Freely You Received! Freely You Give!

Teachers are nation builders


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GURU, the one person next to our mothers who has shaped the philosophy and direction of our life in our second home, the School. “I am indebted to my father and mother for living, but, to my teacher for living well,” says Alexander the Great.

Through our teachers we encounter the world of knowledge. As we open our minds to hear the A B C of Life, Science and all its wonders we confidently, even as a toddler, pick up our pencils to script the first lessons of knowledge. Today as we speed our spells and scripts we have never turned back to the GURUS of our lives who have helped us to climb the ladders of education. Teachers day is round the corner. Apart from recalling what they have done to us, it is time  to see what we can give back to our teachers.

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Teaching is the profession that enables all the other professions. Teachers open the doors of life so that you may enter by yourself into it without fear. A teacher at the back of every student has made even ordinary persons to excel as extraordinary. A teacher’s purpose is not to create students in his own image, but to develop students who can create their own image.

A Guru can be described as a teacher, though; the role of a guru in the life of his students is much more than just teaching. In modern times, the role of a teacher has just got limited to imparting knowledge of various subjects. However, in ancient India, a teacher or a guru was a spiritually evolved guide. Along with the knowledge of various subjects, he also taught his students how to live a disciplined and principled life. A guru was the spiritual guiding force in the life of his students. One had to live life in four stages : Brahmacharya, Grihastha, Vanaprastha and Sanyasa.

The concept of guru dakshina is very ancient and unique to the Indian culture and tradition. It’s the life of Brahmacharya that is most closely connected with the concept of guru dakshina. In ancient times, a student lived the first 25 years in the house of his guru, which was called gurukul. A beautiful thing about gurukul was that all students resided together as equals irrespective of their social standing. It was at the conclusion of this formal education that one was required to repay his guru through a dakshina. Guru dakshina was meant to serve as a way of showing respect and thanks to the guru. The repayment was not always monetary. At times, a teacher used to simply ask his student to execute an important task. However, the guru often received a valuable gift or donation from the pupil and his family as his guru dakshina. Though the life styles have changed  down the years, yet the reverence and respect we pay to our teachers is still as it was a hundred years ago. What is the Guru dakshina we can give to our teachers today?

A disciple’s spiritual worth is not decided by how much and what he offers his guru, but how deeply he feels grateful for the guru’s help in his spiritual elevation.  Can we offer our teachers 10%of our selves to promote education in all ways? Can we offer 10% of our earnings to the education of those who cannot afford the richness of education? Let us offer 10% of our wishes and prayers for all the students struggling through the consumerism of exams. 

“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,” says Dan Rather. In teaching, you cannot see the fruit of a day’s work.  It is invisible and remains so, maybe for twenty years.

Teachers who inspire realize that there will always be rocks in the road ahead of us.  They will be stumbling blocks or stepping stones; it all depends on how we use them.  One looks back with appreciation to the brilliant teachers, but with gratitude to those who touched his/her human feelings.  “The curriculum is so much necessary raw material, but warmth is the vital element for the growing plant and for the soul of the child,”  says Carl Jung. Teachers don’t impact for a year, but for a lifetime.

So on Teachers Day, let us remember the forgotten models of our lives, who opened our eyes to recognize the alphabets and numerics. Let us remember, the ones, who prompted us to answer the  questions  about life in the light of truth.

We have received freely from our teachers. It is our turn to contribute  freely towards the education of the younger generation with an attitude to uplift the cause for education in the name of our teachers. Let us become the reflection of these legends in this world to carry on their noble heritage.

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