Arjun, a disicple worthy of Guru Dronacharya's blessings !
Dronacharya's disciples feel envious of Arjun : Some disciples of Guru Dronacharya used to feel that their Guru appreciated Arjun more than anyone else. So they were jealous of Arjun. One day Guru Dronacharya took all his disciples to a river for a bath. He stood below a banyan tree there and asked Arjun to fetch his dhoti which he had forgotten at the Ashram (hermitage).
Dronacharya demonstrates the power of an arrow coupled with a mantra : While Arjun was away, Guru Dronacharya explained to all the other disciples that, although there is power in a mace and a bow, the power of a weapon coupled with a mantra manifold. He said 'if the person chanting any mantra tries to understand its importance and the technique behind using it, then he will realise the tremendous power in the mantra. I can perforate every leaf on this banyan tree at once with the help of just one arrow charged with the mantra'. Saying this, Dronacharya wrote the mantra on the ground and shot an arrow charged with that mantra. That arrow went on to perforate every leaf on the tree. All the disciples were in awe to see this.
Arjun learns the mantra ! : Later, Guru Dronacharya went to bathe. Meanwhile Arjun returned from the Ashram with Gurudev’s dhoti. He noticed the perforated leaves on the tree. He started thinking, 'These leaves were intact when I left, where the perforations come from? If Gurudev has taught some secret when I had gone to the Ashram, then there must be some indication about it here somewhere'. So Arjun looked around and he noticed the mantra written on the ground. He was amazed at the magnificence of the mantra which could perforate every leaf on the tree. He read that mantra, memorised it, lifted an arrow and shot it while reciting that mantra. The arrow that sprang from his bow perforated every leaf for the second time! Arjun was pleased that he too had acquired the knowledge that Gurudev had bestowed to the other disciples in his absence.
Dronacharya shows why Arjun is a worthy disciple : On their return from the river, the Guru and the disciples were perplexed to see another perforation on the leaves.
Dronacharya : Who amongst you perforated the leaves a second time?
The disciples replied that none among them had done it.
Dronacharya (To Arjun) : Did you do it ?
Now Arjun was scared; but how could he lie to his Guru ? So he said, "I tried your mantra without your permission; because I thought that since you have already taught this mantra to all the disciples, let me learn it myself so as to not waste your precious time by having to repeat it. Gurudev, if I have committed a mistake, please pardon me."
Dronacharya : Dear Arjun, you have curiosity, patience and yearning to learn, besides you have faith too in the mantra. After I demonstrated the power of the mantra, all the disciples got very surprised and left to bathe; but none of them had the yearning to experiment the power of the mantra themselves. You showed the courage to do so, made an effort and were successful too. You are my able disciple. O Arjun, it is difficult for any other to be a superior archer !
Reference : Monthly ‘Rushi Prasad’, May 2003