Although guru connotes teacher, when it is used within yoga or Indian spiritual traditions, it has wider spiritual implications. A guru may provide guidance, counseling or instruction to guide a student on their spiritual path. The Upanishads and other spiritual texts talk about the importance of addressing and treating the guru as a god. To use the term, Gurudeva, is a way of affectionately acknowledging the importance of their role and presence. For example, the students of Swami Sivananda referred to their guru as Gurudev.
Gurudeva is also used as part of a kirtan, which is a form of call-and-response chanting involving mantras or hymns, to worship and express devotion to a guru.