The guru is one of the most important concepts of Hindu Sanatan Dharma. The word ‘guru’ can be defined as one who dispels the darkness of ignorance. The term guru was originally used to refer a spiritual teacher, but over time has come to refer to any teacher. The main duties of the guru are to perform the initiation ritual of aspirants into satsang, dikshã ceremony of youths into renunciation, murti pratishthã ritual, and offer discourses to devotees. The guru pacifies the inner turmoils of countless followers by meeting, counseling, and blessing them, whether in person, through letters, or telephone calls. He strikes a rapport with the devotees, fulfills their wishes, and inspires love for and faith in Bhagwan. It is through the guru that the disciple realizes and attains Bhagwan.
On a spiritual platform, Parabrahman or God is present on Earth through the satpurush. In Vachanamrut Gadhada I-54, Bhagwan Swaminarayan cites the Shrimad Bhagavata Purana and says that the true guru, the satpurush, is the only pathway to God and to moksha. He is responsible for helping the jiva realize Parabrahman. Parabrahman works and accepts the devotion of spiritual aspirants through the satpurush. It is only through Aksharbrahman - the true guru in Akshar Purushottam philosophy - that a jiva can associate itself with God and understand Him well enough to seek complete refuge in Him. Due to maya, the jiva is clouded and distracted from its association with God. By associating with Aksharbrahman, the jiva becomes divine. All of the actions and experiences of the jiva become divine, thereby bringing the jiva out of the darkness of maya and into the light of Parabrahman.
The jiva also relies on Aksharbrahman to become brahmarup. Nestled close to the heart, the jiva is encased in emotional and physical attachment that blinds the jiva from realizing God. The Shrimad Bhagavata Purana states, “God dispels the ignorance of maya through His Dham.” Aksharbrahman is that Dham. Bhagwan Swaminarayan elaborates by saying, “That Aksharbrahman has two forms. One, which is formless and pure chaitanya, is known as Chidakash. In its other form, that Aksharbrahman remains in the service of Purshottam Narayan.” (Gadhada I-21). It is only though Aksharbrahman that the jiva can shed the darkness of attachment that surrounds it, those attachments that keep the jiva from realizing God’s greatness. Association with Aksharbrahman to help the jiva realize Parabrahman is known as becoming aksharrup or brahmarup.
In the Shrimad Bhagavad Gita, Shri Krishna tells Arjun, “One who becomes Brahmarup, whose mind is always content, who does not lament in any way, who does not crave for any object, who has equanimity for all living creatures – that individual attains my bhakti.” For the jiva to reach this state, it must be guided by Aksharbrahman. That Aksharbrahman should become the jiva’s guru and teach the jiva about the glory of God so that the jiva may understand Him.