Transcending boundaries of race, religion or culture, since time immemorial, the world has always recognised and saluted knowledgeable, insightful, worthy, truthful and creative trendsetters. From early childhood itself, young minds are driven towards seeking knowledge and blessed are those who get the guidance to move away from the darkness of ignorance towards illuminating wisdom. In Indian scriptures, since Vedic age, the significance of ‘Guru’, the teacher, and ‘Shishya’, the student or follower, is highlighted. The syllable ‘gu’ means shadow, the syllable ‘ru’, he who disperses them. Because of the power to disperse darkness, the guru is thus named. In the Gita, Krishna speaks to Arjuna of the importance of finding a guru: Acquire the transcendental knowledge from a self-realised master by humble reverence, by sincere inquiry, and by service. The wise ones who have realised the ‘Truth’ will impart the ‘Knowledge’ to you. Swami Vivekananda said that there are many incompetent gurus, and that a true guru should understand the spirit of the scriptures, have a pure character and be free from sin, and should be selfless, without desire for money and fame. The teachers and learners of 21st century are not far from these definitions, though now guru is more of a friend, philosopher, facilitator and guide for their shishyas. The rigidity of the roles of the teacher and his pupil has ended and a role reversal is a possibility. The changing times have entailed the pupil to be a teacher in some domains and the teacher could be a pupil himself as age is not a barrier to learning. The guru-shishya relationship is as strong as ever, only perspectives have changed.
Arti Chopra, Principal,
Amity International School,
Sector 46, Gurgaon
The ancient concept of guru-shishya relationship or parampara has undergone a lot of changes in today’s context. However, the one aspect that remains constant is that knowledge is still transmitted to the student from the teacher. Another quality that remains extremely relevant is the fact that the teacher’s role as a ‘role-model’ is sacred and cannot be compromised at any cost. If we want our students to be honest, respectful,