What are the different types of Gurus as per our Scriptures?


This article explains various types of Gurus, their method of teaching and achieving spiritual progress of disciples.

1. Type as per the form and absence of a Guru

The table ahead illustrates the types of Gurus according to the form and an outline of their missions. This will clarify points such as the necessity of a Guru, who needs Guru, etc. In this regard, from the worldly perspective, the point to be considered is that till the thoughtless state (that is, a spiritual level of 70% is attained), spiritual evolution takes place faster if one has a Guru in human form. Thereafter, for further spiritual progress a disciple mostly receives guidance from within.

Form of the Guru
Physical form Holy text Idol Others Not having a Guru
Deciding what to teach, as per the ability of the disciple Possible Not possible Not possible Not possible
Clarification of doubts Possible Immediately Possible to some extent after lot of reading Not possible Not possible
Time required to develop faith Very little Little More A lot
Motivation, teaching, exams Possible Not possible Not possible Not possible
Guidance to reduce destiny and accumulated account and elimination of negative energies that create obstacles in spiritual practice Possible Not possible Not possible Not possible
Benefits of Chaitanya (Divine consciousness) upon being in the company of the Guru Possible Not possible Little Not possible
Benefit of Guru’s grace Possible Not possible Not possible Not possible
Proportion of disciples leaving spiritual practice in between Less More Very high Very high Very high
Time required for spiritual progress Less More A lot A lot A lot
Personality of the disciple as per psychology which is suitable to the form of Guru One who is in more need of guidance Independent One who needs support Independent Very independent
Normally, a disciple at what spiritual level can benefit ? 55 40 60 30
Efforts to be made by the disciple / seeker (%) 60 70 70 70 100
Qualities necessary in the disciple Satsēvā and tyāg Understanding the implied meaning Getting guidance from within As per the type High ego (faith in oneself)
Proportion of spiritual progress 2-3 0.25 0.75 0.25 0.001

2. Guru, Sadguru and Parātpar Guru

2A. Definition, meaning, mission and role in the disciple’s progress

Guru Sadguru Parātpar Guru
1. Definition and Meaning A. One who provides Knowledge of Māyā (The Great Illusion) and Guru Principle
B. Dnyānguru
C. Physical form
A. One who provides ātmānubhūti and makes one realise that there is Brahman everywhere
B. Dīkshāguru
C. Name of God
A. One who provides Spiritual experience of advait
B. Muktiguru
C. Advait
Spiritual level (%) 70% 80% Over 90%
Spiritual experiences obtained by the self and others Shakti (Divine Energy) Ānand (Bliss) Shānti (Serenity)
Spiritual practice of the self Yes Yes Not required
Attaining Moksha (Final Liberation) Possible Easily possible Has already attained Moksha
Seat of the Kunḍalinī
A. In daily life
B. At the time of performing spiritual practice
– (Do not perform spiritual practice)
Behaving as per the rules of the sect to guide others Yes Yes – (Have gone beyond the restrictions of the sect)
Eliminating negative energies
A. Eliminating superior negative energies such as superior ghosts, black magic etc.
B. Method used for eliminating superior Negative energies
Possible, but difficult
The act has to be performed with an intention
Easily possible
Even a resolve is not required. Upon coming in their presence, the negative energies automatically leave
Subject on which they speak Spirituality Spirituality Any subject
Method of performing miracles Praying to God or the Guru Resolve As part of their duty, the supernatural powers and Deities perform miracles for them


Preparing the disciple for spiritual practice

Bestowing spiritual experience of saguṇ (Materialised) Chaitanya (Present in the Guru) on the disciple

Sowing the seed of spiritual practice in the disciple

Bestowing spiritual experience of nirguṇ (Non-materialised) Principle

Taking the disciple towards advait

Bestowing spiritual experience on the disciple, that saguṇ-nirguṇ are one and the same

At what spiritual level (%) does the disciple attain a Guru 55 70 80
Spiritual practice of the disciple The Guru tells the disciple to perform spiritual practice in words Without the knowledge of the disciple, the Guru gets spiritual practice done by a resolve Spiritual practice of the disciple takes place automatically, by the mere presence of the Guru
Teaching (%)
A. Through words
B. Beyond words
Maximum spiritual progress of the disciple (%) 70 80 100
Role in the disciple’s progress (%) 30 40 50

The vibrations of Ānand are 10 lakh times subtler than those of Shakti, and the spiritual experience of Shānti are infinite times subtler than the vibrations of Ānand, that is, subtlest. Hence, when a seeker begins to understand the subtle, he first identifies the Guru at the level of Shakti, then Ānand and lastly Shānti.

The points ahead elaborate on the difference between a Guru, a Sadguru and a Parātpar Guru.

Spiritual level of an ordinary individual, a disciple and the Guru, Sadguru and Parātpar Guru and the proportion of the three components in them : Sāttvik (Sattva-predominant), rājasik (Raja-predominant) and tāmasik (Tama-predominant) are words used in the context of an ordinary individual. Once the individual crosses the spiritual level of 50%, his attitude becomes introverted. Then, no importance is attached to the three components in his constitution. As provided in the table ahead, generally the proportion of the three components remains constant. Only quantitatively they decrease, that is, one progresses towards becoming triguṇātīt or towards the Purushtattva.

Spiritual level (%) Proportion of the triguṇās (%) Total number of triguṇās (%)
Sattva Raja Tama
Ordinary individual
A. Tāmasik
B. Tāmasik-rājasik
C. Rājasik-sāttvik
D. Sāttvik
Disciple 60 50 30 20 20
Guru 70 50 30 20 10
Sadguru 85 50 30 20 1/10
A. Sadēha
B. Vidēha (Moksha = 100%)

2 B. Normal comparative proportion of various components :

Proportion (%)
Guru Sadguru Parātparguru
1. Unmanifest bhāv (Spiritual emotion) 70 80 90
2. Yearning 70 80 90
3. Guidance 50 70 90
4. Prīti (Unconditional love) 30 50 80
5. Ego 10 8 5

2 C. Mission and its nature

Guru Sadguru Parātparguru
1. Oneness with the Guru Principle For a few moments For some time Completely one
2. Ego 10% or more Less than 10% 2 to 0%
3. Gross and subtle form of the mission Mostly gross, but sometimes subtle Through the gross in greater proportion and very little through the subtle In greater proportion through the subtle and occasionally through the gross
4. Extent of the mission Limited to a certain area on the earth Bhūlok (Earth region) to Swargalok (Heaven) Saptalok
5. Form of guidance Regarding worship of God’s tārak (Saviour) form Mainly regarding worship of God’s tārak form and mere explanation about God’s mārak (Destroyer) form Guiding about God’s tārak and mārak form as per the times and getting spiritual practice done according to it.
6. What do they impart to the seeker Unique knowledge and inferior or spiritual experience related to Māyā Moderate or a little higher level spiritual experience and little knowledge Complete knowledge and essential (Inferior, moderate and higher level) spiritual experience
7. Period required for making the disciple obtain Moksha Many births Few births Few years
8. Performing the mission of reinstatement of Dharma (Righteousness) No, out of many, hardly one Saint performs this task Helping the mission of reinstatement of Dharma Performing the mission of reinstatement of Dharma and in the process, getting spiritual practice performed from others.

3 D. Proportion of Divine characteristics and the tārak and mārak form

Guru Sadguru Parātparguru
1. Divine characteristics and their proportion (%)
1A. Shakti Principle 30 20 10
1B. Manifest Chaitanya Principle 30 20 10
1C. Ānand Principle 10 20 10
1D. Shānti Principle 10 10 30
1E. Unmanifest Chaitanya Principle 10 10 10
1F. Guru Principle 10 20 30
Total 100 100 100
2. Tārak form
2A. Principle More of saguṇ-nirguṇ Very less saguṇ-nirguṇ Nirguṇ-saguṇ
2B. Components Raja-Sattva Sattva-Raja Sattva
2C. Manifest active waves Ichhā (Desire)-kriyā Kriyā-dnyān (Knowledge) Dnyān-kriyā
2D. Behaviour Kind (Love for seekers) Compassionate (Along with the seekers, taking care of happiness-unhappiness of their families too) Grace bestowing (By bestowing grace, taking everyone beyond happiness-unhappiness)
2E. What is the mission dependent on ? On the manifest bhāv of the individual On the unmanifest bhāv of the individual Less ego
2F. Mission Brahmānḍa (Universe) Brahmānḍa and in the void of Brahmānḍa Mission beyond the Brahmānḍa
3. Mārak form
3A. Principle Saguṇ When compared with tārak Principle, more of saguṇ and less of nirguṇ Little more of saguṇ when compared with nirguṇ-tārak Principle
3B. Components Raja Raja-Sattva Sattva-Raja
3C. Manifest active waves Kriyā-ichhā Kriyā Kriyā-dnyān
3D. Behaviour Conserving Kshātravrutti Creating Kshātratēj for fighting (Having leadership)
3E. What does the mission depend upon Manifest Kshātravrutti, annoyance Unmanifest Kshātrabhāv, aggressiveness (Gratitude) Surrender
3F. Help in obtaining what kind of Moksha for the disciple Inferior Moksha Moderate Moksha Superior Moksha (Actual Moksha)
3G. Function Reducing personal problems for a limited period Reducing the basic energy of negative energies at the personal level Repulsing the attacks of Negative energies on the entire samashṭi (Society)
3H. Proportion in today’s Gurus (%) 3 10 5

The unmanifest Chaitanya includes the Principles of Shakti, Ānand and Shānti; however, the manifest Chaitanya in the Guru functions in the form of Shakti, in the Sadguru in the form of Ānand and in the Parātpar Guru in the form of Shānti.

Reference : Sanatan Sanstha’s Holy Text on ‘Importance of the Guru, types and Gurumantra