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!