It was teacher’s day and what better way than to spend it in the Advanced Module of the Chiranjeev Gurukul session with our dear Guru Rajesh Kamath and an energetic batch of participants .
The Session focussed on some amazing teachings from the Arthashaastra and Yog and particularly one thing that struck me and prompted me to write this blog was the point on Listening or Shravan.
Listening comes from the space of gaining knowledge or the desire to learn or Shushrusha.
A good listener is intelligent and will give the other person an opportunity to speak. In a conversation, we are all generally in the mode of preparing to give our response to a person who is speaking. The amount of time we are fully present in a conversation and paying attention to the words being spoken is rare.
Our ancient texts from the Bhagavad Gita to the Arthashaastra make it a point to stress that Shushrusha and Shravan are non-negotiable qualities for a Leader. The whole premise of the conversation that transpired between Lord Krishna and Arjun was based on listening and trust that transpired.
When there is total attentiveness and a desire to learn then Shravan and Grahan which is the absorption of the knowledge or understanding becomes automatically possible.
In chapter One of the Bhagavad Gita as the impending war was about to take place Arjun begins to share with Lord Krishna his anguish of having to fight his cousins and family. Lord Krishna is focused on listening to the depths of his emotion, noticing what he is thinking and feeling without uttering one word or sharing any solution. Only when he has fully expressed himself after going to the real crux of the problem that Lord Krishna starts to speak. That takes some great intelligence and wisdom.
We are normally missing the ability to trust in our intelligence and we begin to look for a solution for the speaker before the problem has even been expressed. We don’t have the patience or are interested in the real issue. When there is the ability to listen attentively the person who is expressing himself/herself will finish speaking and in the course of expressing him/herself will automatically find his or her solution.
There is no real conversation if each person is interested in only speaking or hearing himself/herself and this is coming from the Ego. Shushrusha means the desire to learn or in colloquial terms also means to do Seva. To understand this better Mathadhipathi His Holiness Swami Sadyojat Shankarashram has explained it beautifully. When one does Seva ones distractions from the mind are removed and there is peace of mind and one can gradually shed the ego and then listening becomes refined and begins to happen with the heart.
Seva helps to attain an openness and attentiveness. Isn’t it wonderful how Sanskrit language with one word “Shushrusha” and its dual connotations can elaborate the point of listening so clearly?