Written by London Swaminathan 


Date: 3 May 2018


Time uploaded in London – 11-54 am (British Summer Time)


Post No. 4973


Pictures shown here are taken from various sources such as Facebook friends, Books, Google and newspapers; thanks. Pictures may be subject to copyright laws.





Manu Smrti, in the second chapter, explains the duty of a student who is in the Guru Kula studying the Vedas. There some interesting points:

1.He gives a long list DOs and DONTs. He advises the students not to use perfume and not to learn dance and music. This is only applicable for the Brahmin students who learnt Vedas.

2.He says the students should beg and eat; sleep alone

  1. He talks about the distance to be maintained between him and the students.
  2. He says students will be born as ass or dog or worm or an insect if they insult the teacher in any manner.

(Please read my comments under each heading as well.)


Second Chapter of Manu Smrti continued……………..

Good Vedic Students



2-175. But a student who resides with his teacher must observe the following restrictive rules, duly controlling all his organs, in order to increase his spiritual merit.

  1. Every day, having bathed, and being purified, he must offer libations of water to the gods, sages and manes, worship (he images of the gods, and place fuel on the sacred fire.
  2. Let him abstain from honey, meat, perfumes, garlands, substances used for flavouring food (condiments), women, all substances turned acid, and from doing injury to living creatures.
  3. From anointing his body, applying collyrium to his eyes, from the use of shoes and of an umbrella or parasol, from sensual desire, anger, covetousness, dancing, singing, and playing musical instruments,
  4. From gambling, idle disputes, backbiting, and lying, from looking at and touching women, and from hurting others.


My Comments:

Andal, a saint and poetess of Tamil Nadu, who lived 1400 years ago also mentioned the discipline that girls follow during the period of Vow (Vrata). Refer to Tiruppavai verse 2.



2-180. Let him always sleep alone, let him never waste his manhood; for he who voluntarily wastes his manhood, breaks his vow.

  1. A twice-born student, who has involuntarily wasted his manly strength during sleep, must bathe, worship the sun, and afterwards thrice mutter the Rik-verse which begins, ‘Again let my strength return to me.’
  2. Let him fetch a pot full of water, flowers, cowdung, earth, and Kusa grass, as much as may be required by his teacher, and daily go to beg food.
  3. A student, being pure, shall daily bring food from the houses of men who are not deficient in (the knowledge of) the Veda and in performing sacrifices, and who are famous for following their lawful occupations.
  4. Let him not beg from the relatives of his teacher, nor from his own or his mother’s blood-relations; but if there are no houses belonging to strangers, let him go to one of those named above, taking the last-named first;
  5. Or, if there are no virtuous men of the kind mentioned above, he may go to each (house in the) village, being pure and remaining silent; but let him avoid Abhisastas (those accused of mortal sin).
  6. Having brought sacred fuel from a distance, let him place it anywhere but on the ground, and let him, unwearied, make with it burnt oblations to the sacred fire, both evening and morning.
  7. He who, without being sick, neglects during seven successive days to go out begging, and to offer fuel in the sacred fire, shall perform the penance of an Avakirnin (one who has broken his vow).


My comment:

Hinduism is a very practical religion; they have atonement and escape strategy for every eventuality.


Guru Puja by good students



2-188. He who performs the vow of studentship shall constantly subsist on alms, but not eat the food of one person only; the subsistence of a student on begged food is declared to be equal in merit to fasting.

  1. At his pleasure he may eat, when invited, the food of one man at a rite in honour of the gods, observing however the conditions on his vow, or at a funeral meal in honour of the manes, behaving however like a hermit.
  2. This duty is prescribed by the wise for a Brahmana only; but no such duty is ordained for a Kshatriya and a Vaisya.

My comment

By begging one becomes humble and always looking for support from the local community. More over less eating will keep oneself healthy in physique and mind. Walking is an exercise done during begging.



2-191. Both when ordered by his teacher, and without a special command, a student shall always exert himself in studying the Veda, and in doing what is serviceable to his teacher.

  1. Controlling his body, his speech, his organs of sense, and his mind, let him stand with joined hands, looking at the face of his teacher.
  2. Let him always keep his right arm uncovered, behave decently and keep his body well covered, and when he is addressed with the words , ‘Be seated,’ he shall sit down, facing his teacher.
  3. In the presence of his teacher let him always eat less, wear a less valuable dress and ornaments than the former, and let him rise earlier from his bed, and go to rest later.
  4. Let him not answer or converse with (his teacher), reclining on a bed, nor sitting, nor eating, nor standing, nor with an averted face.
  5. Let him do that, standing up, if his teacher is seated, advancing towards him when he stands, going to meet him if he advances, and running after him when he runs;
  6. Going round to face the teacher, if his face is averted, approaching him if he stands at a distance, but bending towards him if he lies on a bed, and if he stands in a lower place.
  7. When his teacher is nigh, let his bed or seat be low; but within sight of his teacher he shall not sit carelessly at ease.
  8. Let him not pronounce the mere name of his teacher (without adding an honorific title) behind his back even, and let him not mimic his gait, speech, and deportment.
  9. Wherever (people) justly censure or falsely defame his teacher, there he must cover his ears or depart thence to another place.

My comment

Such a respect and reverence is seen nowhere in the world except India. Even today we can see it in the religious centres, but not in ordinary schools. Students must rise when the teacher enters the class room till I studied in the college. Western countries do it only in Judicial courts.



2-201. By censuring his teacher, though justly, he will become in his next birth an ass, by falsely defaming him, a dog; he who lives on his teacher’s substance, will become a worm, and he who is envious of his merit, a larger insect.

  1. He must not serve the teacher by the intervention of another while he himself stands aloof, nor when he himself is angry, nor when a woman is near; if he is seated in a carriage or on a raised seat, he must descend and afterwards salute his teacher.
  2. Let him not sit with his teacher, to the leeward or to the windward of him; nor let him say anything which his teacher cannot hear.
  3. He may sit with his teacher in a carriage drawn by oxen, horses, or camels, on a terrace, on a bed of grass or leaves, on a mat, on a rock, on a wooden bench, or in a boat.
  4. If his teacher’s teacher is near, let him behave towards him as towards his own teacher; but let him, unless he has received permission from his teacher, not salute venerable persons of his own family.


My comments:

You may take the meaning of verse 201 literally and think that it would happen in the next birth. My interpretation is such a student will have the badd qualities of animals mentioned.


Manu Smrti must be read in full with the commentaries and then one would wonder how come he thought about even the minutest details several thousand years ago. Manu is mentioned in the Rig Veda, the oldest book in the world; he is the first law giver, even before Hammurabi.

Tamil Saint Manikkavasagar receiving blessings from his Guru




WRITTEN by London Swaminathan 


Date: 1 April 2018


Time uploaded in London –  18-18 (British Summer Time)


Post No. 4872


Pictures shown here are taken from various sources such as Facebook friends, Books, Google and newspapers; thanks. Pictures may be subject to copyright laws.










The interesting points in this section of the Second Chapter of Manu Smrti are:

1.Why should one stand up before elders?

When a person who commands, respect comes suddenly into your room, you get a shock. If you stand up and show respect, you slowly come out of the shock. The reason being the person who is shown respect says something nice to you.

2.How to greet?

Hindu way of greeting a person is very unique. You say Hello by introducing you fully with the details of your Kula, Gotra (clan) who are your forefather seers, what Veda you learn and then say I salute you by touching his feet. This is unique to Hindus. But they never say all these things before of a sanyasi (an ascetic)because he considers everyone equal irrespective of his Kula or Gotra.

  1. Elders always greet the youngsters Long Live (with health and wealth).
  2. Priests, Vedic scholars and educated get respect even if they are young.

5.Friendship rules are interesting. Artists get more value. Verse 2-134

6.Five Criteria for Respect is very interesting: Educated are more respected than aged or relationship, wealth etc. Verse 2-136

  1. Right of way rules, road transport rules are very interesting- verse 2-138

8.Definition of Acharya, Upadhyaya, Guru etc is also interesting

9.Mother is 1000 times more respectful than father (verse 2-145) –shows the highest respect for women.


Manu Smrti- Second Chapter



2-119. One must not sit down on a couch or seat which a superior occupies; and he who occupies a couch or seat shall rise to meet a superior, and afterwards)salute him.

2-120. For the vital airs of a young man mount upwards to leave his body when an elder approaches; but by rising to meet him and saluting he recovers them.

  1. He who habitually salutes and constantly pays reverence to the aged obtains an increase of four things, (viz.) length of life, knowledge, fame, and strength.
  2. After the word of salutation, a Brahmana who greets an elder must pronounce his name, saying, ‘I am N. N.’ Also announce that I belong to this clan, learning this Veda, Shaka, his forefather seers etc.
  3. To those persons who, when a name is pronounced, do not understand the meaning of the salutation, a wise man should say, ‘It is I;’ and he should address in the same manner all women.
  4. In saluting he should pronounce after his name the word bhoh; for the sages have declared that the nature of bhoh is the same as that of all proper names.


Long Live Greeting!

  1. A Brahmana should thus be saluted in return, ‘May’st thou be long-lived, O gentle one!’ and the vowel ‘a’ must be added at the end of the name (of the person addressed), the syllable preceding it being drawn out to the length of three matras.

e.g swaminathaaa, kartikeyaaa

  1. A Brahmana who does not know the form of returning a salutation, must not be saluted by a learned man; as a Sudra, even so is he.
  2. Let him ask a Brahmana, on meeting him, after (his health, with the word) kusala, a Kshatriya (with the word) are you free from diseases?, a Vaisya (with the word) are you getting enough money?, and a Sudra (with the word) are you healthy?.

Even Young Vedic Scholars must be respected

2-128. He who has been initiated (to perform a Srauta sacrifice) must not be addressed by his name, even though he be a younger man; he who knows the sacred law must use in speaking to such (a man the particle) bhoh and (the pronoun) bhavat (your worship).

  1. But to a female who is the wife of another man, and not a blood-relation, he must say, ‘Lady’ (bhavati) or ‘Beloved sister!’
  2. To his maternal and paternal uncles, fathers-in-law, officiating priests, (and other) venerable persons, he must say, ‘I am N. N.,’ and rise (to meet them), even though they be younger (than himself).
  3. A maternal aunt, the wife of a maternal uncle, a mother-in-law, and a paternal aunt must be honoured like the wife of one’s teacher; they are equal to the wife of one’s teacher.
  4. (The feet of the) wife of one’s brother, if she be of the same caste (varna), must be worshipped every day; but (the feet of) wives of (other) paternal and maternal relatives need only be worshipped on one’s return from a journey.
  5. Towards a sister of one’s father and of one’s mother, and towards one’s own elder sister, one must behave as towards one’s mother; (but) the mother is more venerable than they.

Who can be Your Friends? Friendship Rules

2-134. Fellow-citizens are called friends and equals though one be ten years older than the other, men practising the same fine art though one be five years older than the other, Vedic scholars though three years but blood-relations only if the difference of age be very small.

  1. Know that a Brahmana of ten years and Kshatriya of a hundred years stand to each other in the relation of father and son; but between those two the Brahmana is the father.


Five Criteria for Respect

2-136. Wealth, kindred, age, the due performance of rites, and, fifthly, sacred learning are titles to respect; but each later-named cause is more weighty than the preceding ones. That is the educated are the most respectful

  1. Whatever man of the three (highest) castes possesses most of those five, both in number and degree, that man is worthy of honour among them; and (so is) also a Sudra who is ninety years old.

Right of Way, Road Rules

2-138. Way must be made for a man in a carriage, for one who is above ninety years old, for one diseased, for the carrier of a burden, for a woman, for a Brahmana, for the king, and for a bridegroom.

  1. Among all those, if they meet at one time, a Brahmana and the king must be most honoured; and if the king and a Brahmana meet, the latter receives respect from the king.



  1. They call that Brahmana who initiates a pupil and teaches him the Veda together with the Kalpa and the Rahasyas, the teacher.


  1. But he who for his livelihood teaches a portion only of the Veda, or also the Angas of the Veda, is called the sub-teacher (upadhyaya).


  1. That Brahmana, who performs in accordance with the rules (of the Veda) the rites, the Garbhadhana (conception-rite), and so forth, and gives food (to the child), is called the Guru (the venerable one).

Officiating Priest

  1. He who, being (duly) chosen (for the purpose), performs the Agnyadheya, the Pakayagnas, (and) the (Srauta) sacrifices, such as the Agnishtoma (for another man), is called (his) officiating priest.

Equal to Parents

  1. That (man) who truthfully fills both his ears with the Veda, (the pupil) shall consider as his father and mother; he must never offend him.


2-145. The teacher  is ten times more venerable than a sub-teacher (upadhyaya), the father a hundred times more than the teacher, but the mother a thousand times more than the father.

  1. Of him who gives natural birth and him who gives the knowledge of the Veda, the giver of the Veda is the more venerable father; for the birth for the sake of the Veda ensures eternal rewards both in this life and after death.
  2. Let him consider that he received) a (mere animal) existence, when his parents begat him through mutual affection, and when he was born from the womb (of his mother).


No Make-up, No Drama, No Song—Chanakya Strict with Students! (Post No.4768)

Date: 20 FEBRUARY 2018


Time uploaded in London- 16-59


Written by London swaminathan


Post No. 4768


PICTURES ARE TAKEN from various sources. They may not be directly related to the article. They are only representational.







Very few poets or law makers talk about the relationship between students and teachers. But we have lot about it in Manu Smrti and Upanishads.


Here are some verses from the Chanakya Niti translated by Satya Vrat Shasri (formerly Professor in Delhi University and JNU, Delhi)

A student should shun the following eight: Passion, Anger, Greed, Relish, Make-up, song and drama shows, too much sleep and flattery.

Chankya Niti, Chapter 11, verse 10

kaamam krodham tathaa svaadam srungarakautuke

atinidraatiseve ca vidhyaarthii hyaashta varjayet



Don’t Teach Dull Students

Even a wise man comes to grief by teaching dull students, by looking after bad women and by keeping company with the miserable.

Chanakya Niti, Chapter 1, verse 4


muurkhasishyopadesena dushtastriibaranena ca

dukkitaihi samprayogena panditoapyavasiidati



Bookish Knowledge!

Those who have read books but have not studied with teachers, create no impression in an assembly like women carrying through illicit contact.

Chanakya Niti, Chapter 17, verse 1


pustakesu ca yaaadhiitam naadhiitam gurusannidhau

sabhaamadhye na sobhante jaaragarbhaa iva striiyaha




Even a single syllable that a teacher teaches a pupil, there is no object in the world by offering which he can repay the debt.

Chanakya Niti, Chapter 15, verse 2

ekamevaaksharam yastu guruhu sishyam prabodayet

pruthivyaa naasti tada dravyam datvaa caanrunii bhavet


Manu on Students attending Veda Class

2-117. (A student) shall first reverentially salute that (teacher) from whom he receives (knowledge), referring to worldly affairs, to the Veda, or to the Brahman.

2-119. One must not sit down on a couch or seat which a superior occupies; and he who occupies a couch or seat shall rise to meet a (superior), and (afterwards) salute him.

2-120. For the vital airs of a young man mount upwards to leave his body when an elder approaches; but by rising to meet him and saluting he recovers them.

2-121. He who habitually salutes and constantly pays reverence to the aged obtains an increase of four (things), (viz.) length of life, knowledge, fame, (and) strength.

2-122. After the (word of) salutation, a Brahmana who greets an elder must pronounce his name, saying, ‘I am N. N.’


This is from second chapter of Manu Smrti.


Following Mantra is from the Taittiriya Upanishad, recited just before the class begins:-

 सह नाववतु 
सह नौ भुनक्तु 
सह वीर्यं करवावहै 
तेजस्वि नावधीतमस्तु मा विद्विषावहै 
 शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः 

Om Saha Naav[au]-Avatu |
Saha Nau Bhunaktu |
Saha Viiryam Karavaavahai |
Tejasvi Naav[au]-Adhiitam-Astu Maa Vidvissaavahai |
Om Shaantih Shaantih Shaantih ||

1: Om, May God Protect us Both (the Teacher and the Student) (during the journey of awakening our Knowledge),
2: May God Nourish us Both (with that spring of Knowledge which nourishes life when awakened),
3: May we Work Together with Energy and Vigour (cleansing ourselves with that flow of energy for the Knowledge to manifest),
4: May our Study be Enlightening (taking us towards the true Essence underlying everything), and not giving rise to Hostility (by constricting the understanding of the Essence in a particular manifestation only),
5: Om, Peace, Peace, Peace


This shows the highest stage Hindus reached around 1000 BCE. No other culture even thought about such a thing at that time.


xxxx SUBHAM xxx



school tree

Compiled by London swaminathan


Date: 19  June 2016


Post No. 2908


Time uploaded in London :– 12-06


( Pictures are taken by London swaminathan)





(for old articles go to OR



Who is an Acharya/ teacher? Who is a Guru? Who is an Upadhyaya?

mdu school

Manu Smrti says:

The twice born man who initiates the pupil and teaches him the Veda together with the ritual texts and the secret texts is called his teacher (2-140)

Upaniiyatu yah sishyam vedamadyaapayet dvijah

Sakalpam sarahasyam ca tam aachaaryam pracakshate (Manu 2-140)


But a man who teaches one portion of the Veda or even, again, the subsidiary texts of the Vedas, and does it to make a living, is called the instructor.( 2-141)

Ekadesam tu vedasya vedaangaanyapi vaa punah

Yo adyaapayati vrutyartam upaadyaayah sa uchyate



Nishekaadiini karmaani yah karoti yataa vidhi

Sambaavayati caannena sa vipro gurur ucyate

Guru is the one who helps the person by giving him the food, helps to perform rituals according to the rules.


Teacher with 10,000 Students!

Muniinaam dasasaahasram yoannadaanaati poshanaat

Adyaapayati viparashirrasau kulapatih smrutah

Kulapati is the one who feeds and teaches 10000 students. Nowadays Kulapati is used for the vice chancellor of a university.


school village.jpg


Definition of a teacher

A teacher is one who has control over his senses, who is above the ‘dwantvas’ (good and bad, agony and ecstasy etc), honest, truthful, pure and sharp witted.

He must know the scriptures and he must follow the rules laid in the scriptures. He must be proficient in Gayatri mantra. He must come from a family of spotless character.


An Acharya is a person who knows the scriptures and its meaning; he makes others to follow the scriptural rules and he himself practises them. He preaches what he practises; and practises what he preaches.



The tail is out!


Compiled  by London swaminathan

Post No.2255

Date: 18 October 2015

Time uploaded in London: 18-33

Thanks for the pictures.

Don’t use pictures. Don’t reblog for at least a week.


Once a Guru was teaching his disciples about the highest truth, but one of his disciples was not prepared to listen to or understand him. The guru was seated leaning against a wall and the disciple was facing him. In the wall there was a rat hole. When the teaching was going on, the rat was slowly proceeding towards the hole and all the attention was of the disciple was fixed on the rat. He was watching keenly what the rat was doing. It has almost entered the hole and its tail only was seen outside.

The guru coming to know that the disciple was not attending to him, asked,

“Do you listen to what I say?

Has what I told you entered your head?”

Suddenly the answer came from the disciple

“Yes, only the tail is out.”

Many disciples are of this type. So preparedness to imbibe spiritual teachings is necessary and that can only be through purification of the mind.

Story told by swami Ramdas of Anandashram


Guru’s Veto Power over God!



Picture of Sri Ramana Maharishi

Hinduism is a unique religion. The concept of Guru is unique to Hindu religion. Guru has got more powers than God. Other religions do not have this concept. Guru can ‘veto’ (nullify, annul, invalidate)  one’s fate or  boons and curses of God. But they will use it very rarely. I have already written about the power of Bhaktas/devotees. When someone does something wrong to a devotee God never interferes. He leaves it to his devotee to punish or pardon the offender. In the article about curses and boons, I have pointed out Hindu gods obey certain rules. They can’t even violate their own words. Truth is God. (Please look at the list of earlier posts on this subject at the bottom of this post).


We know five big powers Russia, United States, China, France and Britain have got veto power in the Security Council. Security Council of the United Nations has the responsibility of maintenance of peace and military action towards this goal. But if one of the five powers uses the veto power it can’t pass a resolution. Indian Gurus have the same power. If they decide something, God has to obey it.

Sanskrit word Guru has entered even Oxford English dictionary. According to OED, Guru means: Hindu spiritual teacher or Head of a religious sect. Now the meaning has expanded to an influential teacher or a revered mentor in any field. E.g Financial Guru, Advertising Guru.



Picture of Swami Shanthananatha and Kanchi Sri Paramacharya

Guru is praised as Brahma, Vishnu, Maheswara in the famous Sanskrit hymn Gurur Brahma, Gurur Vishnu…………

Guru initiates his or her disciples into new ritual or a mantra. S/He takes all responsibilities of the omissions and commissions of his/her devotees or disciples. S/He passes all his/her powers to a favourite disciple. Ramakrishna Paramahamsa passed his powers to his disciple Swami Vivekananda. Guru can do it by looking at his disciple (Nayana Diksha= power transfer by sight) or by touching (Sparsa Diksha= transfer of power by touch). There are other methods as well.

Look at the following anecdotes that illustrate Guru’s veto power:

Sundarar was one of the Four Great Tamil Saivite Saints. He lived in Tamil Nadu in the eighth century. He maintained good friendship with the Chera (Now Kerala) king Cheraman Perumal Nayanar. Chera king was also a Shiva devotee and considered Sundara as his mentor. When Sundarar was 18 year old, Shiva decided to take him to his abode Kailash. He sent the celestial white elephant Airavata to bring him to Kailash. Sundarar left the world happily. Chera king learnt it by intuition. Immediately he commanded his horse to take him to Kailash. It was after all a horse on the earth. It can’t go to heaven. But Cheraman knew the power of Pachakshara and said it in the ears of the horse. It flew like a space vehicle and left him at the gates of Kailash.


(Panchakshara is OM “NAMA SIVAYA”. It is found in the middle of Rudram/ Chamakam of Yajur Veda )

At the gate of Kailash, Sundrar was allowed, but not the Chera king. He was treated like a person without ticket. When Sundarar represented his case to Shiva, he asked his gate keeper Nandikeswara to bring him in. Shiva asked him why he came without a ticket ( permission). He told him that he cant live without Sundarar. When Sundarar praised Lord Shiva with a hymn, Shiva allowed Cheraman in to Kailash. The moral of the story is, Even if the devotee (cheraman) is undeserving, if he is devoted to a Guru, he will also find a place in the kingdom of god.

967e3-shankarastatuePicture of Adi Shankara


Narada’s Clash with Vishnu

Narada was going to Vaikunda, abode of Lord Vishnu, through a village. A devotee saw him and asked him to do a favour. Narada was ready to help him because the villager was an ardent devotee of Vishnu. The villager told Narada, “Oh, Guru, I have no children even though I was married several years ago. Please find out from Vishnu when I would get a child. Narada faithfully did what he was asked to do. Unfortunately Narada came back to the village to give him the bad news that he would not get a child at all.

Several years passed and Narada happened to pass through the same village again. He saw three children playing in the villager’s house. Narada’s curiosity knew no bounds. Immediately he went into the house and found out the three children were villager’s own children! The villager told that he met a Guru/saint and that he served that Guru for some time. And he blessed him that he would get three children.

Narada rushed back to Vaikunda and accused Lord Vishnu of speaking untruth. Vishnu smiled at him and asked why he was very angry. Then Narada told Vishnu what he saw at the villager’s house.  Vishnu laughed and said, “That must be surely the work of some saint, for saint alone can change one’s destiny!”


Tamil Saint Valluvar

Tamil saint Valluvar in his Tirukkural praises Great men in Chapter 45.In another Chapter (90) he severely warns not to offend the great men (Gurus).

“If those of rigorous penance become enraged, even Indra will crash from power and position” (Kural 899)

“To please great men and make them one’s own is the rarest of all rare blessings” (Kural 443)

Pictures are taken from different sites.

shirdi sai


Picture of Shirdi Sri Sai Baba

Source books: Sixty Three Nayanar Saints by Swami Sivananda, Stories as told by Swami

Ramdas; I have compared them and added my comments.


Please read my earlier posts on this subject:

1.Do Words Have Power? An interesting Study on curses and Boons.

2.யார் பெரியவர்? கடவுளா? பக்தனா?

Those who reproduce  my articles should publish the Blog name and author’s name London Swaminathan.

Two Wonder Boys who controlled Floods

Picture of Dike Boy Statue in Holland

Two Wonder Boys from Holland and India who controlled Floods

Two boys have become immortal due to their hard work and humility; one is from India and the other is from Holland. The Dutch (Holland) is an imaginary boy and Indian boy is a real boy. The story of Indian Hindu boy is attested by the Upanishads and Mahabaharata. The imaginary Dutch boy is from the novel of American writer Mary Mapes Dodge.

The Hindu boy lived at least 3000 years ago. The Dutch boy story appeared first in 1865. The name of the Hindu boy is Uddalaka Aruni and the name of the imaginary Dutch boy is Hans Brinker.

The pity is most of us knew about the imaginary Dutch boy, but not about the real Hindu boy. But the moral of the story is same. Dutch have erected his statues in three towns for the imaginary non –existent boy just to attract tourists. It is a shame Indians never erected a statue or issued a stamp for the great Indian boys Dhruva, Nachiketas, Upamanyu, Uddlaka Aruni, Svetaketu, Satyakama Jabala and Veda.


‘Vidya Vinayanna Sampathe’ is the Sanskrit saying. ‘Education shines through humility (humbleness)’.

Tamil saint Tiruvalluvar in his Tirukkural says:

The angel of virtue will willingly abide in a person who gains self possession through his learning and self control (self restraint).

An echo is heard in what Erasmus said:

“The spirit of God, delighteth to dwell in the hearts of the humble”.

This is the moral of the stories given below:

Story of the Dutch Boy

A long time ago there lived in Haarlem, an important town in the Netherlands (Holland), a blond-haired boy. His father was the lockkeeper and had to make sure that the locks were opened and closed to keep the water in the canals at the right level.

On a beautiful day in Autumn this boy, he was 8 years old, went to visit an old blind man and bring him some home made biscuits. After about an hour he went home, but the weather had changed; it was raining and the water in the canal was rising.

All of a sudden he heard the sound of trickling water and he wondered where it came from. Then he saw a very small hole in the dike (Dyke)! A dyke is an embankment built along the coastline of  the Netherlands to prevent flooding of low lying areas. With the pressure of the water the hole won’t stay small for long and that means flood! He knew what to do. He climbed onto the dike and put his finger in the hole. Now he hoped for someone to come past soon, because he started to feel quite cold, but no one came. When dawn broke, the priest, who had been spending the night at the bedside of a very sick parishioner, was walking home and saw the boy.

“What are you doing there”? he asked when he saw the boy lying on his tummy, halfway up the dike. “I am holding the water back,” was the simple answer. “Please get help!” And of course help came soon after that. Everyone in Holland was very proud of the boy.

Picture of Nachiketas facing Yama; he is one of the Hindu Boy Heroes

Story of Uddalaka Aruni from Maha Bharata

Ayoda Dhaumya was a famous teacher who lived before Buddha, at least 3000 years ago. Princes and paupers came to him to learn the scriptures. In those days one has to stay with the Guru for twelve years and learn the lessons. They have to serve the Guru/teacher every day and get food items for him. Aruni was a young prince who came to study under him. Guru gave him a difficult task. He asked him to go to his field and  fix the breach in the sluice. Though he was a prince he took his spade and basket and rushed to the field. In spite of his repeated attempts to repair the breach and stop the water, he did not succeed. The sun started setting. He did not want to return home without finishing the task. He managed to put his body across the breach and stop the water with the help of leaves and mud.

In the meantime Guru started his evening lesson after sunset. One boy, Aruni, was missing. He was shocked and asked other students where he was. All of them gave the same message: they saw him repairing the breach till late evening. Guru ran to the field holding a fire torch in his hand and called several times “Aruni, Where are you?” After a while, a faint voice came from Aruni saying that he was lying in the mud across the breach. Guru lifted him and hugged him lovingly.


When he came to Guru’s house he put his hand on his head and said to him: Aruni, You have learnt what you are expected to learn. Your education is complete. Go home. My full blessings are with you. The boy was called Uddalaka Aruni.

This was education in ancient days. In addition to learning scriptures by heart, they have to apply it practically in everyday life. He learnt humility, obedience to elders, faith in what teachers say and above all hard work.

These two wonder boys will inspire generations to come.

Picture of Dykes.


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