Guru Shishya parampara is an age old tradition of teaching and learning between a teacher and his disciple. No one can deny the importance of Guru shishya parampara in Indian subcontinent.

Guru Shishya parampara
Guru Shishya tradition. Source : freepik

गुरुर्ब्रह्मा ग्रुरुर्विष्णुः गुरुर्देवो महेश्वरः। गुरुः साक्षात् परं ब्रह्म तस्मै श्री गुरवे नमः॥

Gurur Brahma Gurur Vishnu, Gurur Devo Maheshwarah

Guru Saakshaata Param brahma Tasmai Shri Guruve Namah.


Welcome our avid reader! Today I have started my blog with a mantra dedicated to Guru (teacher). And, this mantra means that Guru is Brahma, who is the Lord of Creation. Guru is Vishnu (Lord Vishnu is the Lord of organising and maintaining), Guru is the Maheshwara (Lord Shiva, Lord of destruction). Also, Guru Sakshat Parabrahma means Parbrahma viz. the supreme god or almighty (as Guru leads to a path of light). Guruve Namah means we bow to that Guru. Thus, as a realized soul, Guru is the embodiment of Para Brahma, the ultimate Godhead.


Guru shishya pramapara is a tradition where all the learnings and wisdom of Guru is passed onto his disciple.

What is Guru Shishya Parampara?

As per Puranas and Vedas, Guru (teacher) is the mentor to the young minds who pass on the wisdom to their disciples. Indian culture has ample examples of Guru shishya parampara.

Guru shishya parampara is an age old teacher-disciple tradition in Hinduism.

It is the system of passing the teachings and learnings to the younger generation in a humble and disciplined way. And, that has been practiced for centuries.

A child age between 5-7 years gets admission in Gurukul (a living place or hostel) and stays with Guru for 17-18 years. Here, not only they learn their curriculum but also they learn about critical thinking and spiritual progress. The lifestyle is very basic and minimalistic. Unlike modern world, where a teacher is only subject oriented and time specified.

Further, the terms Guru and shishya are Hindi words meaning a spiritual or knowledgeable teacher and a dedicated disciple respectively. It is a personal relation between teacher and student where the main aim is to transfer the knowledge, wisdom and spiritual values to the disciple.

Unlike modern day money-oriented education system, Guru Shisya parampara is the most humble, respectful and learned approach by a student towards a learned and wised teacher. This relation is built on trust, devotion and mutual respect. Guru shishya relation is considered sacred till date.

What is the importance of Guru Shishya pramapara?

Indeed, there is an urge to learn thus Shishya approaches the Guru with great humility and respect. In return, Guru accepts the responsibility of shaping up the future of the prospective shishya by imparting the required guidance and knowledge.

The Guru Shishya Parampara recognises the importance of personal experience and direct transmission of knowledge. The student gets opportunities to learn orally from the words of the Guru. Also they learn from observation, imitation, and practical application. This is the most augmented system for a holistic understanding and embodiment of the teachings.

Promptly speaking, the lineage of Guru is passed on disciples too. Here, many disciple follow the footsteps of their gurus. After gaining knowledge and experience in the field, students can become Guru and continue the tradition with same integrity and disciplines.

Guru Shishya parampara is followed in many fields

Infact, the Guru Shishya Parampara has been influential in various domains including spirituality, yoga, philosophy, music, dance, martial arts and other traditional arts and sciences. However, it has played a vital role in preserving and passing down the rich cultural and intellectual heritage of India from one generation to the next. The Guru-Shishya (teacher-disciple) tradition has been a significant part of Indian culture for centuries. It has its roots back to 5000BC.

Which are famous Guru-Shishya jodi in ancient India?

Apparently there are many classic examples of Guru shishya Jodi in India. From the times of great epics and vedas till date, there are many famous Guru-Shishya jodi like

  • Shankaracharya and his pupil
  • Vashishta and Lord Rama
  • Sandipani and lord Krishna
  • Parshurama and Bhishma
  • Parshurama and Karana
  • Dronacharya and Arjun
  • Chankaya and Chandragupt
  • Ramakrishna Pramahansa and Swami Vivekananda

and many more. We will be discussing them in detail in our upcoming blog. Our holy texts, sages and scholars suggests that even Vedas and Vedangas were orally transferred to the pupils by the gurus in Smriti and Sruti vedic era.

What is Guru Purnima?

Guru Purnima is a festival dedicated to offer respect and homage to the Guru. It is celebrated on the Purnima (full moon) of shukla paksha of Ashada mass of Hindu panchang.

It is celebrated with great devotion and dedication all over the world. We will be having Guru Purnima on July 3rd, 2023.

Eventually we will have Guru Purnima on July 21, 2024.

Who is Guru in our life?

A guru is a person who removes mental spiritual darkness from our mind. He clarifies our mind and makes it free from guilt, ego, pride and false imaginations.

Thus, Guru is a proficient in a field or branch of knowledge and wants to pass on the same knowledge and sagacity to others. The guru shares not only theoretical knowledge but also practical insights, personal experiences and life lessons.

In Indian culture, Guru pass on acquired knoweldge through oral traditional way of teaching through chants and mantras. Similarly, the level of knowledge and insight are pure and unconditionally respectful.

For many people, Guru could be their diety, parents or even a cosmic energy. Upnishads suggest that relation between Lord Rama and Hanumana and lord Krishna and Arjuna were of Guru and Shishya. They were considered god before accepting as humans.

In many religions like Sikhism, all the gods are Gurus. Their teachings and summons are way of life to the followers and devotees.

Why there is decline in this tradition?

Eventually we are witnessing a sharp decline in this age old tradition for many reasons.

a)Modern society has seen a shift in values and priorities. Traditional systems like the Guru Shishya Parampara require long-term commitment, discipline and sacrifice. Hence, which may not align with the fast-paced and consumerist mindset of many individuals today.

Briefly there has been increased emphasis on individualism, materialism and instant gratification.

b) India is witnessing the wide spread of western education and cultural values. Hence, it has an impact on traditional systems of learning. It has led to a decline in the popularity of traditional guru-disciple relationships.

c) With advancements in technology and the internet, knowledge and information have become readily and easily available to people.

d) The traditional Guru Shishya Parampara requires highly knowledgeable and spiritually inclined gurus. They need to be proficient in their field and also guide and inspire their disciples. However, with passage of time and needs of fast moving world, there are least numbers of dedicated gurus left now.

e) Moreover, people are running to attain financial stability and social recognition. Traditional Guru Shishya Parampara needs significant time investment, dedication and much more diligent attention of disciple. Hence, it is affecting the growth of this tradition.


Even in contemporary times, Guru Shishya Parampara exists and continues to be practiced in various forms. There are many people who value and seek out authentic guru-disciple relationships for their spiritual and personal development. The value and significance of spiritual upliftment and personal growth stilll lies in the hands of Guru. Have a blessed day ahead.

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