Among all the creatures in Nature, a human being is considered the most superior and evolved species. However, on close observation we find that he has many limitations. The most significant among them is that the newly borns of birds / animals learn normal specific chores of their species without anybody teaching them; but the human child cannot do so. If he is not taught properly, he cannot earn those characteristics which a human being possesses inherently. In this context we recall a strange but true incident. In 1948, a one- year old boy named Ramu was sleeping in his mothers lap in the night in a village near Lucknow when a wolf snatched him away.
Frantic efforts were made to trace him, and finally he was believed to have died. Six years later Ramu was found, perhaps in a third class waiting room at Lucknow railway station. He couldnt speak, but walked, growled, and behaved like a wolf. Ramu lapped milk from a glass, tore his food apart and was happy to chew on bones for hours. The only reason for this kind of behaviour was that he was doing whatever he learnt in the company of wolves.
The children that are deaf by birth also remain dumb throughout their lives; because the child learns speech by copying the words spoken by others. If he cannot listen to others words then it is impossible for him to pronounce words. A human child learns customs, religion, culture, language, etiquettes, way of living, etc from the surrounding people. If a child is isolated from parents and society right from birth, he will be deprived of all the normal attributes of a human being.
This does not apply to the young ones of animals /birds. If a nestling of a weaver-bird is caught and even if he does not learn anything from his parents, on getting older he will make the same beautiful nest as other weaver-birds make. But a human child, if kept isolated, will be deprived of language, culture, religion, moral and social behaviour, modes of earning, agriculture, etc. Kids of animals start sucking the milk of mothers and start walking right from the time of birth; but the human child does not understand anything for quite sometime after birth. Initially he does not even recognize his mother or is able to search the point of sucking Mothers milk. In this regard, animals are cleverer.
A human brain is like a blank paper; it is transformed according to whatever is written on it. He learns many things from the surrounding environment. A human being is like wet clay; it takes the shape of the mould in which it is put. The children of noble families pick up virtues and those raised in ignoble families develop vices accordingly.
Our far-sighted ancestors were acutely aware of this weakness of a human being. They knew very well that if the children are left free in an uncontrolled environment, and no attention is paid to their refinement and transmutation right from the beginning, it will be very difficult to prepare their psyches according to the dignity befitting a human being. Normally all the parents are not so awakened as to provide their children with healthy and wholesome atmosphere at home and protect them from unwholesome external influences. Secondly, parents are normally very indulgent towards their children; therefore they are unable to find any faults in their wards, what to say of rectifying them.
Indian seers / sages found an excellent solution for this tricky problem. They decided that every child should be controlled by one such additional person other than parents who is expert in the subtleties of psychology. He should be a farsighted scholar, philosopher and sage who has the ability to mould young minds in righteous direction. They called him Guru
and declared that the appointment of such a mentor for every child was mandatory.
Scriptures say that there are three divine incarnations of a human being – (1) Mother, (2) Father, and (3) Guru. They have been given the titles Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh respectively. Mother gives birth; hence she is Brahma (creator).; father fosters the child, therefore he is Vishnu (protector); Guru
destroys evil impressions and hence he is called Mahesh (destroyer). Gurus rank is equivalent to parents. If someone says he is born without a mother, he will be called a liar. How can anyone get birth without remaining in mothers womb? If someone says he is without a father, he will be called an illegitimate child; such children are born to prostitutes. Similarly, if someone says he has no Guru, it will be understood that he is uncivilized and uncultured. How can a person be considered mentally sound, if his thoughts, nature and behaviour were not refined by some farsighted seer? Such persons are called Nigura (meaning without Guru).
In order to make a person worthy and qualified, his mind is trained by (1) Shiksha (education, instruction) and (2) Vidya (knowledge of noble living). Shiksha is imparted in schools, colleges, universities, training institutes, etc. After learning various subjects like arts, commerce, science and technology, a person becomes capable of earning wealth and respect in society. Vidya makes the mental state of a person. The function of Vidya is to refine a persons desires, emotions, faith, belief, tastes and habits. Shiksha means materialistic knowledge and Vidya means refinement of the mind. Shiksha is essential but Vidya is a MUST. Shiksa should be augmented but Vidya should be inculcated far more deeply in the psyche, otherwise with a perverse mentality the materialistic achievements will have disastrous consequences.
These days modes of acquiring wealth and power through cleverness, cunning, science and technology have progressed very much; but it is also clear that with this progress we are heading towards a holocaust.
Today we spend enormous money on education of our children, but do not bother at all about their inner refinement. As a result, after their education they do not behave responsibly towards their parents or the society. During the course of education they fall prey to several vices which drain away not only their energies but their earnings too.
Our ancestors were fully aware of the fact that Vidya is more important than Shiksha. Therefore, they used to establish the control of Guru
over their wards right from childhood. Gurus too, with their deep knowledge, extensive experience, subtle wisdom and upright character, used to positively influence the young minds towards inner refinement. With their personal example of righteous living and lofty precepts they sowed the seeds of virtues in the hearts of their disciples, which upon sprouting made them great men.
This tradition has been broken now. The reasons are quite obvious. Firstly, it is extremely difficult to find authentic persons who can be made Gurus. Secondly, quacks have mushroomed in the guise of sadhus, whose sole aim is to amass wealth from the gullible disciples. Even people with little common sense will consider this kind of tradition to be useless. In todays polluted environment, corruption is prevalent everywhere. Real gold is scarce; artificial gold is being mass-produced. Pure ghee is difficult to find; vegetable ghee is available in plenty. Real pearls and gems are hardly visible; imitations are being sold aplenty. In spite of this the significance of real things has not diminished.
Making of a man by man is a truth
which cannot be proved wrong under any circumstances howsoever bad they be. If the bread is to be made, we will need flour, water and fire. There will be no difference in these basic things whether the time is good or bad. In order to transform a normal man/woman into an honest, honorable, happy and healthy person it is essential that his/her mind is moulded, refined and developed by some enlightened, adept, farsighted and selfless person. The man is like a blank paper; whatever he grasps, whatever he learns - he is made accordingly. This is also certain that if the virtues are not inculcated in childhood, then normally the child will be oriented towards vices. It is said that an empty mind is devils workshop. If it is not filled with the nectar of virtues, it is certain to be occupied by poison of vices.
In order to understand the essence of Vidya, whether materialistic or spiritual, there is dire need of a Guru. In the absence of a Guru
even the meaningful topics become meaningless. Specially, if the aim is spiritual upliftment, the essence of Vidya and the modes and methods of its practice cannot be grasped and mastered without an expert guide, the Guru. The more a seeker reads from books / scriptures on his own, more he is confounded. Instead of giving light, they become a mental burden. But when Gurus blessings are made available, the path of the seeker becomes smooth and sunlit.
There was a saint in China – Shin Hua. He did sadhana
for a long time, made pilgrimages to several holy places around the globe and studied several scriptures; but could not attain peace of mind. More he tried to learn, more he got confused. During this period of confusion and restlessness, he happened to meet the great Master Bodhi Dharma. The latter had gone from India to China. By the very Darshan of Bodhi Dharma, within a fraction of a second, all the confusion and wavering of Shin Hua vanished. His face was lit up with the transcendental glow of knowledge. The incident was unique – what could not be accomplished in years and years of study happened in a split-second in the very presence of an enlightened Master.
In his memoirs Shin Hua writes – "Vidyas and Shastras are mere figures of a lamp. Nothing happens whatever times one reads them. Sketch of a lamp cannot work as a source of light. When the darkness of ignorance deepens, these sketches do not show any light and the mind becomes confused and restless. But when one meets a Sadguru, it is like meeting a lamppost which spreads light in all directions. If a person is in front of an intense source of light, how long the darkness of confusion and wavering would last?" It is not a question of mathematics. Its answer lies not in addition – subtraction - multiplication –division but in the realization of Gurus blessings. Hence the meeting of a Sadguru has been considered an event of supreme grace.