Gurur brahma gurur vishnuh gurur devo maheshvarah
Gurur saakshaat parabrahma tasmai shree gurave namah
Know the Guru to be Brahma himself. He is Vishnu. He is also Shiva. Know Him to be the Supreme Brahman, and offer thy adorations unto that peerless Guru.
A teacher is an architect for a child’s future. Teacher’s day is celebrated on the occasion of the birthday of Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan (September 5, 1888 – April 17, 1975) best known as the man who introduced the thinking of western idealist philosophers into Indian thought. He was an Oxford don who became the first Vice President and the second President of India. Saluting this great man means not only remembering him but paying respects to our teachers.
The main part of his life was spent as an academic; he was a philosophy professor at Mysore (1918–21) and Calcutta (1921–31, 1937–41) universities and also held a professorship in eastern religion and ethics at Oxford (1936–52). His positions in academic administration included the vice chancellorship of Andhra University (1931–36) and of Benares Hindu University (1939–48) and the chancellorship of Delhi University (1953–62). He was ambassador to the USSR (1949–52) and Vice President of India (1952–62) before his election as President. He stressed the need for India to establish a classless and casteless society. As a philosopher, Radhakrishnan espoused a modern form of Hinduism that attempted to reconcile the world’s religions. Among his works are Indian Philosophy (2 vol., 1923–27), The Philosophy of the Upanishads (1924), Eastern Religions and Western Thought (1939, 2d ed. 1969), East and West: Some Reflections (1955), and Religion in a Changing World (1967). He was knighted in 1931.
Dr. Radhakrishnan was honoured with the Bharat Ratna in 1954. Around the same time, an 883-page compilation titled “The Philosophy of Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan” was released in America.
When he became the President of India in 1962, some of his students and friends requested him to allow them to celebrate his birthday on 5th September 5th. He replied, “Instead of celebrating my birthday, it would be my proud privilege if September 5th is observed as Teacher’s Day.” Since then, Teacher’s Day is celebrated in India on September 5th. Radhakrishnan’s life is a great message to mankind, particularly to the teachers and the students. In fact, one is a learner always.
My grandfather and father, who were both avid readers, had in their collection some of Dr. Radhakrishnan’s books. I recently found in the collection a hardbound light blue cover of “The Brahma Sutra” written by the philosophy professor. Hope to read it some time soon. Maybe, tomorrow will be a good day to start!