Reject Guru? UPDATE

Mahanidhi Swami

This article is a response to a devotee wanting to make a Russian translation of my original January 2017 MSO post titled “Reject Guru? My original post follows this article.

First of all, everyone must clearly understand that rejecting the DIKSHA Guru is a very, very rare and serious action. It should never be done whimsically or fancifully just because you don’t like him or he’s not a “Big Devotee”.

Rejecting a diksha Guru is a very serious decision, only to be taken after deep shastric understanding of what type of Guru should be rejected; discussing with sadhus, and speaking directly to one’s diksha Guru about the proposed rejection, and why you feel so.

I repeat: “This is a most serious decision!”

If such a decision i.e. to reject one’s Guru is taken prematurely or without sufficent knowledge or understanding of one’s guru disciple relationship, the disciple may destroy his/her spiritual life!


Sri Sanatana Goswami says in Hari Bhakti Vilasa (4.363-365 Bhumipati trans.)

“Those who reject an authorized spiritual master who comes in disciplic succession are so condemned that even carnivorous animals [i.e. eagles, vultures, dogs, fox, wolves, etc.] will not eat their flesh. If Guru rejects a disciple, Sri Hari automatically rejects him too.

“The disciple’s intelligence then becomes polluted and he/she starts showing great arrogance. Such disciples are the lowest among mankind, if after formally accepting a Guru they reject him out of illusion. Such disciples will rot in hell for millions of kalpas!”

Please deeply consider that if the Guru is well behaved, following all religious principles; inititated by a proper Guru; and teaching the correct Gaudiya Vaisnava tattva siddhanta—THEN ONE SHOULD NEVER LEAVE THAT DIKSHA GURU. Diksa Guru means the Guru who gives gopal mantra or kama gayatri to a disciple, which are the diksha mantras for all Gaudiya Vaisnavas.

It may be that one’s diksha Guru APPEARS LIKE a very simple person, even though he is a true Krishna devotee, and a pure, serious and dedicated disciple of his Guru and personal lineage. Sri Guru may not be a big scholar, a charismatic personality, a great kirtana leader or lecturer, or a shastra nipuna, who knows all the minute details of each tattva or spiritual truth.

But nevertheless, Guru is Guru and thus even the “simple” Guru is a real Guru. Therefore, all the sweet mercy and blessings of the samasti guru, Adi Guru Sri Krishna will flow through him FULLY AND COMPLETELY to the surrendered disciple who is loyal, faithful and sincerely dedicated to serving Sri Hari, Sri Guru and the beautiful Vaisnavas.


Sri Sanatana Goswami says, (Hari Bhakti Vilasa (4.369-371 mmgd trans.):

“If, due to illusion about one’s Guru (gurum moha), a disciple considers that the Guru is an ordinary human being and thus chastises him, then such a disciple must take the body of a pig for one hundred births, shukara bhavatyeva tesham janma shateshvapi).

“Without a doubt, a foolish disciple, who rejects his/her diksha Guru (guru drohino mudhah), will constantly perform sinful activities (satatam papa karinah), and all their accumulated piety will transform into sin (teshanca yavat sukrtam dushkrttam syanna samshayah).”

“Therefore, an intelligent disciple, considering that his/her Guru is nondifferent from Bhagavan Sri Krishna, (krishna abhavena buddhiman), should worship Sri Guru at least three times a day and offer dandavat pranams.”

Now we present our previous post from March 2017 on the subject of rejecting one’s Guru:

Find Reject Guru article below:



Reject Guru?

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

#Guru #SpiritualMaster #Bhakti #Disciple #RejectingGuru

Sometimes a disciple may have to reject his/her Guru, move on and take another Guru.

Regarding this principle, I have counseled many sincere, pure-hearted Krishna bhaktas who feel unhappy, frustrated, dissatisfied, and spiritually suffocated in their Guru-Shishya relationships.

They are confused and stuck; not knowing how to get out or improve their spiritual lives. Hopefully, the light of the sastric knowledge provided herein will help such surrendered souls find their true mentor—the sad guru—and again smile with the satisfaction produced from serving and loving a real spiritual teacher.

Citing various Gaudiya Vaisnava scriptures, this article will give eleven reasons for rejecting a Guru and taking another.


Quoting from Mahabharata (5.178.24) and Narada Pancharatra (1.10.20) in Bhakti Sandarbha (anu. 238), Sri Jiva Goswami says a disciple can reject a Guru (parityago vidhiyate) who:

  1. Gives irrational guidance ie. speaks against the conclusions of Srimad Bhagavatam and other Gaudiya Vaisnava scriptures.
  2. Is proud
  3. Cannot explain the difference between right and wrong i.e. gives improper guidance.
  4. Starts following a wrong path (utpatha-pratipannasya) due to bad association or the Guru becomes addicted to sinful life.
  5. Is envious or antagonistic toward other Vaisnavas (vaishnava-vidveshi cet parityajya, BS anu. 238)

Tika Bhakti Sandarbha 238:

“If due to envy, a Guru forbids his disciple to associate with or serve an advanced devotee, the disciple should humbly bow and ask the Guru to retract that prohibition.

“But if the Guru still forbids him, the disciple should just take shelter of Krishna and continue serving his Guru from a distance without abandoning him or behaving inimically toward him.

“If some instruction of Sri Guru is inconsistent with sastra, the disciple should leave his Guru’s association [and take association of a sastric Guru], and serve his diksha Guru only from a distance.

“If the Guru slanders or becomes hostile toward Vaisnavas, he is not qualified to be a Guru and should be abandoned immediately.

“A Guru attached to sense enjoyment, ignorant of right and wrong and deviated from the bhakti marga should be abandoned because he is not a Vaisnava.” (Guru Tattva Vijnana, Sri Ananta Dasji Maharaja)


Introduction: Please note****

We are fully aware that different Sanskrit translators and wisdom teachers give different translations and explanations of the following verse from Bhakti Sandarbha. The following translation and explanation is based on Shri Kushakratah Dasji’s translation of Bhakti Sandarbha published by the Krishna Institute.

My personal teachers also agree with this translation, so we offer it for your understanding. Jai Jai Sri Sri Radha Govindaji!

  1. Not satisfied with Guru.

This most amazing point is discussed by Sri Jiva Goswami in Bhakti Sandarbha (anu. 207.1-4). First Sri Jiva says one cannot reject his diksha Guru. And then he says, ‘Well, Yes you can reject your Guru in this particular circumstance’:

Sri Jiva Goswami said, “One may accept only one diksha Guru as described in (SB 11.3.48). The disciple is not allowed to reject his diksha Guru. However, IF ONE’S GURU IS NOT SATISFACTORY, ONE SHOULD REJECT HIM AND ACCEPT ANOTHER GURU, tad-aparitoshenapy anyo guruh kriyate tat aneka guru karane purva-tyaga eva siddhah. In this way one may reject many (aneka) unsatisfactory spiritual masters.”

The key word here is apari toshen which means “dissatisfied or displeased with one’s Guru.” However, one must understand that rejecting a Guru is an ultra serious matter. It should only be done after deep deliberation and personal realization, discussion with learned devotees, and meeting with one’s Guru if possible.

Here Sri Jiva Goswami gives what seems like a simple, innocent reason for leaving one’s Guru; just plain dissatisfaction. For many different reasons, excluding the serious one’s mentioned above, a disciple may just not feel happy about his Guru, his spiritual progress, future prospects, and his life in general in relation with a particular Guru.

If that’s so, then it’s time to move on and accept another Guru. Acharyas say that when one receives a new diksha from another Guru, then the prior Guru’s diksha and relationship are automatically cancelled without incurring any aparadha, offense or negative reaction.

In this regard, one Guru commented after giving diksa to two unsatisfied disciples of a another Guru, “If it’s not working out—it is not working out. You just have to move on to make spiritual progress.”

More Pramana on Rejecting Guru


Here Sri Sanatana Goswamipada says a disciple may reject a diksha Guru who:

  1. “Is envious of real Vaisnavas, and thus prevents the disciple from honoring advanced Krishna bhaktas. Is unqualified due to poor shastric knowledge, and thus speaks wrongly not in accordance with Gaudiya Vaisnava tattva siddhanta.” [mgd: This means the Guru can’t answer the spiritual queries of a disciple, and thus the disciple remains doubtful and unsatisfied.


In Krishna Bhajanamrita (v. 17-18), Sri Narahari Sarakara Thakura (an eternal associate of Gaura-Govinda), says a disciple may reject a Guru who:

  1. Is ignorant about the position of Krishna and has misconceptions about the truth.
  2. Does not accept Krishna’s pastimes, imitates Krishna or calls himself God.


In Jaiva Dharma (chapter 20), Sri Bhaktivinoda Thakura says a disciple can reject a Guru who:

  1. Opposes Vaiṣṇava philosophy and practice.
  2. Was prematurely accepted without careful examination. And as a result, the disciple sees that all his sadhana efforts are not producing the desired result.

According to sastra, a disciple may reject a Guru who meets the above criterion without seeking his permission or agreement. The Guru and disciple may also part company by mutual consent and thus dissolve their relationship.

A genuine Guru always desires the best for his disciple, and thus he will not block or prevent the disciple’s spiritual progress. But rather Sri Guru will compassionately bless the disciple in his/her forward march to the lotus feet of Radha Govinda Yugala.


The Vedas describe that for various good reasons, including personal dissatisfaction, disciples have been rejecting their Gurus for millions of years! The Puranas, Mahabharata, Srimad Bhagavatam, Sandarbhas and Gaudiya Vaisnava acharyas discuss the unfortunate condition wherein a disciple must abandon, leave or reject a Guru.

The Bhagavatam Eight Canto describes how Bali Maharaja rejected his Guru, Shukracarya, because Guruji preached against Sri Vishnu in the form of Vamanadeva.  Thus rejecting the Guru is not a new practice. Sometimes it must be done in order to save one’s spiritual life. Again, I repeat this is a grave matter not to be taken lightly.

It is rightly said that, “Fools Rush In Where Angels Dare Not”.

Thus, any disciple contemplating rejecting his/her  diksha Guru, must only do so after deep thought, sastric study, counsel of the wise and personal realization.

Finally, one must offer intense prayers to his beloved Thakurajis. Surely, the all merciful Radha Govinda ji will give the strength, crystal-clear guidance and direction a sincere devotee needs to carry on in progressive, happy, and successful Krishna consciousness.

Sad Guru ki jai! Happy, fulfilled and enlivened disciples ki jai! Jaya Jaya Sri Radhe!

2 replies
  1. Vidya Sundar das
    Vidya Sundar das says:

    Dear Maharaj ji,

    This article relieved me from mental agonies I went on for many months or even years, as I look back. I am currently reading your book about Raganuga Bhati sadhan, and I am very satisfied, although so unqualified due to my circumstances. My dandavat pranams to you.


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