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A teacher is not too big to admit his mistake

April 22
21:26 2014
Lord Mahavira

Lord Mahavira

One day, Lord Mahavira visited the town of Vanijya and gave a big sermon. After hearing the sermon, Anand, a millionaire, decided to accept the twelve vows of householder at the age of fifty years. Fourteen years passed by following those vows, and then he decided that he would rather retire from his household responsibilities.

So, he called his children and transferred all the responsibilities of business, and household activities to them. He also, told them that no one should seek his advice in worldly affairs anymore. After that, he was spending the rest of his life in penance and meditation. He, thus, stopped worldly activities for rest of his life.

After some time, on the account of his pure mental condition and performing of austerities, he attained Avadhijnan (Limited Divine Knowledge). It so happened that Lord Mahavira, and his disciples were in town and at this time Gautamswami was collecting alms (food), going from one house to other.

He overheard people talking about Anand’s poor health, and he had attained the special knowledge, so Gautam Swami decided to visit Anand. When Gautamswami arrived to Anand, he offered his salutation laying in the bed, and told Gautamswami what he had attained and he could see up to the 12th Devaloka. Gautamswami told Anand that such knowledge was not possible for the householder.

Thus, he told Anand if he should regret (do prayshchit) for telling a lie. Anand was puzzled because he was telling the truth. He did not want to disobey his spiritual teacher, but at the same time, he was thinking it would not be fair to repent for telling the truth.

So, he politely, with respect, asked Gautamswami, “Guruji, is it necessary to repent even when someone is telling the truth?” Gautam said, “No.” Gautam still could not believe Anand. So, he went back to the Lord Mahavir to get the clarification.

After reaching Lord Mahavira, Gautam asked him about his conversation with Anand. Lord Mahavira said, “Gautam, Anand was right. He had attained that much of Avadhijnan. How come a knowledgeable person like you made such a mistake.

Therefore, if at all, it is you who should ask for forgiveness.” Gautam realized his mistake and instead of finishing his meal, he went to Anand and apologized for his mistake and requested for forgiveness. Anand was very happy that Lord Mahavira took the side of truth, and not that of his first disciple, Gautamswami. He was also, happy that even a monk like Gautamswami, who had a very high accomplishment,
This story tells us how humble shravak should be in correcting the mistakes of their teachers. It also, shows how simple, humble and a true follower of Lord Mahavir, Gautamswami was, that when Lord Mahavir pointed out his mistake, he went to Anand without any arguments, or thinking that he being the first disciple of Lord Mahavir why should he ask for forgiveness.

It also, shows how great was the teacher, Lord Mahavir that even though it was the mistake of his first disciple, he did not cover it up, but on the contrary, he took the side of truth, and explained to Gautamswami his mistake.

Mahavir Jayanti was celebrated on April 13. Excerpted from www.umich.edu

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