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Ekadasha Gurus In Hinduism – Eleven Gurus

 The concept of Ekadasha Gurus, or the Eleven Gurus, in Hinduism reflects the diverse sources of guidance and wisdom that individuals can seek in their lives. In the Hindu religio-cultural tradition, the term "guru" extends beyond the narrow definition of a Vedic teacher to encompass various figures deserving of respect and considered sources of knowledge and guidance.

The Devala Smriti, a text that provides guidelines on dharma and social conduct, outlines eleven individuals who can be acknowledged as gurus:

  1. Acharya (Vedic teacher): This is the traditional guru who imparts knowledge of the sacred scriptures, particularly the Vedas.
  2. Father: The biological father is considered a guru due to his role in providing physical and emotional support, as well as guidance in various aspects of life.
  3. Elder Brother: The elder brother is seen as a mentor and guide, providing insights and assistance in navigating life's challenges.
  4. King: In the traditional social structure, the king or ruler is seen as a symbol of authority and wisdom. Their guidance is crucial for the well-being of the society.
  5. Maternal Uncle: The maternal uncle is often considered a protector and advisor, offering support and guidance when needed.
  6. Father-in-law: The father-in-law is recognized for his role in guiding and supporting a person in their new family after marriage.
  7. One who protects or gives shelter: This could be anyone who offers protection and refuge in times of need, symbolizing the importance of supportive relationships.
  8. Maternal Grandfather: The maternal grandfather holds a special place, providing wisdom and guidance based on his life experiences.
  9. Paternal Grandfather: Similar to the maternal grandfather, the paternal grandfather is considered a source of ancestral wisdom and guidance.
  10. One who is superior in caste: This refers to someone who holds a higher position in the social hierarchy, and their guidance is valued.
  11. Paternal Uncle: Like the maternal uncle, the paternal uncle is seen as a figure who can offer advice and support.

This concept emphasizes that wisdom and guidance can come from various sources, not limited to formal education or religious instruction. It encourages individuals to recognize and respect the diverse roles and relationships in their lives as potential sources of valuable insights and support.