Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

Diksha mantras are given for the purpose of worshiping, attaining, and seeing one’s desired istadevata, Radha-Krishna. The diksha mantras received from Sri Guru are so powerful that by chanting them a sadhaka can achieve a post of unlimited wealth, power and influence; travel to any planet in the universe; enjoy eternal bliss; attain Krishna prema; and see Radha and Krishna face to face, sakshad darshana!

Gaudiya Vaisnava mahajana acharya Sri Sanatana Goswami proves this point in his magnum opus titled “Brhad Bhagavatamritam” by narrating the spiritual odyssey of a cowherd named Gopa-kumara who lived in Vrindavana five hundred years ago.

One day when Gopa-kumara was playing by the Yamuna, a vairagi sadhu noticed the boy and called him to his side. Being inspired by the Paramatma to give diksha, the sadhu whispered the Gopala mantra three times in Gopa-kumara’s right ear. After giving diksha, the sadhu experienced divine ecstasy, started crying and ran away.

Feeling amazed and grateful by the transforming experience, Gopa-kumara began sincerely chanting his diksha mantra while praying to Thakuraji Sri Sri Madan Gopal for His divine mercy. Just by chanting his diksha mantra (Gopala mantra), Gopa-kumara got the power to travel through India and beyond the earth. Gopa-kumara’s diksha mantra chanting carried him to Indraloka, Brahmaloka, Shivaloka, Vaikuntha, Ayodhya, Dvaraka and finally to Goloka Vrindavana.

During his travels, Gopa-kumara spoke a very important verse regarding how to properly chant diksha mantras.

Gopa-kumara said, “I eagerly chanted my diksha mantra (i.e. Gopala mantra) with the specific intention to see Bhagavan Sri Krishna.” (Brhad Bhagavatamrita 2.2.12)

tad darshane jata mano rathakulah
sankalpa purvam sva japam samacaran

Here, Gopa-kumara reveals three mental attributes necessary for perfection in chanting diksha mantras:

1) Eagerness, enthusiasm;

Gopa-kumara chanted with fervor, an intense eagerness to achieve mixed with anxiousness (akulah).

2) Desire;

Like all of us riding on the uncontrolled chariot of material desires, Gopa-kumara had desires. But Gopa-kumara had only one all-consuming enthusiastic desire driving his mind and life forward (manah ratha): To see God, Sri Sri Madan Gopalji.

3) Specific intention, fixed purpose, mental resolve and fixity;

Every day before (purvam) chanting his diksha mantra, Gopa-kumara would focus, concentrate and fix his mind on his desired goal (sankalpa) by enthusiastically and eagerly addressing his mind: “By chanting this Gopala Mantra I must see my most worshipable Prananatha—Sri Sri Madan Gopalaji!”

In this way, the great devotee Sri Gopa-kumaraji is instructing us how to properly chant our diksha mantras. First, you should make a sankalpa, which means to mentally see and state the purpose or goal you want to achieve by chanting this mantra. “O Krishna, I really want to see You so please help me. O Gurudeva, O Sri Gopala Mantra, please bless me with the sweet darshana of Sri Sri Radha-Govinda Yugala!”

This is called sankalpa purvam and jata manah ratha, to mentally, before chanting, fix one’s attention on one’s cherished desire. Then EACH AND EVERY TIME you chant your diksha mantras, you should, like Gopa-Kumara, pray and meditate upon your sankalpa and the meaning of the mantra while fervently chanting it with an “an intense eagerness to achieve your goal mixed with anxiousness (akulah).

If one chants in this way as taught by the humble Vrajavasi cowherd, Gopa-kumara, then by the unlimited power of the Gopala Mantra and Kama Gayatri, the primary Gaudiya Vaisnava diksha mantras, a sadhaka will surely obtain darshana of Sri Sri Radha and Krishna.

Diksha mantras ki jai! Mantra Guru gana ki jai! Jaya Jaya Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Swami

Have you ever asked the question, “Will I really get the same Guru in every life? Does this principle only apply to “siddha gurus” and not “regular gurus?”

The answer lies with Sri Narottama Dasa Thakura who says, janme janme prabhu sei: “O Gurudeva! YOU are my Guru life after life!” in his famous “Sri Guru carana padma prayers. According to the Vaisnava conception, the word “sei” means the same one, or “that same Guru” who in this life gave me diksha mantras and transcendental Krishna bhakti knowledge.

It does not matter whether the Guru is a so-called “siddha”, “regular” or whatever Guru—diksha Guru is diksha guru—eternally, bas!

In summary, “sei” means that my diksha Guru today will also be my diksha Guru in every future life and after liberation too. This is the actual meaning of Sri Narottama Dasa Thakura’s realized words, janme janme prabhu sei. This is also confirmed by the fact that me and many other Vaisnavas have experienced an undeniable sense of recognition and acceptance immediately upon meeting a particular Guru for the “first time”.

This transcendental phenomena of birth after birth recognition of one’s eternal Guru is arranged by Sri Krishna within the heart who sends the disciple to exactly the same Guru from the previous life. Diksha establishes AN ETERNAL LINK WITH Guru.

And for the true and sincere disciple, Sri Krishna maintains that sweet loving, beautiful and compassionate relationship forever! Jai Gurudeva!


Srila Prabhupada tika:

[Sri Narottama Dasa Thakura’s verse means] “The [diksha] guru should be considered the disciple’s master, life after life. (Srimad Bhagavatam 6.7.21) So where there is separation [from your diksha Guru], he is birth after birth your prabhu. (folio: 750721MW.SF) One [the diksha Guru] who has opened the eyes, he WILL REMAIN MY MASTER LIFE AFTER LIFE.” (folio: 760805BG.NMR)

Sri Ananta Das Babaji Maharaja tika:

“Therefore, Sri Narottama Dasa Thakura says that Sri Guru, the giver of love of Krishna and knowledge of Krishna, is my master birth after birth, and I am his servant birth after birth. This clearly indicates the PERMANENT NATURE of the relationship between Sri Guru and the disciple. The wandering jiva is born into various wombs and establishes connections with different mothers and fathers, friends and relatives.

“But the guru-shishya relationship is much different. At a suitable time after many births, the VERY SAME GURU WILL REAPPEAR before the disciple and cause him or her to drink the sweet rasa of bhajana; attain the gift of prema and enter the kingdom of Radha-Krishna lila for the direct seva of one’s beloved Sri Sri Radha-Madhava. Ah! Just see the mercy of Sri Guru! Nothing compares with this!” (tika: Prema Bhakti Chadrika 5 Sri Guru shishya nitya seva sambandha ki jai! Jaya Jaya Sri Radhe! Jai Gurudeva!

Mahanidhi Swami

Unfortunately, many disciples take their Gurus for granted and minimize their position or importance. Occasionally, disciples even fall prey to the saying “familiarity breeds contempt” which means by being too close to one, another may become casual, hateful or offensive.

Because forgetfulness is all pervasive in this age of Kali, everyone is subject to periods of laxity, complacency and forgetfulness in his/her relationship with their beloved, all-merciful Sri Guru.

By studying and praying to realize the teachings below, disciples will clarify, refine and renew their perception of their Gurus. Assimilating this shastric knowledge will help a disciple to always remember who the Guru is, what he/she represents, what Guru has given and is continuing to give, and what beautiful destination and human perfection Guruji is taking me to.

In Bhakti Sandarbha (anu.237) Sri Jiva Goswamipada quotes many shastras to describe the identity and position of the spiritual master, Sri Guru.

  1. Sri Narada Muni said, “By various different means and practices one can conquer lust, anger, greed, fear, pride, attachment to sense gratification, anxiety, physical weakness and suffering, sleep, and the samsara bondage of three modes. However, ALL THESE CAN BE EASLIY AND QUICKLY CONQURED BY GURU BHAKTI. (Srimad Bhagavatam 7.15.25)
  2. In Vamana Kalpa, Sri Brahmaji said,

yo mantraù sa Guruù sakshad, yo Guruù sa hariù svayam
Gurur yasya bhavet tushtas, tasya tuñöo hariù svayam

“The diksha mantra is identical to the Guru and the Guru is identical to Sri Hari Himself. There is no difference whatsoever between mantra, Guru and Hari. If Guru is satisfied then Sri Hari is automatically satisfied.”

  1. “If Bhagavan Sri Krishna is angry, the Guru can save one. If Guru is angry, no one can save one. Therefore with all effort one should please the Guru.” (Hari Bhakti Vilasa 4.36)
  2. Bhagavan Sri Krishna said, “First one should worship Guru and then worship Me. Doing this brings all results and neglecting this brings failure.” (Hari Bhakti Vilasa 4.344)
  3. Narada Pancharatra: “A Vaisnava is one who worships Sri Guru with body, mind and words.”
  4. Bhagavan Sri Krishna said, “O Vipra Sudama! I, who am the Soul of all beings, am not as satisfied by puja and ritual worship, brahminical initiation, penances or self-discipline as I am by faithful service rendered to one’s Guru.” (Srimad Bhagavatam 10.80.34)

Sri Jiva Goswamipada tika:

“Here Bhagavan Sri Krishna says, ‘Without service to Sri Guru, all other actions are useless. Sri Guru is directly My form because I have entered into him and he is My best devotee.’”

Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti tika:

Krishna said, “Therefore the Guru who teaches about Me is most worthy of being faithfully served.”

  1. In Padma Purana, Sri Devahuti said:

bhaktir yatha harau me’sti tad variñtha gurau yadi
mamasti tena satyena sandarshayatu me harih

“If I have more devotion to Guru than Hari, then Sri Hari will give me His darshana through this truth.” [“tad variñtha” means Guru bhakti is more glorious than Hari bhakti.]

  1. A very popular chant in India from Garga Samhita (4.1.13):

gurur brahma gurur visnur, guru devo maheshvarah
guruh sakshat param brahma, tasmai sri guruave namah

GURU IS DIRECTLY: Brahma, Visnu, Shiva, and Parambrahman. I offer respects to Guru.


The Guru Gita from Skanda Purana contains Shankara Mahadeva Shivaji’s perfect and uplifting lessons on the truth of Guru. Here is a sampling of some of the wonderfully inspiring and illuminating verses:

Sri Shivaji said, “O Parvati! One should meditate on his/her Guru at all times, just as a devoted wife thinks only of her husband. (30) “Gu” means darkness and “Ru” means the remover of the darkness i.e. ignorance. Thus the teacher who removes the darkness of ignorance is Guru. (34)

Those who are never serve Sri Guru will never be freed from the samsara chakra. (53) Without Guru’s infinite grace, one will not attain peace of mind even after studying millions of scriptures. (56) Whoever vilifies the Guru goes to hell and stays there as long as the sun and moon shine. (58)

One who speaks to the Guru in rude or insulting manner is born as a demon in a jungle or in a waterless region. (61) There is no happiness in Vedas and Shastras, not even in mantras and tantras. In this world, there is no happiness except in the Guru’s Grace. (89)

By the glory of Guru Diksha, all your actions bear fruit. By the attainment of a Guru one attains everything. One without a Guru is mere fool. (102)

To the person who has the Guru Mantra on his tongue, all acts become fruitful but not for others. By the power of initiation disciples attains success in all actions. (133)

Wherever the Guru lives all the devatas live too, and move about the Guru’s residence [kutir or ashram]. (135) O Devi, by the mere satisfaction of the Guru, all sacrifices, austerities, penances, and rites practiced in crores of births, in crores of Kalpas (world cycles), become fruitful. (149)

O Parvati, learning, wealth, strength, good fortune, all of these are of no use if one does not have the grace of the Guru. One falls down. (151)

One who has Guru bhakti, blessed is his father, mother, family and dynasty. (152) I repeat this thrice with force that there is nothing greater than the Guru. (154) O Parvati, one becomes free from the cycle of birth and death by pleasing the Guru. (157)

Guru bhakti is the greatest kind of pilgrimage, whereas all other yatras are worthless. All places of pilgrimage are present, O Devi, at the sacred holy feet of the Guru. (159)

Because they give different benefits, there are many types of Gurus, such as the Suchaka, Vachaka, Bodhaka, Vihita, and Karanakhya Gurus. The supreme Guru however is the PARAMA GURU—the expert in removing all types of doubts and the fear of birth and death. One gets a PARAMA GURU after acquiring heaps of punya over many births. If one has such a Guru, one will never be bound in Samsara and become liberated forever. By all means and efforts, one should serve the Parama Guru. (165-174)

By the devotion practiced towards the Guru, one attains liberation even without knowledge. For those who practice unflinching devotion to the Guru, no other sadhana is required. (212) Thus ends the Guru Gita spoken by Sri Shivaji to Srimati Parvati Devi.

Mahadeva Sri Shivaji ki jai!

Srila Prabhupada:

“Our life will be successful when we strictly follow Guru and Krishna. Guru means Krishna—Krishna means Guru. Not Mäyäväda [that Guru IS Krishna], but Guru means one who follows Krishna. So Guru is directly God, säkñäd-hari. Every shastra says the Guru is God, Krishna. Guru is servant-God and Krishna is master-God. When a person is accepted by both the Gods, then his life is success.” (folio 760731R1.NMR)

Nitya Guru smarana ki jai! Jaya Jaya Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Swami

What follows is a brief response given to an E-Mail inquiry regarding the question, “Is Guru God?”

BHAKTA: “I have been hearing you quite regularly state the Guru is Krishna and you quote many scriptural references. In some spiritual missions they teach that Guru is the representative of God and not actually God himself. I have the understanding that the Guru is a Jiva who becomes empowered by God, not that he actually becomes God. And I have also seen that many “Gurus” fall down. So can you please help me get the right understanding of Guru Tattva?

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das: “Radhe! Radhe! The highest level of Guru and very, very, very rare indeed is a jiva who has attained sadhana siddhi and is realized in Radha-Krishna prema. Of course, all Gurus are jiva shakti, jiva-tattva, and not the Sarva Shaktimayi Purnatama Svayam Bhagavan Sri Krishna or bhagavat tattva. So difference is there in tattva.

But it’s also true that ALL GOD’S POWER, mercy, love and compassion are present in Sri Guru. In understanding Guru Tattva, and in fact all spiritual reality, one must always apply the principle that eternal truth is inconceivably and simultaneously ONE AND DIFFERENT. Thus Sri Guru and Sri Krishna ARE ONE and also different!

However, shastras everywhere say clearly GURU IS GOD. Why because the Guru gives God thru mantra diksha, shiksha and krpa. So many Indians worship Guru as God and attain perfection by that. They attain God who is attained by God in the form of Guru.

Nevertheless, all Gurus are jivas after all, and some get covered by maya, some don’t. But when acting as Guru they are perfect, and they are God in the sense that Gurus REPRESENT GOD’S WILL MERCY AND COMPASSION AND ARE THE TANGIBLE GOD BEFORE US taking us to Bhagavan Sri Krishna.

Certainly, it requires devotion and sensitive discrimination to understand the position of Guru. Yes, Guru is God, and yes he is also jiva, and yes he is the representative of God. But still there is no harm, nor is it against shastras and acharya vani to see and worship Guru As God as many do today.

A very popular verse in India:

Gurur brahma Gurur vishnur,  Guru devo maheshvarah
Guruh sakshat param brahma, tasmai sri gurave namah

GURU IS DIRECTLY Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva and Parabrahma. I offer respects to Sri Guru. (Garga Samhita 4.1.13)

In Bhakti-sandarbha (Anuccheda 237), Sri Jiva Goswamipada quotes the Uttara Vamana Kalpa:

yo mantrah sa Guru sakshat yo Guru sa hari svayam

“The mantra given by the Guru is itself the Guru, and the Guru is directly the Supreme Lord Hari.”

We hope these words will clear your doubts regarding Sri Guru. Jaya Jaya Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Swami

What is the difference between an uttama bhagavata an uttama adhikari devotee? There is widespread confusion concerning the true meaning of these terms. And as a result, new candidates or even the initiated often argue over whether or not their diksha Guru is an uttama bhagavata, an uttama adhikari, a madhyama adhikari etc.

Knowing the truth concerning this topic is essential and crucial, especially for someone looking for a Guru. The confusion arises from shastras’ use of the same terms to describe two different truths. The three words uttama, madhyama and kanishtha can refer either to the level of one’s eligibility for bhakti bhajana, or the level or percentage of a devotee’s vision, perception, and direct experience of Bhagavan Sri Krishna.

In other words, one (described in Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu) is a measurement of a devotee’s faith in and knowledge of Sri Krishna. And the other one (described in Srimad Bhagavatam) is a measurement of one’s vision, perception and experience of Bhagavan and the degree of a devotee’s love and attachment to Bhagavan Sri Krishna.

Sri Rupa Gosvami describes the three levels of adhikara or fitness for bhakti sadhana as kanishta adhikari, madhyama adhikari and uttama adhikara. Thus, personal adhikara for bhakti is based on one’s faith in and knowledge of Bhagavan Sri Krishna. On the other hand, the Srimad Bhagavatam describes three levels of spiritual advancement among devotees as kanishtha (prakrta bhakta), madhyama bhakta, and uttama bhagavata according to the degree of their vision of Bhagavan Sri Krishna.


In Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu (1.2.16-19), Sri Rupa Gosvami describe as follows:

1) UTTAMA ADHIKARI: “Is one who is expert in bhakti shastras, logic and reason, and has firm, mature and unbreakable faith in Bhagavan Sri Krishna.”

śāstre yuktau ca nipuṇaḥ, sarvathā dṛḍha niścayaḥ
prauḍha śraddho ‘dhikārī yaḥ, sa bhaktāv uttamo mataḥ 17

2) MADHYAMA ADHIKARI: “Is one who has full faith in shastras and Bhagavan Sri Krishna but lacks expertise in transcendental wisdom.”

yaḥ śāstrāhi ṣvani puṇaḥ śraddhāvan sa tu madhyamaḥ 18

Sri Jiva Goswamipada tika: Lacking expertise in shastras means that one has a general knowledge of shastras, and firm faith which will not break even if one cannot defeat opposing arguments.

Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti tika:

The word sraddhavan in text 17 means that the madhyama adhikari has firm faith in shastras and the words of his/her Guru.

3) Kanishtha Adhikari: “Is the lowest level of devotee who has very little knowledge of shastras, weak, tender faith which can easily be broken by contrary beliefs or opposing arguments.

yo bhavet komala śraddhaḥ sa kaniṣṭho nigadyate 19

Why devotees have different adhikara or fitness for bhakti is nicely explained by Sri Mukunda das Goswami (shishya of Sri Krishna Dasa Kaviraja): “The division of three types of eligibility or adhikara arise out of one’s spiritual status attained by the grace of Bhagavan Sri Krishna Himself and the saints with whom one has associated in the past.”


The Srimad Bhagavatam describes the three levels of devotees as beginner, intermediate and topmost according to the degree of their vision of Bhagavan Sri Krishna.

1) UTTAMA BHAGAVATA: “The most advanced Krishna bhakta who sees his most worshipable Bhagavan Sri Krishna within everything and sees everything in Bhagavan.”

sarva-bhūteṣu yaḥ paśyed bhagavad-bhāvam ātmanaḥ
bhūtāni bhagavaty ātmany eṣa bhāgavatottamaḥ
Srimad Bhagavatam 11.2.45

Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti tika: When Hiraṇyakaśipu asked, “Where is your Ishvara?” Prahlāda said, “He is everywhere. One can see Bhagavan Sri Krishna even in a pillar.” Similarly, one should see all living beings in Bhagavan Sri Krishna (ātmani), just as Yaśodā saw all beings in the belly of Krishna.

There is another meaning. One should see all beings as having Krishna prema, and being absorbed in Krishna who appears in their minds. This shown by the prema of the Vraja-gopis and Dvaraka mahishis.

vana-latās tarava ātmani viṣṇuṁ, vyañjayantya iva puṣpa-phalāḍhyāḥ
praṇata-bhāra-viṭapā madhu-dhārāḥ, prema-hṛṣṭa-tanavo vavṛṣuḥ sma

The trees and creepers in the forest respond by becoming so luxuriant with fruits and flowers that they seem to be manifesting Lord Viṣṇu within their hearts. As their branches bend low with the weight, the filaments on their trunks and vines stand erect out of the ecstasy of love of God, and both the trees and the creepers pour down a rain of sweet sap. Srimad Bhagavatam 10.35.9

nadyas tadā tad upadhārya mukunda-gītam’ āvarta-lakṣita-manobhava-bhagna-vegāḥ
āliṅgana-sthagitam ūrmi-bhujair murārer, gṛhṇanti pāda-yugalaṁ kamalopahārāḥ

‘When the rivers hear the flute-song of Krishna, their minds begin to desire him, and with the arms of their waves they embrace Murāri’s lotus feet and, present offerings of lotus flowers.’ Srimad Bhagavatam 10.21.15

na calasi na vadasy udāra-buddhe, kṣiti-dhara cintayase mahāntam artham
api bata vasudeva-nandanāṅghriṁ, vayam iva kāmayase stanair vidhartum

O magnanimous mountain, you neither move nor speak. You must be pondering some matter of great importance. Or do you, like us, desire to hold on your breasts the feet of Vasudeva’s darling son? Srimad Bhagavatam 10.90.22

One should contemplate the mood of Bhagavan Sri Krishna within oneself as being present in all living entities. One should see in this way implies that one must GAIN QUALIFICATION FOR SEEING, RATHER THAN being able to see like this at all times. Great devotees like Nārada, Vyāsa and Śukadeva do not see Bhagavan Sri Krishna everywhere at all times, and this increases their desire for Krishna.

When this longing to see Bhagavan Sri Krishna increases further, then the devotees see the whole world as Bhagavan Sri Krishna as in the logic that a lusty man sees desirable women everywhere. In this verse, the verb paśyed (see) means actually “to know”. Thus the best devotee is he who knows Bhagavan Sri Krishna is in everything and everything is in Bhagavan Sri Krishna simply by scriptural knowledge.

Further on in this chapter, the Srimad Bhagavatam (11.2.55) describes the topmost type of bhagavata bhakta i.e. the maha bhagavata!

visṛjati hṛdayaṁ na yasya sākṣād, dharir avaśābhihito ‘py aghaugha-nāśaḥ
praṇaya-rasanayā dhṛtāṅghri-padmaḥ, sa bhavati bhāgavata-pradhāna uktaḥ

** MAHABHAGAVATA: “Is the best of devotees because Bhagavan Śrī Hari, who destroys heaps of sins for His devotees, never leaves his heart even if he accidentally calls Hari, because he has permanently bound Sri Hari’s lotus feet within his heart with the ropes of intimate love (praṇaya rasanaya).”

Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti tika: There is no problem even with heaps of sins because Bhagavan can easily destroy a multitude of sins simply by being called. Then what to speak of chanting Bhagavan nama with a continuous taste of rasa?

This verse answers the question ‘Why doesn’t Bhagavan leave the temple of their hearts?’ Bhagavan can’t leave because the devotee ties his heart to the lotus feet of Bhagavan with the ropes of affection. Just as Yaśodā’s prema bound Krishna to the mortar, the devotee binds Bhagavan with the chains of prema!

2) MADHYAMA BHAKTA: “The intermediate or second-class devotee offers his love to Bhagavan Sri Krishna, befriends Krishna bhaktas, shows mercy to the innocent ignorant, and avoids the envious.”

īsvare tad-adhīneṣu bāliśeṣu dviṣatsu ca,
prema-maitrī-kṛpopekṣā yaḥ karoti sa madhyamaḥ
Srimad Bhagavatam 11.2.46

Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti tika:

The madhyama devotee shows prema for his worshipable Bhagavan Sri Krishna. This actually means he has attachment for Bhagavan rather than prema. He befriends bhaktas dependent on Sri Krishna, and shows mercy to those ignorant of bhakti. Since even Bharata, Vyāsa and Śukadeva did not show mercy to all persons they saw, it should be explained that this mercy to the ignorant arises by itself.

This is understood from the example of the mountain SB 10.20.36: During the monsoon season, mountains sometimes release their storage of water and sometimes do not, just as realized devotees sometimes give the nectar of divine wisdom and sometimes do not.

Madhyama bhaktas avoid haters of Bhagavan because they know their mercy will be useless with them. It is proper to stay away from inimical ones understanding they are foolish while simultaneously reflecting upon one’s own good fortune. The madhyama devotee does not have the qualification to see Bhagavan in all beings. But when he attains that quality he then becomes an uttama devotee. Even among uttama devotees like Nārada one will see these four qualities of prema, friendship, mercy and indifference.

3) PRAKRTA BHAKTA: “The neophyte, beginner bhakta (kanishtha) who faithfully worships Krishna’s murti, does not behave properly with others. He is a materialistic, unrefined devotee occupying the lowest position.”

arcāyām eva haraye pūjāṁ yaḥ śraddhayehate,
na tad-bhakteṣu cānyeṣu sa bhaktaḥ prākṛtaḥ smṛtaḥ
Srimad Bhagavatam 11.2.47

CONCLUSION: Hopefully, everyone now understands these terms and can thus judge devotees accordingly. Since it “takes one to know one” it is impossible for a Guru seeker to tell whether a proposed Guru is a bhava-bhakta or premi bhakta, uttama bhakta, or a maha bhagavata. Such extremely advanced and liberated devotees are very, very rare.

So what to do, and how to select your eternal friend and wise guide to love divine, Sri Guru? One seeking a diksha Guru should select an uttama adhikari bhakta i.e. one whose deep knowledge of bhakti shastras can destroy your doubts; and whose ‘rock solid’ faith in shastras and Bhagavan Sri Krishna inspires and deepens your own faith in Sri Krishna and the path of Krishna bhakti sadhana.

By surrendering to and accepting diksha from such a Guru, one will attain genuine bhakti, and joyfully progress on the path of bhakti to the perfection of Sri Sri Radha-Govinda’s prema seva in the groves of Vrindavana!

Sri Guru tattva ki jai! Jaya Jaya Sri Radhe!