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Gaurahari das

Essential Qualities Of a Authorized Guru

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There are many followers of Lord Caitanya, Nityandanda here in the twentyfirst century. The path of Bhakti yoga no doubt the most attractive path in this universe when one intelligently compares it with others. Extracting the real nectar of following this path has been my greatest life challenge since I first made this connection back in 1980. The first thing we all learn in the Bhakti yoga circles is the need for a Guru to follow this path properly. Finding such a perfect Guru was my greatest challenge. I realized only in association with a Vaishnava who has the quality of an authentic deep love for Chanting the Hare Krishna Mahamantra is my only chance of also developing this primary quality love for chanting also. Bhaktivinode Thakur said in Hariname cintanami that ones advancement in devotional service is determained by how much one loves and is attached to chanting the holy name only!

There are many Gurus and teachers of Bhakti yoga who have sprouted up after the departure of AC bhaktivedanta Prabhupada who first inspired many thousands of people to take to chanting the Mahamantra which he obviously loved and held most dear to his holy heart. A Vaishnava Guru nowadays may be endowed with wonderful qualities of a Brahmin, knowledge of sastras, ability to memorize and quote vast amounts of slokas, can even be very charismatic and cultured individual but if the essential quality of deep love and devotion for chanting God’s holy names in the Maha mantra are not present then this is the real determining factor of his real spiritual level advancement.

"‘For a person devoid of devotional service, birth in a great family or nation, knowledge of the revealed scriptures, performance of austerities and penance, and chanting of Vedic mantras are all like ornaments on a dead body. Such ornaments simply serve the concocted pleasures of the general populace.’" Madya 19-75

From this verse question a may arise… What is meant here by the term devotional service? There are many preceptors that are allegedly teaching devotional service, qualified with the above mentioned qualities claiming to be Guru and an authentic connection to Krishna. After many years of chanting how many of their disciples are overcoming the offensive stage and developing pure love for chanting the Mahamantra? A honest disciple must ask himself this. Even preceding the appearance of loving symptoms, chanting directly causes disappearance of the symptoms of the three fold miseries? How many practitioners of chanting the holy names, following Spiritual Masters our religious institutions for many years are still in need of psychological and emotional counseling, are addicted too much to family life and the pleasures of this world? If we are associating and following sincerely a Spiritual Master who does not have the one main quality of pure devotional service which is infallibly manifested by deep heart melting love for Chanting the Mahamantra, pure devotional service will also not develop in us. In this sense a so called living Guru is nothing but a dry nipple on a goat that we are foolishly trying to extract milk from.

Above all controversies, differences of opinion deep attraction for chanting the Holy Names is the only way we can know who a real Guru is. Lord Caitanya once met a ignorant Brahmin who could not read or write properly. He saw him in the temple crying looking at a picture of Krishna in Bhagavadgita. Lord Caitanya inquired why are you crying? The ignorant Brahmin said, " people generally laugh at my ignorance but I am following my beloved Guru’s order to read bhagavadgita daily. I cannot read very well but when I see how kind and merciful Lord Krishna is to Arjuna by personally driving his chariot my heart melts and I cannot stop crying. Lord Caitanya said, "You are the real authority on bhagavadgita and no one else"! Why did Gauranga consider him authority? Lord Caitanya also said that, " It is the behavior of a genuine vaishnva that determains real religious principals". In the simple behavior of this ignorant Brahmin were the essential ingredients of success in developing the first class level of Krishna Consciousness. He was faithfully executing the order of a bonafide Guru which was to read bhagavadgita daily. If one is faithfully executing the orders of a alleged authorized representative of Krishna and is not receiving the fruit of this, which is the growth of real devotional creeper, then one has not yet found a real bonafide spiritual master. Only a personality with a genuine deep spiritual relationship with Krishna is the real bestower of the authentic Bhakti lata creeper of pure devotion to Lord Hari. No matter how many external qualifications a alleged Spiritual Master may demonstrate in this age of Kali, he or she cannot fool the true guardian of devotion in this age, the Maha Mantra. There are obviously many personalities looked upon in this world as great devotees or Spiritual Masters. If they are personally indifferent to chanting, being more attracted to impressing others with their vast learning in Vedic studies, or accumulating followers through charisma and intellectual prowess, than engaging in pure devotional service by chanting the Maha Mantra with deep love, then they are a Guru only for those who have not yet learned where the real path of Krishna consciousness is situated. Lord Caitanya says, "The real path of pure devotional service is hidden in the heart of a unadulterated self realized soul". Gupta means hidden. Krishna is very expert at hiding. He hides himself and he also hides deep in the heart of his rare jewel like genuine devotees. Only out of extraordinary mercy do they reveal themselves to the world as in the example of Srila Prabhupada". In Caitanya Caritamrita Gauranga says, " If one has attained love of God then the symptoms of this will be noted in their activities". Srila Prabhupada’s devotion for Krishna and preaching activities were most extraordinary and uncommon!

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