Sunday, December 10, 2023
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May the Bigger Mind Win

Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

There lived a Rishi named Atri. He had no children. So, Atri and Anasuya (his consort), adopted Dutta. Dutta means given, taken, or adopted. Duttatreya had a unique way of learning. He observed the whole creation and learned a lesson from everything.It is interesting how he (Duttatreya) looked at a swan and learned something from the swan, learned something from a crow, from the trees, or from an elderly woman. He was so open to receiving the knowledge and incorporating it in his life, that the knowledge would flow to him from all sides.Our story is no different. The world is filled with teachers. Every aspect of creation teaches us something. We only have to be good students.

What are the qualities of a good student? A good student aspires for the victory of the teacher. In India, you can see this trait exhibited in the Guru-Sishya or teacher-student relationship. The student recognizes that if his/her small mind wins, it will lead to misery. So, the student wishes for the victory of the big mind, the victory of knowledge, of the teacher/ Guru, which will bring joy and happiness to everyone. Students need to adopt this quality, because if he/she comes with the notion that they know better than the teacher, their learning stops. Their arrogance kills the wisdom.

What traits should a teacher possess?If you see, parents may have to manage only one or two children, but a teacher needs to handle a classroom full of children. For this, he/ she needs to develop patience. Let’s say a child is a slow learner. The teacher needs to have the patience to encourage the child and turn the situation around.
A good teacher also understands where each student comes from, and guides them at every step. Lord Krishna, for example, was a good teacher. When Arjuna became very confused and his concepts started breaking down, he guided him step by step to the final destination. At times, he confused Arjuna even more. That is also needed at times.
A teacher needs to know when to love, and when to be strict. They must combine together firmness with love. When handling a rebellious child, the teacher needs to give them a few pats and encourage them. When handling a shy/ timid child, the teacher must sometimes be firm to encourage them to communicate more.

Ultimately, the purpose of education is not to fill heads with information. It is to enable the total development of the body and mind. Children also need to be taught values like sharing, loving, caring, non-violence, and developing a sense of belongingness. These form the basis for building human values.

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