Guru means teacher, he teaches us about vedas and upanishads.

So can a guru be a non Indian ?

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    I believe this site has agreed that no contemporary human being can be called a Mleccha.
    – S K
    Mar 24, 2021 at 1:32
  • hinduism.meta.stackexchange.com/q/1826/17833, this QnA discussion highlights what words might be used for anyone in here. Please read it and edit your question appropriately maybe.
    – Vivikta
    Mar 24, 2021 at 3:16
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    Moreover, it wouldn't be right to use that derogatory word with the word Guru itself, under any circumstances.
    – Vivikta
    Mar 24, 2021 at 3:17
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    @Vivikta thanks I edited it Mar 24, 2021 at 3:21
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    quora.com/profile/Rami-Sivan He is a Non Indian who knows Hinduism more than 99% of our Hindus Mar 24, 2021 at 10:51

2 Answers 2


The eminent Indus Valley Script expert Iravatham Mahadevan accepted Harvard's Michael Witzel as his guru,


Iravatham Mahadevan (11.15 to 11.25 a.m): “Guru Brahma, Guru Vishnu, Gurudevo Maheswara; Guru sakshat Parabrahma tasmai sri kuruve Namaha” reciting this sloka[3], he started speaking: “WItzel has been the greatest expert in Vedic Sanskrit particularly in Rigvedic. …..I met him six years back at the Harvard University in connection with my publication of the book[4] and at that time, he received me and took me to go around the University[5] and the great library. To be frank with you, I do know about the topic, ”Phylogeny[6] and Epigenetics and origin of languages”. From “gen”, I could understand that it is something connected with “production” or “origin” = to born, to produce…..I think he is going to show the unity of Indo-European languages.

“There has been misunderstanding about Michael Witzel and his work. Some two days ago, when Prof Witzel was invited to deliver his lecture at Madras Sanskrit College, some misguided elements tried to disturb the meeting and they distributed handouts. Of course, we have difference of opinion, but we should not resort to such methods. There could be difference of opinion, but we should respect our guests, as we believe in “Adhiti devo bhava” (treating / honoring the guests). I too have difference with him about his fundamental view that Indus script was not a system of writing at all, but I cannot take a gun and shoot him…….Indian culture is pluralistic and tolerant………We believe in Ekam sat bhauta vadhanti…..Such was our attitude. In the west, there was conflict between the Church and the State…. But in India we have great leaders. Buddha taught band showed a different way ………In south, we have Sankara, Ramanuja and Madhva. Each wrote his own Bhasya, but their followers co-existed. “Therefore, such intolerant attitude is anti-Indian and anti-Hindu and they do disservice to our nation. Such elements are confined to the fringe of our society…..In this context, I should tell few words about Ashoka who lived 2300 years ago. I request the Sanskrit scholars to read Pali verses of the inscription and memorize in the heart. I read what the Girnar inscription says[7] –

Padma Bhushan David Frawley is another.


In fact Frawley and Witzel have had debates about RigVedic interpretation.

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    But, Mahadevan cannot be taken as a traditional student of Vedic knowledge. He's an epigraphist. Not a regular vedantin, I guess? How does it count to be a reflection on acceptability of a non-hindu, to be a guru for Vedic studies?
    – Vivikta
    Mar 24, 2021 at 3:25
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    @Vivikta - you're right, that is not a guru of vedas, that is a guru of linguistics. and if they happen believe/preach in Proto-Indo-European language theory (despite there being no country/script/history associated with it), not a very good guru at that.
    – mar
    Mar 24, 2021 at 4:25
  • @Vivikta [He is an non Indian scholar of Hinduism and vedas(quora.com/profile/…) thanks to Mr SethuSrivatsaKoduru. Mar 24, 2021 at 11:02

As far as Vedic tradition is concerned, Guru, Acharya, Upadhyaya etc., are all required to have some specific qualifications. Like those given below:

Manu Smriti 2.140. They call that Brahmana who initiates a pupil and teaches him the Veda together with the Kalpa and the Rahasyas, the teacher (acharya, of the latter).

2.141. But he who for his livelihood teaches a portion only of the Veda, or also the Angas of the Veda, is called the sub-teacher (upadhyaya)

2.142. That Brahmana, who performs in accordance with the rules (of the Veda) the rites, the Garbhadhana (conception-rite), and so forth, and gives food (to the child), is called the Guru (the venerable one).

So, first requirement is that the Guru or the Acharya (who teaches the pupil the Vedas) must be Brahmins. Now you can decide yourself if it is possible for a non-Indian to meet this requirement or not?

Guru is a broad term. The answer to the question "Can a Guru be a non-Indian?" depends on how you define the term.

If you're looking for the Guru -- one who teaches pupil Vedas, then he can't be a non-Indian, by virtue of the verses given above. Because a non-Indian can't be a Brahmin.

  • Thanks for the answer. But can you clearly say yes or no. Because I have know many non Indian gurus. Mar 24, 2021 at 11:25
  • Okay. I have updated my answer.@DarkKnight
    – Rickross
    Mar 24, 2021 at 11:35
  • @rickross wasn't king janaka a realized teacher?
    – S K
    Mar 24, 2021 at 12:22
  • Realization is a different issue. It does not require the one who teaches the Vedas to be self realized. @SK. I think this question is specifically about the Guru who teaches the Vedas and that Guru has to be a Brahmin as per scriptures.
    – Rickross
    Mar 24, 2021 at 12:26
  • Witzel's analyses of Rig Veda and other Shrutis are path-breaking. He subscribes to Aryan Immigration - but even Indigenous Aryan theorists like Talageri acknowlege their debt to Witzel. @rickross
    – S K
    Mar 24, 2021 at 12:30

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