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By Swami Harshananda

Sometimes transliterated as: Ekadasa-gurus, EkadaZa-gurus, Ekadasha-gurus

Ekadaśa-gurus literally means ‘eleven gurus'.

Veda Denotion

In the religio-cultural tradition, the guru or teacher occupies an important place. The word means ‘one who teaches the scriptures’ like the Vedas.

General Denotion

It is used in a much wider sense in the general terms indicating anyone who deserves respect like the spiritual preceptor.

The Devala Smṛti lists the fallowing eleven persons (ekādaśa = eleven) as gurus:

  1. Ācārya - Vedic teacher
  2. Father
  3. Elder brother
  4. King
  5. Maternal uncle
  6. Father-in-law
  7. One who protects or gives shelter
  8. Maternal grandfather
  9. Paternal grandfather
  10. One who is superior in caste
  11. Paternal uncle


  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore