Putting Focus in Perspective
Yoga and Total Health|May 2021
Both focus and perspective are important, but focus should follow perspective
Devdutt Pattanaik

The Mahabharata tells us the story of TArjuna, the third of the five Pandava brothers, who was a great archer. Once, during archery training, Arjuna’s teacher Drona pointed to a bird on the branch of a tree and instructed him and his brothers to aim for its eye. ‘Describe what you see,’ said the teacher. ‘A bird on the branch of the tree,’ said Yudhishtira, his eldest brother. ‘A bird on the branch of a mango tree,’ said Bhima, his elder brother. ‘A bird on the branch of a mango tree that stands in front of a banyan tree,’ said Duryodhana, his cousin, the eldest of the Kauravas. It was only Arjuna who said, ‘I see only the eye of the bird, nothing else.’ Drona ordered his students to release their arrows. Only Arjuna’s struck the target! Arjuna’s focus was what made him the greatest archer in the world.

But, later in life, when Arjuna enters the battlefield of Kurukshetra he loses this focus. For the first time in his life, he looks beyond the target. The sight that greets Arjuna fills him with despair, for he realizes he would be fighting his grand-uncle, Bhisma, his teacher, Drona, his cousins, the Kauravas, and other members of his extended family. He is overcome with conflicting emotions.

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