November 2018

Desire a Defeat

Chartered Accountant

India can boast of a very rich tradition of ‘Guru-Shishya-Parampara’ i.e. mentor-disciple relationship. In ancient India, there was a Gurukul  system where the sages (gurus) stayed in their Ashrama (hermitage) in jungles.  Pupils used to go to the Ashramas to stay there for 12 long years to acquire knowledge. The Guru and his wife were virtually the parents of the pupils. This helped to develop a strong bonding between the Guru and Shishya. In today’s era of mass-education, this tradition is practically extinct.


However, the remnants of this system can be found in present times only in a few fields like art (music, dance) and our profession of CAs in the form of mandatory articleship. Usually, when we come across a good singer, we immediately ask – who is his Guru. Similarly, in the case of a bright CA, he is asked about his principal during articleship.


There are certain principles which were observed in this tradition in olden days.


First is ‘Acharya devo bhava’.  People wrongly take the meaning of this saying as ‘Guru is God’. Actually, it is not such a plain statement; but it is in the imperative sense – meaning ‘you become the believer that Guru is God'.


Secondly, there was a ban on Gurus not to impart the knowledge to an ‘ashishya’ i.e. undeserving pupil. Only an ‘Adhikari’, one who is endowed with the prerequisite virtues could be considered worthy of receiving knowledge. If anybody undeserving receives knowledge, he is considered as a sinner.


Thirdly, there is a popular shloka (verse):


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