Teaching is a life time mission

 Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam

Teaching is a life time mission

25/Jul/2007 By Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam

To enable development of youth first and foremost, the teacher’s love for teaching is essential, with teaching as the soul of the teacher. The teacher must realize that they are responsible for shaping not just students but ignited youth who are the most powerful resource under the earth, on the earth and above the earth. With their full commitment to the great mission of teaching, the teacher transforms himself or herself as a great teacher only when he or she is capable of elevating the average student to high performance. The teacher conducting himself or herself in a noble way itself is a lifetime message for students. They should encourage the students and children to ask questions and develop the spirit of enquiry, so that they blossom into creative enlightened citizens. They should treat all the students equally and should not support any differentiation on account of religion, community or language and continuously upgrade the capacities in teaching so that they can impart quality education to the students. They should realize by being a teacher, they are making an important contribution to the efforts of national development. The teachers must constantly endeavour to fill their mind, with great thoughts and spread the nobility in thinking and action among the students. Teacher should celebrate the success of the students.

Five unique events

1. Save or better someone's life

While talking about good deeds, I am reminded of the advice given to Mahatma Gandhiji by his mother. She says, "Son, in your entire life time, if you can save or better someone's life, your birth as a human being and your life is a success. You have the blessing of the Almighty God".

This advice has made a deep impact in the mind of Gandhiji, which made him to work for the humanity throughout his life.

2. Remove “I” and “Me”

During the year 2003, when I was visiting Arunachal Pradesh, I visited a Buddhist monastery at Tawang 3500 m. altitude. I was in the Monastery nearly for a day. I observed a unique situation in all the nearby villages, where young and experienced radiating happiness in spite of severe winter environment. Then, I visited the 400 year old Tawang monastery and there I saw monks of all age groups in a state of serenity. I was asking myself what is the unique feature of Tawang and surrounding villages which makes people and monks to be at peace with themselves. When the time came, I asked the Chief Monk, how in Tawang villages and monastery, I am experiencing peace and happiness being radiated by everyone. There was a pause, the chief monk smiled. He said, "You are the President of India. You will know all about us and the whole nation.” Again, I said, "it is very important for me, please give me your thoughtful analysis".

There was a beautiful golden image of Lord Buddha radiating smile and peace. The Chief Monk assembled nearly 100 young and experienced monks. The Chief Monk and myself were sitting amidst them. The Chief Monk gave a short discourse, which I would like to share with you. Chief Monk said, "In the present world, we have a problem of distrust, unhappiness transforming into violence. This monastery spreads: when you remove “I” and “Me” from your mind, you will eliminate ego; if you get rid of ego, hatred towards fellow human beings will vanish; if the hatred goes out of our mind, the violence in thinking and action will disappear; if violence in our mind is taken away, peace springs in human minds. Then peace and peace and peace alone will blossom in the society". I realized the meaning of beautiful equation for peaceful life, but difficult mission for the individual is how to remove the ethos of “I” and “ME”. For this, we need the education inculcated in the young age as propagated by ancient philosophers.

2 (a). Forgiveness

In my search for evolving a peaceful and prosperous society, I got a part answer. My search for real truth continues. I visited an ancient Christian monastery in Bulgaria, where I had a discussion with highly experienced monks on the message of Tawang. The Monk added that forgiveness is also the foundation of good life.

2 (b) Giving a trait of happiness

Similarly, I had a memorable experience in the birth place of Swami Vivekananda, a youth monk of India who could keep the audience spell bound in eastern and western society with his inspirational messages of spirituality and practical life, I explained the Tawang experience to the disciples and they too felt the Tawang experience indeed is beautiful and they added "Trait of Giving " will add to peace and happiness.

2 (c) Good deed results in good actions

When I visited Ajmeer Sharif where I participated in the Friday Namaz. Here, the Sufi expert told me that Almighty's creation, the man, has been challenged with another powerful creation of Shaitan. Only good deeds lead to good thinking, good thinking results into actions radiating love as commanded by Almighty.

The message from all these and other spiritual thinkers is that there are many ideas and spiritual thoughts which transcend religions, geographies and time. If only we could bridge the spirituality among religions and nations, many of the problems like the gaps between haves and have nots, deprivation causing unrest leading to extremism, the remnants of past animosities and war and several other road blocks to peace and prosperity can be tackled. I am sure the AMU students will be able to work on this theme.

3. Together we will Win

Friends, I would like to share with you an inspirational experience, which I came across. At a Special Olympics, nine contestants, all physically or mentally disabled, assembled at the starting line for the 100 mtr race. At the starting signal, they all started out, not exactly in a dash, but with a relish to run the race to the finish and win. All, others except one little boy who stumbled on the asphalt, tumbled over a couple of times, and began to cry. The other eight heard the boy cry. They slowed down and looked back. Then they all turned around and went back......every one of them. One girl with Down's syndrome bent down and kissed him and said, "This will make it better" Then all nine linked their arms together and walked together and finally reached the destination. Everyone in the stadium stood, and the cheering went on for several minutes. People who were there are still telling the story. Why? Because deep down we know this one thing: What matters in this life is more than winning for ourselves. What matters in this life is helping others win, even if it means slowing down and changing our course. I would say that, you do not have to slow down. Rather by helping difficult areas, the feed back will make you go faster. If you pass this on, we may be able to change our hearts as well as someone else's. "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle".

4. Human Indomitable spirit has a blessing of Almighty

Imam Ghazali was a saint teacher who lived in the 12th Century. My father narrated me a scene when Imam Ghazali has been tested by Shaitan, the transgressed Angel. One day Imam Ghazali was unfolding his prayer mat for Magrib Namaz. At that time, the Shaitan appears in front of him and said, “Respected Imam Sahib, I am just now coming from heaven where there was a discussion about great human beings and you have been judged as the best human being living on Earth. As a recognition of your great stature, you have been exempted from the trouble of performing Namaz in future. Imam Ghazali was restless as the Namaz time was approaching. So he looked at Shaitan and said, “Shaitan Sahib, first of all performing Namaz is not a trouble at all and when even Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him), was not exempted from performing Namaz five times a day, how can a poor Imam like me be exempted?. Thank you. He went on to perform the Namaz. When he completed the Namaz, Imam Ghazali still saw Shaitan was standing. Imam Sahib asked him what he was waiting for. Shaitan said, “O Imam you have excelled even the most favoured Prophet Adam, who could not win over my deception and I made him to eat the forbidden fruit. Realizing that Shaitan was flattering Imam Sahib prayed to Allah, Oh almighty, help me and save me from the deception of the flattery making the disappointed Shaitan finally disappear. His mission failed. But one of the great human being succeeded.

Friends, what is the message? When you are studying or when you are take up your job, no Shaitan and no devil in all your lifetime should deceive you with flattery. You will certainly defeat the Shaitan and succeed in your missions in life by your integrity.

5. Dialogue of Cultures

I would like to recall one incident which commonly occurs in many parts of my country. I have witnessed this event when I was a young boy (10 yrs). In our house, periodically I used to see three different unique personalities meet. Pakshi Lakshmana Shastrigal, who was the head priest of the famous Rameshwaram temple and a vedic scholar, Rev Father Bodal, who built the first church in Rameswaram Island and my father who was an Imam in the mosque. All three of them used to sit and discuss the islands problems and find solutions. In addition they built several religious connectivities with compassion. These connectivities quietly spread to others in the island like the fragrance from the flowers. This sight always comes to my mind whenever, I discuss with people on Dialogue of religions.

India has had this advantage of integration of minds for thousands of years. Throughout the world, the need to have a frank dialogue among cultures, religions and civilizations has been felt now more than ever.



"Courage to think different,

Courage to invent,

Courage to discover the impossible,

Courage to travel into an unexplored path,

Courage to share knowledge,

Courage to remove pain,

Courage to reach the unreached,

Courage to combat problems,

And Succeed,

Are the unique qualities of the youth.

As the youth of my nation,

I will work and work with courage

to achieve success in all my missions."


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  1. Kalam inspires.

    & Hey! Poor Sonic is alone, somethin' happen' to tails?

  2. gooood, you workd it out for him, best friends are best together

  3. Every word is Heart touching.....an Idea personality


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