Shri Datta Swami

Posted on: 03 Feb 2005


What is the difference between Guru and Swami?

Swami is the human incarnation of the Lord. Swami can also be a Guru. A Guru is a human being who preaches the knowledge, which was already preached by the Lord. Guru is not Swami. Therefore the preaching by Swami and the knowledge of Swami is always wonderful. Every concept preached by Swami will be very clear as a pure crystal. There is no confusion in the concept because Swami is always very clear of the truth. A Guru sometimes fails to clarify the concept because he gets confused in some places. Swami is the very source of the knowledge and therefore He is called as Narayana. The Guru preaches the knowledge and leaves you but Swami preaches and also guides you till you reach the goal.

You can receive a prescription from a doctor as an out-patient. This is the stage of a Guru. But as an in-patient, you will be admitted into the hospital under the personal supervision of the doctor. The doctor tests you everyday and gives you medicine with his own hands. Similarly Swami will test you very seriously and give the appropriate knowledge, which is the medicine. The responsibility of Swami is complete. The doctor will not discharge the in-patient unless the patient is cured of the disease completely. Similarly Swami will not leave you unless you get salvation and Kaivalyam. Salvation means getting rid of the disease. Kaivalyam means getting strength. The detachment from all the worldly bonds is salvation. The attachment to the Lord is Kaivalyam. Both are the duties of the doctor. Therefore Swami will not leave you unless you achieve both.

Once you are admitted into the hospital, you have no choice and you are at the mercy and decision of the doctor. Therefore the usage of the word Swami should be done very carefully. Unless you are fully sure that you have recognized the Lord in human form, you should not call Him as Swami. You can call Him as Guru. If you recognize Swami, you have to completely surrender to Him like the in-patient. Otherwise you can call Him as a Guru and be an out-patient. In such a case you may follow His preaching or not follow it.

If your worldly bonds are not cut, you will be born in the cycle of animals and worms. This is a loss to you. If you attain Kaivalyam, it is a benefit. Even if there is no benefit, there should at least be no loss to you. Even if you are not able to attach yourself to the Lord, at least you should cut the worldly bonds and get human rebirth. But there is no use of the salvation (moksha) without the Kaivalyam. If you simply maintain your present status, there is no use. What is the use of selecting the best doctor unless you follow his prescription in practice? Similarly even if you have caught the real Sadguru, who is the incarnation of the Lord there is no use if you do not follow His instructions. You cannot get rid of the illness by praising the doctor or his prescription. Similarly there is no use of praising the Lord unless you practice the preaching of the Lord. Avoiding the forbidden food [contraindicated food] is salvation. Taking the medicine is Kaivalyam. Salvation involves Vairagyam (detachment) and Kaivalyam involves Bhakti (devotion).