Sri Guru Tattva

by Srila Bhakti Vaibhava Puri Goswami Maharaja

vyasa_puja_Puri_Maharaja.jpg - 29870 Bytes We come to know the necessity of acceptance of Sad Guru from following scriptures:-
tad-vynanartham sa gurum evabhigacchet
samit panih srotriyam brahma-nistham
(Mundaka Upanisad 1/2/12)
To 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.

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 nibodhata
ksurasya dhara nisita duratyaya
durgama pathas tat kavayo vadanti
(Kathopanisad - 1/3/14)
Thus 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.

yasya deve para bhaktir
yatha-deve tatha gurau
tasyaite kathita hy arthah
prakasante mahatmanah
(Swetaswatara Upanisad - 6/23)
Only 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.

nayam atma pravacanena labhyo
na medhaya na bahuna srutena
yam evaisa vrnute tena labhyas
tasyaisa atma vivrnute tanum svam
(Kathopanisad - 1/2/23)
The 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.

janan maranadi samsaranala-santapta
dipta kira jalarasim iva
upahara panih srotriyain brahma nistham
gurum upasrtya tamanusarati
(Vedanta Sara)
As 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.

jiva nitya krishna das taha bhuli gela
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)

When 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.

brahmanda bhramite kona bhagyavan jiva
guru-krsna prasade paya bhakti-lata-bija
tate krishna bhaje kare gurur seban
mayajala chhute pay shrikrishnacharan
(Chaitanyacharitamrita, Madhya - 19/151 & 22/25)
Thus 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.

mukam karoti vacalam
pangum langhayate girim
yat-krpa tam aham vande
sri gurum dina tarinam
(Bhabartha Dipika)
I 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:-

shravanayapi bahuvir jo na lavyah
shrunvantopi bahavo jam na biduh
ascharjyosya bakta kushalosya labdha
ascharyo jnata kushalanusistah
(Kathopanisad - 1/2/7)
That 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).

tasmad gurum prapadyeta
jijnasuh sreya uttamam
sabde pare ca nisnatam
brahmany upasamasrayam
(Srimad Bhagabat - 11/3/21)
One 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.

kripasindhu susampurnah sarva satvopakarakah
nisprhah sarvatah siddhah sarva vidya visaradah
sarva samsaya sancchetta 'nalaso gurur ahrtah
(Haribhakti bilasa - 1/45/46)
Such 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).

vaco vegam manasah krodha-vegam
jihva-vegam udaropastha-vegam
etan vegan yo visaheta dhirah
sarvam apimarh prthivim sa sisyat
(Upadeshamrita - 1st sloka)
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.

sat-karma-nipuno vipro
mantra-tantra-visaradah
avaisnavo gurur na syad
vaisnavah sva-paco guruh
(Sri Haribhaktibilasa)
Even 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.

Vaisnab is the Guru of all caste and creed

bipra khsyatriya baishyascha gurabah sudrajanmanam
sudrasaha gurabastesham trayanam bhagabatpriyah
(Padma Purana)
Those 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.

kiba bipra, kiba nydsi sudra kene nay
jei krishna tatwa betta sei guru hay
(Chaitanya Charitamrita - Madhya - 8/127)
Whether 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.

kiva varni kivasrami kiwi varnasramahina
krsna tattva vetta yei, sei acarya pravina
asal katha chadi bhai varne ye kare adara
asad guru kari tara vinasta purvapara
(Prema Bibarta)
Any 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.

Who is Acharya?

upaniya to jah sishyam bedamadhyapayed dvirja
sankalpam sarahasyancha tamacharjyam prachakhyate
(Manu Samhita - 2/140)
A 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).

acinoti yah sastrartham acare sthapayatya 'pi
svayam acarati yasmad aicaryas tena kirtitah
(Vayu Purana)
One 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.

yadyadacarati sresthastattadevetaro janah
sa yatpramanarh kurute lokastadanuvartate
(Bhagabad Gita - 3/21)
For whatever a great man does, that very thing other men also do; whatever standard he sets up, the generality of men follow the same.

A guru teaches by word and example -

apane acare keha, na kare pracara
pracara karena keha, na karena acara
Some behave very well but do not preach the science of Krshna, whereas others preach but do not behave properly. (Caitanya-caritamrta, Antya 4.102)

'acara', 'pracdra',-- namera karaha 'dui' karya
tumi-- sarva-guru, tumi jagatera arya
(Chaitanya Charitamrita, Antya - 4/103)
You 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)

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 vyaniyan
navamanyeta karhicit
na martya-buddhyasuyeta
sarva-deva-mayo guruh
(Srimad Bhagabat - 11/17/27)
Lord Sri Krishna told Uddhaba --
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-bhaktan
isam isavatarakan
tat prakasamas ca tac-chaktih
krsna-caitanya-samjnakam
(Chaitanyacharitamrita, Adi - 1/32)
I 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.

krisna gurudwaya bhakta abatara prakasha
shakti ei chhay rupe karena bilasha
(Chaitanyacharitamrita, Adi - 1/342)
Krsna manifests in six forms, His own self, the two types of gurus, (Sikhsya and Dikhsya) Avatara, Prakasha and Shakti.

Dikhsya Guru -

jadyapi amara guru chaitanyera das
tathapi janiye ami tanhara prakasha
(Chaitanyacharitamrita, Adi - 1/44)
Even if my guru is the servant of Lord Chaitanya I recognise him as His manifestation.

Sikhya Guru -

guru krsna-rupa hana sastrera pramane
guru-rupe krsna krpa karena bhakta-gane

sikhsya guruke ta'jani krishner swarup
antaryami bhaktashrestha - aei dui rupa
(Chaitanyacharitamrita; Adi 1-45, 47)

According 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.

jibe sakhsyat nahi tate guru chaitya rupe
sikhsya guru hay krishna mahanta swarupe
(Chaitanyacharitamrita, Adi - 1/58)
Without manifesting Him outside, Krishna dwells inside the mind as chaitya guru, and again he becomes the teacher in the form of guru (Mahanta).

naivopayanty apacitim kavayas tavesa
brahmayusapi krtam rddha-mudah smarantah
yo `ntar bahis tanu-bhrtam asubham vidhunvann
acarya-caittya-vapusa sva-gatim vyanakti
(Srimad Bhagabat - 11/29/6)
Uddhaba 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.

Grace of guru can be achieved by mercy of Krisna-

krsna yadi krpa kare kona bhagyavane
guru-antaryami-rupe sikhaya apane
(Chaitanyacharitamrita, Madhya - 22/47)
If Krishna blesses some fortunate person, He gives lessons as Guru without and Supersoul within.

Guru is the giver of Divine knowledge-

om ajnana-timirandhasya jnananjana-salakaya
caksur unmilitam yena tasmai sri-gurave namah
I 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.

na dharmam na dharmam shrutigana niruktam kila kuru
braje radhakrishna-prachura paricharyamiha tanu
sachisunum nandiswar-patisutatve gurubaram
mukunda presthatve smara paramajasram nanu manah
(Mana sikhya - 2)
Oh ! 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.

saksad-dharitvena samasta-sastrair
uktas tatha bhavyata eva sadbhih
kintu prabhor yah priya eva tasya
vande guroh sri-caranaravindam
(Gurbastaka - 7)
Srila 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.

suddhabhaktah sri guroh shri shilasyacha
bhagabata saha aveda drustim tatpriyatamatwai neba manyante
(Bhakti Sandarbha - 2/16)
Advanced devotees understand that a pure Spiritual master is nondifferent from the all-auspicious personality of Godhead and simultaneously His very dear servant.

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-mrtyum
(Srimad Bhagabata - 5/5/18)
One 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.

sei se parama bandhu sei pita, mata
shri krishna charane jei premabhakti data
sakala janme pita mata sabe pay
krishna guru nahi mile bhajaha hiyay
(Chaitanya Mangal - Madhya)
One 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.

sabda-brahmani nisnato
na nisnayatpare yadi
sramas tasya srama-phalo
hy adhenum iva raksatah
(Srimad Bhagabata - 11/11/18)
If 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.

A spiritual Master must be a Vaishnava-

maha kula prasuto 'pi sarva yajnesu diksitah
sahasrasakhadhyai ca no gurum syad avaisnavah
(Shri Hari-bhakti-vilasa- 1/45)
One 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.

Unqualified Gurus-

guravo vahavah santi dipavac ca grhe grhe
durlabho 'yam gurur devi surya vat satva dipakah
There are many Gurus who exploit the wealth of the disciples (sishya) but real gurus who can alleviate the sorrows of the disciple are rare.

guror apy avaliptasya karya akaryatn ajanatah
utpatha pratipannasya parityago avidhi yate
(Mahabharat udyog parba 179/25)
One 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.

snehadba lobhato bapi jo gruhniyadadikhsyaya
tasmin gurau sasishye tu debata shapa apatet
(Shri Hari-bhakti-vilasa - 2/7)
By 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.

jo byakti nyay rahita manyaena
tabubhou narakam ghoram brajatah kalamakhynyam
(Shri Hari-bhakti-vilasa - 1/101)
One 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.

paramartha gurvasrayo vaharika guru
adi pratyagena api kartavyah
(Bhakti sandarbha - 210)
One should reject a worldly, materialistic, and spiritually unqualified guru and should take shelter of a qualified pure Vaisnav guru.

avaisnava upadistena mantrena nirayam vrajet
tasmac ca vidhina samyag grahayed vaisnavad guroh
(Shri Hari-bhakti-vilasa - 4/366)
If 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

nr-deham adyatn su-labham su-durlabham
plavam su-kalpam guru-karnadharam
mayanukulena nabhasvateritam
puman bhavadhim na taret sa atma-ha
(Srimad Bhagabat - 11/20/17)
That 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.

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 bhagavati
jnana-dipa grade gurau
martyasad-dhih srutam tasya
sarvam kunjara-sucavat
(Srimad Bhagabat - 7/15/26)
Analogous 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).

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tadviddhi pranipatena pariprasnena sevaya
upadeksyanti to jnanam jnaninastattvadarsinah
(Bhagabad Gita - 4/34)
(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.

evam gurupasanayaika-bhaktya
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).


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