Dr. Kireet Joshi — Learning to learn — We are all asked to learn: how to learn? Therefore, we shall enter into this field. What is learning, and, how to learn ‘to learn’ and I begin with one very profound statement. A statement, which is startling. This is a statement made by Sri Aurobindo. He says, “The first principle of teaching is that nothing can be taught”. It is a very profound statement. I think everyone should remember this statement because it is so important. The first principle of teaching is that nothing can be taught. I repeat again the first principle of teaching is that nothing can be taught. What do we mean by this sentence? Shall we close down all the schools, all the colleges or universities? Nothing can be taught, therefore all that you are doing in your schools may seem to be, not that ‘all is useless’, but may seem to be very irrelevant. We are doing something that is impossible. All your teachers start by saying that everything can be taught and I have told Chitwan just now to start wrestling with me. I am saying nothing can be taught. Now she will say…
Chitwan — There is actually another school of thought. According to a phrase— the mind is a blank slate, everything can be done, everything can be given from the external point, and the environment of the child determines exactly how he is going to turn out. Therefore, this school of thought is called behaviourism. Watson, who is one of the main proponents of this theory, stated that he could guarantee that given a free hand in controlling the environment of any normal infant he could train him to become any type of specialist he selects, — a doctor, a lawyer, an artist, a merchant, even a beggar, or a thief regardless of his talents, tensions, tendencies, abilities, vocations and the race of his ancestors. He laid a strong emphasis on environment as opposed to heredity and he claimed that behaviourism could take scientific control in a child’s development. It is completely opposite of 'nothing can be taught'.
Dr. Kireet Joshi — So now you see the dialectic, yesterday I told you what is dialectic, you start with one statement and then you go to the exact opposite of it, then you try to combine the two together and see whether you can combine them. This is called the process of wrestling in the mind. She pointed out that there is a school of thought, which is called behaviourism. The word behaviourism is a very important word today. It says that all teaching is nothing but teaching how to behave that is why it is called behaviourism. All human beings are constantly behaving. You are walking, you are talking, you are responding, you are smiling, you are sad, you are joyous, shaking hands with people, you climb up, you go down, all this is behaviour and all this can be taught there is nothing which can't be taught according to this theory. Watson was a great propounder of this theory. He said: you give me any child; every child is a blank slate and you tell me what you want to make of this child— engineer, doctor, lawyer, beggar or thief. Anything you tell me you want to make this child and I will make him. Everything can be taught. Now what is the truth of this? Is it possible that everything can be taught or is it true that nothing can be taught? These are two exact opposite positions. You ask yourself, your teachers even! I am teaching, actually I am trying to convey something to you; am I doing a wrong activity? I should stop teaching now because nothing can be taught but can you say that you are not learning at all.
Now I shall give a clue to the resolution of this problem. For that purpose I shall make three other statements. The first of this statement is—‘the best method of teaching is through silence’… ‘The best method of teaching is through silence!’ The second statement is- ‘nothing can be learnt without experience’. Experience is the greatest teacher; and the third statement is—‘learning is enhanced by self-control and capacity to hold vast secrets of knowledge and wisdom’. I’m making three sentences and you reflect upon them. Remember, I am actually explaining to you, learning to learn, how you really learn. Actually, I now have five sentences— the first principle of teaching is that nothing can be taught. Second—everything can be taught, third—the best method of teaching is through silence. Nothing can be learnt without experience. Experience is the best teacher and best method of learning is through self-control if you put all these five propositions together, you will now enter into the real portals of learning.
Now let us go back to the first statement. The first principle of teaching is that nothing can be taught. Now the most important word there is—‘principle’. Now you go to the next sentence — ‘everything can be taught’. What is the difference between the two sentences; and you come to the third sentence— ‘the best method of learning is through silence’. Now you will see that there is a difference between principle and method. These two are the keywords. The first principle of teaching is that the nothing can be taught but the best method of learning is through silence. He doesn't say the first principle of learning is silence but best method. There is a difference between principle and method. This is the clue to the resolution of the conflict. Nothing can be taught is a principle. Everything can be taught is the method of methods. If you employ methods, every method is to find out the secrets of the principle of teaching that nothing can be taught. We employ all methods and everything contributes to your learning, provided the teacher is quite clear and he refrains from teaching as a principle. He allowed methods to teach not the teacher. There are methods of teaching but the principle is nothing can be taught, this is the best teacher. The best teacher is one who does not teach yet employs all methods to teach, whatever is to be learnt by the student himself without being taught.
Now everybody would agree that the best method of learning is through experience. There is a fire burning in the land and a small child just wants to jump into the fire and put his finger there. You just don't say—don't do it. For a little while, the child will refrain from doing anything because of your command, but he will not learn. He only restrains himself. If by chance, he happens to put his finger into the fire he experiences and he burns, the next time he won't put his finger. He has learnt. It is through experience that you learn. All great teachers… all great teachers all over the world know, they cannot teach anything, but the method they employ is to give the children experience. It's a method of teaching not principle, it's a method of teaching through experience. Experience is the best teacher in the world. I have with me a story—a story of the Buddha. Buddha was one of the greatest teachers of the world. You look at it, in every statue of Buddha, the most remarkable thing about Buddha is, whenever you see him, what impresses you, is his utter silence. He taught everything through silence. To be in presence of him is to become quiet. In the state of quiet hood, the knowledge bursts out automatically; and if he wanted to teach somebody, he taught through experience. I request Mandakini to read out to you a story of an incident in the life of Buddha. This is number one: section one. May I request Mandakini to present the story?
Mandakini – ‘The mustard seed,’ — There was a woman named Gautami, whose child had just died. She was so upset by this that she lost her reason completely. She went everywhere trying to bring her child back to life. Her friends felt sorry for her and said, “Gautami, you should go and see the Buddha, perhaps he can help you.” She went before the Buddha, still holding her child in her arms. “Please bring him back to life for me”, she cried. Very gently the Buddha answered her, “I can help you, Gautami, but first you must bring me something I need — One small mustard seed. However, it must come from a house where no one ever died. Gautami quickly went out in search of a mustard seed. She asked at one home and the woman answered, “Of course you can have a mustard seed, you can have whatever you want but you should know that last year my husband died.” “Oh”, Gautami replied “Then I must search elsewhere” and ran off to the next house but wherever she went the same thing happened. Everyone wanted to help her but in every family she visited, someone had died. One person told her, “Three years ago I lost my daughter”. Another said, “My brother died here yesterday.” It was always the same. At the end of the day, she returned to the Buddha. “What have you found, Gautami?” he asked, “Where is your mustard seed? And, where is your son? You're not carrying him anymore any longer?” She answered, “Oh Buddha today I have discovered that I am not the only one who has lost a loved one. Everywhere people have died, I see how foolish I was to think I could have my son back. This afternoon I buried him. Now I have returned to you to hear your teachings. I am ready to listen. Then the Buddha said, “Gautami, you have learnt a great deal today. However, if you learn the truth of the law of impermanence, you can live in happiness. In all the worlds of men and of the gods too, there is only one law — everything is impermanent”. And he taught her. She joined the Sangha and subsequently came to be known for her progress in virtue and philosophical learning, which made the Buddha appoint her as the superintendent of the convent of Gitavana. She is said to have eventually achieved Nirvana.
Dr. Kireet Joshi — She learned through experience. Now we have learning through silence. I think Anjali ji has a secret of this and I will request her to reveal that secret.
Anjali Jaipuria – Learning through silence. Is it really so? I think we need to explore this proposition and to explore this proposition young friends, I shall tell you a story today of a Zen master by the name of Mokurai, Silent thunder and his young 12 year old disciple, Toyo. Now Toyo would watch day after day that the older disciples would get to visit the Master’s room every morning, every evening to receive personal guidance from the Master. Personal guidance is called ‘Sanzen’ in Zen literature and when they would go for their personal guidance, they were given ‘Koan’ to stop their mind from wandering. Does anybody here know what ‘Koan’ is? Okay, so before we proceed with the story I think we'll first find out what a ‘Koan’ is. In Zen literature, ‘Koan’ is an anecdote, a statement, or a question, which is put forward, by the teacher, or sometimes a dialogue between the master and his pupils for the sole purpose of opening the student's mind to the truth of Zen. Now here we come across another word Zen. Does anybody know the meaning of ‘Zen’?
Zen means the secret that shines out in a state of deep silence of meditation. Probably it could have been formulated from the word ‘Dhyaan’ and then you know how the formulation of words is, as it moves from one continent to the other. ‘Dhyaan’, ‘gyaan’, ‘Zen’, ‘kind of’, ‘it is possible’. Koans look like mere riddles, sometimes like witty remarks. Actually, the objective of the Koan is to arouse a quest within the pupil's mind, in which the pupil's mind is pushed to its furthest limits to find the answer. There is no logical way of grasping the meaning of a Koan, you can't learn it logically. When you get a Koan, start working like geometry or like a theorem, it's not like that. The pupil feels arrested. He hesitates, he gropes, he's perplexed, he's troubled, agitated, not knowing how to break through what seems like an impenetrable wall. When this climax is reached, the whole personality of the pupil, his deepest will, his deepest nature, which is determined to bring the situation to an issue, throws itself undeservedly against the iron wall of the Koan. This throwing, the surrender of the entire being against the Koan…the question unexpectedly opens up an unknown region of consciousness. The eye sees, the ear hears to be sure, but it is the mind, which has ‘Satori’. Now what is ‘Satori’? Satori is a state of fulfillment. It is a perception of the highest order, a perception without any shade of doubt. It leads through experience, an unshakable conviction that there is something beyond the intellect.
Now may I have your permission to come back to the story? We know what is Zen. We know what is a Koan, we know what is Satori, but we only know that by words. Now let's try and experience some of it. Now there was this young disciple Toyo and his master Mokurai. Since Toyo saw the older disciples get personal guidance every day, day after day in which they received Koans, he insisted that he should get the same from his master who kept postponing the issue that “No, you're too young. No Toyo, you're too young just now.” Nevertheless, he insisted and the teacher finally consented. In the evening little Toyo went at the appointed time to the threshold of Mokurai's son’s room. He struck the gong to announce his presence. Bowed before the master thrice and sat before the Master in respectful silence. The Master said, “You can hear the sound of two hands when they clap together.” “Yes”, said Toyo. “Now show me the sound of one hand”. Toyo bowed and went to his room to consider this problem. From his window that evening, he could hear the music of Geishas. “Aha! I have it”, he proclaimed. The next evening, when his teacher asked him to produce the sound of one hand, Toyo began to play the music of the Geishas. “That will never do. You've not got it at all”, said his Master, thinking that this music might interrupt his thought process. Toyo moved himself to a quieter place and started meditating again. He happened to hear some water dripping and he imagined that he now had the answer. Next day, before his teacher Toyo imitated the dripping water. “That is the sound of dripping water, my dear Toyo, not the sound of one hand. Try again”, instructed Mokurai. Toyo meditated and heard the sighing of the wind but it was rejected. The cries of an owl, the sound of locusts, were also refused. For almost a year, Toyo pondered what the sound of one hand might be. At last, Toyo entered the true meditation and transcended all sounds. “I could collect no more”, he explained later, “So, I reached the soundless sound”. Toyo had realized the sound of one hand.
Dr. Kireet Joshi – Everyone has received the message. Then exact the message…? When you don’t understand and you are asked to understand what happens, you are told that nobody will tell you anything. A statement is given to you, which you can't understand and you are told nobody will explain it to you, then you struggle with it. Go on knocking, knocking, knocking, and knocking. I want to understand, I want to understand, I want to understand! You will find, you will discover in you what is called faculty of understanding. This is the most important discovery. In everyone, there is a faculty, a capacity of understanding. What is the difference between a dead wood and intelligence? The dead wood does not have the faculty of understanding. We all have faculty of understanding. Now normally because of teachings, and so many things being taught, you never come to a point when you are asked to find out that faculty of understanding in you.
Koan is a statement which is made to you and you are asked now try to understand. You go round and round and round and round and round and you can't understand. Until you discover in you that spark. There is, in us, a spark. It is by the spark that you understand and nobody can teach you this. That's why understanding is the instrument by which everything is taught and only you can discover your understanding, nobody can do it. Therefore, the first principle of teaching is that ‘nothing can be taught’. The secret of learning is to understand. You learn only when you understand, not when you cram. When you mug up, you don't understand. Therefore, it's not learning. When you understand, then you learn and the point is that understanding is in you. Even hundred bombardments can only facilitate. There can only be methods of teaching but the real learning takes place through your own spark of understanding. All good teachers are those who facilitate your discovery of understanding. Once you have seen your spark, all Koans of which Anjali ji spoke just now, they are statements by which your understanding is sparked. You yourself come to understand, you touch understanding as it were. You touch the fire of understanding in you. I give you one story, which combines all these things together. All that I have told you — nothing can be taught, all can be taught, silence is a teacher, awakening is a teacher, self-control is a teacher — all these statements put together, I give you a story.
Photocopy number three — It’s called a story of… I will not read out the story to you, I will tell you the story, you can read it at home, afterwards. You keep it with you. It's a very good story, one of the best stories in the world literature that I have found.
There was a good teacher. His name was Junoon, a very great master, a very famous master. He was a good teacher who taught nothing, who knew everything on how to teach. He had all the methods of teaching, but he taught nothing. Hundreds of people, hundreds of students wanted to learn from him. Where there is honey, all the bees are attracted to the honey, to suck it. The moment you find that there is in your surrounding somebody who knows, who has the nectar of knowledge, the honey of knowledge, we act like bees. We want to flock there to learn. Therefore, this teacher, attracted hundreds of young people from all parts of the world who wanted to learn from him but he taught nothing. One day, a young man came; you might say a young lad came to learn. The teacher was passing by; the teacher did not even look at him. He stood another way to be seen by the teacher, the teacher still wouldn't look at him. Silence was the method. He was silent. Yusuf was not even sure whether the master saw him at all. He wanted to be seen by the teacher. “I am here knocking at the door to learn from you”. No answer at all.
After a long time, the teacher looked at him, Yusuf was satisfied, at peace. “I now know that my teacher knows that I am here. I want to learn”. After some time, the teacher sent a word to him. “I will see you today and talk to you”. With great enthusiasm, Yusuf went to the teacher but the teacher taught nothing. He simply said, “Look my boy, I have a friend of mine”, the teacher said, “I have a friend of mine who lives beyond this river. I want to give a message to him and I would like you to take the message to him.” Yusuf was very pleased, something happened. The teacher graced him and talked to him to give him this responsibility of getting a message from the teacher's house to his friend's house. Wonderful! A great step was taken. Therefore, now the teacher said, “I want to give a message but I have a method of giving a message. I won't give you any letter. I’ll give you a cage, in which I have put the message. I’m not blocking it but don't open it.” “And this is a very easy task. Only one condition. How easy it is! My master has asked me to take this cage with me. There is a message in it. It is not locked but I am not supposed to open it. Excellent! Very easy task. I wanted to walk down. It's a long way no doubt, it's a summer day, very hot. It doesn't matter, the price is very small.”
He took the cage with him, went on drudging, drudging, drudging. It was mid-day and he was hungry. He had taken some food with him to eat. He ate, went to the river, drank the water and he said, “Let me now wait a little and take rest”. He put the cage next to him. He just lay down; he didn't go to sleep because he knew somebody might take away the cage. He didn't go to sleep but then something happened to him. It happens to everybody “what is inside, what is inside the cage?” This is the question. “Can I know it? Can I find it out? If it were a great secret…,” he argued, “If it were a great secret, the teacher would have locked it, but sure it is not such a big secret. I can just open. Of course, my teacher has told me not to open it. But what is in it? If it were really a secret, my teacher would have locked it. He has not locked it and even if I open, who will find out that I opened it? Oh no! But I should not do it because teacher has said not to open it. Fine, fine. I must lay down. I must take rest. I must not open it. No, I will not open it at all. Sure, I will not open it, even if a 100 things tempt me, I will not open it. Decided. Lay down but what's wrong if I just open it a little. I’ll just find out what is in it. No I will not do it”.
However, he took the cage in his hands. “Yes I’m just watching. I will not open it. I’ll just open it. I will open a little, just a little. What's the harm in it after all? And he, just a little opened it… just, just a little.” And my God, just a little and a small rat ran away out of it. There was only a small rat in the cage and nothing else. It ran away. Finished. He immediately understood the calamity. The teacher had told him not to open it, “but can I now recover the rat, I shall put it back and I will close it but the rat is gone”. It is gone and gone forever. You can't catch it again now. Finished. The matter is over. He carried the empty cage to the friend of his teacher and that teacher was a great teacher too. And you opened the cage and found nothing in it. Yusuf look at yourself. “Yusuf, do you understand? Do you understand?” he said, “Yes, I understand. I understand. My master wanted to know whether I can control myself”. The teacher said, “Yes, he wanted to know whether you could control yourself or not. He wanted to do something more. You want the knowledge from your teacher. It's a vast knowledge you want. How can you contain a vast knowledge, when your mind is flickering like an unsteady lamp going from one side of the pendulum to the other? In a state of turmoil, in a state of unsteadiness, you can never contain the vast knowledge. It is only when your mind is absolutely quiet, when you discover the source of knowledge in yourself, when you know that all knowledge is within you and that can be attained only when you have complete control over yourself, that true knowledge can be given to you. In fact, the teacher does not need to give you anything at all. He has taught you, if you can control your mind, all that you want to know will come automatically. This is the great teaching that the teacher wanted to give and he gave without teaching”.
Yusuf learned his lesson. He remained with the teacher for several years to discipline himself, to control his mind, became the master of his mind. It's a true story. Therefore, you can say afterwards, Yusuf himself became a great teacher in his own right. This is called The Story of Initiation. It's a great story which tells us nothing can be taught and yet there was a method of teaching and he was taught by that method. The method was by a method of awakening, by a Koan as it were. It was the most effective method of learning by experience. All the secrets of learning, all the secrets of teaching are in this one story and if you can follow that story, you have the mastery of learning to learn. How do you learn? Apply this method — nothing can be learnt without focusing. These days our focus has become very important among you young people. Every good cricketer says I was focused. It's very important. You should be focused, absolutely controlled. The mind should be controlled. And when the mind is controlled, you discover in you that light, that spark. It is with the help of the spark that everything can be learnt. This is the secret of learning to learn. Now you go ahead.
There is a very profound statement made by Plato. Socrates and Plato. These are the two great thinkers and teachers of the West. “Welcome Sraddhalu! Come here”. I introduced my friend Sraddhalu. He's a young student and a young teacher. He comes from Sri Aurobindo Ashram in Pondicherry and he has taken our mission. Yesterday we spoke about our mission of Vivekananda. He has taken permission to be with the children, to be with students all over the country and to prepare teaching-learning material for students of the country; on the basis, nothing can be taught. This is the starting point — Nothing can be taught. Therefore, all teaching learning materials that he is collecting, are only methods of teaching, but not the principle of teaching.
I spoke to you about Socrates and Plato. Now they had a very interesting theory of learning. They also maintain that nothing can be taught, but they also said that nothing is to be learned. Not only nothing can be taught, nothing is to be learned, which is a more surprising statement. Nothing to be learned and then, therefore, there are new theory — Nothing can be taught. Nothing can be learned but everything is to be remembered. Not remember by studying a book and then commit to memory. No. They said you already know everything, only you’ve forgotten. If you have forgotten something, how do you remember? Just make an experiment in your own consciousness. You have learned the word yesterday, you've forgotten it. Just remember, there was a song ‘Zindagi zindagi, koi sapna nahi zindagi’. Yes, you remember this song, all right. Now, supposing somebody has forgotten, and you want to remind your friend who has forgotten, how will you remind? Just find out, how will you remind a friend of this song? You know your friend knows the song. Your friend knows it but has forgotten it. How will you go about it? You’ll say, “Remember that coachman? Right. That carriage that is seen in the video, the women are going to the well, collecting water from the well…, just remember”. And suddenly, “Oh yes, yes, yes. I remember”. According to Socrates and Plato, this is all the teachers have to do. The method of teaching — nothing can be taught because you already know. The only method of teaching is to take out the barriers from your memory. Only recover the memory, that's all. Now Socrates was teaching this doctrine to everybody.
In the life of Socrates, is a very important incident. Everybody was laughing at Socrates when Socrates said ‘All learning is remembering’. How can you say that? Therefore, one day he took the challenge. He went to a noble man with many slaves, working in his house and said, “Look, now I shall take up one man — an illiterate, uneducated, uninstructed slave. His name was Meno. He was called and told, “Meno, you sit here. Sure, you don't know what geometry is. I’m quite sure you don't know geometry. What is geometry?” Now a man who did not know geometry, was asked questions. And by putting questions, ultimately it was shown that Meno could prove a very important theorem of geometry. Now I won't tell you how he did it, because if I tell you everything you will not learn anything yourself; and I want you to learn yourself.
Plato wrote a full dialogue on this subject. He said an ordinary thing. The very title of that dialogue is called Meno, m-e-n-o… Meno. You will ask your teachers to give you this dialogue, I will not tell you the story and you see yourself how Socrates was able to prove a geometrical theorem. Not himself, he made Meno prove that theorem only by asking questions. He only removed the barriers that were covering up his memory. It is as if Meno knew the theorem already, he had forgotten it and by asking questions, Socrates proved that he already knew it. Therefore, he declared that all learning is remembering. It's a wonderful statement. We shall come to this subject later if you have time and we shall discover that the best way of learning is to have teachers who can remind you. For the moment, I will only give you this lesson. Please take out this particular story called Meno from this book. This whole story here is given in this book called Meno. Kindly see that every student here gets a copy of that story. Then you will learn and the next time if I come, I’ll ask you whether you learnt that story or not. One lesson given to you.
Now I come next — Nothing can be taught. The story that I told you of ‘Junoon’, contained many messages, including the one, which I have now put down. The best way of learning is by awakening. The task of a teacher is to awaken you. Not to teach you, but to awaken you. This awakening is a very important aspect. If you want to learn, awake. This is the one word, which should come in your consciousness. We have all forgotten. We have to awake. It's a famous story of Kabir, I don't know if you have heard the name of Kabir. He was a homeless boy. He lived in Banaras, in Varanasi and he used to go to the ghat every night and used to sleep there, on the steps. One morning, early morning, before he could awake, one great Saint, came to the ghat to take his early morning bath. It was dark, therefore, he did not notice that the boy sleeping on one of the steps and by mistake, he put his foot on the body of this young boy. Suddenly he realised that there was somebody, so he withdrew and Kabir woke up. He heard the words ‘hai Ram’. At a point, the seal of his forgetfulness was broken and he awoke. He became a saint afterwards who saw Ram and Raheem in the same way. Kabir was awakened to this great realization of the oneness of Rama and Raheem. But there are many good stories of awakening. Anjali ji has one very good story and I have told her to tell this story to all of you.
Mrs. Anjali Jaipuria — Okay! Now this is a story, it's a Sufi story. The Sufis were great masters and they were taught by these methods that Kimi Dangulas has told us about — The method of awakening, the method of silence. Mr Singh, please come and sit in the front. Please. So, this is the story of a Sufi saint and he had a few disciples. Of them, were three main disciples and he wanted to make sure that after he left his body, these disciples would find the right way for themselves. Therefore, after all the formalities were done after leaving his body, he left his disciples with 17 camels. A lot of you here are very brilliant in maths, I believe. So, we're going to now do this work of mathematics. And he left 17 camels with the order — that you will divide the camels among the three of you in the following proportions. The eldest among you has to take half the camels. The middle in age has to get one third of the camels and the youngest shall have one ninth of the camels. How do we work this out? Can anybody give me the answer, how do we work out half of 17 camels and divide them. They were as perplexed, you know. The three students were as perplexed as all of us are here. As soon as he left his body and the ‘will’ was read, the disciples were absolutely amazed how could a Guru be so inefficient in the disposition of his ‘will’ and his assets. Can you tell me how can we do this? How do you think we could manage this problem? Some of them said that let us put these camels communally. So, when you own something communally, then the division can be done, more or less. The nearest possible division can be done. Others said that let us sell the camels. Once you sell the camels, whatever money come, can always be divided in whatever manner necessary. But some others said that such a way should not be executed at all, should be considered null and void. Then they fell to thinking that there might be some hidden wisdom in the master's request. Why don't we try to understand this? Since the master is not there anymore, let's go to the wise people of the city, of the country, wherever or whoever can understand the hidden wisdom in the Master’s request. Everyone they tried, failed. They just couldn't understand it and finally they arrived at the door of the son-in-law of Prophet Hazrat Ali. Hazrat Ali said, “This is your solution. I will add one camel to the number. Out of the 18, you will give half — that is 9 to the eldest disciple. The second shall have one third of the total. One third of 18 is 6. And the last and the youngest disciple shall have one-nine of 18 camels, which is how many? Two camels. Now how much does that make it? Nine plus six, fifteen, plus two, seventeen. That makes seventeen and the left over camel which is my camel, I will take back. This is how the disciples found their Master and this is how the master had left the bequest, which was a request, so that by awakening, the students could find their Master.
Dr. Kireet Joshi – Excellent! There is one important lesson out of this lesson. If you are a good teacher, and if a problem is to be resolved, the solution will be found only if you put all your wealth into the problem. Without putting yourself into it, you will not be able to solve the problem. This is the fundamental lesson of this entire story. A good teacher is one who does not stand outside the problem. A good teacher is one who puts himself into the problem, puts all his wealth into the problem, mixes himself up into the problem, all that is given. And if he does so he will solve the problem and nothing will be lost. Even what he has put of himself, will remain intact. This is the inner meaning of the whole story, which is wonderful. Now we come to the next.
I’ll make many statements together and then we shall see how to understand them. You remember we are only learning to learn, remember this. We are learning to learn because this is the great teaching. Nothing can be taught. Everything can be taught. Everything can be learned by experience, by silence, by awakening, by self-control. Now I come to other propositions, which are also interesting. Nothing can be taught, except in the state of leisure. In addition, the best lessons are learned under pressure, just the opposite. Nothing can be learned or taught except in a state of leisure. On the other side, nothing can be learned as well as when you learn under pressure. Now I request Chitwan to give you a movie, a clip from a movie, where you will experience both these things and you will see when to apply pressure and when to give in to leisure. Both are true.
Chitwan — We have two clips. Two clips from Dead Poets Society. Have you heard of Dead Poets Society, with Robert Williams in it? He's a English teacher in this movie and he's teaching high school students of your age and he's just joined. It's a private boys school and this is his first class. Therefore, the first example is of a clip in which he teaches with leisure, his first class and the second clip will be of when he teaches under pressure. There is a young boy called Todd Anderson who has a very low self-esteem. He has a brother who's very smart, so he always felt a little less confident and under pressure, he's able to bring out the best in him. This is the first clip.
Dr. Kireet Joshi — I’m sure all of you will become very good teachers in due course of time. Dramatists. Those who are ahead of their own students, of sound knowledge, not repeating from the texts, which everyone has read already and you will employ every good method by which your students will be awakened. Now you go ahead. A good teacher is a good advisor and teaches what should be done and what should not be done. This is one method. A good teacher does not prescribe do's and don'ts. A good teacher is an explorer. He does not indoctrinate. Both are good methods. You should give do's and don’ts, you should not give do's and don'ts, but you should know what are the do's and don'ts which you should give, what are the do's and don'ts which you should not give. That is where the skill of the teacher lies. Now see here a clip and I’ll not tell you what it says. You just see.
Dr Kireet Joshi — You have to create interest. This is the important point. A good teacher is one who makes his subject interesting. This is what the english teacher taught the teacher of mathematics. She pointed out, “You are a good lecturer, you are teaching very well. Everything is nice on your blackboard but you are not interacting with your students at all. You don't know whether the minds are wandering in the children's minds. What is it that will catch the mind of the children? Some event, some story, something that they relate with themselves.” He found out and he could not believe afterwards. Nobody was yawning and everybody was energetic. The teacher has to know where the mind of the child is wandering and how to bring their mind back to what he is saying. Every subject is interesting. No subject is interesting. Both statements are true. Every subject is a boring subject and every subject is an interesting subject. There is nothing, which is not interesting in the world. The question is, how do you awaken the interest? What is it that brings a ‘chance’ to the ‘significant part’? All teaching is awakening. Everybody is slumbering. Everybody has forgotten. One has to remember through the process of awakening. Now we come further. A good teacher does not lose his temper even under great provocation — a very important statement. A good teacher does not lose his temper even under great provocation. This is the worst thing that can happen to a teacher. All abilities of teaching are washed out if the teacher loses his temper.
Next statement—Example is more important than instruction. Example is more important than instruction. Influence is more important than example. What is the distinction between the two, between the three — instruction, example and influence? Let us see some clips.
Chitwan—Now we have two more clips from, ‘To Sir, with love.’ Has anybody heard of ‘To Sir, with love’? It's an old movie in which Sidney Poitier is an English teacher and the first example is when he loses his temper. When he walks into the class, the students have burnt something in the class, he gets very angry. Later he comes back, he realizes he should not have lost his temper. He comes back and then calmly gives them some instructions. And the second movie clip will be in which he teaches through his own example. He talks about himself, so I’ll play both the movie clips for you now.