In the great battle of Kurukshetra, which lasted several days, the key figure on the Pandava side was the general Arjuna. He was invulnerable to ordinary weapons, but one of the opposing warriors named Kama possessed a celestial arrow which could not be checked by any force whatever. Kama knew that Arjuna must be killed, and that only this arrow could do it. Nevertheless, in the heat of the battle, he invariably forgot about it, and tried to attack Arjuna with conventional weapons. Each evening, when the rules of war imposed a truce, Kama and his friends looked at the arrow and firmly resolved to shoot it the next day; but once the fighting began, Kama would forget to use it.

In the end, a minor warrior named Ghatotkacha led a foray which struck a momentary panic into Kama’s army, and without thinking Kama killed him with the celestial weapon. This destroyed the hope of victory for his side, though they continued fighting bravely for some time.

A Zen teacher used to answer all questions by shouting, “No delusive thoughts!” Many famous people who came to him received a shock from this great cry, but later found they were able to resolve their difficulties.

On one occasion a group of people came to see the teacher, and one by one he met them with his spear-thrust, “No delusive thoughts!” As the last one made his salutations and went out, one of the boy attendants said to the other behind his hand: “Well, they say he’s so clever, but if you ask me, our Abbot’s a fool”.

“What’s that!” cried the master, spinning round.

“Oh”, stammered the boy, “I was just saying ‘No delusive thoughts’!”

© Trevor Leggett

 

Share This