What Is a Hindu Religious Leader Called?
A Hindu priest or religious leader is called a swami. The word "swami" means "master" in Hindu, or "striving for the mastery over one's smaller self and habit patterns, so that the eternal Self within may come shining through."
Swamis are monks that have put aside all worldly pursuits to devote time to fulfilling optimal spiritual realization. They serve others and support life in every way without accepting anything in return. Once becoming a swami, they leave their old life behind and focus on the future of their new simple life. A swami's society supports their most basic needs such as food and shelter.