Guru is timeless. Guru Parmapara, Guru Shishya connect, Guru Tattva are all timeless traditions and practices of the Bharatiya civilization. There are many aspects of the Bharatiya civilization that have contributed substantially to the holding together, nurturing, sustaining and relishing not only this civilization, but Dharma as a whole. The Guru Parampara has been one of the key pillars upholding the Dharma of the land.
While this word Guru has specific meaning, etymologically, Guru Tattva has layers of connotations, and significance, and has touched the kings, the nobles, the common man in ways that are inexplicable and unexplainable in mere words.
Guru is an Anubhava, an experience.
A Guru is revered as an embodiment of Divinity. Thus Guru is suffixed by the term Deva, Divinity. Gurudeva is a popular honorific for a Guru. Some devotees revere and adore the Guru as Divinity.
In Srimad Bhagavata, Skanda 11, Sri Krishna says
We have the popular Shloka,
There are innumerable other shlokas in praise of the Guru.
In Indian thought, the word for anyone or any force that is capable of lifting – people, things, thoughts etc. is denoted by the root word Gur from which we get
- Guru for a teacher and guide – one who lifts one’s quality of life and thoughts,
- Gurutva Akarshana for gravity – that which attracts and prevents lift off / drift away,
- Gaurav for pride – which is a form of a lifted ego, etc.
While Adhyapak, Upadhyaya, Sikshak, Acharya are all terms that define the role played by a teacher, the term Guru was used to denote a more comprehensive role, related with a larger sphere of activity.
Siksha Guru – A Shiksha Guru meant a knowledge giver, the teacher of the 64 Kala.
Raja Guru – Raja Guru is a guide to the Raja, King. Raja Guru guides him to rule in right manner. Raja Guru ensures that the Raja rules the Rajya as per Dharma.
Kula Guru – A Kula Guru meant a family preceptor. He was a personal family guide.
Dharma Guru – A Dharma Guru meant a guide who shows the path to tread as per Dharma. A Dharma Guru ensures that Dharma is upheld in the people’s life.
Sath Guru – A Sath Guru denoted one who helps you differentiate between Sath and Asath, and guide one in the path of Sath as differentiated from Asath.
Jagath Guru – A Jagat Guru, denoting a guide for all moving world, Jagat meaning that which is constantly moving, in reference to our planet. They are Guru for all and also they act as Gurus for animals and birds, pashu and pakshi.
The Upanishads define the signs of a true Guru with the five Guru Lakshana.
A true Guru is defined as one, whose presence causes
- Knowledge to flourish – Gnana Raksha
- Sorrows to diminish – Dukha Kshaya
- Joys to well up without reason – Sukha Aavirbhava
- Abundance to dawn – Samriddhi
- All talents to manifest – Sarva Samvardhan
There have been many popular Guru who walked this land like, from ancient times.
- Adi Shankaracharya
- Acharya Abhinav Gupta
- Guru Nanak
- Mahanta Shankardeva
Guru is not just “a” person, an individual, but stands for
- a timeless tradition,
- an ageless sentiment,
- a selfless commitment and
- a limitless engagement
to uplift people, rather civilization or shall we say, even humanity, to expand their hearts and minds and understand what it is to be born as mankind, with a heart and mind inorder to act like humans and play their part in the vast play of the cosmos.
In our book Guru, we attempt to bring out some of these facets for our understanding.
India has led many civilizations around the globe with its thoughts and practices, India herself was led by an unbroken tradition of Guru Parampara.
The word Paramapara, which is commonly used for tradition, denotes something that goes “beyond and beyond”, from Para meaning beyond.
It is the Guru of India, who have guided the people of India, Para and Para, beyond and beyond,
- in time and space,
- in thoughts and deeds,
- in stature and nature,
- in life and for afterlife.
The Lakshana of Guru have been upheld and kept alive in this land by the Guru through this Guru-Sishya parampara, tradition. This tradition has been going on, unbroken, even much prior to the time of Rama, i.e. 8000 years ago and more.
This land Bharat has been fortunate to have a continuous series, lineage of Guru. Right from time immemorial, these gurus have adorned different parts of the land in different centuries belonging to different parampara, espousing different aspects of Dharma as need for that time and situation. This has been a veritable blessing of Bharatiya civilization. The word Bharat itself means a land of connoisseurs of knowledge. Given this, we have had a series of knowledge givers, a continuous flow, pravaha of Guru who have constantly given us knowledge and values. This has been a signature feature of the land of Bharata. Guru and Bharata go hand in hand.