5 Qualities of a Learner

Learning is a life -long pursuit. Everyone who has achieved greatness in life claims that they never cease to learn. In the words of Stephen Covey – “We need to sharpen the saw.”

A good learner drops the ego and continuously unlearns. Because if you don’t break the old patterns, there is no room for new. 

In Sanskrit there is a Shloka that explicitly states the five qualities of a learner. This is ancient transcendental wisdom that has stood the test of time. 

काक चेष्टा, बको ध्यानं, स्वान निद्रा तथैव च ।

अल्पहारी, गृहत्यागी, विद्यार्थी पंच लक्षणं ॥

These 5 qualities apply to a learner at any stage in life. Be it a student, a businessman, a homemaker, a freelancer, an artist, or a sweeper… anyone and everyone who has an innate desire to learn more needs to follow the above. Let us understand each of the above – 

काक चेष्टा means to be curious like a crow. Crows are one of the most intelligent species of birds. They are observant and constantly looking for cues. They have strong problem-solving skills and a sharp memory. 

बको ध्यानं means to be sharp-focused like a heron. These birds are masters in picking their prey in flowing water. They know when to bend and pick and constantly watch the surroundings. 

स्वान निद्रा means nap like a dog. A trait of every dog is that it is alert even in sleep. A learner should always be alert to gain more knowledge. 

अल्पहारी means watch what you feed your mind and body. Read, watch, and listen well and eat healthily. One should never forget that your body is your medium to act.

गृहत्यागी means step out of your comfort zone. Embrace change to learn the unknown. Your comfort zone includes people, places, and habits. 

My grandfather explained to me the real meaning of a student. I go back to it every time I falter or fail. He was a self-made man who worked three shifts to settle in the city of dreams – Mumbai. With minimal education from Jasrapur, Rajasthan, he self-learned and established himself. 

This post is a tribute to him and his teachings. 

I hope you found it helpful. For more content on self-growth and well-being, follow me and keep reading here. 

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