by Urmila devi dasi
For milennia, parents sending their sons to school were also turning them over to a guru, not just to be a student but to be a disciple. The boy was expected not only to complete academic assignments but to serve the guru and live as he ordered for spiritual realization. In the last few hundred years, a boy has often continued to live with his parents after becoming a disciple, but in the ancient tradition the student lived with his teacher, often not seeing his family for months or even years.
When a child’s teacher is a bona fide guru, the parents have full and firm faith that their child is properly cared for in all respects. The guru, in turn, teaches the student to obey and highly respect the parents. Lord Krsna says in the Bhagavad-gita that respecting one’s parents is an austerity favorable to spiritual advancement. When initiating one of his first disciples, Srila Prabhupada told him to offer obeisances to his mother, who was attending the ceremony.