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India The Land Of Teachers (Gurus) – OpEd

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The United Nations is to hold a “Transforming Education Summit” to be held in New York 17 to 19 September 2022 during the General Assembly with the theme – “Learning and Skills for Life, Work, and Sustainable Development”  as the current education systems appears not to be  preparing students to meet the challenges which face the current world situation. There is a feeling that society is crumbling, collapsing and is no longer creative. Education should promote full development of each person’s understanding, respect, and friendship among peoples.  Education should promote the advancement of the culture of peace, liberty of freedom, respect for human rights, equality and non-violence.

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India has been the land of Teachers (Gurus) for centuries from Lord Krishna who taught Arjun and whose teachings are in Bhagavad Gita, the basic principles of life. Since His teachings apply equally to all, He is called Jagadguru, the world teacher. If there is any single book that conveys the wisdom of India to the world, with its synthesis of yogic teachings and practical life wisdom, it is Krishna’s Bhagavad Gita. The Gita remains the most read and published book from India in thousands of years. Gurus to name a few Chanakya,Buddha,Guru Nanak Dev ji,Guru Gobind Singh ji,Vivekananda, Rabindranath Tagore  and many sages and rishis.  

Chanakya wanted just to be a teacher, but he had to put all the theories of war into practice. He is best known to have turned around an ordinary boy, Chandragupta, into an extraordinary leader. Hence, known as a king-maker. The teacher-student relation (Guru-Shishya) is still vital in our generation. And the tradition of Gurukul to some extent the modern day public school still continues in India.He documented all the principles of leadership in his treatise, The Kautilya’s Arthashastra and also another text, Chanakya Neeti giving simple life principles which can be practised by a common man on day-to-day basis.

Five lessons to learn from Chanakya’s life and his teachings…

  • Ordinary to extraordinary: A teacher can be inspiring and transforming. If the right student meets the right teacher, magic happens. 
  • Be wise yet simple: Chanakya was a man of wisdom. He could walk among the kings and could be as comfortable with the common man. He could guide the kings with the Arthashastra theories, while he could tell how to be successful in a practical way through his Chanakya Neeti strategies as well.
  • Connecting the dots A good teacher is the one who can see the connection between two unconnected events. While Chanakya saw Alexander as a possible threat when he wanted to conquer India, he also realised it as an opportunity to unite India. 
  • Strategy is important: When the powerful do not listen to you, use strategy. This is where the guru comes out. He knew how important it was to think differently.Chanakya’s well-known four-fold strategy, “Sama (conciliation or alliances), the first step is to talk. Daama (gifts or compensation) price, it means to pay the price. Danda (force or armaments). To declare war on the opposite state and Bheda (usage of Logic or Trickery), influence the mind.Helps one to think of alternative solutions to any problem or situation. It is a psychological tool that can make you a winner in any given situation.
  • Results matter: Chanakya is respected because he was focused on results. Finally, the end matters. 

Guru Nanak Dev Ji , Guru Nanak Dev Ji and Vivekananda similarly said on education: Education was the manifestation of perfection already in a man. He was of the opinion that the inherent perfection of man will spontaneously manifest itself when external and internal obstacles were removed with the help of a capable teacher. As a teacher of the masses, the first thing he did was to make the people aware of the existing external obstacles in the form of unfair distribution of resources, inequalities in social, economic and political set up and in educational opportunities. At the same time he worked towards the removal of internal obstacles by ridding his pupils’ minds of the cobwebs of ignorance that stand in the way of a man achieving his highest potential. 

Guru Nanak Dev Ji, believed that a true teacher is one who has the capacity to come down to the level of his students. Wherever he went during his travels, he talked to the people in their language. While talking to a farmer, a trader or an artisan, he would use their respective terminology and give examples that were closer to their daily life, making it easy for them to understand the message being given by him. He went to the extent of dressing up the way the people of the area being visited by him dressed themselves up, so that they identified themselves with him and developed an instant rapport with him. Proper communication between the teacher and the taught was very important to him. This made him a very popular and beloved teacher.

India celebrates Teacher’s day (5th Sept)  every year since 1962 to mark the birth anniversary of Dr Radhakrishnan, the second president of India, a profound philosopher, statesman and educationalist of exceptional stature for his notable contributions to the cause of education. This day we also recall and acknowledge the immense contributions of countless ideal teachers of our nation who have been inspirational figures. 

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GURU in Sanskrit;GU indicates the darkness and RU means to remove the darkness. 

India believes “The world is One family”Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam 

Patial RC

Patial RC is a retired Infantry officer of the Indian Army and possesses unique experience of serving in active CI Ops across the country and in Sri Lanka. Patial RC is a regular writer on military and travel matters in military professional journals. The veteran is a keen mountaineer and a trekker.

One thought on “India The Land Of Teachers (Gurus) – OpEd

  • September 6, 2022 at 4:01 pm
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    Thanks. In1962, I heard Dr Radhakrishnan, who came to Nizamabad in AP (Telugu)–do you know, he was a son-of-Telugu (from Madras)?
    A scholar who forgot the ‘root’ of pure-science Knowledge (Veda in Sanskrit)–influenced by British-rule.
    And said ‘Sanskrit, Greek, Latin’ were 3-sister languages of Man–I believed him as a Teacher.
    But, this Teacher is wrong–Sanskrit is the root of all ‘sounds’ of man, animals… Greek, Latin…& English (or even the right-to-left scripts of Jew) are rooted in Sanskrit.
    That’s the Reality–that makes all life (man, animal) on the earth are Created for the purpose of the Creator, like Buddha tried to tell us.
    Rest doesn’t matter…much.

    Reply

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