Swami Veda Bharati | What Is a Guru?

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Spoken Word: Instructional Spiritual: Inspirational Moods: Spiritual
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What Is a Guru?

by Swami Veda Bharati

In this informal talk with students, Swami Veda introduces the concept of “guru” as a spiritual guide, beginning with its roots in ancient Indian wisdom traditions. He explains the high regard in which spiritual seekers have always been held in India and the role of spirituality in the different stages of traditional Indian life.
Genre: Spoken Word: Instructional
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1. What Is a Guru?
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In this informal talk with students, Swami Veda introduces the concept of “guru” as a spiritual guide, beginning with its roots in ancient Indian wisdom traditions. He explains the high regard in which spiritual seekers have always been held in India and the role of spirituality in the different stages of traditional Indian life.

He puts in perspective the use of the term “guru” in today’s Western societies, showing how it has at times become loosely used to refer to “anyone who can touch his nose to his toes”. He cautions students not to confuse the authenticity of a guru with the size of his/her following: the greatest masters often have very few students and may be unknown to the wider public.

Swami Veda explains that a true guru or spiritual teacher is a “guide for your whole life” and that the student’s relationship with the guru begins with the process of yoga initiation, an oft-misunderstood concept in the West. Through initiation the student becomes spiritually linked to his guru and to the long line of gurus that preceded him.

He tells personal stories of experiences with his own master, Swami Rama, to illustrate how being a student can be challenging as the guru does “continuous surgery on your ego”. His master taught that it is the “guru spirit” that lives in and works through the teacher that is important, not the physical body or personality of the teacher him or herself.

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