There is a custom in India of honoring the lineage of Gurus. Besides, this custom is prevalent in all traditions. However, every one of them make a special mention of a triad of Gurus. This triad consists of the presently embodied Guru, and two immediate preceptors. Similarly, a second triad is from the middle of the lineage. Normally, a third triad refers to the hoary beginnings of the lineage. For example, Shankaracharya, his Guru Govindapada and his Guru Gowdapada form the mid point triad in many lineages. Narayana, Brahma and Vasishta are the trite triad in these lineages.
The famous Guru Gita text refers to the triad of Gurus with the phrase “Srinaathadi Guru trayam”. This relates to the Guru lineage. Sri Sri Ravishankar explained this phrase during the Guru Purnima celebrations in San Mateo, California, in 2018. He explained the nature of the three bodies of a Guru.
The subtle body of a Guru
A Guru has a physical body, a subtle body and a causal body. Human beings also have a subtle body which consists of the internal faculties such as mind and intellect. However, the subtle body of the Guru is more expansive and is pure. Besides, the Guru principle is the internal guide which upholds the wisdom in all human beings. Secondly, a Guru can recognize the yearnings of his followers through the medium of the subtle body. A spiritual practitioner purifies and expands his or her subtle body through Yoga, meditation, mantras and other practices.
Five thousand people attended the Guru Purnima celebrations with Sri Sri Ravishankar in San Mateo, in 2018. The hall was filled with music and silence. The space in the hall served as the subtle body of the Guru. Because of this, everyone in the audience left that place with more enthusiasm, determination and joy. The three bodies of a Guru indeed represent the entire Guru lineage.