Rati Dady Wadia has won the 1st prize for the ‘WRITE AN ARTICLE’ contest held at the recent lectures at Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Mumbai for writing this piece.
I attended the Guru Purnima lecture on the 9th of July, 2011, given by Jaya Row at the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan on Relationships – Discord to Accord.
Jaya is my student and I am extremely proud of her. Every year I try to attend the Guru Purnima lecture and meet her and exchange a couple of sentences of memories of school days, and each time she offers to come down from her platform but I refuse, and tell her she is the Guru not I at that point of time.
When I taught Jaya in Queen Mary School, she was Jaya Hosangady and I was Rati Dara Vania. She then became Jaya Row, and I, Rati Dady Wadia, continued to teach in Queen Mary School till I retired in 2000; while Jaya has gone way beyond me, reaching out to thousands of people all over the world, with her wonderful rendering of the Bhagvad GIta and teachings of Vedanta. I am so touched to see this amazing spiritual flame glowing from her face. The aura she carries around her is so soothing.
Now about this particular lecture. It was so pleasing to hear so many of her expressions and ideas which matched mine when I used to teach. I’ve always quoted to my girls the Biblical statement – ‘Do unto others as ye, would they do unto you’. When I’ve taught Julius Caesar the characters of Brutus and Cassius have been superb examples of opposites as seen so often in real life. And Shakespeare is an expert in live characterization. Brutus was the idealist, a man of principles and integrity. Cassius was a manipulative crook. And so Brutus trusted one and all – even his arch-enemy Antony while Cassius was the cynic who never believed in anyone. And I’ve told my girls we always judge others by our own yardstick. Jaya brought out the exact idea so beautifully.
Then of course Jaya talked about anger and temper as such negative qualities. I’ve always taught my girls – we have four great enemies – anger, pride, hatred and jealousy – we have to throw them out of our system and bring in love, beauty and joy and compassion because those negative qualities harm us more than the people whom they may be directed at.
I’m so proud to say, my Jaya has the ability to make one feel a participant in her talk. With her superb examples she is able to make us project ourselves in the incidents / illustrations she gives so we learn to change our ways for the better.
Jaya’s crystal clear explanation of attachment and detachment stunned me. For the 1st time in my life I saw light where these two were concerned. I have always thought detachment was impossible – that it is imperative that one is attached to one’s loved ones – husband / wife – children/parents. But today I understood the difference between Love and attachment.
I’ve always taught my girls that True Love is totally unconditional– it is always I Love ‘XYZ’ and a full stop not I love “XYZ’ because….
And that Love is the only quality on earth that multiplies on giving and does not diminish ,so I was so happy to hear her repeat that sentiment I so truly believe in , and have taught my children / students always that love is the quintessential quality that makes the world go round.
I wrote an article about my wonderful dad when he passed away, in our school magazine in 1982-83 – and I had written one sentence there – ‘He truly loved the world and its wife’. Yes indeed he left that legacy to me, and I feel so strongly this Love for one and all and this oneness my Jaya was talking about.
It just fills you with happiness in whatever situation / condition you are. I have always been happy in my life – my happy childhood days in Queen Mary School with my wonderful teachers and my loving mom and dad and my sisters; my beautiful Wilson College with the fantastic professors and then my married life with my true life partner, my soul-mate and my son and daughter, who are all miracles in my life.
And then thousands of my lovely girls (and some boys too whom I have taught). I always say if I’m born again I want to be born a teacher for the love of my girls (and Jaya is one of them).
Jaya talked about contentment and being cheerful. Yes I’ve always taught my girls to ‘count their blessings and not to grumble and grouse over everything – to be cheerful and smiling and spread cheer. In the Avesta we have the word – Ushta – te – Happiness be unto you – it is a necessary part of our religion (Zarathustrianism) that we should be happy, and pass on that happiness to others.
In this context I would like to share two quotations of my dad, one which I had used as an essay topic for my students often – ‘Luxury is artificial poverty, contentment is natural wealth’.
“If we throw thorns in our life we will get pricked by the same. If we scatter rose petals, we ourselves will get the fragrance’.
It is so gratifying that these beautiful messages of love and contentment Jaya is spreading to the world. This is such a valuable contribution in a world torn by strife and bitterness and the craze for money and power.
Finally I feel so happy when Jaya talks so lucidly of Wordsworth and Shakespeare, because though this particular poem I have never taught that she talked about (which taught me many a lesson from my student) I have taught her about Shakespeare and Wordsworth, Tennyson and Dickens because I was her English Literature teacher.
So Jaya I was so happy to have this opportunity to communicate with you so many thoughts that were deep in my heart each time I lisented to your lectures.
I bring down God’s choicest blessings for you, my dear – continue with the wonderful work that you are doing with a passion strong enough to shake this world out of its apathy.
May He who made the universe always hold you in the hollow of His hand.