By Dr. Narayan Narsingh Khatri
The two sub-words ‘Gu’ and ‘Ru’ mean ‘Andhakar’ and ‘Prakash’ respectively and form a single word that we call ‘Guru’ when combined together. This is tantamount to telling that a ‘Guru’ takes his pupil to light from dark following the ‘Tamasoma Jyotirgamaya’ responsibility. A Guru, in fact, is a lamp that lights another lamp without growing dim oneself. A ‘Guru’ is a nobleness which enkindles nobleness.
It would be unfortunate to misconstrue a ‘Guru’ with a ‘Teacher’. A ‘Guru’ teaches also how to live while a ‘Teacher’ teaches how to make a living. A ‘Guru’ teaches and explains how facts and figures are established while a ‘Teacher’ teaches and explains the already existing facts and figures. A ‘Guru’ imparts sufficient knowledge and wisdom while a ‘Teacher’ issues degrees and the certificates.
Harvard University once conducted a research in regard to finding what makes a person acquire a job or a promotion. The finding was that a person gets job/promotion 85% of the time because of his/her attitude and only 15% of the time because of intelligence and knowledge. A ‘Guru’ also shapes and sizes attitude of his/her pupil apart from instilling intelligence and knowledge in them while a ‘ Teacher’ at best could impart intelligence and knowledge to his/her pupil with given attitude. A ‘Guru’ prepares his/her pupil for their entire lives while a ‘Teacher’ prepares his/her pupil for examinations alone.
A ‘Teacher’ at best could influence the head through imparting intellectual education while a ‘Guru’ influences also the heart through value education for a ‘Guru’ knows it well that an education that does not train the heart could be dangerous. A ‘Teacher’ at best could give his/her pupil anything to drink that could somehow quench their immediate thirst while a ‘Guru’ makes his/her people thirstier till they drop by putting them in a path to seek something to help them quench their increasingly growing thirst on their own. A ‘ Guru’ explains issues and happenings in such a way that his/her small hindsight always helps the pupil to acquire a foresight.
A ‘Guru’ guides his/her disciples to also learn a lot from nature including a Tree that produces sufficient fruits, and a Sea that supplies sufficient safe drinking waters just for others. The Trees and the Seas never consume even a minute fraction of what they produce themselves.
Needless to say, a ‘Guru’ is a philosopher— a leader— a guide—a role model for his/her disciples while a ‘Teacher’ is just a parrot-like story teller to his/her students. A ‘Guru’ creates obedient disciples and good listeners while a ‘Teacher’ could have just selective listeners. A ‘ Guru’ is both an actor and a preacher while a ‘ Teacher’ could be just a preacher by and large. A ‘ Guru’ walks what s(he) talks while a ‘ Teacher’ may hardly walk what s(he) talks. A’ Guru’ has disciples while a ‘ Teacher’ could have just students.
Socrates was the ‘ Guru’ to Plato, Plato to Aristotle and Aristotle to Alexander the Great. They were all ‘Gurus’ who made untiring efforts to pass both theoretical and practical knowledge—both positive and normative—to generations and generations and one after another that could have died with their deaths otherwise.
Today is a ‘Guru Purnima’ day. I salute the entire ‘Gurus’ of the world that fall within my definition. I wish all of them a very happy ‘Guru Purnima’ day too.