What is the importance of a Guru?


  1. According to the science of education
  2. According to psychology
  3. According to the science of Spirituality
    1. Visiting the Guru
    2. Some points in combination
    3. Overcoming difficulties
    4. Augmentation in the ability to withstand destiny
    5. Making the disciple self-radiant instead of a mere medium
    6. Teaching continuously due to Omniscience
    7. Teaching to refrain from supernatural powers (siddhis)
    8. Holistic importance
    9. Importance based on the type of the Guru
    10. Spiritual progress before and after being blessed by a Guru (guruprapti)
    11. Path of Meditation (Dhyanyoga) and the Guru
    12. The stage of a renunciant (sanyasashram) and the Guru
    13. Path of Knowledge (Dnyanyoga) and the Guru
    14. Path of Devotion (Bhaktiyoga) and the Guru
    15. Assuring one of the spiritual experiences of God / Brahman
    16. Presence of deities
    17. Teaching even after renouncing the body

        In this very birth each one seeks guidance from teachers, doctors, lawyers, etc. for simple things. If this is so then it is really beyond one's imagination to understand the importance of the Guru who releases one from the bondage of life and death. The following points will clarify its significance.


1. According to the science of education


1. Refer to points 1, 2, 3, 4, 8, 9 and 10 in the table in this article.

2. Whatever the Guru says is the ultimate truth.


2. According to psychology


1. Unlike deities who do not display their existence and potential, the disciple can concentrate more on the Guru who is able to display these for the sake of the disciple's progress.

2. Since the disciple gets the spiritual experience that the Guru perceives everything due to His Omniscience, he often refrains from doing bad deeds.

3. 'Some seekers desirous of knowledge feel, “Why does Baba just go on talking instead of teaching the disciple something ?” When asked this question Baba replied, “I tell a disciple that I like bhajis or thalipith so that atleast when he is preparing that dish at home he remembers Me and it reminds him to chant The Lord's Name”.'

4. Instead of letting the disciple develop a complex of his being inferior due to the Guru's superiority, the Guru eradicates that inferiority complex in the disciple and grants him the all pervading nature of the Guru.


3. According to the science of Spirituality


A. Visiting the Guru

        Only when the Guru reminds the disciple of Himself can the disciple visit Him.

B. Some points in combination

        Refer to points 5, 6, 7, 11, 12, 13 and 14 in the table in this article.

C. Overcoming difficulties

        'Due to their human nature some devotees would approach Raman Maharshi to overcome their worldly suffering. They believed that He would help them when in distress just like their parents did. Such devotees would either write letters or make a prayer to Him. The result is that atleast the obstacle would be overcome. If the problem is inevitable the devotee would atleast derive some mental peace or the strength to endure it. This would occur automatically not because of His wish for it to so happen, but because of the continuous flow of the Guru's grace due to the devotee's faith and surrender unto Him. If anyone began to debate on this topic Maharshi would say, “I am not even aware of these things – – – worldly problems – – – and I do not do anything deliberately. All this happens automatically.'

D. Augmentation in the ability to withstand destiny

        One acquires the ability to face mild destiny with moderate spiritual practice, moderate destiny with intense spiritual practice and severe destiny only with the grace of the Guru.

E. Making the disciple self-radiant instead of a mere medium

'J.B.A. : If a Guru gets His mission fulfilled through a disciple just like a subtle body which operates through some medium then I am not at all interested in Spirituality.

Baba : When one acts as a medium one cannot make spiritual progress. One remains influenced by someone else. On the contrary, when a Guru gets His mission accomplished through a disciple, He increases the potential of that disciple, just like Shri Ramakrushna who first increased Vivekanand's spiritual prowess and only then got His mission fulfilled through him.'

        One of Baba's disciples used to jot down everything that Baba taught from time to time. Baba would tell him, “This writing is of no use to you (since you can now learn non-verbally), but it will definitely benefit others.” Later, that disciple wrote a book on Spirituality which Baba liked. So Baba told him, “My Guru had blessed Me that I would write several books. I wrote only one book of devotional songs (bhajans). So now I am bestowing My Guru's blessing unto you.” The disciple responded saying, “But I do not experience Bliss by writing books anymore.” (When one goes to the non-verbal level, regressing to the verbal level means loss of Bliss.) Baba then told him, “You will have to write books. It is your duty. Write small books on each topic. They should be easy to handle and affordable for the common man as well.”

        In March 1987, just five months before meeting his Guru, in the introduction to the book on Spirituality the disciple had written, 'I pray to The Almighty to grant me His grace to be able to write a separate book on each of the topics in this book, in modern scientific language.' This blessing was like a response to his prayer made much earlier.

        Unaware of all this, people feel, 'What an in-depth study this disciple has done ! He has written such useful books'. They do not know that the Guru Himself has got this done through the disciple.

A. The example of one of Baba's disciples will illustrate how a Guru kindles the divine consciousness (chaitanya) in a disciple in a stepwise manner and bestows His grace. This disciple met Baba for the first time in 1987. During that visit itself he was endowed with a gurumantra. This example will also show how a Guru keeps a watch on His future disciple.

  Activation of the divine consciousness %
1982 0.001
1985 2
1987 (when imparting the gurumantra) 10
1991 20
1992 (Mumbai Gurupournima)*
He was blessed with 'Spread Spirituality all over Maharashtra'
1993 (Goa Gurupournima)*
'Spread Spirituality all over India' was the blessing conferred upon him
1995 (Baba's Platinum Jubilee Celebrations) He
was blessed with 'Spread Spirituality throughout
the world'.
1995 (the disciple was living with Baba for 8
months during the latter's terminal illness, to
serve Him)
1995 (after 17th November) 5
On other occasions 2.999
Total  100

* Only a few others were able to perceive the activation of divine consciousness in him. He could not perceive it himself.

F. Teaching continuously due to Omniscience

        Since the Guru is Omniscient He can constantly teach a disciple. A disciple of SiddharuDh Maharaj was thinking of women while sweeping the caravanserai (dharmashaLa). SiddharuDh Maharaj appeared there and slapping the disciple on his back said, “Why are you thinking about the toilet when you are having a meal ?”

F 1.How does a Guru perceive what is in the disciple's mind ?

        By the law of reflex action a Guru perceives the thoughts in His disciple's mind. The disciple's thoughts get reflected into the Guru's mind and if they are conducive for the former's spiritual progress, the latter behaves accordingly.

G. Teaching to refrain from supernatural powers (siddhis)

The reasons for this are –

A. As one makes spiritual progress one automatically acquires supernatural powers.

B. At this stage, the disciple has to learn that he has to overcome the temptation to use these powers and not get entrapped in them.

C. According to the need of the mission if the use of supernatural powers is necessary, then at that moment the Guru makes them available.

H. Holistic importance

        'Suppose you accept Me as your Guru, then even if you leave Me I will never reject you. This promise is meant for everyone. Just as a prey caught in the jaws of a tiger is not released, so also the one on whom the grace of the Guru is bestowed is not set free by the Guru till he attains the Final Liberation (Moksha). If a disciple goes to hell then Bhagvan (that is Me, Raman) will follow and bring you back. The Guru is both within and without. The Guru creates a state in which one becomes introverted. The Guru also makes preparations from within, that is in the heart to attract one towards the soul, that is towards Brahman. I preach through silence (moun). You surrender unto Me, so that I can control your mind till its dissolution. Remain calm. Bhagvan (Raman) will do what is appropriate. Surrender unto Me totally and then leave the rest to Me. The two paths towards spiritual progress are the search for “Who am I ?” and surrender unto the Guru. It is not so easy as it seems, to keep the mind calm and to surrender to the Guru and await His grace. It is necessary to remember the Guru continuously. This is possible only by the grace of the Guru. The mother feeds her sleeping child, at night. However, the next day the child feels it had not eaten anything. Only the mother knows that the child drank milk the previous night. Similarly the Guru is aware of the disciple's progress. The Guru deliberately bestows His grace on the devotee through His eyes, words or touch continuously. This grace is bestowed upon the disciple by the Guru's efforts. A disciple too should make continual effort to take full advantage of this grace. The thought of who am I, is itself the real effort. – Shri Raman Maharshi'

        The Maharshi has said “A Guru will even go to hell for the sake of His disciple”. This is only to give psychological support to the disciple. The Guru does not let His disciple commit mistakes which will land him in hell. However if he does commit them, then He allows the disciple to pay for them.


I. Importance based on the type of the Guru


        The table below depicts how spiritual progress occurs if one undertakes spiritual practice according to one's intellect, spiritual practice of the family deity (kuladevata) or that recommended by the Guru, Sadguru or ParatparGuru.

  Spiritual practice At what spiritual level
% is it possible?
The spiritual level %
attainable with
spiritual progress
1 Absent 20
2 According to one’s intellect 30 40
3 Chanting the Name of the family deity 40 55
4 That recommended by the Guru 55 70
5 That recommended by the Sadguru 70 80
6 That recommended by the Paratpar Guru 80 100


J. Spiritual progress before and after being blessed by a Guru (guruprapti)


        The difference in spiritual progress before and after being blessed by a Guru will be understood from point '19. What does spiritual progress depend upon ?' given in 'Science of Spirituality : Vol. 3 – The Disciple'.


K. Path of Meditation (Dhyanyoga) and the Guru


        Yogis following the Path of Meditation use an object for meditation, for sometime. However that which occurs spontaneously and naturally is real meditation. One feels the need for a Guru to perform spontaneous meditation because only His inner state is of a high level. Only such spontaneous meditation begun because of the Guru can finally lead the yogi to attainment of Absoluteness (Purnatva).


L. The stage of a renunciant (sanyasashram) and the Guru


        Renunciants acquire detachment (vairagya) by practising the Path of Knowledge (Dnyanyoga). When some reach the zenith of detachment, they renounce the world, leave their homes and wander from place to place. However this renunciation is beneficial only if recommended by the Guru. Some of those renouncing the world without being advised by a Guru even die of cold in the Himalayas or of starvation elsewhere.


M. Path of Knowledge and the Guru


a. Dispelling the adi (one with a beginning) illusion: Refer article.

b. Comprehending the implied meaning

There are differences between lines in the Vedas, the Vedanta, Shrutis and Smrutis,

These are all clarified by the grace of the Sadguru.

Meaning : It is possible to understand the singularity in meaning of the manifold expressions of the Vedas, Upanishads, etc. only by the grace of the Guru. One realises by the Guru's grace that though words appear different externally yet the implied meaning is the same.


N. Path of Devotion (Bhaktiyoga) and the Guru


'Inspite of Lord PanDurang actually speaking to Namdev, saints declared Him an “empty vessel”. This enraged Him and He went to Lord PanDurang. Here Namdev asked an important question –

Nama says, to reach Thou one should serve the Sadguru. Now that I have found Thee what is the need for a Sadguru ? One climbs a tall tree to acquire the fruit which is at the top. If one has already acquired the fruit why climb the tree at all ?

Shri Pandurang's answer to this was very much in the interest of Namdev –

Then The Lord says, leaving aside ignorance serve the Guru. It is My Love for you which makes Me pretend to play with you assuming the guise of the Great Illusion (Maya). So long as you do not serve the Sadguru, I am akin to wealth in a dream. Then the bondage created to the world by Me is not severed without the wish of the Sadguru.

        The Lord's response is absolutely clear and enlightening. The devotee's feeling that he has attained The Lord is false. It is as good as living in The Lord's Great Illusion. Thus to acquire the knowledge of the same Lord present in the embodied soul (pinDa) and the universe (brahmanDa) from the Sadguru, Lord PanDurang sent Namdev to Visoba Khechar at OunDhya Nagnath.' (?)


O. Assuring one of the spiritual experiences of God / Brahman


        One does not acquire knowledge of the unmanifest (nirgun) form of The Lord without the vision (darshan) of His manifest (sagun) form. Then is it not foolish to say that the unmanifest form is superior to the manifest ? Nowhere is it mentioned that knowledge of the manifest acquires Absoluteness due to knowledge of the unmanifest.Hence, it seems appropriate to say that the manifest and the unmanifest are equal.

        Manifestation of the actual form (sakshatkar) occurs only of the manifest and not of the unmanifest. This was the state of the gopis (wives of the cowherds) of Vraj. In the superconscious state (samadhi) one attains the state of dissolution and there is intense merging into Krushna. In the state of the embodied soul that is after returning to the waking state from the superconscious state, the entire world appears to have Lord Krushna's form. 'वासुदेव सर्वम् इति स महात्मा सुर्दुलभः । – श्रीमद्-भगवद्-गीता 7/19' means that the saint who experiences the all pervading nature of Lord Vasudev is extremely rare to find. Samarth Ramdas Swami quotes –

The exceptional saint is the one devoid of desire.
His opinion differs from everyone else.
– Shri Dasbodh 5.2.38

        He is called the knower of divine truth (tattvadnya). Though the one having attained the desired result has reached the stage of a Sadguru and has acquired the title of a saint, yet in the real sense He has still not lost all His desires. Even after attaining the state devoid of desire, to explain that “the state that you have attained is itself Brahman” a Sadguru is required. Only then does He attain Absoluteness (Purnatva). For example, even after attainment of Absoluteness Shukacharya was in similar confusion. When His father Sage Vyas sent Him to King Janak, Janak told Him, “The state which You have attained is itself called Brahman. You are an icon of devotion, spiritual knowledge and detachment. Though from the social angle I am greater than Vyas, You are greater than Me.” He is unconvinced of Brahman due to a trace of the state of the embodied soul (jivadasha). After the Guru's preaching, the state of the embodied soul is totally destroyed.'

– H.H. Kane Maharaj, Narayangaon


P. Presence of deities


        When a Guru discusses Spirituality, powerful energies and sages manifest there. Disciples are also benefitted by their presence.


Q. Teaching even after renouncing the body


        After our Guru's gurubandhu H.H. Bhuranand Baba renounced His body, His disciple Parmanand could not decide his future actions. Once when he was in a melancholic state, he saw Bhuranand Baba. He asked Parmanand for a bidi (Indian cigarette). Parmanand handed it over to Him. The Guru smoked half of it, threw away the other half and then departed. When Parmanand regained his senses he saw a half-burnt biDi. This meant that all that had occurred was true and he was convinced of the fact that the Guru was still in existence.

(Ref: Sanatan's Publication – 'Path of Guru's Grace (Gurukrupayoga)')