Do you understand the concept of Gurudakshina? It is an age old tradition which is the part of our Guru-Shishya Parampara. In this article, we are going to discuss about various aspects of this revered tradition, and how the revival of the same can improve the overall education system in the country.
In ancient India, children did not have to pay for their education. They lived in their teacher’s home for years as if they were his own children. When they completed their education, they might have to give something as Gurudakshina. Once upon a time, a group of three students approached their teacher at the end of their studies to ask him what he wanted as gurudakshina. The teacher thought for a while, then smiled back and asked them to get him a bag of dried leaves. The students thought what would their teacher do with a bag of dried leaves. Anyway, it was the request of their teacher and they were very confident that they can easily bring back such a bag. After all, who would have any use for dried leaves?
Next morning, they set off for the nearby forest. They looked all around, but there were no dried leaves to be found. They concluded that someone must have collected all the leaves in the morning. One of the students said that they can visit the forest early morning tomorrow and collect the leaves. But other students said that they need to fulfill the request of their teacher as soon as possible. It was a small request after all. Gurus in the past have asked for much more. Have you forgotten the story of Eklavya?
After the forest, they decided to visit the nearby mango farm. They asked the farmer if he can provide them with a bag full of dried leaves. The farmer said that he is already using them as fuel and manure. He told them if they would have arrived a little earlier, then he could have provided them with the extra leaves which he sold to the merchant. "What is a merchant going to do with dried mango leaves?” one of the students enquired. The farmer replied that he didn’t have a clue. You can ask the merchant himself.
The students then visited the merchant’s shop. He dealt in every kind of things from medicines to utensils. He was one of the biggest merchants in the entire village. The students requested him for a bag of dried leaves. The merchant said that he buys most of the dried leaves from nearby farms. His workers stitch the bigger leaves together to make large leaf-plates. There are certain other leaves which are powdered and then mixed with ayurvedic medicines. He said that he recently bought mango leaves to prepared medicines effective in addressing problems related to digestion, burns, asthma etc.
It was already dusk, and the sun was about to set in the next few minutes. So, the students returned back to their teacher and told him their utter failure in fulfilling the request. The teacher smiled back and asked, “What did you learn today?” One student replied that activities that seem to be easier at first, sometimes turn out to be very difficult. The others said that even something as common and as ubiquitous as dried leaves have very many uses. The teacher started laughing, and his students were observing him. In the end, he said that this is the lesson I wanted you all to learn today. Always remember that “Nothing and no one is useless”. Even a dried leaf has many uses. Then consider human beings! Never mock or run anybody down. Feel good about yourself. Likewise, always make others feel good about themselves. Since nothing is useless and everything has a value in the universe, you should respect everything and everyone around you. This will help you get along with everyone and make your life easy and happy. The Holy Gita says that, he alone sees truly who sees Self in every creature; he does not harm himself or others.
विनश्यत्स्वविनश्यन्तं य: पश्यति स पश्यति |