A Hindu leader may be called by a number of different titles, such as Swami, Guru, Shankaracharya, Mahatma, Mahasaya, Maharishi and Satguru, among several others. Titles vary depending on sect and qualification.
There are a variety of titles used to refer to a Hindu leader, each with different meanings or qualifications. While a monk who has renounced worldly possessions in order to practice yoga for the purpose of self-realization and God-realization is most often referred to as a Swami, other titles refer to other qualities that are not necessarily religious in nature. The titles may be used in reference to religious leaders, such as Mahatma meaning “great soul,” Mahasaya meaning “great teacher,” and Maharishi meaning “great seer.”