Children – all of you must have seen pictures of an airplane. Many of you also must have seen a real plane and some of you must have traveled by it. All of you will agree that just by seeing the picture of an airplane, you cannot feel how big it must be, how must it be flying, how would one feel flying in it, and so on. We may get some more information from the books etc., but such information or knowledge may be grossly inadequate, incomplete and may even be incorrect.

Now the question is how a teacher can give correct and adequate knowledge about an airplane to the students. Surely, the best way to do so is to take them to an airplane, provide them a flying experience, show them different components etc.

Therefore, mere bookish knowledge is not sufficient. Mugging up books may help us in scoring higher marks but knowledge thus acquired is temporary. It will vanish in no time, unless it is backed by some experience of the related topic.

If you wish to excel in the field of your choice – lawyer, doctor, engineer, artist etc- never bank upon bookish knowledge alone. Try to get as much practical experienced as possible. Seek the help of your teachers, your parents or your friends if required.

Carrying this logic further, if you seek the ultimate, God himself, then you must learn your lessons the way Yudhishther did. You know that Yudhishther was called Dharmaraja and even Lord Krishna held him in high esteem. You must know how he learnt his lessons. We will tell you his story.

Children, as you know, there were five Pandava brothers, Yuidhishther, Bhima, Arjuna, Nakul and Sehdev. Their cousins Kauravas, numbered one hundred. All these princes were sent to the Gurukul of Guru Dronacharya, who was a very strict teacher. He would test the students time and again on the lessons taught by him. Let us tell you that the methods of education in those times were entirely different from what they are today. In those days, emphasis was laid on practical education rather than the bookish one.

One of those days, Guru Dronacharya gave two lessons for the students to learn. Apparently simple, these lessons were: ‘Always tell the truth’ and ‘Never be angry’.

Next day it was time for a test. All students were asked to repeat the previous day’s lesson. All princes recited the lessons easily turn by turn, except Yuidhishther. He was silent.

“What is the matter Yudhishther?” enquired the stern voice of Guru Dronacharya. “Haven’t you learnt your lessons yet?”

“I am trying Guruji”, submitted Yudhishther.

“How shameful! You are the eldest of them all and you haven’t learnt the lesson which all others have. Hurry up and come to me.”

“I am trying my best Guruji, I hope to learn it fast.” said Yudhishther.

The younger princes were given further lessons to learn, but Yudhishther was stuck still with the old one -‘Always tell the truth’ and ‘Never be angry’.

Next morning, Yudhishther was the first to be called by Guru Dronacharya.

“Come Yudhishther, repeat yesterday’s lesson. I hope you have learnt it”.

“Guruji” said Yudhishther calmly. I have learnt the first part, but I am not sure about the second which I am afraid, I may forget.”

Guru Dronacharya was annoyed. “Go ahead, recite whatever you have learnt.”

“Always tell the truth”,proceeded Yudhishther, but became silent thereafter.

“Why have you stopped” shouted Guru Dronacharya. “Complete the lesson.”

“I am still learning Guruji” said an unperturbed Yudhishther.

That was the limit. Guruji could cope up no longer. “Extend your hand”, he ordered, lifting a stick in his hand. Yudhishther obeyed.

“Stupid, you have not been able to learn such a small lesson”, the angry words of Guru Dronacharya were accompanied by a few hard blows on Yudhishther’s stretched palm. But, Guruji was in for a surprise of his life. Yudhishther was dancing, merrily his face beaming with joy. “I have learnt the second one too. I have learnt the lessons completely!” he shouted with joy.

The glow of satisfaction, and the beaming happiness evident on the face of Yudhishther, forced the Guru to drop the stick. His anger vanished into thin air. Amazed, he stared at Yudhishther’s beaming countenance.

“Yudhishther! I shouted at you, I caned you so hard and here you are- dancing and smiling- without a trace of anger.”

Yudhishther fell to the feet of Guru Dronacharya. “‘Never be angry’. Isn’t that the lesson you wanted me to learn Gurudev?” he said humbly, “Whether the lesson had been learnt or not, could be determined only if I did not get angry even when provoked. The blows of cane delivered by you have made me learn my lesson and test it too. I was determined always to tell the truth. So the first part of the lesson was well learnt by me on the first day itself, but today with your blessings, I have learnt the second part too.”

Guru Dronacharya was overwhelmed. The small child had taught him a lesson of his lifetime Tears began to flow out of his eyes. “Even I have not been able to learn this lesson till now. I let anger get the better of me, many a time. Sometimes even I do not desist from telling a lie for a selfish motive”. He said in a choked voice. “Only you have truly learnt the lesson my child.”

Children, even at a tender age Yudhishther learnt a lesson so great that he came to be known as Dharamputra. Even a staunch enemy like Duryodhana respected him from the core of his heart. Every one trusted him to the extent that he would never tell a lie, nor harm anyone. Even Lord Krishna used to stand up from his seat in Yudhishther’s honour. Despite some mistakes committed by him later in life, he continued to be venerated by one and all, so much so that he is believed to have entered the gates of heaven in the living form, that is- alongwith his body, and earned the privilege of occupying the throne of King Indra (King of the heavens.)

Children! Childhood is the foundation of whatever you want to be when you grow up. Stronger the foundation, bigger is the size of the palace that can be built on it. If you resolve now, in the childhood itself, to achieve greatness in the field of your choice, it will not be impossible to realize your goal. With the foundation of a strong resolve at your back, all you need to do is to step forward, under the guidance of your seniors- your parents, your teachers, your Guru. Resolve now and watch the whole creation striving hard to help you realize your goal.