Guru-Shishya Parampara

In our country, the music has been passed in on a tradition which we call the Guru-Shishya Parampara. A guru is considered as the metaphysical father of the disciple and is ranked higher than biological parents. This system dates back to the Vedic era.

The pupil, after the initiation (by a sacred thread), lived in the house of his guru and studied the Vedas and other subjects under his guidance, for a period of 12 years. The institution of Gurukul was supported by the Kings and was accessible only to the upper classes.

  • The Gurus were of four kinds viz. Acharya, Pravakta, Shrotriya and Out of them, the highest category was of the Acharya. We know the names of some of the Acharyas belonging to the samhita period such as Angiras, Garga, Atri, Brihaspati and Vasishtha, all of them were linked to the composition of the Richās.
  • The pupils were also of two kinds viz. the Acharya-bhaga, who paid fees to the teacher and the Dharma-shishya who performed the domestic chores in the guru’s house in lieu of the fees.
  • Today, what we know as various Gharanas of Indian music, have evolved from the Gurukuls. Thus, Gurukuls are the direct precedent of the Gharana concept. The obvious difference between the Gurukul and Gharana is the while the former imparted religious education also, the later is confined to the musical training.

Guru Shishya Parampara Scheme

Government of India introduced Guru Shishya Parampara scheme in 2003-04. As per the scheme, great masters in the field of Music and Dance, folk and tribal art forms are identified in each zonal cultural centres and students are assigned to them. Financial assistance and Scholarship are given by the government, encouraging the systematic learning of different art forms.

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