Siksha Gurus and Diksha Gurus

Man has a twofold duty here on earth-to preserve his life, and to realise his Self. To preserve his life, he has to learn to work for his daily bread. To realise his Self, he has to serve, love, and meditate. The Guru who teaches him the knowledge of worldly arts is the Siksha Guru. The Guru who shows him the path of Realisation is the Diksha Guru. Siksha Gurus can be many—as many as the things he wishes to learn. The Diksha Guru can be only one—the one who leads him to Moksha.(pg. 155, Bliss Divine)

If Swami Sivananda considered everyone and every experience as his Guru, he had a special veneration for his Siksha Guru and his Diksha Guru. On enquiring about the progress of the music class in the Ashram, he once told the students, “You should all greet your music teacher with folded palms and ‘Om Namo Narayanaya’. You should revere the Guru who teaches you the art. Only then will the learning be fruitful.”

The students were a little apologetic, “Yes, Swamiji, we are all doing that though we sometimes forget.”
“No, no, you should never omit this,” said the Master, and added thoughtfully, “See, I had Swami Viswanandaji’s company only for a few hours, yet I remember him daily in my Stotras in the morning. I include the name of Swami Vishnudevananda also, as it was he who performed the Vraja Homa for me. It is very necessary, only then will the spark of intense desire for liberation burn brightly in us.

And Swami Sivananda relapsed into memory of his boyhood days. “Once, I learnt fencing from an untouchable,” he recalled. “It lasted only for a few days. He was an untouchable, yet I used to greet him with coconut and betel leaves. Guru is Guru, to whatever caste or creed he belongs.” (pgs. 203-204, From Man to God-Man)

mantra-guru ara jata siksa-guru-gana
tanhara carana-age kariye vandana [Chaitanya Caritamrta 1.1.25]

I first offer my respectful obeisances at the lotus feet of my initiating spiritual master and all my instructing spiritual masters.

The meaning of the above is I offer pranam to my Guru who initiated me, and I also the same pranam to my other siksha Gurus. It should be noted that the diksha Guru is but one, whereas siksha Gurus can be many, and even innumerable.

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