Who can be a GURU? Why should a guru be accepted? What do the scriptures and widely respected gurus say on the subject? 
We highlight some important aspects of the subject for the benefit of all.


A great saint Sri Roop Goswami one of the foremost disciples of Lord Chaitanya has left a few instructions for his successors. Many serious spiritual seekers read them every day lest illusion (maya) starts controlling their mind. 

The first direction is as follows:
vāco vegaṁ manasaḥ krodha-vegaṁ
jihvā-vegam udaropastha-vegam
etān vegān yo viṣaheta dhīraḥ
sarvām apīmāṁ pṛthivīṁ sa śiṣyāt
vācaḥ—of speech; vegam—urge; manasaḥ—of the mind; krodha—of anger; vegam—urge; jihvā—of the tongue; vegam—urge; udara-upastha—of the belly and genitals; vegam—urge; etān—these; vegān—urges; yaḥ—whoever; viṣaheta—can tolerate; dhīraḥ—sober; sarvām—all; api—certainly; imām—this; pṛthivīm—world; saḥ—that personality; śiṣyāt—can make disciples.

Shri Rup Goswami
There is 
           the urge to speak, 
           the urge of the mind, 
           the urge and force of anger,
           the urge of the tongue, 
           the urge of the belly and 
           the urge of the genitals. 
A sober person who can tolerate the above six powerful urges can have disciples all over the world. Such a person is qualified to do so. 
Thousands of disciples of Sri Roop Goswami are actually engaged in spreading the Vedic philosophy all over the world. 


 Bhagavad-gita, 13.8 says, "acharyopasanam", pay respects to acharya (aharya + upasana).

It is clearly stated that one should execute devotional service and advance on the path of spiritual knowledge by accepting an acharya. 

Who is an Acharya? He is a person who knows the intricacies of scriptures. He is a person who teaches by ‘acharan’ i.e. by his own behavior. A spiritual seeker has to follow the footprints of the āchārya and not copy him (अनुसरण  and not अनुकरण). 

It is said “Āchāryavān puruṣo veda”. Only a person, who has accepted an āchārya, can know things as they are. Mere theoretical knowledge or self-reading does not give accurate understanding.



Shri Ramanujacharya

Bhagwad Geeta (4.2) says the authorized spiritual science must be received through the chain of disciplic succession or by paramparā.  

The spiritual master must be in the disciplic succession. The predecessors of the spiritual master are his spiritual master, his grand spiritual master, his great-grand spiritual master and so on. They form the disciplic succession of acharyas. 

It is said that knowledge must be passed on like a ripened fruit from top of the tree. It must be handed over to the persons on the lower branches properly until it reaches the person on ground.This is done so that the fruit is not destroyed or the intricacies of knowledge is not lost.     



The following are a few great āchāryas whose thoughts are controlling most of the Hindu society or the Vedic society since last 2000 years. Indian Vedic civilization and its basic philosophy presently exist on the authority of these āchāryas and their parampara. 
1. Śaṅkarācārya 
2. Rāmānujācārya
3. Madhvācārya
4. Nimbārka
5. Viṣhṇu Swāmī

6. Lord Chaitanya Mahāprabhu.

Hundreds of great saints, acharyas & gurus have appeared in the above parampara systems.


Test of an authentic guru: According to one famous guru parampara a guru must conform to sadhu & shastra forming a trinity of guru, sadhu & shastra.

  • The Guru must have qualities of a sadhu and sadhus must approve the Guru.
  • The Guru must be knower of shastra (scriptures) and must have qualities as described in shastra.
  • The Guru must teach as indicated by shastra and endorsed by sadhus. 

Who is a Sadhu? In Bhagwad Geeta (9.30) Shri Krishna says 
"if a person is engaged in service of God without deviation and with great determination I consider him Sadhu irrespective of other factors."

All the three Guru, Sadhu & Shastra must be in unison.               


Srimad-Bhagavatam says: “Mahājano yena gataḥ sa panthāḥ i.e.  Follow the path of Mahajans”. 

According to Shrimad Bhagwatam there are 12 great personalities or Mahajans who are the knowers of the Dharma.

svayambhur naradah sambhuh
kumarah kapilo manuh
prahlado janako bhismo
balir vaiyasakir vayam

“Lord Brahma,
Narada Muni,
Lord Siva,
The Four Kumaras,
Lord Kapila [the son of Devahuti], 
King Janaka,
Grand Father Bhishma,
Svayambhuva Manu,
Prahlada Maharaja,
King Bali,
Sukadeva Gosvami and
I (Yama) myself know the real religious principle.”
Srimad-Bhagavatam 6.3.20

Grandfather Bhisma,
dvadasaite vijanimo
dharmam bhagavatam bhatah
guhyam visuddham durbodham
yam jnatvamrtam asnute

“Dear, this transcendental religious principle, which is known as Bhagavata-Dharma, or surrender and love for God, is uncontaminated by satva, rajas & tamas gunas the three qualities of nature. It is very confidential and difficult for ordinary human beings to understand, but if by chance one fortunately understands it, he is immediately liberated, and thus he returns home, for eternal life.

Srimad-Bhagavatam 6.3.21

7. Lord Shri Krishna & Bhagwad Gita 

Shri Kṛṣṇa is recognized as Jagat-Guru by all the great personalities. If someone is confused in selecting an āchārya, at least we can accept Shri Kṛiṣhṇa as the supreme āchārya. Lord Kṛṣṇa teaches through Bhagwad Gita. If some one does not accept Shri Kṛiṣṇa as the supreme āchārya then it is his misfortune. Bhagwad Gita is the most approved and acknowledged source of knowledge. 

Its knowledge will help a spiritual seeker in selecting a proper Guru.  (Just as in order to select a proper school and teacher some minimum literacy is required so is the case with spirituality.)

Accepting a guru should not be a fashion. Ideally there is no need to accept a Guru if one is not a spiritual seeker and does not want to understand religion, soul, God and related subjects. Guru may also be accepted in order to carry out ones duty in the light of scriptures.


Acharya Chanakya


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