Guru in Hinduism
Hindu scriptures say guru is God. The Sanskrit word has even entered the English language. The guru dispels the darkness in the minds of his disciples. He shows his disciples the way to God-realization. In Hinduism, the guru instructs his students in religious ceremonies and rituals. Hindus regard the mother, father and teacher as venerable gurus.
In ancient times, the guru spread knowledge about archery, economics, dramatics and even sexology. In those days, the guru taught at the gurukula, a forest hermitage-school. In ancient India, universities such as Nalanda, Vikramashila and Takshashila, flourished. Chinese travelers have recorded that at Nalanda, about 1,500 gurus taught various subjects to around 10,000 monks and students.
Hindu legends and scriptures abound with tales of the relationship between revered gurus and their devoted disciples. From time immemorial, gurus have formed the backbone of the educational system and have enriched various fields of culture and learning with their creative thinking.
Hinduism lays stress on finding a guru capable of imparting transcendental knowledge. In fact, the Hindu sacred text, the Bhagavad Gita, is in the form of instruction from the God Krishna, to his disciple, the warrior Arjuna. The dialogue between these two is considered as an ideal expression of the guru/disciple relationship. In the Gita also, Krishna stresses the importance of finding a capable guru, who can spread knowledge and light and dispel the darkness of ignorance.
Notable Hindu Gurus
Some of the noted gurus in the history of Hinduism are Ramakrishna, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and Adi Shankaracharya. In the 20th century, many noted gurus spread light on spirituality including Swami Vivekananda, Swami Chinmayananda, Paramahansa Yogananda, Swami Sivananda, Sathya Sai Baba, Ramana Maharishi and Aurobindo Ghosh.