असतो मा सद्गमय

From ignorance, lead me to truth;

From darkness, lead me to light;

From death, lead me to immortality.

What impetus do you think a person has before he extends a piece of advice to you, tells you one of those little truths that he/she has realized during the course of their lives, be it from experience or observation? Does it sound harsh to understand at any level that whatever you are being told is a person’s own sense of grandiose frustration with how things went in their lives as opposed to what they know for a fact would be true in yours? Maybe it’s a mere yearning on their parts to see you treading a path that they once could but didn’t. Maybe it’s a mere delusion of thinking that if it worked out good for them in their lives, it would work out for you too. Or maybe they really have a secret churned out of their lives, something they would be willing to share with you to make your life something entirely different than what it could have been!!

I do believe sometimes that I am a realist while the other times I see myself as an optimist. I am an optimist-realist, I think. But you would have to read about the realist part of me some other time. As for now, as an individual who sees the glass half-full, the birds flocking to new avenues rather than having to desert their homes, the lyrics of a song filled with that delirious symphony of the creator rather than what fits- I, the moody saint who looks at the world under the glass of how he is feeling at the moment, am looking back at my life and trying to conjure up that little piece of advice that makes up the most of what I am. Should I tell you about how I ended up studying the graduate course I am taking? Or should I tell you how I got through that cut-throat  competition exam by studying the few select books that were supposed to be the best ? Should I boast of the career options I intend to pursue later on in my life and why – something I know I have no control over?  No. I am not going to do that. It’s even so unfair to start talking about how something worked out for me the way it did because so and so person told me it will. I am here to tell you something larger, bigger than that. To tell you of an advice that mattered not only in reaching my goals but in understanding how to set them in the first place!!

And so, like the very best of stories, this dates back to a time in the past, not very far back and something as vivid in my memories as the recollection of writing this line right now. You must know, my dear reader, that there are some things in life that only a teacher, and the right teacher at that, could tell you. There may be lessons academically that you may master from him/her but ultimately they would be forgotten at some point in life. But there are few other lessons, far more glorious and far more valuable that he/she would not just opine you but act out practically. These are those lessons that stay on with you and those that mean something to you now. You may move on in life to greater avenues but your life would always be a greenery, gardened and watered by the words of your teacher that made all of it possible. I have been fortunate enough to have had a teacher in my life who has taught me not just the congruences and similarities of triangles but of life itself.

Sir used to tell us- “The marks you gain make the world know you. The knowledge you acquire make you know yourself. Both of these are equally important”. He never preached any misguiding principles that the present generations tend to believe these days, like marks are not important and such. Still, he made sure that his students were as good human beings as they were academic beings. The best thing about him is that he is a believer and he chooses to believe in the goodness of things.

But the most tremendous advice that he ever gave us was when he shared a life secret with us; one that everyone knows but only eventually realizes to be true. He shared it with such belief in his eyes that now it is hardwired into my very system. It is although something that my parents and grandparents had always tried to make me learn but  somehow when Sir told it to us, he succeeded in getting me to believe that it was the truth or as he would say- “ Ke haan..Yehi sach hai”. And of course, there were many students sitting in the class that day and maybe he would have shared the same with an even larger number of people at other times. But I can never tell how many took to it with as much reverence as I have.  I still remember that day when he told us in a rather emotional state that the most important things to earn in life are blessings. “When someone blesses you to be happy in life, at some point in your journey it pays. And when that happens, you witness miracles in your life”.

I was spell-bound  for a second when I actually thought about it. Here is a man of reason, of sheer intellect, a man of science no less, and he is standing before me telling me in the firmest of his tones what he believes to be truer than where the sun rises and where it sets. Why is that, I should have wondered. But I didn’t. I rather chose to believe him, to believe in those things that he was telling us in that instant, that blessed instant. He was telling us that if there was something really worth earning in life, it was blessings. Money is lost, success fades, at least its charm does and at the end of the day, what truly keeps us happy is the outcome of these blessings. For the most part of my life since then, I have made it my goal, although inconspicuously, to gather those blessings, to earn them for me. Is that something as concrete as a career choice or  choosing between two different talents or following one road out of the two that the woods lead in? No. I don’t believe that but I do believe in how true this advice can stand for any person whosoever. And that is why, my dreams and aspirations- both fulfilled and wished upon- are centered around this advice. Will I come out happier? I don’t know. But was that the goal in the first place?

I am blogging about my dreams and the people who helped make them true for the #AdviceThatMattered activity at BlogAdda in association with Stoodnt.

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