Teachers and Students – Close Connection Required – 8 Oct 08

Today I had a lecture again with the yoga students and I mainly talked about the third chakra but also about their Yoga teacher training, about their wish to be teachers. I am very happy about their decision to accept Yoga in their lives and to give this also to others. They will be teachers so I also talked about my idea of how a teacher should be and what kind of connection teachers and students should have.

You know in older times it was called gurukul here. ‘Guru’ you know, a teacher. ‘Kul’ means family. So gurukul is the guru’s family, it is the place where students and the guru live together. Kings sent their sons to a gurukul at a certain age so that they also learn there. So there the students are learning and living, like in our Ashram and they feel like a family and consider the guru and his wife as their parents. Even the princes are in that time just together with the other students. The teacher sees them as their sons. They feel like the students are their own family. In this way they make the connection.

I told already about how I see the situation of teachers in the western world. There are so many teachers who do not like their job anymore because their students do not respect them. The students think they pay the teacher so he has to be there and teach them. On the other hand there are also teachers who do not teach with love at all. I have a great respect for my teachers. If I met the teacher of my primary school here on the street I could not pass without greeting him. There is so much respect and also thankfulness. The relation between a teacher and his student is a lifelong connection.

We say vidyadan, which means ‘the one who donates knowledge’. It is such a great donation: knowledge. People can give you food or money, but knowledge? Not everybody can give that. That is why the students are thankful. But when there is no feeling, when the connection is only a matter of calculation of money and hours, then what kind of relation is that?

I hope that these Yoga students, who want to become teachers and want to teach this wonderful science of live and spirituality, will make a close connection with their students. A connection of love and respect, as it should be when you are helping someone to integrate Yoga in their lives. In my opinion teachers and students should make a connection like a family. They have to come close together.

Respect for your Teachers – Comparing India and the West – 12 Mar 08

Today I had a radio interview. But not how it normally is but for an internet radio. They called from America and I talked for about an hour with them. They recorded it all and will broadcast it soon. Maybe we will be able to put it on our website then, too.

As I was talking about differences between India and the west yesterday, something else came into my mind today which caught my attention. I was talking about respect in the last days, too, and there is a huge difference between the respect for teachers that is shown here in India and that is shown in the west. When I am travelling in the west I can see that actually there is very often not much respect for the teacher at all. The idea there is that you pay for the teacher so he has to be there and do his job. You pay for a course of 20 hours and that he has to fulfill, that is all. The respect is not really there but it is also the teacher's attitude that contributes to this. If the teacher thinks, "okay, I got 15 students who will pay me for the next course, that is it" then he will not put his love and effort into bringing knowledge to his students.

I know a lot of teachers there, too, who don't want to be teacher anymore because they do not have the feeling that they are respected for what they want to pass on. And I heard from a lot of young people who only become teacher because they do not know what else to do. That is also not right. There has to be the wish to teach, to help passing on knowledge. And then teachers are more respected. Here in India, if I see one of my teachers now on the street, I will go and greet him with respect. You know in earlier times this was a very divine relation between the teacher and the students. And still now you can see each morning in Ashram, after Sanskrit class every student greets the Sanskrit teacher respectfully and they feel honoured that they can learn from him.