Intro: Guru Govind dou khade, kaake laagoon paye Balihari guru aapne, Govind diyo milaye.
What is the role of teachers in one’s life? Children, you will all agree that it is the teachers who shape our lives. They impart knowledge, whether it is Vedic, architectural, musical or spiritual. It is imparted through developing relationship between the guru and the disciple. It is considered that this relationship, based on the genuineness of the guru, and the respect, commitment, devotion and obedience of the student, is the best way for subtle or advanced knowledge to be conveyed. The student eventually masters the knowledge that the guru embodies.
Kabir, a mystic poet in 15th century, wrote in one of his couplets (in Hindi),
Guru Govind dou khade, kaake laagoon paye
Balihari guru aapne, Govind diyo milaye.
(I face both God and my guru. Whom should I bow to first?I first bow to my guru because he's the one who showed me the path to God.)
In this issue we will cover some of the famous teachers who with their wisdom and commitment played a key role in shaping the personalities of their disciples.
1.Lord Krishna: Lord Krishna was a great teacher and a healer. He gave perfect counselling to Arjuna when he was in the state of acute anxiety, confusion, indecisiveness and depression. His supreme knowledge, skills and understanding of human relationship were responsible for convincing Arjuna that he has to perform his duty, regardless of who his opponents are.
2. Guru Sandipani
Sandipani was an acharya whose life is closely associated with that of Lord Krishna. In fact, sage Sandipani was the tutor of Krishna and Balarama. The brothers, along with their friend Sudama, went to study at Guru Sandipani’s ashram (near Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh).
After the completion of their studies, they asked the sage to name a guru dakshina of his choice. Since Krishna was an avatar of God, the sage asked him to restore his son, lost in the ocean at Prabhaas.
Krishna and Balarama went in search of the sage's son. When they reached Prabhaas, they found that Sandipani's son had been taken hostage by the demon Shankhasur (who lived in a shankh, or conch) beneath the ocean. Krishna and Balarama took the conch to Yama, who blew into the conch and Sandipani's son was extracted.
Krishna handed over to sage Sandipani his son, and kept the conch obtained from Shankhasur, which is known as the panchjanya in the scriptures.
3. Dronacharya: In the epic Mahābhārata, Dronacharya was the royal guru to Kauravas and Pandavas. He was a master of advanced military arts, including the Devāstras. Arjuna was his favorite student. Drona's love for Arjuna was second only to his love for his son Aśhwathāma. He was considered to be a partial incarnation of Brahaspati.
4. Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, born Gadadhar Chattopadhyay, was a famous mystic of 19th-century India. His religious school of thought led to the formation of the Ramakrishna Mission by his chief disciple Swami Vivekananda. In late 1881, Narendra (Swami Vivekanand’s childhood name) went to Dakshineswar with two friends and met Ramakrishna. This meeting proved to be a turning point in his life. Although he did not initially accept Ramakrishna as his teacher and rebelled against his ideas, he was attracted by his personality and began to frequently visit him at Dakshineswar. He initially saw Ramakrishna's ecstasies and visions as “mere figments of imagination” and “hallucinations”. As a member of Brahmo Samaj, he opposed idol worship, polytheism and Ramakrishna's worship of Kali. He even rejected the Advaita Vedanta of “identity with the absolute” as blasphemy and madness, and often ridiculed the idea. Narendra tested Ramakrishna, who faced his arguments patiently: “Try to see the truth from all angles”, he replied.
5.Dr. Jagdish Chandra Bose
This great man was the first to prove that plants and metals have feelings too. This is not all, he even invented Wireless Telegraphy a year ahead of the invention when patented by Marconi but it was sheer hard luck of Dr J C Bose. He studied Physics, Biophysics, Biology, Botany and lot more.
After completion of his studies abroad Dr J C Bose returned to India and served the country with his teaching ability. It was 1885 when he returned and joined as Lecturer of Physical Science in Presidency College, Calcutta. The tragic part was that India was then not an independent country and so Dr Jagdish Chandra Bose was offered half the salary of his British colleagues. It did not deter the patriot in him and he accepted the job to build up the future generation of India but declined to accept the salary less than his British colleagues.
6. Gopal Krishna Gokhale: Gokhale was famously a mentor to Mahatma Gandhi in his formative years. In 1912, Gokhale visited South Africa at Gandhi's invitation. As a young barrister, Gandhi returned from his struggles against the Empire in South Africa and received personal guidance from Gokhale, including a knowledge and understanding of India and the issues confronting common Indians. By 1920, Gandhi emerged as the leader of the Indian Independence Movement. In his autobiography, Gandhi calls Gokhale his mentor and guide. Gandhi also recognised Gokhale as an admirable leader and master politician, describing him as pure as crystal, gentle as a lamb, brave as a lion and chivalrous to a fault and the most perfect man in the political field. Despite his deep respect for Gokhale, however, Gandhi would reject Gokhale's faith in western institutions as a means of achieving political reform and ultimately chose not to become a member of Gokhale's Servants of India Society. Gokhale was also the role model and mentor of Mohammed Ali Jinnah, the future founder of Pakistan, who in 1912, aspired to become the “Muslim Gokhale”. Even the Aga Khan (the Spiritual Head of the Islamic sect of Ismaili Khojas and grandfather of the present Aga Khan) has stated in his autobiography that Gokhale's influence on his thinking was probably considerable.
Since the year 1962, 5th September is celebrated as Teacher's Day till date .It is a tribute to the contribution made by teachers to the society. In India it started when some of the prominent students of Dr S Radhakrishnan the great teacher, academic philosopher and India's Second President organised a gathering to pay obeisance to that Great Teacher of repute. In that gathering, in his speech Dr Radhakrishnan expressed his deep reservation regarding his birth anniversary celebration, and emphasised that his birth anniversary should be celebrated as ‘Teacher’s Day’, by paying homage to other Great Teachers of India. According to Dr Radhakrishnan teachers have played an important role in the overall development of a person. They are capable to influence and mold a student's life positively. Every student celebrates this day to encourage and support the contribution of his or her teacher. Children are the country's future, hence they need to be positively nurtured and that is done best by teachers as children get inspired by their teachers. Teachers enlighten students and shape their career. The dream begins with a teacher who believes in you, who tugs and pushes and leads you to the next plateau, sometimes poking you with a sharp stick called 'truth'.
The idea of celebrating Teacher’s Day took ground independently in many countries during the 20th century; in most cases, they celebrate a local educator or an important milestone in education (for example, Argentina commemorates Domingo Faustino Sarmiento's death on September 11 since 1915, while India celebrates Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan's birthday on September 5th. The UNESCO started observing October 5 as World Teachers' Day from 1994. Over 100 countries mark this event to pay respect to the teaching community.
On the occasion of Teacher’s Day, various cultural programmes and activities take place in schools. Senior students dress up as teachers and take up their roles, giving out lectures and teaching the students of primary level. By doing so, the students get a hands-on experience and realise how it feels to be a teacher. In some schools feasts are arranged and in some reunions are organised between the old students and teachers. People call up their childhood teachers and let them know that they are still remembered, giving them immense happiness and appreciating them for all that they did for them. —Aniket Raja