Student for life. Student of life.

Teachings of the mirror


There’s a saying that goes, “Teacher presents itself when the student is ready”. There’s another one that goes by like “There is no knowledge without the teacher”. But the thing about the teacher is that it’s truly formless. This has perhaps been one of my biggest learnings in this decade. – I mentioned it in one of my previous blog posts.

To be honest, I look forward to the day when I can retire as a professor. Every day, every wakeful moment, I am building myself up to be a good teacher. But before I do that, I have so much to learn and do. I don’t want to be teaching my future students some half baked perception of reality, but rather a holistic, factual and experiential view of the reality as I grasp along my journey. It’s the tricky bit. There is so much to learn, so much more to experience and even more so to understand. It’s a long journey and I am in no rush at all.

Today is a special day. From 4 PM yesterday (20th February 2020) till 6 PM today (21st February 2020) is one of my favourite festivals – Mahashivratri. Of over 100 festivals in Hindu calendar, Mahashivratri and Gurupurnima (this year will fall upon on about 5th July 2020), are two of my favourite. The ones I feel closest to. I’ll not go into the details of the festival, Sadhguru explains it the best and you can watch it here if you want to learn more. However, it’s a festival where, along with many devotees, I celebrate Shiva and his beauty.

Now, what does it have to do with a mirror? Are these mere ramblings of a madman, or is there an underlying symmetry to it. Off course, there is a reason for it. Shiva, also known as Adiyogi (the first yogi), was the greatest teacher the civilization has ever known if you are to follow the yogic legends. And much like him, a true teacher is the absolute unbiassed observer who empowers you with methods to discard all the cripling notions that hold you down and shows you reality for what it is. Like a mirror. We often forget the choices we can have and are always held back by these notions of self and society. Teacher liberates us from this cycle and empowers us to discover our own path. Walking on it is our own doing. And that’s what Shiva’s bhakti is all about.

Amidst the chaos, there are no rules. Only methods. And you follow them. The reality gets distorted as you pave your way forward through it. There are distractions along the path. Hurdles. But you overcome them with faith. And as you forge your path, he is by your side as a mirror. Showing you to yourself.

You might not like what you see, but then again, it’s only you who has to change. The methods won’t change. The choice is yours.

In reality, it’s hard to be absolutely unbiassed. You will always have a bias or two. It’s only genetic, and human to be that way. Evolution has wired us for survival. But exuberance is not the same as survival. I am an illiterate man in the ways of spirituality. I have more biases than I can count. And have so much to learn. But one thing that I have been seeing underlying all the teachings of Shiva, is the pinnacle of balance. The absolute unbiased consciousness that pervades all of existence is almost poetic.

I don’t know what is God, or if it exists at all. I am still discovering things with every wakeful moment. However, you can see how only the supreme consciousness can stay absolutely balanced and unbiassed. No wonder the path of Shiva requires severe austerities. It’s only when you begin to grasp the depths of it, you realize how the simplest of the things like these are the hardest of all to execute in the reality we live in.

I’ll get back to dwelling between the hazy borders of history, science, art, myths and legends on this dear festival. I am grateful for such amazing teachers I have had all my life. It’s truly a blessing. Wishing you all, a happy Mahashivratri. And remember to be careful what you wish for, it just might come true 😉

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Harsh Joshi


Harsh here. Let's talk product, policy, design and maths. I am still figuring things out and am a student for life. Get in touch and follow the updates.

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