Vidyasagara

Vidyasagara’s Sacrifice For His Teacher

This story is about a great Bengali figure named Vidyasagar. His name means ‘the ocean of knowledge.’ He is well known in India, especially in Bengal. During his lifetime, there was nobody who did not admire him for his wisdom and adore him for his compassion. He did so many things to raise the standard and the consciousness -of Bengal!

He used to teach Sanskrit at a Sanskrit college run by the British Government. It happened that a higher post was available, and the principal wanted Vidyasagar to get the post. But Vidyasagar said, “No, I cannot accept it.”

The principal asked, “Why?”

Vidyasagar replied, “Because there is someone who knows Sanskrit far better than I do. He is the one who should get this post.”

The principal said, “You fool, you need money! You have a big family to support. Your brother and sister depend on you. I have such affection and concern for you. You must take this post.”

Vidyasagar insisted,,”No, there is somebody who is more qualified than I am, and that person is my own teacher.”

The principal said, “No, I am sorry. I do not agree with you.”

Vidyasagar said, “I am not going to accept the post.”

Finally the principal said, “The day after tomorrow is the last day I can accept applications, and your teacher has not yet even applied. R has to be done in an official way.

Vidyasagar said, “I will go to my teacher’s house and bring him an application.”

To reach his teacher’s house, Vidyasagar had to pass through several villages, either by bullock cart or on foot-a distance of fifty miles. Vidyasagar was an ocean of knowledge and compassion, but he was not an athlete. For him to walk fifty miles was really something! He left Saturday afternoon and arrived at his destination the next day. When his teacher heard what Vidyasagar had done, he could not believe his eyes and ears. He started shedding tears and immediately embraced Vidyasagar.

The teacher told him, “If somebody says, ‘God,’ immediately it comes to mind that God is in Heaven. But I will say that God is not in Heaven. God is right in front of me.” Vidyasagar’s family name was Isha, which means God.

Vidyasagar filled in the form, and his teacher just signed it. Then again Vidyasagar walked back fifty miles. Altogether he covered one hundred miles. When he returned, he was tired and exhausted, but he was also so delighted that his teacher would get the job. The principal did give Vidyasagar’s teacher the job. But afterwards, the principal sat down on his chair and could not speak for an hour. How could there be people like Vidyasagar on earth? He could not do anything. He just sat on his chair speechless.

So Vidyasagar continued to receive fifty rupees a month, while his teacher received ninety rupees-practically double.


from Illumination-Experiences on Indian Soil
by Sri Chinmoy