Spiritual teacher. The Guru Gita (verse 17) aptly describes the guru as "dispeller of darkness" (from gu, "darkness," and ru. "that which dispels"). Though today the word guru is commonly used to refer simply to a teacher or instructor, a true guru is one who is God-illumined. In his attainment of self-mastery, he has realized his identity with the omnipresent Spirit. Such a one is uniquely qualified to lead the seeker on his or her spiritual journey toward enlightenment and liberation.
Though the word guru is often misused to refer simply to any teacher or instructor, a true God-illumined guru is one who, in his attainment of self-mastery, has realized his identity with the omnipresent Spirit. Such a one is uniquely qualified to lead the seeker on his or her inward journey toward divine realization. When a devotee is ready to seek God in earnest, the Lord sends him a guru. Through the wisdom, intelligence, Self-realization, and teachings of such a master, God guides the disciple. By following the master's teachings and discipline, the disciple is able to fulfill his soul's desire for the manna of God-perception.
A true guru, ordained by God to help sincere seekers in response to their deep soul craving, is not an ordinary teacher: he is a human vehicle whose body, speech, mind, and spirituality God uses as a channel to attract and guide lost souls back to their home of immortality.
A guru is a living embodiment of scriptural truth. He is an agent of salvation appointed by God in response to a devotee's demand for release from the bondage of matter. "To keep company with the Guru," wrote Swami Sri Yukteswar in The Holy Science, "is not only to be in his physical presence (as this is sometimes impossible), but mainly means to keep him in our hearts and to be one with him in principle and to attune ourselves with him."
Addressing the Guru Master is synonymous with the proper form of addressing the guru with the respectful suffix of ji or deva: Guruji, Gurudeva, Master. The word master may be traced etymologically back through Latin, magnus, great; with magnus being akin to Sanskrit mahat (great; important, high, eminent: maharishi, a great knower of God). The widespread generic usage of master as a title (as also that of guru) to denote any ordinary teacher or mentor should not disrespectfully belie the proper usage: as an appellation for a God-knowing, divinely endowed guru.