Teacher Master Guru

Recently I had an opportunity to attend a training program on “ Classroom Management” organized by Staff Training Cell of Annamalai University. First resource person who took the class was Dr. J.Vasanthakumar, Dean, Faculty of Agriculture, Annamalai University. He took the session for around 90 minutes. When he finished his exemplary extempore speech, the stunned participants including me and another renowned resource person Dr. Elango, Former Dean, Faculty of Arts, Annamalai University gave standing ovation. I felt very fortunate to witness the magic. I am very happy to share some of the wisdom shared in that Program.

“Teacher – Master – Guru”

Professor J.Vasanthakumar

Dean, Faculty of Agriculture, Annamalai University


‘Guru’ is a Sanskrit term for ‘Teacher’ or ‘Master’ in Indian context. Guru-Shishya is the experimental wisdom transmitted from teacher to the student in Indian tradition. In late seventies, I had the opportunity to listen to Swami Chinmayananda’s discourse on Gita wherein he explained the components of the phrase “Teacher-Master-Guru” with illustrations. It is a great opportunity to recall those golden words again and attempt an explanation sharing some personal experience.

My ‘Guru’

One needs a teacher in the beginning. With sincerity and faith one can search and identify a Master. I had many teachers who impressed me in classes and beyond. Only when started searching for ‘Masters’or ‘Gurus’, I had a tough time. Nevertheless, I was fortunate to be influenced by the thinking and deeds of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, Vethathri Maharishi, Pandit Ravi Shankar, Mata Amirthanandamayi, Brahmakumaris and Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev. Among the Gurus I could think of, Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev’s influence is beyond comprehension.

Learning and Experience Sharing

I would like to share some of my experience as a learner with some of the most dedicated teachers and Masters. In the attempt, I shall narrate instances when people called me a teacher while I was indeed searching the methodology for identifying my own ‘Master’.

Beyond Designation

I believe that a teacher can rise to the level of a Master, if he/she is genuinely interested in the welfare of students as evident from the actions performed. I used to keep the lessons clear and sharply focused with regular updating of the content. Examples of activities usually experienced by students are the most appropriate for clarifying difficult concepts. I used to go to the level of the students with different styles every time and retain the curiosity and attention of the students.

Framing and Posing Questions

Teacher has to raise sensible questions then and there and may encourage students to ask relevant questions even if the students disappoint the teacher without asking any question over a period of time. Questions help students focus on what is more important to learn. Recall how many of us asked questions to our teachers. I guess none because in Indian culture, reverence is shown to elders and teachers and questioning elders is usually viewed as showing disrespect to elders and teachers. Go to student’s level and cultivate the ambiance of healthy question and answer session. It is worth training students in framing questions and in politely asking the teacher for clarification or explanation.

Name, Sweet Name

I have been popular among my students mainly because of my skill in remembering the names of my students and the knack of recalling those names even after a gap of many years that might have transformed their physical appearance. For every human being, that the sweetest thing in any language is one's own name. Genuine interest and frequent use of student’s name in the classes may help a teacher remember the names for a long time.

Look for Naughty Students

Naughty students prefer either the front or backseats of the classroom. Those who sit in the back seats may not perform well in the class or in examinations, but they are usually very successful in practical life or in competitive career. If they could be identified and groomed, a teacher can very easily develop great professional leaders. AT the same time, other students must be given enough food for thought.Learn the art of locating and managing trouble makers in the class. Common sense, clear understanding of problem and little bit of tact would help a teacher to identify and manage the trouble makers. Informal counseling with a personal touch would help such students to take the normal course. They may also be helped to have a ‘goal setting’ and to evolve a strategy to realize their goals.

Issues in Academic World

During my college days, Dr. Subramanian Swamy was invited to inaugurate a Study Circle although the Director and Dean were not happy about inviting politicians to student activities for the fear of undesired politicization of student activities. On the occasion, Dr.Swamy remarked that “politicians are far better than academicians because in politics we know who our opponents are but in academic world you don’t know who your opponents are”. It made every student and academician to think louder about issues of academic world.

Read & Write

Reading habit has to be nurtured not only for students but also for teachers. Goals for reading number of pages per day or week or sometimes number of books in a month may be fixed and on long term this may become a habit. Many of my teachers like Dr.V.Rajagopalan, Former Vice-Chancellor, Tamil Nadu agricultural University and Dr.Y.P.Singh, Former Professor of Indian Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi, became Role Models for me in becoming not only a voracious reader but as one who would not skip footnotes and references. Professors like Dr.L.S.Kandasamy inspired me to read more, synthesize the content with experience for introspection and also to pick-up the styles and strategies for writing books. This is one area where I have many unfinished tasks. Exchange what you have read and sharing with your friends and students may motivate many newcomers to the blissful world of avid readers. In turn, they may also share their knowledge of new books.

Critical Thinking

An impressive phrase used by Professor Salai Ilanthiraiyan of Delhi University made me utter a similar phrase (Extension Discipline grows in spite of Extension Professors) to my Professor, Dr.Y.P.Singh three decades ago. It generated lot of discussion among Ph.D Scholars and teachers of Extension Discipline resulting in identifying the strengths and weaknesses of the discipline as well as in drawing a Road Map for the future of the discipline. Such critical thinking agenda must find a place in teaching – learning situations in all disciplines.

Feeling the Presence of ‘Sadhguru’

If a teacher can ignite the thinking process of students then he could be called a teacher. Sometimes, if he could create a situation and yet remain passive where the thinking or learning process begins in learners, then the teacher could be called a Master. Swamy Chinmayananda asserted,” When you are with a realized Master, you are bound to feel that the Master understands you; and not only that he understands you, but also that he has the capacity to comfort you and help you in your problems”. Only when a person learns and changes his behavior with the mere presence of a Master, then the person could feel his ‘Guru’ or ‘Sadhguru’.”

Thank you very much, Sir.

Caprine Production Theory Notes Part–I Download


Final year students can download Caprine Production Theory Notes Part –I from here.