Take it from me. It is better to have no mentor than have a mentor who has all the good intentions, but doesn’t know what’s exactly right for the mentee. In the first case, you still have excuses to put forth for not getting the cheese, in the rat-race. In the later, you have nobody to turn to and crib, complain or be catty about. You are trapped in a cage, albeit a gilded one.
As the wise men of yore said, “Few people are born with mentors. Some acquire mentors along the way. And a significant portion has mentors thrust upon them.” It’s with the last lot our sympathies should lie. Still skeptical? Sample this story.
Once upon a time there lived Sage Suchitha, or “Pure Mind”, a morally and spiritually superior being with a golden heart. Every day he took bath in a stream flowing by his hermitage and offered prayers to the gods. By a quirk of fate, one day, an eagle flying above head carrying its breakfast, a she-mouse in this case, accidentally dropped it into the stretched hands of the sage. Suchitha took pity on the hapless and injured she-mouse and took it home and applied medicine.
Using the powers vested in him by virtue of his pious nature and penance that he did over time, he turned the mouse into a young girl. He looked after her as his own daughter and taught her all the scriptures and sciences he was teaching his students at that time.
Years passed and the girl grew into a beautiful young maiden of a marriageable age. Sage Suchitha wanted to get her the best groom possible in the whole world; and set out to search for him.
He first approached the Sun god, the provider of light and heat to all worlds and the sustainer of life on earth. “O mighty lord, will you accept the hand of my daughter and make her happy?” Sun bowed to the sage and said, ‘O holy one, I would be happy to oblige you, but I am not the strongest or ablest one that you suppose I am. It is the Cloud king, for he can overshadow me and cut the light and heat off in a jiffy. His is the abode, you want your daughter to be sent as a queen to.”
So the wise man proceeded to the cloud king’s palace. He got a grand reception at the place, and a patient hearing. The upshot is that the sage gained knowledge that the wind god is powerful than the cloud king as he can blow all the fluff in the world in a blink. The hot-air god (for it is by now, afternoon) led the perspiring sage to the mountain king stating that he alone breaks his path and changes his direction by standing his ground stubbornly and not giving way. Who can be mightier than the mountain?
“The mouse king” Pat came the reply from the mountain king, after the customary pleasantries were exchanged and purpose revealed by the pure-heart. “My mighty deportment is a mere nothing when confronted by the powerful jaw of the mouse king. He tunnels through me like I am made of cheese. He is the right choice”.
Off he went to the mouse king and sought his hand. The mouse king readily acquiesced. The daughter was turned into a she-mouse again, and betrothed to the mouse-king. “I got her into a great place, where she can lead her life happily ever after”, so thinking the sage’s eyes went moist. The daughter too shed tears but for a different reason.
For she knew the sage could have, if not so naïve though well meaning, gotten her to marry any of the gods he has visited:
- Sun – The shining star who worked fixed hours
- Cloud – All fluff floating well above the measly earth, that people looked at and made their own interpretations, without taxing the god’s mind much
- Wind – Hot air and invisible to pin down for any misdeed. What fun!
- Mountain – Stubborn, rooted to the place, lead a languid life without moving so much as a finger
Instead now she has gotten into a hole, a future mapped out to work incessantly and in mortal fear. A rolling stone slaughters mouse. And the well rooted deportments have many that can crush the tiny body and snuff the life out any moment! Bah, strongest!
So you see folks? If the mentor was smart enough, he would have known what your constitution is. And at the very outset hitched your wagon to the right being. Without rising false hopes.
Or he would have, with the powers vested in him to change you for better (a la mouse to maiden), packaged you and gotten you into the right place without breaking a sweat.
All you mentor-blessed or mentor-hunting minions may smirk at me today, for being mentor-challenged. But make sure, you will not cry at your fate for being delivered into the hands of a well meaning one with less street smartness tomorrow. For then, you know who will have the last laugh!