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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Krishnaverse #2

29 05 2014

Student : Sir, I understand the attitude of ‘giving more’ or ‘keep doing the new’ or ‘keep contributing’, whatever way we may put it. And to an extent these attitudes does open up various faculties of an individual’s persona and help him expand. But I feel, the flip side of this attitude is, sometime, even after doing a lot, if it has not transformed into economies or if the given activity has not yielded any tangible uplift than, one feels frustrated. For example a young dynamic chap who is jumpy in his career direction, may find himself nowhere in spite of putting in years of work experience and in spite of dozens of so called ‘contributing’ efforts. At such a point one feels a loss of direction; one feels ones heading nowhere and so stays dissatisfied?

Sir : Not necessarily! Not necessary that one would become dissatisfied.
What could happen with positively inclined people is – in given settings just see what best you can create, or offer. Sometimes, what happens in industrial lines, or in certain types of actions, that we think we are good at; and therefore we want to be in that only and consider that as direction or focus. But it doesn’t have to be that ways. Responding to the given environment with the potential we are, is important, more important. And that might sometimes deprive us from those lines of expertise or direction. The so called directed movement sometimes you may have to fore go, you might be denied those things because in the given environment those things may not have any place.

Suppose you are a good painter and in given environment there is no scope for expressing your painting skill, but still you are a potential. Can u respond to that environment where there is no scope for painting, painting as we understand? Well, it cud be a simple talk on the surrealist trends, painting can also be talked out, or a painting could simply be lived. It doesn’t have to be necessarily and every time an expression that is known to us only. We know the expression of painting in a certain form, and that only doesn’t have to be a manifestation of our talent. It could be in other ways, sometimes even in ways which we cannot imagine right now. That’s where innovation takes place, that’s where new things come up, creation comes up, that’s how world goes ahead. Whatever technological manifestation we see these days you wouldn’t have imagined that a couple of centuries ago, but than how did it all came into being? That is what the ‘non-wastage’ of potential I am referring to.

Secondly, dissatisfaction with the way we are living and the way we have lived in past so many years or so many seasons, is fine. This is what our restlessness is- You got to be restless about status quo so that you will create new things. Only if you are restless about the status quo about the given things you will be able to create something new, isn’t it?
So to that extent restlessness, yes, it is required. It is at the core of innovation, at the core of creativity. But if restlessness is because of dissatisfaction then it is a tricky issue.

“We are restless not because we are dissatisfied; we are restless because though we are satisfied, at that point of time the potential is not being used. We are satisfied, so we are restless not because of the dissatisfaction or otherwise, we are restless because the potential is lying idle, it’s not being put to use and that’s why we are restless. I can do something more…I can chew a little more….and therefore I do not consider these two as synonyms, dissatisfaction and restlessness.”

Understand the secret of success is satisfaction. You got to be satisfied if you want to take a successful step forward, dissatisfaction would not lead us there. I wouldn’t confuse our thought process by putting them as synonyms. You might have to look at it that way.





Krishnaverse.

29 04 2014

Most of ancient Indian knowledge is written in the form of ‘verse’ known as ‘shloka’ or ‘sutra’. A sutra is like a seed, from which thoughts would emerge. A Universe is the term used to define ‘all that exists’. ‘Krishna’ – the hindu god who gave profound wisdom to his devotee and relative ‘Arjuna’, said it all in the form of verses, which is celebrated all across the world as the ‘Gita’ (song of god); this happened while the world was at the cusp of a mythical time zone.

For me and hundreds of students all of this comes through our teacher Dr. KVSM Krishna. Since classroom days to real life situations filled with dilemmas, he is a teacher who is always around to make us learn the ability to take our own decisions. Over a decade and a half a lot of us students would have interacted with him and many who continue to do so, have learn a lot  from these conversations. These conversations contain a lot of meaning for everyone who is a student of this University called Life.

A few of those conversations that happened with me, a few with someone else, but were shared with me, I am attempting to bring them here in the form of question and answers, for every student to learn and enrich himself/herself.

This i would like to term as ‘Krishnaverse’.

The next blog will be a first in this series.

 

My earlier writings on Dr. Krishna can be found here :

https://mihirgajrawala.com/2009/05/10/a-teacher-as-is-see/

https://mihirgajrawala.com/category/my-musings/dr-krishna/

Note : My faculty of memory and comprehension is extremely limited in comparison to the quantum of wisdom Dr. Krishna would have shared. The writings I present will be contained by this limitation. I request every reader to consider this as my interpretation of a conversation and not a verbose representation of what he would have said or meant. I apologize for any wrong comprehension that I might end up doing in this process. My intention is to share with many, what some of us have learn from him.

I also invite other students to share the conversations they had with Dr. Krishna over this years. I will be happy to articulate them to the best of my abilities.

 





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