He looked at a flying flock of twelve cranes, and they all fell down on the earth. He said, “If you can make even a single bird fall down on the earth, just with your eyes, I will certify you.”
The young man said, “That is impossible. How can one do it?”
The old man said, “I have just done it, and not one, twelve cranes are just dead, lying before you.”
The young man said, “You are right; I am simply an amateur. I would like to be accepted as a disciple; I would like to learn archery.”
The old man said, “That sounds right. Be here.”
After ten years, the old man said, “Now you can go back, but don’t go to the emperor; go home. The day you suddenly realize, seeing your bow hanging on the wall, that you cannot recognize it, that is the day you can go to the emperor.”
The emperor was becoming very old, and he inquired again and again from his prime minister, “What happened to that young man?”
The prime minister said, “He has reached the old man; I have been watching. He’s learning, he has reached his home, and now he’s waiting for the sign to come.”
The emperor said, “I am becoming very old.”
One day, a few years after coming home, the man looked at the bow hanging on the wall, and inquired of his son, “What is that object?”
The son said, “Have you gone mad? It is your bow, those are your arrows.”
He said, “Bow? Arrows? Am I an archer?”
The son said, “Are you laughing at me, or kidding me? or just going senile?”
He said, “No, the time has come. I have to go to the emperor.”
The son asked, “For what?”
He said, “To be declared the champion of archery in the land.”
He went to the emperor. The prime minister said, “Have you brought the certificate?”
He said, “I am the certificate.”
They were sitting in the garden. He looked at a bird flying faraway in the sky, almost invisible. But as he looked at the bird, the bird came falling to the feet of the emperor.
The emperor said, “Is this archery or some kind of magic?”
The man said, “I don’t know, but this is what that old man has taught me: that if you are a perfect archer, you don’t need the bow, you don’t need the arrows; your eyes are enough. If you are a perfect musician, you don’t need instruments; your silence is music enough.”
It is a beautiful story, very ancient, almost three thousand years old. Lao Tzu used to tell the story to his disciples, and that was twenty-five centuries ago. The story must have been far older.
As you become more and more in tune with me, just being here with me, there is music, there is dance. Your ears will not hear it, and your eyes will not see it, but you will feel it; your being will be soaked with it.