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1001 Stories Collection

Arjun and the Bird’s Eye Test

1001 Arjun The Bird s Eye Test Carlos Quintero
Added on 05th October 2020

Oral tradition Hindu story

Asia Myths and legends

A story from the Mahabharata (c. 800BC) that demonstrates just how focused a great warrior needs to be.


Dronacharya is accused of favouring Arjun over the other warriors, so he puts on a test to show why Arjun is the best. He asks the warriors to strike the eye of a wooden bird. When the warriors step up, Dronacharya asks them what they see. They all point out the wooden bird, the branch, the tree and the leaves. When Arjun is asked, he says, ‘I can only see the eye of the bird’…

Why we chose it

The Mahabharata is one of the great epics from Ancient India.

Where it came from

The Mahabharata is a series a stories about the struggle between two groups of cousins: the Kauravas and the Pandavas. Arjun is presented as the most influential of the Pandavas due to his clever thinking and effective battle skills.

Where it went next

The story has had a massive influence on Indian culture, with the name ‘Arjun’ becoming one of the most popular names in India. It is also influenced the naming of the ‘Arjuna Award’ which is presented to one talented sportsman in each national sport annually. The story travelled, as Japanese filmmakers made an animated version called Earth Maiden Arjuna. The story is also the basis of the action film Arjun: The Warrior Prince (2012).

Associated stories

The Mahabharata covers stories throughout Arjun’s life. His birth is one of the most celebrated as it described him being born 7 months after Lord Krishna. In the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna explains warrior duties to Arjun. The epic tells of how he is sent on a spiritual pilgrimage for 12 years! We also learn that Arjun had important discussions with Hanuman.

Added on 05th October 2020

Oral tradition Hindu story

Asia Myths and legends