By- Devakinanda Ji


ॐ गुरुपरम्पराभूम्यै नमः

(Guru: Remover of ignorance; Paramparā: Lineage)

In Hindu religion and culture, every science, art or craft has to be learnt directly from a competent teacher in that field. Since learning is considered as a tapas (austerity, discipline), the teacher has to be looked upon with great respect and reverence. A teacher of the scriptures is called an adhyāpaka or an upādhyāya or a āchārya. The former two teach the chanting of the Vedas, whereas the last one teaches their meaning and significance also.

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The word guru is used in a more comprehensive sense as 1) 'one who is praised due to his /her great qualities', 2) 'one who teaches the 'sāstrās-like the Vedas', 3) 'one who dispels the darkness or ignorance'. It invariably refers to a spiritual teacher, an advanced soul, who is an expert not only in the knowledge of the scriptures but also well-established in the idea of Brahman or God. A guru should be a person of pure parentage, of a sinless life and great self-control. Apart from having a deep knowledge of the scriptures, he should be an adept in the various modes of meditation and worship also. He must be the very personification of compassion and love towards his disciples. A disciple is expected to look upon his guru as if he were God himself. However, the Hindu scriptures also warn people against false gurus.

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The word guru has been used widely in Sanskrit works to mean father, mother, husband, as the name of a planet, the teacher of the gods Bruhaspati, any teacher in any field of knowledge and God himself.

We go back in time with regression analysis and realize that the first guru is God himself'. From him the lineage continued and knowledge was imparted. With this in mind, we show utmost respect to a guru and start our prayers with the hymn- 'Guru Brahma, guru Vishṇu, gurudevoMaheswarah; guru sākṣhāt Parambrahma, tasmai sriguruvenamah!' This means 'Guru is Brahma, Vishnu, and Mahesvara and is none other than Parabrahman and my salutations unto him. Lord Shri Krishna who himself is the Vedas had Sāndīpani as his guru. Adi Śankarāchārya who was believed to be the incarnation of Lord Śhiva, had gurus like Govinda Bhagavadpāda. Every guru, was once was a student himself and that lineage and tradition continues without a break in the line.

We don't see this kind of guru lineage in any religion, culture or country.

In our land, students, on gaining knowledge from a guru, pass on that knowledge to other students. We are very fortunate that the tradition continues and can proudly say that our mother land is 'Guruparaṃparā Bhōmi'.

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