The open math book faced the sky. The girl sank her face down: now only mother earth could see her tears. For an umpteenth time, she had scored the lowest mark in math. After the ridicule and verbal thrashing of the math teacher, it was the time for her parents and private tutor to join the bashing. Mathematics has been her most dreaded subject for years now. “The numbers are so much fun”, this was her first impression of mathematics. She wasn’t afraid of it then. She thought of those good times while she walked towards her home.
“May be she doesn’t like math”. Her mother interrupted the visibly angry father. She wanted to scream and tell the world that it is math which interests her the most. But she never had the marks to validate it. That night, she woke up to a quiet, yet firm voice. The outpouring of rain had subsided. She didn’t call upon her mother, although she was afraid. “Don’t be”, said the voice, “for I am you and your are me”. This is how their conversation began. A weird way to start, if my opinion is anything. “I know what you are going through”. The voice continued.
“The other day,while proving the question from the book, you left it in between. You could have found a fine answer had you not given up. Do you not know that, the universe falls in love with a stubborn heart?”. The girl was taken aback by this revelation of the voice. “I thought I was doing wrong. It was taking me so long. My friends had already given the answer sheets by then”. She said. “My teachers always make fun of me since I don’t use their methods. I don’t have the skills to remember like my friends.” But my dear! Mathematics doesn’t want you to remember. The voice replied.
It is plain that everyone around us have been pressing their limitations upon us. We have forgotten true teaching. The first principle of true teaching is that nothing can be taught. The teacher doesn’t actually train the pupil’s mind; he/she only shows him/her how to perfect the instruments of knowledge and encourages him/her in the process. The second principle is that the mind has to be consulted on its own growth. The idea of hammering a child into the shape desired by the parent or teacher is barbarous and ignorant superstition.
“Nothing new can be taught to you. All becoming is an unfolding. So, all of the polishing and learning, of which you are capable of, is only a realization of the perfection of the spirit within you. You must expand according to your own nature. You must know and master yourself. You must follow your own path. You should dream of beauty, greatness and perfection, dreams that may be too sublime for ordinary common sense, but which are far superior to the dull sense of worrying about marks and money.”The voice continued.
“So what should I seek”? The girl asked. “You must seek to learn for the sake of knowledge. You must seek to know the secrets of nature and life, to educate yourself to grow in consciousness, to discipline yourself to become the master of yourself, to overcome your weaknesses, incapacities and ignorance. You must seek to learn always and everywhere, so that all circumstances and happenings in life may constantly renew opportunities for learning more and more. Everything else will come to you”. It seemed to her that she knew this all along yet she couldn’t recall.
Just when the voice sounded exactly like hers, she woke up to her mother’s “It is 7am already” call. Her window was open, which brought in the scent of the earth,wet from the night’s rain. While she got ready for the school, she kept on thinking about the last night’s conversation. The voice sounded familiar. “Maa, I don’t need any private tutoring from today onwards”. She screamed, loud enough to be heard by her father. There was conviction and firmness in her tone. “Everything else will come to me”. She smiled as she walked off to her school. This time, she was ready for life.