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‘Not proper to teach Gita to students’

‘Not proper to teach Gita to students’
March 05
11:44 2019

Kaka Kalelkar
(The famous Gandhian teacher Kaka Kalelkar wrote a book about his travels in the Himalayas in which he dedicated a whole chapter to Padmapuri where he went to meet Sombari Baba (1825-1919). Nobody knew his real name. He belonged to Pind Dadan Khan, now in Pakistan. As a devotee of Lord Shiva he would hold a bhandara on every Monday (Sombar) hence he came to be known as Sombari Baba. The following is an excerpt from the book Deva Bhumi by Krishna Kumar (K.K.) Sah:)

“We bowed down and paid our respects. Baba bowed to us with equal respect and proceeded to go and sit by the temple. He invited us to go and sit close to him. Out of respect, we chose not to sit at the same level as this great sash and decided to sit on the steps that led up to the small temple. Baba did not tolerate our mental attitude of “high and low.” He came and sat next to us on the steps. On seeing this, we moved further down and sat on a mat that was kept on the ground. Baba would not be beaten. He came and sat on the bare ground next to the blanket. Now what else could we do? We removed the mat and sat on the bare ground too. On seeing this Baba spoke, “I see the Divine in you. I have been waiting for you since the morning.”

A discussion followed in which Baba educated us about the different philosophies that different sadhus lived by.
I said to Baba: “You are teaching us about life. As a school teacher, I also teach my students about life. The difference is that I speak of things that I have read whereas you speak of things from experience. Could you please give me some instructions on how to teach?”

Baba replied, “I know you teach your students the Bhagvad Gita and explain its meaning to them. But this is not appropriate. The detachment taught by the Bhagvad Gita is hard for even old and wise people to imbibe, so how can you expect young children to follow it” He quoted a sentence from the Gita which speaks of action without desire or attachment, then continued, “How are they going to understand the meaning of something like this? First let them learn to work and perform action with desire. Your teachings of Vedanta make them into useless people with no power or will. They are unable to complete the tasks that they wish to perform and spend all their time talking about philosophy. The teachings of the Gita are for people who can understand and assimilate them.”

This was a total revelation for me. I asked, “So I shouldn’t teach them the Gita at all?”
Baba replied: “Sure, teach them some things from the Gita but talk of desireless action is not for them at this stage in their lives.”



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It’s a lovely book. It feels energetically clear and light. It’s easy to read, dip in and out and most importantly it offers information without fluff! Blessings on this project.

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