Recently I came across few students who got hold of pirated CDs of some reputed coaching teachers known for CA Final coaching. These students got the CDs that were made by these famous teachers after putting in their hard work, labour, knowledge and intellect. But it appears these students were extremely happy because they didn’t have to spend a single rupee buying them. Generally, I have been told that students who buy these CDs pay anywhere in the range of Rs. 15,000-25,000. Obviously, for them it was an achievement. But to me, it was a shame!!
I am sure majority of you would have heard the word “Guru Dakshina”. The word ‘Guru Dakshina’ is quite primitive used in our ancient times to convey the meaning of ‘giving back to your guru’. As per Wikipedia, ‘Dakshina’ is defined as follows:
“a Vedic concept of donation or payment for the services of a priest, spiritual guide or teacher”
Anything that was given back to the priest or to a teacher or guide was called guru-dakshina. The Indian culture has always given extreme importance and relevance to the ‘Gurus’ or typically people who teach us, guide us or mentor us in our lives and career. It was believed that guru-dakshina was a way to thank the teacher for all the teachings he imparted to the student and generally guru-dakshina was by way of some monetary benefit. Though, money was not always the only way to give back to the teacher. Sometimes, the teacher used to ask the pupil to get some work done as against any payment in money. The teacher, as his guru-dakshina considered the act done by the pupil.
In fact there is a very interesting story during the Mahabharat days about Guru Dronacharya and Eklavya. I am sure a lot of the people reading this article would know, but I would quickly mention the story again. Eklavya was a young boy who belonged to the lower caste of the society. He wanted to learn archery under Guru Dronacharya but the Guru refused him because of his lower status in the society. Without bothering about the refusal, Eklavya made a statute of Guru Dronacharya and started practicing archery himself worshiping the statue.
After a long time, Guru Dronacharya was around the place where Eklavya used to stay. While roaming there, he noticed a dog whose mouth was shut by arrows covered around his face, without actually harming the dog. Looking at that, Guru was astonished and asked who did it. Later, he came to know that a young boy called Eklavya did it and the moment Eklavya found that Guru Dronacharya was near his place, he met him ecstatically. When Guru asked him from whom did he learn archery, he said ‘you’ and showed him his statute. Guru Dronacharya was bewildered with his dedication and determination to learn archery. However, since Guru was teaching the students of higher class, he obviously didn’t like a lower class boy learning such good archery. And then came the moment Eklavya is known for…
Guru Dronacharya told Eklavya that since he learnt archery under his guidance (though his statute), he should pay his guru-dakshina. Since he was not happy with a lower caste boy learning such good archery, he wanted Eklavya shouldn’t continue to be a good archer and consequently, asked Eklavya his right thumb as his guru-dakshina. Eklavya, being a true pupil cut his thumb right away and gave it to the Guru. What a moment and a great way to offer guru-dakshina.
In today’s world the concepts around teaching have changed and the teacher-student relationship is also getting commercial. A lot of people tell me that some teachers don’t teach with an intent to provide knowledge or gyaan, rather the idea of becoming a teacher is to catch the train of earning big money because of the no. of students taking coaching. This is not only for CA, but also for CS, law, B.Com and even classes in the school. It surely is becoming a big business.
However, I want to say that whatever be the intent of the teacher taking coaching classes or teaching in any school/college or giving on-line classes or providing on-line learning modules, at the end of the day he/she spends numerous no. of hours preparing notes and rehearsing for his/her lectures. The amount of time spent by teachers in coaching students is humungous and that includes long teaching hours, preparation of notes, preparation of test papers, checking them and spending enormous amount of time updating their notes. It is such a mammoth task to make notes and update them. And the time they spent is at the cost of time they had to spend with their family and children.
I have seen and heard that coaching classes teachers start as early 6AM and continue late evenings. Just imagine the condition of teachers who would have to get up so early, take long hours in classes, prepare for next day’s sessions and manage such a large no. of students. Similarly, teachers and coaches who prepare on-line programmes spend a large no. of hours preparing those e-modules and spend lot of money preparing those programmes. Seriously, hats off to them!!
Now, just imagine how would a teacher who works so hard preparing his classes feel when he comes to know that is hard work is available in the market free of cost. After all, teaching is his profession and as every professional expects to earn money, he also deserves to earn money for his hard work, intellect and service.
The importance of a teacher or a mentor cannot be undermined in any respect, in fact it shouldn’t be. A teacher is a person who is actually responsible for your academic growth and he/she is the person who actually shows the light to the path to reach your goals. A teacher helps you understand basics of education, a teacher helps you understand the intricacies around books and subjects and it is a teacher who guides you to the right path. There is no way you should dis-respect your teacher despite the fact he/she may not be very good in the subject.
At all times, we should be grateful to God to have been blessed to have teachers around us because there are still so many students like Eklavya who are unfortunate to not have good teachers and mentors around them. We are truly blessed and this is something I suggest everyone to mention in your journal (http://nimishgoel.com/write-journal-or-diary-daily-why-how/) as gratitude.
Gratitude is very important because with gratitude you move from a feeling of scarcity to a feeling of abundance. Being taught or mentored by a teacher or a mentor is a moment of abundance that should be cherished for the whole of your life.
In ancient times, the gurus used to teach their students and after the teachings were complete, they used to get guru-dakshina from their students. It’s a tradition that’s part of the Indian education culture and was duly honoured by the students gracefully. However, over a period of time the world has dramatically changed, relationships have become complicated and we have become highly materialistic. With the growth in economy, our intentions now-a-days simply focus on earning money even if that means compromising on ethics, traditions and cultures.
When we, as professionals expect our clients to pay for our services then why can’t teachers expect to earn from their professional services. I think, they definitely deserve it, rather deserve much more than any other professional.
Imagine a situation where you run your own consulting firm and a client approaches you to prepare a report on how GST would affect his business. You are all excited because a new assignment is offered and you work day and night preparing that report. Once the report is ready you inform your client that the deliverable is ready and can be sent across to him. However, the client at that moment informs that he is not interested in the report because he got the report from some other firm. How would you feel? Would you not want feel cheated, would you not want to get paid for the hard work you did.
That’s exactly what I feel would be the situation with teachers, coaches and mentors who bring their lectures in CDs, videos and on-line programmes but unfortunately because of some mischievous people, don’t get acknowledged and paid. I believe anyone who got that CD or the password to login and watch the coaching module without payment has seriously neglected his/her duty or obligation to pay the share of guru-dakshina. Any learning without payment to the teacher or the mentor in any form, either monetarily or otherwise, to my mind is bereft of actual and real knowledge.
My earnest request to all of you is whenever you are taking any coaching class or attending a seminar or taking any on-line classes, have the attitude of paying the guru-dakshina and ensure you don’t get trapped by people who do not believe in this noble concept.
Whenever you meet someone who guides you in your life or coaches you or mentors you to make your life better and meaningful, have the attitude to pay him back in whatever form you can. Develop a habit of sending ‘Thank You’ letters to your teachers and mentors. Remember to wish them on their birthdays and anniversaries. Whenever in your life you feel that any of their past teachings helped you, don’t hesitate to call him/her or email saying thank you very much. If you haven’t done till now then DO IT right away.
Whatever the guru asks for, feel grateful that you are paying him for his services and I can assure you receiving his/her choicest of blessings.
I would like to end the article with a quote from “Alexander The Great”
“I am indebted to my father for a living, but to my teacher for living well”
Have a great learning attitude….
Authored by Nimish Goel (www.nimishgoel.com), a qualified chartered accountant who’s passion is to coach young chartered accountants and aspiring students achieve the best in their life. Nimish used to work with EY and PwC in India and has also worked with KPMG in Europe. He now runs his own consulting company and runs a blog www.nimishgoel.com. He can be reached for any queries and issues on his blog.