Sometimes Gurudev talked about his perfect teacher. TapovanMaharaj used to bathe in the cold ganges when still dark, and be ready to teach the upanishad to his eager student Swami Chinmayananda.
Gurudev himself narrated to us that on one such brahma muhurta (still dark hours of early morning) as he sat in front of his teacher, the teacher closed the book after singing the customary Shanti Paath (verse invoking the blessings of peace) and said “That’s all, No class today.”
Gurudev told us that he was so much in awe of his teacher that he did not have the courage to question. After sometime of sitting in silence he said “I took all my courage in both hands and asked, “Swami Ji did I do anything wrong?” Swami Tapovan asked “A cat just passed by here, did you see it?” “Yes” said Gurudev.
“Your attention has wavered from the text, so no class today. This is not the way to study the Upanishads.”
Gurudev then explained to us how important it is for the student to totally tune in to the teacher to truly understand a text of this level of subtleness.
In his own words the student must listen with “Love stamped in the mind and etched in the heart for his teacher. With a disciplined mind totally obeying you, not an instinctive animal mind.”
It is only a teacher like Swami TapovanMaharaj Ji who could with his love and discipline combined chisel out a supreme master, another perfect Guru who could unravel these upanishadic truths to millions around the world, our own Gurudev, Pujya Swami Chinmayananda.
Only when the mind of the student is in total attentiveness to imbibe the knowledge, can the teacher transfer or convey these great truths, as they cannot be taught.
Prarthna Saran, President Chinmaya Mission New Delhi.