Guru Tattwa

Swami Satyasangananda Saraswati

I love my guru but as a Christian I love Christ too, so who is my guru? It seems there is a contradiction.

The contradiction is there because you always live in the realm of duality. You always look at the physical dimension. In essence, guru is not a physical being, guru is a tattwa, an element, called the guru tattwa. Just as you have the pancha tattwas, the five elements, there is a guru tattwa. You have higher tattwas existing in you, higher and more subtle tattwas which you don’t know, because you don’t have the sensitivity. The guru actually exists within you, each one of us has that guru tattwa.


Ajna chakra is where the guru tattwa manifests and it represents the free flow of knowledge. The knowledge flows through you. You don’t have to read books, to go to the library or the classroom, the knowledge is available because that knowledge is just flowing all around you. At the moment you cannot catch it because you don’t have the receptor, but if that guru tattwa awakens in you, then the knowledge becomes available. You can know the past, present and future. You can know history, geography, science, mathematics, which is very elementary knowledge.

Swami Sivananda taught kriya yoga to Swami Satyananda in five minutes. Swami Niranjanananda has never been to school, but if you talk to him you won’t ever realize that he never went to school. That is the guru tattwa. It is not a physical entity, and anybody who has awakened it is a guru. Guru is not a certificate or a degree, you don’t just become a guru because you want to. You are destined for that and it happens in your life. The knowledge starts flowing through you because you have become empty and therefore an efficient channel for knowledge.

When Swami Satyananda was in Rishikesh, he did not sit and study the Vedas or the Upanishads or the Bhagavad Gita. He used to work like we work in the ashram, cleaning, carrying water, collecting leaves, attending to the guests. Today he has the full knowledge of the Vedas and Upanishads, which he can recite verbatim. The guru element awoke in him, because of his dedication, sincerity, commitment, unswerving faith and trust and spiritual service to his guru. He was destined for that, and the knowledge was and is available to him.

The physical guru

It can happen with you too because that guru tattwa is in you. Therefore, when you ask, “Is Christ my guru or is Swami Niranjan my guru?” I would say, they both are your guru. You can think that Christ is that pure atma within you and Swami Niranjan is the person with whom you can communicate, you can speak to, because it is essential to have a physical guru to whom you can ask questions. You have not reached that level where you can just sit and know what is right, what the guru is saying. We have not attained that mental frequency. Therefore, you need to hear it from the guru’s lips. There are many questions which come up in our minds and we need to ask.

Of course, if we don’t need to ask, then that is much better. It is much better to reach that frequency, but many times we imagine things. We think that the guru has told us this, and we have these head trips. It is always better to have a person with whom you can clarify these issues.

All gurus are connected

Many times people say, “Is Swami Sivananda my guru now or Swami Satyananda or Swami Niranjan, because I took initiation from him and now I can’t see him and I can’t ask him anything?” There is such confusion. However, gurus are all connected and not different from each other. They may be in two bodies, but they have one soul. When that happens, a transmission takes place which is difficult to understand because we have never experienced it. We only understand through intellect – if somebody speaks, then we understand. In transmission there is nothing spoken, something is just passed on and you receive it. The guru becomes a medium of transmission. Any knowledge can be available through him, whether it is from Christ, Krishna, Rama or Swami Satyananda. You have to have that faith if you have accepted a person as your guru.

No place for doubt

It is better not to have a guru if you are going to doubt. Once you make someone your guru, there is no place for doubt. The word guru itself is sacred. A guru is not a teacher but a person who has attained a level of awareness and can know many things about you. It is your need that brings the guru to you, and your need to ask something. The guru doesn’t need to know what you are thinking: he can know if he wants to. He does not sit the whole day trying to know what you are thinking because he is not interested. Supposing you have a problem and you are in London, Italy or France. You remember your guru and you pray with sincerity and with your heart. Definitely, he will know it. However, you always doubt, and that is your problem. Definitely, if he cannot hear you, then he is not a guru. The minute you say ‘guru’, accept the reality that he can know everything, because it is not the conscious mind which knows but a different level of awareness that grasps it.

Swami Satyananda often said, “Don’t bring your problems to me if you want my blessings.” The conscious mind does not give blessings; it is the higher awareness which gives the blessing and that can know anything. Consciously he may not know what you are thinking, but his higher awareness is picking up everything, and everything is being passed to you from there. It is an automatic process.

What is the significance and importance of diksha?

The Sanskrit word diksha is derived from the root dik, which means direction. When you decide to start your spiritual journey, you have to decide which direction you will take. Initiation is intended for that purpose, to give your awareness a direction which it can follow. When you decide to do spiritual practices and you sit down for meditation, what do you see inside? Nothing, blank, darkness, and then suddenly sometimes you get some visions and thoughts. In which direction are you going to move your awareness? Diksha is intended to give you a direction as well as a momentum.

It is like a formal ceremony, just as when you decide to get married, there is a formal ceremony. You go through that formal ceremony, even though you can just live with somebody, because it gives you dedication and commitment, meaning and significance. There are so many mantras, but if you just pick one and don’t worry about initiation, you will not get the same result, because that initiation gives you a direction, a momentum, and formalized it becomes your personal initiation.

In addition, in diksha there is a transference of energy from the person who gives diksha to the person who is receiving it. There is transference of energy, which helps you when you do the sadhana. It is like an impulse which goes to the person and you have to keep that impulse, you should not lose it. That impulse grows in you as you continue to do your practices. If you are careless about it, you lose it. There are many people who take initiation, but they don’t follow the practice or sadhana and then they lose that impulse.


The most important diksha for spiritual life is mantra initiation. If you have that, you have everything, you don’t need anything else. You don’t need anything after you get the mantra. For spiritual life mantra is essential and the only diksha. If you have that, you can consider that you have everything for the evolution of consciousness or awareness. Of course, if you want to lead a particular kind of life and you want to develop certain ideals, then there are many other dikshas available.

The mantra gives movement to the evolution of awareness. The awareness has stagnated and is stuck with the house, the job and the enjoyment of the senses. It is stuck there and not able to get out. When you want it to move, the mantra is given for the purpose of getting the awareness out and giving it a momentum, so you can have a different kind of experience along with the experience you are having now. That is what diksha is intended for.

Harrogate, England, 16–19 July 2009