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A spiritual master who gives instruction about the regulative principles of devotional service is called the shiksha-guru or the instructing spiritual master. A person who is not engaged in the service of the Personality of Godhead and is addicted to ill habits cannot be a spiritual master. The instructing spiritual master is of two kinds. They are: (1) a self-realized soul constantly engaged in the service of the Personality of Godhead, and (2) a soul in pure consciousness who is constantly offering helpful directions favorable to the service of Godhead. Instruction in the service of the Lord is also of two kinds: (1) instruction on the object of service, and (2) instruction on the regulative principles of service.
The spiritual master who connects the living entity with the Personality of Godhead Shri Krishna by initiation is called the diksha-guru or the initiating spiritual master. There is no difference between the initiating spiritual master and the instructing spiritual master. Both are the object of shelter for the disciple and both are ashraya vigraha or the personality under whose shelter the eternal relationship with Godhead is established and the process of approaching Godhead by service is learned. To think of one spiritual master as purer than the other is offensive. The symbolic initiating spiritual master is Shrila Sanatana Goswami, who initiates the devotees into their service to Madana-mohana. Shrila Rupa Goswami is the instructing spiritual master, who instructs the devotee with his verses in the Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu regarding the service of Shri Shri Radha-Govinda. Nobody should therefore think of Sanatana Goswami as being greater than Rupa Goswami or vice versa. Both of them are our spiritual masters and engage us in the transcendental loving service of Godhead. When Lord Chaitanya mentioned the word guru, spiritual master, He meant both the shiksha-guru and the diksha-guru and not just one of them.