CECIL Frances Alexander's reference to “all things wise and wonderful”, in her great poem, is an indication of the immense potential for taking sustenance and inspiration from the wise and great souls all over.
Greatness is not the prerogative of the wealthy or the powerful. It often resides in the humble corners, buffeted by want and deprivation.
Whoever contributes to growth of human excellence and civilisation would, thus, whatever be his standing in society, naturally come under the nomenclature, “all things wise and wonderful”.
Adoration and respect for the great is not merely a virtue. This, in fact, is the reward for those who give themselves over to and thus obtain the needed guidance and knowledge from the objects of their adoration.
Choosing a role model and following this model in every way, without losing one's own individuality or uniqueness, is in fact, also the basis of the ancient Indian system of gurukula.
Even in the guru's physical absence (as in the case of Ekalavya, who rose to excellence in archery, just worshipping the idol of Drona), the aspirant realises his dreams, choosing, thus, a manasika guru.
This guru need not be limited to just one, but can also extend to more. Sage Dattatreya, when asked who his guru was, replied that he also learned from the trees, the animals, the sun, the moon, the birds and the plants.
Reverence and eagerness are thus the conduits through which the needed knowledge and wherewithal are passed on. This is the inner meaning of the Biblical statement (Mathew: 7-8, Luke: 11-9,10): “For everyone that asketh, receiveth; and that seeketh, findeth; and to him that knocketh, it shall be opened”.
It was in this spirit that the great Carnatic music composer, Tyagaraja composed these immortal lines, entaro mahanubhavulu antarki vandanamu (whatever be the number of great souls on earth, to all of them I pay my respects).
This respectful devotion not merely obtains for the seeker just the mundane knowledge (apara vidya) needed for day-today living. Very importantly, this approach leads on to self realisation and that ultimate wisdom (para vidya) that would survive the test of time and that of trying situations too.
As noted by Tennyson (Locksley Hall), “Knowledge comes, but wisdom lingers”. All things wise and wonderful, which abound all over, show us the way!
Posted by Shekhar Mehra | 13 Jun, 2010
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