I wish you all Happy Teacher Day! Good teachers are amazing and rare.
The key role of education is to prepare human to think rationally. The word ‘Guru’ means one who removes darkness and ignorance from his student’s life. Our tradition gives much importance to the relationship between teacher and student Our Holy Books, the Vedas are called ‘Śruti’ which are heard from teacher. We believe that God adorned his commandments which some sages have written and handed over them to us. It is believed that inspired Sages and Saints heard Almighty’s Voice within their hearts and then narrated it to others. The recitation of Vedas continues to this day, through an unbroken chain of teachers and students. Therefore, our tradition respects teacher utmost.
A new survey released by the Varkey Gems Foundation – a group that seeks to improve education for underprivileged youth, looked at how citizens around the world view the social standing of teachers. In countries like China, South Korea, Singapore, Egypt, Greece, Turkey, teachers are viewed in high esteem. Teachers are agents of change. They counsel their students and help them to choose their careers that best suit their interest. Good teachers use data to drive instruction, know the ins and outs of their curriculum, have refined assessments time again until they measure depth of content knowledge.
There is classical story about how Lord Hanuman appeased Sun God to get knowledge on various realities in universe. Hanuman is called ‘Pawanputra’ because he is the son of Wind God. The Wind God carried the little Hanuman back to earth from the heaven. But before leaving, granted a boon, “I shall give you all my powers,” he told Hanuman. “You will be able to leap as far or as high or backwards (rear) as you please. You will be able to enter any place, take any shape and be as strong as you wish to be. You will also be able to go without food or water as long as you want.” Therefore, Hanuman could travel with the speed of fast winds. He was blessed with razor-sharp intellect and high energies. After that, the Wind God had blessed the little Hanuman! Hanuman stood there thinking for a long time. He felt a void in him without knowledge; he was blessed with strength, robust body, energy, high speed all of which made him very powerful. He at once felt a strong urge for learning and gaining knowledge.
All the knowledge in the world lies in the ancient books called the Veda. And, Vedas are in the custody and care of Lord Surya Dev (the Sun God). So early next morning, Hanuman humbly approached the rising Sun God and folding his hands over his chest bent down and said, “Oh brilliance unlimited, light up my soul.” Surya Dev was pleased with Hanuman’s behavior and his drive for learning. There are certain etiquettes to be followed by a student: he should walk behind the teacher, not ahead of the teacher and he should not walk beside the teacher. Hanuman being a genuine and a very keen learner/student knew the protocol.
The Sun Lord told him “You are a good monkey. I would love to teach you, but you can see that I am moving forward constantly. I just don’t have time to stop and teach you.” But, little Hanuman was intelligent and witty; he instantly found a solution to the problem. He said “that is all right Sir, you can keep moving while you give me lessons, and you need not stop anywhere a bit. I will take my lessons facing you while keep moving backward at the same speed as yours, I will not at a single moment come in your way.”
The Sun God laughed in appreciation of Hanuman’s willingness and keenness to learn. The Sun God appreciated that the little Hanuman was ready to abide by all rules of the teacher. Therefore, Sun God began giving lessons straight away. At last when the lessons were over, Hanuman requested the Sun God what Gurudakshina he should pay his teacher. Sun God said that a good teacher is always on a lookout of a good student, and it was a pleasure of Sun God teaching Hanuman who is such a dedicated student. When Hanuman insisted too much about the gurudakshina, Sun God asked him to help Sugriva, the Prince of Kishkinda and whom Sun God considered as spiritual son.
Both teachers and students must bear a professional, legal, and ethical responsibility to set and maintain appropriate boundaries with each other. The above story of Sun God and Hanumaji aptly describes it.