Sri Aurobindo has said: suggestion, example and influence are the three powers of the teacher. When he reveals himself he gives suggestion, when he gives example by showing you, experiencing in you his freedom, bliss, light, immortality he has taught you through example. But now comes the third example: “By the inpouring of his own influence and presence into us he enables the individual being to attain to identity with the universal and transcendent.” What is this influence? Influence is a radiation. It’s a radiation that proceeds from nearness. A good teacher is one who can bring great inner intimacy and nearness — unless a teacher becomes near his students there is no influence. If the divine influences us it is because he is very intimate with us. It is by becoming intimate with us that his influence radiates in us. The Divine Teacher is the most intimate friend and shows his intimacy and presence all the time — it is that which radiates and by that radiation identity with the divine is experienced. So the instrument of the teacher is nearness, not a physical nearness. It is not the position that the teacher occupies in the surrounding of the pupil, it is an inward nearness How much he is inwardly present. We have the story of Draupadi when she was being disrobed in the court in the presence of so many standing around her as wolves and no one would come to her aid. She just turned to Sri Krishna and in her heart prayed to him — and it did not take time for the Divine to come. On the spot there was the saving of Draupadi. Again it is a story but it can happen. It is not a myth. It is not a mere fiction. Such things can happen on the spot — that is the power of real prayer. That is the nearness. And because of the nearness there is the radiation. The divine teacher always whispers into your ears. And the human teacher, who comes nearer to the divine teacher, also whispers in the ears. That is the why the greatest teaching is in the Upanishads. You sit near the teacher; you are very close to him. The best teaching is done by the teacher not by discourses, but by a word whispered into the ears — in close proximity to the student. One word transforms. A good teacher whispers in the ear of the child “Can you be like this?” and in one second the character can be changed. One word to the child spoken by the teacher in that intimacy and the character of anger can be changed: “Can you be in such a state of rage?” A teacher telling a child, a student, with that sense of intimacy the whole the whole sense of revenge can vanish in one second. That is the power of influence.
So once again, influence is a radiation that proceeds from the teacher because of this nearness, because of this intimacy with the inmost recesses of the student. That is influence. So, “By the inpouring of his own influence and presence into us he enables the individual being to attain to identity with the universal and transcendent.” If you hear one day the word of the Divine in this fashion: “Are you so narrow?” One word from the Divine and you become universal and transcendent. You can attain to identity with the universal and the transcendent. These are the marks of the Divine Teacher.
“What is his method and his system?” this is the question we ask of any teacher. How does he teach? What is the situation which he creates for teaching? All schools are systems. In these systems, you have classrooms, you have books, you have lectures, you have timetables, you have syllabi to cover; these are the methods and systems of education. But the Divine Teacher — what is his method and what is his system? And Sri Aurobindo says: “He has no method and every method.” There is nothing special, unique. We cannot say this is his system. Does he beat his students; does he uplift everybody; does he love everybody; does he instruct all the time or at a certain time only or in a certain way only? There is no method and every method. Yes, he does everything. Every method that is suitable to the individual –– when we speak of “free progress system” and when we emphasise so much individuation it is because of this. There is no method actually. What is it that will uplift a given individual or all whether you are a group class or an individual class? Depends, you don’t make a rule that there will be no group classes, that does not apply to the Divine teaching. You say that it will have only individual teaching that does not apply to him. Depends upon who before him he is going to be present. Now Sri Aurobindo answers this question in depth.
“His system is a natural organisation of the highest processes and movements of which the nature is capable.” Everybody’s nature he knows quite well. He knows what is Samai and how Samai can be uplifted, what is the best in his nature, how the different elements in his nature are coordinated or discoordinated, what is the stand in which he is now. Every element in him, according to the Divine’s eyes, has behind it the Divine supremacy. If I am weak behind my weakness is the Divine strength; if I am dull behind this dullness there is the Divine luminous light. Behind everything that is there the Divine always stands in his full glory. So he knows everybody’s nature and knows his present weakness, his present dullness, how all that can be cured, because the Divine is behind it. But to everybody he organises in such a way that very smoothly everything flowers and blooms and becomes resplendent. He knows the timing of everybody, when he should flower, when he should sleep, when he should rest, relax. He does not force anybody but creates and organisation which is natural to him.