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Gurupadasraya: To accept guru means unconditional surrender

The Absolute Necessity
for Accepting
a Bona Fide Spiritual Master


Srila Gour Govinda Mahäräja presented this paper Guru-Tattva to the GBC members (of ISKCON) in 1989:

In the SrI Caitanya-caritämrta, it is said:

brahmäëòa bhramite kona bhägyavän jéva
guru-kåñëa-prasäde päya bhakti-latä-béja

“According to their karma, all living entities are wandering throughout
the entire universe. Some of them are being elevated to the upper planetary
systems, and some are going down into the lower planetary systems. Out
of many millions of wandering living entities, one who is very fortunate
gets an opportunity to associate with a bona fide spiritual master by the
grace of Kåñëa. By the mercy of both Kåñëa and the spiritual master,
such a person receives the seed of the creeper of devotional service.”
Caitanya-caritämåta Madhya-lélä 19.151)

By taking shelter at the lotus feet of a spiritual master, an otherwise
tiny insignificant living entity can be freed from all kinds of danger.
Therefore, the eternal well-wishers of all living entities advise us to take
shelter of such a spiritual master. In the Skanda Puräëa it is said:

‘gu’ çabda ‘sty andhakärasya
‘ru’ çabdas tan nirodhakah
guru ity abhidhéyate

“The word ‘gu’ means darkness and the word ‘ru’ means that which dispels
the darkness. Forgetting their own identities, since time immemorial,
the living entities are wandering in the darkness of the illusory energy,
mäyä. Thus being effected by illusory attachment based on ignorance,
they accept temporary, unreal, material things as theirs and with false
feelings of ‘I’ and ‘mine’ consider themselves to be the possessor of those:
janasya moho ‘yam ahaà mameti.”
(Çrémad-Bhägavatam 5.5.8)

Out of deep illusion the living entity thus develops the idea and feelings
of ‘I’ and ‘mine’. This is called moha or delusion. To remove these illusory
attachments which grow out of ignorance, one must take shelter at the
lotus feet of Çréla Gurudeva, whereby fear of illusion will be removed
forever. By taking shelter at the lotus feet of a bona fide spiritual master,
the jéva successfully revives his otherwise lost pure knowledge. Thus
he can engage himself in the service of his worshipable Supreme Lord,
Kåñëa, who is the only object to be served eternally. If one renders loving
devotional service under the benevolent guidance of a bona fide spiritual
master, he will succeed in attaining supreme transcendental pleasure and
bliss. Therefore it is absolutely essential to take shelter at the lotus feet of
a bona fide spiritual master.

In the Caitanya-caritämåta it is said:
sarva-deça-käla-daçäya janera kartavya
guru-päçe sei bhakti prañöavya, çrotavya
“It is therefore the duty of every man—in every country, in every
circumstance and at all times—to approach a bona fide spiritual master,
question him about devotional service and listen to him explain the
(Çré Caitanya-caritämåta, Madhya-lélä 25.122)

In the Muëòaka Upaniñad it is said:
tad-vijïänärthaà sa gurum eväbhigacchet
samit-päëiù çrotriyaà brahma-niñöham
“To learn transcendental subject matter, one must approach the spiritual
master. In doing so, one should carry fuel to burn in sacrifice. The
symptom of such a spiritual master is that he is expert in understanding
the Vedic conclusion, and therefore he constantly engages in the service
of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.” (Muëòaka Upaniñad 1.2.12,
quoted Çrémad-Bhägavatam 4.28.65)

In this way many sästric injunctions can be cited about why one should
accept a bona fide spiritual master. However instead of going into the detail,
I am seeking the kind permission of the assembled devotees and my
dear God-brothers and God-sisters to present a brief introductory background
to the necessity of accepting a bona fide spiritual master [sadguru].

Qualities of a True Spiritual Master

Lord Çré Caitanya Mahäprabhu has given a very simple definition of
kibä vipra, kibä nyäsé, çüdra kene naya
yei kåñëa-tattva-vettä, sei ‘guru’ haya
“Whether one is a brähmaëa, a sannyäsé or a çüdra—regardless of
what he is—he can become a spiritual master if he knows the science of
Kåñëa.” (Çré Caitanya-caritämåta, Madhya-lélä 8.128)

In Çrémad-Bhägavatam it is stated:
tasmäd guruà prapadyeta
jijïäsuù çreya uttamam
çäbde pare ca niñëätaà
brahmaëy upaçamäçrayam
“Therefore any person who seriously desires real happiness must seek
a bona fide spiritual master and take shelter of him by initiation. The
qualification of the bona fide guru is that he has realised the conclusions
of the scriptures by deliberation and is able to convince others of these
conclusions. Such great personalities, who have taken shelter of the
Supreme Godhead, leaving aside all material considerations, should
be understood to be bona fide spiritual masters.” (Çrémad-Bhägavatam

One cannot become a guru based on his mundane scholarship. In this
context Çrémad-Bhägavatam states:
çabda-brahmaëi niñëäto
na niñëäyät pare yadi
çramas tasya çrama-phalo
hy adhenum iva rakñataù
“If through meticulous study one becomes expert in reading Vedic
literature but makes no endeavour to fix one’s mind on the Supreme
Personality of Godhead, then one’s endeavour is certainly like that of one
who works very hard taking care of a cow that gives no milk. In other
words, the fruit of one’s laborious study of Vedic knowledge will simply
be the labour itself. There will be no other tangible result.” (ÇrémadBhägavatam

Çréla Rüpa Gosvämé has stated in his Çré Upadeçämåta:
väco vegaà manasaù krodha-vegaà
jihvä-vegam udaropastha-vegam
etän vegän yo viñaheta dhéraù
sarväm apémäà påthivéà sa çiñyät
“A sober person who can tolerate the urge to speak, the mind’s demands,
the actions of anger and the urges of the tongue, belly and genitals is
qualified to make disciples all over the world”. (Çré Upadeçämåta verse 1)

Çréla Viçvanätha Cakravarté Öhäkura has stated, upaçamäçrayaà krodhalobhädy-avaçé-bhütam: a bona fide spiritual master cannot be under the
control of ordinary anger, greed and lust.

A spiritual master strictly follows the principles of disciplic succession
and of the scriptures. The knowledge received from guru descends from
the Lord Himself through disciplic succession.
In this regard our revered spiritual master Çréla Prabhupäda has
said, “The transcendental knowledge of the Vedas was first uttered by
God to Brahmä, the creator of this particular universe. From Brahmä
the knowledge descended to Närada, from Närada to Vyäsadeva, from
Vyäsadeva to Madhva, and in this process of disciplic succession the
transcendental knowledge was transmitted by one disciple to another
until it reached Lord Gauräìga, Çré Kåñëa Caitanya, who posed as the
disciple and successor of Çré Éçvara Puré. The present Äcäryadeva is
the tenth disciplic representative from Çré Rüpa Gosvämé, the original
representative of Lord Caitanya who preached this transcendental
tradition in its fullness. The knowledge that we receive from our Gurudeva
is not different from that imparted by God Himself and the succession
of the äcäryas in the preceptorial line of Brahmä.” (The Science of Self

If one follows the system of disciplic succession one can become the
guru for the whole world. In this age of Kali there are four bona fide
sampradäyas i.e. Çré, Brahmä, Rudra and Sanaka:
Çré-sampradäya – Çré Rämänujäcärya
Rudra-sampradäya – Çré Viñëu Svämé
Brahmä-sampradäya – Çré Madhväcärya
Sanaka-sampradäya – Çré Nimbärkäcärya

Çrémän Mahäprabhu accepted a guru from the Brahmä-MadhvaSampradäya
i.e. He accepted Çré Éçvara Puré as His guru. From that time,
the title Gauòéya has been added to that sampradäya which became the
Brahmä-Madhva-Gauòéya-sampradäya. Lord Çré Caitanya Mahäprabhu
came in the 15th century. Prior to that the four äcäryas had come, namely
Viñëu Svämé, Nimbärkäcärya, Rämänujäcärya, and Madhväcärya.
There are some subtle differences in the philosophies of these four
äcäryas regarding dvaita and advaita-väda. The philosophies of Viñëu
Svämé, Nimbärkäcärya and Rämänujäcärya explain çuddhädvaita [purified
monism]; dvaitädvaita [monism and dualism]; and viçiñöädvaita
[specific monism] respectively, whereas the philosophy of Madhväcärya
stresses çuddhä-dvaita-väda [purified dualism]. Integrating the philosophies
of these four äcäryas, Çrémän Mahäprabhu, took the essence of
these four philosophies and introduced acintya-bhedäbheda-tattva. Thus
the disciplic succession beginning from Gauranga Mahäprabhu is con-
sidered the only bona fide pure Vaiñëava paramparä in Kali-yuga. Therefore,
the bona fide spiritual master should come in the disciplic succession
that begins from Çrémän Mahäprabhu. In other words, he should be
a gaura-priya-jana, a beloved devotee of Çrémän Gauräìga Mahäprabhu.

Definition of an Äcärya

The Väyu Puräëa gives the following definition of an äcärya,
äcinoti yaù çästrärtham
äcäre sthäpayaty api
svayam äcarate yasmäd
äcäryas tena kértitaù

“The äcärya is one who knows the import of all the Vedic literatures,
abides by their rules and regulations, and teaches his disciples to act in
the same way.”

To be accepted as an äcärya one must understand Vedänta-sütra.
As stated by our beloved Gurudeva Çréla Prabhupäda, “To sit on the
vyäsäsana one must be conversant with all systems of philosophy.”
Besides Vyäsadeva, there are other sages who are the founders of the six
Vedic philosophical systems, namely Gautama, Kaëäda, Kapila, Pataïjali,
Jaimini and Añöävakra. Theism is explained completely in the Vedäntasütra,
whereas in these other systems, practically no mention is given to
the ultimate cause of all causes. One who sits on the vyäsäsana must be
conversant in all these philosophies so that he can establish the theistic
conclusion of Çrémad-Bhägavatam over other schools of thought. The
spiritual master must be a pure devotee of Lord Kåñëa, çuddha-bhakte
laibena guru-rüpe bare.

The spiritual master’s qualification is that he is brahma-niñöham, he has
given up all other activities and has dedicated his life to working only
for the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kåñëa. The spiritual master
must be a pure devotee, mahä-bhägavata and uttama-adhikäré. Çréla
Prabhupäda has said, “One cannot become a spiritual master unless he is
a pure devotee of the Lord.” Such a person is a true guru. In the Padma
Puräëa it is said:

ñaö-karma-nipuëo vipro
avaiñëavo gurur na syäd
vaiñëavaù çva-paco guru

“Even if a brähmaëa is very learned in the Vedic Scriptures and knows
the six occupational duties of a brähmaëa, he cannot become guru unless
he is a devotee of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. However, if one
is born in the family of dog-eaters but is a pure devotee of the Lord, he
can become a spiritual master.” (Padma Puräëa)

Çréla Prabhupäda writes in this regard, “The conclusion is that one
cannot become a spiritual master unless he is a pure devotee of the Lord.
One should therefore take shelter of such a bona fide spiritual master.
Success in life means accepting a spiritual master who knows Kåñëa as
the only supreme beloved personality.” (Çrémad-Bhägavatam 4.29.51

The spiritual master must teach by example. One whose actions in life
do not correspond with çastra-tattva cannot be accepted as an äcärya. In
the Brahma-vaivarta Puräëa it is stated:

aparékñyopadiñöam yat
loka-näçanaà tad bhavet
Without first putting into practice the principles of sädhana-bhakti in
one’s own life, one should not advise others as it will only create chaos
in the society.

Çréla Prabhupäda has stated, “Only an uttama-adhikäré can become the
spiritual master. It is better for a disciple to accept an uttama-adhikäré
than a kaniñöha-adhikäré or madhyama-adhikäré as a spiritual master.”

“… One should not become a spiritual master unless he has attained
the platform of uttama-adhikäré. A neophyte Vaiñëava or a Vaiñëava
situated on the intermediate platform can also accept disciples, but such
disciples must be on the same platform, and it should be understood that
they cannot advance very well toward the ultimate goal of life under his
insufficient guidance. Therefore a disciple should be careful to accept an
uttama-adhikäré as a spiritual master …” (Çré Upadeçämåta 5 purport)

Symptoms of the Uttama-Adhikäré

In Caitanya-caritämåta it is stated,
çästra-yuktye sunipuëa, dåòha-çraddhä yäìra
’uttama-adhikäré’ sei täraye saàsära
“One who is well conversant and an expert in çästric presentation of
facts and analysis, having unflinching faith in çästric injunctions, is to
be considered as an uttama-adhikäré, who can deliver the world”. (Çré
Caitanya-caritämåta Madhya-lélä 22.65)

çré-havir uväca
sarva-bhüteñu yaù paçyed
bhagavad-bhävam ätmanaù
bhütäni bhagavaty ätmany
eña bhägavatottamaù

“Çré Havir said: The most advanced devotee sees within everything
the soul of all souls, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Çré Kåñëa.
Consequently he sees systematically everything in relation to the
Supreme Lord and understands that everything that exists is eternally
situated within the Lord.” (Çrémad-Bhägavatam 11.2.45)

sthävara-jaìgama dekhe, nä dekhe tära mürti
sarvatra haya nija iñöa-deva-sphürti
“The mahä-bhägavata, the advanced devotee, certainly sees everything
mobile and immobile, but he does not exactly see their forms. Rather,
everywhere he immediately sees manifest the form of the Supreme Lord.”
(Çré Caitanya-caritämåta Madhya-lélä 8.274)

Also in the Çrémad-Bhägavatam it is written:
visåjati hådayaà na yasya säkñäd
dharir avaçäbhihito ‘py aghaugha-näçaù
praëaya-rasanayä dhåtäìghri-padmaù
sa bhavati bhägavata-pradhäna uktaù
“The Supreme Personality of Godhead is so kind to the conditioned
souls that if they call upon Him by speaking His holy name, even
unintentionally or unwillingly, the Lord is inclined to destroy
innumerable sinful reactions in their hearts. Therefore, when a devotee
who has taken shelter of the Lord’s lotus feet chants the holy name of
Kåñëa with genuine love, the Supreme Personality of Godhead can never
give up the heart of such a devotee. One who has thus captured the
Supreme Lord within his heart is to be known as bhägavata-pradhäna,
the most exalted devotee of the Lord.” (Çrémad-Bhägavatam 11.2.55)

Regarding the symptoms of the uttama-adhikäré, our revered spiritual
master Çréla Prabhupäda has written in his commentary on Srila Rupa
Goswami’s Çré Upadeçämåta (Nectar of Instruction):
“ … The uttama-adhikäré, or highest devotee, is one who is very
advanced in devotional service. An uttama-adhikäré is not interested in
blaspheming others. His heart is completely clean as he has attained the
realised state of unalloyed Kåñëa consciousness. According to Çréla Rüpa
Gosvämé, the association and service of such a mahä-bhägavata, or perfect
Vaiñëava, are most desirable … (Çré Upadeçämåta verse 5, purport)

“… Out of many such Vaiñëavas, one may be found to be very seriously
engaged in the service of the Lord and strictly following all the regulative
principles, chanting the prescribed number of rounds on japa beads and
always thinking of how to expand the Kåñëa consciousness movement.
Such a Vaiñëava should be accepted as an uttama-adhikäré, a highly
advanced devotee, and his association should always be sought ….” (Çré
Upadeçämåta verse 5, purport)

“When a person realises himself to be kåñëa-däsa, an eternal servitor
of Kåñëa, he loses interest in everything but Kåñëa’s service. Always
thinking of Kåñëa, devising means by which to spread the holy name
of Kåñëa, he understands that his only business is in spreading the
Kåñëa consciousness movement all over the world. Such a person is
to be recognised as an uttama-adhikäré, and his association should be
immediately accepted according to the six processes (dadäti pratigåhëäti,
etc.). Indeed, the advanced uttama-adhikäré Vaiñëava devotee should be
accepted as a spiritual master.” (Çré Upadeçämåta verse 5, purport.)

“Çréla Bhaktivinoda Öhäkura has given some practical hints to the
effect that an uttama-adhikäré Vaiñëava can be recognised by his ability
to convert many fallen souls to Vaiñëavism.” (Çré Upadeçämåta verse 5,

All Vaiñëava äcäryas and çästra have said that both çikñä-guru and
dékñä-guru are required. One who teaches how to serve Hari is the çikñä-
guru. The spiritual master who initiates according to the regulations of
çästra is called the dékñä-guru.

The spiritual master who gives instructions to elevate one in their
spiritual life is the çikñä-guru. Both the çikñä-guru and dékñä-guru are
equal in status. If one thinks either of them as superior or inferior he
commits an offence. The initiating spiritual master, i.e. dékñä-guru, is
a personal manifestation of Çréla Madana-Mohana vigraha and the
instructing spiritual master, çikñä-guru, is a personal representative of
Çréla Govindadeva vigraha.

Çréla Prabhupäda writes in this respect, “Çré Govindajé acts exactly like
the çikñä-guru by teaching Bhagavad-gétä to Arjuna. He is the original
preceptor, for he gives instructions and an opportunity to serve Him.
The initiating spiritual master or dékñä-guru is a personal manifestation
of Çré Madana-Mohana vigraha. Both of these deities are worshipped
in Våndävana. Dékñä-guru gives the first requisite sambandha-jïäna the
other name of which is divya-jïäna or dékñä.” (Çré Caitanya-caritämåta,
Ädi-lélä 1.47, purport)

In the Hari-bhakti-viläsa it is stated:
divyaà jïänaà yato dadyät
kuryät päpasya saìkñayam
tasmät dékñeti sä proktä
deçikais tattva-kovidaiù
“Dékñä is the process by which one can awaken his transcendental
knowledge and vanquish all reactions to sinful activities performed in
the past. A person who is expert in the study of the revealed scriptures
knows this process as dékñä.” (Hari-bhakti-viläsa 2.9, quoted from Viñëuyämala)

Since it gives divya-jïäna or sambandha-jïäna and roots out all the
sins and their seeds, therefore, the spiritually advanced, wise and learned
saints name this institutional initiation as dékñä. Dékñä is not merely
the instruction to recite a sacred mantra, rather it is the process which
enables the disciple to develop sambandha-jïäna.

A person may read hundreds of scriptures by himself but if he does not
do hari-bhajan he will never obtain the ultimate goal of the scriptures,
which is love of God. The wisdom that results out of the recitation of the
holy mantras helps the disciple to properly understand the inner meanings
and purports of the çästra. Thus çikñä and dékñä are complimentary in
spiritual life and both are equally important.

Previously it has been stated that the dékñä-guru is the personal
representation of Çréla Madana-mohana. In other words, he is the one
who enables the disciples to establish their relationship with the lotus
feet of Çréla Madana-mohana, because they have forgotten their own
real identities, their constitutional position and the Supreme Lord, the
conditioned souls are unable to move in the holy dhäma of Våndävana.
The dékñä-guru, out of his causeless mercy, fixes the feet of those
conditioned souls, disciples, in the holy Våndävana dhäma, and thus
gives them the opportunity to re-establish their relationship with the
Supreme Lord, and to move in the holy abode of Vrajabhümi.
Also, the çikñä-guru out of his causeless mercy through instructions
enables the disciples, the other-wise conditioned souls to effectively
travel in the holy land of Vrajabhümi and gives them the knowledge to
eternally and perfectly serve the lotus feet of Çréla Govindadeva.

Our, revered Gurudeva Çréla Prabhupäda has stated:
“… the guru who first initiates one with the mahä-mantra is to be known
as the initiator, and the saints who give instructions for progressive
advancement in Kåñëa consciousness are called instructing spiritual
masters. The initiating and instructing spiritual masters are equal and
identical manifestations of Kåñëa, although they have different dealings.
Their function is to guide the conditioned souls back home, back to
Godhead …” (Çré Caitanya-caritämåta, Ädi-lélä 1.34, purport)

A devotee can have only one initiating spiritual master but can have
unlimited instructing spiritual masters. In this respect Çréla Prabhupäda
further states:
“A devotee must have only one initiating spiritual master because in the
scriptures acceptance of more than one is always forbidden. There is no
limit, however, to the number of instructing spiritual masters one may
accept. Generally a spiritual master who constantly instructs a disciple
in spiritual science becomes his initiating spiritual master later on.” (Çré
Caitanya-caritämåta, Ädi-lélä 1.35, purport)

Also, Çréla Prabhupäda, in his purport on Çrémad-Bhägavatam states:
“… Actually, Dhruva Mahäräja’s mother, Sunéti, was his pathapradarçaka-guru.
Patha-pradarçaka-guru means “the guru, or the spiritual
master, who shows the way.” Such a guru is sometimes called çikñä-guru.
Although Närada Muni was his dékñä-guru (initiating spiritual master),
Sunéti, his mother, was the first who gave him instruction on how to
achieve the favour of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. It is the
duty of the çikñä-guru or dékñä-guru to instruct the disciple in the right
way, and it depends on the disciple to execute the process. According to
çästric injunctions, there is no difference between çikñä-guru and dékñä-
guru, and generally the çikñä-guru later on becomes the dékñä-guru …”
(Çrémad-Bhägavatam 4.12.32 Dhruva väkyäna, purport)

When the Spiritual Master can be Rejected

In this context I may quote the opinion of Çrémad Sarasvaté Gosvämé
Prabhupäda Mahäräja, about who is not eligible to be guru. In his
opinion a person who poses to be a guru but by nature and character
remains as money-minded, desirous of sense enjoyment, attached to
women, pretentious, a servant of the ruling chief of the government,
attached to family, posing as a religious leader, desirous of name, fame
and adoration, and makes a business out of selling mantram, should not
be accepted as a Vaiñëava. Rejecting such a bogus guru one should take
shelter at the lotus feet of a devotee. A bona fide guru is he who is always
fixed at the lotus feet of Kåñëa and well versed in the science of Kåñëa
consciousness — kåñëa-tattva-vettä.
As stated in the Udyoga-parva of the Mahäbhärata:
guror apy avaliptasya
käryäkäryam ajänataù
parityägo vidhéyate
“One who is materially very much attached to sense gratification
lacks the conscience and consciousness to determine the right duty,
and being devoid of pure devotion follows the lower path (other than
bhakti), such a person should be rejected, even if in name only he is
guru”. (Mahäbhärata, Udyoga-parva 179.25, quoted Çrémad-Bhägavatam
8.20.1 purport)
Similarly Çréla Jéva Gosvämé in his Bhakti-sandarbha has said:
vyavahärika-gurv-adi-parityägenäpi kartavyah
“Rejecting the so-called worldly minded, useless guru, family priest, one
should take shelter at the lotus feet of a bona fide spiritual master who
can help one advance towards the ultimate goal of life, kåñëa-prema.”
(Bhakti-sandarbha, anuccheda 210)
On rejecting an unfit spiritual master, our revered Gurudeva Çréla
Prabhupäda has commented:
“Çréla Viçvanätha Cakravarté Öhäkura remarks that Bali Mahäräja
remained silent at a critical point. How could he disobey the instruction
of Çukräcärya, his spiritual master? It is the duty of such a sober
personality as Bali Mahäräja to abide by the orders of his spiritual master
immediately, as his spiritual master had advised. However, Bali Mahäräja
also considered that Çukräcärya was no longer to be accepted as a spiritual
master, for he had deviated from the duty of a spiritual master.
According to çästra, the duty of the guru is to take the disciple back
home, back to Godhead. If he is unable to do so, and instead hinders
the disciple in going back to Godhead, he should not be a guru. Gurur
na sa syät [Çrémad-Bhägavatam 5.5.18], one should not become a guru if
he cannot help his disciple to advance in Kåñëa consciousness. The goal
of life is to become a devotee of Lord Kåñëa so that one may be freed
from the bondage of material existence—tyaktvä dehaà punar janma
naiti mam eti so ‘rjuna [Bhagavad-gétä 4.9]. The disciple attains this stage
by developing Kåñëa consciousness under the guidance and discipline
inflicted by the spiritual master.
Now Çukräcärya has advised Bali Mahäräja to deny the promise to
Vämanadeva. Under the circumstances, therefore, Bali Mahäräja thought
that there would be no fault if he disobeyed the order of his spiritual
master. He deliberated on this point—should he refuse to accept the
advice of his spiritual master, or should he independently do everything
to please the Supreme Personality of Godhead? He took some time.
Therefore it is said, tüñëéà bhütvä kñaëaà rajann uväcävahito gurum.
After deliberating on this point, he decided that Lord Viñëu should be
pleased in all circumstances, even at the risk of ignoring the guru’s advice
to the contrary.
Anyone who is supposed to be a guru but who goes against the principle
of viñëu-bhakti cannot be accepted as guru. If one has falsely accepted
such a guru, one should reject him …” (Çrémad-Bhägavatam 8.20.1
purport Bali Mahäräja upäkhyäna)
Similarly, in his purport to Çrémad Bhagavad-gétä chapter 2, verse 5,
Çréla Prabhupäda has said, “According to scriptural codes, a teacher who
engages in an abominable action and has lost the sense of discrimination
is fit to be abandoned.”
Concluding Instructions
Now at the concluding part of my brief presentation on guru-tattva, I
would like to quote these pertinent verses from Çré Kåñëa Bhajanämåta,
by Çréla Narahari Sarakära Öhäkura:
sakalä vaiñëava eva guravaù
tarä dékñä-guravaù
çikñä-gurava eva viçeñataù santi
etayor eva kim äcaraëéyam
“All the pure Vaiñëavas are gurus because all of them, through
instructions and pure character, generate devotional energy in the heart
of the living entities. Among them the pure Vaiñëava, from whom the
proper initiation is taken, is the dékñä-guru, and from whom the science
of devotion is learned is the çikñä-guru. What kind of conduct should be
shown towards the dékñä-guru and çikñä-guru?” (Çré Kåñëa Bhajanämåta,
verses 42-44)
äjïä pälanaà tu tayor eva käryam
yadi täv alpa-balau tathäpy anyatra
mahatäà mukhät, çikñä-viçeñaà jïätväpi gurave deyam
tad eva guruñu paöhanéyaà na tu gurau hela yathä bhajana-putro
‘rthopärjanaà kåtvä pitari dattvä prärthyitvä bhuïjéta
yadi svayam anéya khädati tataù kuputraù päpé syät
“It is the duty of the disciple to be obedient to both the dékñä-guru and
çikñä-guru. If the initiating guru appears to be lacking in spiritual potency
then the disciple may approach a more advanced Vaiñëava for spiritual
instruction. The disciple should respect the instructing guru, but while
receiving instruction, he should not neglect his dékñä-guru; just as a good
son dutifully brings his earnings to his father and is allocated a certain
amount to spend freely, similarly the good disciple presents all he has
learned to his dékñä-guru, who may then confirm what he has understood
and instruct him further on certain points. The bad son who keeps his
earnings for himself is considered useless. Similarly, the bad disciple,
who does not confirm with his spiritual master the instructions he has
received from another, is sinful.” (Çré Kåñëa Bhajanämåta, verses 45-49)
kintu gadi-gurur asamaïjasam
karoti tarhi yuktisiddhyaiù
siddhäntais tasya rahasi daëòaù
karaëéyo na tu tyajyaù
“If the spiritual master commits a wrongful act breaking the Vaiñëava
regulative principles or gives instructions which do not correspond to
the çästric injunctions, then in that case one should in a solitary place,
chastise him for his rectification by quoting from sädhu, guru and çästra.
If by that the guru accepts this punishment by pleasure and rectifies
himself accordingly, he is not to be abandoned.” (Çré Kåñëa Bhajanämåta,
verse 59)
guror apy avalistasya
käryäkäryam ajänataù
tasya daëòo vidhéyate
anena sarvaà suçobhanam iti
“One should not be fearful because one is confronting or challenging his
spiritual master, for it has been prescribed that one must appropriately
discipline even a spiritual master, who is inexperienced or ignorant, who
has deviated from the Kåñëa conscious path or if he is bewildered by false
“These statements of the revealed scriptures are applicable at all time
under all circumstances. This does fairly good to both spiritual masters
as well as to the disciples.” (Çré Kåñëa Bhajanämåta, verse 60)
svabhäva eva vaiñëavänäà
kåñëäçraya eva mülam
atra tad-guëa-gaëa
yaço-varëana viläsa vinodäù
pratyakñeëa jévanaà
sarve tadartham eva guru
mukhäd vä svabuddhyä vä
vyavaharantéti kramaù
“The natural behaviour of the Vaiñëava devotee is to take complete
refuge of Lord Çré Kåñëa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The
very life of the devotees, Vaiñëavas, is singing the glories of Lord Kåñëa,
describing and expanding the fame of Lord Çré Kåñëa and discussing the
nectar of His transcendental pastimes. One may take guidance through
the instructions from the Vaiñëavas as all Vaiñëavas are considered gurus
or one may use one’s own intelligence duly considering the relevant
instructions from sädhu, çästra and guru. In all cases one should continue
one’s devotional service.” (Çré Kåñëa Bhajanämåta, verses 62-63)
tatra yadi guru-viña-druçäkäréçvare
bhräntaù kåñëa-yaço
viläsa vinodaà näìgékarati
svayaà vä durabhimäné loka-stavaiù
kåñëatvaà präpnoti
tarhi tyäjya eva
“However, if the spiritual master acts enviously towards the Supreme
Personality of Godhead, is averse to expanding the fame of Lord Kåñëa or
if he personally refuses to accept hearing or chanting about the glorious
pastimes of Lord Kåñëa or if the spiritual master, has become totally
bewildered, listening to the false praises of ignorant persons and day by
day is more materially contaminated and fallen then the spiritual master
is to be abandoned.” (Çré Kåñëa Bhajanämåta, verse 64)
katham eva gurus tyäjya iti na
kåñëa-bhäva-lobhät kåñëa-präptaye
guror äçrayaëaà krtaà tad-anantaraà
yadi tasminn eva gurau asura-bhävas tarhi
kim kartavyam
asura guruà tyaktvä ñré-kåñëa-bhaktimantaà
gurum anyaà bhajet
“Under those circumstances one should not doubt, ‘How can I give
up my spiritual master?’ With a strong desire for achieving spontaneous
devotional service and attaining the lotus feet of Lord Kåñëa, the Supreme
Personality of Godhead, a devotee accepts the shelter of a spiritual
master as the via media to Lord Çré Kåñëa. However, after accepting the
responsibility of serving the spiritual master, if that spiritual master
takes on asuric qualities or a demoniac mentality then it is one’s duty to
reject such a demon asura-guru and in his place accept a Kåñëa conscious
spiritual master and worship him.” (Çré Kåñëa Bhajanämåta, verse 65)
tasya kåñëa baläd asärasya
guror balam mardnéyam iti
çré çré vaiñëavänäm bhajana
vicärä ya eva tu dåñöa bahavaù
guru-nirüpaëo siddhäntaù
By taking shelter of the strength of a pure Kåñëa conscious spiritual
master’s devotional service, the ill effects or contamination of the
previous demoniac spiritual master is counteracted and destroyed. These
activities are recommended by all Vaiñëava authorities as the authorised
conclusion of the çästra. During the pastimes of Lord Çré Kåñëa Caitanya
Mahäprabhu there have been many practical examples of the above.”
“This concludes the deliberation by sädhu-çästra-guru on the spiritual
master and related matters.” (Çré Kåñëa Bhajanämåta, verse 66)
With the kind permission of my Godbrothers and Godsisters, I would
like to make this hearty appeal to the grand-disciples of our beloved
spiritual master Çréla Prabhupäda. By accepting the process of the
gracious and compassionate Prema-Puruñottama Çrémän Gauräìga
Mahäprabhu, there is no reason for the devotees to feel frustrated or
hopeless seeing that their guru has deviated from çästric injunctions of
guruship and the minimum spiritual standard required of one who has
entered the sannyäsa-äçrama.

Pray to the Supreme Lord

The disciples of such gurus should know for certain that if they pray
very sincerely with devotion to the Supreme Lord, who is in their heart,
He will certainly respond to the prayer of their hearts by helping them to
take shelter of a genuine, bonafide and pure spiritual master (sad-guru),
who can successfully lead them unto the lotus feet of Çré Kåñëa.
kåñëa kåpäte guru mile
guru kåpäte kåñëa mile
“One gets a bona fide spiritual master by the grace of Kåñëa and by the
grace of guru or spiritual master one gets Kåñëa.”

» Posted By Krsna Das On Nov 22, 2014 @ 9:53 am

The Blue Jackal

Questions and Answers with
Sri Srimad Gour Govinda Swami Maharaja

— Paris 1987, at the home of Sripad Harivilas Prabhu:

Question: How can we have unalloyed devotion to our guru and also see the godbrother of our spiritual master as our spiritual master?

Sri Srimad Gour Govinda Swami: We will offer the same respect to him as we pay to our spiritual master. But as Hanumanji says, “Rama has occupied my heart”:
sri-nathe janaki-nathe
cabhedah paramatmanih
tathapi mama sarvasvam
ramah kamala-locanah

There is no difference between Sri-nath [Vishnu, the Lord of the goddess of fortune] and Janaki-nath [Rama, the Lord of Sita], since They are both the Supersoul. Still, lotus-eyed Rama is everything to me. (Prema-bhakti-candrika, text 29)

We should not deviate from our guru. That is un-alloyedness. Don’t be affected by any differences between our guru and his godbrother. We should overlook them. Still, our attitude should be, “I am following the instruction of my guru. I am not following the instruction of the godbrother of my guru.”

Question: What should we do when we see that some superior Vaisnava needs correction?

Sri Srimad Gour Govinda Swami: Keshava Bharati was the godbrother of Iswara Puri, who was the guru of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Mahaprabhu corrected Keshava Bharati. But we should not imitate Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead and we are not. We should not try to correct anyone who is superior to us. We must act in such a way that Chaitanya Mahaprabhu will give us the intelligence what to do:

tesam satata-yuktanam
bhajatam priti-purvakam
dadami buddhi-yogam tam
yena mam upayanti te

To those who are constantly devoted to serving Me with love, I give the understanding by which they can come to Me. (Bg 10.10)

Krishna says, “I’ll give you the intelligence.” So, if you are a true follower of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, He will give you intelligence. You will be able to act in such a way that the Vaisnava becomes automatically corrected. You won’t need to correct him directly. You should not have this thought in your mind: “Let me correct him.” No, no, no, no, no, no! We are not qualified to correct them. Our attitude should be trnad api su-nicena taror iva sahisnuna — I am the lowest of the low (Siksastaka 3).

Question: How do you correct a Godbrother?

Sri Srimad Gour Govinda Swami: With a Godbrother we have a friendly relationship. So we may talk to him in a friendly way. Sometimes we may even cut jokes with him. To correct him we may say something at some opportune moment when we know it will not hurt him. An intelligent man will do like this. You must speak in such a way that it will not hurt his feelings. Mahaprabhu said:

prani-matre mano-vakye udvega na diba

Neither by mind nor words should a devotee cause anxiety to any living entity, regardless how insignificant he may be. —Cc. madhya 22.120

Don’t speak or act in such a way that will hurt their feelings. Don’t agitate them. This is the devotee’s behavior.

yasman nodvijate loko
lokan nodvijate ca yah
mukto yah sa ca me priyah

He for whom no one is put into difficulty and who is not disturbed by anyone, who is equipoised in happiness and distress, fear and anxiety, is very dear to Me. — Bg. 12.15

Krishna says, “He who is not agitated in any circumstances is very dear to Me. If someone tries to agitate him he never agitates back or disturbs anyone. He is equal in both harsa and amarsa, favorable and unfavorable conditions. In all conditions he is equal, sama. Bhayo dvegair, he has no fear, no anxiety. He is very dear to Me.”

As Mahaprabhu has instructed, one should speak very sweetly so the devotee may be corrected, but in such a way that he will not be disturbed. For one who is intelligent, who is a true devotee, Mahaprabhu will give him intelligence whereby you will know how to act and speak in such a way that you will not hurt the devotee and at the same time you will correct him. And you should never have this thought in your mind that, “I’ll correct him.”

You should think, “I am not a qualified person to correct him. I’m the lowest of the low. I am an ignorant fool, murkha. I have no qualification.” You should not cherish the thought in your mind to correct him. This thought is very bad and offensive. This is a very, very subtle point. It is very difficult for ordinary people to understand. But those who are devotees, who have made some advancement in spirituality, they can understand this point.

Question: We cannot approach Krishna without a spiritual master. What about approaching Chaitanya Mahaprabhu?

Sri Srimad Gour Govinda Swami: Unless you approach a spiritual master you cannot approach Mahaprabhu. Mahaprabhu is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He is Krishna. The spiritual master is the expansion of Nityananda Prabhu. You get the mercy of Nityananda through the spiritual master, not directly. Guru is rupanuga-dhara — a follower of the Goswamis in disciplic succession.

Question: Who will decide who is a spiritual master?

Sri Srimad Gour Govinda Swami: Are baba! The decision comes from Krishna. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu has ordered:
yare dekha, tare kaha ‘krsna’-upadesa
amara ajnaya guru hana tara’ ei desa

“Whomever you meet, tell him about Krishna: ‘O brother, Krishna has said this thing.’ Don’t concoct. Just present it as it is. I order you to become a spiritual master and deliver the world.” If you just do this, if you just present things as they are, following the disciplic succession, you will become guru. Krishna will give you that position. Don’t hanker after it. Just do it. The decision comes from Krishna, from Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. There is no question that someone will decide (laughs). Apratihata — it will automatically come.

If Chaitanya Mahaprabhu wants, if Krishna wants, no one can check it. You should have full faith and patience. Don’t be pessimistic. There is no question of pessimism. We should be full of optimism. We don’t need to bother about these things. Those persons who are now blowing their own trumpet, beating their own drums — Krishna will finish them at any time. Don’t be disturbed. You should have patience and full faith in guru-sadhu-sastra. Because it is the material world some disturbances will come up. pade pade vipada — “At every step there is danger.”

And at the same time it is Kali-yuga, the age of quarrel and hypocrisy. This world is filled with hypocrites. So some hypocrites will come and say, “Oh, I am guru. I am sadhu. I am such a great man.” He may come and beat his own drum, blow his own trumpet, and make some politics. It is quite natural. These things should not disturb you. Be Dhira. Don’t be disturbed. Have full faith in guru-sadhu-sastra. Just do your duty as guru has instructed, as it is. Present Krishna consciousness as it is. Time will change things in the long run. You need not be worried. Have patience. Quote sastra and the acaryas. Our basis is guru-sadhu-sastra. I never say anything different. I always quote authority.

Although he was a householder, Srila Prabhupada got the full mercy of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati and Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. He never spent any time in the matha, but he became acarya because he was very, very simple, not envious. You cannot put a stamp on someone, “You are acarya.” Or else the day may come to prove that he’s not an acarya.

I will tell you a nice story. Once a jackal fell into the blue dye-water of a washerman. The jackal became blue. Then he went to the forest and declared to everyone, “I am the king of the animals.”
All of the animals said, “Oh yes! He is strange looking. He might be king.” Thus they made the jackal king and he sat on the throne.

Then when evening came, all of the jackals began howling, “Youka hou! Youka hou!”
So the jackal king also started howling, and then everyone saw, “Oh! He’s a jackal! Beat him! He’s not king!” In this way, he was revealed. We know these things, so why we should be disturbed? Don’t be disturbed. The time will come. Krishna and Chaitanya Mahaprabhu will reveal everything. Have patience.

Question: We can see that envy may be very subtle. What is our hope?

Sri Srimad Gour Govinda Swami: We should have full faith in guru-sadhu-sastra and we must do our service. Some disturbance may come — and it will come. It is the nature of this material plane, and at the same time Kali-yuga is here. It is very, very horrible. But one should have firm determination and patience. You should not deviate in any circumstance. Always pray to guru and Lord Chaitanya. They will help you. We are very weak, but caitya-guru is in our heart. He will give inspiration. For a sincere soul who is very eager to have this, Krishna makes arrangements. He knows, “This soul wants this thing.” So He makes arrangements for it to happen. Is there anything impossible for Krishna? It is impossible for us, but nothing is impossible for Krishna.
Our business is to always pray to Krishna, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, and Guru Maharaja, “Just help me!” You’ll get help. Have full faith in this. Don’t be desperate. We should be very eager to get this mercy and to have association of pure devotees who are more advanced than ourselves. Then you’ll benefit. Sadhu-sanga means you will associate with a person who is more advanced than yourself. Then you will benefit. Otherwise, no benefit will come. It may seem impossible to get such association. Still, nothing is impossible for Krishna. Krishna will make arrangement. Vani, instructions, are there.

When nothing is available we should associate with instructions and books, and with our sincere prayers we will reach Krishna. The day will come when you will meet such a person. It’s impossible for us, but it’s not impossible for Krishna. But we should always be praying, “Krishna, please help me!” Chanting Hare Krsna means the soul is crying:
Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare — “O Krishna’s sakti Radharani! O Krishna! Please engage me in Your service. I am fallen.”

ayi nanda-tanuja kinkaram
patitam mam visame bhavambudhau
krpaya tava pada-pankaja-
sthita-dhuli-sadrsam vicintaya

“O Krishna! I am Your kinkara, Your servant! But somehow I’ve fallen into the depths of this ocean of nescience. Please shower Your mercy on me and accept me as a particle of dust at Your lotus feet.”(Siksastaka 5)

If the soul is crying and crying by uttering this Hari-nama, “Hare Krsna Hare Krsna,” if you chant in this way, then you’ll get the necessary association miraculously and unexpectedly. It is impossible for us, but nothing is impossible for Krishna. Krishna wants that thing. The only lacking is with us. Thank you very much.

» Posted By Krsna Das On Nov 21, 2014 @ 12:13 pm


The Lotus Feet of Sri Guru

By Sri Srimad Gour Govinda Swami entitled “Sri Guru Carana Padma – The Lotus Feet of Sri Guru.” The most wonderful lecture on Sri Guru tattva, originally spoken on May 31st, 1994 at American Canyon, CA USA.

Worship of Sri Guru

Srila Narottama Dasa Thakura
Sri Prema-Bhakti-Candrika

sri-guru-carana-padma, kevala-bhakati-sadma
vando mui savadhana mate
jahara prasade bhai, e bhava toriya jai
krsna-prapti hoy jaha ha’te

guru-mukha-padma-vakya, cittete koriya aikya,
ar na koriho mane asa
sri-guru-carane rati, ei se uttama-gati,
je prasade pure sarva asa

cakhu-dan dilo jei, janme janme prabhu sei,
divya-jnan hrde prokasito
prema-bhakti jaha hoite, avidya vinasa jate,
vede gay jahara carito

sri-guru karuna-sindhu, adhama janara bandhu
lokanath lokera jivana
ha ha prabhu koro doya, deho more pada-chaya
ebe jasa ghusuk tribhuvana

1. The lotus feet of the Spiritual Master are the abode of pure devotional service. I bow down to those lotus feet with great care and attention. My dear brother [my dear mind]! It is through the grace of the Spiritual Master that we cross over this material existence and obtain Sri Krsna.

2. Make the teachings from the lotus mouth of the Spiritual Master one with your heart, and do not desire anything else. Attachment to the lotus feet of the Spiritual Master is the best means of spiritual advancement. By His mercy all desires for spiritual perfection are fulfilled.

3. He who has given me the gift of transcendental vision is my Lord, birth after birth. By His mercy Divine knowledge is revealed within the heart, bestowing prema-bhakti and destroying ignorance. The Vedic scriptures sing of His character.

4. O Spiritual Master, ocean of mercy, and friend of the fallen souls, You are the teacher of everyone and the life of all people. O Master! Be merciful unto me, and give me the shade of Your lotus feet. May Your glories now be proclaimed throughout the three worlds.


“It is the causeless mercy of Sri Guru and Sri Gauranga that I came here to meet you all. I am very happy at such causeless mercy of Guru and Gauranga. Unless one gets such mercy, how can one cross over this dreadful ocean of material existence and go deep into the other part, the other shore? That means beyond the material ocean, material world, there is the abode of Lord and that is our eternal home. Now the question is how can we go there? The only way to go there is to offer prayers at the lotus feet of that Guru who is an expert navigator, who can ferry us across this dreadful ocean and take us there.

sri-guru-carana-padma, kevala-bhakati-sadma
vando mui savadhana mate
jahara prasade bhai, e bhava toriya jai
krsna-prapti hoy jaha hoite

The lotus feet of the spiritual master are the abode of pure devotional service. I bow down to those lotus feet with great care and attention. It is through the grace of the spiritual master that we cross over this material existence and obtain Krsna.

Only by the mercy, prasada of that Sri Guru, one will be able to cross over this dreadful ocean of material existence and develop Krsna-bhakti, as a result of which one gets Krsna.”

‘Sri’ is Very Significant

Sri-guru-carana-padma, kevala-bhakati-sadma, the lotus feet of Sri Guru are the abode of bhakti, bhakti-sadma. Abode of bhakti only. I offer my prayers there, offer my obeisances there very carefully, with utmost care, savadhana mate.

One should understand the real potency of Sri-guru-carana-padma. ‘Sri Guru’ – these words are very significant. Sri means what? Sri means, sobha, sampada, srestha. Sri means beauty. Sri means transcendental wealth or asset and Sri means the topmost. These are some of the meanings of this word Sri.

Sri Guru means what? Guru who is endowed with Sri. Understand? That means endowed with prema-bhakti.That is Sri Guru. Understand me? And this word Sri can only be used with a Guru who is present, understand? Present! Who is always manifest! Not unmanifested. That is Sri Guru. Sri Guru is always manifest! It is not that Guru is unmanifest, he is eternally manifest. Understand me? Therefore, we say Sri Guru. There is no question of un-manifesting or disappearing. He is eternally manifested, therefore we say, ‘Sri Guru,’ this word Sri is used; otherwise we cannot use this word Sri.

Eternally Manifest

In this world, Sri Guru is the only beauty; he is the only asset and only wealth. Nothing else is there. And he is eternally manifest, eternally there, yes. There is no question of unmanifesting or disappearing. Sri Guru is nitya, eternally there.

Carana means feet. Sri-guru-carana-padma, the feet of Sri Guru are compared to the lotus. This is also very significant. Why are they compared to the lotus, not compared to anything else?

Lotus flower looks very nice and beautiful and lotus has honey in it, sweet honey. The bumblebee collects honey from many flowers but especially collects honey from the lotus flower. What sort of special honey it is? The honey collected from other flowers and the honey collected from the lotus flower have some differences. The honey from the lotus flower is special honey. The bumblebee goes and collects honey from the lotus flower. It is known as padma-madhu, special type of honey. Padma means lotus, madhu means honey. The sisya, disciple, who is like a bumblebee is very hungry and greedy to have that special honey, he relishes it.

Mellifluous Ocean of Bhakti

The lotus flower grows out of the water but it is not touched by the water. It remains untouched. One of the synonyms of water is rasa, mellow. The lotus grows in the water; similarly, the feet of Sri Guru are compared to the lotus that grows in the ocean of transcendental bhakti-rasa.

Such is the lotus feet of Sri Guru! They are aprakrta, not material, they are transcendental. The lotus feet of Sri Guru is the abode of transcendental bhakti-rasa and filled with all madhuri, all beauty that is very relishable.

As the lotus looks very beautiful to the eye, nayana-abhiramam and attractive to the heart, citta-akarsaka; very nice and shining, similarly, the lotus feet of Guru are very beautiful to look at by the eyes of the sisyas, disciples. The lotus feet of Guru are also very attractive and very radiant and lustrous, snigdha.

So the activities of Sri Guru, the form, qualities, pastimes, are all very beautiful to the eyes of the sadhaka-bhakta. In the meditational eye, the bhakta, sadhaka-bhakta sees the beautiful lotus feet of Sri Guru. Upon seeing them, he gets a soothing effect in his afflicted heart. He is afflicted with three tapas, three kinds of sufferings: adhyatmika, adhibhautika andadhidaivika. So when he meditates on the beautiful lotus feet of Sri Guru, he gets a soothing effect and the affliction cools down; and he gets a very pleasing scent. As a nice scent comes out from the lotus, similarly the lotus feet of Sri Guru have that extremely pleasing scent. That scent is coming from the lotus feet of Sri Guru.

Lotus Flower & the Bumblebee

The bhramara, the bumblebee, wanders everywhere. He goes to various types of flowers. One type of flower is there known as the ketaki flower; not available in the west, I think. It is available in India. On that ketaki tree where the ketaki flower grows, they have thorns that are similar to the rose plant but the ketaki flower has thorns on its petals. Then the bhramara, the bumblebee, goes there being attracted towards the scent (ketaki flower also has a very nice scent), but because of the thorns on the petals, the bumblebee’s wings become torn and it gets so much pain and affliction. Now in a suffering situation the bumblebee thinks, ‘Oh, why did I come here? My wings are torn now! I am getting so much pain and affliction. Where to go? Where to go? Where to go? Where is the shelter? Where can I get shelter, where there is no pain, no affliction, only peace? Where can I get shelter, where there is no pain, no affliction, only peace? Where can I get relief?’

So, wandering hither and thither, at last that bumblebee comes to the lotus flower and experiences the cooling, soothing effect and gets relief from pain and suffering. He comes to the lotus flower and gets a soothing affect, ‘Oh, so cooling! Such a soothing effect is here in the lotus flower!’ So he takes shelter in the lap of the lotus flower; inside the lotus flower. And the lotus also gives him shelter and thereby he gets such cooling effect. The lotus allows him to suck this nice, sweet honey. The bumblebee sucks nice sweet honey from the lotus and gets nourishment.

Three Types of Suffering

Similarly, the jiva, wandering, wandering, wandering in innumerable brahmandas, universes, in innumerable species of life in this material world, is only getting suffering, distress, misery, pain, torture and more suffering. No happiness! No pleasure! No cooling effect, only blazing fire, samsara-davanala. He is in the blazing forest fire. This samsara, material world is like blazing fire. Nobody puts fire here, nobody puts fire into the forest, but automatically two pieces of wood when they rub, fire ignites automatically and the whole forest is burnt. The animals there suffer painful burning effects and are burnt to ashes.

Similarly, in this material world the jivas, the conditioned souls are burning in three types of tapas, heat, three types of sufferings: adhyatmika, adhibhautika and adhidaivika. They give a burning sensation. So, wandering in innumerable universes and innumerable species of life, at last a bhagyavan jiva, one who is a fortunate soul, comes to the lotus feet of Sri Guru and takes shelter there. Brahmanda brahmite kono bhagyavan jiva. Such cooling shade is there! Guru’s lotus feet gives him shelter and also allow him to suck, like the bumblebee sucks the sweet honey from the lotus. Similarly, the guru-pada-padma, the lotus feet of Guru allows that soul to suck the nice honey, thereby he gets real nourishment, and gets premananda, real happiness.

Padma Madhu

Padma-madhu, the honey collected from the lotus flower is a very special type of madhu, honey, and it is a very good medicine for the eye. If you go to Ayurvedic doctor, kaviraja, he will advise, “Oh, you have eye disease, you have some impurities in your eye, you cannot see clearly, you get pain in your eye; alright, put some padma-madhu in your eye, that will clear it up, clean up all impurities and the eye will be very clear, then you will be able to see very well.” This padma-madhu has special quality. In Ayurvedic sastra it is mentioned there. Similarly, guru-pada-padma, the honey emanating from the lotus feet of Guru is so sweet and nectarean. If one fortunate bhakta, sisya,gets it and can relish it, then his material eye will be cleansed off. All materialism, all nasty things that were there in the eye will be cleansed off.

Why the Feet of Sri Guru are
Compared to a Lotus

Sometimes the eye is covered up with the dense darkness of ignorance.

om ajnana timirandhasya
caksur unmilitam yena
tasmai sri-gurave namah

We offer this prayer, “I was born in darkness of ignorance. I was blind, I have no real vision. My eye was not opened. So Guru, out of causeless mercy, with the torchlight of knowledge opened my eye.”

So when the material eye is covered up with painful eye diseases. The kaviraja advises the patient to put some padma-madhu in his eye, so all the impurities can be cleansed. Nice drsti-sakti, power to see clearly, will develop after impurities have been cleansed. Then he gets nice vision, thereby he will be able to see very subtle things, which he could not have seen otherwise.

Similarly, when one takes shelter at the divine lotus feet of Guru and gets the Guru’s mercy then Guru allows that surrendered soul, that bhakta, that sisya, to taste that sweet honey, nectar, emanating from his lotus feet. That is a medicine. Thereby his material eye will be cleansed of all material contaminations and he will develop transcendental vision. Ajnana-andhakara. He was blinded with this materialism, this dense darkness of ignorance but now that is gone, the darkness of ignorance is dispelled by the mercy of Sri Guru. He receives divya-jnana-caksu, the eye of knowledge. Guru imparts tattva-jnana to that surrendered soul.

So by the mercy of Guru, he gets tattva-jnana and develops that transcendental vision. Through that eye, or vision, he will be able to see the beautiful form of Syamasundara. No more darkness of ignorance only effulgent light is there emanating from the lotus nails of Sri Guru. That dense darkness of ignorance that is covering the eye will be gone. The disciple has received that transcendental vision through which he can see the beautiful form of Syamasundara. This is the madhu, the honey that is emanating from the lotus feet of Guru, which works in such a wonderful way. Therefore, sri-guru-carana-padma, it is so significant why the feet of Sri Guru are compared to the lotus.

Special & Wonderful Characteristics

Padma-madhu has some Ayurvedic qualities, medicinal qualities. If you put padma-madhu in your eye, your eye will be cleared of all the impurities, you will develop nice eyesight, you will be able to see very subtle things and also the eye disease will be cured. So padma-madhu cures and cleanses the impurities of the eyes, but it cannot clean the impurities in the heart. Understand my point? Padma-madhu can cure the impurities from the eye but it cannot cure the impurities from your heart! But madhu, the honey emanating from the lotus feet of Guru, guru-pada-padma-madhu,it cures both! The eye as well as the heart! It is special honey. It has wonderful characteristics; it cures both the eye as well as the heart. Understand? This is sri-guru- carana-padma-madhu. It cleanses the heart and makes the heart pure, purified, then it becomes a proper place, suitable place for Govinda to take rest.

tomara hrdoye sada govinda-visram
govinda kohena—mora vaisnava-paran

“O Vaisnava Thakura, Govinda takes rest there in your heart, because your heart is Vrndavana, eternal abode of Govinda.”

So Govinda takes rest there peacefully, blissfully; never leaves your heart. Guru makes the heart of a surrendered disciple like that by allowing him to take shelter at his lotus feet which is like the lotus, and allows him to suck that special type of honey emanating. Honey with that wonderful characteristic which cleanses the impurities from the eye as well as the heart.

Unfailing Medicine for the Fortunate Jiva

A conditioned soul is like a diseased person who is suffering from various kinds of material ills, bhava-rogi.And that disease is very chronic disease. He has taken many medicines: Allopathic medicine, Homeopathic medicine, Ayurvedic medicine. He has taken so many… but the disease is not cured. Incurable disease!

Disease has become a chronic disease; he has already lost his vitality, jivana-sakti. He cannot digest any food now. He has lost his vitality because the disease has become chronic. He has used many, many medicines. Too many medicines means bad effect, also. Here you find that people are taking so many strong drugs. What is the effect of those strong medicines? Due to various side effects of those strong medicines chronic and incurable diseases come. Afterwards even if they eat something, they cannot digest, digestive power, digestive fire is very low now. So what shall he do? He cannot survive now; he is in a dying condition.

Once this condition is there, kaviraja advises, ‘Alright, there is only one thing that he can eat and that is madhu, the padma-madhu, special type of madhu. Give him the honey collected from the lotus flowers, padma-madhu, then he’ll regain his vitality and will be cured from his dying condition.’ A person, a jiva, wandering in innumerable universes, undergoing innumerable species of life, completely hopeless is getting only suffering and pain here. So that person, that jiva, affected with chronic, incurable disease; when at last, being disappointed from every side, everywhere, he fortunately comes to the lotus feet of Sri Guru who is a vaidya, physician, who knows the perfect medicine, unfailing medicine, to cure bhava-roga, the material ills.

The fortunate jiva comes to the lotus feet of Sri Guru, who knows why this person has been suffering, what is the reason of his suffering, or disease. He knows that this is the reason; he has been suffering from innumerable lives here in this material world. He is hopeless now, there is no hope of surviving, no medicine will act on him. Only one medicine is there, that is the honey emanating from the lotus feet of Guru, guru-pada-padma-madhu. So he allows, ‘Alright, take shelter here.’

As a lotus flower allows the bumblebee whose wings are torn up by the thorns of the ketaki flower to take shelter in it, similarly, sri-guru-pada-padma, the lotus feet of Guru, allows such a hopeless, wandering soul to take shelter at his lotus feet. He allows him to suck the honey whereby that suffering soul gets some vitality, nourishment and gets life. That is why we say sri-guru-carana-padma. The lotus feet of Sri Guru are compared to the padma, the lotus and not compared to anything else. It has a great significance.

Transcendental Nature

saksad-dharitvena samasta-sastrair
uktas tatha bhavyata eva sadbhih
kinto prabhor yah priya eva tasya
vande guroh sri-caranaravindam

“The Spiritual Master is honored as much as the Supreme Lord because he is the most confidential servitor of the Lord. This is acknowledged in all revealed scriptures and is followed by all authorities. Therefore, I offer my most respectful obeisances unto the lotus feet of my Spiritual Master, who is a bona fide representative of Lord Hari.”

Guru is saksad-dharitvena; he is as good as Lord Hari. He does not belong to this material world; he belongs to the spiritual world, that is Krsna’s world. But he comes down here because of his mercy, causeless mercy. Two things are there, either he voluntarily comes to deliver the fallen souls, seeing the suffering of the fallen souls his heart bleeds or by the direction of the Lord, when the Lord sends him and tells him to go to the material world. So, it is by the will of Krsna this guru-pada-padma descends here, to shower his mercy unto the suffering souls, those jivas who have been drowning here in this dreadful ocean of material existence from time immemorial. That guru-pada- padma descends here and stays here in this material world.

Someone may raise this question; this is the material world, illusory world, three modes of material nature; sattva, rajas, and tama gunas are here. If Guru comes here, stays here, how can he stay here and not be affected with it? How can he retain his transcendental nature or situation in this dreadful ocean of material existence and not become affected? How does he act here?

This is very easy to understand. As the lotus flower grows out of the water and lives inside the water but it is not being affected, it remains untouched. Similarly, Guru, though he comes here, he remains untouched. He never becomes affected with the three modes of material nature. He remains untouched. This is the lotus feet of Sri Guru; therefore, it is compared to a lotus.
So when the bumblebee comes to the lotus, the lotus gives shelter to that bumblebee in the core of its petals. Thereby, the bumblebee also doesn’t become affected with water; it remains there being untouched with water because it is in the core of the lotus. Similarly, a fortunate disciple or bhaktawho has taken shelter at the lotus feet of bona fide Sri Guru need not be afraid of this material world, material nature. He cannot be affected by the material nature because he has sincerely taken shelter at the lotus feet of Sri Guru. As the lotus gives shelter and protects the bumblebee from being affected or touched by the water similarly, Sri Guru gives shelter to the disciple at his lotus feet and protects him from this material world. This is the lotus feet of Sri Guru. Understand, how the guru-pada-padma, the lotus feet of Sri Guru are compared to the lotus.

Rising and Setting of the Sun

Another very significant point is there. When the sun rises, the lotus blossoms and the petals open. When the sun sets, the petals of the lotus become closed. When the lotus sees the rising of the sun, it blossoms, the petals open. Similarly, when the guru-pada-padma, the lotus feet of Guru sees bhakti-vrtti in the heart of a sincere disciple, a very ardent, intense desire, crying of a suffering soul, in the heart of a jiva. An intense desire to get bhakti, go back home, back to Godhead, to understand Krsna and get Krsna in this very lifetime then the petals of the lotus opens! So that is like the rising of the sun. But when the sun sets, the petals of the lotus become closed.

Similarly, one disciple has come, he has developed intense desire, burning desire in his heart to love Krsna, unconditionally then the guru-pada-padmagives him shelter. But many times we see, in the course of time that bhakta, that disciple looses hisbhakta-vrtti because of aparadha. If he commits aparadha: nama-aparadha, vaisnava-aparadha, like that, he looses his bhakti-vrtti. His bhakti-vrtti becomes shrunken. Now he is not carrying out the order of the Guru, he is not hearing the message of the Guru, he is not accepting the instructions of the Guru, he is not acting according to the instructions of the Guru, so he is avoiding or disobeying. That means the sun is setting now. When the sun sets, the petals of the lotus close. Similarly, the Guru disappears from the vision and heart of that disciple.

Sri Guru is Always Manifest

Of course, one who is an advanced devotee, who has made advancement, he has already developed taste for this transcendental mellow. So for him this is not applicable. It is only applicable for the neophyte devotee, one who has not made any advancement, one who has not developed any taste for it. If such a disciple or devotee commits some aparadha and associates with offenders or materialistic persons and doesn’t associate and hear from bona fide sadhu than the sun will set for him. Due to his offences, he will disobey the order of Guru, he will violate the instructions of Guru, and the directions of Guru and he will act according to his own whims. Thereby, the guru-pada-padma will disappear from him.

But this is not applicable for very advanced devotees; those who have already developed taste for this transcendental mellow. They cannot leave it because it has become their life and soul. Without relishing the transcendental mellows, they cannot survive. For those bhaktas or sisyas, who have developed taste for this transcendental mellow, jata-rati, the guru-pada-padma will never disappear. Such a dedicated disciple is always with the Guru and the Guru is always with him. In all conditions, he is engaged in the loving service of guru-pada-padma.

A nisthapara-bhakta, one who has achieved at least the minimum stage of nistha, for that bhakta, for that sadhaka, Guru is always with him, Guru will never disappear from him. But for one who has not achieved nistha stage, a stage of complete faith, the apprehension is there that if he is not careful than Guru may disappear. If he commits aparadha and violates Guru’s instructions and order, then Guru may disappear. That means the sun will set and the petals of the lotus will be closed and the disciple will not be able to relish the nectar emanating from the lotus feet of Sri Guru.

Another point is that Guru may be present here on this planet physically or Guru may have disappeared, left this planet and is not present physically, still thatbhakta, the advanced devotee, who has already developed taste and has at least reached the minimum stage of nistha and beyond that to the next stages of ruci, asakti and bhava, for him there is no question of disappearance of the Guru. He is always with his Guru, he sees the Guru and the Guru never disappears from him.

He always sees the presence of his Guru and always realizes that thing. That bhakta always gets his mercy and that is a fact. Minimum stage is nistha.One should achieve minimum stage of nistha; otherwise, that apprehension is there, that guru-pada-padma may disappear. That means the sun will set and the petals of the lotus will close.

Crying is Required

So this is guru-krpa, causeless mercy of Guru. And the bhakta, sisya, sadhakashould cry for it, cry for it. Unless you cry, how can you get? Without crying, nobody can get. For example, when a child cries, mother runs, “Oh my child is crying.” Yes. He cannot be pacified with anything else without mother’s presence.

Mother may be giving him a toy or a doll and say, “Alright, play with it, play with it.” The child is playing with the doll or toy given by mother and mother is engaged in some household work but throwing out that toy or doll, the child cries, cries, cries! Child cries, mother runs. So unless you cry, how can you get it? This crying is required. Koruna na hoile, kandiya kandiya, prana na rakhibo ara. You must cry for the mercy! You must cry. Unless you cry, how can you get the real darsana of Sri Guru? This crying is required. Those who have cried they have gotten the real mercy of Sri Guru.

Srila Gurudev!
krpa-bindu diya, koro’ ei dase,
trnapekha ati hina
sakala-sahane, bala diya koro’,
nija-mane sprha-hina

sakale sammana, korite Sakati,
deho’ natha! jathajatha,
tabe to’ gaibo, hari-nama-sukhe,
aparadha ha’be hata

kabe heno krpa, labhiya e jana,
krtartha hoibe natha!
sakti-buddhi-hina, ami ati dina,
koro’ more atma-satha

jogyata-vicare, kichu nahi pai,
tomara karuna sara
karuna na hoile, kandiya kandiya,
prana na rakhibo ara

This weeping or crying is required. Unless the child cries, the mother will not run. The child cannot get mother’s breast unless he cries. Similarly, unless you cry, how can you get? How can you have the darsanaof Sri Guru? You have to cry. Understand? You have to cry! This crying is required. When the child cries, then mother runs, similarly the Guru runs, he is very merciful, causelessly merciful.

Out of causeless mercy he comes, gives darsana, whether manifested or not manifested. He comes in a dream also and gives darsana. This is guru-tattva,nitya-tattva, eternal tattva, transcendental tattva. He is prakata [manifested], not aprakata [unmanifested]. He is eternally prakata. There is no question of unmanifestion. Sri Guru is eternally manifested, this is guru-tattva. Understand? So you cannot think of the inconceivable mercy of the lotus feet of Sri Guru, sri-guru-carana-padma. Through your material knowledge, intelligence and merit you cannot comprehend the extreme mercy of the lotus feet of sri-guru-carana-padma, the lotus feet of Sri Guru.

Eternal Associate

Guru is parikara, associate, nitya-parikara, eternal associate of Sri Sri Radha and Krsna. This is guru-tattva. Akhila-rasamrta-murtih. He is an associate of both Gaura and Krsna. Especially the last limit, abhadi, of guru-tattvais Nityananda-tattva, Nityananda-svarupa. And Nityananda is Gaura-parikara,eternal associate of Gaura. Similarly, Guru is eternal associate of both Gaura and Krsna. In tattva, guru-tattva and Krsna-tattva are non-different. Therefore, saksad-dharitvena. He is saksad-hari as good as Lord Hari.

Lord Hari is visaya-tattva, whereas Guru is asraya-tattva. Guru is sevaka-bhagavan servitor Bhagavan and Krsna or Hari is sevya-bhagavan, served Bhagavan, understand? Both are Bhagavans. Sevya-bhagavan is Hari or Krsna, and Guru is sevaka-bhagavan, servitor Bhagavan; visaya and asraya, otherwise, tattva is one. Guru-rupe-krsna krpa korena bhakta jane. Krsna showers His mercy in the form of Guru. So one should understand this bhajan-rahasya.Without this understanding, one cannot understand Krsna, one cannot approach Krsna.

One cannot go back home, back to Godhead, definitely. Krsna appears before us in the form of Guru, and as Guru He comes here, appears here in this material world. He comes to us, helps us and He also acts as our friend, so merciful. He showers his causeless mercy and delivers us from this unlimited suffering from time immemorial.

Krsna in the form of Paramatma is there in the heart, known as caittya-guru.So from inside, also, He prompts us and give us intelligence, thereby we will act in a meticulous way and avoid committing any error or mistake. So this is the glory of the lotus feet of Sri Guru. This glory is incomparable. One cannot compare or describe it. It is unparalleled and matchless.

Krsna Krpa Sri Murti

Both siksa-guru and diksa-guru are the representative of Krsna and their krpa,mercy is unlimited mercy. There is no difference between siksa-guruand diksa-guru.

yadyapi amara guru—caitanyera dasa
tathapi janiye ami tanhara prakasa

Although my Guru is dasa, servant of Caitanya, still I know he is His manifestation, tanhara prakasa. This istattva. Therefore, we say Gurudeva, Sri Gurudeva, iskrsna-krpa-sri-murti. He is the embodiment of Krsna-krpa, the mercy of Krsna. When Krsna-krpa assumes a body and appears before us, that is Sri Guru. That Sri Guru is known as Krsna-krpa-sri-murti, the embodiment of the mercy of Krsna. So, if someone develops guru-bhakti, only then will he have the chance to get Krsna.

yasya deve para bhaktir
yatha deve tatha gurau
tasyaite kathita hy arthah
prakasante mahatmanah

Svetasvatara Upanisad says, “One who develops the same type of bhakti for Guru as he develops towards Krsna, he is a very fortunate jiva soul. Unto him, all transcendental knowledge will manifest. Otherwise it will never manifest.”

Sri Guru is Krsna-priya-jana; he is very dear to Krsna. He is an eternal associate of Krsna, Radha-priya-dasi,a dear girl companion of Radharani. He is Radha-priya-sakhi, dear girl companion of Radharani, Radha-dasi, maidservant of Radharani, like Rupa Manjari, that is Sri Guru. The mula-guru-tattva,original guru-tattva is Nityananda-tattva. So by gradual descending Sri Guru has come to us which is the mercy manifestation of Nityananda Prabhu, that is Nityananda-tattva; He has come to us. So Nitaicand is both diksa-guruand siksa-guru. Also caittya-guru is the manifestation of Nitaicand. He is guru-tattva. Only difference is the activities, lilas, nothing else. Therefore, we sing this song, sri-guru-carana-padma. This is the significance as to why the feet of Sri Guru are compared to the lotus flower.

Offer Worship with Utmost Care

Vando mui savadhana mate. You should do vandana, offer prayer or worship with utmost care, savadhana mate. Three types of vandana are there: kayika, vacika, manasika, through your body, through your words and through your mind you should offer obeisances, offer prayer, and offer worship to the lotus feet of Sri Guru. So through your body you do dandavat pranam, falling flat on the ground. Dandavat pranam iskayika-vandana.

Vacika-vandana, through your words, you offer prayers, glorify Guru. Through your mind, manasika, always think of the lotus feet of Guru, such nice, beautiful, peaceful, transcendental, blissful lotus feet of Guru. Always meditating and thinking through your mind.

Kayika, through your body, also means through what you have gotten. You’ve gotten some money, material opulence, so you offer; render service through that money, that is kayika, physical. You also have some followers, dependents, jana. With all your subordinates, you should serve Guru. That is kayika. Offering everything, one should render loving service to the lotus feet of Guru. ‘Followers’ means you are a family man. You have wife, you have son, you have daughter, you have friends, servants, whatever. So you serve with all the members of your family. That is kayaka. Through all your capacity, you should serve. This is why it is said, vando mui savadhana mate, with utmost care one should do vandana, offering prayers we should worship Guru – with utmost care, savadhana mate.

Vacika, through your words, you also offer prayers, glorifications to Guru. Also, hear from Guru, sravana guru vakya guru katha sravana. What you have heard, tell that thing to others, also. Allow other persons to hear through you, that is using your words, vacika.You also have some doubts, humbly ask questions and clarify your doubts, that is pariprasna. This is all service, seva.

Manisika, mind, you should put firm faith, unflinching faith, in the words of Guru, firm faith, unflinching faith. And you should understand that in various forms, my Guru has manifested before me and is helping me and showering mercy onto me. This is the thinking of the mind. That is how you should serve through your mind. This is kayika, vacika, maniska.

All vaisnava-sadhus in the world are all manifestations of Gurudeva. Guru-krpa, the mercy of Guru, is my only asset. Nothing else. Therefore, we say, vando mui savadhana mate, do Guru vandana with utmost care. Understand? Be careful! Don’t be careless.

Only Sri Guru Can Bring the Disciple
into Krsna Samsara

Sri Guru says that you are an eternal servant of Krsna. So you should be engaged in the service of Krsna. But where is Krsna and where am I? How can I serve? Is Krsna in the material world? No. Krsna is in the spiritual world, Vaikuntha! Krsna’s world is Vaikuntha samsara, bhagavan-kasya-samsara. I am in the material world. Krsna is the only enjoyer, jiva is not the enjoyer and jivacannot be the enjoyer.

Gurudeva says, whatever you see and find, this is all paraphernalia for Krsna’s enjoyment; it is not for your enjoyment. In Krsna’s world in Vaikuntha, enough abundance of Krsna’s enjoyment is there. As you want to become free from clutches of maya, similarly, Bhagavan, Supreme Lord Krsna wants to take you out of maya’s clutches, maya’s fort and engage you in His service, that is Krsna’s desire.

Krsna is the only enjoyer and His desire for enjoyment is unlimited, ananta. Therefore, He wants to enjoy taking everybody into His embrace. That He wants. You are a tiny jiva; have you any capacity to enjoy? You have no capacity to enjoy at all! You are not enjoyer what capacity do you have? You have only developed some abhimana that ‘I will enjoy, Oh I will enjoy.’ It is all abhimana, pride, but you have no capacity to enjoy. But Krsna has unlimited capacity. He is the only enjoyer. He enjoys in unlimited ways. Jiva is to be enjoyed, upabhogya. Jiva is not bhokta, jiva is not enjoyer, jiva is to be enjoyed, upabhogya, do you understand what Krsna wants? But Krsna is there in His abode, in vaikuntha-rajya, in the spiritual world. You are here in, sakuntha-jagat, the material world. So how can you serve? But he has made a trick for you. Krsna has made a trick for you. What is that trick? That trick is Gurudeva. Sri Gurudeva is that trick. He has sent Gurudeva here to this material world and Gurudeva has prayed for Krsna’s samsara here. That is Krsna’s desire, “Let My samsara manifest.” Pure Vaisnavas, sadhus-mahajanas, they are Gurus. So, by sending them here, Krsna wants His samsara to manifest here. And Gurudeva has opened that samsara here. The Supreme Lord has not said to Gurudeva, “You go and do your samsara.” He has not said like that. The Supreme Lord said, “You go there and do My samsara.” So, by the desire of Krsna, Gurudeva has come here and he has opened Krsna’s samsara. Krsna is his eternal master, nitya-swami, and Gurudeva has dedicated his life, complete dedication, complete surrender, kaya, mana, vakya, his body, mind and speech, everything, he has dedicated and surrendered to Krsna.

So, those who come to him, those who take shelter at the lotus feet of such a Sri Guru, he takes them and makes them enter into Krsna’s samsara. Gurudeva says, “I am opening Krsna’s samsara, I am doing everything for the pleasure and enjoyment of Krsna, so, you come and enter into Krsna’s samsaraand render unalloyed loving service to Krsna and thus you’ll be free from the clutches of maya and free from material suffering.”

How to Approach Sri Guru

Gurudeva may sit in any solitary place, secluded place, and may engage himself in his bhajan. He may sit there by the side of Radha-kunda, Syama-kunda, making a cottage there, doing his bhajan. He can do so. But why he has come here, especially to the western world where maya is very strong, gross materialists are there. His heart bleeds, seeing the suffering of the jivas. He has come here, giving up all these things, to give you opportunity how to do Hari-bhajan, Krsna-bhajan, service to Krsna. He has come to teach you that thing and to give you opportunity how to serve Krsna. You have forgotten Krsna, so just to revive your remembrance, smarana, and to give you opportunity to serve Krsna, he has come here. So he has opened this samsara, opened a factory. So you become an employee in that factory. Then, thereby you’ll enter into Krsna’s samsara.

Now some may say, ‘I am doing harinama and chanting, Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.’ You may be chanting, you may be doing Hari-bhajan, but unless you enter into Krsna’s samsara, what value is there? So in order to enter into Krsna’s samsara you have to approach a bona fide Guru, Sri Guru. So that Gurudeva is calling you, “Come, come! Enter into the samsara I have opened here.” Unless you enter into Sri Guru’s samsara, you cannot enter into Krsna’s samsara and chant offenselessly.

You maybe chanting lakhs and lakhs of Names of Krsna, but if it’s all offensive then your anarthas can never be destroyed. Even if you chant lakhs of offensive Names, still you cannot make any advancement at all! Many are chanting, but what are they getting? Only by chanting the Holy Name, can one go to Vaikuntha? No! No! No! You can never make any advancement if you are chanting with offenses. Gurudeva has come here to teach you that you should enter into the guru-samsara, that is Krsna’s samsara. You are a servant of Guru and Krsna, you have to render service, you should render service by entering into the guru-grha, the house of Guru, then you will get perfection, otherwise you cannot achieve perfection.

So entering into the samsara of Guru, what do you want? Do you want to take everything and not to give anything? You have gotten a lot from Guru! Have you not gotten? You have gotten a lot, a lot from Guru. But unless you are a servant, and unless you serve in the house of Guru, what is the benefit? No benefit will be there. Therefore, Gurudeva says, “Come and join, enter into my samsara, that is Krsna’s samsara, yes. Join here, join here, then all your anarthas will be destroyed.” Dedicate your body, mind and speech, soul everything for the service of Guru. You have come to the house of Guru. So he has opened a factory, so you should be an employee in that factory. You should be an employee; the Guru will give you employment in the factory, Gurudeva has opened. That is the service of Krsna, Krsna-seva-yajna. This isyajna, sacrifice, to offer service to Krsna. That is seva-yajna. Unless you join in that seva-yajna, unless you render service in guru-grha, you cannot get real benefit at all.

Perfection is Guaranteed

And Gaurasundara, Mahaprabhu, speaks and teaches through Sri Guru. So, giving everything that is: kaya, mana, vakya, body, mind and speech, you have to serve Sri Guru and then perfection is guaranteed. Perfection is guaranteed, definitely.

So many impediments, obstacles, are there. Material world means every step there is danger, every step there are so many stumbling blocks. But if you completely surrender through your body, mind, and speech then all your impediments, stumbling blocks, obstacles will be destroyed within a moment. In this very life, in this very life you’ll achieve perfection. There is no doubt about it. Without the mercy of Guru, without service to Guru, nobody can understand Krsna, nobody can approach Krsna, nobody can get Krsna, which is the ultimate goal of human life. Therefore, we offer this prayer everyday and offer worship to Sri Guru.

sri-guru-carana-padma, kevala-bhakati-sadma
vando mui savadhana mate

» Posted By Krsna Das On Nov 20, 2014 @ 3:41 am

Sisyatva (Discipleship)

From a lecture delivered by Sri Srimad Gour Govinda Swami Maharaja
(Bhubaneswar, India – March 18, 1993):

“One who can inculcate pure loving devotion unto you, he is a real guru.

He who has given me prema-bhakti at the lotus feet of Krishna, he is my supreme friend, he is my eternal father and mother. He is a real guru. If you tread this path of prema-bhakti then there is no fear of death, no fear of Yamaraj. No fear. So he has saved me from the clutches of Maya, clutches of Yamaraja. Those who cannot given me prema-bhakti at the lotus feet of Krishna, their guru-ship is partial guru-ship; he who has made me realize this eternity, eternal servitude-ship is my eternal guru, real guru — he has established my relationship with that Supreme Eternal.

“So one who is completely cent percent surrendered unto the lotus feet of such a guru, who is fortunate enough and has gotten such a guru, he will get the mercy. He is really fortunate soul. But if that disciple develops duplicity and is superficial, not serious in the heart only showing outwardly, yes, yes, “Gurudeva shower your mercy on me…” just outwardly showing and speaking from the lips, but inside there is a different mood. There is duplicity there. He deserves cheating, not mercy; therefore sadhu-guru has two things kripa and vancana, mercy and cheating.

So what you deserve will come to you. And Krishna knows the heart, if really in your heart you are purified. If duplicity is there, then your heart is contaminated. All your activities are only for show, only outward and based on duplicity; then you deserve cheating; you cannot get the mercy.

Those who are nama-bhajana-kari (doing worship by chanting the holy name) they have to follow these eight things. First thing is they should develop unflinching faith, strong faith in the words of sadhu-sastra-guru.

Second, he should develop greed for the association of a nama-tattva-vit sadhu, a sadhu which knows nama-tattva, he should always remain in such association.

Third thing, he should be greedy to hear the Krsna Katha, Hari Katha that is coming out from the lotus lips of such a sadhu. What he hears then by the order of that sadhu guru he speaks, he does kirtana. That is sravana-kirtana process. The fourth consideration is if you follow, then all your anarthas will be completely destroyed, anartha nivrtti. Then the sadhaka will come to the platform of nistha. “Nistha” means no oscillation of the mind, because there are no anarthas, no unwanted things are there, no other desire is there.

This is the only thing: How to render loving service unto Krishna and give Him pleasure. It is only for His pleasure; then your mind will be fixed in the holy name, fixed at the lotus feet of Krishna. That is man mana bhava. That is nistha, aikantika nistha. This is the fifth thing.

Then sixth thing is your mellow will be revealed to you: dasya, sakya, vatsalya, madhurya and based on that mellow, on that platform, you will engage constantly in bhajan,

hare krsna hare krsna krsna krsna hare hare
hare rama hare rama rama rama hare hare

This is called sarasika ruci. This is ruci based on that mellow.

Then the seventh thing is: It will be very painful for you to give up chanting the holy name even for a moment. You will feel pain, this is asakti, strong attachment to the holy name. Then you will develop bhava. Bhava comes prior to the rising of pure prema, bhava bhakti. And last is prema. When bhava matures then prema arises. That is called sthaya-rati. This are the eight things. This is the instruction of Sri Srimad Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Goswami Prabhupada Maharaja.

Thank you.

I think you have gotten something at least 30%. It is very difficult to understand. It isn’t an easy thing; but it is the most important. Unless your heart is purified, unless your consciousness is purified, you cannot understand. There is no question of understanding and Srila Kaviraj Goswami says “apana sodhite” — for my own purification I will write. Not for my material purpose or material gain. It is for the pleasure of Guru and Gauranga. Then the heart will be purified. Then you can understand it. Otherwise you cannot understand.
Hare Hé!”

» Posted By Krsna Das On Nov 19, 2014 @ 5:12 pm

Vedic View of Women

While we must thank Maharaja for a most sublime article, could he please clarify this statement: “It is significant to note that Srila Narada Muni does not include women as belonging to any of the four varnas or social orders. Rather, his description below explains how women, as a whole, are meant to assist the husband in his particular varna. In other words, social occupations that involve interaction with the outside world are not meant to be taken up by women. Or put yet in another way, varnas are for men, not for women.”

This does not seem consist with the Manu, Bhisma and other authorities who proclaim that a man, if wanting to wed many wives, should marry first the higher born woman and then proceed in descending order (eg. marry a brahaman wife first, a ksatriya wife second and so forth) in order to keep relative peace.

How does his statement fit with the example of Draupadi Maharani who refused to wed Karna on the basis of his not being a ksatriya? Very clearly, she is a proud ksatriya woman. The very definition of a queen or princess equals a ksatriya woman, correct?

To say that the wives of the seven sages such as Srimati Arundhati have no varna smacks of wrongness.

Is Maharaja saying that women only have varna through a man? So a woman must then take on her father’s and son’s varna as well when the husband retires to the forest? Can he please explain or cite an example of this, if so? How would a brahmana man find a brahmana wife if she has no varna?

We are not arguing that in a strict Vedic society, woman may have had various restrictions placed on them. For example, Manu states that woman can have Samskara rites but these should be done without uttering the Vedic hymns. However, that says nothing about a brahmana woman not being treated as such and given brahminical rites.

Thank you.

» Posted By Krsna das On Jul 14, 2011 @ 9:44 pm

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