Let me begin with a story:
A father and his 5 year old son were walking through a jungle of tall pine trees.
The child asked, “Dad, who is holding the sky?”
Father was baffled by this sudden and innocent question. He thought for a while and said, “My son, do you see all these tall pine trees? They are holding the sky.”
The son looked up to find tall, endless trees and believed what his father told him. They continued walking through the jungle and soon the jungle ended. Both father and son entered a green field full of grass. Son got worried and held his father’s hand tight as he saw that there were no tall trees and the sky may fall….
At that time, he looked at the tips of those millions of grass that were pointed towards the sky and realised that though there were no tall trees around, it was as if these grass tips were holding the sky………And there was a smile on his face.
There are many enlightened souls who have showered their blessings and shared their insights, knowledge, learnings, experiences and inner space with us. We all recognise them as “Guru” or “Master”. We learn through observing them, through interaction, listening to them, reading their thoughts, seeing their videos, becoming their disciples and serve them through their mission. For us, they are the ones like those tall pine trees holding our sky.
As they say, the Master appears when the disciple is ready. It seems I am not yet. However, my definition of Guru is rather broad as I believe that one must keep an open mind and seek knowledge, experience, insights from the very existence around us. There can be many from whom one could find insights which could be purely accidental. And you may stumble upon the essence, the wisdom while observing and interacting with them.
I wish to share an episode that happened with me when I was in college. This experience has created tremendous impact on the way I am thinking and has helped me all through. I consider it to be one of the significant moments of my life.
There was a so called “gunda” (a goon) in my college called Ramu dada. A stout, strong and notorious man, always ready with a big knife (Rampuri chaku) in his pocket, generally surrounded by 4–5 of his close aides. They would be sitting on a particular bench which became their “adda”. Very few students would ever interact with them.
One day, I was passing by with my friends when Ramu dada called me…
“aaayyee, eedhar aa rryyee.” (hey, come here).
I was afraid and surprised but had to go to him… “Haan, Ramu dada?” I whispered sheepishly.
“Kuch beegada hai kya tera, huh?” (Have I done anything wrong to you?) He pounced.
I said, “Nahin Ramu dada ??!!”………..
He said, “Toh phir? Toh phir kayku aisa dekhta hai apun ko? Aaisa dekhne ka nahin kya? Chal, Vatak.”(So then? So then why are you looking at me like that? Should not do that henceforth what? Go, get lost.)…and I left.
I left with my trembling feet and the resounding echo of Ramu dada’s roar in my mind….’Kuch beegada hai kya tera, huh? Aisa dekhne ka nahin kya?’
I was shaken by this unexpected interaction. It made me think and dwell on those words that Ramu dada told me. His question was simple and straight. If he had not harmed me at all, if he had not done anything wrong to me ever, then why was I feeling hatred for him? It was as if my look, my body language, my non-verbal communication was yelling at him and telling him that I hated him which is why he was unable to bare my sight and that silent humiliation. He was right in asking these questions and I was on the defensive.
Not sure where Ramu dada would be today, but he taught me one of the biggest lessons of my life that I should meet people with an open perspective and should never judge them. The basic question is ‘Who am I to judge people? Will I like to be judged unilaterally by anyone?’
Since that day, I reach out to people with an open mind. Even if the person has a reputation of being difficult to handle, curt, ruthless, negative, short tempered, egoistic or on the other end, even if it’s positive, easy to manage, soft spoken etc. This approach helps me to explore and discover individuals each time. I have learnt not to ‘type’ them in any box any more.
As Osho says, ‘Life is like a river. You cannot touch the same water twice, because the flow that has passed, will never pass again. Enjoy every moment of Life.’ The same thing applies to people as well.
In the list of my many Gurus and mentors who have had great influence on my thinking, my character building and my life, Ramu dada is certainly one of them.
My learning on Guru Purnima Day –
‘अपनी मिटटी को नरम ही रख्खो दोस्तों,
कुम्भार मील गया तो पात्र बन जाओगे |’
“Apani mitti ko naram hi rakkho dosto,
kumbhar mil gaya to patra ban jaoge.”
Meaning: Always be ready to be moulded, the Potter (Guru) will give you the right shape.