President’s Message to The Teachers on Teacher’s Day
Dear teachers, Angels of this world, it is great that we have been brought together, by this force of ‘The Divine Grace’. In whatever capacity, we have been placed together, know that we have been destined to some work and not just any work~ some truly great work of the ‘Mother of this Universe’.. Good to send you and reach out to you to say, “We have work to do”. And I am certain your total attention is first to your own self, and then through your own ‘self’, through your ‘Coordinator’, through the ‘Head’, through your Principal, through me, to the very special profession for which we have been chosen. And you are very successful at it. I know many of you say, “me?” “successful?” “As a good teacher?” “I need so much to change.” Why does that thing come? Because we are grown-ups looking only at the negative aspect of our own self. And, if somebody says to you, ‘I want to take a photograph of yours’, what do you say ‘Oh I’m not dressed’. That means what? I am not ready right now. I say – You Are! As the Head, as the Coordinator, as the Teacher, as the Principal, and of course the fresh, young, bubbly teachers in the children and great teachers in the parent and the grandparent, they’re all there. It’s all there. All encompassed into ‘one teacher’. The saddest part is, we don’t think so. You are. When the thing comes, you should say, yes. And that’s who you really are. Discovering “Who am I”, is the journey of humanity – of human excellence. “Who am I”, is the journey of humanity –of human excellence.
See, a donkey, doesn’t it have to do something to be or behave like a donkey? If you and I have to behave like a donkey, we have to go on all fours, put some artificial ears and a tail at the back, and maybe lift up our head and say “hee-haw” and then you will say, why are you acting like a donkey? ‘Acting like’. You and I, what we have to do – be who we are: being. Anything that you can look around you. Anything you can call ‘is’ or ‘are’. Your wife is, your husband is, your children are, you are, your parents are. Meaning, ‘isness’ is there. That ‘isness’ is you. And you are that.
You know, people say Gold, Diamond, “oh he’s like a diamond, he’s like gold”. You compare yourself to precious metals. Why? Because that is what is considered precious in the world today. Or money, million, billion, crore. Stop thinking of it as something else. You are the one who has the power and you have chosen this profession; either per chance, like me. I didn’t have a clue about becoming a teacher. I was wanting to be a great fighter pilot. Great fun, excitement, adventure, I always liked adventure. And when I started to see lots of children getting thrown out of the Indian Air Force, I started to wonder ‘why’? Because flying is the most difficult thing. I started to realize, it is not. And everybody started laughing at me. I said “okay, I’ll show you”. And I became a teacher of flying. I became a Cat A instructor of flying. And by the way, I’m just sharing the truth, as it was. I was not only Cat A in Indian Air Force, I went to the US Air Force and applied for the Federal Authority, FAA, and became a Cat A instructor there too. I’m saying, I started to realize, it is not so. Any child that was failing or being thrown out, I used to tell the senior officers there, “May I have one week with him?”. They used to become okay, and become very good at it. What I am to get at right now, I became, per chance a teacher. Some of you have chosen. I am delighted today, I am delighted. I had a wonderful time in the Indian Air Force, great time. But you know what? Today, I realized that I am at absolute peace and tranquility, and I am something else – I know, I am. What? Anything you can want to be. You are. What is it? I just happened to stumble upon the ancient rich heritage of Vedanta. So what are you? Not gold, not diamond, what is it? I say, you’re a touchstone.
You and I, what we have to do – be ~’who we exactly are’. Any ‘thing’ that you ‘look at’ ~ can look around you. Anything you can call ‘is’ or ‘are’. Your wife ‘Is’, your husband ‘Is’, your children are, your parents are. Meaning, ‘Is’ ~ness’ is there. That ‘Isness is you. And ‘you are that’. You are the one who has the power to change, to create ~ ‘great humanity’ ~ and you have chosen this profession either per chance or by your own choice. You are That’.
I just happened to stumble upon the ancient rich heritage of Vedanta. So what are you? Not gold, not diamond, what is it? I say you’re a touchstone. In mythology, if a touchstone touches any metal, it turns into gold. But when you are a human spiritual touchstone, you make another touchstone. You are that. Example – Jesus Christ produced 12 touchstones like him – sons of god. Paramahamsa Ramakrishna prepared not just one great Vivekananda ~ Vivekananda himself says, “If My Master wanted, he could have created, by just one glance, ‘a thousand Vivekananda’. And so did so many other Prophets, Messiahs and Masters in this world. That is the touchstone which converts another human being into a human Magical ~ ‘touchstone’.
My question to you is, you as a citizen, as a teacher, as a great person, how would you like your son or daughter or student to be? A ‘great citizen’? Or a ‘perfect human being’? You say, perfect human being. Who is a perfect human being? Let us say, “Jesus Christ, Muhammed, Buddha, Vivekananda” ~ they are all great human beings? But are they great citizens? If The President of America asks Jesus to attack Afghanistan, would he do it? If ~ metaphorically asks Buddha to join the Air Force and attack a city in Pakistan, would he do it? On the contrary, you and I, prepare our children today to face the world as a combination of a ‘Good Citizen’ as well as a ‘Balanced Human Being’ to be able to face this world of the 21st century.’ To face the 21st century ~ you have to be different and march on and on to create a different kind of world. So supposing we create, per chance, all Jesus Christ and Buddha. Let’s say the President of India asks them to join the Air Force. And because we are perfect human beings, we join. And now, the President, the prime minister tells me, go and attack Pakistan and kill those people. Will I do it? As a perfect human being? As Jesus Christ? As Buddha? No way… So, I am not a good citizen, but I am a good human being. A citizen in the society has to be something. Hey, you are the touchstone. You are creating those perfect citizens, a perfect human being, who is bringing a balance of IB with Vedanta. And Vedanta is discovering that perfection from within.
Swami Vivekananda said “Hold on to the highest ideal in your life. Look at the ocean, not at the waves, and live your life because you will get them, whatever our have asked for”. And today, you and I know what’s happening to our kids. World topper ranking in MYP, and then DP, just missed being world topper by 1 point. And so many others in the team who are very close, neck to neck. All they have done is, through you, are on the journey to be a touchstone. When I was talking to them, they all said they would love to take on the profession towards psychology, neuro physician, become a philosopher, and then become a teacher – be in the field of ‘education’.
This field in which you are in, you are producing those touchstones. The teacher’s day is a great day. We have to commemorate ourselves. We are always ready to condemn ourselves and question ourselves. We think ‘me’ no way? Know, you are the perfect one. Know that you are.
You must have seen 2-3-4 year old kids, their mind is so free. And if daddy or mommy has given them a special cloth, and they are wearing the cloth, running around dressed up freely. And after a while, the girl or the boy suddenly find the dress to be too cumbersome. And may have fallen off, so they pick it up. And, nobody has so much time to keep on making them dress up. So they pick up the dress in their arm and they’re playing around wearing nothing, maybe a small pant and a vest and something like that. Their mind is like a child. Not only that, the younger kids, even today, they go for the potty and they clean themselves. A little older, mommy says “come on, you have to do it yourself”. They come down, turn their back and say “Hey mom, tell me, have I cleaned myself properly?” – child’s mind. They’re not looking at this. So funny, otherwise you can’t even think of it. But, have you realized, that garbage that junk. You know, don’t mind me talking about it, but the reality is, you carry it with you all the time. And the moment you throw it out of your body, called excretion, you don’t even want to look at it, you don’t want to touch it, smell it. Similarly, you have a mind which needs to be cleaned totally. And you will find you are that touchstone. We are in that divine profession. So, create a balanced child. I am so proud to see the DP results, the MYP results, so beautiful the PYP. Notice the evaluation of the MYP, DP is going to be, PYP is going to be. I know you are going to do perfect. Acharya is a teacher. Shankaracharya. See, how he was a touchstone. He had lots of disciples. There was one disciple who used to be quite dumb. But very devoted to him, and Shankaracharya allowed him, because every person can. He said he will too. Now, he used to take Shankaracharya’s clothes to the river to wash and come back and dry them. They were all waiting for the morning session to begin. They say this boy was taking a little longer. Shankaracharya was waiting. His other disciples were saying, Sir, why don’t you start? Shankaracharya didn’t say anything. He wanted to wait. They said, “Sir, you are waiting for him, but he doesn’t understand anything, whatever you say. Why do you want to wait for him, sir?” Shankaracharya just smiled. He used to speak only when necessary. And within no time, this boy walked in with the clothes, and as he walked in, he narrated in pure Sanskrit, the Guru Vandana of what a Guru he is for 5 minutes which nobody has ever heard of. And that’s how the touchstone Shankaracharya made that boy a touchstone. That’s the power you have. That is called getting connected to who I am. I am not this body. I am not this mind. I am not my action. We have to go beyond that.
Remind yourself again and again and again throughout the day. Sit in the morning. That meditation is nothing else but focusing your mind to become ‘no mind’. Go beyond mind. And mind is the one, is the elephant you have to manage, you have to train. Sit still for a while and see how many billions of thoughts will come to you. Even the dirtiest, evilest, funniest, junkiest, thoughts will also come. But the mind is like that. You can purify that mind. And that’s called, ‘no mind’. It’s perfect. Like a baby’s mind. Right now, you need to know that you are in the greatest of the profession. Look at all the teachers of the world. Look at the great saints. The great saints, prophets, they all are teachers. You are too. You and I have to ‘walk the talk’.
Some seeds and food for ‘Thought?
’Swami Vivekananda says, “Education is the manifestation of the perfection in man’. He goes on to say, “Religion is the realisation of The Divinity’ in Man’. He goes on to say, “We do not move from error to truth. We move from lower truth to higher truth”.
We all are sitting on the bank of a divine nectar flowing down – cool nectar. If you drink it, you will never fall sick and your thirst will be quenched immediately. But that divine river of the nectar is behind you, behind me, and I am putting my back, and all of us are, back towards the nectar and searching in the ground in front and digging it up, we find water to drink because you’re thirsty. In reality, that nectar we think is out there, it’s within us. Whether it is money or property or name or a perfect relationship, or anything, we believe it is out there. And do you know what these children are talking to me? They’re telling me, “Sir, yes the time was intense, the efforts were very concentrated, passionate and powerful”. They didn’t use the word tough. They go on to say, “And today we realize, we can do anything. And I am connected to something from within”. This is that nectar.
They are not anymore ~ sitting with their back to the nectar. They are sitting turned around ~ facing the free flowing river of nectar. You are proving that ~ is ‘Teaching and Learning Pedagogy’. So, now the story time~ with a little story. There is this woodcutter. A woodcutter leading a tough life. He used to go down in the morning to the jungle, cut the wood, and bring the wood back in the evening. Carrying a bit of roti and sabji wife prepared for the lunch time; and come back, sell that wood and take that money, buy the ration, and eat that in the evening – one meal a day. A very tough time. Wife, kids, all are there. And, one day, a monk came passing by. And, he asked him, do you have some water? He was carrying some water with him and maybe 3 chapattis. He said, “yes sir”, he said namaskar, prana and gave him that water. The monk drank the water, he was very happy. He said “do you have something to eat?” The woodcutter realized, I have. So he said, “yes sir”. And he gave him the tiffin. And the monk, it’s a Vedantic tale. The monk ate up all of it. Initially, the woodcutter didn’t say anything. He must’ve been feeling a little bad. Anyway, he was a good woodcutter, good mind, he thought It’s okay, maybe he was hungry. The monk, before going, he said “ask me what you want.” The woodcutter said, “sir, I am very happy I could serve you. I don’t need anything. I am happy that you visited. I am peaceful. All I want is peace”. So, the monk said just one word – “keep on going on. Do not stop”. The woodcutter did pranam and after a day or 2, this was naturally eating up his head. He said, “okay, let me go inside a little bit”, He went inside the forest a bit more. He suddenly discovered that it was filled with sandalwood trees. He said wow.
He started cutting sandalwood and became very rich. New house and well-dressed and well-fed family. He still didn’t stop woodcutting. He remembered, the monk said keep on going on. Let me go a little further. I am happy now. I have money and everything. He went a little further, and he found there was a bronze mine. And subsequently, he got the same message and he found a gold mine, diamond mine, and he became very rich. But he got that message again. I was told – keep on going on. He went further, and he found a beautiful flowery valley with a garden, river flowing down, and as he went there, he found the same monk was in meditation. And in front of him, there was somebody else also sitting down meditating. Both of them were glowing with light. He was surprised, he sat down. The monk opened his eyes and smiled at him. He said “do you recognize him? The person sitting in front?”. He was surprised, he looked very familiar. The monk said, “that is you”. And he suddenly realized it was him. He said, “had enough of fun acquiring money? Now become who you really are”. Remember, the journey towards money and physical things will automatically come running, like the woodcutter. Like many people, Bill gates, so rich, he is giving 98 per cent of his money to the rest of the world. Warren Buffet, same. Laxmi Mittal, same. Birla and all these people are doing similar kinds, aren’t they? With this, I wish you, Happy Teacher’s day. Keep smiling.
Become who you really are. I have this message for your own self ~ ‘walking the talk’. For the children, and for everybody else – become the touchstone, and you can, only if you choose ‘I want to’. The journey towards money and other worldly things will come naturally.