Dussera and being a Guru (Teacher)

I don’t remember the last time I was excited about and invested in celebrating festivals. Even Diwali has become yet another holiday and the only reason I love Diwali is that I could use it to take a long vacation from work. Same goes for Dussera or Sankranti. Though I don’t celebrate these festivals with fanfare, I retain the belief in the spirit – they celebrate the triumph of good over evil, bring together people and build a sense of optimism and pride in life. If the celebrations happen in sync with the real spirit, with sensitivity and thoughtfulness, I love taking part. Ok. Enough now and let me tell you something that happened in the Classroom today. When School got over, Kirti came to me, gave me some dry leaves and said ‘Happy Dussera’ and before I could react, she touched my feet and ran away to her Mom with a big smile. Later, Pooja did the same thing. As a Child, I have never done this and I didn’t know that it is a tradition in North India. I am not sure if the Children do it only with their Teachers or all elders.

Anyway, it really got me thinking and I couldn’t help but recall this verse from Srimad Bhagavatam which I love. In this, Lord Rishabhadeva tells his sons that one should never become a Guru, a father, a mother, a demigod or a relative if one can’t shoulder the responsibility that comes along.In the original context, it is about a spiritual responsibility but this applies to any Teacher methinks.

(The original verse is

gurur na sa syaat sva-jano na sa syaat
pitaa na sa syaaj jananii na sa syaat
daivam na tat syaan na pitash ca sa syaan
na mocayed yah samupeta-mrutyum

(Srimad Bhagavatam, Canto 5, 5.18)

Whether I am a good Teacher or not, I have accepted this responsibility and I have to do justice to it by being invested and working on the best ways to help my kids bridge that achievement gap. When the children from a low income community enter the School, the statistics and mindsets are all stacked against them. Over the next year and a half, we ll have to work hard to be on track so that none of them drop out of School, while nurturing their ambition to enter College.

So, #notetoself : Remember the responsibility of a Teacher when I feel down and work relentlessly because my success or failure as a Teacher could mean a world of difference to these children.



  1. Metallica Bhakt

    This is a usual Maharashtrian tradition. This leaf is known as a ‘Sonyacha pan’ (leaf of gold) which is usually given to elders and peers too, with the assumption that may you get more gold in your house. 🙂

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