The Essential Difference Between a Teacher and Guru

One of the most unique and ancient traditions of Hinduism is the tradition of Guru or Master. A guru is considered in Hinduism as God himself in human form and accorded the highest respect in the social hierarchy next to parents. A student is expected to pay utmost respect to a Guru and please him so that he would qualify himself to earn his grace and obtain spiritual knowledge.

The term teacher is completely different from what is meant by word, however it is hard to define a Guru. Here is an attempt to define Guru with reference to his duties:

  • A Guru awakens the intelligence and awareness; a teacher gives structured information.
  • A teacher takes responsibility for your growth; a Guru makes you responsible for your growth.
  • A teacher gives you things you do not have and require; a Guru takes away things you have and do not require.
  • A teacher answers your questions; a Guru questions your answers.
  • A teacher requires obedience and discipline from the pupil; a Guru requires trust and humility from the pupil.
  • A teacher clothes you and prepares you for the outer journey; a Guru strips you naked and prepares you for the inner journey.
  • A teacher is a guide on the path; a Guru is a pointer to the way.
  • A teacher sends you on the road to success; a Guru sends you on the road to freedom.
  • A teacher explains the world and its nature to you; a Guru explains yourself and your nature to you.
  • A teacher gives you knowledge and boosts your ego, a Guru takes away your knowledge and punctures your ego.
  • A teacher instructs you; a Guru constructs you.
  • A teacher sharpens your mind; a Guru opens your mind.
  • A teacher reaches your mind; a Guru touches your spirit.
  • A teacher instructs you on how to solve problems; a Guru shows you how to resolve issues.
  • A teacher is a systematic thinker; a Guru is a lateral thinker.
  • One can always find a teacher, but a Guru has to find and accept you.
  • A teacher leads you by the hand; a Guru leads you by example.
  • When a teacher finishes with you, you celebrate; when a Guru finishes with you, life celebrates.