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Guru Shishya Paramparaa (tradition) has been continuing in our country India  for a very ancient times. With the system of four Aashram - Brahmcharya, Grihasth, Vaanprasth and Sanyaas, all used to go to go to Gurukul (Guru's place) to learn knowledge. Even Vishnu's incarnations also had to go through this process - Parashuraam went to Shiv Jee, Raam went to His Guru Vashishth Jee, Krishn went to His Guru Saandeepan Jee. Other princes and boys also went through this process - Paandav and Kaurav went to Dronaachaarya, Karn went to Parashuraam, Bheeshm went to Parashuraam and Brihaspati Jee, Eklavya got his education from the statue of Drone... the list is long.

Guru is that touchstone which inspires his Shishya (disciples) to keep off evils, who forbids all from wrong deeds, by disseminating knowledge and showing them the right path. Gaining knowledge should be the main aim of man. The main aim of attaining knowledge is that in spite of knowing that the death is certain, he remains fearless from it. It is the ultimate reality.

This learning process is the process of molding ourselves for the society, to obtain spiritual knowledge and to rise above others. And the process of remaking ourselves depends entirely upon us. We have to change and remold ourselves in order to survive or become happier in life. This means adjusting to people of conflicting natures and temperaments, tolerating adverse circumstances or consequences and consolidating ourselves in times of failure and tragedy. These are the tough terrains of life we have to battle and journey through. And to reach the Ultimate, we have to lay down our intelligence, our ego and our mundane desires and do what the Guru instructs. Having absolute faith and divinity in him will transform and elevate us to the heights of eternal bliss. Read these stories and try to understand how a disciple should behave with his Guru.

Guru-Shishya Bond
Aadi Shankar defines A-Vidyaa as a veil that envelops the true nature of Reality giving rise to a variety of illusions or delusions regarding
Reality. Vidyaa is the knowledge or illumination that reveals the Truth by removing ignorance. This is the basis of spiritual knowledge revealed in the scriptures that are believed to be the very breath of the Supreme Brahm.

The study of Vedaant has been handed down to us through an unbroken chain of preceptors who have imbibed it and passed it on to posterity. Tradition assigns a high status to a Guru and a true Guru is himself a realized soul who is well-versed in the essence of the Shaastra and is also always concerned about the welfare of humanity, pointed out Sringeri Sri Sri Bharati Tirtha Mahaswamiji in a lecture.

The growing awareness of the Supreme Brahm in one’s consciousness is the springboard for spiritual realization. Since the scriptures and sacred texts assert in one voice that Brahm is all-pervading, omnipotent and omniscient, if we try to perceive the presence of the Brahm in all aspects of creation, we can be aware of Him at all times. It is said that once when Aadi Shankar stayed in the city of Kaashee, he saw a disheveled man with four dogs on the way and signaled to him to keep away. The man merely asked - “Is it my body or my soul that should give way to you?" (Read this story) Realizing that Shiv Himself had appeared in this form, Aadi Shankar composes a hymn <Maneesh Pamchakam) that captures the essence of A-Dwait philosophy. It reveals that considerations such as caste, status, birth, scholarship, wealth, etc., dissolve into a vacuum when one attains Self-knowledge.

This knowledge leads to liberation (Moksh). This is most difficult to gain and is possible only through the instruction of a true Guru. A spiritual aspirant then has to qualify himself for this pursuit by his mental attitude and way of life. He is basically good at heart and is compassionate towards all and respects elders. The yearning to know the Aatm Tattwa is always kept alive in his consciousness and to this end he devotes his entire life. Such a frame of mind guards him against the usual pitfalls such as — anger, jealousy, pride, desire for worldly objects, etc., — that most of us easily succumb to.

Several Types of Guru and Disciples
Many times Guru taught his disciples just like that. Haridrum Gautam, though looked tough in selection, but his disciple Satyakaam learnt his Vidyaa just by tending his cows.

some Gguru were tough but once they were pleased with their disciples they did not even ask Guru Dakshinaa from them, which was the fashion in those days, for example, Guru Saandeepan, Guru Parashuraam, and Guru Vishwaamitra did not ask any Guru Dakshinaa from their disciples Krishn, Karn (see Parashuraam's Shaap to Karn) and Rishi Gaalav respectively. Ayod Dhaumya's disciple Ved was also like that. He had three disciples. He sent Uttank, one of those three disciples, without paying any Guru Dakshinaa.

Some Guru just waited for their disciples to get educated so that they can give them a handsome Guru Dakshinaa. Guru Drone was one of them. He waited for Kaurav and Paandav to be ready to give him Guru Dakshinaa, In fact his purpose to teach them was only this. He asked them to bring Drupad to him by defeating him in the battle.

But some Guru were very tough, both in their selection and their teaching. They did not educate every child just like that. They selected them on several kinds of bases. For example Drone taught only to Kshatriya and princes, so he refused Karn to teach, as he was neither a Kshatriya nor a prince.

In the same way some Guru put their disciples in a very tough environment, in as much as that they themselves never their own disciples in that tough environment. Guru Ayod Dhaumya was one of them. His stories are very famous. He had three disciples - Ved, Upamanyu and Aaruni. He put all of them in such a tough environment that his one disciple Ved decided that he would never put his own disciples in such a tough environment. Ved also had three disciples and he never put them in such hard conditions. In fact these Guru had no bad intention in doing so, but they just wanted to grow them in hard conditions. Their many disciple then got the Gyaan in much easier way.

Sometimes Guru used to teach their disciples with great care but got angry on a very trivial matter and cursed them regarding their education.
--One such Guru was Parashuraam who  never asked any Guru Dakshinaa from Karn but got angry as why did he tell him lie that he was a Braahman, and cursed him to forget all his education when he needed it most (see Parashuraam's Shaap to Karn).
--There are two Guru more who let their disciples go without paying any Guru Dakshinaa but those disciples insisted to pay it, so they agreed and those disciples had to under difficult circumstances - one was Vishwaamitra and another was Ved. Their Shishya were Gaalav and Uttank respectively.
--Another example is of Vaishampaayan Jee who was the Guru of Yaagyavalkya Jee. He taught him with great care, but got angry on a very trivial matter and asked him to return his education to him. Yaagyavalkya Jee immediately spit out the Ved he taught him (see Yaagyavalkya and Vaajasaneyee Sanhitaa)

This article cannot be complete without mentioning Drone's incident of Mahaabhaarat about Eklavya who trained him self in archery keeping his statue in front of him. As he came to know that Eklavya trained himself through his statue, and he was a better archer than Arjun, he asked his Guru Dakshinaa from him. His Guru Dakshhinaa is famous in the world of Guru Dakshinaa. Nobody, as all Kaurav and Paandav were also standing there as witness, expected such Guru Dakshinaa from Drone, Drone asked his right hand thumb in Guru Dakshinaa. That child was also so fearless and Guru Bhakt that he immediately cut his right thumb and kept it on his Guru's feet.

Some Modern Examples

Guru Swaameenaaraayan
Swaameenaaraayan had also groomed and put his Paramhans to the ultimate test through 114 trials. Some of those challenging trials were: eating only a single ball of tasteless food each day, sitting in cold water during winter, abstaining from all forms of food tastes (Khattaa), to walk barefoot, to refrain from using any means of transport, like bullock cart, etc, to abstain from talking while eating, to engage in doing Bhajan, to abstain from further sleep once one has got up, to be fearless on seeing ghosts, thieves or a lion; to eat raw, uncooked grains, etc. Some of these trials lasted for months and still the Paramhans did not flinch or resign from the Lord's word.



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Created by Sushma Gupta on 05/09/04
Modified on 10/03/13