Mystic Mantra: See, listen, learn

‘Happy are the teachers who remember their days as students’

A professor who retired after 40 years of teaching in the city decided to reside in a village. Telephoning the rural education board, he read out the list of his degrees and accomplishments, requesting that he be accommodated in the rural literacy programme. A voice at the other end enquired: “Sir, do you want to enrol as student or teacher?”

Last Teacher’s Day, while addressing the Vidyapeeth in Pune, where I now lecture, I felt more like a learner than a teacher. Although I’ve been a teacher for about two decades now, in this unfamiliar city, within a new academic setup, facing crowded classes of some 150 students, I daily learn much more than I teach.

It is said: “Happy are the teachers who remember their days as students.” I would like to add, “Happy also are the students who realise they’re also teachers,” for, we’re all teachers-and-students within classroom and without. If only we see, listen, contemplate and learn.

Teacher’s Day felicitously coincided with Janmashtami and the death anniversary of Mother Teresa. The teachings of Lord Krishna in the Bhagwad Gita contain profound perspectives of the “guru-shishya” tradition. “In whatever way bhakts come to me, in that very way I love them,” reminds us that disciples are intimately loved by the guru-god.

While hundreds of Jesus’ disciples were transformed during his lifetime, and millions in ours, his teachings had little effect on the Pharisees, scribes and lawmakers of his day. Naively entrenched in their rigid rituals, lifeless lessons and loveless laws, they refused to allow God’s spirit to touch them.

In a parting message to his disciples, Jesus promised: “I will send you God’s spirit, who will teach you everything and remind you of all that I’ve said.” This promise was fulfilled when God’s spirit empowered his disciples to spread his message of love, equality and peace worldwide.

Francis Gonsalves is a professor of theology.
He can be contacted at

( Source : deccan chronicle )
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