The teacher has a duty to impart the right knowledge to his students. When the knowledge imparted is incorrect or the students are not fully taught the proper use of the knowledge, or if not taught to give it the due respect and to appreciate it fully, the knowledge can be misused. Such misuse will bring about destruction of the individual, society and nation. On the spiritual path, the Guru has a duty to show the right way to his disciples as per their inclination and nature. He also has a duty to serve and show the way of Dharma to the society. His teachings lay the foundations of respect and reverence for righteousness or Dharma in the society. Where the Guru fails in this and teaches superstitions or imparts unethical or unprincipled teachings, he brings suffering on others and also has to undergo the consequences of his own karma. This karmic payback is emphasized in this story given below:
A mediocre monk lived in the mountains of Tibet and practiced Dharma. He would collect some money and travel through the land. But invariably he would fall sick and exhaust all his savings by the time he recovered. Once he passed by a village which was hit by famine. He did not get any food to eat for days and was in near fainting condition. So he lay under the shade of a tree filled with self pity and despair. Suddenly an Indian monk appeared in front of him said: O Respected Master, are you done with your travels? Do you recall teaching the Lotus Sutras in your past life in the Northern Province? The mediocre monk replied: I am not worthy of the title you address me with and I have never traveled to the North Province. I am now fed up with all travels!
The Indian monk gave the other monk a large red apple to eat which the other monk ate heartily as he was starving since days. Then he drank some water and fell asleep. The apple was blessed with some magical properties and in an instant, he woke up and remembered his past life. He recalled that he was a high ranking Buddhist monk who preached Dharma to all. He was a part of group of four monks who were very close friends. So he asked about others. One monk was reborn as monk in another province, another one had joked about being born as a high ranking official and he was born as one. The third was the Indian who attained enlightenment in that life itself and the fourth was the mediocre monk.
The mediocre monk shed a tear of self pity and said: In my previous life for forty years, I took one meal a day and wore only one robe and worked hard to get rid of all material thoughts from my life. Why is it that I have fallen so low in this birth that I go hungry today? The Indian monk replied: In the past, when you were a respected teacher, you used to preach many superstitions. Your personal behavior and conduct was also not up to the mark. You did not practice Dharma as you preached it. As a result, many people began to doubt Dharma and lost faith in it. Now you pay the karmic price for it.
The Indian monk showed him a mirror which reflected the mediocre monk’s future destiny and the ups and downs of his life. The mediocre monk understood that all retribution, honor and disgrace in his life were due to his own actions. He thanked his compassionate helper and both walked together. Suddenly the Indian monk disappeared. The mediocre monk reached another monastery where he was given a high rank. He traveled through the land and taught the Dharma of Buddha. His high conduct and ascetic practices were admired and praised by all.
Whenever we give knowledge to someone, or teach someone something or give advice, we play the role of a Guru. The same rules given above are applicable to us. We should not misguide anyone or cause another person to doubt Dharma or God. We should practice what we preach. Else we will suffer the karmic consequences of our own misdeeds. Let us do the Sitaram Mantra, meditation and follow the teachings of the Guru to clear ourselves of our internal impurities and set a right example of behavior and speech to all. The best way of helping others is through our own right behavior and right speech.