Upmanyu – The great disciple

The recent changes in the world whether in technology or ideology, underline the fact that emerging Indian talents are monumenting their own alcove globally. The age old ‘Guru-shishya padhatti’ though taken a new shape in the modern context but still clinches tight to the same roots of dedication, conviction and a strong bonding between a teacher and a student.
The values generated and the energies channelized rightly by ‘Gurus’ for their pupils have given birth to some great geniuses like Yudhisthir, Arjuna, Eklavya, Rizwan, Upmanyu etc.
Upmanyu was one of the favorite disciples of Saint Ayodhdhaumya. He was assigned the task of looking after the cows. One day when he returned after his days work, the Guru called him and said, “Son, you look very healthy and radiant. What do you eat while you are working?” Upmanyu replied with all humility, “Sir, I eat whatever I get in alms.” The saint who wanted to test Upmanyu stopped him from feeding himself on alms and asked him to give those to the Saint (Guru of Upmanyu) himself. Upmanyu agreed and from then on offered all that he received to his guru. The Guru used to take everything and gave nothing to Upmanyu.
A person like Upmanyu is recognized as one of the geniuses in the East. In contemporary parlance, a genius is not born but is the result of self-discipline, self moulding and self development guided by their teachers and shaped by the individual himself/herself.
A few days later, the Guru again asked Upmanyu, “I take away all that you beg for, so what do you eat?” Upmanyu replied that whatever he received by begging the first time, he offered it to his Guru and then went out and begged again a second time. The guru said, “Son, this conduct is inappropriate for a resident of the hermitage. By begging twice you hinder the earnings of other pupils as you cut into their share of alms. Besides, this also confirms your greed.”
Upmanyu listened to the guru and agreed not to do so again. A few days later, the guru again asked Upmanyu how he still looked so robust when he had stooped him from eating anything. To which Upmanyu replied that he drank a little of the cow’s milk while he took them out to graze. The guru forbade him to do that without his permission. A few days later, on seeing Upmanyu still looking healthy, the guru again called him and asked how he was surviving. This time Upmanyu said that he drank the foam that the calves drooled while feeding on their mother’s milk. The guru again forbade Upmanyu to do so and said that this would affect the health of the calves as they would drop more and more foam for Upmanyu to feed out of the kindness of their heart.
Upmanyu agreed to this too and went back to graze the cows as was his duty. Now that all avenues of getting food were closed, Upmanyu felt really hungry. When he could not tolerate the intensity of hunger he went and ate the leaves of a plant called `Aak’, the leaves of which produce a bitter, sour, acidic and poisonous juice. Due to the effect of this juice Upmanyu was instantly blinded. He kept wandering in the woods and fell into a dry well.
After sunset, when Upmanyu did not return to the hermitage, the saint started worrying about him. He said to his other pupils, “I have closed all avenues for Upmanyu to get food. He is probably angry at this and hence has not returned, so let us all go and look for him.” So they went to the woods to look for Upmanyu. They called out for him and heard a feeble voice from the well. They hurried to the well and when they peeped inside they saw Upmanyu. They asked Upmanyu how he fell inside the well. Upmanyu said, “I was so hungry that I ate the leaves of the Aak plant. I then became blind and while I was trying to find my way home I fell into the the well.” After hearing his story they pulled him out of the well and his Guru told him to pray to the physicians of the Gods, Ashwini Kumar, so that his eyes would be healed. Upmanyu did as he was told. Ashwini Kumars (twins who are the Physicians of Gods) appeared before him. They said, “Upmanyu, eat this sweet that we have brought you and you shall be healed.” Upmanyu declined and said that he cannot eat anything without the permission of his guru. The gods then told him that they had offered his guru some sweet and he ate it without asking the permission of his own Guru. So if it is okay for your Guru to eat without first asking permission from his own guru then it is okay for you too.
But Upmanyu again declined and this devotion and obedience of Upmanyu towards his guru pleased the gods. They blessed him and Upamnyu’s eyes were healed and all his teeth turned into gold. Upmanyu then went to his guru and was blessed by him. His guru was so pleased with him that he blessed him with instant memory and told him that he will know the Vedas and Dharamshashtras (other religious texts) automatically without any effort.
To make life worthwhile and fruitful, one must generate enthusiasm and conviction in oneself that is inculcated by none other than Guru and should be followed religiously. Generation of enthusiasm righteously directed by the teachers will help their pupils discover a goal and attach them to the Alter with a spirit of dedication, reverence and love. Once the pupils have surrendered themselves to it, the ideal itself will provide the pupils with the inspiration and strength. Then nothing can hinder the progress of pupils to march towards their goal and the ideal.

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