Keshav studied art under the guidance of a great Master. The art school was at the foot of a mountain. The Master taught Keshav how to draw, paint, and many other techniques, like mixing colours, and various kinds of shading. Keshav was a quick learner, and the Master was proud of his student.
A competition was announced for budding painters. Artists were asked to send their paintings. A panel of judges would select the best painting and reward the painter. The Master asked Keshav to make a painting.
“What would you like to paint for the competition?” he asked.
“A mountain,” replied Keshav.
Keshav went out and sat at a distance from the mountain. He gazed at the mountain and started painting. The Master looked at Keshav’s sketches, and asked him to pay attention to the proportion of the scenery. Keshav did as told.
Then the Master asked, “Do you think this is the right shade?”
Keshav changed the shade. Later, the Master suggested some other changes. This went on for hours. Keshav did not lose patience. He wanted to put in his best effort.
The Master then told Keshav to continue working as he had to step out for some work. “I’ll be back in an hour or two,” he told Keshav. “Finish the work by the time I return.”
Keshav nodded and continued to work on the painting.
The Master was back after a few hours. Keshav had finished his work. The Master looked at the painting: “Wow! This is the most beautiful painting you have ever made.”
The Master looked at his student and frowned. “This looks so different from what you were painting when you began,” he said. “I had to correct you so many times.”
“Master, in the morning I was painting to please you,” said Keshav. “After you left me alone, I started painting to please myself.”
Inspired by a Zen tale.