Spiritual knowledge is described as ‘Para jnana’ to indicate
its subtle and infinite nature. It is beyond the limits of what
can be learnt through the senses, mind or intellect. Since
there is none better than the Lord to impart this Para jnana,
He is the Primordial Guru for the entire humanity, said Sri Va
Ve Subramaniam in a discourse. But there are also many
acharyas who have played an important role in handing
down the spiritual tradition. In fact, an acharya is a cut above
the Lord when it comes to showering grace.
While the Lord is bound by His role as the dispenser of the
fruits of an individual’s karma, a guru is impartial to all his
disciples and his grace flows equally on all of them
irrespective of their individual karma or nature. Adi Sankara
extols the spontaneous generosity of the acharya in the
Viveka Chudamani when he points out that he does not need
any reason to be kind and compassionate towards his
disciples. He is well-versed in the scriptures, pure and not
afected by desire.
He knows the Supreme Truth intuitively and is always
calm like the fire that has burnt up its fuel. He is more a
friend to his disciples who have faith in him and have
surrendered to him. The Vedas teach the concept that both
teacher and student learn together. Ideally, they should have
the same wavelength and there should be no enmity between them.
The function of a guru is to teach the scriptures by going
beyond the letter to the spirit inhering in them. In addition,
he teaches by his life and by his behaviour and sometimes
even by silence. The purpose of learning is to go above the
intellect to realise the purity and richness of the soul.