Question: What exactly does “guru” mean?

Jagad Guru: “Guru” as an adjective means “heavy or weighty” as in “one who is heavy with spiritual knowledge and wisdom.”

“Guru” also means spiritual master—this means that he has dovetailed his body, his mind, his intelligence, and his will with the will of God. In other words, guru means one who is the loving servant of God and well-wisher of others. “Guru” does not mean one who becomes a master of other people.

It’s very important to understand that a bona fide guru never sees himself as the dominator or master of anyone. He never teaches that he is God or tries to take the place of God in people’s lives.

A guru is someone who is so filled with bhakti or love for the Supreme—and therefore love or compassion for all living beings who he understands are parts and parcels of the Supreme—that he sees himself as the servant of everyone and dedicates his life to helping everyone find true happiness.

Question: So are you or I God?

Jagad Guru: Of course not. God is the Supreme Controller. In yoga, the exact word is Ishvara. Ishvara means the Supreme Controller. As sparks of God, we also have the characteristic of being controllers, but because each of us is just a ray of the sun, not the entire sun, therefore, we are not the supreme controllers. We have a little bit of control, not supreme control. Ishvara, God, is the Supreme Controller. So any spiritual teacher who claims to be God is in illusion.