Path to Siva: A Catechism for Youth

35 Why Is the Satguru So Important?§


At a lush ashram in Bali a seeker after truth has approached an enlightened guru, bringing offerings of fruits and flowers. The seeker knows the importance of having a spiritual guide.§


Anyone hoping to climb Mount Everest would be wise to have a Sherpa by his side, a guide who has been where you want to go. Similarly, as we walk the spiritual path, we should not be without a satguru, an enlightened master who knows Truth and can take us there. The word guru means “teacher.” Anyone you are studying with may be called a guru, such as a dance guru, music guru or a classroom teacher. A teacher is important in any area of study, because it is difficult for us to see our own weaknesses, but easy for a trained expert. Your mother and father are your first gurus. Many Hindus have a satguru, a teacher of sat, or truth. A satguru is a mature soul who has realized God and is able to lead others along the path. Siva is within each of us, shining out through our eyes. But Siva shines out from the satguru more brightly, because he or she is pure and enlightened. Thus, we worship the satguru as Siva Himself. The satguru is devoted full time to religious life, to upholding Saivism and helping his devotees. Just by living and being, he or she brings peace and blessings to the world. A satguru is always a sannyasin, one who is unmarried and has renounced all possessions, personal life, family and friends. A rare initiation from his guru empowered him with the highest spiritual knowledge and authority. This is Siva’s revealing grace, anugraha shakti, in action. If your family has a satguru to guide it, you are indeed fortunate. He can wisely advise your parents and keep the family strong, harmonious and spiritually alive. Get to know him. Talk to him and ask questions. He will share his wisdom and help you draw close to God.§


GURUDEVA: The satguru is the devotee’s spiritual guide and preceptor, friend and companion on the path. Having become religion’s consummation, the satguru can see where others are and know what their next step should be. A satguru is needed because the mind is so cunning and the ego is a self-perpetuating mechanism. It is he who inspires, assists, guides and impels the shishya toward the Self of himself.§