This story is of ancient time, when Gurukul education system was there in India. According to the system teacher was being called as Guru and student as disciple (shishya). A student of one famous Gurukul, who was about to complete his education in next month came to his Guru told, “Dear Guru, soon I am going to complete education here. It is time for me to decide about my future. I think social service would be the right career choice for me. I want to use my knowledge and skill what I have learned from you for betterment of people and society.”
The Guru smiled and told, “This is something I was expecting from you dear. I am very glad that you want to use your life to do better of society and people. Please go ahead. My blessing is always with you.”
His final day in the Gurukul came and after taking blessing of his Guru, he moved to look for a village to start work. Finally he reached in a village where people were living very poor life. Their poorness was not limited to money only; rather they were also found to be poor in term of thought, behavior, relationship etc. He thought this is the right place to use his knowledge and skill.
In next morning he called a meeting of villagers and expressed his desire to work with them for the better future of village. All villagers became very happy and agreed to offer all kind of supports. For the first two months things went good but latter it had been found to be seen number of people visiting to him reduced day by day and finally days came when nobody paid their visit to him. He felt helpless and could not understand anything.
But he was not among those who accept their defeat easily. He made all efforts what he could have done but to his bad luck nothing worked. Nobody listened to him. Even some villagers started oppose him. He simply could not control himself when he realized that all his hard efforts had ended in zero and made an immediate journey to Gurukul.
The time was morning when he met his Guru and told his difficulties and ended as, “I really could not understand where I was wrong. I worked for their benefits but they opposed me. I had no personal interest out of it. I feel really helpless. Please help me come out of this mess.”
Guru listened him with patience and told with his usual smile, “Dear, I understand your issue. But we will discuss on it in evening. Now do a job, take this broom and sweep all around the ashram, take rest as you have travelled a long way and meet me evening.”
The disciple could not understand anything what is going on but looked at the broom and told immediately before Guru leaves the place, “But Guru, look at the broom. It looks very dirty. It looks as if it is not in use since a long time. How can I clear something in something which is dirty?”
The Guru smiled at him and told before leaving, “It is your business to take care.”
The disciple somehow managed the job, took rest and met Guru after evening ritual. Soon Guru asked, “How was your day today?”
He said, “It was nice Guru. After a long time I could live a peaceful day. My mind has been calmed down.”
Guru with a pause said, “By the way, how did you managed with the dirty broom?”
He answered, “Guru, first I cleaned it in water properly, next allowed it in sun shine to dry and when it properly dried I used it to sweep.”
Guru continued, “Nice job done. But did you get the answer of your question?”
The disciple said with surprise, “No Guru, so far we have made no discussion on it. So how can I know?”
The Guru placed his one hand on disciple’s shoulder and told while walking towards ashram garden, “Dear, your condition no better than the dirty broom. As a dirty broom only can make a place more dirty if it will be used for sweeping, so is your half theoretical knowledge is.”
“But I could not understand anything” said the disciple in very calm but trembling voice.
Both sited on green grass very calmly. A pin drop silence could be found to seen there. It was looking, as if all plants of the garden had made themselves to hear Guru. With a deep breath Guru spoke, “Dear, by default we all are practiced and love to give advice to other. Expect that others should follow it without questioning. But one should understand that people never follow your words, rather they follow what you do. One can only make himself/herself perfect or worth to give advice only by implanting on self what he wants to advise other. People prefer live examples above of words or suggestion.”
Guru paused for a while before continuing “Dear, knowledge without practical implementation has limited use. But when knowledge goes coupled with implantation it shows tremendous outcomes. The very basis of teaching is to implement on self of what you have taught and analyze its outcomes. But you have never done it. You just suggested or advised what you had taught from here and thought it would work. But things do not happen like this.”
“Did you ever try to make self implementation of what had been taught to you?” Guru continued “Education takes its full size only when it is exposed to practice. So I said- your condition is no better than that dirty broom. You were trying to implement your knowledge on other without implementing it on self. You are just serving the purpose of transformer, who is transferring knowledge from me to other. But this is not the manner to do it.”
It was about to be 9.00 pm. One disciple came and informed that dinner was ready to be served. Asking him to wait for ten minutes, Guru moved forward to his final comments, “Dear, solution of this problem is very simple. Deal with this problem the way you dealt with the dirty broom. First you need to clear yourself. You need to implement each of your thought or knowledge on self, so that you will get cleared from your side. This is similar like cleaning your broom. And once you are ready with your practical knowledge you are fit enough to implement those on other. This is as similar like your clean broom which could clear dirtiness very easily and effectively. This is how I am working and believe this is the only way to work. Dear, my best wishes are always with you. Now let’s move towards dinner.”
The Guru moved ahead and the disciple followed him towards dining room. Disciple’s face was looking bright. He was little shocked the way Guru explained him his problem but more satisfied because he had the answer of his question. He was viewing as if his dreams were converting to positive result.