Jai, derived from the Sanskrit word jaya, is most often translated as victory. In many traditions “Jai” is used to acknowledge spiritual leader.
Years ago I encountered a situation where people would always utter “Jai Guru Dev” to me. In the beginning, I would awkwardly and mechanistically repeat the phrase in response. But at some point, I asked what does this mean, what does it mean to me. It should mean something and if say it, I should do so with proper thought and feeling.
I tried to visualize or come to within myself – what does it mean. The image of a maharatha from Bhagavad Gita came to mind. Perhaps because of the connotations of victory, war, Arjuna, spiritual warrior but who knows – it was the image that came. In the Bhagavad Gita – there are warriors who are Maharathi - warriors capable of fighting 12 Atirathi class warriors or 720,000 warriors simultaneously. The image that came to mind was of a Maharathi warrior – perfectly still, radiant and pure Being - capable of showering millions of arrows of light. Arrows powered by Love and compassion - that could penetrate the Hearts of spiritual seekers irrespective of time and space. Their sacrifice/yagya was the ultimate - their lives, their ego until truly Namah meant not me but Divine.
Now if I say Jai Guru Dev or use Jai in any context this is the image tribute and sincere feeling associated with it. Spiritual warriors with arrows of light powered by Divine Love, raising human consciousness and elevating us to the world of Light. Jai Guru Dev Jai to all Gurus Jai Guru Omkara
Audio Track Gurvastakam (composed by Adi Shankaracharya) and Jai Guru Omkara