by Srila Bhakti Vaibhava Puri Goswami Maharaja
tad-vynanartham sa gurum evabhigacchetTo learn the science of transcendental devotional service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, a person should approach, with firewood in hands, a self-realised spiritual master who is expert in vedic literatures and fixed in devotional service directly to the Lord.
samit panih srotriyam brahma-nistham (Mundaka Upanisad 1/2/12)
acaryavan puruso veda (Chandogya Upanisad - 6/14/2)"A person who takes shelter, with devotion, of a bonafide spiritual master will know the science of the Absolute Truth perfectly".
utisthata jagrata prdpya varan nibodhataThus addresseth the Vedapurusha regarding the pious ones (sadhus) :- Oh Sadhus ! be relieved of the thoughts regarding various earthly possessions. Desert the unwanted elements, get spirited in the real self and try to acquire knowledge regarding the Godhead by obtaining the compassion of the blessed ones. This mortal world is like the sharp edge of a blade, and cause of innumerable sorrows. It is beyond easy means to cross this mortal world without acquiring knowledge regarding the Godhead. The divine seers pronounce that the world reliever Brahma is attained with great efforts. There is no other way to swim accross the sea of mortal world except persuing the Godhead at the lotus feet of Srila Gurudev.
ksurasya dhara nisita duratyaya
durgama pathas tat kavayo vadanti (Kathopanisad - 1/3/14)
yasya deve para bhaktirOnly unto those great souls who have implicit faith in both the Lord and the spiritual master are all the imports of Vedic knowledge automatically revealed.
yatha-deve tatha gurau
tasyaite kathita hy arthah
prakasante mahatmanah (Swetaswatara Upanisad - 6/23)
nayam atma pravacanena labhyoThe Supreme Lord is not attained by reasonings or by vast intelligence, nor even by much hearing. He is attained only by one whom he Himself chooses. To such a person He manifests His own form.
na medhaya na bahuna srutena
yam evaisa vrnute tena labhyas
tasyaisa atma vivrnute tanum svam (Kathopanisad - 1/2/23)
janan maranadi samsaranala-santaptaAs a man goes to water when his head becomes very hot, so a disciple who is tortured by the fire of birth and death in the mortal world approaches a Spiritual Master who is well versed in the conclusions of Vedic literature and strictly follows his instructions and becomes subservient to him.
dipta kira jalarasim iva
upahara panih srotriyain brahma nistham
gurum upasrtya tamanusarati (Vedanta Sara)
jiva nitya krishna das taha bhuli gelaWhen the Jiva forgets that he is ever servant to Lord Sri Krishna & desires of earthly possessions he is caught by Maya for his fault. Forgetting Sri Krisna, the living entity has been attracted by the external features from time immemorial. Hence the illusory energy (Maya) punishes him with worldly miseries. Turning away his face from Krisna as he desires earthly enjoyments, he is immediately struck down by illusory energy (Maya) of Lord. The condition of a living entity (jiba) captured by illusory energy is the same as one who lost his head when confronted with a she demon. He forgets that he is subsurvient to Lord Krisna and moves about as a servant of illusory energy forever.
aei doshe maya tare galay bandhila (Chaitanya Charitamrita madhya 22/24) krsna bhuli'sei jiva anadi-bahirmukha
ataeva maya tare deya samsara-duhkha (Chaitanyacharitamrita, madhya - 20/117)
krsna-bahirmukha haya bhoga vancha kare
nikata-stha Maya tare japatiya dhare
pisachi paile jena matichanna hay
mayagrasta jiber hae se bhaba uday
ami nitya krishna dasa-ei katha bhule
mayar nafar haya china dina bule
kabhu raja, kabhu praja, kabhu bipra sudra
kabhu sukhi, kabhu dukhi, kabhu kita khyudra
kabhu swarge, kabhu martye, nanake ba kabhu
kabhu deva, kabhu daitya, kabhu dasa prabhu (Prema Bibarta)
brahmanda bhramite kona bhagyavan jivaThus wandering through the entire universe, some fortunate soul gets the seed of bhaktilata (creeper) by the grace of Spiritual master and Sri Krishna. Then he worships Krishna under the guidance of Guru and frees himself from the illusory energy.
guru-krsna prasade paya bhakti-lata-bija
tate krishna bhaje kare gurur seban
mayajala chhute pay shrikrishnacharan (Chaitanyacharitamrita, Madhya - 19/151 & 22/25)
mukam karoti vacalamI offer my respectful obeisances to the Spiritual Master whose grace turns a dumb into an eloquent speaker and enables the lame to cross mountains. Rareness of a qualified Guru and disciple:-
pangum langhayate girim
yat-krpa tam aham vande
sri gurum dina tarinam (Bhabartha Dipika)
shravanayapi bahuvir jo na lavyahThat Atma (Paramatma) is neither audible nor attainable by many, because an experienced adviser versed in vedic scriptures and a realised person are rare. He only can make the disciple efficient. Some efficient souls come to know Him after being advised by experienced Acharya (Guru).
shrunvantopi bahavo jam na biduh
ascharjyosya bakta kushalosya labdha
ascharyo jnata kushalanusistah (Kathopanisad - 1/2/7)
tasmad gurum prapadyetaOne who is inquisitive about his duties and otherwise should take shelter under Sadguru in order to know the best of principles. One who is an exponent of Sabdabrahma i.e the Vedic scriptures and who has acquired the experience of Parambrahma and beyond any scruples is the Sadguru.
jijnasuh sreya uttamam
sabde pare ca nisnatam
brahmany upasamasrayam (Srimad Bhagabat - 11/3/21)
kripasindhu susampurnah sarva satvopakarakahSuch person is called Guru who is an ocean of mercy, who feels pain on seeing the unhappiness of others, who is always satisfied and who works for the welfare of others, who does not desire sense gratification, who is perfect in all respects, who is expert in all scriptural knowledge, who removes the doubts of his followers and who is not lazy. (always busy in serving the Lord).
nisprhah sarvatah siddhah sarva vidya visaradah
sarva samsaya sancchetta 'nalaso gurur ahrtah (Haribhakti bilasa - 1/45/46)
vaco vegam manasah krodha-vegamA 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.
etan vegan yo visaheta dhirah
sarvam apimarh prthivim sa sisyat (Upadeshamrita - 1st sloka)
sat-karma-nipuno viproEven if a brahmana is very learned in Vedic scripture and knows the six occupational duties of brahmana, he cannot become a guru or spiritual master unless he is a devotee of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. However, if one is born in a low caste family, but is a pure devotee of the Lord, he can become a spiritual master.
avaisnavo gurur na syad
vaisnavah sva-paco guruh (Sri Haribhaktibilasa)
Vaisnab is the Guru of all caste and creed
bipra khsyatriya baishyascha gurabah sudrajanmanamThose born as brahmin, khsyatriya and baishya may become guru of those born as shudras, this is the general principle. But those dear to the lord even if born as shudra can become the Guru of those three castes i.e. brahmin, kshyatriya and baishya.
sudrasaha gurabastesham trayanam bhagabatpriyah (Padma Purana)
kiba bipra, kiba nydsi sudra kene nayWhether one is a brahmana, a sannyasi or a shudra regardless of what he is - he can become a spiritual master if he knows the science of Krsna.
jei krishna tatwa betta sei guru hay (Chaitanya Charitamrita - Madhya - 8/127)
kiva varni kivasrami kiwi varnasramahinaAny person can become a genuine acarya, regardless of his position in varnasrama-dharma, whether born as a sudra or even an outcaste, if he truthfully speaks the science of Krsna. If he gives up a true spiritual master and chooses another spiritual master based on caste, he may in fact obtain an unqualified spiritual master and destroy even his previously earned spiritual advancement.
krsna tattva vetta yei, sei acarya pravina
asal katha chadi bhai varne ye kare adara
asad guru kari tara vinasta purvapara (Prema Bibarta)
Who is Acharya?
upaniya to jah sishyam bedamadhyapayed dvirjaA bramhin who gives upanayan to his disciple and teaches him Upanishad with the entire Vedas, is pronounced as Acharya (guru) by all the munis (saints).
sankalpam sarahasyancha tamacharjyam prachakhyate (Manu Samhita - 2/140)
acinoti yah sastrartham acare sthapayatya 'piOne who understands the essence of Vedic literatures, and who teaches this standard to others by his words and his personal example, is accepted as an acarya.
svayam acarati yasmad aicaryas tena kirtitah (Vayu Purana)
yadyadacarati sresthastattadevetaro janahFor whatever a great man does, that very thing other men also do; whatever standard he sets up, the generality of men follow the same.
sa yatpramanarh kurute lokastadanuvartate (Bhagabad Gita - 3/21)
A guru teaches by word and example -
apane acare keha, na kare pracaraSome behave very well but do not preach the science of Krshna, whereas others preach but do not behave properly. (Caitanya-caritamrta, Antya 4.102)
pracara karena keha, na karena acara
'acara', 'pracdra',-- namera karaha 'dui' karyaYou simultaneously perform both duties in relation to the holy name by your personal behavior and by your preaching. Therefore you are the spiritual master of the entire world, for you are the most advanced devotee in the world. (Caitanya-caritamrta Antya 4.103)
tumi-- sarva-guru, tumi jagatera arya (Chaitanya Charitamrita, Antya - 4/103)
apani achari bhakti sikhamu sabare (Chaitanyacharitamrita, Adi - 3/20)I will teach bhakti to everybody by following all the principles myself.
apani no kaile dharma sikhdna na jay (Chaitanyacharitamkrita, Adi - 3/21)Unless one observes the principles of religioun himself it is not possible to teach others.
acaryam mam vyaniyanLord Sri Krishna told Uddhaba --
sarva-deva-mayo guruh (Srimad Bhagabat - 11/17/27)
One should know the acarya as 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.
vande gurun isa-bhaktanI offer my respectful obeisances unto the spiritual master, the devotees of the Lord, the Lord's incarnations, His plenary portions, His energies, and the primeval Lord Himself, Sri Krsna Chaitanya.
tat prakasamas ca tac-chaktih
krsna-caitanya-samjnakam (Chaitanyacharitamrita, Adi - 1/32)
krisna gurudwaya bhakta abatara prakashaKrsna manifests in six forms, His own self, the two types of gurus, (Sikhsya and Dikhsya) Avatara, Prakasha and Shakti.
shakti ei chhay rupe karena bilasha (Chaitanyacharitamrita, Adi - 1/342)
Dikhsya Guru -
jadyapi amara guru chaitanyera dasEven if my guru is the servant of Lord Chaitanya I recognise him as His manifestation.
tathapi janiye ami tanhara prakasha (Chaitanyacharitamrita, Adi - 1/44)
Sikhya Guru -
guru krsna-rupa hana sastrera pramaneAccording to Shashtras guru is the manifestation of Sri Krishna. Krishna blesses the devotees in the form of Guru. Sikhsyaguru is the embodiment of Sri Krishna. One who is all-knowing and one who is the best of devotees these are the two forms of sikhya guru.
guru-rupe krsna krpa karena bhakta-gane sikhsya guruke ta'jani krishner swarup
antaryami bhaktashrestha - aei dui rupa (Chaitanyacharitamrita; Adi 1-45, 47)
jibe sakhsyat nahi tate guru chaitya rupeWithout manifesting Him outside, Krishna dwells inside the mind as chaitya guru, and again he becomes the teacher in the form of guru (Mahanta).
sikhsya guru hay krishna mahanta swarupe (Chaitanyacharitamrita, Adi - 1/58)
naivopayanty apacitim kavayas tavesaUddhaba speaks to Lord Krishna - Oh Lord You destroy all the evils of the mortal souls by unimaginable grace and in order to establish Yourself You exist as Acharya (Guru) externally and as 'Antaryami' in the mind. The learned ones can not fathom the depth of such pastimes of yours even if they get the years of life that Brahma has.
brahmayusapi krtam rddha-mudah smarantah
yo `ntar bahis tanu-bhrtam asubham vidhunvann
acarya-caittya-vapusa sva-gatim vyanakti (Srimad Bhagabat - 11/29/6)
Grace of guru can be achieved by mercy of Krisna-
krsna yadi krpa kare kona bhagyavaneIf Krishna blesses some fortunate person, He gives lessons as Guru without and Supersoul within.
guru-antaryami-rupe sikhaya apane (Chaitanyacharitamrita, Madhya - 22/47)
Guru is the giver of Divine knowledge-
om ajnana-timirandhasya jnananjana-salakayaI offer my respectful obeisances unto my spiritual master, who has opened my eyes, which were blinded by the darkness of ignorance, with the torchlight of knowledge.
caksur unmilitam yena tasmai sri-gurave namah
na dharmam na dharmam shrutigana niruktam kila kuruOh ! mind, don't persue the dharma which has been described in the Vedas as Punya (good deeds), and Adharma which has been described as sin (papa). You only worship Sri Radha Krishna in 'Braja', and Gourasundar the son of Sachi knowing him as the manifestations of Sri Krishna the son of Nanda and Srila Gurudev as near and dear to Mukunda.
braje radhakrishna-prachura paricharyamiha tanu
sachisunum nandiswar-patisutatve gurubaram
mukunda presthatve smara paramajasram nanu manah (Mana sikhya - 2)
saksad-dharitvena samasta-sastrairSrila Gurudeva has been described as Hari in all the scriptures and the sadhus know Him as such. But I pray at the lotus feet of Srila Gurudeva who is the dear servant of Lord Sri krishna chaitanya.
uktas tatha bhavyata eva sadbhih
kintu prabhor yah priya eva tasya
vande guroh sri-caranaravindam (Gurbastaka - 7)
suddhabhaktah sri guroh shri shilasyachaAdvanced devotees understand that a pure Spiritual master is nondifferent from the all-auspicious personality of Godhead and simultaneously His very dear servant.
bhagabata saha aveda drustim tatpriyatamatwai neba manyante (Bhakti Sandarbha - 2/16)
gurur na sa syat sva-jano na sa syatOne who cannot deliver his own dependants from the path of repeated birth and death by his devotional instructions, should never become a spiritual master, a father, a mother, a husband or a worshipable demigod.
pita na sa syaj janani na sa syat
daivam na tat syan na patis ca sa syan
na mocayed yah samupeta-mrtyum (Srimad Bhagabata - 5/5/18)
sei se parama bandhu sei pita, mataOne who offers loving devotional service at the lotus feet of Lord Krishna is the dearest friend, father and mother. One begets father and mother in all births, but one does not easily beget Krishna and Guru. Hence worship him in your heart.
shri krishna charane jei premabhakti data
sakala janme pita mata sabe pay
krishna guru nahi mile bhajaha hiyay (Chaitanya Mangal - Madhya)
sabda-brahmani nisnatoIf one though well-versed in Veda has not attained perfection in the knowledge of Sabda Brahma; his study of the Vedas is fruitless, like a man who milches a cow not yeilding milk.
na nisnayatpare yadi
sramas tasya srama-phalo
hy adhenum iva raksatah (Srimad Bhagabata - 11/11/18)
A spiritual Master must be a Vaishnava-
maha kula prasuto 'pi sarva yajnesu diksitahOne who is born in higher caste and is initiated in all jagnyas and has learnt thousand sections of Veda, can not be established as Guru if he is not Vaishnaba.
sahasrasakhadhyai ca no gurum syad avaisnavah (Shri Hari-bhakti-vilasa- 1/45)
guravo vahavah santi dipavac ca grhe grheThere are many Gurus who exploit the wealth of the disciples (sishya) but real gurus who can alleviate the sorrows of the disciple are rare.
durlabho 'yam gurur devi surya vat satva dipakah
guror apy avaliptasya karya akaryatn ajanatahOne who is fond of pleasures, unmindful of his duties and follows mean path leaving behind pure devotion (Sudha Bhakti) is a Guru for the name sake and should be deserted forth with.
utpatha pratipannasya parityago avidhi yate (Mahabharat udyog parba – 179/25)
snehadba lobhato bapi jo gruhniyadadikhsyayaBy affection or by greed if Guru offers mantra without observing the proper principles of initiation(dikhsya), and if the disciple (sishya) accept him, as such both Guru and disciple are cursed by the devatas.
tasmin gurau sasishye tu debata shapa apatet (Shri Hari-bhakti-vilasa - 2/7)
jo byakti nyay rahita manyaenaOne who (in the guise of Acharya) preaches matters against the accepted scriptures and who listens to the same as disciple (sishya), both of them fall in hell for unlimited time.
tabubhou narakam ghoram brajatah kalamakhynyam (Shri Hari-bhakti-vilasa - 1/101)
paramartha gurvasrayo vaharika guruOne should reject a worldly, materialistic, and spiritually unqualified guru and should take shelter of a qualified pure Vaisnav guru.
adi pratyagena api kartavyah (Bhakti sandarbha - 210)
avaisnava upadistena mantrena nirayam vrajetIf one is initiated by a non-vaisnava, then he is destined for hell. As such, one should follow scriptural injunctions and accept re-initiation from a Vaisnava guru with a Vaisnava mantra
tasmac ca vidhina samyag grahayed vaisnavad guroh (Shri Hari-bhakti-vilasa - 4/366)
nr-deham adyatn su-labham su-durlabhamThat man (undoubtedly) kills his soul (brings about his own spiritual degradation), who having secured the exceptionally fit vessel of a human body, the source of all blessings and (therefore) a most rare boon, yet easily obtained (without any effort by the grace of God) and piloted by (an expert helms man in the form of ) a preceptor and propeller by a favourable wind in the shape of Myself (nevertheless) fails to cross the ocean of mundane existence.
plavam su-kalpam guru-karnadharam
puman bhavadhim na taret sa atma-ha (Srimad Bhagabat - 11/20/17)
gurushuanaramatirjasya ba narakis Sah (Padma Purana)One who thinks Gurudev as a human being is to go to hell. (naraka).
A pure guru is nondifferent from god-
yasya saksad bhagavatiAnalogous to the bath of an elephant (which throws dust on its body immediately after washing it,) is all sacred knowledge possessed by a man who entertains the perverted notion about the teacher -(who has conferred on him the light of wisdom and (as such) is no other than the Lord) that he is a mortal being (like himself).
jnana-dipa grade gurau
martyasad-dhih srutam tasya
sarvam kunjara-sucavat (Srimad Bhagabat - 7/15/26)
tadviddhi pranipatena pariprasnena sevaya(Oh Arjuna) Understand the true nature of that knowledge by approaching illumined soul. If you prostrate at their feet, render them service, and question them with an open and guileless heart, those wise seers of Truth will instruct you in that Knowledge.
upadeksyanti to jnanam jnaninastattvadarsinah (Bhagabad Gita - 4/34)
vidya-kutharena sitena dhirah
vivrscya jivasayam apramattah
sampadya catmanam atha tyajastram (Srimad Bhagabat - 11/12/24)
Having thus subdued yourself and remaining alert, (all the while) cut at the root of your astral body (the distinguishing appurtenance of a jiva) with exclusive devotion (to me) acquired by sitting at the feet of a preceptor (guru) or by means of the keen-edged axe of wisdom (in the form of self realisation): and having (thereby) realised the self, cast off forthwith the weapon (with which you have rent the veil of ignorance in the form of your jivahood).
Srila Bhakti Vaibhava Puri
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