Self awareness doesn’t ensure the absence of mistakes but it does ensure that we will realize it and work towards rectifying it.

Srila Vyas Deva compiled entire Vedic Scriptures and after accomplishing such a feat he was dissatisfied. As he was desiring to identify and overcome them Narada Muni appeared and helped him. There are wonderful lessons for a student-teacher relationship from the behavior of both of them respectively.

“Lessons to Learn from Vyas Deva on “Handling the Mistake”
1. Ability to Identify Mistake (SB 1.4.31)
2. Accepting the Error (SB 1.5.5-7)
3. Repentance (SB 1.4.32 )
4. Correction (SB 1.7.6)

1) Ability to Identify Mistake
For identifying the problem two important things are required –
I. Stability of internal environment
II. Deep Introspection

i) Stability of internal environment
Many times when people land up in difficult situation, they are unable to identify the dynamics of situation. Sometimes they even neglect the very symptoms of the problem.

To establish cause and effect of a problem multiple factors are interlinked. Sometimes to identify the actual reason one factor (independent variable) is analyzed keeping all other factors constant (independent variable).

Consider, if someone is at a stage in life when it is in equilibrium observing deviation (of certain parameters) or a problem is easier. But if you are living a deviant or chaotic lifestyle it is difficult to identify the cause and effect of a difficulty. Vyasa Deva was leading a pure life, therefore he could identify despondencies in his heart. If in one’s life already many problems going on, it will be difficult to identify such despondencies and cause of them.

Example – If vehicle is running well and there is one problem in engine, an expert can identify problem just by the sound of it. But if there are multiple problems in engine job becomes difficult because of inter-dependencies.

ii) Deep Contemplation
Vyasdeva contemplated on the problem he was facing. Before approaching the spiritual master (or authority) one should try to understand the problem and present it well in front of spiritual master. It requires high scrutiny to find root cause and establish cause and effect relationship.

We can learn that they just should not go to spiritual master without doing any prior work/contemplation. He should first put all his intelligence to serve well. Post analysis of problem can be presented to the Spiritual master for his kind suggestions and corrections.

2) Accepting the Error
Accepting error requires a humble attitude and honesty. Vyasadeva although could identify the problem still he wanted to get it confirmed from his Spiritual Master and thus he humbly asked what is the reason of his despondency.

3) Repentance (Khidyatah)
A thorough regret by the problem creator to the ones who suffered solves half the problem. People in Kaliyuga makes mistake but they do not regret it because they are not honest and compassionate. Outwardly saying sorry is not repentance.
A real repentance also ensures that mistake will not be repeated in future.
Honestly and compassion of Vyasdeva is visible in SB 1.4.32

4) Correction
Most important step is one should take measures to minimize the effect of mistakes made.
Post discussion with Narad muni, Vyas deva sat down to meditate after touching water on western bank of River Sarsavati. He compiled Srimad Bhagvatam in relation to the Supreme Truth.

Expertise and Honesty of Narada muni as Spiritual Master

  • *He did not hesitate in sharing his personal story of his birth in a low class Sudra family (son of maidservants). Normally people avoid to show their negative or darker sides but Narada was honest in telling details without editing.
  • *He inspired the disciple to do the seva
    • i)He told glories of Bhagvatam (which you are going to compile)
    • ii) said to Vyas Dev even if one composes devotional scripture imperfectly it is appreciated.
    • iii)He shares his own story, how devotion changed his position
  • *Along with engagement he ensured that empowerment was also given. (Vyas was able to see pastimes of Lord)
  • *He knows subject matter expertly therefore he can guide well (qualification of Spiritual master). He gave details of the stages of Bhakti and conclusions of Vedas.
  • *He expertly dispelled despondency of his disciple because he could identify it and he knows the heart of disciple.
  • *Being a devotee of Lord is the foremost qualification of being a Spiritual Master. Thus having compassion for people. He said even if one falls down from path of Bhakti there is no harm and Vyasdev should let people try to achieve highest.
  • *He always glorifies the activities of Lord and takes pleasure to enliven the distressed souls of Universe.

The above article is an answer to the Open Book Exam (Canto 1.1-9), by Utsav Mone, to the question: “Draw Lessons accompanied by a brief elaboration from Srila Vyasdeva’s conduct as a disciple, and Narada’s expertise and honesty as a spiritual Master”

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