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NITAAI-Veda.nyf > All Scriptures By Acharyas > Bhaktivinoda Thakura > Hari Naam Cintamani > Chapter-VI

Chapter Six


To Disobey the Orders of the Spiritual Master


guror avajna


     "To disobey the orders of the spiritual master."


     1. Glory to the Panca-tattva! Glory to Shri Shri Radha-Madhava! Glory to Navadvipa, Vraja, the Yamuna, and the Vaishnavas!

     2. Haridasa said, "O Lord, now I will describe the third offense.

     3. "By Your command I will elaborately describe all the offenses that come from disobeying the spiritual master.

     4. "After wandering through many different species of life, a very fortunate soul will attain the rare human body. (1) Still, that body is also temporary.

     5. "If he does not struggle to attain the supreme auspiciousness, the soul will again take birth in another temporary body and again die.

     6. "Therefore it should be clearly understood that the human body is very rare and difficult to attain in this world of birth and death.


A Soul Residing in the World of Birth and Death Must Take Shelter of a Bona Fide Spiritual Master


     7. "Taking shelter of the spiritual master, who is the captain of the ship, (2) and with the help of Lord Krishna, the soul crosses over the ocean of birth and death.

     8. "The soul should humbly speak to a bona fide spiritual master, who is a peaceful devotee of Lord Krishna. Satisfying the spiritual master, the soul accepts initiation in the worship ,of Lord Krishna. In that way the soul is able to cross over the ocean of birth and death.

     9. "Sincerely placing his thoughts in Lord Krishna, he sends useless material logic far away. Abandoning that illogical so-called logic, he takes shelter of the true philosophy. Then he accepts a mantra from his spiritual master.

     10. "In this way a householder staying in varnashrama takes shelter of a bona fide spiritual master.


If Among the brahmanas or Other Higher Varnas a Suitable Person Is Present, He Should ccepted As Spiritual Master


     11. "If he possesses devotion to Lord Krishna, a brahmana is the spiritual master of all varnas.

     12. "If a suitable person is not present in the brahmana families, one should accept initiation from a spiritual master born in another kind of family. It is proper for a householder to accept a spiritual master from the higher varnas. The prospective spiritual master and disciple should examine each other to see if they are qualified as master and disciple.


Personal Qualifications Are More Important Than Varna


     13. "A person who knows the science of Krishna is qualified to become a spiritual master.

     14. "Whether he is born as a brahmana or a shudra, or whether he is a grihastha or a sannyasi, a bona fide spiritual master is like a kalpavriksha tree.

     15. "The varna of the spiritual master is not very important. His personal qualifications are what is important, what is needed. If one sees that a person has these qualifications, one should have faith in him as a spiritual master.

     16. "Personal qualifications are the root of a person's qualification to be a spiritual master. Such a spiritual master is like pure gold. If one meets such a person among the higher varnas, then that person is also like gold. (3)


A Person Who Has Renounced Grihastha Life Should Take Shelter of a Spiritual Master Who Is Not a Grihastha


     17. "A person who, for whatever reason, renounces grihastha life and accepts another ashrama, and who at the end has not found direction in spiritual life should seek out a saintly spiritual master.

     18. "Everyone agrees that a non-grihastha spiritual master is best for such a person. Accepting diksha (initiation) and shiksha (instruction) from that spiritual master, the disciple swims in the nectar of the holy name. (4)


The Grihastha Devotee Who Renounces Grihastha Life Should Not Abandon His Previous Spiritual Master


     19. "A grihastha devotee who accepts renunciation should renounce the duties of grihastha life. Still, for his entire life he should continue to accept the shelter of his previous spiritual master's feet.

     20. "Among grihasthas a grihastha spiritual master, if he is a pure devotee (shuddha-bhakta), is glorious. However, a grihastha spiritual master is not very good for a non-grihastha disciple. One should always accept a spiritual master who is appropriate. (5)

     21. "Attaining a bona fide spiritual master, one should worship him and worship him. When ecstatic love (bhava) arises within him, the devotee becomes disinterested in grihastha life. Abandoning grihastha life, he accepts the order of renunciation.


A Devotee Who Accepts the Renounced Ashrama Should Accept a Renounced Spiritual Master


     22. "A person who has renounced grihastha life should accept a spiritual master from the sannyasa-ashrama. (6) Taking shelter of his feet, from him the devotee learns renunciation. That spiritual master is a kalpa-vriksha tree of good instruction.


Diksha-guru (Initiating Spiritual Master) and Shiksha-guru (Instructing Spiritual Master) Must Be Honored Equally


     23. "Diksha-guru (initiating spiritual master) and shiksha-guru (instructing spiritual master) are the two kinds of spiritual masters. Both should be honored equally. If he is glorious like the moon, the spiritual master will easily give the most valuable treasure to his saintly disciple.

     24. "The diksha-guru gives the mantra of Lord Krishna's holy names. (7) The shiksha-guru teaches the truth about Lord Krishna. Every Vaishnava is qualified to be a shiksha-guru. Every Vaishnava thus becoems the father of others' good fortune.


The Spiritual Master Follows the Teachings of the First Spiritual Master in the Sampradaya (Disciplic Succession)


     25. "All the spiritual masters in the sadhu-sampradaya (8) (disciplic succession) properly worship the crest-jewel of spiritual masters, the first spiritual master in the sampradaya, the spiritual master who as shiksha-guru founded the sampradaya.

     26. "The spiritual masters all follow his perfect teachings. They do not accept any other teaching. They follow his teachings. They do not accept another initiation.


One Should Accept a Spiritual Master in the Sanpradaya


     27. "The spiritual masters accept the teachings of the original shiksha-guru in the sampradaya. They do not accept the teachings of any learned pandita with a different philosophy.

     28. "A person who is learned and saintly, and who follows the teachings of the original spiritual master in the sampradaya is qualified to be a diksha-guru.


By Accepting a Krishna-mantra From a Mayavadi One Does Not Attain the Greatest Treasure


     29. "By accepting a Krishna-mantra froma mayavadi one does not attain the greatest treasure.


One Should Not Accept A Spiritual Master Who Is Not a Pure Devotee (Shuddha-bhakta)


     30. "A person who teaches a philosophy opposed to the truth, and a person who accepts that untrue philosophy both go to hell. They are not delivered.

     31. "A person who rejects pure devotional service (shuddha-bhakti) and teaches something else spends his life in debate, speaking arguments and counter-arguments.

     32. "How can such a person be a spiritual master? How will he deliver the conditioned souls? If he himself has not attained perfection, how can he give auspiciousness to others?

     33. "How can a person who is not a pure devotee (shuddha-bhakta) be qualified as a spiritual master? This all the scriptures say.


Guru-tattva (The Nature of the Spiritual Master)


     34. "The diksa-guru and siksa guru are both servants of Lord Krishna. They are both residents of Vraja, both manifestations of Lord Krishna's potency (shakti).

     35. "One should never think the spiritual master is an ordinary soul (samanya-jiva). The spiritual master is Lord Krishna's spiritual potency (krishna-shakti), a devotee most dear to Lord Krishna (krishna-preshtha), and one's eternal master (nitya-prabhu). (9)

     36. "Thinking in this way, one should be always devoted to one's spiritual master. By the power of one's devotion to his spiritual master (guru-bhakti-bala), one crosses over the ocean of birth and death.


Guru-puja (Worship of the Spiritual Master)


     37. "First one shoudl worship one;{.fn 2}s spiritual master, and after that one should worship Lord Krishna. The spiritual master gives Lord Krishna's mercy. (10)

     38. "Following the spiritual master's commands, one should earnestly worship Lord Krishna. Remembering that spiritual master, Lord Krishna will eventually speak with His own mouth.


What Kind of Faith Should One Have For His Spiritual Master?


     39. "To disobey the spiritual master is an offense. This offense blocks one's advancement in devotional service.

     40. "Being equally devoted to his spiritual master, Lord Krishna, and the Vaishnavas, and taking shelter of the holy name, a pure devotee quickly becomes delivered.

     41. "A person who has unflinching faith in his spiritual master attains, by the power of his pure chanting of the holy name, the great treasure of pure love (prema-dhana) for Lord Krishna.


The Situation Where One Should Reject His Spiritual Master


     42. "By bad association a person's qualification to be a spiritual master may be destroyed if events like the following occur.

     43. "First he may be the foremost of bona fide spiritual masters (sad-guru-pradhana). But then, by committing offenses to the holy name, he may become a person whose knowledge is destroyed.

     44. "Becoming an enemy of the Vaishnavas, he loses the taste for the nectar of the holy name. Gradually he becomes a slave of money and women.

     45. "Rejecting that spiritual master, and by Lord Krishna's mercy again obtaining a true spiritual master, the devotee purely chants the holy name.


The Relationship of the Spiritual Master and the Disciple: In the Beginning They Should Test and Examine Each Other


     46. "A spiritual master who accepts an unqualified disciple is eventually punished. A disciple who worships a person not qualified to be a spiritual master becomes lost.

     47. "If the spiritual master and disciple are both qualified, their relationship should not be abandoned. (11)


Testing and Examining Him, and Finding Him to Be a Shuddha-guru (Pure Spiritual Master), the Prospective Disciple Should Accept Him


     48. "A person who disobeys his bona fide spiritual master is the greatest sinner and the greatest offender in the world.

     49. "Therefore, in the beginning one should take special care to find a pure devotee (shuddha-bhakta) to be one's spiritual master. (12)

     50. "The prospective disciple should be concerned that some day he will not suffer the pain of having to reject his spiritual master or some day he will not fall into great difficulty.

     51. "As the prospective disciple tests and examines the prospective spiritual master to see if he possesses true devotion or not, so the prospective spiritual master should test and examine the prospective disciple.

     52. "To disobey a bona fide spiritual master is a fearful offense. When they commit that offense the demigods and human beings perish.


The Way To Serve the Spiritual Master


     53. "One should not sleep on his spiritual master's bed, sit on his seat, wear his shoes, use his footstool, or step on his shadow.

     54. "One should not, thinking the spiritual master not like the Supreme Lord Himself, worship another person before first worshiping one's spiritual master.

     55. "One should accept initiation from the spiritual master and hear his explanations of scripture. Accepting him as one's master, one should offer obeisances to him.

     56. "On seeing his spiritual master, the disciple should offer dandavat obeisances, falling to the ground like a stick.

     57. "He should speak his spiritual master's name with devotion. He should never disobey his spiritual master's order.

     58. "He must honor the remnants of food and other things left by the spiritual master. He must never speak harsh words to his spiritual master.

     59. "He must humbly surrender to his spiritual master's feet. He must always act in such a way that his spiritual master will be pleased with him.

     60. "Acting in this way and chanting the holy name of Lord Krishna (krishna-nama-sankirtana), he attains all perfection. O Lord, this the scriptures say.

     61-62. "If by associating with wicked people or taking shelter of the philosophy of wicked books one disobeys his nama-guru (13), one should throw that association or those books far away, grasp his spiritual master;{.fn 2}s feet, and confess his misdeeds.

     63. "The merciful spiritual master will then give his mercy. That merciful Vaishnava will give him the gift of love for the holy name (name prema)."

     64. A person who is lower than a blade of grass and less worthy than a pile of ashes, but somehow has faith in the dust of Haridasa's feet, speaks this Hari-nama-cintamani.



Chapter Six Footnotes by Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura


     (1) Wandering and wandering in sixteen-thousand species of life, by the power of some unknown pious deed (ajnata-sukriti) the conditioned soul will obtain a human body. The human body is rare, for in the human body one may engage in activities that lead to the highest goal of life, activities that cannot be performed in other bodies. In the body of a demigod the soul may only enjoy the results of past pious deeds, but he may not perform activities for spiritual advancement. In the bodies of birds, beasts, and other like creatures, bodies filled with ignorance, the soul has no independence and also cannot perform activities for spiritual advancement. Therefore only the human body is suitable for worshiping the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

     (2) The spiritual master is the only captain of the ship to carry the fallen souls across the ocean of repeated birth and death. Anyone who does not take shelter of a spiritual master's feet and instead struggles, using only the power of his own intelligence, to cross to the other side of the ocean of birth and death is a great fool. Without being taught by a spiritual master, no one can become perfect in this world. How can one become perfect without a spiritual master's teaching one how to act in such a way that he may attain the highest goal of life? A person who would perform activities to attain the highest goal of life requires a spiritual master.

     (3) One should accept a bona fide spiritual master. A spiritual master from the higher varnas is pleasing to the people. If he can find a bona fide spiritual master among the higher varnas, a grihastha devotee need not search for one among the lower varnas. However, one should a accept a spiritual master who is bona fide. One should not accept a family guru from the higher varnas if that person is not qualified as a bona fide spiritual master.

     (4) A person who has renounced grhastha life must accept a bona fide spiritual master. For him the appropriate spiritual master is a spiritual master who has also renounced grihastha life.

     (5) A grihastha devotee should accept a bona fide spiritual master who is also a grihastha. He should not accept a bona fide spiritual master who is not a grihastha.

     (6) A grihastha who has accepted the renounced ashrama must accept a qualified sannyasi spiritual master.

     (7) Spiritual masters are of two kinds. The diksha-guru gives initiation into the chanting of the mantra. The shiksha-guru gives instruction about the relationship between the Supreme Lord and the individual souls and about other spiritual topics also. One may accept only one diksha-guru. However, one may accept many shiksha-gurus. Both kinds of gurus should be honored equally.

     (8) Here the word "sadhu-sampradaya" means “Vaishnava-sampradaya". The disciplic succession of saintly persons (sadhu-parampara) teaches mantras, the spiritual truth (tattva), and the way to attain spiritual goals (sadhya-sadhana). Keeping oneself protected from the evil sampradayas of the mayavadis and others, one should accept a spiritual master from one of the good sampradayas. One should honor the teachings given by the original acarya of the good sdampradayas. Shri Ramanuja, Shri Madhva Muni, Shri Nimbarka, and Shri Vishnu Svami are the original acaryas of their respective sampradayas. Madhva MUni is the original acarya of our sampradaya.

     (9) One should not think the spiritual master is an ordinary man. The Vaishnavas say the spiritual master is a person empowered by lord Krishna or that he is a personal associate of Lord Krishna. The mayavadis say the spiritual master is Lord Krishna Himself. That is not the opinion of the pure Viashnavas. By accepting the mayavada philosophy one ruins his spiritual activities.

     (10) First one worships the spiritual master by offering him a seat (asana), washing his feet (padya), offering water (arghya), bathing water (snaniya), garments (vastra), and ornaments (abharana). After worshiping him, with his permission one may worship the divine couple Shri Shri Radha-Krishna. Prasadam, nectar drinks, and other things should be offered first to the spiritual master. Then they may be offered to the other Vaishnavas and to the demigods. In this way one may offer prasadam to the pitas.

     (11) The relationship between the spiritual master and the disciple is eternal. That relationship may not be broken. However, if the spiritual master is wicked, the disciple may break the relationship, and if the disciple is wicked, the spiritual master may break the relationship. Otherwise, neither may break it. One may search the scriptures for various quotes to describe the situations where this relationship may be broken.

     (12) Before the spiritual master is accepted, the spiritual master and the prospective disciple should test and examine each other. That is the teaching of the scriptures. This does not reefer to a familiy guru (kula-guru). A family guru is not qualified to be a bona fide spiritual master. Before one accepts the spiritual master the prospective disciple should examine to see if the prospective spiritual master is a true saintly spiritual master or an unqualified pretender. if at the time when one should test and examine the prospective spiritual master, the prospective disciple does not make a great effort to thoroughly test and examine him, that disciple is very unfortunate. If one accepts an unqualified family guru one must, honoring him and speaking prayers, leave him and search for a true bona fide spiritual master. This one must do.

     (13) The word "nama-guru" means "the person who teaches the supremely exalted nature of the holy name" or "the person who gives the mantra of the holy names". Such a person is a "nama-guru". The diksha-guru is the nama-guru. Here "nama" means "the mantra of the holy names". The holy name is not different from that mantra. The word "nama" may also be interpreted to mean "he who speaks". In this interpretation the nama-guru is the person who sepaks the mantra.