What is a Spiritual Guru?
The term guru in Western culture has become synonymous with a master teacher or insightful leader with special knowledge. For example, there are advertising gurus, environmental gurus, digital gurus, email gurus – in fact, there are gurus for almost every walk of life. Followers of these gurus expect them to have special knowledge or fields of knowledge to share. However, traditional gurus are a great deal more. They are enlightened spiritual masters and spiritual teachers who directly embody divinity and grace, and have ancient knowledge that can lead you to realize your true nature.
A spiritual guru embodies unconditional love and ancient teachings and is always with you, guiding you as an inner voice through a myriad of issues and problems they have already mastered. You can achieve spiritual enlightenment without a guru, but it is easier with one. Having a spiritual guide who has already achieved enlightenment makes the journey easier because they’ve been where you are, and they know profoundly what you need for spiritual development and how to keep you on track.
On this page, you will learn about the history of gurus, how gurus work with disciples, what they are here to offer humanity and individuals on a spiritual path, and an explanation of various practices that are part of a guru-disciple relationship. More specifically you will meet Jagadguru, H.H. Sai Maa and learn about Maa’s work for humanity and what it means to have Sai Maa as your guru.
What is the guru tradition and where did it come from?
To help you understand what a guru is, Awakened Life Teacher Heather Charlton explains in this video the Sanskrit origin of the word guru and what that means for how a guru works with humanity to help each person operate from a higher level of consciousness.
In this next video, Heather takes you back to ancient Indian culture and introduces you to the first guru – Shiva, who came here to end humanity’s suffering and feeling of separation from God or the Source. She then introduces you to 20th century gurus who have had a profound impact on the spiritual life of many.
In her third video exploring the guru tradition, Heather introduces you to H.H. Sai Maa who holds the rare title, Jagadguru (guru for the world). She shares about Sai Maa’s path to becoming a guru and what Maa’s mission is for humanity.
Why do I need a guru?
In truth, no one needs a guru; however, the blessings a guru offers make it extremely desirable to have one. Imagine the spiritual journey being similar to having a large student loan that will take the rest of your life to pay off in sizable monthly increments. After living years with this burden, imagine meeting an incredibly wealthy person who offers to pay off your debt because they are so wealthy that they wouldn’t miss the money. You now have the option to carry this hardship for the rest of your life or let this wealthy person relieve you of the burden. Wouldn’t you say yes please? This is the gift and the grace of the spiritually wealthy guru. They wash your karma, transform any and all pain you offer them, and fill you with infinite love until you embrace your true self — the eternal light within.
Why do I need Sai Maa?
Sai Maa describes the experience of meeting YOUR guru.
The Grace of the Guru
Muktananda describes extraordinary experiences he has had with Sai Maa and how the grace of this guru transformed his life.
Listen to the Story
What is enlightenment and what is the guru’s role in that process?
Is enlightenment the same as awakening?
As you awaken, you become more aware, conscious, free of what holds you back, what you’ve identified with that creates suffering. You can be in a state of greater freedom than ever before. However, distinct from enlightenment, the awakened state isn’t permanent or stable; it can move in and out. When the aspects of the state of enlightenment are one hundred percent permanent, awakening shifts to full enlightenment.
What is Sai Maa’s work with enlightenment?
Sai Maa’s mission is global enlightenment, which means she is devoted to all of humanity moving into a state of complete freedom and the full expression of all that we are.
In her book, Petals of Grace, Sai Maa speaks to a number of aspects of this state in the chapter, “What Is Enlightenment?” To help you get a feel for what enlightenment is, they are listed here in bullet form.
- A state of freedom, liberation
- Freedom from fear
- Freedom from identification with the body, attachment to the body
- Freedom from duality (illusion, separation)
- Freedom from the senses and desire
- Freedom from all obstructions, veils, layers, and ignorance
- Freedom as having a clear intellect
- Being a witness, not a doer
- Being nothing, pure consciousness (resting in this)
- Being light, love, truth, God, the Source
- Being “now”
- Being unity, only “us” (not “you-me” or “me-you”)
- Being limitless, infinite, absolute perfection
Download Sai Maa’s full chapter on enlightenment from
her book, Petals of Grace.
How do gurus help with healing physical, mental, and emotional pain?
In meeting your guru, the master who has been waiting for you for centuries and lifetimes, you start to remember who you really are. You feel something familiar, comfortable, something known that attracts and embraces you, as if you are being held in the arms of a loving mother. You are so loved, have always been loved, and now you know it. Maa (guru, Self) brings you from a forgetting to a remembering state and opens your eyes to your suffering. You then live in awareness of your own ignorance. This consciousness leads you to the tools to liberate yourself from suffering and heal both physical and emotional pain.
How does Sai Maa help people to heal their suffering?
As a master of energy and healing, Maa sees your light and what impurities and distortions cover the radiance and expression of that light. She cleans, transmutes, and transforms your lower energies, and she educates you on how to do the same for yourself. Maa provides you with transformational practices and introduces you to modern tools and technologies that transform your brains, as well as your physical and subtle bodies. Maa works with numerous professional disciplines and practitioners and finds whatever new or ancient offerings work individually, or in combination, to serve your self-realization. She tells you to be strong and vibrant to carry the high vibration and Shakti that you’re to express and share. In this way, you’re able to serve the transformation of humanity and the planet for global enlightenment and ascension.
Sai Maa has created in-person programs and online courses that address a variety of topics from health and healing to meditation and energy work. Maa has also curated a variety of health products and spiritual items for you to work with.
Art of Tranformation
What does a spiritual practice look like with a guru?
6 practices that are part of the guru-disciple relationship
The spiritual path is just that—a path, a journey. You’re not actually traveling anywhere, you’re going deeper within yourself to re-member, to realize what’s already present inside you. What moves you along the path to this realization is daily spiritual practice, sadhana. Here are six practices in a guru-disciple relationship:
1. Sadhana – Daily spiritual practice
Sadhana is a Sanskrit word that means a daily spiritual practice. Being disciplined and having a daily practice is the foundation for communicating with the divine inside of you and all around you. It is an essential tool for creating clarity and alignment with your greater purpose. It can include breath work, meditation, chanting, yoga and even seva (selfless service).
In this video, Dayanand Das Maharaj, one of Sai Maa’s teachers, introduces you to Kapalabhati Pranayama, otherwise known as breath of fire. It is a good way to start your daily practice because it cleanses and energizes your body.
To continue your sadhana, Sai Maa teacher Shree Devi Maa takes you through a meditation to clear and energize the 7 chakras, or energy centers. If you are new to working with chakras, the video begins with a picture of the ones Shree Devi is working with.
2. Devotional Chanting
There are many ways that chanting uplifts and even heals you. Chanting slows down your brain and allows your “monkey mind” to rest, similar to the experience of meditation and yoga. According to the teachings of Sai Maa, “When we chant, the mind is resting. The mind cannot compete with the devotion, with the love and the chanting.” Because the mind is quiet, you move along your spiritual path more quickly. Sai Maa also shares that, even though you are chanting with Maa, you are actually chanting to yourself, to your soul, and this devotion is transformational.
Chanting allows you to go more deeply into your heart to remember your natural state of bliss. It reminds you that this state is available in every moment. Scientists have analyzed chants and determined that mantras are energy-based sounds. When a mantra is chanted rhythmically, it creates a positive neuro-linguistic effect, even if the singer doesn’t know the meaning of the mantra. One such mantra is OM NAMAH SHIVAYA which activates within you the purifying energy of Shiva.
3. Satsang – Community sharing of guru’s teachings
Satsang is a Sanskrit word that means “gathering together for the truth” or, more simply, “being with the truth.” Gathering together in a community to discuss teachings from or experiences with the guru is a means for better understanding concepts and how they apply to everyday life. These discussions also serve to anchor the teachings in your system to fully benefit from the shakti (energy).
All year long, there are weekly gatherings of Sai Maa students all over the world. You are welcome to visit or join any of these satsangs.
Diksha is light directly from Source. Many gurus throughout history have offered diksha that aligns with their lineage of masters and lightworkers. Although it is pure light, each generation of those doing the Work has added more and more power, direction, and intelligence to it.
Sai Maa Diksha is an energy technique for the transference of Divine Light directly into the brain and nervous system. Diksha cleanses fear-based patterns that keep you limited and activates the process of your enlightenment, starting in the brain. In this video, Sai Maa shares about the power of Diksha, when you should receive it and why you should give it to the entire world.
Seva is a Sanskrit word that describes the act of selfless service. Its meaning comes from saha, meaning “with that” and eva, meaning “too” which combined means “together with.” The act of seva leads to collective benefit and gain, although it is performed without attachment to any outcome for the individual.
“The sole purpose of service is to fulfill your longing to merge with and into the truth. Love and seva is a path to the inner world of Divine Love—and Grace rushes into this sacred heart, the abode of God. When one serves with purity of devotion, one is close to God or the Guru. Then one lives fearlessly, and continuous showers of grace—as an ocean without tides—pour into the aspirant.”
~ Her Holiness Sai Maa
6. Darshan – Blessings from the guru
Darshan in Sanskrit means sight, as in beholding a vision. It is an intimate experience with an enlightened master that awakens and empowers your divine self, and unveils your highest reality. In this moment, the enlightened master looks upon you, seeing only your divinity and wholeness, and calls it forth… and leads you from darkness to light.
In this video you will see the beauty, grace and bliss when receiving Darshan from enlightened master, Her Holiness Sai Maa.
How is Sai Maa a modern guru and enlightenment coach?
Maa has lived a full life and has experience in many roles, positions, and places, so she is speaking to you from direct experience. Maa teaches you with knowledge as a mother, wife, daughter, and sister; as a businessperson, entrepreneur, politician, teacher, therapist, and healing practitioner; as an Easterner and Westerner, raised in Mauritius of Indian heritage and naturalized as a French citizen; and as a woman in a man’s world, an island girl, and an urban sophisticate.
Through these experiences, Maa speaks of topics relevant in today’s world and speaks to all people, no matter what religion, tradition, background, age, race, community. Finally, Maa reveals ways you can serve and contribute to the greatest good of society, to the New Era that is arriving on this planet.
Exploring the Guru-Disciple Relationship
In this mini-course, you have the opportunity to experience three different aspects of the guru-disciple relationship: a healing practice, chanting, and teachings.
One of the guru’s roles in your life is to help you move from darkness to light, or from pain to freedom. In this lesson, Sai Maa teaches a simple and highly effective technique that empowers you to permanently transform pain from hurtful relationships.
Chanting mantras (ancient, sacred sounds) with an enlightened guru raises your vibration and moves you into a higher frequency where you experience bliss, which is your true essence. In this lesson, you will learn a powerful mantra and then chant it with Sai Maa.
Enlightened guru, H.H. Sai Maa came to this planet to bring global enlightenment. In this teaching, Maa discusses how we are spiritual beings of love who have let our ego convince us otherwise. Maa invites you into heart-to-heart work to re-member who you truly are.
Register below for the free mini-course to experience the joy of the guru-disciple relationship first-hand. We will email you the lessons, one at a time. To get the most out of them, we recommend you set aside time to listen to the recordings and fully participate. You’ll be glad you did!