He said, “When you have no trembling inside, just your eyes are enough; no arrows are needed. So go back, you are an amateur. I will come when the time has come, I will keep watch on you. I have my people in the city, in the capital; it was one of my people who sent you here. He was one of my disciples and I have a few more disciples who will keep watch. And if I am not alive, then I will tell them to inform the king when you are a perfect archer.”
The young man was simply in great despair. He proved to be an amateur; he was thinking himself to be a champion master.
After five years… The old man had said, “Learn inner balancing.” I call it meditation; these are different names, in different countries. “Inner balancing” means you are so balanced at your innermost center that there is no trembling at all. You are in such a silent, unmoving space, as if you are not.
After five years a man visited the archer. As they were entering the archer’s house, he saw a big bow hanging on the wall. The guest asked, “What is that?”
And the archer said, “I used to remember, but fortunately I met an old man…now I have completely forgotten what it is.”
But the guest said, “I have heard that you are an archer.”
The man said, “Forget all about it. When a man is young he has all kinds of stupid ideas. I had my stupidities also, but due to the compassion of the old man in the mountains I survived, I moved on.”
That very day the king called him and declared him to be the champion master archer of the kingdom.
“But,” he said, “I know nothing of archery. What are you doing?”
The king said, “I am not doing anything. These are instructions from your master. Of course you could not be the champion master. The old man has left his body, with the message, ‘While I am alive he cannot be a champion, and the poor fellow wanted to be a champion so desperately. But if I am alive in the kingdom it is impossible – I will never come to the capital to contest; the whole idea is childish – but there are my disciples who will not allow it to happen. Only my death…and it is worth it, to make him happy.’ The old man is dead. The message has come that you should be declared the champion.”
The king said, “Just out of curiosity I would like to see how far your eyes can function as arrows.” The man looked into the sky. Nine birds – a whole flock – came down to the earth. And the king said, “That old man was never wrong.”
This is archery. A musician when he is perfect forgets his instruments; now silence is his music.
The Book of Mirdad is one of the greatest devices that have been created down the ages. Don’t read it like any other book. Don’t read it like Shrimad Bhagavadgita or The Holy Bible. Read it as beautiful poetry, as music spread on the pages. Read it as a message from a master of meditation. The words are code words. Don’t look for their meaning in the dictionary. Their meaning is when they strike something in your heart.