He who empowers you to examine your own life and then wipe out your weaknesses is your preceptor. – Chinmaya
Man is essentially divine. He is infinite and immortal. Peace and happiness is his very nature. Nothing is lacking in him. He is ever united with his Creator.
But alas! Due to his identification with the matter envelopments (body, mind etc.), his egoistic illusory personality experiences nothing but limitations and sufferings. Spiritual masters have only one task at hand – to help the seeker know himself. Through a right understanding of oneself, the hidden divinity shines forth in all its brilliance, and the erstwhile sinner becomes a worshipful saint.
In a wintery night, a thief by mistake entered a master’s hut which was all empty. The master, seeing the thief searching in vain, came with a lit candle and said, “I am so sorry. I have nothing to give you. I only have this blanket. Outside it is so cold. Inside the house, it is warmer, so I can manage without it.” Lovingly he covered the thief with his blanket.
Confused and shocked, the thief exclaimed: “But I am a thief!”
The master smiled and said, “That’s alright. One has to be someone or the other. It really doesn’t matter.”
As the thief was leaving, dumbfounded, he heard the master shout, “Hey! Come back!” The thief had never heard such a strong voice. He had to come back. The master said, “Learn the ways of courtesy. I have given you the blanket and you have not even thanked me. So first, thank me. It will help you a long way. Secondly, you opened the door when you came in. Can’t you see the night is so cold, and I am naked? Your being a thief is okay, but as far as manners are concerned, I am a difficult man. I cannot tolerate this kind of behaviour. Say thank you!”
The thief had to say, “Thank you, sir,” and he closed the door and escaped. But he could not sleep the whole night. He felt bad that he took away the only possession of that man – the blanket. He enquired the next day and found out that this man was a great master.
After a few months, the thief was caught, and in the court, the magistrate asked him, “Can you name a person who knows you in this vicinity?”
He said, “Yes, one person knows me.” He named the master.
The magistrate said, “That’s enough. Call the master. His testimony is worth that of ten thousand people. What he says about you will be enough to give judgment.” The magistrate asked the master, “Do you know this man?”
The master said, “Know him? He is my friend. He even visited me in the middle of the night. It was so cold that I gave him my blanket. He is using it, you can see.”
The magistrate inquired further, “And does he steal?”
The master said, “Never! He can never steal. He is such a gentleman that when I gave him the blanket he said to me, ‘Thank you, sir.’ When he went out of the house, he silently closed the doors. He is a very polite, nice fellow.”
The magistrate said, “If you say so, then all the testimonies of the witnesses who have said that he is a thief are cancelled. He is freed.”
As the master came out, the thief followed him. The master asked, “Why are you coming with me?”
He said, “Now I can never leave you. You have called me your friend. Nobody has ever given me any respect. You are the first person who has said that I am a gentleman, a nice person. I am going to sit at your feet and learn how to be like you. You have saved my life, and now this life is yours. Make whatever you want to make of it. I have been simply wasting it. Being with you, one thing is certain – that you can transform me.”
A preceptor is not just a mere teacher.
For a teacher, you are a mortal being in this endless world; for a preceptor, you are the Supreme Being in this illusory world… A teacher takes the responsibility of your growth; a preceptor makes you responsible for your growth… A teacher answers your questions; a preceptor questions your answers… A teacher gives you things you do not have and require; a preceptor takes away things you have and do not require… A teacher helps you get out of the maze; a preceptor helps you destroy the maze… A teacher expects obedience and discipline from the pupil; a preceptor expects trust and humility from the pupil… A teacher is a guide on the path; a preceptor is a pointer to the way… A teacher clothes you and prepares you for the outer journey; a preceptor strips you naked and prepares you for the inner journey… A teacher sends you on the road to success; a preceptor sends you on the road to freedom… A teacher gives you the knowledge and boosts your ego; a preceptor takes away your knowledge and punctures your ego… A teacher explains the world and its nature to you; a preceptor explains yourself and your nature to you… A teacher instructs you; a preceptor constructs you… A teacher sharpens your mind; a preceptor opens your mind… A teacher shows you the way to prosperity; a preceptor shows you the way to serenity… A teacher makes you understand how to move about in the world; a preceptor shows you where you stand in relation to the world… A teacher reaches your mind; a preceptor touches your soul… A teacher gives you knowledge; a preceptor makes you wise… A teacher gives you maturity; a preceptor returns you to innocence… A teacher instructs you how to solve problems; a preceptor shows you how to resolve issues… A teacher develops your personality; a preceptor reveals your identity… A teacher punishes you with a stick; a preceptor punishes you with compassion… A teacher is to the pupil what father is to a son; a preceptor is to a pupil what mother is to her child… One can always find a teacher; but the preceptor has to find and accept you… A teacher leads you by hand; a preceptor leads you by example…
When the course is over, you are thankful to your teacher; when the discourse is over, you are grateful to the preceptor…
When the teacher finishes with you, you graduate; when the preceptor finishes with you, you celebrate!
Our humble prostrations to the entire Guru Parampara!!
O M T A T S A T
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