Tantra and the Art of Archery by Dada Vimaleshananda

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Prańavo dhanuh sharohyátmá Brahma tallakśyamucyate;
Apramattena veddhavyaḿ sharavattanmayo bhavet.

“A sádhaka who utilizes his or her spiritual practice as the bow, her or his self as the arrow, and Parama Puruśa as the target, and then tries to pierce the target with undivided attention, attains the supreme goal.”

One month ago I was lazily browsing on youtube when by mistake I watched a video from the Rio Olympics. I never watched Olympic Archery before and somehow I entered in a new world. I watched a couple of more videos and then I decided to visit an Archery Range in Queens. Al was calmly shooting and I was happy to chat with a former champion. I asked him if he was interested in meditation. He replied that archery was his meditation. At first, having no experience, I didn’t believe that archery was meditation although I could recognize the elevated state of mind of Al. I asked him to try his competition bow and he allowed me to draw it without shooting. A piece of cake – I thought. I did a bit of meditation and I walked out. I went to the range a second time and I did only meditation. When I was asked to shoot I preferred not to do it. I was not ready.

On Ebay I bought a bow and I went back to Al during a rainy day by bicycle. I was drenched. Al looked at me in amazement and disbelieve at the same time. I need one arrow! Al went in the back shop and came out with one arrow, my first arrow. He ended me the arrow with both hands in a reverence gesture and he then briefly told me – Enjoy!

Since then I started shooting regularly. I built a target in the back of the Sectorial Office of Ananda Marga in Flushing where I reside and with one arrow I started making the peculiar sound of an arrow piercing a board. Tuk – Tuk – Tuk. I was shooting during the day and sometimes during the night without glasses. I noticed that the accuracy during the day was equivalent to the accuracy during the night as without glasses I was not able to see the target, just the color in a fuzzy shape.

Once I went to an open range and there were a few archers. One of them started to give me some guidance. Al overall told me that archery is 100% a matter of practice the same position every time. It reminded me of Tantra as 99% practice and 1% theory, maybe.

I started to gather information about archery and in another archery range I was told that all the Korean champions, at present the best in the world in both male and female competition, practice formal meditation. Guy is another former US champion and he confirmed that meditation is associated with archery since the beginning. In his experience archery is a martial art. There is a peculiar focus of mind that is required in archery which is the same as in meditation. I knew it in theory but to experience it in practice was a revelation. That afternoon I shoot for three hours 5 arrows at a time with a break of 5 minutes meditation each turn. No food and little water. It was three days ago after a day of fasting. I came back to jagrti with the mind sharp like a razor blade.

I believe I touched just the tip of an iceberg. Archery is now in fashion due to a 2012 movie called “Hunger Games”. I believe it is a sign of the awakening of the Tantric spirit which is so necessary for redeeming society, reclaiming its human values and leading to its spiritual fulfillment. Tantra is embedded in the human frame, it just needs to be awakened through Tantric initiation. This is the Mission of Ananda Marga. This is the task for all.

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