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NITAAI-Veda.nyf > Spiritual Questions & Answers > 2007 QnA Swami Gaurangapada > Guru Tattva

Title: Guru Tattva

User: Swami Gaurangapada Date: 2007-03-11 19:41:08



dear swami gaurangapada , obeisances to you r lotus feet ... jaya jaya sri-caitanya jaya nityananda

jayadvaita-candra jaya gaura-bhakta-vrnda


dear swamiji ,


I read an article some time ago , which stated that a pure devotee of the lord actually , comes down a stage to take the position of guru , this is mysterious but very pleasing and when , you think about this you can begin to understand a little about the mercy of guru and also his qualities , even though this is a massive subject and certainly unlimited i pray that you may speak a little on the subject , for our upliftment and also on the subject of how glorious it is therefore to be the servant of the servant of the servants of our lords nityananda and gauranga .


thankfully in your service, sacinandana_das p.s the today link on the calendar did not work ..>> page not found .. : ))



Answer by Swami Gaurangapada:


Nityananda! Gauranga! Hare Krishna! An Uttama-Adhikari Guru has to come down to the platform of Madhyama-Adhikari to preach the Holy Names because in the Uttama Adhikari stage one cannot stop relishing the taste for the Holy Names for even one moment. An uttama adhikari is so overwhelmed by rasa or mellows for the Holy Names that everything else becomes a burden for him including the maintainence his body what to speak of talking and preaching to others.


The complete glories of the Guru Tattva in the next post as compiled by Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura Prabhupada are as follows:




One Must Accept a Guru in Disciplic Succession.


tad vijnanartham sa gurum evabhigacchet

samit panih srotriyam brahma-nishtham

One who wants to know the Absolute Truth scientifically must approach a bona fide spiritual master and offer him everything required for sacrifice. Such a spiritual master must be fixed in the truth, having heard it in disciplic succession. (Mundaka Upanishad 1.2.12)


acaryavan purusho veda

Only one who has a guru can know the truth. (Chandogya Upanishad 6.14.2)


uttishthata jagrata prapya varan nibodhata

kshurasya dhara nisita duratyaya

durgam pathas tat kavayo vadanti

Wake up and take advantage of the human form of life. Learned transcendentalists say that the path of spiritual life is difficult; it is sharp like a razor's edge. (Katha Upanishad 1.3.14)


yasya deve para bhaktir yatha deve tatha gurau

tasyaite kathita hy arthah prakasante mahatmanah

Only unto those great souls who serve guru and Krishna with implicit faith is the import of the Vedas fully revealed. (Svetasvatara Upanishad 6.23)


nayam atma pravacanena labhyo

na medhaya na bahuna srutena

yam evaisha vrinute tena labhyas

tasyaisha atma vivrinute tanum svam

The Supreme Self can never be known by any amount of argument, reasoning, intelligence, or by much hearing. To those whom He chooses, however, He may reveal His personal form. (Katha Upanishad 1.2.23)


janana-maranadi-samsaranala-santapto dipta-sira

jala-rasim iva upahara-panih srotriyam

brahma-nishtham gurum upasritya tam anusarati

Just as a person whose head is afire runs towards water, one burning from the fire of material existence birth, death, old age, and disease must run to a guru for relief. Such a guru must be fixed in the Absolute Truth and well-versed in the scriptures. One should approach him with all that is needed for sacrifice, submit to him, and be ready to carry out his every instruction. (Vedanta-sara 11)


'krishna-nitya-dasa', jiva taha bhuli' gela

ei doshe maya tara galaya bandhila

Because the soul has forgotten that he is the eternal servant of Krishna, Maya has chained him by the neck. (Cc. Madhya 22.24)


krishna bhuli' sei jiva anadi-bahirmukha

ataeva maya tare deya samsaradi-duhkha

Forgetting Krishna, the soul is attracted by the illusory energy since time immemorial, which gives him innumerable miseries in the material world. (Cc. Madhya 20.117)


krishna-bahir-mukha haiya bhoga vancha kare

nikata-stha maya tare japatiya dhare

pisaci paile yena mati-chhanna haya

maya-grasta jivera haya se bhava udaya

"ami nitya krishna-dasa" -ei katha bhule

mayara naphara haiya cira-dina bule

kabhu raja, kabhu praja, kabhu vipra, sudra

kabhu sukhi, kabhu duhkhi, kabhu kita, kshudra

kabhu svarge, kabhu martye, narake va kabhu

kabhu deva, kabhu daitya kabhu dasa prabhu

Being averse to the service of the Supreme Lord, the living entity tries to satisfy his lusty desires for sense gratification, and thus the illusory energy keeps him tightly within her embrace. The living entity, captured by the illusory energy, becomes just like a madman under a witch's spell.

"I am the eternal servant of Krishna" forgetting this, he becomes the slave of maya and forever wanders through a succession of lives. Sometimes he is a king, sometimes a subject. Now a brahmana, now a sudra. Now an insignificant ant. Sometimes happy, sometimes sad. Now he goes to heaven, now to hell. Sometimes he is a god, sometimes a devil, now a servant, now a lord. (Prema-vivarta)


brahmanda bhramite kona bhagyavan jiva

guru-krishna-prasade paya bhakti-lata-bija

tate krishna bhaje, kare gurura sevana

maya-jala chute, paya krishnera carana

Wandering throughout the universe, by the mercy of Krishna, the living entity who is fortunate meets a bona fide spiritual master. By the mercy of the spiritual master, he gets the seed of the bhakti-lata. By worshiping Krishna and rendering service to the spiritual master, one is liberated from the illusory world of maya, and attains the lotus feet of the Lord. (Cc. Madhya 19.151, 22.25)


mukam karoti vacalam pangum langhayate girim

yat kripa tam aham vande paramananda madhavam

I offer my respectful obeisances unto transcendental bliss personified, Lord Madhava, by whose mercy a dumb man can speak eloquently, a blind man can see the stars, and a lame man can cross mountains. (Bhavartha Dipika, Mangala Stotram 1)


caitanya lila-amrita-pura, krishna-lila-sukarpura,

duhe mili' haya sumadhurya

sadhu-guru-prasade, taha yei asvade,

sei jane madhurya pracurya

The pastimes of Sri Caitanya are the abode of nectarean love of Godhead. They are like thick condensed milk. The pastimes of Sri Krishna are like camphor. When these are combined they are very sweet. By the mercy of the guru one can taste that sweetness un-limitedly. (Cc. Madhya 25.277)

A Qualified Guru and Disciple are Hard to Find


sravanayapi bahubhir yo na labhyah

srinvanto 'pi bahavo na vidyuh

ascaryo 'sya vakta kus lo 'sya labhda

ascaryo jnata kusalanusishtah

Many cannot hear about the soul, and even after hearing about it many cannot understand it, because it is hard to find a guru who is a genuine seer of the truth. Such a qualified guru is a great soul and is very rare. Only those who follow his teachings can realize the truth and become expert in the science of God. Such disciples are also very rare. (Katha Upanishad 1.2.7)

A Genuine Guru Knows the Truth About Krishna, is Surrendered to Him,

and is Well-Versed in the Vedic Literature


tasmad gurum prapadyeta jijnasuh sreya uttamam

sabde pare ca nishnatam brahmany upasamasrayam

One who is searching for the Ultimate Truth must surrender to a guru who knows the inner meaning of the Vedas, is fixed in the Absolute Truth and is expert in the sastra. (Bhag. 11.3.21)


kripa-sindhuh su-sampurnah sarva-sattvopakarakah

nisprihah sarvatah siddhah sarva-vidya-visaradah

sarva-samsaya-samchetta 'nalaso gurur ahritah

One who is an ocean of mercy, who is fulfilled in all respects, who has all good qualities, who works for the benefit of all souls, who is free from lust, who is perfect in all respects, who is well-versed in the scriptures, who knows the science of Krishna, who can remove all the doubts of his disciples, and who is always alert in the service of Krishna is known as a genuine guru. (Hari-bhakti-vilasa 1.45,46 quoted from Vishnu-smriti Vacana)

A Guru is a Master of his Senses


vaco vegam manasah krodha vegam

jihva vegam udaropastha vegam

etan vegan yo vishaheta dhirah

sarvam apimam prithivim sa sishyat

A sober person who can control the urge to speak, the mind, the urges of anger, the tongue, belly, and genitals is qualified to make disciples all over the world. (Upadesamrita 1)


shat-karma nipuno vipro mantra-tantra-visaradah

avaishnavo guru na syad vaishnavah svapaco guruh

A brahmana may be expert in mantra, ritual, and the six kinds of brahminical work performing and teaching sacrifice, studying and teaching scripture, giving and receiving charity but if he is not a Vaishnava he cannot be a guru. On the other hand, a Vaishnava, even if born in a family of untouchables, may be a guru. (Hari-bhakti-vilasa, quoting Padma Purana Vacana)

A Pure Devotee is the Guru of all Varnas and Asramas


vipra kshatriya vaisyas ca guravah sudra janmanam

sudras ca guravas tesham trayanam bhagavat-priyah

A brahmana, kshatriya or vaisya can be guru for the sudra class, but a Vaishnava, even if born a sudra, because he is dear to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, can be the guru of these higher orders. (Padma Purana)


kiba vipra, kiba nyasi , sudra kene naya

yei krishna-tattva-vetta, sei 'guru' haya

Whether a brahmana, a sannyasi, or a sudra, one who knows the science of Krishna is to be accepted as guru. (Cc. Madhya 8.128)


kiba varni, kiba srami, kiba varnasrama hina

krishna tattva yei, sei acarya pravina

asala katha chadi' bhai varne ye kare adara

asad-guru kari' ta 'ra vinashta purvapara

One who is expert in the science of Krishna, whatever social order he may belong to including sudra and outcaste is to be accepted as an acarya. Who ignores this principle and accepts a guru solely on the basis of social position will be ruined. (Prema-vivarta)

A Guru is an Acarya of Sambandha-jnana


vairagya-yug bhakti-rasam prayatnair

apayayan mam anabhipsum andham

kripambudhir yah para-duhkha-dukhi

sanatanam tam prabhum asrayami

I surrender to Srila Sanatana Gosvami, the acarya of sambandha jnana. He is an ocean of mercy and always unhappy to see the suffering of others. Although I was blind and in the darkest ignorance he gave me the light of transcendental knowledge. He taught me the real meaning of detachment and made me drink the highest nectarean rasa that of divine love. (Vilapa-kusumanjali, 6)

Who is an acarya?


upaniya tu yah sisyam veda-madhyapayed dvijah

sankalpam sa-rahasyam ca tam acaryam pracakshate

An acarya is not one who only confers the sacred thread. He trains his disciples in sacrifice and teaches them the confidential meaning of the Vedas. Such a spiritual master is an acarya, according to saintly authorities. (Manu-samhita 2.140)


acinoti yah sastrartham acare sthapayaty api

svayam acarate yasmad acaryas tena kirttitah

An acarya is one who fully understands the conclusions of the revealed scriptures and whose behavior reflects his deep realization. He is a living example for he teaches the meaning of the scriptures both by word and deed. (Vayu Purana)

Example is Better than Precept


yad yad acarati sreshthas tat tad evetaro janah

sa yat pramanam kurute lokas tad anuvartate

Whatever a great man does, common men follow. Whatever standards he sets by exemplary acts, all the world pursues. (Bhagavad-gita 3.21)


apane acare keha, na kare pracara

pracara karena keha, na karena acara

'acara' 'pracara' namera karaha 'dui' karya

tumi sarva-guru, tumi jagatera arya

Some practice but do not preach, others preach but do not practice, but one who is perfect in both preaching and practice is the guru of the entire universe. You are a real jagad-guru, for you practice what you preach. (Cc. Antya 4.102,103)


apane karimu bhakta-bhava angikare

apani acari' bhakti sikhamu sabare

I shall accept the role of a devotee, and I shall teach bhakti to everyone by practicing it Myself. (Cc. Adi 3.20)


apani na kaile dharma sikhana na yaya

If I do not do this Myself, then the principles of religion will not be taught. (Cc. Adi 3.21)

Inconceivable Oneness and Difference of Guru, Vaishnava, and Krishna


acaryam mam vijaniyan navamanyeta karhicit

na martya-buddhyasuyeta sarva-devamayo guruh

Know the acarya to be as good as Myself. Never disrespect him. Never envy him or consider him an ordinary man for He is the sum total of all the demigods. (Bhag. 11.17.27)


vande gurun isa-bhaktan isam isavatarakan

tat-prakasams ca tac chaktih krishna caitanya samjnakam

I worship the Supreme Lord Sri Caitanya, who appears in six features as: instructing and initiating gurus; the Lord's devotees, beginning with Srivasa Thakura; His avataras such as Advaita Acarya; His prakasa, or full expansion, (Nityananda Prabhu); and His sakti, (Gadadhara Pandita). (Cc. Adi 1.1 )


krishna, guru, bhakta, sakti, avatara, prakasa

krishna sakti ei chaya-rupe karena vilasa

The Supreme Lord appears in six features. As Sri Krishna; the two kinds of gurus; devotees; incarnations of Godhead; complete expansions of His own Self (purushas); and His divine energy. In these six features the Lord enjoys His transcendental pastimes. (Cc. Adi 1.32)


yadyapi amara guru caitanyera dasa

tathapi janiye ami tanhara prakasa

Although I know my guru is a servitor of Sri Caitanya, I know that He is a full manifestation (prakasa) of the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself. (Cc. Adi 1.44)

Siksha-guru, Caitya-guru, and Mahanta (personal)-guru.


guru-krishna-rupa hana sastrera pramane

guru-rupe krishna kripa karena bhakta-gane

According to sastra the guru is nondifferent from Krishna, because it is through the guru that Krishna bestows mercy on His devotees. (Cc. Adi 1.45)


siksha-guruke ta' jani krishnera svarupa

antaryami, bhakta-sreshtha, ei dui rupa

One should know the siksha guru to be Krishna Himself. As guru, Krishna has two forms as the Supersoul and as the best of devotees. (Cc. Adi 1.47)


jive sakshat nahi, tate guru caittya-rupe

siksha-guru haya krishna mahanta-svarupe

Since one cannot see the Supersoul directly, Krishna appears as a liberated devotee. Such a siksha guru is none other than Krishna Himself. (Cc. Adi 1.58)


naivopayanty apacitim kavayas tavesa

brahmayushapi kritam riddha-mudah smarantah

yo 'ntar bahis tanu-bhritam asubham vidhunvann

acarya-caittya-vapusha sva-gatim vyanakti

O my Lord! Transcendental poets and experts in spiritual science cannot fully express their indebtedness to You, even if they had the lifetime of Brahma, for You appear in two features externally as the acarya and internally as the Supersoul to deliver the conditioned souls by revealing to them Your devotional service and teaching them how to approach You on the path of pure love. (Bhag. 11.29.6)

By the Mercy of Krishna, one Gets the Mercy of Guru


krishna yadi kripa kare kona bhagyavane

guru-antaryami-rupe sikhaya apane

By the mercy of Krishna a fortunate soul is guided by the Supersoul from within and from the guru without. (Cc. Madhya 22.47)

Guru Gives Scientific Knowledge About the Highest Spiritual Reality


ajnana timirandhasya jnananjana salakaya

cakshur unmilitam yena tasmai sri guruve namah

I was born in the darkest ignorance, but my spiritual master opened my eyes with the salve of transcendental knowledge. I offer my humble obeisance's unto him. (Prema-bhakti-candrika, Narottama dasa)


sri-caitanya-mano-'bhishtam sthapitam yena bhutale

svayam rupah kada mahyam dadati sva-padantikam

When will Srila Rupa Gosvami Prabhupada, who has established the mission to fulfill the desire of Lord Caitanya give me shelter at his lotus feet? (Prema-bhakti-candrika, Narottama dasa)


sri-guru-carana padma, kevala-bhakati-sadma,

bando muni savadhana mate

yahara prasade bhai, e bhava toriya jai,

krishna-prapti hoy jaha ha'te

guru-mukha-padma-vakya, cittete koriya aikya,

ar na koriho mane asa

sri-guru carane rati, ei se uttama gati,

je prasade pure sarva asa

cakhu-dan dilo jei, janme janme prabhu sei,

divya-jnan hride prokasito

prema-bhakti jaha hoite, avidya vinasa jate,

vede gay yahara carito

The lotus feet of the spiritual master are the only way we can attain pure devotional service. I bow down to his lotus feet with great awe and reverence. By his mercy, one can cross the ocean of material suffering and obtain the mercy of Krishna.

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 fulfill all desires.

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.

Our spiritual master is the ocean of mercy, the friend of the poor, and lord and master of the devotees. O master! Be merciful to me. Give me the shade of your lotus feet. Your fame is spread all over the three worlds. (Prema-bhakti-candrika, Narottama dasa)

The Spiritual Master is the Energy of Krishna


na dharmam nadharmam sruti-gana niruktam kila kuru

vraje radha-krishna-pracura-paricaryam iha tanu

saci-sunum nandisvara-pati-sutatve guru-varam

mukunda-preshtatve smara param ajasram nanu manah

O mind! Give up all connection with Vedic piety and impiety and simply serve Radha and Krishna in Vrindavana with all your heart. Know that Lord Caitanya, the son Saci, is Sri Krishna, the son of Nanda and always remember that Sri Guru is mukunda-preshtha, the dearmost servant of Krishna. (Manah-Siksha 2, Srila Raghunatha Dasa Gosvami)

Note: In the purport to Cc. Adi 1.46, Srila Prabhupada refers to Srila Bhaktivinoda's commentary called Anubhashya:

As mentioned previously, a disciple should always respect the spiritual master as a manifestation of Krishna, but at the same time one should always remember that a spiritual master is never authorized to imitate the transcendental pastimes of the Lord. False spiritual masters pose themselves as identical with Sri Krishna in every respect to exploit the sentiments of their followers, but such impersonalists can only mislead their disciples, for their ultimate aim is to become one with the Lord. This is against the principles of the devotional cult.

The real Vedic philosophy is acintya-bhedabheda-tattva, which establishes everything as one with and different from the Personality of Godhead. Srila Raghunatha Gosvami confirms that this is the real position of a bona tide spiritual master and says one should always think of the spiritual master in terms of his intimate relationship with Mukunda.

The Guru is Gaura-sakti and Gaura-priyattama


sakshad hadritvena samasta sastrair

uktas tatha bhavyata eva shadbhih

kintu prabhor yah priya eva tasya

vande guroh sri-caranaravindam

According to the verdict of the revealed scriptures and saintly persons, the guru is honored as much as Krishna Himself, because he is the dearmost servant of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. I offer my respectful obeisance's unto the lotus feet of such a spiritual master. (Gurvashtakam 7)


suddha-bhaktah sri-guro sri sivasya ca bhagavata saha

abheda-drishtim-tat-priyatamatvenaiva manyante

Whenever the scriptures describe the spiritual master and Lord Siva as nondifferent from Krishna, pure devotees understand this is because of their being the most beloved of Sri Krishna. (Bhakti-Sandarbha, Annucheda 216)

NOTE: Quoting the Anubhashya, Cc. Adi 1.46: "Jiva Gosvami clearly defined that a pure devotee's observation of the spiritual master and Lord Siva as one with the Personality of Godhead exists in their being very dear to the Lord, not identical with Him in all respects."

A Guru in Name Only Commits a Great Offense


gurur na sa syat sva-jano na sa syat

pita na sa syaj janani na sa syat

daivam na tat syan na patis ca sa syan

na mocayed yah samupeta-mrityum

One who cannot deliver his dependents from repeated birth and death should never become a guru, a relative, a father, mother, demigod, or husband. (Bhag. 5.5.18)


sei se parama bandhu, sei pita-mata

sri-krishna-carane yei prema-bhakti-data

sakala janme pita-mata sabe paya

krishna guru nahi mile, bhajaha hiyaya

Under ordinary circumstances one's own father and mother are worshipable, but in every species one gets a father and mother. Far rarer is to get guru and Krishna. The spiritual master can bestow prema-bhakti to the those who have attained his mercy, therefore he is the topmost father, mother, and friend of everyone. (Caitanya Mangala, Madhya-khanda)

Scholarship is no Qualification for Becoming a Guru


sabda-brahmani nishnato na nishnayat pare yadi

sramas tasya srama-phalo hy adhenum iva rakshatah

One may be expert in Vedic scholarship, but if he fails to understand the position of the Absolute Truth and doesn't recognize Krishna as the Supreme Personality of Godhead all his study is a waste of time. His hard work will be his only reward, and his efforts will be like the labor of one who struggles to maintain a cow that has no calf and cannot produce milk. (Bhag. 11.11.18)

A Non-Vaishnava Cannot be a Guru


maha-kula-prasuto 'pi sarva-yajneshu dikshitah

sahasra-sakhadhyayi ca na guruh syad avaishnavah

Even if born in an aristocratic brahmana family, initiated with all the appropriate Vedic sacrifices, and has studied a thousand branches of Vedic knowledge one who is not a Vaishnava can never be a guru. (Hari-bhakti-vilasa 1.45)

Bogus Gurus


paricarya-yaso-lipsuh sishyad gurur na hi

One who accepts disciples for personal service and fame is unfit to be a guru. (Vishnu Smriti)


guravo bahavah santi sishya-vittapaharakah

durlabhah sad-gurur devi sishya-santapaharakah

Many gurus take advantage of their disciples and plunder them. They exploit their disciples for sex, and use them to amass wealth, but a guru who can remove the miseries of his disciples is very rare. (Purana-vakya)

The Injunction to Abandon a Bogus Guru


guror apy avaliptasya karyakaryam ajanatah

utpatha-pratipannasya parityago vidhiyate

A guru addicted to sensual pleasure and polluted by vice, who is ignorant and has no power to discriminate between right and wrong, or who is not on the path of suddha-bhakti must be abandoned. (Mahabharata, Udyoga-parva, 179.25)


snehad va lobhato vapi yo grihniyad dikshaya

tasmin gurau sa-sishye tat devata sapa apatet

If a guru, disregarding the standard for giving diksha, gives the mantra to his disciple out of greed or mundane affection, he is cursed by the gods along with that disciple. (Hari-bhakti-vilasa 2.7)


yo vyakti nyaya rahitam anyayena srinoti yah

tav ubhau narakam ghoram vrajatah kalam akshayam

One who assumes the dress and position of an acarya, who speaks against the conclusions of Srimad Bhagavatam and other scriptures, or performs kirtana opposed to the proper glorification of Sri Krishna, certainly goes to hell for countless lifetimes along with his disciples and whoever else hears such non-devotional talks and kirtanas. (Hari-bhakti-vilasa 1.101)


vaishnava-vidveshi cet parityajya eva. "guror api avaliptasye" ti smaranat, tasya vaishnava-bhava-rahityena avaishnavataya avaishnavopadishteneti vacana-vishaya tvacca. Yathokta-lakshanasya sri-guror-avidyamanatayastu tasyaiva maha-bhagavatasyaikasya nitya-sevanam paramam sreyah.

A guru who is envious of pure devotees, who blasphemes them, or behaves maliciously towards them should certainly be abandoned, remembering the verse "guror api avaliptasya" (See 1.49). Such an envious guru lacks the mood and character of a Vaishnava. The sastras enjoin that one should not accept initiation from a non-devotee (avaishnavopadishtena... See 1.54). Knowing these injunctions of the scriptures, a sincere devotee abandons a false guru who is envious of devotees. After leaving one who lacks the true qualities of a guru, if a devotee is without a spiritual guide, his only hope is to seek out a mahabhagavata vaishnava and serve him. By constantly rendering service to such a pure devotee, one will certainly attain the highest goal of life. (Bhakti-sandarbha, Annucheda 238)

A Materialistic, Professional, Family or

Vyavaharika-guru Must be Given up


paramartha-gurvasrayo vyavaharika-gurvadi parityagenapi kartavyah

One should not accept a spiritual master based on hereditary, social or ecclesiastical convention. Such a professional guru should be rejected. One must accept a qualified spiritual master, who can help one advance towards the ultimate goal of life, krishna-prema. (Bhakti-sandarbha, annucheda 210)

Who Rejects a False Guru Must Accept a Real Guru


avaishnavopadishtena mantrena nirayam vrajet

punas ca vidhina samyag grahayed vaishnavad guroh

One who gets his mantra from a guru who is a non-devotee or who is addicted to sensual pleasure is doomed to a life in hell. Such a person must immediately approach a genuine Vaishnava guru and again accept the mantra from him. (Hari-bhakti-vilasa 4.366)

Why Become a Disciple


nri-deham adyam su-labham su-durlabham

plavam su-kalpam guru-karnadharam

mayanukulena nabhasvateritam

puman bhavabdhim na taret sa atma-ha

This human form of life is rare and it can award all the benefit of life. It is superior to all other forms of life, for having attained it, one may easily cross over the ocean of material existence. The human form of life is like a ship for crossing the material ocean. The guru is the captain and the mercy of Krishna is the favorable wind that carries the ship safely across. One who fails to make use of the human form of life for crossing the ocean of birth and death is the killer of the self. (Bhag. 11.20.17)

One who Thinks the Spiritual Master an Ordinary man Goes to Hell


gurushu nara-matir yasya va naraki sah

One who thinks that the spiritual master is an ordinary man is said to live in hell. (Padma Purana)

Who Thinks the Guru an Ordinary man Finds his Attempts

at Spiritual Progress as Useless as an Elephant's Bath


yasya sakshad bhagavati jnana-dipa prade gurau

martyasad-dhih srutam tasya sarvam kunjara-saucavat

The guru is considered as the Supreme Lord Himself, because he gives the light of transcendental knowledge to his disciples. Consequently, for one who maintains the material conception that the guru is an ordinary human being, everything is frustrated. His attempts to progress in spiritual life, his Vedic studies and scriptural knowledge, his penance's and austerities, and his worship of the Deity are all as useless as the bathing of an elephant. (Bhag. 7.15.26)

For Transcendental Knowledge one Must Approach a Guru


tad viddhi pranipatena pariprasnena sevaya

upadekshyanti te jnanam jnaninas tattva-darsinah

Just try to learn the truth by approaching a spiritual master. Surrender to him and inquire from him and render service at his lotus feet. The self-realized soul can impart knowledge unto you, for he has seen the truth. (Bhagavad-gita 4.34)

The Guru Takes one Beyond Jnana to Pure Devotion


evam gurupasanayaika-bhaktya

vidya-kutharena sitena dhirah

vivriscya jivasayam apramattah

sampadya catmanam atha tyajastram

With steady intelligence you should develop unalloyed devotional service by careful worship of the spiritual master, and with the sharp ax of transcendental knowledge you should cut off the subtle material covering of the soul. Upon realizing the Supreme Personality of Godhead, you should then give up the ax of analytic knowledge. (Bhag. 11.12.24)

Guru and Lord Nityananda are Nondifferent


samsarera para haiya bhaktira sagare

ye dubibe se bhajuka nitai candere

amara prabhura prabhu sri gaurasundara

e bada bharasa citte dhari nirantara

Beyond the ocean of birth and death is the bhakti ocean. Let those who would go there worship Lord Nityananda (the original guru ). I will hold this faith within my heart forever: My master is Nityananda; His Lord is Gaurasundara. (By the mercy of Lord Nityananda one gets the mercy of Gaurasundara. Nityananda is therefore the original guru. As such the guru is the representative of Lord Nityananda. These two are nondifferent.)(Cb. 1.17.152-153)


nitai-pada-kamala, koti-candra-susitala,

ye chayay jagata juray

heno nitai bine bhai, radha-krishna paite nai,

dridha kori' dharo nitair pay

se sambandha nahi ja'r, britha janma gelo ta'r,

sei pasu boro duracar,

nitai na bolilo mukhe, majilo samsara-sukhe,

vidya-kule ki koribe tar

ahaokare matta hoiya, nitai-pada pasariya,

asatyere satya kori mani

nitaiyer karuna ha'be, vraje-radha-krishna pabe,

dhara nitai-carana du 'khani.

nitaiyer carana satya, tahara sevaka nitya,

nitai-pada sada koro asa

narottama boro dukhi, nitai more koro sukhi,

rakho ranga-caranera pasa

The lotus feet of Lord Nityananda are more soothing than millions of moons. This world is ablaze with the fire of birth and death, but the cool shade of the lotus feet of Lord Nityananda can give relief to the entire universe. No one can approach Radha-Krishna without Lord Nityananda. If one wants to enter into the service of Radha-Krishna, he must take shelter at the lotus feet of Nityananda. He has not established a relationship with Lord Nityananda has wasted his life. His birth in the human form of life is useless. He is no better than an animal being absorbed in eating, sleeping, mating, and fighting. Such a two-legged animal, whose mouth has never uttered the name "Nitai," wallows in the pleasures of family life, and enjoys the happiness offered by birth, death, old age, and disease in the forest fire of material existence.

If one has no connection with Nityananda, his so-called academic education and birth in a high family or great nation will not protect him. At the time of death nature's law will act, his work will be finished. He will get another body according to his karma.

Why are these human animals acting in this way? They are maddened by a false conception of life. They have identified the self with the body, and thus they have forgotten their eternal relationship with Nityananda. Such forgetful persons accept the illusory energy as factual. They consider truth to be unreal and mistake illusion for reality. By the mercy of Nityananda prabhu, however, one can attain the service of Radha-Krishna in Vrindavana. Therefore, take shelter of the holy feet of Lord Nityananda. (Prarthana, Narottama Dasa)

The Authorized Sacred Tradition


amnayah srutayah sakshad brahma-vidyeti visrutah

guru-parampara-praptah visva-kartur hi brahmanah

Transcendental knowledge, which is received through the system of parampara, beginning with Brahma, the creator, and which is embodied in the Sruti is known as amnayah, or the authorized sacred tradition. (Mahajana-karika)

Lord Brahma, the Original Teacher


brahma devanam prathamah sambabhuva

visvasya karta bhuvanasya gopta

sa brahma-vidyam sarva-vidya-pratishtam

atharvaya jyeshta-putraya praha

Lord Brahma is the foremost of the demigods. He is the creator of the universe, and its guardian. He instructed his eldest son, Atharva in the science of transcendental knowledge (brahma-vidya), and thus became the first teacher within the universe. All other knowledge is based on this knowledge. (Mundaka Upanishad 1.1.1)

Sri Madhva the Sampradaya Acarya


ananda-tirtha-nama sukha-maya-dhama yatir jiyat

samsararnava-taranim yam iha janah kirtyanti budhah

All glories to Sri Madhvacarya Prabhu, who is known as Ananda-tirtha, the holy abode of transcendental bliss. The wise know him as the boat for crossing over the ocean of material existence, and so they always chant his glories. (Prameya-ratnavali)

The Brahma-Madhva Gaudiya Sampradaya-






purushottama-brahmanya-vyasatirthams ca samstumah

tato lakshmipatim sriman-madhavendran ca bhaktitah

tac chishyan srisvaradvaita-nityanandan-jagat-gurun

devam-isvara-sishyam-sri-caitanyan ca bhajamahe

sri-krishna-prema-danena yena nistaritam jagat

kali-kalusha-santaptam karuna-sindhuna svayam


rupa-sanatanau dvau ca gosvami-pravarau prabhu

sri-jivo-raghunathas ca rupa priyo maha-matih

tat-priyah kaviraja-sri-krishna-dasa-prabhur matah

tasya priyottamah srilah sevaparo narottamah

tad-anugata-bhaktah sri-visvanathah sad-uttamah

tad asaktas ca gaudiya-vedantacarya-bhushanam

vidyabhushana-pada sri-baladeva-sad-asrayah

vaishnava-sarvabhauma-sri-jagannatha-prabhus tatha

sri-mayapura-dhamnas tu nirdeshta-sajjana-priyah

suddha-bhakti-pracarasya muli-bhuta ihottamah

sri-bhaktivinodo devas tat-priyatvena visrutah

tad-abhinna-suhrid-varyo maha-bhagavatottamah

sri-gaura-kisorah sakshad-vairagyam vigrahasritam


visuddha-bhakti-siddhantaih svanta-padma-vikasakah

devo 'sau paramo hamso mattah-sri-gaura-kirtane

pracaracara-karyeshu nirantaram-mahotsukah

hari-priya-janair-gamya om vishnu-pada-purvakah

sri-pado bhakti-siddhanta-sarasvati-mahodayah

sarve te gaura-vamsyas ca parama-hamsa-vigrahah

vayam ca pranata dasas tad ucchishta-grahagrahah)

The above Sanskrit verse describing the Gaudiya Vaishnava guru-parampara was composed by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura (with the exception of the part in parenthesis, which was later added by his disciples). He translated it in the form of a Bengali poem, which follows:


krishna haite catur-mukha, haya krishna sevonmukha,

brahma haite naradera mati

narada haite vyasa, madhva kahe vyasa-dasa,

purna-prajna padmanabha-gati

nrihari madhava vamse, akshobhya-paramahamse,

sishya bali' angikara kare

akshobhyera sishya jaya-tirtha name paricaya,

tanra dasye jnanasindhu tare

taha haite dayanidhi, tanra dasa vidyanidhi,

rajendra haila tanha ha'te

tanhara kinkara jaya-dharma name paricaya,

parampara jana bhala mate

jayadharma-dasye khyati, sri purushottama yati,

ta'ha ha'te brahmanya-tirtha suri

vyasa-tirtha tanra dasa, lakshmi-pati vyasa-dasa,

taha ha'te madhavendra puri

mahavendra puri-vara, sishya-vara sri isvara,

nityananda sri-advaita-vibhu

isara-purike dhanya, karilena sri caitanya,


mahaprabhu sri-caitanya, radha-krishna nahe anya,


visvambhara priyaokara, sri svarupa damodara,

sri gosvami rupa-sanatana

rupa-priya mahajana, jiva raghunatha hana,

tanra priya kavi krishna dasa

krishna dasa priya-vara, narottama sevapara,

yanra pada visvanatha asa

visvanatha bhakta-satha, baladeva jagannatha,

tanra priya sri bhaktivinoda

mahabhagavata-vara, sri-gaura-kisora-vara,

hari-bhajanete yanra moda

sri varshabhanavi-bara, sada sevya-sevapara,

tanhara dayitadasa nama

ei saba hari-jana, gaurangera nija-jana,

tandera ucchishte mora kama

The teachings of pure devotional service to Krishna begins with Krishna Himself. He revealed this divine knowledge to the four-headed Brahma, who taught it to Narada. Narada taught it to Vyasa, who taught it to his servant, Madhvacarya. From Madhvacarya it passed to Padmanabha, Narahari, and Madhava. Madhava's disciple was Akshobhya. Akshobhya's disciple was Jayatirtha, whose foremost disciple was Jnanasindhu. After Jnanasindhu was Dayanidhi, whose disciple was Vidyanidhi, also known as Vidyadhiraja Tirtha. His disciple was Rajendra Tirtha, whose principle disciple was Jayadharma, also known as Vijayadhvaja Tirtha, the famous Bhagavatam commentator. His disciple was Purushottama Tirtha, whose foremost disciple was Brahmanya Tirtha. His disciple was Vyasatirtha, whose disciple was Lakshmipati Tirtha. In this way one should understand the guru-parampara.

Lakshmipati Tirtha initiated Sri Madhavendra Puri, the best of sannyasis, whose favorite disciple was Isvara Puri. Two of his foremost disciples were the two great incarnations of Godhead, Lord Nityananda and Advaita Prabhu. Lord Caitanya made Isvara Puri greatly fortunate by accepting him as guru. Caitanya Mahaprabhu is none other than Sri Radha-Krishna combined. He is the life and soul of the Rupanuga Vaishnavas. The most dear follower of Sri Caitanya, who was also known as Visvambhara, was Svarupa Damodara, whose principle followers were Rupa and Sanatana Gosvami. The beloved followers of Rupa and Sanatana were Sri Jiva and Raghunatha dasa, whose dearmost servant was Krishnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami. The dearmost follower of Krishnadasa was Narottama dasa Thakura. Narottama's follower, Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura, had no desire other than the service of Narottama's lotus feet. The foremost devotee of Visvanatha was Baladeva Vidyabhushana, and then Jagannatha dasa Babaji. The dear servant of Jagannatha dasa Babaji wasBhaktivinoda Thakura. Bhaktivinoda Thakura was followed by Sri Gaura Kishora dasa Babaji, a great devotee, whose only pleasure was the service of Sri Hari.

All these pure devotees of the Lord represent the dynasty of Sri Gauranga, the Gaura-vamsa. Their holy feet are my only refuge. I am devoid of any real service to them, but hope that one day their service may be mine. I am only a fallen tridandi-sannyasi by the name of Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati."

Thus ends the First Jewel of the Gaudiya Kanthahara, entitled Guru-tattva.