Updated: Jan 31, 2022
Guru (गुरु) - Teacher or Guidance
In the Western society, the guru may be the teacher or guide who brings us into connection with Eastern holistic philosophy and spirituality. To worship or follow a guru often contradicts our western view of living an independent and mature life. Mostly, the word alone evokes images of spiritual movements, such as those around the spiritual leader Osho in the late 70s and often creates a negative alienating image. But does a guru always need to be an incapacitating figure that is dictating the right and the wrong?
By looking closer at the meaning and role of a guru, we can find that the guru itself is multi-layered and vast in its conception. In this Focus of the Month, we want to bring you closer to the meaning of the Guru and inspire you to find your very own approach to it.
It's not simply asking the question, "What is a guru?" or “Is it good to follow a guru?”. As a practicing yogi*ni, reflecting on the concept of guru plays an essential role in one's consciousness and awareness of the higher self. We ask ourselves about the importance of the guru for our own spiritual path. Do we need spiritual guidance to connect with our higher self? Or is this guru already within us to awaken and experience our innermost self?
On different levels a guru has many meanings but in the broadest sense it is a person who guides, teaches, inspires you both in everyday life and in your spiritual practice. In the Indian tradition, parents are seen as the first contact with a guiding force, especially our mother. She gives us life, guides us, and through her we receive life strategies to navigate early in life. On another level, it can be our teachers, professors or instructors as well as our closest social circle of friends and family that shape and form us as a social being. A guru has a very profound meaning for our connection to the world and to our higher self.