Dr. Prachi Beriwala, Associate Professor, Presidency University, Bangalore
“GururBrahma GururVishnu GururDevo Maheshwaraha, Guru Saakshaat ParaBrahma
Tasmai Shri Gurave Namaha”
The above prayer and chant is often recited by students and devotees to show their reverence and gratitude towards their spiritual or academic mentors. This shloka emphasizes the importance of the guru in one’s spiritual journey and education, equating the Guru with the divine forces responsible for creation, preservation, and
destruction in Hindu mythology.
It acknowledges that the Guru is the one who leads students from ignorance to knowledge, from darkness to light. India has a long-standing custom known as the Guru-Shishya Parampara that dates back centuries and has
changed over time. Guru-Shishya parampara is a Sanskrit expression that means “an uninterrupted succession” ; and literally translates to “student of a guru” ; Hence, the lineage is merely transmitting, orally, the wisdom from a series of Gurus to their Shishyas.
The custom restores one’s sense of connection to their teacher and their worship of the Guru as God. Indian education continues portraying the relationship between teacher and student as “the one of eternal respect towards the Guru” ; despite the fact that tradition has changed as a result of the modern educational system taking over. In our Country, the relationship between a teacher and a disciple is considered a divine bond with spiritual and religious significance. Teachers play a critical and foundational role in building a nation by shaping the future of its citizens, fostering intellectual and moral development, and contributing to the overall progress and well-being of society.
The role of a teacher in a student’s life has been significant since the Gurukul system and continues to be crucial in modern education. The Gurukul system, which was prevalent in ancient India, was a form of education where students lived with their guru in a hermitage or ashram. Teachers in the Gurukul system were not just
educators but also moral and ethical guides. They played a central role in the holistic development of the student, and this aspect has remained relevant over time. Teachers in both the Gurukul system and modern education aim for the holistic development of students, including intellectual, emotional, social, and physical aspects.
Since the Indian education system has evolved with the role of Guru as a teacher, facilitator and the mentor, respect for them has remained the same. That’s why in India there is a day dedicated to the selfless role a teacher plays in the life of their disciples. Teacher’s Day in India is celebrated on September 5th & worldwide on October 8th every year. This day is dedicated to honoring and appreciating the hard work, dedication, and contributions of teachers in the lives of students.
As a teacher from the past two decades and my experience with students in the capacity of being a mentor, I would like to highlight similarities between GPS (Global positioning system) & my version of GPS (Guru Protection system). How GPS has become an integral part of our daily lives, offering a wide range of applications and
benefits, similarly the role of Guru is indispensable.
The way GPS help individuals find their way by providing real-time location information and directions, similarly the teacher helps their students in finding the right life path by implanting values, ethics, and character in their students, emphasizing the importance of righteousness and good conduct. They help students navigate challenges, make important decisions, and grow personally as well as spiritually.
GPS enables people to share their real-time location with others, for easy coordination, a teacher or the Guru also shares their life experiences or experiences of others through story telling or case studies to make students able to coordinate their academic learning with the practicality of career demands.
GPS is critical for emergency services to locate callers in distress accurately, similarly I have received calls from many of my students during their emergency situations or when they are in distress.
GPS-enabled fitness trackers and smart watches track an individual’s workouts which helps them to monitor their fitness progress, similarly the Guru by mere observation can sneak into the mind of their students while they look unwell or dull. From time to time they also guide them on maintaining physical and mental health, emphasizing the importance of a balanced lifestyle, stress management, and self-care.
GPS often provide guidance on smooth travel as well as advises on nearby restaurants or hotels, similarly a teacher provide guidance and resources for career exploration, goal setting, and developing skills that will be valuable
in the workforce. The way a Guru helps in holistic development of their students, in the similar manner
GPS has revolutionized the way we navigate, communicate, and conduct various activities in our daily lives, offering convenience, safety, and efficiency across multiple domains. Teachers also instill a sense of social responsibility by involving students in community service and volunteer activities. By collaborating with the parents, they create a support system that enhances the holistic development of their students.
In summary, teachers are not just educators but also builders of the nation’s future. Their impact extends far beyond the classroom, shaping the values, skills, and attitudes of the next generation of citizens who will lead and contribute to the nation’s progress and prosperity.
This article is dedicated to all the teachers across the globe