It is in India alone one can find that the craze for knowledge influenced even the aristocracy and royalty. There were kings not merely patronizing learning, but also making themselves as students.
Janaka of Videha, Ajatasatru of Kasi, Pravahana Jaivali of Panchala were the illustrious examples of the divine value - craze for knowledge – which was the backbone of Indian soil.
In Mahabharaatha, we have our Ekalavya known for his love for knowledge and his readiness in offering his thumb finger as his "guru dakshina" knowing fully well that by such offering all his learning would become futile.
Then we have Janaka, who offered his whole kingdom as 'guru dakshina' to his teacher.
Nowadays it is difficult to find men who can equal Valmiki and Vyasa in letters, Kalidasa in poetry, Kapila, Kanada, Gautama, Patanjali, Jaimini, Sankara and Ramanuja in philosophy, Panini in grammar, Nagarjuna in Chemistry, Aryabhtta in Mathematics or Kautilya in Politics.
The secret of our educational system lay in its very conception of education. It was the process of brining out all the positive powers of the students that are hidden within. It was done through the closest contact between teachers and students. Teachers were given equal status of God, as they dispel the darkness of ignorance and bring the light of knowledge. Students were having life-long gratefulness and respect towards their preceptors. On the birth day of Sage Veda Vyasa, which falls on Aashaad Poornima day, all learned men would express their gratefulness to their own teachers. It was thus a "Teachers' day" celebration in olden days to men of all walks of life.
Thanks to the modern ways of educational system founded by Thomas Macaulay in 1835. The word 'education' was started to mean only secular education to earn one's livelihood. Knowledge of philosophy, God and related issues are confined to men of old age or who ever choose to know it.
The roots of the Indian soil are so fertile that despite the influence of modern education, the year 1962 saw revival of such occasion wherein students express their gratefulness towards their teachers, thus remembering and recognizing the role and significance of teachers in a human's life.
Thanks to Dr. S.Radhakrishnan, for his suggestion to celebrate his birth day on September 5 as "Teachers' day" when as the second President of India he assumed his office in the year 1962.
Though the traditional spirit is lacking but yet it is a matter of joy and pride that in India the role of teachers in the evolution of human life is recognized.
May our indigenous traditional and ways of educational thoughts be imbibed in our modern ways of life!
nishthatmananda of muzaffarpur
Arise Awake! And stop not till the goal is reached.
- Swami Vivekananda