Episode # 9 – How should a disciple approach an Aachaarya? Fundamental aspect of Sanatana Dharma!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed the commencement of the first “Amsa” of the Shri Vishnu Puraana, wherein Sage Maithreya goes to meet his teacher, Sage Paraashara. As Sage Paraashara was in deep penance at that time, Sage Maithreya had to wait for him to open his eyes. As Sage Paraashara finishes and winds up his penance, he is also very happy to see Sage Maithreya, his ardent disciple standing in front of him with a worried look on his face. Sage Maithreya had come up with a compelling question to be asked to his teacher and is standing in front of Sage Paraashara with all his humility. This is where we witnessed in the last episode, the importance of being humble and open-minded to the Aachaarya (Teacher), and this is the fundamental aspect that is significant for the learning process to commence. We should never have the attitude of “testing” whether the Aachaarya’s level of knowledge is good or not. If we’ve to ask a question to the Aachaarya, it should be a genuine one and should be asked in a manner in which the Aachaarya’s answer would be grasped by us in the right sense. Else, we would see that many Aachaaryas would remain silent and they wouldn’t return an answer to our question. Many a times, we might mistake that the Aachaarya doesn’t know the answer to our question if He / She doesn’t answer us, but the fact remains that the Aachaarya knows our intention behind asking the question. If our intention is bad, the Aachaarya wound’t waste His / Her time to answer our stupid questions! 

In fact, Bhagawan Krishna Himself explains the procedure to ask questions to the Aachaarya. He explains to Arjuna that a disciple should ask questions to the Aachaarya with truthfulness, sincerity and humility. In fact, Bhagawan Krishna also goes on to explain how the disciple should stand in front of the Aachaarya while asking something. The disciple shouldn’t stand face to face in front of the Aachaarya. This indicates that the disciple is high on arrogance and is close-minded! At the same time, the disciple shouldn’t stand behind the Aachaarya while asking something. If so, the “Guru-Kataaksha” from the Aachaarya would never fall on the disciple. Thus, the best way to ask something from the Aachaarya is to stand or sit by the side of Him / Her and ask. Moreover, the disciple should have the patience to wait for the Aachaarya to give the answer. If the Aachaarya is taking some time to respond, the Sishya has to wait till the Aachaarya gives the answer. Not every time will we get direct answers then and there from the Aachaarya. Hence, we’ve to wait till we get it. It is not that the Aachaarya doesn’t know the answer for our question, but there are many other aspects that might be involved. Sometimes, the time might not be apt for discussing that particular matter that we would like to talk about. Thus, if such is the case, the Aachaarya remains silent, rather than giving a definitive answer. Again, we shouldn’t take that in the negative sense that the Aachaarya is dodging us away. Or sometimes, there might be some people around the Aachaarya, with whom this question / discussion shouldn’t be shared. Or, there might be some other aspects that might be untold in many ways. Hence, Bhagawan Krishna too advises that the disciple should exhibit extreme patience and resilience while asking questions to the Aachaarya. 

Thus, unlike the stupiditiy that we’ve been talking about, Sage Maithreya is standing in front of Sage Paraashara with a genuine intention of learning few important things. He’s going to ask straightforward questions to Sage Paraashara, for which Sage Paraashara is very happy to respond. So for today, let us once again understand these important points as to how a disciple should approach an Aachaarya. I’m stressing on these points repeatedly because this is the fundamental aspect of our entire Sanaatana Dharma. Only if we know how to pay respects to our Aachaarya, would we be able to grasp any learning from Him / Her. Now from the next episode, let us start witnessing the first question of Sage Maithreya and from there, we shall continue with the first “Amsa”’s content! Stay tuned! 🙂


Published by Dr. Jeayaram

Holds a PhD in Management Psychology from Universite Paris Saclay, Paris, France. Also an Asst. Professor of Human Resources management at Bharatidhasan Institute of Management (BIM) Trichy, India A professional South Indian classical musician (singer) performing concerts. Through this blog, I'm trying to bring out the richness of Indian culture & values and I request your support and feedbacks in making this humble effort a success!!

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