As a kid, most of us have experience nyctophobia. For me as a kid, to be without Mom at night or to be in the darkness almost gave me the feeling as if it was my last day on earth. Last week, late in the evening, I took my niece outside for ice cream. As we were walking back home suddenly the street lights went off, and immediately my 5 yr old niece reacted, “Uncle, it’s dark, I can’t walk”. I encouraged him, ‘Don’t fear! God is with you. Nothing can harm you. And holding her hands tightly, I kept on walking towards home.

As we celebrate the 60th Teachers Day, it reminds me of my teachers who encouraged and helped me to walk. That formal journey started from the day I started learning English alphabets. As a kid, I had the least interest in studies. Being worn out of me, my parents appointed a teacher for me to teach me English alphabets, and numbers. I love him because, in our first meeting, he first showed me his love. He was a soft-speaking fine gentleman. Every evening, he promised to give me candies if I did my homework. Today, as I refresh my memory of that of our Teacher-Student relationship, I find in him fulfilling the Bible verse –

“Do everything in Love”

In high school, my class teacher took me to the Principal to punish me and suspend me from class for using filthy words in the classroom. I was asked to kneel down outside the room of the Principal, as our school peon took my case to her. But to my surprise, she patted my cheek and very sweetly said, “Son, you know these are bad words and you are not supposed to use such language! Henceforth, I will not listen to such a complaint against you.” Oh, what a horrible day turned into one of the blessed memorable days just because of the simple act of forgiveness. Today, as I refresh my memory of that of our Teacher-Student relationship, I find in her fulfilling the Bible verse –    

“Forgiveness is an act of compassion, kindness, and mercy”

As a teenager in our Sunday School class, I and my friends often asked our Sunday School teacher all sorts of weird questions intending to irritate and make fun of him. But every time with much patience and love he responded to each of our questions very maturely and filled with divine wisdom. Whenever he was unable to answer our question with folded hands, he very simply said, “my dear children, I don’t know the answer.” Every time the humble and God-fearing response of that knowledgeable man with grey hairs drove us to revere him more and more. Today, as I refresh my memory of that of our Teacher-Student relationship, I find him fulfilling the Bible verse –

“He who humbles himself will be exalted by God”

While in the initial years of my professional career, something related to my then profession had deeply hurt me and I thought to resign the very next day because of that incident. As I came back home and was about to go to bed, observing my long face, Dad tried to reason my situation. As I unfolded the whole story, he didn’t suggest me anything. He just said, “Son, think whether you are in this profession because of your ability or by God’s divine grace. The next morning, I consulted my mentor. To my surprise, his response was the same. He said, “If you are not happy, why don’t you take it to the LORD in Prayer? I trust He will respond to you.” Today, as I refresh my memory of that of the counsel from my Dad and my Mentor, it assures me “It is blessed to trust them who lead us to God.”

Ironically, the Sanskrit term “Guru” is used for a “mentor, guide, expert, master, or teacher”. In pan-Indian traditions, a guru is more than a teacher. Since the Guru (teacher) is the person, who leads someone from Darkness (‘GU’ in Sanskrit) to Light (‘RU’ in Sanskrit).

But alas, the harsh reality is that these gurus exist for a finite timeline. They won’t be everywhere at any time and their moral standards moreover stand circumstantial. Considering the border and sacred perspective of guru in our life, Jesus is presented as the Sat-Guru (the eternally good teacher), who is the Light that leads us from darkness to the Light of life.