Sunday, February 17, 2013


I think I am too old fashioned.  I have belief in so many of the Indian cultural traditions.  I was talking about Gurudakshina, and here is what that it is.

Gurudakshina refers to the tradition of repaying one's teacher after a period of study or the completion of formal education. This tradition is one of acknowledgment, respect, and thanks. It is a form of reciprocity and exchange between student and teacher. The repayment is not exclusively monetary and may be a special task the teacher wants the student to accomplish. (In my case to work for me for one year)

Though the life style of Indians has changed down the years, the reverence and respect we pay to our teachers is still as it was a hundred years back.  

One of the beautiful thing about my students is that I accept anyone into my Institute and when the students are together they are equals irrespective of their social standing.  I really do not care who is who and what your background was.

"Satyam vada, dharmam cara
SVadhyayan ma pramadah,
Acaryaya priyam dhanam ahrtya."

Speak the truth; Practice virtue. Let there be no neglect of your daily reading. Give unto the teacher what is pleasing to him.

Here is a story in the Mahabharatha that exemplifies Gurudakshina:

In the Mahabharatha,Ekalavya is introduced as a young prince of the lowly Nishada tribes. Ekalavya was born to Devashrava (brother of Vasudeva, who was father of Lord Krishna) and desirous of learning advanced skills of archery, he seeks the tutelage of Drona, the legendary weapons master of and instructor of Arjuna and his brothers. Drona, however, rejects Ekalavya on account of the prince's humble origins

Ekalavya is undeterred and goes off into the forest where he fashions a clay image of Drona. Worshipping the statue as his preceptor, he begins a disciplined program of self-study. As a result, Ekalavya becomes an archer of exceptional prowess, superior even to Drona's best pupil, Arjuna. One day while Ekalavya is practicing, he hears a dog barking. Before the dog can shut up or get out of the way, Ekalavya fires seven arrows in rapid succession to fill the dog's mouth without injuring it. The Pandava princes come upon the "stuffed" dog, and wonder who could have pulled off such a feat of archery. Searching the forest, they find a dark-skinned man dressed all in black, his body besmeared with filth and his hair in matted locks. It is Ekalavya, who introduces himself to them as a pupil of Drona.

Arjuna fears that Ekalavya may have eclipsed him in skill with the bow. As a result, Arjuna complains to his teacher Drona, reminding Drona of his promise that he would allow no other pupil to be the equal of Arjuna. Drona acknowledges Arjuna's claim, and goes with the princes to seek out Ekalavya. He finds Ekalavya, as always, diligently practicing archery. Seeing Drona, Ekalavya prostrates himself and clasps the teacher's hands, awaiting his order.


Drona asks Ekalavya for a dakshina or deed of gratitude that a student owes his teacher upon the completion of his training. Ekalavya replies that there is nothing he would not give his teacher. Drona cruelly asks for Ekalavya's right thumb, knowing that its loss will hamper Ekalavya's ability to pursue archery. Ekalavya, however, cheerfully and without hesitation severs his thumb and hands it to Drona. 

OK, OK I am not asking for anyone's thumb, but I want my students to realize that sacrifice is required on their part and as gurudakshina I want them to work for me for the one year not because their signed some contract, but because that is what I want from them.

I will make sure that I give them knowledge and they will have a livelihood after their finish with me.

I have decided that I am going to print this blog entry out and give this entry to my students before they start training with me.  I want them to understand how I think and why I spend crazy amounts of money on their training.