chanting all the verses of the 24 Gurus with the children all together. Chant the 16th verse of the 24 Gurus again. Indriyani ca samyamya Bakavat pandito narah Desa kalah balam jnatva Sarva karyani sadhayet i Controlling all your senses like the Heron & ii After carefully considering the factors of time & space and iii The capacity of the self, the wise accomplish their work successfully. The heron has this great capacity to forget everything else to concentrate on its target. We should also adopt it also – Capacity of concentrating one’s mind on one’s aim or target. Because success depends upon i. Able assessment of one’s situation with respect to time & place. ii. The power of concentration iii. Capacity to put in one’s total might – should the need arise. LESSONS FROM GURU The teacher can revise the previous lessons which was learnt in the last session. In this session the teacher can complete the remaining three lessons and complete the theme 4 C’s. 1. Concentrate on the Goal and forget everything else 2. Channelize Your full capacity 3. Controlling senses 4. Understanding your own Capacity 2/2 60 mins 120 mins Let us learn a sloka from the Srimad Bhagavatam which teaches us something Before teaching the present verse, the teacher should begin the class by Chant the 16th verse of the 24 Gurus again. GURU 17 - Arrow Maker
  • 10. 232 GURU 17 - Arrow Maker � CONTROLLING SENSES � STORY 1 - WHY ARJUNA IS CALLED GUDAKESA? Arjuna had conquered sleep and hence he was called as Gudakesa. He had once seen Bhima eat in the dark and from that he learnt a lesson that it was possible for Bhima to eat in the darkness. So similarly he too by practice would be able to shoot arrows in the dark and hit the target without seeing. So he would practice in the nights too withour bothering about his sleep. A disciple and his teacher were walking through the forest. The disciple was disturbed by the fact that his mind was in constant unrest. He asked his teacher: “Why most people’s minds are restless, and only a few possess a calm mind? What can one do to still his thoughts?” The teacher looked at the disciple, smiled and said: “I will tell you a story. An elephant was standing and picking leaves from a tree. A small fly flew buzzing near his ear. The elephant waved it away with his long ears. Then the fly came again, and the elephant waved it away once more”. This was repeated several times. Then the elephant asked the fly: “Why are you so restless and noisy? Why can’t you stay for a while in one place?” The fly answered: “I am attracted to whatever I see, hear or smell. My five senses pull me constantly in all directions and I cannot resist them.” “And what is your secret, how can you stay so calm and still?” The elephant stopped eating and said: “My five senses do not rule my attention. Whatever I do, I am immersed in it. Now that I am eating, I am completely immersed in eating. In this way I can enjoy my food and chew it better. I rule my attention and not the other way around.” The disciple’s eyes opened wide and a smile rose on his face. “I understand. If I am in charge of my senses and attention, then the mind is calm. The outside objects are infinite in number. If I let my five senses pull my attention, then the mind is constantly restless.” “Yes, that’s right”, answered the teacher, “ The mind is restless and goes wherever the attention is. Control your attention, and you control your mind”. STORY 2 - THE ELEPHANT AND THE FLY A small fly flew buzzing near his ear. The
  • 11. GURU 17 - Arrow MakerGURU 17 - Arrow Maker 233 STORY 3 - TWO FRIENDS Two friends were walking along a footpath. There was lot of honking, cars moving around, it was a busy street. One of them as they were walking suddenly stopped, he found a little cricket insect lying along the footpath, he picked it up and put it back in the leaves nearby. Now the other friend asked him that how did he hear the sound of the insect amidst this busy street? The 1st friend in reply took out his a Re 1 coin from his wallet and put it down, the coin rolled and made a little jingling sound fell along the footbath. Although the coin hardly made any sound everyone passing observed it and checked their pockets as to whether this coin belonged to them. So he pointed out that just as their consciousness is absorbed in money they could notice it, this is selective hearing, so why could he not hear the sound of that insect. as they were walking suddenly stopped, he found a little cricket insect lying MORAL: The more one is absorbed in Krishna consciousness the more one will hear the call of Krishna. � UNDERSTANDING YOUR OWN CAPACITY � A Prabhupada disciple went to Prabhupäda’s room and offered him two additional traveler’s checks of $100 each. He smiled and exclaimed, “More cheques! Another $200!” Tamal Krishna Mahäräja and his Rädhä-Dämodara Traveling Sankirtana Party had recently offered Prabhupädaadonationof $20,000. Upon receiving that cheque, Prabhupäda said, “Only $20,000?” As Rämacandra expected different services from his different monkeys according to their capacity, my tiny donation received a more positive response than Tamal Krishna Goswami’s. STORY 4 - SERVE ACCORDING TO ON’ES CAPACITY two additional traveler’s checks of $100 STORY 5 - CROW AND SWAN - TOLD BY SALYA TO KARNA The following story told by Salya to Karna from the forty-first chapter of the Karna-parvaofMahabharata nicely illustrates the dangers of pride. There once lived a wealthy vaishya by the side of the ocean. He performed many sacrifices and gave generously in charity. He was quiet, observant of the duties of his order, and was pure in his habits and mind. The vaishya had a number of sons all of whom were pious and kind to all living creatures. Living in a place that was ruled over by a pious king, the vaishya GURU 17 - Arrow Maker
  • 12. 234 GURU 17 - Arrow Maker was peaceful and free from anxiety. There was a crow that daily came to the home of the vaishya to feast on remnants of the family’s food that the childrengavehim.Aftereating every day the opulent milk, puddings, yogurt, honey, butter and other foods, the crow became very arrogant and began to think little of all other birds. One day, some great white swans, who were practically equal to Garuda in terms of speed and range of flight, came to the shore of the ocean. When the sons of the vaishya saw the wonderful swans, they jokingly told the crow, “O ranger of the sky, you are superior to all of these big birds.” Intoxicated with arrogance and false pride, the crow considered these words to be true. That foolish crow then challenged the leader of the swans, saying, “Let us have a flying competition to see who is the best.” Hearing the words of the arrogant crow, those swans began to laugh. Those foremost of birds, capable of flying anywhere at will, said to the crow, “We are swans who live on the Manasa Lake. We traverse all over the earth, and amongst winged creatures we are always spoken highly of for the length of distances we fly. How can a crow like you hope to compete with a swan?” The crow replied, “Great as I am, I tell you, that before your eyes, I shall fly for hundreds of yojanas (a yojana is eight miles) displaying a hundred and one varieties of motions in flight. Rising up, swooping down, whirling around, going straight, proceeding gently, going backwards, darting forward, moving with great velocity I shall display my great strength and expertise in flight.” One of the swans said, “O crow, you may fly in a hundred and one different ways. I however, shall fly in only one way, which is the way all other birds know. For I do not know any other. O you of red eyes, you may fly as you like.” Hearing this, all of the crows that had gathered there laughed and said, “Now we will see our brother crow defeat the swans.” The crow and swan then rose into the sky, the swan flying in a simple straight motion and the crow making many elaborate movements. Seeing the variety of styles of flight he was exhibiting, all of the assembled crows were filled with delight and began to caw loudly. For a moment it appeared that the crow had defeated the swan, then suddenly, with great velocity, the swan began to fly westwards towards the ocean. After following him for some time out to sea, the crow could no longer see any land or trees, and he became afraid. He thought, “When I become tired, where shall I rest on this vast ocean? The water is immeasurably deep and is inhabited by hundreds of monsters who will devour me.” Covering a great distance in one moment, the swan looked back to see how the crow was faring. Seeing him far behind, exhausted, and barely able to stay above the water, the swan felt pity and went to his aid. looked back to see how the crow was
  • 13. GURU 17 - Arrow MakerGURU 17 - Arrow Maker 235 The swan said, “O crow, what is the name of this special flight which you are exhibiting now? You are repeatedly touching the water with your wings and beak.” Unable to see the limit of the ocean, and greatly fatigued by having flown so far, the crow replied, “O revered sir, we are crows. We move about here and there crying, ‘Caw! Caw! Caw!’ O swan, I seek refuge in you and place my life in your hands. Please take me back to the land.” Speaking thus, the crow suddenly fell exhausted into the ocean. Seeing him fallen, with a sorry heart the swan addressed the crow who was on the verge of death, “O crow, how is it that you were previously praising yourself so loudly? Remember, you said that you would fly in a hundred and one different ways. How is it that you have become so tired and have fallen into the water?” Overcome with weakness, the crow pleaded with the swan, “Eating the remnants of the family’s opulent foods, I thought myself equal to Garuda and did not care for the crows or any other birds. I now seek refuge with you and place my life at your disposal. Please take me to the land and save me from this calamity.” Without a word, the swan picked up the crow, placed him on his back, and began flying back to the land. Nearly at the point of death, deprived of his senses, drenched with water, trembling in fear, and hideous to look at, the melancholy crow was weeping. The swan speedily restored the crow back to the land where they had originally started. Placing him gently on the ground and comforting him, the swan then quickly flew away to return to Manasa Lake. [Salya then told Karna that just as that crow fed upon the remnants of the vaishya children, became proud, and thus disrespected his equals and superiors, similarly, living on the remnants of Dhritarashtra’s sons, Karna had become proud and thought himself fit to fight with Krishna and Arjuna.] Sometimes it is seen that after becoming uplifted by receiving the mercy of great personalities, some k�ka-janas, crow-like persons, become proud and forget the color of their feathers. After having a little association with swan-like parama-hamsa devotees, they begin to consider themselves far superior to their peers and perhaps even equal to the parama-hamsas. Instead of anus�ra, following the instructions of the Lord’s dear devotees, they take up the cheap practice of anuk�ra, imitation. By taking shelter of swan-like persons we may cross the ocean of birth and death, but if we try to imitate them we will certainly fall down into the ocean and drown. Thus it is very important to understand where we stand and what is our capability before we boast or let pride get the better of us. with a sorry heart GURU 17 - Arrow Maker
  • 14. 236 GURU 17 - Arrow Maker While building the bridge from Rameshvaram to Lanka the monkeys were throwing huge stones, rocks, trees and boulders into the ocean to make a bridge. A small spider in some part of the bridge was kicking the sand between the rocks thus doing his bit in helping build the bridge. Hanuman saw the little spider and felt what he was trying wasting his time just kicking the sand, while others were doing much more than him. Lord Rama at that moment rebuked Hanuman and acknowledged the spider for his contribution. Even the simplest devotee, that little spider that kicked the sand on the rocks between Ramesvaram and Sri Lanka, even that little spider conquered the heart of Rama. STORY 6 - HANUMAN AND THE SPIDER KRISHNA ACCEPTS EVERYONE’S SERVICE MORAL – one has to continue serving according to ones capacity and the Lord accepts everyone’s service. A small spider in some part of 1. Try this activity. For the next five minutes try not to think about a red monkey. See how your mind reacts. If you watch carefully, you will see that the only thing that has come in your mind is a red monkey. 2. Close your eyes for five minutes and observe every thought that comes in your mind. See how many thoughts come and note down all the thoughts. These thoughts representthedistractionsthatcomeinyourmindeverysecond.Absorption is inversely proportional to the distractions. That means the greater number of distractions then the lesser is your absorption. 3. Another practical way to increase your level of absorption is to find the activity, which is fitting your nature. Practice that activity which is according to your nature. You will not only do that activity efficiently but also happily.
  • 15. GURU 17 - Arrow MakerGURU 17 - Arrow Maker 237 HOW IS IT RELEVANT IN MY LIFE? Duringexamsorwhilesolvingyourdailyhomework, how much do you concentrate? When a mathematic problem has to be solved in 2 minutes, sometimes we end up spending 1 hour on it. Just because we cannot absorb ourselves in the work at hand. By absorbing ourselves in one thing at a time, we do not procrastinate the work given to us and also we can do more things in the free time we get. Therefore if we want to do more things in less time, the best solution is absorption. Not only in material things we need absorption, but also in spiritual things we need absorption. Nature Lessons on Focus 2 Videos on Heron catching fish on. GURU 17 - Arrow Maker
  • 16. 238 GURU 17 - Arrow Maker SOME GENERAL INFORMATION ON HERONS The great blue heron (Ardea herodias) is a large, grayish-blue wading bird with a long bill, neck, and legs. It is practically the only large “crane- like” bird in the Pacific Northwest (the sandhill crane (Grus candensis) is native but uncommon). In flight, the great blue heron can be recognized by its long neck folded back on the shoulders, its long trailing legs, and its slow, deep wing beats. Adults can be recognized by the presence of a blue plume. Males and females are virtually identical. Great blue herons are found year-round throughout the Pacific Northwest, except for the arid grasslands and interior forests. They are at home in both salt and fresh water and are seen on lakes, ponds, rivers, marshes, mudflats, irrigation ditches, farm fields, and meadows. For information on belted kingfishers, see “Notes on the Belted Kingfisher.” Great blue herons reach 4 feet in height and have wingspans of nearly 6 feet. Because of hollow bones, adults weight an average of only five pounds. They have long necks and a long bill adapted for grasping prey. Facts about Great Blue Herons Food and Feeding Habits • Great blue herons are stand-and-wait-predators that remain motionless for long periods of time, waiting for prey to venture near. • Their large size enables them to feed on a variety of prey, including fish, frogs, turtles, young birds and bird eggs, snakes, and insects; also mice, moles, gophers, and other small mammals. • Herons feed during the day or night (in lighted areas), generally within 3 miles of their colony. They tend to be solitary feeders, but where the food supply is abundant, they can be found feeding together. • The adult heron rarely flies straight to the young, perching instead a few yards from the nest. After a few minutes, the adult goes to the nest and regurgitates predigested food. The oldest and largest chicks take most of the food share by grasping the adult’s bill and catching the food. Nest Sites and Nests • Great blue herons nest in colonies, often called rookeries or heronries. Heronries are usually in isolated spots away from potential disturbance and near suitable feeding areas. • Herons that have been frequently exposed to human disturbance may be more tolerant and may nest in large public parks and greenbelts. • Herons nest in deciduous or evergreen trees, usually near the top on vertical branches. Nests are usually constructed in the
  • 17. GURU 17 - Arrow MakerGURU 17 - Arrow Maker 239 tallest trees available, on islands, or in trees with water around the base, presumably to reduce the risk of predation by mammals. • Where trees are absent, nests may be located on large shrubs, cliffs, and artificial structures. • Nests are constructed from branches and twigs gathered from the ground, trees, and old nests. Nests are 25-40 inches in diameter and 12 or more inches thick. • Heronries may be used for decades; however, herons will relocate their colonies in response to increased predation on eggs and young, declines in food availability, human disturbance, and death of trees supporting the nests. Reproduction •Herons begin returning to a colony to breed in February and March. Nest building begins in March or April. •Three to five pale, greenish-blue eggs are incubated for 25-29 days by both sexes. •Young first fly at around 60 days of age and leave the nest at 65- 90 days, at which time they are similar in size to adults. •Great blue herons have one brood (clutch) per year, however, they may renest if their first clutch fails. Mortality and Longevity • Adult great blue herons don’t have many predators, though bobcats, coyotes, red-tailed hawks, crows and bald eagles do occasionally kill an adult. • Mortality of the young is high: both the eggs and young are preyed upon by crows, ravens, gulls, eagles, and raccoons. Heavy rains and cold weather at the time of hatching also take a heavy toll. • Herons may live to be 15 years old, but six to eight years of age is the norm. • Great blue herons were nearly hunted to extinction in the late 1800s because of a fashion trend for using their plumes on women’s hats. In the 1960s, they were vulnerable to egg-shell thinning as a result of exposure to the pesticide DDT, which lowered reproductive success. Feeding Habits of the Great Blue Heron The great blue heron has two principal fishing techniques. The first consists of standing motionless, its neck extended at an angle of about 45 degrees to the surface of the water. Only its head and eyes move to locate the prey. If no prey comes within range after a few minutes, the heron gradually moves a short distance away and takes up a similar position. When a potential meal comes close enough, the heron slowly folds its neck back and moves one leg in the direction of the prey. Suddenly, its entire body unbends, its head plunges into the water, it catches the prey in its bill, and it swallows it outside the water, using a deft movement of the Feeding Habits of the Great Blue HeronFeeding Habits of the Great Blue Heron GURU 17 - Arrow Maker
  • 18. 240 GURU 17 - Arrow Maker head to drop the prey headfirst into its gullet. A similar technique is used to hunt small rodents in pastures, meadows and similar habitats. Herons stab or clamp on their prey, using their bills like barbecue tongs. Using the second technique, the heron slowly wades around in 6-12 inches of water until it drives a fish out from its hiding place. The heron then stops and slowly stretches its neck. When the prey is within range, the bird uncoils its body and thrusts its head into the water after it. After eating the catch, the heron resumes its walk. Should the bird fail to find sufficient fish in an area, it flies a short distance away and resumes fishing. When its catch is too large to be gulped down immediately or has dangerous spines, the heron drops it back into the water and grabs hold of it repeatedly and violently with its beak until it is dazed or the spines snap. Then it can be swallowed more easily. Sometimes two fish are caught simultaneously. Other techniques are observed more rarely: for example, great blue herons in flight sometimes dive underwater to catch fish; others hover over the water and submerge their heads to catch fish; and some swim in deep water and feed on fish found near the surface Ask the children after they see the videos, what do they learn from this video. The children should also describe how they could connect the video with the theme of this lesson.