Many of our countrymen do not know, or perhaps do not care to know, that we in India have a day called “Gurupoornima”, which is being observed for thousands of years. The observance is in honour of the supreme place of knowledge (particularly the knowledge of our own personality) in human life, and in remembrance of the indispensable role the Guru (teacher or acharya) plays in imparting this knowledge.
In Bharatavarsha, a teacher was not supposed to teach just one or more subjects to the students. Our learning was fully interwoven with life. The student had to stay in the company of the teacher, in the “Gurukula”. The teacher, passing through the same Gurukula education system, used to be an embodiment of values. The teacher was responsible for moulding the life and character of the student in his formative years.
Now, when we are constantly deploring the current state of value-education and character building, should we not look back into the cultural heritage of the land, which was internationally recognized even then for its unparalleled education in every field of knowledge? The edifice of our education was built on the wholesome dedication of the teachers or Gurus.
Not trying to understand or paying heed to the great day already being observed in our country (‘Gurupoornima’), we introduced a teachers’ day. Perhaps, it goes well with the modern education that promotes material abundance at the cost of characteral values.
It is high time, the Nation and its citizens understand this heritage of our land and recognize the ‘real’ Teachers’ Day (Gurupoornima) as one of the most significant days in our National calendar.
-Swami Nirviseshananda Tirtha