• Ozlem Tokmen

The Teacher and the Seeker

True seekers of knowledge are as important as true teachers. I have been feeling very strongly about this for a long time but wasn't quite able to put it into words. It was all growing inside me as a feeling…The seeker…How important is that?

Can we actually discover anything without seeking? And most importantly, what distinguishes a true seeker from a non-seeker? Since I have started studying with Acharya Shunya’s Vedic Spiritual Studies Program almost two months ago, I was spellbound by the fact that Bhagavad Gita was running deep in me like an undercurrent. It was stirring me from inside and keeping me calm and peaceful on the outside. I couldn't quite put my finger on the reason as to why this text, fairly new to my life, was having a huge impact on me. Then one day, I realized that for the first time in my life, I was getting some answers to the big question in my mind. Be it about life, death, friendship, family, teaching, learning, grief, ignorance… These concepts were beautifully floating in my mind without colliding with each other.

I was somehow struck by this emotional, intellectual and spiritual stir which was going on harmoniously inside me. This feeling of excitement about the whole process led me to talk about Bhagavad Gita, maybe a bit too often in my friend and family circle. However, I slowly found out that not everybody was as excited as me or interested about these big questions of life and its possible answers. So we people are different. Some of my friends and family members, even my nine year old daughter has developed a sound interest and curiosity over time. They asked meaningful questions, made comments, contemplated and even a few got their own Bhagavad Gita text and started reading. On the other hand, some other people remained unmoved without a speck of interest.

I teach yoga occasionally and one day had a chat with one of my Indian students after the session. As always the conversation took a beautiful turn and ended up in the depths of Bhagavad Gita. I told her that my questions about life was finally being answered and that everybody should study this text with a competent teacher to find out more about themselves and the big questions of life. My student was lost in her thoughts for a while. I could see it in her eyes. Then she looked at me with a genuine smile and said, “You know, not everybody is looking for answers like you.”

This comment took me back to one of the Bhagavad Gita classes. During the class, Shunya Ji mentioned that Arjuna was the student for a reason. He wasn't some random person who ended up being in need of help. So this Guru-Shishya relationship was not a coincidental tie between the teacher and the student. In order to make this relationship work, the student should be a true seeker, ask questions, yearn for answers and most important of all, the student has to be in a contemplative state of mind. Only then, one can receive answers or get a glimpse of the truth.

This thought put all the scattered pieces in my mind together. To find a true teacher, a guru, a shishya, you definitely have to be a seeker like Arjuna. I have been a seeker for a very long time but my efforts were mostly vain. Maybe the time was not ripe or I wasn't ready…I had a steady feeling of hollowness inside which couldn't be filled with anything I do or any book that I have read. The genuine, the authentic, the noteworthy, the ground breaking or the paradigm shifting knowledge was nowhere to be found. When I finally came across Acharya Shunya and her teachings through her Ayurveda Lifestyle Wisdom book, I immediately felt so much closer to the true, authentic source. It was a deep feeling of connection with the right path. I knew, intuitively that I was on the right track. As I started to listen Acharya Shunya’s discourse on Vedas, Upanishads and Bhagavad Gita; the ground moved, the void inside me shrank and my confused mind cleared up.

Now I can finally acknowledge that we all are in the middle of a battlefield, struggling to find the truth and the righteous way. With each step I move closer to the source. But I don't feel scared anymore to move forward through uncharted waters or unbeaten paths. Because I am confident that I have the guidance of Acharya Shunya, her unbroken lineage and the thousands of years old of wisdom and light.

From my experience I can see that as long as you remain a true seeker, even if it is in the middle of a battlefield, your true teacher appears someday, somewhere when you least expect it. Each day, your faith as a seeker brings you closer to the true source. A seeker who is ready and open minded enough to receive knowledge, one day would find her true teacher and I feel fortunate to have found mine here at Vedika.

​The author Ozlem Tokmen is a student of Acharya Shunya in the Vedic Spiritual Studies Program.

Learn more about how you can study Vedanta, Yoga and Ayurveda with Acharya Shunya in her

Vedic Spiritual Studies Program.

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