Doku was the son of a swordsman. But, he couldn't win his father's confidence of being a good swordsman. Gripped by the feelings of humiliation and anger, he left his father's place in search of someone who could make him perfect in the art of swordsmanship.
After a long hunt, he came across a master who was adept in swordsmanship.
Manzo had excelled the art in all respects. Doku approached Manzo and said, “Master, will you teach me the art of playing with swords? I must tell you that I am not a novice in this field. I know quite a lot. But, still my father has rejected me saying that my skill lacks perfection. So, I have come to you to become perfect in this art. Please tell, when would you commence the training?” Doku's impatience was clearly evident. Along with that was also evident his ego, which brought him an unpleasant response from the Master. Manzo looked at Doku and said, “I confirm your father's assessment about you. You truly don't seem to be fit for learning this art. And, so, I refuse to accept you as my student.” Doku stood shell-shocked upon hearing those words. As if, he was hit by thunder lightning a thousand times! With stony eyes, he looked at Manzo. The Master also looked at him and said, “You may go now.”
The arrow of rejection had hit the right place, throwing an attack on the monster of ego that had seized Doku's mind and heart. Doku laid in the master's feet, crying for his refuge.
Tenet No. 1) For Sadhaks (disciples of a Perfect Spiritual Master): Ego is a major stumbling block on the path of spirituality. It must be forsaken to receive the grace of the Master.
Manzo: Ok, I grant your request.
Doku: Pardon me for asking one thing, O Master. My father is getting old and so I need to go back to him after learning this art in the shortest possible time. I am ready to undergo any hardship. In that case, how long will it take to attain mastery in this art?
Manzo: 30 years.
Doku (surprisingly): Thirty long years! …If I practice far more intensely and with utmost dedication, then how long will it take?
Manzo: 70 years or, perhaps, your whole life!
Doku's face clearly expressed his confusion and inability to grasp the import of the Master's words. He stood with folded hands but his questioning eyes were repeatedly asking for an explanation.
Manzo: The answer to the 'why' resounding in your inner being is that the one who is in a hurry, as you are, to get the results seldom learns quickly.
Doku (once again realised his mistake): Forgive this ignorant one, Sir! I surrender myself to you.
Tenet No. 2): Patience is an essential pre-requisite to achieve the results; for, Guru knows when and what is to be given to his disciple.
Manzo: You will have to strictly follow as and what I say.
Doku: I promise you, Master.
Manzo: From today onwards, it is your duty to cook the food, wash all the utensils and clothes, clean the hermitage, and give water to the plants.
Doku (without an iota of hesitation): Sure, Master.
Manzo: So, go and take charge of your duties right now.
Doku: Yes, Master
Doku did not say that just for the sake of saying. He did what he said. He dedicated himself fully in carrying out the order of his Master.Day and night, he was seen engrossed in fulfilling the duties that were allotted to him. Only one thought echoed in his mind that there should be no mistake in the Master's work. And, it was the result of this dedication and hard-work that he never gave anyone a single chance to complain.
Manzo's eyes were keeping a constant watch over Doku's inner being to keep track of the answers to these questions. But, Doku's undivided faith and surrender in the feet of his Master did not let him fall this time. Doku's dedication and surrender won the Master's heart, who did not get to hear 'Yes' even once in answer to the questions that were meant to test Doku's faith.
Tenet No. 3): Hard-work, dedication, and faith are the jewels of a disciple which enhance his inner beauty and make him win the love and insurmountable grace of the Master.
But, what's that? Where Doku's dedication and surrender deserved reward from the Master, there he started receiving terrific blows of swords every day. Every day, Manzo would hit Doku with a wooden sword and Doku tried to protect himself from the unexpected attacks. This activity continued for weeks together. Hardly a day passed when this strange thing didn't happen. But, not even once did any ill-feeling arise in Doku's heart for the Master's peculiar behaviour.
After a couple of weeks, one day, Manzo called Doku in his room. Doku entered the room with folded hands fearing that he must have made some mistake. But, his happiness knew no bounds when he saw a beautiful smile on the Master's face. Manzo caressed him and said, “My dear son! Today I declare you as the greatest swordsman in the world, as there is no stroke that can defeat you, whatsoever it may be! You have learnt to defend yourself from every possible attack that can be made by the opponent. Now you can go to your father, who will be greatly happy to see a new Doku in front of him… perfectly suitable for becoming his heir.”
Tenet no. 4): Always remember! Even the hits and blows of the Master are in the favour of a disciple. They are not meant to harm him; instead, they are a blessing in disguise, which are meant to make him perfect!