Tuesday, February 13, 2018



In this country of गुरुकुल परम्पराBoarding Schools, education was free. After the student passed out successfully and became economically sound, he contributed गुरुदक्षिणा as a sign of gratitude to the Guru and to the institution. The educational institutions also received Royal patronage with no strings attached. The teachers were never paid any salary. They were highly revered and had a right to seek help from all in the way of “भिक्षा”, to maintain their family. “भिक्षा”was true charity and was never meant to be beggary. In fact it was regulated by very strict rules, where giving donation - “भिक्षा” to any undeserved person was equated with sin. Giving donation - “भिक्षा” to deserving cases is called charity - “दान”. In ancient times, King धर्मवर्मा of सौराष्ट्र had studied the principles of “दान” in detail with the help of नारद. According to him, “दान”- charity - has two causes, six foundations, six constituents, two effects, four different divisions, three categories and three destructive conditions (द्विहेतु षडधिष्ठानं षडङ्गं च द्विपाकयुक् । चतुष्प्रकारं त्रिविधं त्रिनाशं दानमुच्यते). The above statement, as explained by नारद is as follows:

The two causes for daana are true affection or devotion or liking (श्रद्धा) and capacity (शक्ति). Donations without genuine affection are not cause for dharma, but leads to sin. Capacity for donation means the surplus amount from one’s legitimate earnings after meeting the commitments towards those dependent on the giver. You can give away your own share, but you cannot give away the shares of others dependent on you. Nine types of money have been prohibited from giving in donation even in extreme emergency. These are:

a)         सामान्य – that over which the general public has a right.
b)         याचित – money or objects borrowed from others.
c)         न्यास – the money kept in a trust.
d)         आधि – objects kept on mortgage.
e)         दान – that which has already been donated to someone.
f)         दान धन – amount received through donation.
g)         अन्वाहित – mortgaged property pledged to someone else.
h)         निक्षिप्त – money given by someone in trust for safe custody.
i)          सान्वय सर्वस्व दान – giving away everything ignoring the dependents needs.

The six foundations for giving donation are as follows:

a)         धर्मदान – donation given in charity to deserving persons without expecting any return.
b)         अर्थदान – donation (including bribe) given with some expectation, such as consideration work done or to be done, fame (यशोर्थे धर्मसेवनम्), etc.
c)         कामदान – money given to in excess of the due compensation or to undeserving persons in return for carnal pleasure (tips in hotels, to drivers, dance girls, etc.).
d)         लज्जादान – donation given due to forcible public commitment (not given voluntarily but forced to give as others are giving and it would be shameful not to give).
e)         हर्षदान – donation given on hearing some good news like birth of a child, promotion, etc.
f)         भयदान – donation given out of fear or avoiding possible cause for of physical harm, defamation, or destruction.

The six constituents of donation are as follows:

a)         दाता – the giver, who must be healthy, religious, charitable, devoid of vices, clean and earning through righteous means.
b)         प्रतिग्रहिता – the receiver, whose family background, education, character, profession and mode of earning are impeccable, who is kind, gentle, restrained and devoid of any vices.
c)         शुद्धि – sincerity and happiness in giving donations voluntarily without any repentance.
d)         धर्मयुक् देय – the money, which has been earned lawfully without hurting others, without undertaking unusually difficult tasks, and through one’s own efforts only.
e)         देश – Which is not available in abundance in a particular place. A rare object.
f)         काल - Which is not available in abundance in a particular time. A rare object.

The two effects of donation are one for the present life and the other for the life after death. The fruits of the donation given according to the scriptures to a deserving person with noble intentions without any expectation are enjoyed in the life after death. The fruits of the donation not given according to the scriptures to a undeserving person without noble intentions and with some expectation are enjoyed in the present life.

The four different divisions of donations are as follows:

a)         ध्रुव – Building permanent public facilities, such as parks and gardens, water-tanks or wells.
b)         त्रिक – A daily ritualistic or otherwise donation.
c)         काम्य – Donation in anticipation of some return or for specific purposes.
d)         नैमित्तिक – These are of three divisions:
1)         कालापेक्ष – Donations on particular days.
2)         क्रियापेक्ष – Donations at the end of or on the occasion of some special functions.
3)         गुणापेक्ष – Donations based on the merits of the receiver.

The three different categories of donations are as follows:

a)         उत्तम – The Best Eight. The donation of home, temple or school, education, land, cattle, wells and tanks, protection of life or sacrifice of life, gold are the best category.
b)         मध्यम – The Medium Four. The donation of food, parks, clothes and transport are considered as medium category.
c)         कनिष्ठ – The Rest. The donation of shoes, umbrella, utensils, curd, honey, mats, lamps, fuel, furniture, semi-precious stones etc. are considered as routine or general category donations.

The three destructive conditions of donations are as follows:

a)         आसुर दान – Repentance. If someone repents after giving the donation, it has no benefit.
b)         राक्षस दान – Affectionless. Giving a donation devoid of affection is of no value.
c)         पैशाच दान – Criticism. A donation given under threat or accompanied by criticism of the receiver is of no value.


Since the teachers are paid servants now, whether public or private, the teaching has become दुषित – spoiled. The teachers teach as a profession like other professions. Thus, many teachers take up teaching in a casual manner like they do in other professions. Once while addressing a group of teachers on the “Role of a Teacher”, we asked the question; in the case of other professions, it is said as the function of the post. Whereas in the case of teachers, it is never “function”, but always the “role”. Why such a distinction is reserved for the Teachers alone? The answer is; in other professions, the persons are anonymous. It is the chair or the post that is important. The personal identity is distinctly different from the professional identity. Thus, it is always a function. In the case of Teachers, the two identities merge. It is because; it is impossible to teach someone. The student has to learn. The teacher is only a guide. Thus, the Upanishads proclaim that: “नायमात्मा प्रवचनेन लभ्य न मेधया न वहुधा श्रुतेन” – one cannot get knowledge through discourses, through intelligence or through hearing many lectures. The only method of achieving knowledge is to pursue it continuously with an open mind (विचिन्तयेत् नित्यमुदार दर्शनम्). Then only the knowledge would be revealed as in a flash. The continuous pursuit is not limited to the class hours only. Thus, the serious students interact with their teachers even beyond class hours. Thus, the personal and professional identities of the teachers merge.

Teaching is a two-way traffic, not only the students learns through teaching, but also the teacher also learns as he teaches (new ideas may come spontaneously or while answering to the questions of students). This is the reason why Taittiriya Upanishad says: Teacher is the first manifestation. Student is the next manifestation. Education is the binding factor between them. Knowledge is the goal (आचार्य पूर्व रूपम् । अन्तेवासीः उत्तररूपम् । विद्या सन्धिः । अध्ययनं सन्धानम्). Thus, what applies to the student also equally applies to the teacher. In our country, the Teachers were put on a high pedestal. By making them paid servants, we have not only demeaned them, but also destroyed the educational system. By this it is not meant that the teachers should not be paid salaries. What it means is money is not everything. The dignity enjoyed by the teachers must be restored. They cannot be treated as any other professional. Simultaneously, all our scriptures advise about the extreme caution that should be taken while selecting a teacher. Thus, the only way to reform the educational system is to completely ban the private sector from at least primary and secondary education, change the syllabus to make it need based, restrict entry in higher education to aptitude based selection methods, change the appraisal system to make it continuous evaluation based, apply strictest standards in selection of teachers, and restore the dignity of teachers by preventing their use as the errand boys of the district officials, bureaucrats and superiors while judging their merit from the performance of their students.

Then there is another problem with modern methods of teaching.

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