1927 | 11,233,916 words
Triveni is a journal dedicated to ancient Indian culture, history, philosophy, art, spirituality, music and all sorts of literature. Triveni was founded at Madras in 1927 and since that time various authors have donated their creativity in the form of articles, covering many aspects of public life....
Salutations To The Supreme Teacher
Dr. G. Lakshmipathi
A good teacher is one who has mastery over the subject, a capacity to deliver the matter lucidly and with precision, who is aglow with love of teaching and affection to the taught. He beams with happiness as the student advances in knowledge. He encourages questions and clears doubts with ease and clarity. He not only instructs the students but also inspires them. He feels enriched and gets a fulfillment in the profession, proud to be a partner in the great enterprise of diffusion of knowledge. He feels the responsibility to help the student to develop a humanistic attitude, scientific temper, social responsibility, ecological awareness, self-discipline, concern for other people, tolerance and commitment to the welfare of the country and the people. He is conscious that the training he is imparting is going to change the character of the student and mould him to be a responsible citizen of a free country and in turn change the nature of the nation to a better and healthier one.
A good student has reverence for the teacher, devotion to the subject, an avidity to learn and an absorbing mind. He considers this a God-given opportunity and a training ground to develop his character and individuality along with acquisition of knowledge and skill useful for his future life. He realizes he should utilize the available facilities in the best manner. Every creature starts learning from the moment of its birth. Scientists tell us that the learning process actually starts in the gestation period itself. Puranas record that Prahlada, Abhimanyu and sage Ashtavakra acquired in this manner certain knowledge when they were in their mother’s womb. For every creature born the mother is the first teacher, father is the second. Brothers, sisters and relatives follow next. As the child grows, friends and teachers in school and college play their role. There is a Sanskrit verse which reads:
ACHARYAT PADAM ADHATTE, PADAM SISHYASYA MEDHAYA,
PADAM SABRAHMACHARINYA, PADAM KALAKRAMENACHA.
One acquires one-fourth of his knowledge from the teacher, one-fourth from own contemplation, one-fourth from colleagues, and one-fourth by experience in course of time.
For an inquisitive person with an open mind the whole universe is a teacher. Every creature and object around and every incident and experience in life has something to teach. Some teach directly, some indirectly, some in a positive way and some in a negative way like the character of a villain in a drama. Every experience acts as a teacher. Only a fool does not learn from his experience while the wise learn even from other’s experiences.
The bee sucks the honey from the flower and helps in fertilizing it. As we receive help from others, we must help them in their need, is its message. The spider weaves its web in a corner of the house. Many times the web breaks or is swept away. The spider never complains, nor is it angry or disappointed. It weaves the web again and again patiently and carefully. Having completed the web it sits patiently in it waiting. The fly comes of its own accord to get caught in the web and provides food for the spider. You do your job properly without animosity towards anybody and wait. God will reward you in time, is the underlying message. Birds fly happily in the sky amidst innumerable dangers and sing melodiously. With firm faith in Divine dispensation we can lead a happy life with a song on our lips inspite of all the vicissitudes of life, is the inherent message. Like this everything in Nature teaches us. We have to understand the message and spiritualize our lives.
We should realize that it is God that is actually teaching like this through Nature and life. He has not deserted the creatures he created. He is closely watching and helping all the creation and is guiding it to its destination. He is teaching from outside through every object and incident and from inside as the Antharvani, the voice of consciousness. He wants us to be true to our nature and lead life according to His design. Whoever hears this voice of God and acts accordingly becomes a better person ever happy in life. Deeply involved in our daily problems we ignore His voice and refuse to listen to Him. Ego blocks our vision.
The Vedic Rishi prays:
TATWAM PUSHAN APAVRINU SATYA DHARMAYA DHRISTAYE
The golden lid covers the Truth. Remove the golden lid, O Lord, so that I can see the Truth- is the prayer.
The human teacher also passes on to us the message of God. But unfortunately as the message passes through the human frame, it gets polluted with the ego, selfishness, ignorance and pride peculiar to that particular frame. “All our scriptures suffer from double decomposition,” remarked Gandhiji – first when the ancient sages who realized the great Truths in their meditations transferred them to books; and second when commentators tried to explain the meanings and implications of those Truths.
There is an oft-repeated chant:
GURUSSAKSHAT PARABRAHMA, TASMAI SRI GURAVE NAMAHA.
God is the perfect teacher. He is the greatest guru, the guru of all gurus. He is the Creator, Preserver and Destroyer, all wise, all-powerful. He is the teacher equally to the wise and to the ignorant. We bow to God the Supreme Teacher, is the meaning.
The meaning of this sloka is popularly perverted to mean that the guru himself is God incarnate in human form. Instead of considering God as the real guru, we are asked to consider guru as God and extend to him all the respect and devotion due only to real God.
God exists in every heart. One’s own conscience is the perfect teacher. It is God’s voice. It is available to everyone and at all times. The advice given is special for that person, most suited to that moment and designed for the welfare of that individual. Welfare does not mean bodily or worldly betterment. I am not the body. I am the spirit. The advice is meant to lift me to a higher spiritual plane and not succumb to my lower nature dictated by the body, ego, desires and selfishness.
One must train oneself to hear the inner voice and act accordingly. Whatever any scripture or any guru may proclaim or instruct, one’s conscience should be the guide in discriminating good from evil, virtue from vice, truth from untruth. With a rational outlook and following the dictates of conscience, one never commits a sin.
BRAHMANYADHAYA KARMANI, SANGAM TYAKTWA KAROTI YAHA
LIPYATE NA SA PAPENA, PADMA PATRA MIVAMBHASA.
He who acts according to the Divine guidance without any attachment to the action or the fruits there of, remains free from sin just as the lotus leaf remains unaffected by the surrounding water.
The main impediment to this is the ego. Ego is very subtle and assumes many forms. It even imitates God’s voice. To be aware of the ego is the only way to be away from it. Humility helps in overcoming the ego. Devotion means surrendering the ego at the altar of the Divine. No part of the body should rebel against the effort of surrender.
There is an interesting incident in the life of St. Francis of Assisi. His father was a pastor in a village church. As a child, Francis was going home from the school one day and his path led by the side of a small pond. He saw on the edge of the pond a small baby tortoise basking in the sun looking this side and that. Led by a child’s instinct, Francis took a stone to throw at the tortoise. Suddenly he heard a voice, “Don’t throw the stone. The poor creature will die. What harm has it done to you?” He dropped the stone and looked all around to see who spoke those words. None was there. He took the stone again to hit the tortoise. He heard the same words again. He threw away the stone, ran home to his mother and told her everything that happened. The mother embraced him with tears in her eyes and said, “My son, people call it the inner voice. But I say it is the God’s voice. He is teaching you to lead a kind and good life. Learn to hear Him and do as He tells. You will be a good man and will come up in life.” Francis lived like that and became a saint in later life.
God always teaches us throughout our life from outside through everything in Nature, and from our inside through our conscience, the inner voice. God is the greatest teacher.
There is a guru vandana sloka in our scriptures:
SUKHADAM, KEVALAM GNANA MURTIM,
TATWAMASYADIGAMYAM, EKAM, NITYAM, VIMALA, MACHALAM, SARVADHI SAKSHIBHUTAM,
BHAVATEETAM, VIGUNA RAHITAM, SADGURUM TAM NAMAMI.
I salute that perfect teacher, the God of love, the giver of all happiness, whose form is pure knowledge, who transcends the Universe, who is Infinite like the heavens, who is the Source of all creation, who is One without a second, who is ever Pure and unchanging, the eternal Witness of everything, who is beyond mind and thought, who is all Holy and Perfect. To that Supreme Teacher I offer my salutations.