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Preceptor necessary

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Krishna, after killing Kamsa, releases his parents from prison. He then restores the throne to Ugrasena. Krishna then recalls how Nandagopa and Yasoda had brought Him up, and He honours them. But there are other things that He must do, and He then becomes a pupil of the sage Sandeepini. Is there anything Krishna does not know? Is there anything He needs to learn? Does anyone have the capacity to impart knowledge to the fountainhead of all knowledge? The answer to all these would be in the negative.

And yet, Krishna enrolled as Sandeepini's pupil. That is to show the world the importance of instruction, even if one is more knowledgeable than others in this world. If the Omniscient One sought out a preceptor, should we not? It is said that in 64 days, Krishna mastered all the 64 arts. There may be books in plenty for one to read, but nothing can compare with instruction from a good preceptor. Only he who learns from a preceptor will be able to become a gnani. What we get from books is as impermanent as the books themselves. Lasting knowledge, knowledge that liberates us from worldly bondage, can only come from a preceptor, said Adur Asuri Madhavachari.

One must take pride in referring to one's preceptor. If asked about one's identity, one should introduce oneself as so and so's disciple. Rama took greater pride in being referred to as the sishya of Vasistha than in being referred to as the One who belonged to the royal family. If one makes an averment and if people know that one has had instruction from a good preceptor, one's words will carry more weight than if one makes the statement without reference to one's teacher. The regard for the teacher is reflected in regard for one's words.

Those well versed in the Sastras always command respect. Lord Krishna Himself shows His regard for Bhishma because of his learning and strict adherence to the Sastras. Rama shows His regard for different people in different ways. To His father, He is obedient. With Vibhishana, He is trusting. In the case of Jatayu, He grants the bird moksha at once. In the case of Vasishtha, Rama shows His regard for Him by serving Him.

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