Teachers play a pivotal role in the life of every child. Their presence and guidance lays a strong foundation for the child's personality to blossom. When we think of our teachers we are reminded of our childhood and adolescent years, with fragrant and vivid memories of friends and our learning process, not to mention exam times!
"Shiksha" or learning begins when the child approaches the teacher with respect and reverence. A gardener puts a small fence around the sapling and provides all nourishment within that space; in time the small plant grows into a big tree. Similarly, the teacher develops and nurtures the child's mind in a protected environment.
Whenever we learn something we get "disciplined". There is a definite framework that is created in our life from which we can express ourselves clearly. Most of our problems are due to lack of proper expression and proper communication. When we know ourselves and when we know what we want in life, then we are able to put the two together and are able to express ourselves better.
"When we realise that we are also constantly learning we can resonate well with what we do as a teacher."
Along with proper expression, skilful action is also necessary. Real education is when learning is integrated in our life with skill. This is called "Diksha" and comes only from our Guru or spiritual master. In the Indian tradition "Dakshinamurthy", is honoured as the first teacher. "Daksha" means skill -- skill in action, not just information.
In the olden days, teaching was considered to be very noble and honourable. Teachers had the responsibility to mould the child in a stress-free environment. Today teaching is sometimes just another profession. When there is reverence, it reflects and makes so much difference in the ability to express and absorb knowledge.
Further, learning is a never-ending process. Even a teacher is a student at many levels. When we realise that we are also constantly learning we can resonate well with what we do as a teacher. With an open mind, when we realise that we have so much to learn, then everything in creation teaches us something.
The majestic mountains teach us steadfastness and strength. The lotus flower teaches us how to be pure and untouched even in the face of adversities. The trees teach us to be useful to others in every aspect of our life. The flame of a candle rises upwards even when the candle is held upside down, setting an example for undying enthusiasm. The honey bees teach us the importance of team work. The caterpillar reminds us how the potential to be a beautiful butterfly is hidden in each and every one. The flowing river teaches us humility (in Sanskrit the word for water and love are the same). Even rough stones become smooth as water flows over it. Similarly, in life, love makes you soft and supportive and not aggressive. A progressive attitude comes only when we have love and respect. True teachers nurture these values in the children ensuring that they can blossom into a beautiful and knowledgeable individual.
In Sanskrit, there is a saying, "Baladapi subhashitam grahyam". Children are always in the present moment. They simply smile and move. If they fall, the get up and try again and yet again. There is no boredom in them while adults are often bored at the drop of a hat. There is so much to learn even from children.
There are so many teachers all around us and we bow down to all of them. Life itself is a continuous learning. In this, some teachers are obvious and the real one is your Guru -- the one who takes you from darkness to light, from untruth to truth, from the ever-changing to the immortal, infinite Self that is truly you.