Guru Purnima: When great Gurus inspired great transformations


Yaksha: By the study of which science does man become wise?

Yudhishthira: Not by studying any shaastra does man become wise. It is by association with the great in wisdom that he gets wisdom.

There is a reason we have a Guru-Shishya relationship in India. We learn/grow the most in someone’s company, be it a mentor or our peer group.

If you are a Data Analytics professional, these beautiful lines on LinkedIn, that I came across, will make sense: Learning from resources like books or videos is like Logistic regression i.e. output is bounded while learning from a mentor is like Linear regression i.e. output is unbounded.

What does a guru do?

A guru is not a professor. In fact, they hardly ever teach. A great guru whets the curiosity of his/her disciple. A great guru offers tools to a worthy student for the latter to explore themselves. He does not handhold but empowers them. The guru does not give instructions or maxims of philosophy.

With the grace of Guru, a man can perform superhuman tasks with minimal effort. With Guru’s grace, the shishya crosses the ocean of confusion and contradictions. As Adi Shankaracharya said:


अनन्तसंसार समुद्रतार नौकायिताभ्यां गुरुभक्तिदाभ्याम् ।
वैराग्यसाम्राज्यदपूजनाभ्यां नमो नमः श्रीगुरुपादुकाभ्याम् ॥ 1 ॥

Salutations to the sandals of my Guru,
Which is a boat, which helps me cross the endless ocean of life,
Which endows me, with the sense of devotion to my Guru,
And by the worship of which, I attain the dominion of renunciation.

Remembering some great Gurus on Guru Purnima

History gives us enough instances when a great change was brought about by the inspiration of a great guru. Here are a few examples amongst many of them:

For instance, it was a great mentor like Aristotle that made a world conqueror like Alexander.

It was a great guru in Chanakya who established the great Mauryan empire, creating an emperor in a simple boy like Chandragupta.

Adi Shankaracharya created four mathas by mentoring his four principal disciples. These mathas then formed a bedrock of Hinduism.

Later on, from Adi Shankara’s spiritual lineage,  Shri Vidyaranya Swami inspired his disciples, Hari Hara and Bukka Raya, to establish the legendary Vijayanagara empire.

Two magnanimous gurus graced Chatrapati Shivaji; His mother Jijabai and Samarth Ramdas.

A great guru, Shri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, mentored his disciple Swami Vivekananda, thus taking the wisdom of Hinduism to the west in its purest form.

Related Article: In conversation with Yaksha: Yudhishthira’s wisdom

May the great guru bless everyone this Guru Purnima.

P.C. Linear Regression vs Logistic Regression image.

Prasad Kulkarni is a Data and Analytics professional. At work, he analyses historical data and ponders over historical events otherwise.

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