Guru-Shishya Parampara (On the Occasion of Guru-Purnima)

Music is one and only field which follows and respects Indian culture and heritage. Worshiping Guru as God is an age old tradition in India, which is being, even today, practiced at one place: music world. Music world specifically because along with the private pedagogy of teaching, the music institutions and universities follow the tradition of touching Guru’s feet and holding ears in apology while speaking out Guru’s name by the students. Musical performers, be it veterans or amateurs, are known by the identity of their Gurus, unlike in other streams.

Guru-Shishya i.e., teacher-disciple relationship is one of the most divine and sovereign relationship, as it reflects the wider realm of knowledge, sanskaar, and belongingness. There is a deep relationship of knowledge, values of respect and motivation, and sense of Guru’s aura and intimacy around.

Origin of Guru-shishya parampara: Oral Tradition

Oral tradition is a style of pedagogy, which incorporates dictating knowledge verbally. Oral tradition dates back to 5000 years, when the Gurus transferred their in-depth knowledge to the disciples verbally or orally by merely narrating. This is the reason oral tradition in hindi is called ‘Maukhik Parampara’, which means ‘mukh se or through mouth’.

Mythologically, it is believed that the epic Ramayana was written by Adikavi Valmiki, but is narrated and interpreted different by other authors and in other countries. Later on, it was retold and reinterpreted by different other sages, which led to around 300  types of Ramayana. The point is at that there was no trend of writing down the facts. Instead, the Guru sages narrated their tales to disciples and the knowledge further got transferred through generations. It is, therefore, believed that the upanishads and puranas were finally penned down after 800 years after it was narrated by the disciples, the reason why only 75 percent of it was written.  

The similar aspect was adopted in inculcating musical education (Talim). The Gurus used to imbibe all the musical hymns and theory orally and the disciples had to grasp it only with the audible sectors of the body. For this reason, the pupils had to stay with gurus at their homes in order to seek this time-devoting knowledge in-depth and fully. Since the guru and students shared a place as a family, students, apart from seeking education, conducted almost all the reasonable or unreasonable household tasks asked by the Gurus. This way Gurus tested the curiosity of their disciples. And the students were committed to it. Even the bathroom cleaning was conducted by the students as a feeling of respect and ethical gesture. Students too believed that committing life fully over Guru’s care is a great and true path towards knowledge. Therefore, oral tradition gave birth to the tradition of Guru-parampara.

Psychology Behind the chemistry of Guru-Purnima

Eternal respect:  Guru-Shishya Parampara establishes a relationship, which is out of the world for a disciple. Disciple gets attached with that knowledge-father and develops an eternal and Godly respect. Touching feet of Gurus and elders is not merely a tradition, but reflects on many more in-depth interpretations. Touching Guru’s feet signifies ‘May your qualities and knowledge get inculcated in me through your feet dust particles.’

Dedication Towards seeking education:  Not only with the Guru, a student attaches but envelops an utter identity  with that  particular field of knowledge he is seeking.

Motivating Factor:  The feeling of “I will achieve something and make my teacher proud” is the element, which emanates into the student which leads to numerous successes and awards.

Inevitable Perseverance:  Eminent maestro Kaushiki Ji once told in a concert when asked how she perfected the super fast gayaki, “My father (Ajay Chakraborty) lighted a candle and made me practice one particular till the candle is burning.” This is called sur-sadhana personified. Even after reaching a zenith of success, a student remains in the student-zone when he is in touch with his/her guru. Regular and prolonged  practices becomes the part of his lives and he connects himself with the Guru and the stream.