True Teacher

Sant Rajinder Singh Maharaj
There is a story from the Indian tradition about a king of India who had five sons. Unfortunately, they were not smart and had a hard time learning anything. In fact, the king considered them all to be fools. They did not take their work seriously, clowned around, and did not want to learn a single thing from their studies.
One day, the king sat down with his queen and discussed what they should do with their children. After all, one day one of them would have to succeed him and he did not want to entrust his kingdom to an uneducated son. They had tried many tutors, but none of them could get through to their sons. They did not want to learn anything.
They decided to make an offer to their subjects. They announced that anyone in their kingdom who could educate their sons would be rewarded with half the kingdom. One after the other, teachers, tutors, scholars, and learned people came forward to attempt to educate the five princes. But each one left feeling disappointed, as they could not be successful. The princes refused to learn anything.
The king and queen became more frustrated. Their sons acted like complete fools and none of the training offered by the best in the land seemed to have any effect on them.
One day, a renowned scholar and teacher came to the palace and asked the king’s permission to try to teach the boys. The king agreed and the teacher tried some new teaching methods to get through to them. He taught them by telling them interesting stories, which captivated their attention.
The boys enjoyed the stories. Four months passed. They looked forward to their lessons with the teacher. But at the end of the four months, when the teacher tested them, he found not one of them remembered a single story. They would enjoy the stories for the moment, but nothing was sinking in. So the teacher tried another approach. This time, after telling the boys a story, he told them that if they wished to hear another one they had to retell the story to each other as a way to remember it. He warned them thatif they could not retell the story, they would not be told any more stories.
The sons started listening more attentively to the stories.But not enough to remember the story.
Finally, the teacher took the princes to a well.
“Look at this pulley made of rope with a stone tied to the end of one side of the pulley and a bucket on the other side. When the stone is thrown in the water it pulls up the bucket.” said the teacher. “See how over time the rope has made a deep impression on the stone. Just as the rope made a mark on the stone, I want you to go over each story mentally again and again until you remember each one. The stories should make a mark on your minds.”
The princes, wanting to hear more and more stories, did what the teacher told them to do. By repeating each story over in their minds, they eventually were able to learn the stories. With time their attention improved and they could learn whatever the teacher taught them.
The king was delighted with the teacher’s results. He offered the teacher half the kingdom. But the teacher refused.
The teacher said, “O great king, I am a teacher. What have I to do with owning and ruling a kingdom? I get my joy from teaching. I am satisfied that I have done my duty.” With this he went on his way.
This attitude of the teacher is similar to those held by the great spiritual teachers who come to this world. Their job is to help the wayward souls learn the lessons of spirituality. They are satisfied if they can educate our soul into the spiritual truths- such as meditation and leading an ethical life. If we look at the lives of Buddha, Christ, Guru Nanak, Prophet Mohammed, Mahavira, Moses, and other great saints, we find that they gave of themselves selflessly.


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