'Freedays' are the 'gather our thoughts' days; Q&As; a general review of the week so far…
Nothing beats hearing from a true master. The video given on Choose-day this week may be a quarter century old, but the message of the teachings is timeless; and when delivered with the erudition and authority that Gurudev exudes, we wonder at how we could not have thought of the nature of things for ourselves. Gurudev had the wonderful touch, which all great teachers have, of making the most complex principle applicable and meaningful to our daily life. What we do with the gift of that teaching is our choice.
For many of you, the concept of 'guru' may seem not just foreign but, almost certainly, the worth of such a personage will have been questioned or doubted. The simple fact is that we can learn nothing unless we have teachers. We may think we can, and for sure there are steps which can be taken to try and understand any given subject or task; for many, the entirety of life is spent in being self-taught. However, if we meet up with a master in the field in which we are swinging haplessly about, one of two things happens. We are either so arrogant, basking in the light of our small achievements, that we cannot recognise the benefit to be gained from one with true wisdom; or, we do recognise mastery and are immediately embarrassed by our ridiculous efforts.
Sometimes, it can seem that life-experience gives us the teaching. For practical living matters, perhaps that is fine. However, in honing our skills in building, say, or fine arts and music - anything of a higher functioning activity - to truly improve and become masters ourselves, we need not just our own experience, but the accumulated wealth of experience which comes from a lineage of teachers in the field of choice.
No teacher of worth will claim the knowledge under study as his or her own. Each may have their own insights and fresh view of things, but the tried and tested methods, plus the passing on of techniques and how to think on the subject is their purpose, and those only come about from years of previous learning. Acknowledgement of their teacher and their teacher's teacher will always be there; or, nowadays, acknowledgement of researchers and sponsors is made. The point being that learning involves much more than 'DIY' technology! There is an entire industry built on offering DIY ('self help') solutions, duping the independent-minded and quick-fix-hopefuls out of their hard-earned cash. With DIY we are inclined to start, then find a thing unfinished - we lose interest due to not having someone to prompt and guide - we make a mistake and don't know how to undo it - we blame our tools… With DIY we can have multiple projects on the go but none of them satisfying us or adding value to life. DIY is fine… until it isn't.
To sit in the presence of one who has tried all the different and mischievous ways of ascending the heights of Advaita, who knows all the tricks and shortcuts the human critter is inclined to try to 'fast-track', who can teach by speaking as if they are speaking to you and you alone, is a blessing indeed. To have that privilege and to not find a sense of awe, have an inkling of magic, or begin to appreciate the unravelling of mystery, would suggest a closed or inattentive mind and silent ears!
Sometimes it is because the mind is busy running egotistically ahead thinking 'I know that… or I know better'!
Take this on trust… no one can know more or better than a Mahatma. The very best one could ever hope for is to be able to equal him.