Guru Meditation started with an error notification that appeared when my Amiga computer crashed. It is now also used by Varnish, a software component used by many content-rich websites. Because of this, many Internet users now see the "Guru Meditation" message (or its variant "Guru Mediation") when a website crashes or has other problems. This is similar to the "blue screen of death" in Microsoft Windows operating systems and kernel panics in Unix. It is also used as a message for unrecoverable errors in software packages such as VirtualBox and other operating systems (see Legacy section below).

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The term "Guru Meditation Error" originated as an early Amiga internal joke. The company had a product called the Joyboard for the Atari 2600 home video game console. It's much like a joystick, but it's a foot-operated game controller similar to the Wii Balance Board. Early in the development of the Amiga computer operating system, the company's developers became so frustrated with the frequent system crashes that they developed a game of sitting cross-legged on a joyboard to resemble an Indian guru as a way to relax. did. Players tried not to move as much as possible. The winner of the game stood still the longest. "Guru Meditation" error occurred when player moved too much.

Description of "Guru Meditation" errors on the Amiga

This alert occurred when the system encountered a fatal problem. If the system has no means of recovery, even a system with many critical flaws can trigger an alert. In extreme cases, you may even get an alert when your system's memory is completely exhausted. The warning message text was completely cryptic for most users. For example, only highly technical Amiga users know that exception 3 is an address error, meaning that the program is accessing a word on an unaligned boundary. Such non-expert users are left with no choice but to seek out a "guru" or reboot the machine and hope for the best.

Technical description (Amiga)

When the Guru Meditation appears, you have the option to reboot by pressing the left mouse button, invoke ROMWack by pressing the right mouse button, or reboot manually. ROMWack is a minimal debugger built into the operating system, accessible by connecting a 9600 bit/s terminal to the serial port. The alert itself appears as a black rectangular box at the top of the screen. Its border and text are red for normal guru meditation and green/yellow for recoverable alerts which is another type of guru meditation. The screen may go black and the power and disk activity LEDs may blink just before the alert appears. On AmigaOS 1.x programmed in ROM known as Kickstart 1.1, 1.2 and 1.3 errors are always displayed in red. In AmigaOS 2.x and 3.x, recoverable alerts are yellow, but in very early versions of 2.x they were green. The dead-end alert is a rare set of cases, such as conditionally booting from disk on a more advanced Kickstart 3.x ROM Amiga where a deprecated Kickstart (e.g. 1.1) program is running in compatibility. Always exits in red on all OS versions except for events. mode (thus avoiding the OS on disk) and showing a red Guru Meditation, but then pressing the left mouse button automatically restores it. The new Kickstart recognizes deprecated low-level chipset calls to older ROMs, accesses the hardware directly, and works around them. . Errors are displayed as two fields separated by a period. The format is #0000000x.yyyyyyyy for CPU errors and #aabbcccc.dddddddd for system software errors. The first field is the Motorola 68000 exception number that occurred (if a CPU error occurred), or an internal error identifier (such as an "out of memory" code) if it was a system software error. The second is the address of the task structure or the address of the memory block that failed to allocate or deallocate. It is not the address of the code that caused the error. This number appears as 48454C50 when the cause of the crash is unknown. This stands for "HELP" in hexadecimal ASCII characters (48=H, 45=E, 4C=L, 50=P).

= Guru Meditation handler =

Prior to version 2.04, AmigaOS had a commercial error handler called GOMF (Get Outta My Face) created by Hypertek/Silicon Springs Development corp. Different types of errors could be dealt with and the user could choose to either delete the offending process and associated screens or allow the machine to display the Guru Meditation. In many cases, removing the offending process will give you the option to save data and close running programs before restarting the system. The machine could still be used if the damage was not extensive. However, users are not saved from all errors and still this error can occur from time to time.

= Recoverable Alerts =

A recoverable alert is a non-fatal crash in a computer system. In most cases you can resume work and save files after a recoverable alert, but the normal red Guru Meditation always reboots immediately. However, it is recommended that you reboot as soon as possible after recoverable alerts occur, as the system may be in an unpredictable state that may cause data corruption.

= System software error codes =

The first byte specifies the region of the system affected. The most significant bit is set if the error is a dead end alert.


AmigaOS versions 4.0 and later replaced "Guru Meditation" with "Grim Reaper", but the prompt box simply mentions the Guru Meditation number. MorphOS shows an "application is meditating" error message. Attempting to close the application may revive the operating system, but a reboot is still recommended. Varnish references the Guru Meditation for a grave mistake. ESP8266 and ESP32 microcontrollers show "Guru Meditation Error: Core X Panic" (where X is 0 or 1 depending on which core crashed) along with core dump and stack trace. VirtualBox uses the term "Guru Meditation" for critical errors in the virtual machine monitor, such as those caused by triple virtual machine failures. The E23 will display "Guru Meditation" and reboot if a critical error occurs. NewPipe, a free and open source application for YouTube and SoundCloud, displays a "Guru Meditation" when an error occurs. Similarly, Amaze, a free and open source file for Android and his manager, also displays the message "Guru Meditation" when UI errors occur. If there is a problem with your homebrew title, perhaps the title crashes, the Nintendo DS will display a "Guru Meditation" error. Physics sandbox game used by Plasma shows "Guru Meditation" error when program crashes

See also

screen of death

Science News



Definition & Meaning



  • a Hindu or Buddhist religious leader and spiritual teacher each of the first ten leaders of the Sikh religion a recognized leader in some field or of some movement



  • continuous and profound contemplation or musing on a subject or series of subjects of a deep or abstruse nature (religion usually on religious or philosophical subjects


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