Guru Shishya Parampara

Last updated: December 21, 2023

What Does Guru Shishya Parampara Mean?

Guru shishya parampara is the teacher-disciple tradition in Indian religion and culture. From Sanskrit, shishya means “student of a guru” and parampara means “an uninterrupted succession.” It is the lineage of passing knowledge from a succession of gurus to students through oral tradition.

For thousands of years, yoga was passed along through the guru shishya parampara.


Yogapedia Explains Guru Shishya Parampara

The guru shishya parampara is found in Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. The shishya typically lives with the guru. Knowledge is passed from guru to shishya through the spiritual, intellectual and emotional bond between them. The guru guides his pupils on their path to knowledge and enlightenment. The relationship requires the shishya to be obedient and devoted to the guru.

The guru’s level of authority varies based on the tradition, with the highest found in Bhakti yoga, which requires total surrender to the guru. Bhakti represents perhaps the best known form of the guru-disciple relationship. In Bhakti yoga, the guru shishya parampara is based on the student’s devotion to the guru as a divine being and his belief that the guru can impart the knowledge that leads to moksha (freedom from cyclical rebirth).

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