Last updated: December 21, 2023

What Does Swami Mean?

A swami is a spiritual teacher, guru or master whose objective is to master the self through renunciation, which includes setting aside temporal and secular ambitions to pursue a life of spiritual realization. Within yoga, highly regarded spiritual teachers may receive the title of swami by followers or others in the community.

In Sanskrit, swami means “one who knows.”


Yogapedia Explains Swami

Many practicing swamis consider the lifestyle to be a journey of self-sacrifice, rather than a decision to simply become a spiritual master who follows a certain protocol. As swamis follow a path of renunciation, they serve others as spiritual teachers.

Although many swamis consider themselves to be Hindu, some choose not to associate with a specific religion. Teachers within the yoga community who have the title of swami are not associated with a specific religion, but are considered to be part of a devout spiritual yoga community.

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one who knows

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