How we can rename the post of “Kulpati” as “Kulguru”?

Lalit Shastri

In ancient India, the Gurus or those heading the seats of learning like Taxila and Nalanda, were called Acharyas. In pre-Independence days, when Kashi Vidyapeeth in Benaras (now Mahatma Gandhi Kashi Vishwavidyalaya) had become a crucible where the front-ranking freedom fighters used to assemble and draw inspiration to chalk out their strategy for the freedom movement, it was headed by none other than Acharya Narendra Dev. Mark it, even this great institution was headed by an Acharya and not a Kulguru.

Madhya Pradesh Governor Mangubhai Patel has given instructions to take necessary action to rename the post of ‘Vice Chancellor’ of the University as “Kulguru’ on Thursday, 8 December 2022. Patel said this while addressing the 100th meeting of University Coordination Committee held at Sandipani Auditorium of Raj Bhavan here.

In the Uttara Khanda of “Skanda Purana” (Guru Gita), there is a very popular mantra –

गुरुर्ब्रह्मा गुरुर्विष्णु गुरुर्देवो महेश्वरा (gururbrahma gururvishnu gururdevo maheshwara)

गुरुर्साक्षात परब्रह्म तस्मै श्री गुरवे नमः।। (Gurursakshat Parabrahma Tasmai Shri Guruve Namah.)

That is, Guru is equal to the Brahma -the creator. Guru is equal to Lord Vishnu, Guru is equal to Lord Maheshwar, Guru is Parabrahma, I bow down to Guru.

There are two major positions in universities. These are the posts of Chancellor and Vice Chancellor. Both these posts are administrative. Either the Governor of the State, who holds a constitutional office is the ex-officio Chancellor of the universities; or the founders of private universities themselves occupy this post. Anyone can be appointed as Vice-Chancellor, which is a purely administrative post, by an executive or administrative order following a laid down procedure.

In the Shrimad Bhagwat Gita, the true Guru has been called Tatvadarshi. The first verse of the 15th chapter of Gita is as follows: –

ऊर्धव मूलम् अधः शाखम् अश्वत्थम् प्राहुः अव्ययम्। (Urdhav Moolam Adha: Shakham Ashwattham Prahu: Avyayam)

छन्दासि यस्य प्रणानि, यः तम् वेद सः वेदवित् ।। (Chhandasi Yasya Pranani, Ya: Tam Veda Sa: Vedavit)

According to Lord Shri Krishna, the roots of Peepal tree ‘Urdhwamoolamadha’ that originate from God go upwards and the branches are downwards. The origin of its leaves have a Vedic source and one who knows the secrets of this tree is called the knower of the Vedas.

In Sanskrit, Guru is the one who removes darkness. Guru is the one who gives knowledge. On this basis, the parents are considered as the first guru. The second guru is the teacher who imparts knowledge of letters. In the next stage of life are the teachers, who give basic education. According to Indian culture and tradition, the position of a Guru is much higher than that of a teacher.

Now pay attention to this Sanskrit mantra – सहस्रं तु पितृन् माता गौरवेणातिरिच्यते।। (Sahasran tu Pitrin Mata Gauravenatirichyate). It means: One Acharya is greater than ten Upadhyayas, a father is greater than a hundred Acharyas and a mother is a thousand times more glorious than a father. These three are our deities. In our religious texts, parents and teachers are treated at par with God.

In this context, if we look at the university, which is the center of education, as one family, then the teachers in the university can be equated with Guru, but any person holding the administrative post of Chancellor or Vice-Chancellor cannot be called Kulguru, i.e., Guru of the entire institution. This would grossly undermine the whole concept of Guru in the true Indian tradition, especially our understanding of Guru in the Vedic perspective.

One comment

  1. You are right. Kul guru is the one who gives Diksha to whole of the family. Kulguru is from outside the family. Kulpati is the one who is part of the family as well as head of the family. Vice chancellor is the head of the family of students, teachers and staff of the university. Calling him as Kulpati is apt.

    In fact in Convocation function, a knowledgeable person of repute, from outside the university is called to give Convocation Address or Dikshant Bhashan. He is more like Kulguru who gives Dikhsa to students.

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