Satguru (Sanskrit: सद्गुरू), or sadguru, means the true guru. However the term is distinguished from other forms of gurus, such as musical instructors, scriptural teachers, parents, and so on. The satguru is a title given specifically only to an enlightened rishi/saint whose life's purpose is to guide initiated shishya along the spiritual path, the summation of which is the realization of the Self through realization of God, who is omnipresent. A Satguru has some special characteristics that are not found in any other types of Spiritual Guru. The words 'Sant' and 'Satguru' firstly came into existence from the spiritual ideology of “Sant Samrat Satguru Kabir Sahib” in the 15th century. Kabir Sahib says "Satpurush Ko Jansi, Tiska Satguru Naam|" meaning the one who has seen the supreme lord of truth- Satya Purush is Satguru. "Devi dewal jagat mein, kotik poojey koye. Satguru ki pooja kiye, sabb ki pooja hoye". Kabir Sahib says Worship of Satguru includes in it worship of all deities. In other words, Satguru is physical form of God (Sat Pursh). While there are many unenlightened gurus who have reached some stage of the awakening process, and even more pseudo-gurus who claim higher evolution but lack it, the Satguru is a Divine Incarnation, considered a rare and precious gem that guides both believers and non-believers alike to the Ultimate Goal, to realize the Eternal Reality of All Being One. The Satguru is the Expression of the Divine, and can also be taken as a benchmark of the Ultimate Form of evolution that is possible for all souls.
Ancient and traditional sources
He is the real Sadhu, who can reveal the form of the Formless to the vision of these eyes;
Who teaches the simple way of attaining Him, that is other than rites or ceremonies;
Who does not make you close the doors, and hold the breath, and renounce the world;
Who makes you perceive the Supreme Spirit wherever the mind attaches itself;
Who teaches you to be still in the midst of all your activities.
Ever immersed in bliss, having no fear in his mind, he keeps the spirit of union in the midst of all enjoyments.
The infinite dwelling of the Infinite Being is everywhere: in earth, water, sky, and air;
Firm as the thunderbolt, the seat of the seeker is established above the void.
He who is within is without: I see Him and none else.
A real preceptor is one who can produce blissful sensation in the body of the disciple by their sight, touch, or instructions.
According to Sivaya Subramuniyaswami, a Hindu satguru is always a sannyasin, an unmarried renunciate, but not all writers include this stricture. Tukaram, a Hindu satguru, is known to have had a family, and Moinuddin Chishti also had children. Satguru Kabir had a son, Kamal, who was very devout.
Meher Baba equated worship of the Satguru with worship of God: "Consciously or unconsciously, directly or indirectly, each and every creature, each and every human being — in one form or the other — strives to assert individuality. But when eventually man consciously experiences that he is Infinite, Eternal and Indivisible, then he is fully conscious of his individuality as God, and as such experiences Infinite Knowledge, Infinite Power and Infinite Bliss. Thus Man becomes God, and is recognized as a Perfect Master, Satguru, or Kutub. To worship this Man is to worship God."
- Appayya Swamigalu
- Bodhinatha Veylanswami
- Ravidassia religion
- Sant Mat
- Advaita Vedanta
- Ramana Maharshi
- 'Kabir Sagara'
- Kabir Sagara
- Adi Granth: 286
- LVI I. 68. bhâi kôî satguru sant kahâwaî
- Songs of Kabir LVI, I. 68 - Translated by Rabindranath Tagore New York, The Macmillan Company (1915)
- Tirtha, Swami Shankar Purushottam (1992). Yoga Vani: Instructions for the Attainment of Siddhayoga. New York: Sat Yuga Press. p. 27.
- Subramuniyaswami, Satguru Sivaya. Living with Siva, glossary. Himalayan Academy Publications. ISBN 0-945497-98-9
- God Speaks, Meher Baba, PUB Dodd Meade, 1955, 2nd Ed. pp. 150,158,196, 291
- Meher Prabhu, Bhau Kalchuri, Manifestation, Inc. 1986. p.92 - Footnote 1
- Lewis, James R. Seeking the Light, p.62. Mandeville Press, ISBN 0-914829-42-4
- Baba, Meher (2000). The Path of Love. Myrtle Beach: Sheriar Foundation. pp. 28 - 29. ISBN 1-880619-23-7.