Commemorating one of the greatest teachers India has ever seen, the birthday of the second President of India, Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan is celebrated in the nation as Teacher’s day. At this juncture, here’s a humble attempt to learn from the great teachers of Hindu mythology.
1. Sri Dronacharya: Precision skills and Judgment
It is quite interesting to know how Dronacharya became the Guru of Pandavas and Kauravas. When the princes were playing, a ball fell into a well in the courtyard. Dronacharya shot grass blades of darbha, one on top of the other and pulled the ball out. Impressed by his precision skills, Bhishma himself appointed him as the royal teacher. If not for his efforts, none of the great warriors of Kuru dynasty would have evolved. No wonder the Government of India has named the award for excellence in sports coaching after him. His selective regard to Arjuna slightly tampered his image as the ideal teacher when he demanded Ekalvya his thumb as Guru dakshina for teaching practically nothing. Having realized this he blessed Ekalvya to be the greatest ever warrior of his tribe.
A teacher always stays abreast in knowledge and sharp skills. He doesn’t train his pupils through mere commands. He sets himself the model of wisdom and virtues to guide his pupils to enlightenment.
2. Maharishi Vasishta: Clarity of goals and Truth seeking
One of Saptarishis (the seven coveted sages), Vasishta was the Guru of Surya dynasty. When Lord Rama was thoroughly confused by the harsh realities of life and turned passive towards his responsibilities as the next-to-the-throne, King Dasaratha turned to none other than Vasishta for help. It is under his training that Lord Rama molted into Maryadapurushothama. It is believed that Maharishi Valmiki wrote down these words of wisdom to Rama in Vasishta Yoga. This book is still the epitome of Advaita Vedanta and Yoga. An eternal truth-seeker, Vasishta had crisp clarity about his goals and the means to attain them.
A teacher is never confused. Only when he himself is confident about the path ahead can he guide his pupils forward. He is always honest and genuine.
3. Prapancha Guru Sukracharya: Atonement and Principles
Though officially he is the teacher of the “demonic” group of Asuras, Sukracharya is regarded as one of the most powerful gurus of the entire Hindu mythology. Disappointed by his father’s disregard towards him over his brother Brihaspathi, he underwent the most severe tapasyas of all time to gain immeasurable wisdom and rose above his own brother. He was one of the very few scholars to comprehend Mritasanjeevani Mantra to resurrect the dead. No wonder Kacha, the son of Brihaspati had to come to Shukracharya to learn it. Kacha being his distinguished pupil, Shukracharya taught him the Mantra risking his own life and breaking his daughter’s heart. Nothing mattered to him more than the sacred journey to wisdom.
A teacher makes huge sacrifices for ensuring excellence in his pupils. He never wavers from his principles of righteousness.
4. Maharishi Vyasa: Unparalleled Knowledge
It is no secret that the greatest treasure house of knowledge in Indian culture is Vedas. Time-tested over centuries, we still don’t have any science at par with the complex Vedic science. Failing to comprehend the mysteries of this enormous source of wisdom is, in fact, our biggest shame today. When Lord Brahma constituted his Vedic knowledge into a single complex literature, it could never reach the lesser mortals. Determined to bring this knowledge to those who seek it, Vyasa split it into three Vedas: Rig, Yajur and Sama. There is absolutely no argument that only a very learned soul can simplify Vedas. And Vyasa strived to impart this knowledge to millions.
A teacher acquires knowledge for the greater good of imparting it to his pupils. It is equally courageous and generous.
5. Lord Krishna: Stability and Resilience
He was not a teacher in conventional ways. But when his beloved friend Arjuna was trembled and hesitant in the Battle of Kurukshetra, he rose up to being a teacher of invaluable scholastics. His timeless preaching of Bhagavat Gita is still valid even today. His competency as a teacher is proclaimed by the fact that Arjuna who was practically debilitated with remorse and fear to fight against his own family, escalated with unfathomable valor and vigor in the warfront towards the victory of Pandavas. It could be just an interesting coincidence that today is regarded as the birthday (Janmashtami) of Lord Krishna according to Hindu mythology.
A teacher is always stable and resilient, no matter what the hurdle ahead is. And he imparts that wisdom so effectively that it gets rooted deeply in his pupil for a lifetime.
“Gurur Brahma, Gurur Vishnu, Gurur Devo Maheswara, Gurur Sakshat Parabrahma Thasmai Shri Guruve Namah”
Guru is the incarnation of Lord Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. Creating the path to wisdom. Sustaining the flame of knowledge. And destroying the tentacles of ignorance. Salute to such a teacher.
A great salute to all the teachers of the world.