Tuesday, May 24, 2011


Learning with Kabir could be understood as reflecting on the role of the Teacher, or Guru. What do we mean by the ‘Sat Guru’ or True Guru ? What is the relationship of Teacher to Student, adult to child in the Indian cultural tradition? This question could lead to a deeper understanding of the “Sat Guru” in the poetic world of Kabir; and also in the thought of other mystics like Ramana Maharishi, or again Tagore or Gandhi. In this context we may reflect on how Kabir’s poetry might help in understanding the learning process rooted in an Indian educational ethos. Kabir said that the Guru gives us the roots of wisdom. In that sense the Guru is not just the external person who has the function or role of being a teacher. The True Guru is wisdom itself which lies in everyone’s heart. It is this inner Guru that is also what the child needs to discover. The external teacher only helps the student to find that inner Wisdom that lies embedded in the heart.

If nine hundred rivers flow in your body,

Can the seven seas be too deep?

The Guru’s pool is full in your body,

Why wander feeling thirsty ?

Here the Guru figure is also the poet. The song itself becomes a teacher, leading us to an inner experience of wisdom.

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