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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

Each and every Guru, be they vartma pradarshaka, siksha or diksha, is an extraordinary and special personality. If we are connected with any of these guardians of Divinity, we are fortunate and should be very grateful and always remain loyal.

To further understand how to select a spiritual master, Srila Sanatana Goswamipada describes two types of Gurus; the regular and the exceptional. Both Gurus have extraordinary divine attributes and are qualified to be one’s spiritual master.

In Srila Sanatana Goswamipada’s terminology, however, he says one type of Guru has exceptional qualities (vishesha-guna), and thus he would be the best and preferred choice. But both types of Gurus are fully capable of guiding and liberating their disciples.

InHari-bhakti-vilasa (#1), Srila Sanatana Gosvami describes both the “ordinary”, which are actually rather rare and extra ordinary, and the special characteristics (vishesha-guna) of a bona fide spiritual master.

Ordinary Characteristics:

“The spiritual master is learned in theVedasandbhakti-sastraslike theSrimad Bhagavatam. He destroys the doubts in his disciples, and fills them with faith. He understands Kṛṣṇa’s glories as the benefactor of His devotees, the protector, and so on. Because of his firm faith and worship of Bhagavan Sri Krishna he has realized the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Because of his purity and surrender he has received Kṛṣṇa’s mercy potency (krpa-shaktimurti). Thus the spiritual master is empowered to infuse mercy into his disciples and bring them along the path ofbhakti.

“He has attained the grace of his ownguruby being similarly devoted to hisguru’slotus feet. He is completely peaceful and fully surrendered toKṛṣṇa-bhakti. He has offered his heart to Kṛṣṇa. His body is free from disease or invalidity. He had controled his senses, and has defeated the six enemies headed by lust, anger, greed, envy, madness, and illusion. He has been blessed bysadhus, knows the immaculate path of theVedas, and is in constant transcendental consciousness (brahma nistha). Through his devotion he is deeply attached to Kṛṣṇa.” (HBV 1.32-35)

Exceptional Characteristics:

“Aguruwho is born in a pure family; who is sinless and faultless himself; who is well-behaved, belongs to a particularasrama, free from anger, knows theVedasand all other scriptures, has faith, does not find faults, speaks affectionately, is young, nice to behold and smartly dressed, engaged in the welfare of all living entities, nonviolent, intelligent, prideless, satisfied, grateful, pure-hearted and merciful, able to judge transcendental truths, endowed with parental love, expert inpujaof the Supreme Lord, affectionate towards his disciples, able to punish and reward, and who knows all kinds of arguments and counter-arguments—is an ocean of glories.” (HBV 1.38-41)

Any devotee who is endowed with such attributes, and filled with parental love for his disciples can act as a bona fideguru. Such a spiritual master is able to destroy the various obstacles in a disciple’sbhajana, bless him withprema, and deliver him to the lotus feet of Radha and Kṛṣṇa.

On behalf of all my friends, I sincerely pray to the Samasti Guru, Bhagavan Sri Krishna that everyone will benefit from these descriptions on choosing a Guru, and soon be blessed with the greatest fortune of your life: diksha from a genuine Sad Guru.

(Excerpt from book Gayatri Mahima Madhuri by Mahanidhi Swami)

Sri Guru Krpa hi kevalam!

Jai Jai Sri Radhe!