There is a famous incidence from the life times of the early Mauryan kings - A minister for King Nanda (pre-Mauryan) is going through the forest when he sees a brahmin plucking grass out of the ground and plugging the hole with salt. Intrigued, he stops his chariot and asks, "Sir, you seem like a learned brahmin, why are you pulling out grass from their roots and indeed, why are you salting the place ?"
The brahmin stops for but a minute, looks, carries on and replies, "Sir, no job should be too high or too low for a person. I will not ask someone to do something for me if I am not willing to do it myself. This grass is of a certain type, which has very sharp edges and a very sharp point. It hurts my feet when I walk through this glade. My students also have to go through here. I felt that I should clear this route for me and my students."
The minister, highly impressed by the man's enterprising spirit, asks "OK, I can understand that you want the grass removed, but why the salt ?" Still pulling out the grass, the brahmin smiles and says, "What is the point of pulling this grass out if only to have it regrow in a few months time ? By salting the earth around this area, I am making sure this grass will never grown here again." The minister was truly overwhelmed by the man's far-sightedness and with humbleness due to him asked, "May I know whom I have the pleasure of addressing?" "Chanakya" was the short and succinct reply.
If only everyone took this story to heart, the world would be a better place for it. The moral of the story is, don't be afraid of doing any work, no matter how trivial it may seem. All magnificent monuments have fairly standard looking blocks in their mighty foundations. The loftiest mountain peak has the most common mud at its base. Don't be embarrassed to do what ever it takes to complete your goal.
Chanakya's goal was to teach his students. The grass was an obstacle - so, instead of asking others, he himself got up to remove it. The students who complained, could well have pulled out the grass themselves, but, like most of us, they found it easier to complain rather than resolve the issue. Chanakya got up to act. If someone came to assist, all well and good, but otherwise, he was fully prepared to do the whole job himself. Teaching fine theories from an elevated seat is a wonderful job, but to achieve it, you have to sometimes get your hands dirty. If you all you want is glory, you will never find it. Alexander the Great did not conquer half the known world by sitting in his tent and only shouting orders !
Indeed, Chanakya moved mountains to remove the Greek insurgencies in India and toppled an empire to establish another - just so that he could teach !! If only our teachers were like this now ! But, to get teachers like that, we first have to be a society that can inspire children to grow up to be so determined. Chanakya helped found an empire that lasted many generations. The Mauryan empire sprouted a golden age of India. Its culture, architecture, politics and indeed sheer strength have set it apart from the long list of empires that have come and gone in this world. And all this because a single person had vision and determination. India can be great once again, if only our youth have the same single-mindedness of Acharya Chanakya.
© Bhagwat Bhagwat_s@Yahoo.com
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