Mystic Mantra: Pranaam, dear Gurujis!

Columnist  | Francis Gonsalves

Opinion, Oped

Many teachers tirelessly teach us much more by their works than by their words.

Mother Teresa (Photo: AFP)

O God, give me the strength to be ever the light of my students’ lives, so that I may lead them at last to you,” wrote Mother Teresa in her diary sometime before she quit her classroom teaching to begin lessons of love at the school of life.

Today, the world celebrates the 20th anniversary of Saint Mother Teresa’s passing away from this world to enjoy the eternal embrace of God whom she loved so dearly. India also celebrates Teachers’ Day commemorating the towering personality of Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, who epitomized the best that education has to offer. Let’s think of, and thank, the many teachers who have taught us and continue to do so till date.

We often say: ‘guru devo bhava’, meaning, a guru is God. The reverse is equally true: God is the Greatest Guru. When many gurus, god(wo)men and priests are being pulled down from their pedestals for their sins and crimes, let’s turn to God, Our First Guru, and pray as prophet Samuel did: “Speak Lord, for your servant is listening.” Mother Teresa’s saintliness came from faithfully following God’s will for her.

Think of timeless teachers whose teachings the world treasures. Lord Jesus teaches with authority: “Love God fully, and, love one another as I have loved you” with self-sacrificing love. Lord Krishna teaches valuable lessons of nishkama karma and Gautama Buddha shows the way to enlightenment: nirvana. The founders of all religious traditions are teachers of immeasurable importance.

Let’s thank God for the teachers in our schools and colleges who make learning fun, who widen our horizons, who touch our hearts, who animate our spirits. Gratefully remember those who teach us to pray, play, dance, paint, learn languages and master instruments. Many teachers tirelessly teach us much more by their works than by their words. God bless them all!

The Bible reminds us that home is also a school: “Parents, do not provoke your children, but teach them discipline and the ways of the Lord.” Our children learn much more by following what we do rather than by forcing them to do what we demand.

Blessed are the teachers who consider themselves as students. Good teachers are avid learners. Indeed, all of us are both, teachers and students. Our encounters with each other teach us so many things. Mother Nature is a wonderful teacher too. Archimedes learnt about buoyancy and displacement immersed in a bathtub and falling apples taught Newton the laws of gravity.

The Advayataraka Upanishad says: “The syllable Gu indicates darkness, the syllable Ru means its dispeller. Because of the quality of dispelling darkness, the guru is thus termed.” Pranaam, dear teachers, dispellers of darkness, for all you are, say, and do!