Sri Guru Tattva
A Lecture by His Divine Grace
Sri Srila Bhakti Kumud Santa Maharaja
(submitted to the internet by Indradyumna das)
My respected bhaktas (listeners), I was invited by my beloved Nandanandana to attend the celebration on the occasion of the Abirbhava (appearance) of Sripad Vamana Maharaja, the Acharya of Sri Gaudiya Vedanta Samiti.
In recent days some persons present themselves as the initiated ones of Gaudiya Math and speak of many matters full of apasidhanta (contrary to established decisions). As an instance, they say that the birthday of the Acharya will not be observed. The day of his initiation will be observed. It is a fully wrong decision. It can never be. According to the shastras:
ishwarer janmathithi je hano pabitra,
vaisnavaro janmatithi se hano pavitra
“The appearance of God is holy. The birthday of Vaishnava is also holy”
Those who think that the birth of their guru is birth only are unfortunates. Birth is of the jivas bounded by the results of their karma (works). If the God or Vaishnava appear in the world, then this is not an ordinary birth, but theirAbirbhava (appearance). Whenever they go away from this world it means it is their Tirobhava (disappearance). The tithis (days) of their appearance in the world are very holy for their sisyas and are to be observed. On their observation Hari Bhakti (devotion to Hari) will be resulted. If they are not observed violation will be inevitable as per the Mahajanas:
abirbhava tirobhava veda matrakai
“The Vedas speak of Abirbhava and Tirobhava only”.
The Sun rises. It does not mean that it takes birth. It is faulty. On the other hand the sun has set. It does not mean that it is no more. It is a faulty deduction. Whenever it comes to us it is its Abirbhava. With its disappearance Tirobhava is meant. They do not come by birth. They do not also breathe their last. Thus it is said in the Gita:
janma karma ca me divyam
evam yo vetti tavttvatah
tyaktva deham punar janma
naiti mameti so ‘rjuna
Srimad Bhagavad Gita, 4.9
“One who knows the transcendental nature of My appearance and activities does not, upon leaving the body, take his birth again in this material world, but attains My eternal abode, O Arjuna”.
Krishna said that “My birth and work are divya“. Divya means transcendental and it is not materialistic. One is customary material. The other is spiritual. It will be an aparadha (offence) if customary and materials matters are united with spiritualism.
Now the initiated persons of Sripad Vamana Maharaja are fortunate ones.
What is Guru-Tattva (knowledge about the guru)? First of all understand it and then proceed. Do not pay hate to what is being said by others. I am old now. I do not see, sometimes I can not remember thing known by me. So, with an urge for a discussion I came here after jotting down so many points one after another. I shall try to speak of that matter by its reading. Please, try to understand me.
According to shastra:
vishrambhena guroh seva
“ Accepting the shelter of the lotus feet of a bona fide spiritual master,
 becoming initiated by the spiritual master and learning how to discharge devotional service from him,
 obeying the orders of the spiritual master with faith and devotion, and
 following in the footsteps of great acaryas [teachers] under the direction of the spiritual master”.**
“First of all, the lotus feet of a guru are to be taken shelter of. Diksha guru and siksha guru are to be followed. The guru is to be served with faith in him. The path of a saints should be followed”. If one desires to be a pathfinder of the spiritual realm and is willing of going to the Lord, he hasto take shelter of the lotus feet of a guru: “guru-padashrayas“. What is the meaning of “ashraya“? “Ashraya” means “taking diksha“. Diksha is to betaken. One will have to take from him not only diksha but also siksha.
What is more? He is to be served the guru with faith in him. Yes, he willhave to bear in mind that if I serve him (guru) I shall have welfare. Not only that, he has to give up maintaining material dealings. He has toposses a spiritual faith. What is spoken of by “vishvasa“?
shraddha-shabde vishvasa kahe sudridha nishcaya,
krishne-bhakti kaile sarva karma krita haya
Sri Caitanya Caritamrita, Madhya-lila, 22.62)
[Shraddha is confident, firm faith that by rendering transcendental loving service to Krishna one automatically performs all subsidiary activities. Such faith is favorable to the discharge of devotional service].
“The word “sraddha” means “strong faith”. If Krishna is shown bhakti all works will be done”.
It is described as “vishvasa“. “Sraddha” means vishvasa point. How is this vishvasa. I shall give you one instance: Krishna is returning after tending the cows. Sridham, Sudhama, Vasudhama and other companions began to drink water of Kaliyadaha. He came running to them, slept each and asked, “What are you doing? This water is poisoned. If a bird flighs over the water it will die. And you are drinking it, you will surely die”. What did the companions answer? “Kanai, Your companions do not love You with this sort of insignificant faith. We know that the water we are drinking is not poisoned it is nectar. We can not drink poison”, Krishna sees from behind that they are drinking the poisoned nectar. “Our death can not happen”. This is faith. Therefore, if the order of a guru is carried out after placing faith in his lotus feet and then he is worshipped and served, my welfare will come forth. The sisya who will go forward with this faith will be rewarded with self welfare. What is this? The honest way we shall follow will be shown by him. He will show the way. This is guru-tattva. It has to be understood properly. Further:
tasmad gurum prapadyeta
jijnasuh sreya uttamam
sabde pare ca nisnatam
Srimad Bhagavatam, 11.3.21
“Therefore any person who seriously desires real happiness must seek a bona fide spiritual master and take shelter of him by initiation. The qualification of the bona fide guru is that he has realized the conclusions of the scriptures by deliberation and is able to convince others of these conclusions. Such great personality, who has taken shelter of the Supreme Godhead, leaving aside all material considerations, should be understood to be bona fide spiritual master”.
“A guru will have to be accepted for the best benefit”. Why should we accept a guru? Is the acceptance of a guru customary or materialistic? No, it is not customary. “Jijnasuh sreya uttamam“, (“being inquisitive about the highest good” note of proofreader) here two words ‘sreya” and “uttamam” have been used. What type of sreya is it? It is the best sreya. General sreya for obtaining materialistic welfare is not worthy of the name. Uttama sreya is to be obtained. And so the lotus feet of a guru are to be taken shelter of. What sort of guru is he? “Sabde pare ca nisnatam” heis well acquainted with sabda brahman and para brahman. Sabda brahman and para brahman is one thing thus identical. The sound of this world is a material one. It is not sabda brahman. It is only sound. The sound of the Supreme World is the transcendental one. It is transcendental. That is sabda brahman.
So, he (guru) is equipped with sabda brahman and para brahman. We can not understand. But he is living very near to God. This feeling should be there. Taking shelter of the lotus feet of a guru is for this. It is for nothing else. What are the sings of such a guru? There are many signs of a guru. I shall discuss it with you. How is he? He is kripa sindhu (an ocean of kindness) and doya sagar (sea of piety). He is full-fledged. A sisya shouldnot have a feeling about anything, one thing in his guru or any incompleteness of his guru. He (guru)is full-fledged and a benefactor of all beings.
He who will go to him will be benefited. This animate object will get welfare by coming in touch with him. Even inanimate objects will be in possession of such a benefit. Here is the paduka (shoe) of my guru. Is it material or animate? But we are offering it pranam. Because it has gone to the touch of the gurudeva and has been turned to be an object of our pranam. Gurudeva is disinterested in anything. He has no attachment, no hope of aspiration.
He is always siddha (perfect), well versed in all matters and expert in everything. He can cease all doubts he has the power to cut down all the doubts of his sisyas. One who cannot make answer to any question of his sisya is not a guru. Guru is not idle he has no idleness. He is called guru. He is described as a guru. So, he is an exact guru. All can not be gurus. It is opined by many that diksha guru and siksha guru are equal. It is not my opinion. It is mentioned according to the scriptures. Yes, they (some people) take the two as equal. What is the inference? As par as Sri Chaitanya Caritamrita:
naivopayanty apacitim kavayas tavesha
brahmayusapi kritam riddha-mudah smarantah
yo ntar bahis tanu-bhritam ashubham vidhunvann
acarya-caittya-vapusha sva-gatim vyanakti
Sri Caitanya Caritamrita, Adi-lila, 1.48
“O my Lord! Transcendental poets and experts in spiritual science could not fully express their indebtedness to You, even if they were endowed with the prolonged lifetime of Brahma, for You appear in two features, externally as theacarya and internally as the Supersoul to deliver the embodied living being by directing him how to come to You”).
He is within me as the caita guru. He Himself appears in the world as the Mahanta guru.
shiksha guruke ta; jani krishnera svarupa
antaryami, bhakta shreshtha ei dui rupa
Sri Caitanya Caritamrita, Adi-lila, 1.47
“One should know the instructing spiritual master to be the Personality of Krishna. Lord Krishna manifests Himself as the Supersoul and as the greatest devotee of the Lord”).
As the antaryami (dweller of the heart) He is caitya guru and as the bhakta shreshtha (best devotee) He is Mahanta guru or diksha guru. These are His two appearances. He who is there as the dweller in the heart is in the show as the best devotee. He is the diksha guru. So, some people say that a siksha guru more worshipable than a diksha guru. It is a wrong inference. Why? The matter should be understood properly. According to the scriptures:
mantra-guru ara yata shiksha-guru-gana
tahara-carana age kariye vandan
Sri Caitanya Caritamrita, Adi-lila, 1.35
“I first offer my respectful obeisances at the lotus feet of my initiating spiritual master and all my instructing spiritual masters”.
First of all diksha guru is mentioned. Thereafter siksha guru is indicated. Diksha guru is only one. Siksha gurus are many. They (siksha gurus) may be innumerable. Will everyone of them be accepted as a diksha guru? No, on no occasion it can be done.
I was initiated at Bagh Bazaar (Harinama was given to me at Sri Mayapur).Then all began to address me as “Prabhu“. My name in my Brahmachari life was Sri Radharaman. So, all called me “Radharaman Prabhu”. I was then in my boyhood. I went to my gurudeva, Srila Prabhupada. I said to Him, “Prabhu, previously all addressed me as Radharaman. Why are they calling me as Radharaman Prabhu?” Prabhupada laughed and said “Just see, you are addressed as aprabhu, you consider yourself as “prabhu” This is an example and teaching. Vanity and pride may capture. In order to make that pride weaker the following teaching has been imparted.
gurur sewak moi mano aponar
“The servitor of a guru is to be your respected one”.
One of my brother disciples asked me thus, One sisya of Bon Maharaja is seated. Your one sisya has also taken his seat. If a sisya of your brother’s sisya comes here, will he offer pranam to you or Bon Maharaja?” I said, “No, he will offer pranam to his guru. But the duty of his guru will be to direct him thus our guru-varga are seated here. Offer your pranam to them”. Whenever he (sisya) caries out the order he will have no aparadha.
But he will commit aparadha if he does not offer pranam to his guru at first. The duty of the guru will be to direct his sisya to make obeisances to my guru-varga at first. It is the rule and system. Learn it that diksha is the best.
diksha guru ara yata shiksha-guru-gana
It has a hidden side. Great sisyas of Sri Kesava Maharaja are seated here. One of the said sisyas is younger in age. Will he get the honor offer to the great sisyas? Will there be the fault for making an exception? He will not get the honor like the senior brothers.
Who is accepted as the siksha guru? He who is teaching the service to guru, Vaishnava and God is siksha guru. The person not making the above task will not be accepted as a siksha guru. He has vanity only. In fact, no welfare will be done by him. Other siksha gurus do not deserve honor from their sisyas.
Shastras assert thus diksha guru is the siksha guru. When he initiates he teaches also. In this matter diksha guru and siksha guru are identical. Diksha guru and siksha guru are both seated. Diksha guru is to be offered pranam at first. After that siksha gurus turn will come. Father and uncle are standing. Should one offer his pranam to his uncle at first? It can never be so. First of all father is to be offered pranam. After that uncle can be honored. This is the teaching. This inference is to be obeyed.
From the point of view of this material world, Srila Sanatana Goswami and Srila Rupa Goswami are brothers. Srila Jiva Goswami is their nephew. Vallabha Acharya went to Srila Rupa Goswami in Vrindavana. On reaching there he said, “Sri Rupa, Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu, written by you, is very nice. But there is a thing of misery. I have felt unhappy. You wrote thus:
bhukti-mukti- spriha yavat
pishaci hridi vartate
katham abhyudayo bhavet
“The material desire to enjoy the material world and the desire to become liberated from material bondage are considered to be two witches, and they haunt one like ghosts. As long as these witches remain within the heart, how can one feel transcendental bliss? As long as these two witches remain in the heart, there is no possibility of enjoying the transcendental bliss of devotional service.
You met bhukti and mukti pisaci (an evil spirit). There are many persons who are in quest of moksa (salvation of the soul). Will not they take your words as abuse? A great personality like you are abusing”. Srila Rupa Goswami said then, “I accept what you say”. Vallabha Acharya was satisfied and went to the bank of the Yamuna. Vallabha Acharya was superior to him in respect of age. Just mark who Vaishnava is. Where is our attachment signifying a Vaishnava?
When Vallabha Acharya came to Rupa Goswami, Jiva Goswami was seated there. He followed Vallabha Acharya and went on the bank of the Yamuna.
He offered him pranam. Vallabha Acharya asked:
My dear son, who are you?
Jiva Goswami said: I am a sisya of demand to whom you had gone.
What is your name?
My name is Sri Jiva.
What do you want to say?
You refuted the inference of my guru. It is not a matter for refutation.
He has written the right thing.
How is it?
He wrote thus:
bhukti-mukti- spriha yavat
pishaci hridi vartate
katham abhyudayo bhavet
“The material desire to enjoy the material world and the desire to become liberated from material bondage are considered to be two witches, and they haunt one like ghosts. As long as these witches remain within the heart, how can one feel transcendental bliss? As long as these two witches remain in the heart, there is no possibility of enjoying the transcendental bliss of devotional service”.
He marked this spriha (aspiration) for bhukti and mukti as an evil spirit. How to understand this properly? I can give you one example. We don’t have to hate a female. If one says that female sex is a thing to be hated it will not be allowed. But a bad attraction to a female is to be hated. This has been given to understand. How do you say that it is not proper?
Vallabha Acharya wondered. He came back to Rupa Goswami and said:
Sri Rupa, what you have written is correct.
There is no need for excluding it.
Why do you say so, Prabhu?! You just told me thus that “this is wrong. I made the mistake and my fault is now corrected by a handsome boy.
Who is that boy?
His name is Sri Jiva.
You asked to say goodbye to “bhukti mukti spriha“.
– The aspirations for enjoyment and liberation are described as a bad thing.
Sri Rupa uttered previously thus “Yes”. Now he said thus, “Yes”. See how fine is the dealing.
Vallabha Acharya went away. Rupa Goswami then addressed to Jiva Goswami, “I shall not look at you. You are not fit for living in Vrindavana. Your vanity has not been ended. What a bad person you are: You have gone to refer the matter to him”. Jiva Goswami is his own sisya and nephew. He (Jiva Goswami) didn’t utter a single word like this ,Prabhu, this is unjust
He started his bhajan at Nandagrama by the side of the Yamuna. At first he lived on madhukari (one hand full of food). Afterwards he gave it up. He sat at a place and took Hari Nama only. He did not eat any food. Sanatana Goswami was then traveling dvadash vana (twelve forests). He came to Nandagrama. The residents of the Vraja said, Please come and see. A handsome boy came here. He always utters the Name of Hari. But he does not eat any food. He will perhaps leave his life”.
Sanatana Goswami went to the place. When he saw Sri Jiva, he said him,
“What is this, Sri Jiva?! Why are you doing so?! Your life will be finished”. Sri Jiva answered, “Prabhu (he never utters the word father), my life is nothing without the kindness of my guru. What is the value of this life of the person who did not receive the krpa of his guru and whom the guru has left? His death is preferable. I think that death is the best for me”. “What is the matter?” Sanatana Goswami asked him. Jiva Goswami told him the whole story. Finally he said, “I can not bear any condemnation of my guru. As my gurudeva is displeased with me I prefer this separation. I am now separated. I did not want to worry my gurudeva“.
Sanatana Goswami did not tell Sri Jiva anything. He came back to Sri Rupa and said, “Sri Rupa, Sri Jiva is going to leave his life. You, please, show piety and kindness to him”. Sri Rupa Goswami said, “Yes, I shall do it”. He went running to him (Sri Jiva) and said, “My dear son, come to me”. It is called the great devotion to a guru. Srila Prabhupada directly told us all this inferences. We have to obey them. That will bring to us welfare. So, it is said in the scriptures:
acaryam mam vigyaniyan
Srimad Bhagavatam, 11.17.27
Sri Caitanya Caritamrita, Adi-lila, 1.46
“One should know the acarya to be Myself and never disrespect him in any way. One should not envy him, thinking him an ordinary man, for he is the representative of all the demigods”.
What is guru-tattva? “Know it that the Acharya is similar to Me“. “Mam vigyaniyan” “know it that he is like Me”. “Navamanyeta”, one should never disrespect. Why? Sarva-deva-mayo guruh “representative of all the demigods”. It is not in possession of those demigods. By the grace of the Lord he gets the power to show kindness. He learned to be all powerful. Why? He can give the All Powerful Lord. This can not be given by any other person even the demigods fail. They have not such an ability. He should be considered from this point of view. So, diksha guru has been given the importance:
adou guru puja
“First of all a guru has to be worshiped”.
Who has to be worshiped first? Does the diksha guru or the siksha guru has to be worshipped first? First of all diksha guru should be worshiped. Siksha guru will not come first. Diksha guru is the one to be worshiped first. Tulsi Dasa said:
guru aur govinda do kore hai kisko laghu paya
yo guru go lake usko boli hari jaya
“Guru and Govinda are standing. Whom shall I offer my pranam? I shall praise him who will offer obeisances to his guru at first”.
Guru and Govinda are standing in front of me. Whom shall I offer my pranam at first? Guru is to be offered pranam first of all. Then Govinda is to be offered obeisances. If the inference is that will the siksha guru be offered pranamfirst? This judgment can not be a proper one. The characteristics of siksha guru can not be more then that of diksha guru. The only characteristic remaining is that diksha guru is the siksha guru. This judgment should be learned. Guru-tattva is such a thing, so it is said:
sad-guru pabe veda batave gyana kore upadesha
tou kailaki maila chote jou aga kore parevesha
“If you get a sad guru, he will show you the right path and will give you proper knowledge. It is just like a fire destroying all dirtiness”.
Who is spoken of as the sad guru? He who shows the Veda or the way. “Jnana kore upadesh?” he gives tattva jnana:
cakshur unmilitam yena
tasmai shri-gurave namah
“I offer my respectful obeisances unto my spiritual master, who with the torchlight of knowledge has opened my eyes, which were blinded by the darkness of ignorance”).
Kailaki maila chote, coal is dirty, but at the time of its being burned by fire the dirtiness of coal is abolishes. In the same way, when the fire in the form of an advice of a gurudeva will enter in the ears of a sisya, the dirty things, darkness and the bad tendencies remaining in the sisya will be burned to ashes. There after the Lord will be observed. There are two words in English transparent and opaque. No picture will be reflected so long there is invisibility. Whenever the transparent medium is established pictures will be reflected.
I went to Dakka, Narayanaconch, Moimansing, Dinachpur, Koelna, Jessore and other places in Bangladesh for preaching. A Muslim asked me, Sir, you are saying Bhagavan and Hari several times. We are uttering Allah But He is not visible. Where is He? How can I identify Him? Have you ever seen Him?
What should I answer? I answered thus, Yes, I saw Him. A play is staged in London. Here is a TV Box in front of you. How do you see the picture? How could the pictures reach here? It is with the help of ether. An arrangement has been made there. As a result you see the pictures here. You also make your mind like TV. Then you will see that the Lord comes to you from Goloka. You will be able to see Him. At that time you can realize. You can not realize without this arrangement. For example, someone loves a young lady. She is not here. She lives in Bombay. Though she is in Bombay she lives in his heart. If the Lord can be loved in that way He will take His seat in your heart in spite of His staying in Goloka. He Himself said:
sadhavo hrdayam mahyam
sadhunam hrdayam tv aham
mad-anyat te na jananti
naham tebhyo manag api
Srimad Bhagavatam, 9.4.68)
“The pure devotee is always within the core of My heart, and I am always in the heart of the pure devotee. My devotees do not know anything else but Me, and I do not know anyone else but them”.
“What is this? You say that You are in the hearts of the devotees. But You also say that You are aware of every jiva”. “Yes, I take my seat in every heart and am aware of it. While a person suffers from miseries I also suffer. Living in the heart of a devotee I do not suffer from miseries. I get pleasure by doing so. I feel happy by observing his serving attitude”. The shastra says:
yasya deve para bhaktir
yatha deve tatha gurau
tasyaite kathita hy arthah
Shvetashvatara Upanishad, 6.23)
“Unto those great souls who have implicit faith in both the Lord and the spiritual master, all the imports of Vedic knowledge are automatically revealed”.
Guru will have to be seen in the same form as we see in the Lord. He is no way inferior.
brahmanda bhramite kono bhagyavan jiva
guru-krishna-prasade paya bhakti lata bija
Sri Caitanya Caritamrita, Madhya-lila, 19.151)
“According to their karma, all living entities are wandering throughout the entire universe. Some of them are being elevated to the upper planetary systems, and some are going down into the lower planetary systems. Out of many millions of wandering living entities, one who is very fortunate gets an opportunity to associate with a bona fide spiritual master by the grace of Krishna. By the mercy of both Krishna and the spiritual master, such a person receives the seed of the creeper of devotional service”.
“By the grace of Guru and Krishna a fortunate person gets the seed of devotion when he goes around the universe. If he worships Krishna and serves his Guru, his curtain of maya will disappear and he will get the lotus feet of Krishna”).
tate krishna bhaje kore guru sevana
maya chote pai shri krishna carana
“If he worships Krishna and serves His guru, his curtain of maya will disappear and he will get the lotus feet of Krishna”).
Go on taking bhajan of Krishna. If anybody goes on doing bhajan the offering of maya will be vanished. He will then get the lotus feet of Krishna. Otherwise there is no way to get it. The aim will not be reached at without the mercy of a guru. Whom can we accept as guru? The shastra says:
vaco vegam manasah krodha-vegam
etan vegan yo vishaheta dhirah
sarvam apimam prithivim sa shisyat
“A sober person who can tolerate the urge to speak, the mind’s demands, the actions of anger and the urges of the tongue, belly and genitals is qualified to make disciples all over the world”).
ey chay vegajar sada vase ray
shad gosvami, tare prithive pujay
“He who gives this six in control is a Goswami. He is worshipped by the world”.
There are two meanings of the word “Goswami“. “Go” means “cow”. The husband of a cow is an ox. He is lustful. Again, “go” means “senses”. He who is the husband of the senses or has controlled them is a Goswami. He is not a servant of the senses. He conquered the world. Our well-being will appear when we come in touch with him.
achinoti ya sastrartam acare staparat api
sayam achar jate jasmat acharya stena kitita
apani achari dharma jivere shikhaya
apani na koile dharma shikhama najaya
“He who acts himself and teaches others knows that without doing so religion can not be taught”.
He who acts himself in his life with proper dealings and teaches others the lesson is an acharya or guru. In the scriptures guru have been given more importance than the Lord. Our gurudeva said, “If the Lord Himself comes and says, “I am the Supreme Godhead”, I shall say to Him, “You may go away”. When my gurudeva will come and say, “See, He is the Lord”. I shall then bow down my head”. There is a saying:
kabe anguli nidesha kori more adakaibe
When will you show by indicating your finger?
Why is it sung:
sri rupa manjari pada, sei more sampada
“The feet of Sri Rupa Manjari are my wealth” ?
Is it not concerned with guru-tattva? The matter should be understood in good state.
Now a day there is a difference of opinion concerning diksha guru and siksha guru. Many persons observe that diksha guru and siksha guru are to be honored on the same platform. I admit that a siksha guru is to be honored but it should not be done in the presence of a diksha guru. Caita guru has made himself double figured. How has he done so? Siksha guru and mahanta guru. A mahanta guru is also a siksha guru. Is he a guru free from all responsibilities after initiating his sisya? He teaches his sisya thus: “My dear son, follow this path. You should process your life in this way”. So, caitya guru, Sri Vyasadeva is the diksha guru and diksha guru is a siksha guru if he is present.
Will not other siksha gurus impart lessons? They will teach how to serve the Lord after obeying the diksha gurus. If a siksha guru fails to teach how to obey a diksha guru he is not a siksha guru. He can never be a siksha guru. What will he teach? What welfare will come to the world through him? Nothing will be actualized. He will show the procedure, “My dear son, follow this way”. He will show the way, “Go to him (diksha guru)”. If he (guru) is merciful then he (sisya) will see the Lord afterwards. Otherwise he will fail to get Him. So, shastras enjoined:
guru krishna-rupa hana shastrera pramane
guru-rupe krishna kripa karena bhakta gane
Sri Caitanya Caritamrita, Adi-lila, 1.45
“According to the deliberate opinion of all revealed scriptures, the spiritual master is non-different from Krishna. Lord Krishna in the form of the spiritual master delivers His devotees”.
A Guru turns to be Krishna on the support of the scriptures. Krishna shows His mercy as a Guru”.
Why are the lines written? There is a judgment in them. One group of people sees a guru as an embodiment of the bhagavad kripa (mercy of the Lord). Another says that a guru is God Himself. They are of the opinion there is no need of a Deity of the Lord. They say: “We make our guru taking the position”. We do not admit it. The inference is to be understood. A king and the representative of the king are two persons. The representative of the king is not a king. The assent of the king has come. He will get his due honor. As the king has not come, his representative, the vice-raja, gets the honor due to the king. But the vice-raja is not the king. In the same way, the representative of the Lord isgurudeva. God Himself says:
tasmai deham tato grayam satya puca yata aham
“He is to be taken and worshiped like Me”.
This means: “Guru is to be worshipped like Me. Because you will not get Me without His mercy”. So, this Lord, gurudeva, is the sevak bhagavan (servitor of God). On the other hand the Lord is the seva bhagavan (the Lord who is been served). If the guru has turned to be the Lord the following verse could not been written:
akhanda mandala karan bhavtan yeno cara-caran
tat padam dar****am yena tasmai shri guruve namah
“The Lord is unbroken and rounded. He is spread everywhere. The guru who shows Him is to be offered pranam“.
He who shows the lotus feet of Him is Sri Gurudeva. Will the guru makes his feet forwards and says, “I am the Lord. Bend your head here?” He will never do so. We look at a guru from this point of view. He is the sevak of Bhagavan. He will make me reach the lotus feet of the Lord. He who has not the capacity to make us reach the lotus feet of the Lord is not to be accepted by us as guru.
There is an example. Once Vamanadeva had gone to Baliraja. He was going to ask alms. The offering would be made by Baliraja. Vamanadeva had been walking in front of all. Brahmins were very greedy. They said, “A child is walking ahead. He will beg for this or that. Then we shall not get anything”. So, they took hold of Him and made Him walk behind. When the brahmins reached Baliraja they found out that the short figured man was already standing near him. They said, “Alas! We placed Him behind. But now He is in front of us. What is the matter?” Baliraja said to Vamanadeva, “What do you want?” Vamanadeva replied, “I do not require anything. I want only the pieces of land for the three steps of my feet”. The Brahmins felt relieved, “You beg for more things. On the contrary you are eager to get three pieces of land for your footsteps. How long are the pieces of land for your three footsteps? What a fool he is!” Baliraja says, “You do not think of your interest. You ask something more. I shall give it up”. “No, I am not in need of anything more. The pieces of land for my three footsteps will suffice”, answered Vamanadeva.
At that time guru Sukra Acharya came there. He was not a guru of less importance. He had the proper ability. He said, “What are you doing, Bali?” Bali replied, “I am making offerings. Do you know this man?” “No, I do not know him. But I think that He is the Lord Himself. He will take off everything you belong. Nothing will be left”, replied Sucra Acharya. It implies the following words of a modern guru If he takes up all of you what shall I eat? How will he maintain him? Bali Maharaja said, “What did you say? Is He the Lord?
The answer was “Yes”. “Then it is very good. I shall be benefited from both sides. If He is the Lord Himself, He will take off everything. If he is not so, he will accept three pieces of land for his footsteps. I shall not be deprived from any corner”, thought Bali Maharaja.
There was a rule then. At the time of donating anything the word “Om” was to be pronounced by taking water from the water pot used for religious purposes. Baliraja was trying to take water from such a pot. No water comes out. ThenVamanadeva said, “Clear the pipe by a pin”. After the use of a pin Sukra Acharya comes out from the pipe as a blind person.
Why is he described here as a blind one? As far as the verse “sruti smriti upa netre“, Sri Vamanadeva has two eyes: Sruti and Smriti (hearing capacity and memory). Sruti is a mother. The mother of a son makes his father know to him that is your father. He (son) has not seen his father. What will he (son) guess about his father? His mother tells him everything. In the same way Sruti is the mother, Veda. Smriti discloses how to serve a father. Sukra Acharya said thatVamanadeva is the Lord. But he restrained the king from rendering service to Him. So, he is described as a “blind” man. Baliraja does not obey the acharya. He said, “I shall disobey you. I shall make a offering”. By saying so he abandoned his guru.
Vamanadeva took over the position of the Heaven, the Earth and the Nether worlds by His two feet. Is there a guru who after refuting to set up a Deity of the Lord and declaring himself as the almighty can place his leg from this spot to the temple of Puri? If he can do so, I shall be a sisya of him after giving up everything. Not only this happened. Vamanadeva told Bali to offer Him the place were he could set up his another foot. It was not known where His third feet was then. He showed His third foot at that time.
Where is that guru who has described himself as the Lord and is in the capacity of reducing his third leg publicly? Is he capable of doing so?
Our inference is that a guru is the Lord. But he is the sevak of Bhagavan. He is there to give the seva to Bhagavan. No other person than a guru can give the Lord. None has this capacity. This is the judgment and the inference. We have to accept this. So:
guru rupe krishna kripa koren bhakta gane
“Krishna shows His mercy on devotees as a guru”).
Now some persons may speak of a siksa guru and his importance.
shiksha guruke ta’ jani krishnera svarupa
antaryami, bhakta shreshtha, ei dui rupa
Sri Caitanya Caritamrita, Adi-lila, 1.47
“One should know the instructing spiritual master (siksha guru) to be the Personality of Krishna. Lord Krishna manifests Himself as the Supersoul and as the greatest devotee of the Lord”.
A siksha guru has been divided in two parts. As the dweller in the hearts He is caitya guru. As the best devotee he is mahanta guru or diksha guru. The teachings of other siksha gurus to the effect that they are better than diksha gurusis not acceptable.
What type of guru is Sukra Acharya? He is not a proper guru just like Parasurama. Bhismadeva abandoned his guru Parasurama. Why did he do so? He is a sakta-avatar of the Lord. Bhismadeva is His sisya. Bhisma brought Amba, Ambika and Ambalika after he had conquered a country.
Ambika and Ambalika where married to his brother Vichitravirya. Amba loved Salwa, who was the king. By permission of Bhishma she leaved the Kuru’s kingdom and went to king Salwa’s palace. Amba was praying Salwa to marry her but he did not do so. Then Amba decided to inhabit the forest and practice austerities and penances for the rest of her life.
In her wanderings, she came upon the ashrama of some great rishis, and she informed them of her plight. It so happened that among those great sages was her maternal grandfather Hotravahana. The royal sage felt despondent for what had befallen her and told her that on the following day, Parashurama, the martial teacher of Bhishma, would come to the ashrama. He was sure Parashurama would influence Bhishma to accept her hand in marriage.
The next day Parashurama arrived at the ashrama and Amba related to him the events of her abduction by Bhishma and her rejection by king Salwa. She requested the great sage to kill Bhishma. Parashurama felt sorry for the girl and gave her hope by saying, “O daughter of Kashi, I will not take up weapons except to protect those that follow the Vedas. Tell me, therefore, what can I do for you? Both Bhishma and Salwa are obedient to me. Do not lament. I will fulfill your desire”. But when He came to Hastinapura to speak with Bhisma, Bhishma said, “I promised to remain unmarried”. If the guru directs “gururaka abhicaranya” the order of him must be obeyed without making any judgment. He directed Bhisma to marry her. But Bhisma said, “What is this gurudeva?! I have promised to remain unmarried during my life. I shall not marry in my life. Being my guru you know it. But what are you saying for my marriage?”Parasurama said, “I am your guru. I direct you to marry”.
guror apy avaliptasya
Mahabharata, Udyoga Parva, 179.25)
“The order of a guru is to be obeyed on its marriages”).
If the guru goes astray, he is to be forsaken as far the rules. The rule is to abandon a guru following a contrary path. Bhisma left his guru. Then his guru said, “Yutam dehi” (“start a fight”). Bhisma fought against his guru for twenty four days. This outward suitability of a guru is not his duty.
Who is a guru? He who can show the lotus feet of the Lord is a real guru. I gained some power and I shall be a guru by virtue of this. It will not be possible. Yogis attain divine grace through the austere religious practices. They achieve such mystical perfections as anima-siddhi (power of becoming small like a particle), laghima-siddhi (power of becoming lighter than a soft feather), isitva-siddhi (power to act freely even to create something wonderful or to annihilate anything at will), vasitva-siddhi (power to control all material elements) etc. but the Lord can not be available through this austere practices.
jive shakshat nahi tate guru caittya-rupe
shiksha-guru haya krishna-mahanta-svarupe
Sri Caitanya Caritamrita, Adi-lila, 1.58
“Since one cannot visually experience the presence of the Supersoul, He appears before us as a liberated devotee. Such a spiritual master is none other than Krishna Himself”.
“Guru is there in the form of caita guru. He can not be visible. Krishna becomes a siksha guru in the shape of a mahanta guru“.
Jivas do not have any perceptible presence of the caita guru. “Caitya guru hon krishna mahanta swarupe”. So, He becomes a guru by taking the form of a mahanta. A mahanta guru is diksha guru. A siksha guru has never been described anywhere as a mahanta guru. It is clearly spoken here. Anyone desires of defending it may do so.
Will one be a diksha guru by teaching Bhagavat (God)? A siksha guru will teach to render services with a faith of adherence to a diksha guru. If siksha guru excludes a diksha guru and becomes “brahman” by uttering”aham brahmasmi” (“I am brahman“) it will be a total massacre.
A diksha guru is a mahanta guru. He has come to deliver jivas. Guru are of two types: nitya-siddha and sadhana-siddha. The Lord sends a guru after making him nitya-siddha. Sometimes He sends sadhana-siddha guru. If a diksha guru is sent by the Lord, he will make sisyas for deliverance. So, he is described as mahanta guru. He obeys the order of the Lord. The matter should be understood in good state
When Buddhism pervaded the world and the religion of kindness was preached by the Buddhist, the Lord Himself called Siva and said to Him:
svagamaih kalpitais tvam ca janan mad-vimukhan-kuru
mam ca gopaya yena syat shrishtir eshottarottara
“Addressing Lord Shiva, the Supreme Personality of Godhead said:]
“Please, make the general populace averse to Me by imagining your own interpretation of the Vedas. Also, cover Me in such a way that people will take more interest in advancing material civilization just to propagate a population bereft of spiritual knowledge”.
Lord said that, “Exclude Me and make jivas conscious only of impersonal brahman”. “Mam ca gopaya“, leave the secret about Me untold.
“Shrishtir eshottarottara”, the outer creation will have to be gradually progressed. Siva said with folded hands, “My Lord, I shall not be able to do this. I shall not be able to leave the secret about You untold”. Then the Lord said, “This can not be done by anyone else except You. Now it is needed. Mayavada Nirveshvada has to be giving effect to. You will have to speak of hidden Buddhism”.
In order to obey the Lord Siva came here as Shankara Acharya. But in the long run he could not totally conceal Him from people in his performances. In his birthplace Kerala, the Acharya set up the Deity of Ekal Krishna. He said afterwards, �Bhaja govindam, bhaja govindam, govindam bhaja mura mate (Fools, you go on worshiping Govinda). The followers of Shankara of Kantipuram do not admit it.
There is another example. When Siva was in Kasi, one day Shankara Acharya was passing by the side of the Muni Kanika Ghat. Durga Devi was lying on the way and She had Siva lying on Her lap. Shankara Acharya came there and said, “What are you doing? You are lying with the dead body. Leave the place. How shall I go if you would not do that?” The lady answered, “What is your inference? You said, “Jiva is brahman“. “Sarva brahma idam jagat (“this world is full of brahman“). If that is the case how do you see a dead body? How does your inference stand?” Shankara was wondered. He thought, “A lady is telling me this”. Uttering the words the lady disappeared with her husband. Siva and Durga appeared for bringing to light the philosophical knowledge. So, Nirvishes theory Advaitavad will not be enforced. There is no irrefutable argument in it. So, Advaitavad is not proved.
How can the theories of siksa guru and diksha guru be known?
krishna yadi kripa kare kono bhagyavane
guru-antaryami-rupe shikhaya apane
Sri Caitanya Caritamrita, Madhya-lila, 22.47)
“Krishna is situated in everyone’s heart as the caitya guru, the spiritual master within. When He is kind (extends His kripa mercy) to some fortunate conditioned soul, He personally gives him lessons so he can progress in devotional service, instructing the person as the Supersoul (antaryami) within and the spiritual master without”).
Will it be known by a debate? No, krishna yadi kripa kare kono bhagyavane when Krishna is kind to some fortunate soul. All will not be fortunate. Guru-antaryami-rupe shikhaya apane. He will teach as the antaryami. Krishna has kindly sent a guru. If He did not do so, how could you get His kripa? A guru is thus sent to you. Then if you prepare your store, His kripa will appear there automatically. Srila Jiva Goswami wrote:
bhagavat kripa bhakta kripa gamini
bhakta kripa bhagavad kripa gamini
“The kripa of the Lord will be available by the grace of a guru and kripa of the guru will come down from the Lord”.
It is inseparably related. If the Lord shows His mercy I shall get the kripa of a guru. When a guru is merciful, the kripa of the Lord will be available. If some siksha guru is speaking proudly, “I am equally honorable like a diksha guru“, it is described as improper. Why is siksha desirous of getting the honor of a diksha guru? One of your brother-sisya is the best, you must offer your pranam to him. But it should not been done in the presence of your gurudeva. It is the matter. A brother-sisya of a guru is standing. Shall I offer my pranam to the brother-sisya or to him? The inference is that I shall bow down to my guru. If he direct to offer pranam to the Maharaja, you may do so. It will not be improper. We get from a Mahajana Padavali:
shri-guru-carana-padma, kevala bhakati-sadma,
bando mui savadhana mate
jahara prasade bhai, e bhava toriya jai,
krishna-prapti hoy jaha hate
guru-mukha-padma-vakya, cittete koriya aikya,
ar na koriho mane asha
shri-guru-carane rati, ei se uttama gati,
je prasade pure sarva asha
cakhu-dan dilo jei, janme janme prabhu sei,
divya gyan hride prokasito
prema-bhakti jaha hoite, avidya vinasha jate,
vede gay jahara carito
shri-guru karuna-sindhu, adhama janara bandhu,
lokanath lokera jivana
ha ha prabhu koro doya, deho more pada-chaya,
ebe jasha ghushuk tribhuvana
Sri Guru-vandana from Prema-bhakti-candrika
1) The lotus feet of our spiritual master are the only way by which we can attain pure devotional service. I bow to his lotus feet with great awe and reverence. By his grace one can cross the ocean of material suffering and obtain the mercy of Krishna .
2) My only wish is to have my consciousness purified by the words emanating from his lotus mouth. Attachment to his lotus feet is the perfection that fulfills all desires.
3) He opens my darkened eyes and fills my heart with transcendental knowledge. He is my Lord birth after birth. From him ecstatic prema emanates; by him ignorance is destroyed. The Vedic scriptures sing of his character.
4) Our spiritual master is the ocean of mercy, the friend of the poor, and the lord and master of the devotees. O master! Be merciful unto me. Give me the shade of your lotus feet. Your fame is spread all over the three worlds.
The lotus feet of Sri Guru is the dwelling house of devotion. I worship them with reverence. By his grace one can cross the ocean of material suffering and obtain the mercy of Krishna . The words coming out of the lotus mouth of the guru are to be preserved in the mind. Nothing else is to be aspired after. Attachment to the lotus feet of Sri Guru feet is the best goti (way) that fulfills all desires. He who has donated me the eyes is my Prabhu (for times and immemorial) in my different births. Divya jnana is revealed in my mind. Prema bhakti (loving devotion) is derived from it. Avidhya(ignorance) is destroyed by it. His merits are described in the Vedas.
What is told here about guru-tattva?
sei se parama bandhu, se pita mata
shri krishna carane ye prema bhakti data
“He who gives me the ability to express my loving devotion to the lotus feet of Sri Krishna is my best friend and parents”). So, the real father in this world is Sri Gurudeva:
tvameva matta ca pitta tvameva
tvameva bandhusya sakha tvameva
tvameva vidya dravinang tvameva
tvameva sarvang mama deva deva
“You are my mother, father, friend and companion. You are knowledge, means, everything and all demigods and demigoddesses”.
During the British regime I went to Rangun, Burma, for preaching. Then Sripad Yajak Maharaja and I were companions. One day I read:
jivera ‘svarupa’ haya krishnera ‘nitya-dasa’
krishnera ‘tatastha-shakti’ ‘bhedabheda-prakasha’
Sri Caitanya Caritamrita, Madhya-lila, 20.108
“It is the living entity’s constitutional position (svarupa) to be an eternal servant (nitya dasa) of Krishna because he is the marginal energy (tatastha sakti) of Krishna and a manifestation simultaneously one with and different from the Lord (bhedabheda-prakasha)”).
I told Yajak Maharaja, “Maharaja, I do not admit it”. “What is this?! Srila Krishna Dasa Kaviraja has written it and you do not admit”, he said. I wrote an essay and send it to Delhi, “Nadiya Prakas“. Then Srila Bhakti Pramode Puri Maharaja and Bhakti Kusum Sraman Maharaja (Sri Krishna Kanti Brahmachari) were its writer and publisher respectively. Then I wrote the essay “Write paritjaya” (“Signs of a servant”). I wrote there, “Krishnera dasata haya mora paricaya (My signs lie in the services of the Lord)”.
It is rightly written. But now I do not admit it. Why? I have no acquaintance with Krishna. I did not see Him. I do not know Him, I do not understand Him and I do not get Him. I wrote at last, “My signs are available from the services of my guru”. If I have any identity than “I am a servant of my guru”. Prabhupada read the essay and said with tears in his eyes, “What a great thing has been wrote down by such a little boy!” He said to Krishna Kanti Prabhu, “Please, write it to him (the boy) that his gurudeva has blessed him after going to it”. It is exactly the truth. Where have we seen Krishna? We have seen Him as a stone. He who will take away my material understanding after cutting down the cataract of my eyes is Sri Gurudeva. I shall see the Lord by His Grace. Therefore, whom shall I keep importance? How shall I bless importance to others? I shall do that with a view to getting the mercy of my guru. In this life devoid ofguru-kripa I am not agreed to admit any other person whoever he may be.
Garuda went to Sri Ramachandra. What did He say? “Vamshi dhariye chariye danurvan” (gets hold of Your flute and leave Your bow and arrows)”. Garuda was not bowing down to Ramachandra. He said, “You, please, give up Your bow and arrows and gets hold of Your flute then I shall offer You my pranam“. Hanuman went to Krishna. He said to Him,
Cariye vamsi dhare doriye dhanur vana (“Leave the sounds of Your flute and take Your bow and arrows”). Where is the deep attachment?
shri nathe janaki nathe ca vede paramatmani
tathapi mama sarvasva rama kamala locana
“Sri Natha and Janiki Natha are identical and Supreme. Yet my all in all is the Lotus Eyed Rama”.
My total position is Sri Rama Kamala Locana. I have no one else. So, a sisya have deep attachment for his guru. By such a deep attachment for a guru the lotus feet of the Lord can be obtained.Without firm faith in a guru nobody can attain His lotus feet. As a sisya of Srila Saraswati Prabhupada I am bringing it to light if any other person takes a sisya and this sisya does not show proper honor to him, the proceedings of his religious life can not be maintained. This is the conclusion.
Proofreading: Indradyumna das
Consultant: Madana Gopal das
HTML: Bhutabhavana dasa