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Timeless tutors

Dronacharya, the teacher of the Pandavas and Kauravas, from the Mahabharata.   | Photo Credit: Satheesh Vellinezhi

Dronacharya (Indian mythology)

Possibly one of the most famous mythological teachers, Dronacharya was an expert in military arts and a master of divine weapons. He taught the Kaurava and the Pandava princes art of warfare. He shared a special bond with Arjuna, the immensely talented Pandava brother who was known to be his favourite student. An illustrious mentor, Drona’s name is relevant even today; the Indian government’s honour for outstanding coaches in sports is called the Dronacharya Award.

Kvasir, the wandering poet, from Norse mythology

Kvasir, the wandering poet, from Norse mythology   | Photo Credit: Satheesh Vellinezhi

Kvasir (Norse mythology)

A wandering poet who never failed to give the correct answer to any question, Kvasir is believed to be wisest of all beings. He was created when the saliva of two groups of gods were mixed after they fought a battle. Extremely knowledgeable, he wandered around the world, teaching people and spreading wisdom. He was killed by two dwarves who then mixed his blood with honey to brew a the‘Mead of Poetry’. According to legend, anyone who drank it got the gift of wisdom and poetic inspiration that Kvasir was known for.

Sōjōbō, the king of the tengu, in Japanese mythology

Sōjōbō, the king of the tengu, in Japanese mythology   | Photo Credit: Satheesh Vellinezhi

Sōjōbō (Japanese mythology)

In Japanese folklore, the tengu are deities believed to live in mountains and forests. The king of the tengu is Sōjōbō, who has long white hair, an unusually long nose and the strength of 1,000 normal tengu. His wisdom, fighting tactics and skills with the sword are legendary. One of the most popular tales associated with him is his mentorship of the renowned Japanese warrior Ushiwaka-maru. Sōjōbō trained the young Ushiwaka-maru in magic, swordsmanship and tactics.

Vasishtha, one of the Saptarishi and most revered sages from Hindu mythology.

Vasishtha, one of the Saptarishi and most revered sages from Hindu mythology.   | Photo Credit: Satheesh Vellinezhi

Vashishta (Indian mythology)

One of the most revered sages, Vashishta was the teacher of Lord Rama, King Harishchandra and many others. A master of divine arts with all-encompassing knowledge, he had a gurukula where he trained his disciples. Lord Rama and his brothers were sent here to learn all the skills and values they would require in life.

The centaur Chiron from Greek mythology.

The centaur Chiron from Greek mythology.   | Photo Credit: Satheesh Vellinezhi

Chiron (Greek mythology)

A centaur is a mythical creature who is half man and half horse. One of the most prominent centaurs in Greek mythology is Chiron, who was said to be wise and knowledgeable. Not only was he an expert in fields such as medicine, music and healing, but was also a tutor to some of the greatest heroes in Greek mythology. His students include Achilles, Jason, Ajax, Asclepius, Heracles, Nestor, Odysseus, and many others who went on to reach great heights.

Sacathach is fearsome female warrior and a teacher of warriors in Irish myths.

Sacathach is fearsome female warrior and a teacher of warriors in Irish myths.   | Photo Credit: Satheesh Vellinezhi

Scáthach (Irish mythology)

This fearsome female warrior’s name means ‘shadowy’, and she is famous as a teacher of warriors. If finding her was difficult (she lived in the Isle of Skye near Scotland and getting there meant crossing treacherous waters), completing her training was even more perilous. Students who did not survive the challenges were just considered to be unworthy. Her most famous trainee was Cú Chulainn, who not only braved her intense methods, but also went on to become a legendary figure in Irish lore.

Merlin, the guardian and mentor of King Arthur

Merlin, the guardian and mentor of King Arthur   | Photo Credit: Satheesh Vellinezhi

Merlin (British mythology)

Mythology abounds in tales about this enigmatic character. While the specifics differ from story to story, he is generally known to be a powerful and wise wizard. He figures prominently in Arthurian legends, and which are important part of British mythology. Arthurian legends are stories about King Arthur, a mythical British leader. It is believed that Merlin played an important role in King Arthur’s life as his adviser and mentor. What’s more, this fascinating figure in literature and legend dons several other roles depending on which story you read.

Prometheus, from Greek myths, is believed to be a patron of human civilisation

Prometheus, from Greek myths, is believed to be a patron of human civilisation   | Photo Credit: Satheesh Vellinezhi

Prometheus (Greek mythology)

Prometheus was a Titan in Greek mythology often credited with creating human beings from clay. There are also accounts of how he stole fire from the Gods, gave it to humans, and taught them how to use it to cook and stay warm. He is believed to be a patron of human civilisation. The myth of Prometheus has served as an inspiration to writers and thinkers in various fields over the centuries. He features in many literary works, lends his name to several scientific discoveries and often figures in pop culture.


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Printable version | Oct 19, 2021 3:04:29 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/children/a-look-at-some-exceptional-teachers-from-mythology/article36220274.ece

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