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!

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