Why is one person born the son of a Russian business man, and another born the son of an Indian brahmana? Why is one poor, illiterate and unattractive, while another is rich, educated and beautiful?
In a key verse of Bhagavad-gita (13.22), Bhagavan Sri Krishna answers this important and sometimes perplexing question: “A living entity takes birth in a good or bad body due to his previous life’s association with the three qualities of material nature (sattva-raja-tama), karanam guna sango sya, sad as asad yoni janmasu.
The same point is made in the Bible: “The seeds you plant, give the fruit you will eat.” Not only human beings, but every living entity from Sri Brahmaji down to the ant gets his material body due his past good or bad deeds, karma.
Srila Prabhupada comments: “One’s bodily luster and beauty, one’s constitution, one’s activities and one’s qualities all depend on the law of cause and effect. One takes birth in a good or bad family according to his previous association with the qualities of material nature.” (Cc. 3.1.92 p.)
Having established the truth about the cause of one’s birth, we will now describe the fortune available to one taking birth in a brahmana family. Over the years, I have read and heard various negative statements about professional gurus, caste goswamis, and family gurus such as the direct descendants of Sri Nityananda Prabhu and Sri Advaita Prabhu. Of course, sometimes deviations from standard behavior norms or a lack of genuine spiritual credentials may be seen in those posing as “hereditary gurus” or “adhikari gurus”, claiming spiritual authority only on the basis of being a brahmana.
Nevertheless, exceptions are not the rule. As Sri Krishna has proven above in the Gita that a brahmana birth is a reward for one’s previous life of sattvic association and spiritual practices. Thus one should judge each person individually and not as a class.
In Vrindavana, the term “Goswami” generally refers to a brahmana, especially one born in the family of Thakuraji sevaits, which means the brahmana servants or the pujaris of the Deities of major temples i.e. Radha Ramana, Radha Damodara, Radha Govindaji and Sri Bankebihari. These most fortunate and elevated brahmanas are called, “Radha Ramana Goswamis” or “Bankebihari Goswamis” for example.
Then there are the brahmanas born in the family lineages of Sri Nityananda Prabhu or Sri Advaita Prabhu for example, who are called “Vamsha Acharyas” when they initiate as spiritual masters.
Most of these brahmanas are perfectly qualified gurus who offer puja to Thakuraji, teach shastras, deliver spiritual discourses, and give diksha in India and around the world. Many foreigners are being especially blessed and benefited by associating with these transcendental brahmanas who are so kindly and lovingly traversing this troubled planet.
In Gita (6.42), Sri Krishna says, “If a yogi does not attain spiritual perfection even after doing sadhana for a long time, then he will take birth in a family of the spiritually wise, kule bhavati dhimatam. Such a birth is very, very rare, durlabhataram janma!”
Here Bhagavan Sri Krishna Himself is stating how special and rare it is to be born in a brahmana family. The following explanation by Srila Prabhupada perfectly describes the wonderful qualities and most fortunate position of the genuine brahmana acharyas, goswamis and family gurus.
Srila Prabhupada said, “Birth in a family of those with great wisdom is praised herein [by Sri Krishna Bg. 6.43], because the child born in such a family receives a spiritual impetus from the very beginning of his life. It is especially the case in the acharya or gosvami families. Such families are very learned and devoted by tradition and training, and thus they become spiritual masters.
“In India there are many such acharya families. By the grace of Lord Sri Krishna, there are still families that foster transcendentalists [spiritual leaders or gurus] generation after generation. It is certainly very fortunate to take birth in such families.” (Bg. 6.42 SP pur.)
This is a most amazing and positive illumination on the truth about the position of Goswami and Family Gurus. May Srila Prabhupada’s perfect teachings henceforward remove all misconceptions and prejudices concerning this topic.
Sri Guru ki jai!
Jai Jai Sri Radhe!