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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‘Happy’ Birthday to me? – not yet!

4 06 2010

“I truly believe that Teaching and Medicine are the noblest of vocations, among all. And they should remain like that. Any institute or individual who takes up these vocations for greed or any other motive other than teaching and curing will only dilute its true delivery. I am a teacher and I would never be my student’s consultant.”

That’s how Dr. KVSM Krishna, my teacher and Course Director responded when I generally queried about his view and interest in associating himself with the ‘so-called’ A-Listed business schools around.

Back in 2000-2001, when I did my PG at Entrepreneurship Development Institute of India, Dr. Krishna was then the Course Director and our teacher for Economics and Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice. But for me he turned out to be my Teacher for Life. Innumerable lessons on Life and Self Awareness that were bestowed upon me by him. All of these occurred during those hundreds of hours of class room talks as well as countless after class room discussions that happened in his office. Even after the course completion, till date I have the privilege of being blessed with his teachings through various e-mail and phone conversations; though he has been moving to different geographical locations we managed quite a few meetings over the last decade. Each and every of this interaction, be it a casual 5 minute call, he has never left without giving – giving to his student pearls of wisdom from his vast ocean of knowledge.

I credit all my successes to HIM and I accept all my shortcomings as my inability to understand and/or follow his teachings.

His understanding of things is very in depth and focused. His teachings sound simple but takes a lot to understand and comprehend its true meaning. He comes across as a grumpy ol’ chap; but a true student will see a TEACHER in every cell of him. His dedication and commitment towards his students is unparalleled and he would stretch himself to newer limits to touch and teach his students.

As our course started off, it didn’t take me much time to bond with him. The lessons had started flowing and soon, over a year – an introvert, shy, low on confidence, hyper anxious and clouded youngster who could barely understand his self and the world around, some one who had no drive and no ambition – turned into STUDENT OF THE YEAR, scored maximum in almost all subjects and most importantly gained confidence to embark upon an enterprising journey. All of this happened because of an intervention called Dr. Krishna.

At every point, smallest of issue to biggest of resistances that I would have discussed with him, each and every time he has come across as a Teacher to me; and that has helped survive the student in me. His strongest impact on me has been in making me realize the value of “LEARN TILL YOUR LAST MOMENT”.

He would tell us “I want you all to be LEARNERS and not become LEARNED”

The lessons were just not limited to economics or entrepreneurship. We would have talked and discussed almost every subject on this planet. From human development to spirituality; from inter gender dynamics to family businesses; from poverty alleviation to self development; from marriages to education system every topic was put across in a light so as to understand its significance. Most importantly, over all this years, till date his sole effort through every talk is to make his student know and realize his latent potential.

This belief – a strong and honest belief of my teacher in me forms the seed of my awareness; forms the basis of my understanding of me, it powers my vision of life and energizes my every attempt of developing myself. My thought processes and cognitive mechanisms have evolved from the seed of knowledge that he had sowed.

I attained the form of flesh and blood in 1979, whereas I derived my mind in 2000. My teacher gave me REBIRTH.

I feel that I am no way near in being a worthy student. If his teachings manifest themselves in my doings and I truly embody all that I am learning only then will I feel happy and contended.

Many Birthday’s have since gone by, it really doesn’t matter to me; but it is the ‘Rebirth day’ that holds greater significance to me. And I Endeavour to give myself a HAPPY RE BIRTH DAY – the day I shall be contended, the day I feel a sense of pride, the day I feel worthy, not in anyone else’s eye, but in my own assessment.

That day, I shall wish myself a Happy (re)Birth day!

PS : I have always debated with Dr. Krishna about attempting to publish his thoughts or atleast to blog so that a large number of ‘students’ be touched. However he remains so involved with the students around him that he hardly thinks of documenting himself. On this birthday of mine I initiate this segment on my blog in which I shall attempt to present the various talks that I had with him. It’s going to be a task to put various chats that I have had with him over varied contexts in the most correct manner. I take it up with a hope of letting more STUDENTS reach to a true TEACHER.





A Teacher – as is see.

10 05 2009

kvsm

dedicated to my teacher Dr. KVSM Krishna.

It’s said that life is a journey from ‘dark’ to the ‘light’. As I understand it – it is moving from ignorance to knowledge, from disillusionment to gratification, from despair to hope, from insecurity to fearlessness, from greed to benevolence, from vanity to humbleness, from craving to belongingness, from lust to love and from wrong to right. As Dr. Krishna used to put it, “Life by itself always gets miserable”. In this movement of ours, life throws in hurdles in the form of cowardice, greed, lust and egotism. I often wonder as to how to overcome these hurdles?, how to resist these advancements of corruption?

Worldly wisdom says qualities like reasoning, intelligence, wisdom, experience and power of imagination are enough to move successfully. These qualities are generally obtained through inheritance or formal learning. But then I have experienced that these are not enough. There is something more which one requires to surge ahead happily and successfully. It is from my teacher that I have learned that one needs to be  ‘aware’, to be aware of one’s own self; one’s own motives and values.  It is self-awareness that helps an individual to cross these hurdles of life.

But from where does this ‘self awareness’ come? From where does the knowledge of self start. At this crucial point what takes an individual above is the devotion of a teacherMahatma Gandhi said, “ Men often become what they believe themselves to be, If I believe I cannot do something, it makes me incapable of doing it. But when I believe I can, then I acquire the ability to do it even if I didn’t have it in the beginning.”

The infinite ‘faith’ which a teacher instills in the student is what makes the difference. It is a teacher who can make the student believe in his  own potential. FAITH and tremendous faith in one’s own self is the quality with which an individual can break the barriers of darkness to see light. The source of this faith and self-belief, for me, has been, and is my teacher.

My teacher’s belief and faith in my abilities and potential, is the basis of my knowledge about myself; basis of my ‘self-awareness’. In all the moments of darkness it is he who has kept the flame of faith alive in me. He is the mirror of my conscience. It is this conscience which has abled me to differentiate the ‘right’ from the ‘wrong’. At every point of making a choice it is this ‘faith’ that gives me the confidence to make a decision. It is his vision of me which ignites my faith.

A teacher is the conveyer on which an individual makes his journey from darkness to light.

I feel blessed to have found such a teacher. And I hope to find good amounts of ‘light’ over my life!

Gratefully,

Mihir