The mediocre teacher tells.
The good teacher explains.
The superior teacher demonstrates.
The great teacher inspires.
–William Arthur Ward
When Arjuna crashed with confusion at Krishna’s feet, he was not willing for a sermon, but a straight answer. Naturally, any ordinary teacher would have answered in binary logic i.e either abandon the battlefield or shut up and fight. However, the great teacher Krishna is also the greatest enigma to have ever surfaced on the planet.
We need to realise that Krishna was no ordinary teacher, but a great one. An ordinary teacher commands, a great teacher reasons with you. The ordinary teacher does not want you to think independently, while a great teacher encourages you to think.
An ordinary teacher expects you to surrender your judgement to him, a great teacher develops your judgement. There is a reason why Krishna says at the end of Bhagvad Gita, “Now you decide and take your call!” Imagine, after wrecking his head for 700 verses, he is open for discussion and leaves the discretion to Arjuna.
Also read: Arjuna’s Dilemma and Bhagvad Gita.
Furthermore, Arjuna’s questions were unending, since he wanted to avoid the bloody massacre in the Kurukshetra war. But Krishna was considerate and patient. He empathized with him and understood the dilemma Arjuna was facing. He did not force his judgement on the latter. Rather, he reasoned with him.
I must say Arjuna, on the other hand, was a great disciple too. He acknowledged that he was ignorant. He acknowledged he was confused. His confusion and more importantly his humility prepared him to be a great student and, when the student is ready, the teacher appears.
- Featured image is from Mrinal Rai’s book Kurukshetra Yuddha