Yesterday evening Geeta and I were in Dadar and accidentally met Yashwant Deo, Deo sir as we call him, renowned Marathi poet & music composer. Both of us were extremely happy on meeting him and touched his feet, and then chatted with him for about 10 minutes.
He knows us, since Geeta took classes in light vocal music from him for about two years. It’s unbelievable how much energy a 85 year old person can have. He recognized us after a gap of almost three years. He enquired if Geeta continued her singing and then started telling us about his latest project. The project is called Apoorvai , which means something that has never happened so far. In this project, seventy popular Hindi songs will be recreated in Marathi. And Deo Sir has written the lyrics for all the songs! He was speaking about the project with the enthusiasm of a a twenty year old.
(This is the second time I am writing about a music maestro without being a music buff. A few days ago, I wrote a tribute to Bhimsen Joshi. )
This reminded me of a Guru purnima function that I attended in Geeta’s class. In this function, the students perform to offer a tribute to the guru and demonstrate their achievements. The whole class had congregated and everyone performed. After everyone’s performance Deo sir spoke to the whole class. He was telling about the place of the teacher in the student’s life and how the student should follow the teacher.
He said, गुरुचे अनुसुरण करावे, अनुकरण नाही. Roughly translated, it means, a student should follow a teacher but should not blindly duplicate what the teacher does. He said that the difference is not always very clear, so he gave an example to clarify the difference between “following” and “blindly duplicating”. He said,
“ Let’s say you and me go to a high end restaurant. You have never used the cutlery for eating. So you are looking at me to figure out how to use the knife and the fork. I pick the fork in my left and, you do too. Then I pick the knife in right hand, so do you. Till now, you are blindly copying me. Now I start eating from my plate. Do you eat from the same plate from where I am eating? Off course not. You eat from your own plate. That’s following.”
What a profound lesson, and how simply delivered. Understand the teacher’s principles and apply them to your unique situation in your own way. Never blindly copy the actions of the teacher.
After the function, I went to Deo sir, touched his feet as a student does, and said to him, “You may or may not accept me as your student, but I have no doubt that you are my teacher”. Thank you Deo sir for an important lesson.