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The Fivefold Foundation of Guruyoga

1) Maintaining the Integrity of a Lineage (Guru-parampara)
a) Transmitting the teachings (Guru-shishya-shruta-prajna)
b) Preserving the dharma (Sarvadharma-sthapana)
c) Awakening spirituality in humanity (Shakti-sanchara)
d) Maintaining sacred teachings (Anushasana-shastra)
e) Initiation into spiritual life (Mantra-diksha)
2) Service to Humanity (Paropakara)
a) Wisdom Sacrifice (Jnana-yajna)
b) Providing places of study (Vidya-ashrama)
c) Holy company (Satsangha)
d) Access to Revealed Scriptures (Shruti-darshana)
3) Exemplifying Union with God (Guru-Yoga)
a) Knowledge of the Mind (Guru-sadhana)
b) Upholding spiritual standards (Dharma-sthapana)
c) Meditating on the Essence (Chaitanya-dhyan)
d) Maintaining steady Wisdom (Sthiti-prajnasya)
4) Removal of Ignorance (Avidya-vinashana)
a) Destroying false conceptions (Bhrantidarshana-vinashana
b) Revealing the dangers of duality (Dvandva-mohena)
c) Removing desire complexes (Vashana-samskara)
d) Breaking chains of birth and death (Samsara-vinashana)
5) The Upliftment of the World (Lokasangraha)
a) Espousing the eternal nature of Reality (Brahmajnana)
b) Teaching discrimination/detachment (Viveka-vairagya)
c) Thoughts and actions in Love (Premabhakti-jnana)
d) The 4 states of divine abidance (Brahmaviharavada)


In addition to the Fivefold Foundation and its concomitants, Guruyoga also presents and explicates the science of qualification applicable to both guru and disciple. For example, the guru must be Trividyacharya — an adept of the three prime elements of the ancient ashrama. He must have mastered a science, excelled in his personal disciplines, and show proficiency in a field of learning while being able to transmit the essence of it to others. Three additional noble qualities should be his: realization of Brahman, motivation to remove the sufferings of others, and strength of body combined with purity of the mind and senses. This strength and purity he will place in expert service of God in mankind. Additionally, Yogacharya is another of the guru’s qualifications, meaning that mastery in all the important Yogas — Bhakti, Jnana, Karma, and Raja — should be his, as well as attainment in the more esoteric yogas such as Buddhi Yoga, Asparsha Yoga, Nirudyoga Yoga and Kundalini Yoga. With all this in mind, it is no wonder that Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa declares: “Many need a guru. But a man must have faith in the guru’s words. That one succeeds in spiritual life by looking on his guru as God Himself. It is Satchitananda that comes to us in the form of the guru. If a man is initiated by a human guru, he will not achieve anything if he regards his guru as a mere man. The guru should be regarded as the direct manifestation of God. Only then can the disciple have faith in the mantra given by the guru.”

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