A matter of R.E.S.P.E.C.T

A few weeks ago Singapore woke up to an interesting news online. A primary school kid was seen shouting vulgarities on Facebook. Now you may wonder what’s wrong with that, given that it’s getting pretty common these days. What’s unusual here is that the girl was actually scolding vulgarities at her teacher. That made me wonder… where is this new generation heading to?

Many years ago when we were in school, we were taught “Matha, Pitha, Guru, Daivam” (माता, पिता, गुरु, देवम्) which literally translates as “Mother Father Teacher God”. The meaning of this Sanskrit adage is the greatest truth, and is the order in which one should offer reverence.

Kabir, a mystic Hindi poet in 15th century India, who was probably inspired by this adage, wrote in one of his verses:
Guru Govind dou khade, kaake laagoon paye
Balihari guru aapki, Govind diyo milaye.

I face both God and my Guru (Teacher). Whom should I bow to first?
I should first bow to my Guru, as he’s the one who showed me the path to God.

I guess I cannot expect the youngsters of today to uphold such high principles. But the least they could do is respect their parents and their teachers.


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