Satguru (Sanskrit: सत्गुरु), or sadguru (Sanskrit: सद्गुरु), means the true guru in Sanskrit. However, the term is distinguished from other forms of gurus, such as musical instructors, scriptural teachers, parents, and so on. Satguru is a title given specifically only to an enlightened rishi or saint whose life's purpose is to guide the initiated shishya on the spiritual path, the summation of which is the realization of the Self through realization of God.
A satguru has some special characteristics that are not found in any other types of spiritual guru. The words sant and satguru were prominently used in the spiritual ideology of Kabir in the 15th century. Kabir 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 says that worship of satguru includes in it worship of all deities. In other words, satguru is the physical form of God (Sat Pursh).
In Sikh philosophy, Nanak, defines satguru as truth itself and not a physical entity. This truth emanates from reality and requires no blind faith. In the Japji Sahib he writes Ek onkar, satguru prasad (There is one creator, this knowledge I have learnt from reality). The Sikh (student) learns from reality as presented by the creator. Truth (sat) itself is the teacher (guru).
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."
- Advaita Vedanta
- Appayya Swamigalu
- Bodhinatha Veylanswami
- List of Hindu gurus and sants
- Ramana Maharshi
- Ravidassia religion
- '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 Archived 2011-09-27 at the Wayback Machine. Myrtle Beach: Sheriar Foundation. pp. 28–29. ISBN 1-880619-23-7.