Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Guru Mandala refers to the several circles (that you have to cross) before you reach the centre. It refers to the many attractions, many temptations, many repulsions and all that which makes you stronger. If you pass all that, you come to the center where you become really strong. Though you are in knowledge, many things come along which pull you in different directions and that is called Guru Mandala.
You know, small things can put you off. Someone comes to do a meditation course and the room is not okay, or the food is not okay for them. If you think that the food is not good and so I am not going to meditate, then you have missed the purpose of coming. Every day, anyway, you are eating. At home you may be used to eating pancakes, but if not having pancakes takes the front seat and you miss out on your meditation, then you are stuck in Guru Mandala.
Similarly, you came for the purpose of meditation and you got stuck in conflict or you are upset with someone, then you have moved away from the goal, and you are caught up in the periphery. This is Guru Mandala.
In life, your aim is to achieve the highest knowledge, but in the process you get stuck with small insignificant things which distract you. These are the aspects of Guru Mandala.