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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Reflections : for one more day by Mitch Albom.

22 05 2009

DO YOU EVER  think while something is happening, about what’s happening someplace else? My mother, after the divorce, would stand on the back porch at sunset, smoking a cigarette, and she’d say, ” Charley, right now, as the sun is going down here, it’s coming up someplace else in the world. Australia or China or someplace. You can look it up in the encyclopedia.”

“It’s a big world,” She’d say, wistfully. “Something is always happening somewhere.”

She was right about that. Something is always happening somewhere. So when I stood at the plate in that Old Timers game, staring at a pitcher whose hair was gray, and when he threw what used to be his fastball but what now was just a pitch that floated in toward my chest, and when I swung and made contact and heard the familiar thwock and I dropped my bat and began to run, convinced that I had done something fabulous, forgetting my old gauges, forgetting that my arms and legs lacked the power they once had, forgetting that as you age, the walls get farther away, and when I looked up and saw what I had first thought to be a solid hit, maybe a home run, now coming down just beyond the infield toward the waiting glove of the second baseman, no more than a pop-up, a wet firecracker, a dud, and a voice in my head yelled, “Drop it! Drop it!” as that second baseman squeezed his glove around my final offereing to this maddening game – just as all that was happening, my mother, as she once noted, had something else happening back in Pepperville Beach.

Her clock radio was playing big band music. Her pillows had been freshly plumped. And her body was crumpled like a broken doll on the floor of her bedroom, where she had come looking for her new red glasses and collapsed.

A massive heart attack.

She was taking her last breaths.

I don’t think I think about what is happening at the other end, while I am so focussed on my end. I like to believe that I do, but in reality I don’t. While I am too busy thinking about myself, I hardly think of what the other person is going through in the very same moment.

I ask myself this :

How often have I missed out on complementing my mom for a nicely cooked meal, kept hot specially for me, just because I had a bad day? While I simply say “I’m busy”, do I ever think of the moments waiting for me on other side? The moments which I actually long for, I make myself busy for them. I take pride in being ‘accessible’ to the world for my ‘so called’ ideas and advises, but I fail to think of a 5 minute attention which my grandma might be yearning for? How many times, occupied with my saturday night plans I  have missed out on knowing about my mothers headache? Just because I thought I am doing some creative work, I have not thought of giving due attention to a waiting customer. While holding onto someone so much, I never really think of those who are holding on to me. I seldom think of friends who I don’t attend to, while I am busy craving for someone else. While I am pretty much engrossed in my phone, I miss out the smile that the friends around are giving to me. Just because I am busy discussing ‘important’ things till late night, I forget that someone important might be losing out on her sleep.  How easily I vent my anger/frustration out on the one who loves me, without even thinking how his/her day was?  I often get hang ups when my expectations are not met, but do I even know why they weren’t met? Hasn’t it occured that I easily change the rules of a relation, and not even thinking what it means for the other person involved? While I am working on things to seek the pride of the world, I just forget to think of what would make my father proud?  So many times haven’t I missed out on cuddling my nephew, just because I was too occupied with my next blog!?

“I am so smart and intelligent in living my life, in making my choices; that I hardly take time out to think of all of those, for whom I am a part of life.”

Something is always happening somewhere.

While being engrossed in a chase which I essentially understand as life, I miss out on so many of life filled tiny moments.

“You can find something truly important in a minute,” she said.

Going at this pace and in this direction all I would find myself in is shame and shadow, and regrets and frustration.

“I wanted it to stop, Mom…this anger, this guilt. That’s why…I wanted to die…”

I lifted my eyes, and, for the first time, admitted the truth.

“I gave up.” I whispered.

“Don’t give up,”  she whispered back.

I buried my head then. I am not ashamed to say it. I buried my head in my mother’s arms and her hands cradled my neck. We held each other like that, just briefly. But I cannot put into words the comfort I drew from that moment. I can only say that, as I speak to you now, I still yearn for it.

Charles “Chick” Benetto was lucky. He got one more chance to make up for the time he had missed out to spend with his dead mother. He got that conversation with the one he loved. He got a ONE MORE DAY.

But, not all are as lucky as him to get that day back. Even if I get it, why should I wait for that day, while I can still live that moments with the one I love and for the ones who truly and eternally are concerned for me.

If I don’t, then I know I can go my whole life collecting days, and none will outweigh the one I wish I had back.

write up includes excerpts from Mitch Alboms best seller for one more day.





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