Last updated: December 21, 2023

What Does Shishya Mean?

Shishya is the concept of a spiritual guide or teacher enlightening a disciple through oral teachings. This is a common idea in religions such as Buddhism and Hinduism.

Individuals seeking to learn the spiritual path of yoga may engage in shishya with a trusted guru or teacher.


Yogapedia Explains Shishya

The spiritual relationship of shishya sees the guru vocally passing on their knowledge of different aspects of life to the disciple. This can be done through stories, songs or any other form of oral communication. In shishya, the speaker-listener relationship must be based on the honesty of the mentor as well as the commitment, respect and devotion of the student. Eventually, the student will learn the knowledge that the guru possesses.

Shishya has a long history that dates back to the early Vedic texts. Such historic relationships as those between Krishna and Arjuna, or Rama and Hanuman, are examples of deep and ancient knowledge being passed on in this way.

While some choose to undertake yoga and meditation as a solitary pursuit, the establishment of a shishya relationship with a mentor/guru can be greatly beneficial to a yoga practice. The student can learn general pieces of wisdom and specific meditation techniques, among other types of knowledge.

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