The Need of a Guru 1


The importance of finding a guru who can impart transcendental knowledge (vidyā) is emphasised in Hinduism. One of the main Hindu texts, the Bhagavad Gita, is a dialogue between God in the form of Krishna and Arjuna a nobleman. Not only does their dialogue outline many of the ideals of Hinduism, but their relationship is considered an ideal one of Guru-Shishya. In the Gita, Krishna speaks to Arjuna of the importance of finding a guru:

Acquire the transcendental knowledge from a Self-realized master by humble reverence, by sincere inquiry, and by service. The wise ones who have realized the Truth will impart the Knowledge to you. [13] In Hinduism, the guru is considered a respected person with saintly qualities who enlightens the mind of his or her disciple, an educator from whom one receives the initiatory mantra, and one who instructs in rituals and religious ceremonies.

The Vishnu Smriti and Manu Smriti regard the teacher, along with the mother and the father, as the most venerable gurus (teachers) of an individual. Some influential gurus in the Hindu tradition were Adi Shankaracharya, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, and Shri Ramakrishna. Other gurus who continued the yogic tradition into the 20th century include Shri Ram Chandra, Shri Aurobindo Ghosh, Shri Ramana Maharshi, Sri Chandrashekarendra Saraswati (The Sage of Kanchi), Swami Sivananda, Swami Chinmayananda and A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. See also the list of Hindu gurus.

In Indian culture, a person without a guru or a teacher (acharya) was once looked down upon as being an orphan and an unfortunate one. The word anatha in Sanskrit means “the one without a teacher”. An acharya is the giver of gyan (knowledge) in the form of shiksha (instruction).

A guru also gives diksha initiation which is the spiritual awakening of the disciple by the grace of the guru. Diksha is also considered to be the procedure of bestowing the divine powers of a guru upon the disciple, through which the disciple progresses continuously along the path to divinity.

There is an understanding in some sects that if the devotee were presented with the guru and God, first he would pay respect to the guru, since the guru had been instrumental in leading him to God. [14][15] Gurus are said to be greater than God because they lead to God.[16]

Some traditions claim “Guru, God and Self (Self meaning soul, not personality) are one and the same. In this context, saints and poets in India, have expressed their views about the relationship between Guru and God: