What is the Guru Shishya Parampara?

This Guru Purnima, let’s go back in time to learn about the Teacher-Student traditions in ancient India.

Two Guru Mantras that are essential to this are –

त्वमेव माता च पिता त्वमेव । त्वमेव बन्धुश्च सखा त्वमेव ।
त्वमेव विद्या द्रविणम् त्वमेव । त्वमेव सर्वम् मम देव देव ॥

Tvam-Eva Maataa Ca Pitaa Tvam-Eva |
Tvam-Eva Bandhush-Ca Sakhaa Tvam-Eva |
Tvam-Eva Viidyaa Dravinnam Tvam-Eva |
Tvam-Eva Sarvam Mama Deva Deva ||

Meaning:

1: You Truly are my Mother And You Truly are my Father .
2: You Truly are my Relative And You Truly are my Friend.
3: You Truly are my Knowledge and You Truly are my Wealth.
4: You Truly are my All, My God of Gods.

 गुरुर्ब्रह्मा गुरुर्विष्णु र्गुरुर्देवो महेश्वरः गुरु साक्षात परब्रह्मा तस्मै श्रीगुरवे नमः

GururBrahma GururVishnu GururDevo Maheshwaraha
Guru Saakshaat ParaBrahma Tasmai Sri Gurave Namaha

 

Guru is the Creator (Brahma), Guru is the Preserver(Vishnu), GuruDeva is Destroyer(Maheshwara)

Guru is the absolute (singular) Lord himself, Salutations to that Sri Guru

These prayers are for anyone who nurtures teachings within a child. In Indian culture, the guru shishya parampara (aka teacher student tradition) used to be strong. Where THIS is the emotion one held for the person who gave their wisdom to another, while honing what already existed. And then Guru Dakshina (payment in different forms) given were the Guru earned what was rightfully theirs for all their hard work.

Guru Purnima honours Ved Vyasa, known as one of the most honoured Gurus of ancient India. Senior Ayurvedic consultant Dr Vishakha Mahindroo says, “Veda Vyasa, structured the four Vedas, composed the epic of the Mahabharata, created the foundation for the many Puranas and the vast encyclopedias of Hindu sacred lore. Guru Purnima represents the date on which Lord Shiva as the Adi Guru or original guru taught the seven rishis who were the seers of the Vedas.

In the Yoga Sutras, Ishvara as Pranava or Om is said to be the Adi Guru of Yoga. Lord Buddha was said to have delivered his first sermon on this day at Sarnath, reflecting the power of this sacred time.”

Within the broad spectrum of the Hindu religion, the guru–shishya relationship can be found in numerous variant forms. Some common elements in this relationship include:

  • The establishment of a teacher/student relationship.
  • A formal recognition of this relationship, generally in a structured initiation ceremony where the guru accepts the initiate as a shishya and also accepts responsibility for the spiritual well-being and progress of the new shishya.
  • Sometimes this initiation process will include the conveying of specific wisdom and/or techniques.
  • Gurudakshina, where the shishya gives a gift to the guru as a token of gratitude, often the only monetary or otherwise fee that the student ever gives. Such tokens can be as simple as a piece of fruit or as serious as a thumb, as in the case of Ekalavya and his guru Dronacharya.

In today’s time, we can honor our teachers on this day by showing respect and gratitude and trusting in their judgment.

  • Acknowledgement. Let them know the effect they brought in your life.
  • Cards / hand made creations.
  • Respectful listening.
  • Appreciation of their efforts.
  • Imbibing their lessons through retention and practice.


In my book, Strong Roots Have No Fear, I have gone in depth about how one can go about finding the right teachers for your student and nurturing the talents / personal growth of a child.

‘Vishnu Sahatranam’ also known as the thousand names of Lord Vishnu should be recited on this day. Be in sync with self and channelize your energies on this auspicious day.”

Most importantly, today honor the teacher in your life, who changed your way of thinking or made you feel better about yourself. Who left an impact.

Be that person in a child’s life. ♥️🙏🏽

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