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.

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.

 





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.





food for thought.

11 01 2013

During last holidays I paid a visit to my teacher. He is a wise ol’ man who loves his students. As we were talking about various things, out of my concern, I diverted the talk on his physical health and fitness.

I tried to advise him to take care of his health and get into a disciplined food intake. To try and convince him I quoted my own experiments with naturpathy and how it had helped me regain my fitness post turning 30. To be honest, I was trying to show to my teacher that I have turned wise.

For a few moments he let me speak. Finally as I ended my ‘wise talk’ , he spoke…

“Yes, I agree that I am not disciplined in what food I intake. May be I am not as frugal as you when it comes to eating.” He took a pause, his eyes fixed on mine, he asked me, “look around.” The room was filled with books, hundreds of them, across genres. In fact the place smelled of books. I almost realized my folly. I could fathom what he was going to say. He continues, “Look around, I am so disciplined in the thoughts that I intake, I am principled in consuming only that which I deem fit for my mind. I do not succumb to watching mindless TV nor waste my energy on every page of newspaper. I take care of what I should learn. And along side I take some decent care of my health too, and so by every logic I  am  better off than you – who only takes care of food intake and is blinded to the necessity of  thoughts intake.”

By the time he ended the sentence, my eyes had dropped down. I could not see into his eyes any more. He concluded,

“In all probability you will lose the immunity of both your mind as well as your body, by the time you reach my age.”

The final lines that has had a great impact on me are,

“I would have appreciated if you would have had a holistic approach on your health, on your idea of ‘disciplined’ intake, but your current attitude concerns me”, with this he ended.

 





‘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