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Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

It’s true that both in quality and quantity, Bhagavan Sri Krishna is infinitely SAT CHIT AND ANANDA, which means Sri Krishna has a beautiful spiritual form made of eternity, all-pervading unlimited consciousness, and infinite transcendental, ecstatic loving bliss.

ishvara parama krishna, sac cid ananda vigraha,
“Bhagavan Sri Krishna is the transcendental form of eternity, unlimited knowledge and bliss.” (Brahma-samhita 5.1)

Although many think and speak, “The jivatmas or jivas (human beings like us) are like Sri Krishna, sac cid ananda, one with Krishna in quality but not in quantity. Thus Krishna is the big sat chit ananda, and we are a small edition, “chota sat chit ananda”.

FYI:

This is completely INCORRECT due to a misunderstanding of the word ANAND, which is often used when describing the jivatama. According to Upanisads, Srimad Bhagavatam, Puranas and the Vrndavana Six Goswamis the eternal constitution, nature, or composition of the jivatma is only SAT and CHIT, eternality and consciousness. In other words, “I am eternal and I am aware of my existence.” [Sri Gita 2.20]

Now we give a brief summary of the sastras and Sri Jiva Goswamipada’s definition of the inherent nature of the jivatma.

To begin with, Sri Jiva Goswamipada says that understanding the true identity and nature of the jiva is the first step in the science of God-realization. (Tattva San. Anu. 53)

In various Sandarbhas, he explains that ananda is only in the svarupa-shakti of Bhagavan Sri Krishna and NOT IN tatastha-shakti i.e. the jivatmas. We jivatmas only have the POTENTIAL TO EXPERIENCE ANANDA, if and when we receive the gift of bhakti by the grace of Bhagavan Sri Krishna or Sri Guru.

Bhakti is a combination of Sri Krishna’s two transcendental potencies, hladini i.e. bliss, real spiritual ananda, and samvit i.e. transcendental knowledge.

The material happiness we jivatmas feel through our senses, bodies or minds has absolutely nothing to do with the transcendental ananda that is part of Sri Krishna’s being.

As said earlier, the confusion about the true identity of the jivatma arises from the misunderstanding and misapplication of the word ANANDA. It is just like the word ATMA, which sastra uses interchangeably to mean either SOUL, MIND OR BODY.

A second example is the word KAMA, which, depending on the context, can mean either base, material desire or physical LUST i.e. intense craving to satisfy one’s selfish carnal instincts.

Or in spiritual matters KAMA refers to the cent per cent, absolutely pure spiritual desire, and intense transcendental amorous passion of the Vraja gopis like Srimati Radharani to please and satisfy Sri Krishna in every possible way, without a pinch, fragrance or even one iota of selfish desires “for me”.

Similarly, the word ANANDA is used to describe the material happiness of the jiva as in “Are you feeling anand?” Such material ananda, which is merely a play of polarity or the removal of a distress or lacking, should never be confused or equated with the totally transcendental eternal ANANDA of Bhagavan Sri Krishna.

Sri Jiva Goswamipada explains in Paramatma Sandarbha that the chit or knowledge aspect of the jivatma is merely the potential to learn and experience material knowledge, the innate nature of knowing. All the material knowledge that we may collect is stored in the buddhi. This knowledge, chit feature, is not part of the jivatma’s transcendental nature.

It is only if and when the jivatma receives Krishna’s transcendental chit shakti in the form of bhakti by the grace Bhagavan or Sri Guru that spiritual bliss i.e. TRUE AND REAL ANANDA, and transcendental knowledge CHIT are infused and mixed in the inherent nature of the transcendental jivatma.

Thus all Krishna bhaktas should understand, appreciate and be forever grateful to Sri Krishna and Sri Guru for Their giving the matchless gift of pure bhakti. By the mercy of bhakti, all devotees can now know and understand Sri Krishna, reality the beautiful.

And they can NOW TRULY LOVE and experience unending real spiritual joy and fulfillment in the service of Sri Sri Radha-Krishna in the pleasure bowers of Vraja for time eternal!

Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

(concept, Dr. Sri Satyanarayana Das Babaji Maharaja)

Sri Krishna ki jai! Sri Guru ki jai! Bhakti-devi ki jai!

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

Firstly, if one has the shelter of Sri Guru, one is indeed very, very fortunate and truly blessed by Bhagavan Sri Krishna. Unfortunately, however, right now on this planet billions of people either have no spiritual teacher or don’t care to have one.

Sometimes it happens that one must leave the Guru to progress in spiritual life. The sastras and Gaudiya Vaisnava acaryas like Sri Jiva Goswamipada give specific guidelines regarding leaving the Guru.

Presented here are all our posts on this subject which will greatly help anyone thinking about this. First, we cite various scriptures stating that one should never reject the diksa guru. But as everyone knows, there are always exceptions to any rule. Thus, the second half of the post cites various sastras to show the legitimate reasons for rejecting or leaving the Guru.

Everyone must clearly understand that rejecting the diksa 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 diksa Guru is a most delicate decision, only to be taken after deep sastric understanding of when and why a Guru should be rejected; discussing with sadhus, and if possible, speaking directly to one’s diksa Guru about the proposed rejection, and why you feel so. One should also chant lots of nama japa, and utter sincere prayers to Bhagavan Sri Krishna begging for guidance and strength.

I repeat: “This is a most serious decision!” If such a decision i.e. to reject one’s Guru is taken prematurely or without sufficient knowledge or understanding of the Guru disciple relationship, the disciple may destroy his/her spiritual life!

DIRE RESULT OF REJECTING GURU

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; initiated by a proper Guru; and teaching the correct Gaudiya Vaisnava tattva siddhanta—THEN ONE SHOULD NEVER LEAVE THAT DIKSA GURU. Diksa Guru means the Guru who gives Gopal mantra or Kama gayatri to a disciple, which are the diksa mantras for all Gaudiya Vaisnavas.

It may be that one’s diksa 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, speaker, or sastra 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.

VIEW OF SRI GURU

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 –shatesh-vapi).

“Without a doubt, a foolish disciple, who rejects his/her diksa 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 non-different from Bhagavan Sri Krishna, (Krishna- abhavena -buddhiman), should worship Sri Guru at least three times a day and offer dandavat- pranams.”

Now for the exceptions to the rule. Sometimes a disciple may have to reject the Guru, move on and take another Guru.

Regarding this principle, we have counselled many sincere, pure-hearted Krishna bhaktas who feel unhappy, frustrated, dissatisfied, and spiritually suffocated in their Guru-Sisya 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.

ELEVEN REASONS FOR REJECTING GURU

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

BHAKTI SANDARBHA (anu. 238)

The conditions for rejecting the Guru are described in the Narada Pancharatra (1.10.20)

and Mahabharata (5.178.24):

guror -apy avaliptasya –kāryākāryam- ajānataḥ
utpatha-pratipannasya- parityāgo- vidhīyate

“One should completely reject a Guru (parityago- vidhiyate) who:

  1. Is arrogant and proud
  2. Does not know what to do or not do, or gives improper guidance.
  3. Teachings are inconsistent, against the conclusions of Srimad Bhagavatam and Gaudiya Vaisnava scriptures.
  4. Has deviated from the path laid out in the bhakti-sastras (utpatha-pratipannasya), or preaches bogus ideas or apasiddhanta i.e. against the teachings of the six Gosvamis.

Sri Bhakti Sandarbha (238) elaborates on this reason:

“The Guru who speaks incorrectly or illogically, and the disciple who hears this will both go to a horrible hell for unlimited time, yo- vakti –nyaya- rahitam -srnoti -ubhau –narakam- ghoram- vrajatah –kalam- aksayam.” (Narada Pancaratra)

  1. Is envious or antagonistic toward other Vaisnavas (vaishnava-vidveshi cet parityajya. (Bhakti Sandarbha anu. 238)

Commenting on Bhakti Sandarbha (238), Pandit Sri Ananta Das Babaji Maharaja says, “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 diksa Guru only from a distance.

“But if the Guru is openly malicious, offensive or antagonistic toward other Vaisnavas, one should conclude that the Guru is not a Vaisnava and abandon him immediately because he has no Vaisnava bhava or attitude [humility and respecting all]. One should then take shelter of a proper Guru and perform bhajana.” (Guru Tattva)

UNIQUE REASON FOR REJECTING GURU:

  1. Not satisfied with Guru.

This most amazing point is discussed in Bhakti Sandarbha (anu. 207.1-4).

First Sri Jiva Goswamipada condemns the practice of rejecting the Guru (guru-tyaga) by quoting Brahma Vaivarta Purana:

bodhaḥ- kaluṣitas- tena -daurātmyaṁ -prakaṭī-kṛtam
gurur- yena –parityaktas- tena -tyaktaḥ- purā- hariḥ

“One who abandons his/her Guru has already rejected Sri Hari. One’s intelligence is polluted and one has acted duplicitously.”

EXCEPTION TO THE RULE: Yes! You Can Reject Guru

Then Sri Jiva says, “However, there is another spiritual rule or exception (apavada -vacana) to this rejection rule (tyāga-niṣedhāt) of Brahma Vaivarta Purana, which is this:

tad-aparitoṣeṇāpy- anyo- guruḥ -kriyate
tato- aneka-guru-karaṇe- pūrva-tyāga eva siddhaḥ
cāpavāda-vacana

Sri Jiva Goswami says, “However, if one is dissatisfied (aparitoṣeṇā) with the diksa Guru, one may take diksa from another Guru (anyo -guruh -kriyate). In taking other Gurus (aneka- guru -karane), the rejection of the former Guru is completed (purva- tyaga- eva -siddha).”

Here the implied meaning is that upon taking a new diksa, then the prior diksa and relationship with a particular Guru are automatically cancelled. Because one is following the orders of sastra, one will not incur any aparadha, offense or negative reaction.

The key word Sri Jiva uses here is aparitosena which means “dissatisfied or displeased with” one’s Guru. However, one must understand that rejecting a Guru is a 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 one’s Guru, spiritual progress, future prospects, and life in general in relation with a particular Guru.

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

Here is additional scriptural evidence for renouncing the Guru.

HARI BHAKTI VILASA

In Hari Bhakti Vilasa, Sri Sanatana Goswami says a disciple may reject a Guru who:

  1. Is unqualified due to poor sastric knowledge, and thus incapable of answering a disciple’s questions on sastra which leaves the disciple doubtful and unsatisfied.

KRISHNA BHAJANAMRITA

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.

JAIVA DHARMA

In Hari-nama Cintamani (chapter 6), and 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. Or 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.

Conclusion: 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.

Deep thought, sastric study, counsel of the wise, personal realization, and intense prayers to Sri Krishna will give the 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! Guru bhakti ki jai! Sastra praman ki jai! Jaya Jaya Sri Radhe!

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!

ACHARYA VANI PRAMAN:

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:

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 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.

THREE LEVELS OF ADHIKARA FOR BHAKTI

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.”

THREE LEVELS OF ADVANCED DEVOTEES

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!

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!

DIRE RESULT OF REJECTING GURU

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.

VIEW OF SRI GURU

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.

BHAKTI SANDARBHA

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)

UNIQUE REASON FOR REJECTING GURU:

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

HARI BHAKTI VILASA (anu. 238),

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.

KRISHNA BHAJANAMRITA

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.

JAIVA DHARMA

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.

CONCLUSION

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!

By Mahanidhi Swami

When one becomes serious about spiritual progress in life he/she may seek a Guru to learn how to attain spiritual perfection. But who is my guru, what to look for, and how to choose which one among the thousands of divine preceptors gracing the planet?

From whom should one acceptmantradiksa? Let’s examine the shastras to determine the qualities of the Guru. TheKramadipikastates thatmantrasshould be taken from anuttama-mahabhagavatadevotee of Krishna who knows theshastrasand the Vaisnavasiddhanta.

TheBhaktavalisays that a qualifiedgurushould be pure in his dealings and saintly in character. He should be free from anger, pride and all material desires. He must be learned in Vedicshastras, speak sweetly, possess a handsome appearance, be full of compassion and do good to others. He should be peaceful, worship Radha and Krishna, be fully engaged in Their service and attached to chantingharinama.

TheVisnusmrtisays that a spiritual master who demands fame, wealth, and comforts from the disciples is not worthy to be calledguru. The spiritual preceptor should have the twenty-six qualities of a devotee, be free from material desires, absorbed in pure devotional service of Krishna, and capable of destroying the disciple’s doubts by speaking with full logic and reason.

TheTattvasagarstates thatmantradiksashould never be taken from a person who is idle, greedy, or attached to sense gratification.

In the following entry, based on all our research about Guru tattva, we present a summary of what qualities to look for in choosing a spiritual master.

Firstly, you should select a Guru who is fixed inbrahman(brahma-nistham). He is a realized soul who dispels ignorance. He is simple, honest, humble, serene, free from false ego, and ever united with God. Lust, anger, greed, envy, arrogance and infatuation (the six enemies of conditioned souls) have been totally converted into love, compassion, benevolence, auspiciousness, selfless action, and forgiveness. You should see in your savior that he is the embodiment of all the great virtues.

Sri Guru knows and lives the spirit of theshastras. He follows and respects the masters of the past, and though upholding the tradition, gives new meaning to it. He is the light showing the way and he lives in the highest plane of Krishna consciousness.

Sri Guru is one with the desire of Lord Sri Krishna and he acts accordingly. He strictly follows the exemplary path ofpure bhakti dharma. He is the compassionate father and benevolent mother of his disciples. He shows his love to all including plants, animals, and inanimate objects.

Sri Guru lives to serve Sri Hari, Sri Guru, the Vaisnavas and the whole planet! He teaches and practices what he preaches. He lives and loves for the sake of the Supreme Lord Sri Krishna. His words are wisdom. Sri Guru is child-like and always happy, for he is fixed in remembering the lotus feet of his Guru and Radha and Krishna.

Dualities do not affect Sri Guru. Heat and cold, pleasure and pain, loss and gain are one and the same. Controlled in body, mind, and speech, Sri Guru delights independent of any object. He has no prejudices, nor does he divert His mind from the Divine to judge others. Saving people from illusion, suffering and sin, he lovingly guides, befriends, and protects them.

The benevolent Guru blesses all by offering them the treasure of Krishnabhakti. Pure love of God emanates from every pore of his body. Within himself Sri Guru enjoys a constant festival of bliss relishing his eternal seva to Radha-Krishna in the divine realm of Vrindavana. And he gives this bliss and perfection to all who seek.

(Excerpt from book Gayatri Mahima Madhuri by Mahanidhi Swami)

Sri Guru Charana Padma ki jai!

Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

By Mahanidhi Swami

To serve and not to be served is the constitutional position of the jiva, the living entity. Forgetting his real eternal nature, the conditioned soul becomes the false master of the material world. He plays the role of God and tries to enjoy his senses in every way imaginable and unimaginable. Though he tries very hard to be the supreme enjoyer, in reality the conditioned soul becomes a completely bound slave of Maya. Ironically, the more one strives for lordship, freedom and pleasure, the more he increases his bondage of servitude and misery.

For a fortunate soul, the spiritual master, Sri Guru, appears in his life to remove the darkness of misconception and establish him in the light of eternal truth. Sri Guru proclaims, “O lost soul! Verily, my dear friend, you are actually the eternal servant of the Supreme Lord Krishna (jivera, svarupa haya nitya krishna dasa).” Ahh…… A new life begins. Joy awakens and the highest divine prospect descends to lighten the burden of a million previous births.

But who is the spiritual master? What is his relationship with Sri Krishna and Srila Vyasadeva, the compiler of all Vedic thought? And lastly why and how is Sri Guru worshiped in a ceremony commonly known as Vyasa-puja?

Since the Vedas contain all the knowledge and mantras one needs to achieve both material happiness and spiritual perfection, why can’t one just study the Vedas by himself, without a spiritual master, and attain all material and spiritual perfection? Besides, it is said that the Supreme Lord is within everyone, so why does one need a spiritual guide to realize God?

The sacred books alone are not the revelation. The acaryas, spiritual teachers, are a necessary part of revelation. The Vedic texts preserve the spoken words of the Supreme Lord and various liberated saints known as rishis. But alone, the books cannot speak personally to us.

God is transcendental sound and He must be heard. Therefore, the Vedic literature is called Shruti, which means that which is heard or communicated orally from the beginning; sacred knowledge orally transmitted by the spiritual teachers from generation to generation. The word Shruti also means the ear organ or the power of hearing.

The transcendental sound spoken by a God realized soul, the spiritual master, to the surrendered disciple disposed to rendering unconditional service to Sri Guru, is not the same as the transcendental sound written in or read in the sacred scriptures, the Vedas. The personal factor, Sri Guru, provides the essential link connecting the covered consciousness of the disciple and the Absolute Truth. The Supreme Lord engages select persons to act as His delegated, empowered representatives, the spiritual masters, who act in this world to dispel the ignorance eclipsing the original, pure and brilliant consciousness of the conditioned souls.

By His own will the Absolute Truth appears on the lips of a surrendered devotee. But the Absolute Truth, which is fully experienced as Sri Krishna the transcendental autocrat, forever reserves the right of not revealing Himself to the mundane senses of the conditioned soul attached to material sense enjoyment. Personal submission to the living pure devotee is the key to spiritual perfection. The spiritual preceptor is the empowered representative of Srila Vyasadeva, who is none other than Lord Narayana Himself.

Mundane scientists research the phenomenal world to make discoveries to improve the quality of human life. Similarly, one may argue that, “Since God is within everyone, why can’t a spiritual seeker independently research within himself, and thereby gain transcendental knowledge and realization of God? Why does one need a spiritual master?” Such statements reveal one’s ignorance about the essential nature of the Absolute Truth and transcendental knowledge of Him.

In summary, the Absolute Truth is the fully conscious, supreme Absolute Person. In other words, God is the supremely conscious individual. Connection with the Absolute Truth depends solely on His sweet will, which God expresses by sending his agent, the spiritual master, when I am qualified with transcendental faith and surrender.

(Excerpt from Tribute of Love by mahanidhi swami)

Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

By: Mahanidhi Swami

Some say that the Guru-vandanam verse “chakshu dan dilo ye, janme janme prabhu sei” refers to the principle of guru-tattva. It does not mean that one’s present individual guru appears again in the next life to help his unaccomplished disciple.

This idea is wrong and not supported by Srila Narottama dasa Thakura’s song as quoted above. In the verse, the words ye and sei refer to an individual person. It is not that someone else becomes your Guru in the next life.

Regarding the guru returning to reclaim his disciples, there are four types of shisyas: the sadhana siddha disciple; the sincere loving disciple; the casual disciple; and the guru-tyagi who rejects the guru and bhakti.

1) For a SIDDHA SHISHYA: Gurudeva appears as guru-rupa sakhi only as indicated by the phrase “nikunja yunoh rati-keli siddhyaih ya yalibhir yuktir apekshaniya”.

2) For the sincere, LOVING SHISHYA: Gurudeva will re-appear in his selfsame form, exactly like the person you knew and served throughout your life. It cannot but be.

The tattva to prove this point is given by Bhagavan Sri Krishna Himself in Gita (8.6): yam yam vapi smaran bhavan, tyajant yante kalevaram, “The bhava (mood, feeling, emotion) you contemplate while leaving your body will direct you to your next.”

Now please consider this example: For your entire life, you meditated on the form, features and characteristics of your dearest Gurudeva. So how can you possibly receive another Guru having different features or form in your next life? Krishna asserts that “You will surely attain that (tam tam evaiti) which you always directed your love, feelings and bhava toward. In other words, your very own individual Guru will appear in the self-same form, easily recognizable to your mind and senses.

Jai Sad Guru ki jai. “O Gurudeva! Surely, I am yours and you are my loving guide and friend life after life after life and on through eternity.”

3) Casual Shishya: He/She somewhat adheres to the principles and practices of the bhakti marga. In the next life, he will get some Guru but not the same one as this life; it may be anyone.

4) Guru Tyagi: For a guru/bhakti marga renouncer, there will be no bhakti-guru in the next life. (adapted, madangopal blog)

The conclusion is that Sri Guru is always there for the sincere sadhaka. Bhagavan Sri Krishna extends His mercy and sweet affection to conditioned souls through the medium of Sri Guru. Let’s us all be loving shisyas of our dear Gurus and see His sweet smile forever.

Sri Sad Gurudeva ki jai! Samasti Guru Bhagavan Sri Krishna ki jai!

Jai Jai Sri Radhe!