From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia

By Swami Harshananda

Śiṣya literally means ‘one who is fit to be trained’.

Religion prescribes special qualifications, both for the guru[1] and for the Śiṣya[2] in every field of knowledge. One of the most general descriptions prescribes the following as the basic and minimum qualification:

  1. Peaceful nature
  2. Humility
  3. Purity of mind
  4. Faith in the guru
  5. Capacity to absorb and retain the knowledge taught by him
  6. Efficiency
  7. Birth in a good family
  8. Intelligence
  9. Good conduct
  10. Ability to repay the debt to the guru in some form

According to other sources, an intense desire to learn, inquisitive nature and service to the guru are the other qualifications expected in a śiṣya.


  1. Guru means the teacher.
  2. Śiṣya means the disciple.
  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore