Guru’s position – a disciple’s perspective.

5 09 2014

Prologue : A teacher is one who wants to teach you, a ‘Guru’ is one who makes you learn. A students idea is ‘to be’, whereas a disciple (shishya) is the one who wants ‘to become’. In other words a student is looking for change while a disciple is aspiring to transform.

Whatever I say is with this context in mind.

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Many years back, must be my secondary school days, if i remember it well, around my wonder years,  back in time when I was studying in 8th or 9th grade, I happened to read a story. This story has had a lasting impact on my thought process. I do not clearly remember that story and its context, but it is this one scene from the story which has stayed with me and shaped my understanding. It goes like this.

A young disciple, completely devoted to his guru, was someone who was committed to follow on the path shown by his guru. He had this habit of always going to his guru whenever in some critical decision making situation. And the Guru would readily guide him out during each such instance; in the process the guru would enlighten the disciple. One fine day, in a similar situation as the disciple reaches out to his Guru, the Guru doesn’t offer him any guidance. The disciple is astonished and couldn’t believe this fact. The Guru sends him back by saying “Son, I have given you enough, I leave you now to imbibe all of that, find your own path, and make your own experiences. Its time you take your decisions without me.”

Now this incident from the story found its way deep within myself. Over different periods of my existence this story has provided me different lessons. It started with me believing that a ‘guru’ can only take one this far. One cannot have a guide to eternity. At some later stages i realized the importance of ‘swadhyay’ or ‘learning by self’. Further ahead I understood that it will all be fruitless if one does not learn to take his/her own decisions.

Over many summers of my existence I was fortunate to come across many learned people and many loving teachers. It was quite later in my young life that i discovered a ‘Guru’. It was destined for me to get my greatest lessons from this one person. However the above story was always a part of me, and hence in spite of total surrender I never actually became dependent. That infinite love and reverence can thrive and still one remains boundless was a unique experience and a learning for me. Secondly I knew that the physical proximity and one-to-one transfer of knowledge with the ‘Guru’ can only happen till a limited period of time. This understanding fueled my urge to learn and make the most of those transactions. Many individuals close to me, around that period, sensed a transformation in me, they sensed an urgency in me; I could not explain it to them, than, but deep down i knew that i need to build myself to a level from where I can be on my own. Also I never wanted to come to a point, like the boy in that story had to, where my Guru feels that his disciple has not learned to be on his own.

Many Guru – Disciple relations end in agony and bitterness or in sheer blinded dependence. The crux of this eventuality is the non-realization of the fact that – a guru can only take you this far. With this dawned another important learning from that story and a whole new dimension of learning opened up for me. A disciple is the one who is aspiring to move to a higher destination, in every which way. A ‘guru’ is the form who takes the disciple to that destination. However if one remains focused on the destination and not the form, than ‘guru’ dissolves his form and becomes a part of your being. Somewhere within you the ‘guru’ is installed, and without any one-to-one interaction the transaction continues. Whenever in doubts or in crisis  I am able to talk with my ‘guru’ without even talking with him. In certain extraordinary situations i would have resorted to the one-to-one interactions, but largely I have come this far with the help of the ‘guru’ within. Many times while I ponder on all that I have received from my ‘guru’, I end up tearful. The enormity of the receipt is so huge that all the ego inside me is pushed out by way of tears.

And so I learn that the ‘guru’ in the story while denying his disciple the guidance, has actually given him the greatest lesson anyone can learn. That ‘without’ can be turned into ‘within’.

This has been my experience since a decade now, whereby the ‘Guru’ has found a position ‘within’. In his distinct  style he had shared something, which for me is the articulation of the above learning. He said to a few of us, “I do not want you to be learned, I want you to be learners’.

In whatever limited capacity, with pride, I can tell myself, that I have not stopped learning and I know, the ‘Guru’ within would not let me decay ever.

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‘hgang in dharamshala’ the film – now on Youtube!

5 08 2014

Director’s note.

Can you trek your way to Nirvana?

The above question is the result of an experience that we, as a lot, had during our trip to Dharamshala. Twelve friends, twelve entrepreneurs who set out for a petite get-together in this hilly town, returned as if they were reborn. And I am not exaggerating. It’s been almost 6 months since, and each one is showing a sustained attitudinal shift in their lives. What made this possible?

It all started with a letter we sent to His Holiness Dalai Lama’s office requesting a private audience with him. We shared the dilemmas bothering us and wished he sheds some light on it. Unfortunately(or fortunately!!) the meeting did not happen as HHDL was traveling during that period. But the fact of the matter is, we did get those answers without seeing HHDL; the events of the trip made us realize the answers to those dilemmas!!

The entire lot, each one of us, while returning, felt as if we were called to this place. We all believed,until this point, that the trip is our plan, but in the end we realized that we are all a part of a bigger plan.

This was felt in particular, at the trek of Triund. The trek that we took up just for kicks, made us sweat and battle like never before. With scarce resources as we ventured into the un-chartered, it took us to some mind-altering discoveries. Lasting for 9 hours, the trek tested our individual capacities and brought us face-to-face with values of togetherness and kinship along with courage and conviction. From being entrepreneurs fixated to the word ‘achievement’, we came back discovering a powerful agent called ‘letting go’.

As I came back home, I felt in me an uncontrollable desire to attempt to articulate this experience of ours in a visual medium. What I had with me were some thousand images and couple of hours of random video footage. I tried to put them all together in a manner that it makes some sense to the one who engages. I used voice over technique to narrate our mind state and have relied extensively on the songs to convey what we had felt. There is not much footage of the Triund trek which is of greater significance, but than that’s fine.

It may not make any sense to an unknown viewer, maybe. But anyone who knows this lot or any one from this lot, will definitely see some value in this effort. The discerning viewer will enjoy some breathtaking panoramic shots of the magnificent Dhauladhar range, taken right from the top of Triund.

Having said this I put forth the following disclaimer :
‘hgang in dharamshala’ is not a narrative film, nor it claims to be a document of a certain trip. It is a visual memoir of what we friends felt, experienced and realized during this 4 day period. To put it humbly it is just a home video, albeit with a difference.

The film is already shared with family and friends, but we have received lot of requests from many other friends, relatives and well-wishers who wished to engage themselves with this effort.

For them and for any one who ends up here, the film is made available on youtube. FYI the film is uploaded in two parts. Find below the links.

And yeah, watch it till the end the credits roll, it ends with an original poem recital by …

Yours truly,
Mihir Gajrwala





hgang in dharamshala

30 01 2014

The dharamshala experience has been so overwhelming that words alone are not able to do justice to the effort to communicate it. Working on a Visual articulation of the entire experience by way of a film.

below are the links to the teaser and preview of the film :

 





Paradox of doing and not doing.

4 12 2013

Letter sent to The Office of His Holiness The Dalai Lama, seeking a private audience to His Holiness during my visit to Dharamsala with my friends in coming January.

Ahmedabad, December 2nd, 2013.
© mihir gajrawala

It is our misfortune that HHDL is not available in Dharamsala at the time of our visit. The Office of HHDL informed us of his unavailability.
I am sure that many would find a resonance in the thoughts presented in this letter. Hence sharing it here on my blog.

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Thought Map
A peep into our minds to explain the significance of being an audience to His Holiness

‘Paradox of doing and not doing‘

As entrepreneurship students we are educated to keep ourselves occupied in investing our energy in ‘achievements’. To work towards a better tomorrow, to work towards economic growth ; that you be more tomorrow than what you are today – is the mantra given. Yes our teacher did warn us to not equate this need to achieve with ‘greed’ and ‘short cuts’, but ‘achievement’ remains the fulcrum of our thoughts all through out.

A dozen winters have passed by since we completed our post graduation in entrepreneurship and set out to ‘achieve’. We are a bunch of individuals, separated by culture and geography, but bound by our sense of purpose.

Over these dozen odd winters, we have grown, we have changed in more ways than one; but our understanding still revolves around this word ‘achievement’. As any other individual, we have encountered both wonder and despair during our experiences and it has an impact on our comprehension on life. Over countless chats, numerous discussions, unaccounted hours of introspection, individually and collectively, we all have started to look at this term ‘achievement’ a bit more differently than what it was when we started our journey.

‘Sometimes things go wrong; that’s normal. But we have a saying in Tibetan, ‘Nine times fail, nine times try again’. @dalailama via tweeter

Yes we believe in the above. We exhibit this spirit in our endeavors; we manage to not get bogged down by failures. Having said that, readings of various spiritual masters have resulted in the germination of the belief that ‘any quantum of action if invested in a direction opposite to one’s nature will only generate disillusionment and dissatisfaction’.

At this point we all differ. Each one has a different perception of what this true nature is. But we all agree that none of us has ever experienced that infectious and innocent smile that we always see on the face of His Holiness. What is it that could give such perennial smile? If such a smile is the manifestation of being in ones nature, what direction may lead us there? And this makes us re-look at the concept of achievement. Does ‘achievement’ takes one away from ones true nature, does willful ‘giving up’ brings one closer to his true nature?

Does such a smile needs to be ‘achieved’ or it is an outcome of ‘giving up’ ?

We do not know. At this question we are stuck. We see a dead end. And so worldly speaking, we are in a situation where we have ceased to ‘achieve’; we are not growing any more (in our chosen fields of entrepreneurship). That is the paradox we are living in – the paradox of doing and not doing. The paradox of feeling ‘nothing’ amidst ‘everything’

We are TOTAL neither in doing nor in not-doing. We are neither someone nor are we no-one. We are neither fully Present nor completely Absent.

We do not claim to be seers or seekers. We are absolutely normal anybodies that exist everywhere. With all genuineness we accept the presence of hypocrisy in our expressions.

Who are we then? And why this mail?

Well we are a bunch of friends, 14 to be precise, who got united during our education some 13 years back. Many of us reside in cities quite far away from each other. We embark on this little vacation to discuss, introspect and meditate upon the above paradox, which we all are living in.

Our request is not to talk or debate. Nor do we have a list of questions. With above described mindset we wish to walk into the room of His Holiness, see His smile and just listen.

Legends say that Mahavira never spoke, He was only heard. We wish to have the blessing of hearing to His Holiness.

Thank You.