The Guru holds an important place in Hindu tradition and culture. Gu represents darkness, which is the ignorance of the highest Reality. At the same time, ru means the removal of that ignorance. Thus, the Guru is one who removes the disciple’s ignorance and lets the Truth to reveals itself. In the following excerpt, we will discuss who is a Guru and what is the significance and meaning of Guru along with the guru-disciple equation.
Meaning of Guru
In Vivekacudamani, Adi Sankara draws the Guru as ‘he who is well versed in the scriptures, sinless, not afflicted by desires. He is the knower of the Supreme, calm as the fire that has burnt up its fuel, a boundless ocean of mercy that needs no cause to express, and an intimate friend to those who have surrendered unto him.’ Vedanta teaches that the Guru, who is one with God, or Brahman, is not just a physical being. He is the ever-present, inner guiding force in every seeker. Thus, the meaning of Guru is a physical or subtle form shows when needed solely for the good of the disciple.
A disciple (sisya) is one who subjects himself to the Guru’s disciple. Besides, the disciple is one who is devoted to the Guru. He blindly follows the Guru’s teachings and serves the Guru for the sole goal of enlightenment. Whereas the Guru guides the disciples as needed to move forward on his spiritual journey. He helps the disciple to go past samsara, which is the cycle of birth and death. As a result, the disciple attains self-realisation.
Relationship between Guru and Disciple
The spiritual relationship between Guru and Sisya is similar to that of a parent and a child. When parents give the child life, whereas it is the Guru gives the disciple with freedom from life and death. He does so by guiding him to realize his own true nature. Therefore, the disciple can never repay the Guru for this debt.