Anyone can be your teacher. Or, simply, you can learn from anyone in Life provided you are “willing and thirsty”.
Several years ago, when I was frustrated with the losses in my business, and was particularly agitated over a client’s refusal to pay us a large sum of money that they owed us, I sank heavily into the chair at my favorite hair dresser’s. Those were times when I had a shock of hair adorning my head that need frequent tending. Ramalingam, my hair dresser, taught me a lesson that afternoon, almost intuitively without my even asking for him. “You look disturbed. Life’s success lies not in how much money we earn. But is in being able to live in this world and yet be above it.” He went on to substantiate this lesson with profound story-telling, sharing nuggets of wisdom from the Bhagavad Gita and from some Puranic tales.
|Ramalingam: My Teacher|
I have become Ramalingam’s humble student over the years even as he has remained my favorite hair dresser. I don’t have much hair left on my head anymore, but I still go to Ramalingam every once in a while. He has lost his son to a hit-and-run accident and says he still remembers the boy passing away in his arms on the road. He leads a simple Life__anchored in prayer, doing great quality work and sharing his experiences enlightening others. He talks to me each time on a different dimension of Life offering a learning which no textbook can teach.
On a recent visit, I asked him what does he think when he is working. It must be a monotonous job, I reasoned, to cut people’s hair. Ramalingam replied, “I don’t think of anything else when I am cutting hair. When I cut, I cut. When I am talking to a guest, who chats me up, while cutting his hair, I am talking. When I share a philosophy, I just share. Thinking spoils the doing.” I asked him once, with his experience, didn’t he want to set up shop of his own instead of being an employee at a branded salon? He replied with astonishing wisdom: “We must not just work towards being the best in the world Sir, we must work towards being best forthe world. I believe I am best forthe world I live and work in. That gives me immense pride and joy.”
There’s a Buddhist proverb that says, “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.” Be willing. Be thirsty. Your teacher too will appear! And hold your hand to walk alongside you to help you to be the best for your world!