Chapter 6: Is There A Way To Measure Growth?

Parents, relatives, teachers, and society work together in the making of a man. A lot of investment goes into the making of a man. Consequently, every man has a moral responsibility to live a life worthy of his potential. Is there a way to know if man is doing justice to his potential or not?

When you study in the same school for 14 years, from your lower kindergarten to the twelfth standard, your school becomes your second home. Jai would be passing out of school this year. From teachers to students everybody knew that Jai has no competition for the most coveted ‘The Best Outgoing Student’ award. The school day function was this evening, and this evening was going to be Jai’s evening.

We all become what we become in life because someone believed in us much before we began to believe in ourselves. That someone was Avyakta for Jai.

The student-teacher chemistry is a mystery. We never know when it will happen, with whom it will happen and why it happens. But as and when it does happen, miraculous transformations happen. Jai and Avyakta shared such chemistry. The student-teacher chemistry just clicked. In discovering Avyakta, Jai discovered himself. Avyakta saw something in Jai and hence began to work on Jai. Jai would so often proudly proclaim, “I’m my teacher’s product.”

Jai came a little too early to school that evening. He went in search of Avyakta from one staffroom to another. When he approached the ninth standard block, he heard Avyakta’s voice coming from one of the staffrooms. Avyakta was in conversation with one of his old students. The ‘hero’ of the evening waited outside, but he could clearly hear the conversation. The old student belonged to the first batch of Avyakta’s students, and had passed out from school almost two decades ago. Sharing his success story with the ‘potter’ behind the ‘pot’, he spoke about how he had done 18 crores the previous year, what his future plans were, his family life, and some memories of his good old school days. He was attempting to give a complete picture to Avyakta. Needless to say, Jai’s imagination ran wild thinking what he would be sharing with Avyakta when he would meet him 20 years later.

The old student hugged Avyakta before taking leave. When Jai entered the staffroom, Avyakta was beaming from ear to ear. More than your own success, the success of those you create is always dearer to you. In a way, this was Jai’s evening. In a way this was also Avyakta’s evening. Avyakta, a man with an eye for detail, asked, “Have you prepared your speech of acceptance?” Jai replied, “Expecting this question from you I’ve already prepared my speech of acceptance.”

“Sir, feed my curiosity,” Jai said, “I happened to overhear the conversation between you and your old student. What does it mean to you, Sir, when students you have created do so well in life? I mean, how do you take it? I know what teaching means to you. Yet, do you go through thoughts like, while I have remained a teacher, the world I have created has moved ahead. No doubt you have been a ladder for all the leaders you have created, but don’t you feel, Sir, that you have remained where you were? Can I have some clarity, Sir, on what goes on inside Avyakta Sir’s head?”

Anything from his wonder boy made Avyakta smile. He asked Jai to take a seat. He glanced at the clock; there was at least another half hour to go. Avyakta said, “The ’cause’ doesn’t compare itself with the ‘effect’. Why will parents compare their success with their children’s; why would a teacher evaluate his life relative to that of a student; why will a potter be affected by the adulation his pot gets? Gardeners know that the trees they create will outlive them. Teachers, potters, gardeners… they are creators. Personally, there has never ever been even a slightest thought in that direction of comparing my life with that of my students. Only when you asked this question did I realise that you can also look at things that way. In fact, it will be adharma for a teacher to compare himself with his students. My dharma is to create, and create I shall as a teacher… twenty years ago it was him, today it is you, and tomorrow it will be someone else. A creator never compares himself with his creation.”

Jai smiled in return and said, “That’s what makes you who you are. That’s why a student comes back to you twenty years later and shares his success story with you. I feel so blessed to have been created by you. I will also earn in crores and come back to share my success story with you, Sir.”

“Nevertheless,” Avyakta clarified, “Jai, you should remember one thing. Money is a wonderful by-product and a very poor point-of-focus. When your work becomes your self-expression, money comes in search of you as a natural by-product. It cannot be the other way around, where money is the point-of-focus and
work is only a means to it. People who work purely for the sake of money may know success, but they will never know what it is to be Happily Successful. When the process of creation drives you, the creation-fee that life pays you for what you create is money. And Jai, prosperity is a fallacy. Even with crores, you are always poorer than someone else; even with thousands, you are always richer than somebody else. It is so relative. He who isn’t happy with what he has will never be happy no matter how much more he has. So, live to create.”

“Sure Sir,” agreed Jai. “But, one last question.” Both of them glanced at the clock. Avyakta nodded. Jai asked, “If it is not money, then how do I measure my growth?”

“Good question,” Avyakta acknowledged. “All your life, make yourself accountable to these three questions. They are,

1. Am I doing justice to my potential?

2. Year after year, in how many more lives am I becoming useful?

3. Day by day, am I living my life in ways by which I am moving closer and closer to my god?

Firstly, no matter how much you accomplish in life, keep asking yourself, ‘Am I doing justice to my potential?’

Man was created to create. Man was designed to design his life. The very process of birth, and then through parents, relatives, teachers, and society – a lot of investment has gone into the making of a man. As a result, every man has a moral responsibility to live a life worthy of his potential. Success is not what you achieve compared to others, but what you achieve compared to what you are capable of. And what you are capable of is defined by the infinite potential sleeping within you.”

Avyakta continued, “Now the question is, ‘How will I know if I am doing justice to my potential?’ There comes the second question: Year after year, in how many more lives am I becoming useful? Even a cow, a bull, a parrot feeds a family of humans. It would be a shame to live a life of mediocrity, a life merely for me, mine and myself. Measure your success by the usefulness of your life. None of us are useless. Just that, we are used less.”

“And finally,” Avyakta concluded, “we are living in times when people believe even murder is okay to produce results. No, it is not okay! Without ethical and moral accountability, as I said earlier, success may be possible, but being happily successful is not. Mark 10:25 states, ‘It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God’. Here ‘rich man’ isn’t an absolute reference, but a reference to men who choose to be rich by hook or by crook. Arjuna sought Krishna and Duryodhana chose Krishna’s resources. The rest is history. We all know who triumphed. Let’s not trade god for the kingdom of god. If lower ideals can produce such results, then trust me, the higher ideals will only give you a lot more in life. So never go to sleep without answering the third question: ‘Day by day, am I living my life in ways by which I am moving closer and closer to my God?’ Jai, be worthy of these three questions and life will give you everything else as a natural by- product, and money will be just one of them. Wishing you most and more…”

The ‘Best Outgoing Student’ of the school was now made ready by Avyakta to be the ‘Best Incoming Student’ of life.

Money is a wonderful by-product and a very poor point-of-focus. When your work becomes your self-expression, money comes in search of you as a natural by-product. It cannot be the other way around, where money is the point-of-focus and work is only a means to it.


How you say it, matters!

When struck by an arrow, will you sit around and analyse the raw material with which the arrow is made? When words hurt the tender hearts of people, they care too little for the meaning those words meant to convey. Frankness in itself is never a problem; it is the bluntness with which our frankness is expressed that causes the problem. It isn’t just what you cook; how you serve also makes a difference. Good communication will serve a relationship; improper communication will sever a relationship.

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