Guru and Sisya

Speaking Hari Katha

By Tridandi Swami Srila Bhakti Bibudha Bodhayan Maharaj

(Rendered into English by Sri Gaurgopal Sarkar, Retired Headmaster of Mayapur Thakur Bhaktivinode Institute)

The meaning of the word Guru (Spiritual Master) is very grave. If the word is analyzed, it’s only two parts ‘Gu’ and ‘ru’ are obtained. Here ‘Gu’ signifies ‘Darkness’ and ‘ru’ means ‘Light’. It simply indicates that he who is able to save the forever illusioned persons from the clutches of darkened maya (illusion) and is able to lead them to the sun or light-like God will be considered to be a ‘Guru’. Similarly, the meaning of the word ‘Sisya’ (Disciple) has its own special significance. A disciple promptly places on his head every order of all those who are known as spiritual masters. He carries out each order with responsibility, regularity and pleasure and in turn adds to the happiness of Krishna, the original Guru of all, and his own Diksha Guru and Siksa Guru and all other Vaisnavas. The inherent meaning of the word Sisya is associated with a person who always joyfully follows without any question the rules of all sorts of preceptors. In this age the difference between a preceptor and a disciple will be abolished forever.

In the Gita, Krishna, the Supreme Godhead, taught lessons to all those entities living in the world by addressing Arjuna. In the very same way, the savior from Kali and the apostle of love, Sri Krishna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, addressed Sri Rupa Goswami and his brother, Anupam, when He was seated with them at Dasaswamedh Ghat in Prayag.  He taught that innumerable bounded up jiva souls wander through 8,400,000 species in the fourteen worlds. There are two classes of jiva: mobile and immobile. Mobile creatures are of three types: aquatic, terrestrial and flying creatures. Among them, the terrestrial class is the best, and man is the best in this class. In context, the human beings are very small in number. There are many persons who are devoid of civilization and virtue and are atheists. One half of those who are called virtuous have reverence for the Vedas, and accepts them verbally. Most of these religious persons who have attachment to the Vedas are workers. On analysis, one wise person is found among many thousands of workers. In the same way, one liberated person will be detected among thousands of wise men. Similarly, one devotee of Sri Krishna is very scarce among one crore of liberated persons.

According to Sriman Mahaprabhu, the Apostle of Love, a devotee of Sri Krishna is very rare. But, in recent days so many rare devotees of Krishna are found all around. Is the utterance of the Lord a false one then? No, it can never be so. His words will never be false. Devotees of Krishna are truly very rare.

Sri Krishna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu instructed Nityananda Prabhu and Namacharya Haridas Thakur after observing the troubles of the jivas struck by Kali:


[My dear Nityananda and Haridas, please give ample publicity of my order to all places. Go to every house and beg for the uttering of Krishna, worshiping Krishna and learning about Krishna.]

In order to follow this instruction and to place very high the flag signifying conquest over all other views in foreign countries, my Param Gurudev Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Goswami Thakur first sent three competent disciples: Tridandi Swami Srimad Bhakti Pradip Tirtha Maharaj, Tridandi Swami Srimad Bhakti Saranga Goswami Maharaj and Srimad Bhakti Hriday Bon Maharaj. They went to propagate in every house the way to make lives significant by pronouncing the Name of Krishna, taking part in the service of Krishna and reading through the books which write about Krishna. He also wanted to flood the world with the Holy love of Lord Krishna through those activities. After sending out these competent preachers, Srila Prabhupada disappeared.

In his absence, nobody went to the foreign countries to preach the lessons of Sriman Mahaprabhu for a long time. Then, in 1965, Srila Bhakti Vedanta Swami Maharaj, my siksha Guru blessed by Srila Prabhupada and the Founder Acharya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, preached almost everywhere in the world with the vigour given by Srila Prabhupada.  He was following the desire of Srila Prabhupada and the instruction of Sriman Mahaprabhu: “Harer-namaharer-namaharer-namaivakevalam,” (The Name of Hari, The Name of Hari, only the Name of Hari). He did so with the desire and grace of Sriman Mahaprabhu and Srila Prabhupada, and made the following words of Sriman Mahaprabhu ring true:

prithivite ache yatanagaradi gram

[My name will be preached to all towns and villages in the world.]

He made it known to all that Hari-nam only is the natural faculty of the people struck by Kali. It is the only means to get peace and to give up quarrel and enviousness. As a result, a number of people having devotion to Mahaprabhu can now be found in the Western Countries.

During the time of the prakasa-lila (life-time) of Srila Bhakti Vedanta Swami Maharaja, the founder of ISKCON, many enthusiastic foreign devotees of Sriman Mahaprabhu were active. In the course of time, and with the disappearance of Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja and his class-fellows, all Vaisnavas belonging to the Sri Brahma Madhva Gaudiya Saraswat Sampradaya (community) and all other so-called Vaisnava sects were seized by kali and held tight in her awful grip.

Men living in this material world lost awareness about their true abode and became devoid of religion. They began to again believe in worldly affairs, disregard the rules of religion and almost all of them were entangled in transgression. Now, in the name of religion we, the devotees, in the eyes of the worldly people have made the very flow of the preaching of Sriman Mahaprabhu’s message a way to earn our livelihood. Each jiva is yearning to enjoy sensual pleasures. The entrance of the British into India about 254 years ago, armed with the measuring instrument of a businessman can be noted as an example. They found that the hearts of the Indians are as soft as flowers. Their measuring instrument gradually broke these hearts by a magic power, and they took the ruling power into their own hands with the aid of their enjoyment tendency.

Today’s “religious society” is actually devoid of a true Guru. In the name of religion we have neglected the rules of scripture and, like the British did, we made our religion a way to earn our livelihood. As a result, people living in this country and in foreign lands have united themselves when accepting a Guru and preaching religion with an insincere heart. By the attraction of Mahamaya we are detached from our religion and Varnasrama, and we give religion an ugly form in connection with Guru and his disciples. Guru is the container and conveyer of religion, and we can describe our Guru as the identical revelation of God. Previously, we were proud of the judgment, character and practice of pure devotion by my Param Gurudev Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Goswami Thakur. After him, my Gurudev, Om Vishnupad 108 Sri Srimad Bhakti Promode Puri Goswami Maharaj, and his god brothers displayed the same standard as Srila Prabhupada and taught us that the real home of every jiva is Bhagavatdham, Golok, where the Supreme Godhead Himself is engaged in lila (pastimes) in company with His associates. The jiva is forever related to Him as His servant. They taught us this and showed us the way to return to our real home, Bhagavatdham.

Asaktirahita, sambandhasahitakaraucchaisvare Harinam.

[Pronounce loudly the Name of Hari by discarding attachment and embracing your relation with Him.]

It is a matter of great regret that we have watered down those ideals of the mahajanas (great saints), referred to them as very insignificant, and have disrespected their great names. On the other hand, we bade good-bye from the core of our hearts to the land of religion, India, and came to the foreign countries to earn money by hook or by crook in the name of the service of God and Guru-Vaisnava. Accumulating money in this way created attachment to it, and so we could no longer live in the ideal state of detachment. The result if that we are very much engaged in fulfilling our greed for the enjoyment of our senses.

Some people think, “After earning money in the foreign countries we shall go back to our Dham and accept strict Bhajan, like Rupa and Sanatana.” As Srila Viswanath Thakur taught, this type of alternative thinking is called byudhavikalpa. It is simply our way of rationalizing so that we can enjoy worldly possessions in the name of service to God, all the while forgetting Saranagati. In fact, only Saranagati (complete surrender) and nothing else is the stairway to reach to the door through which we can receive the knowledge of Bhagavata. When composing the kirtan, ‘Vaisnavake‘ (Who is the Vaisnava?), Srila Prabhupada said, ‘Kanaka, Kamini Pratisthabaghinichariache yare, sei to vaisnava,’ (He who has discarded gold, relations with females and the tigress is the true Vaisnava.) Yet we, being his prasisya (followers of the next generation), are worshiping the three hindrances to Hari Bhajan: gold, females and reputation. In fact, most of us made Srila Prabhupada and his initiated personalities the capital of our business, entrapped ourselves in the guise of Vaisnavas, and, after accepting materialistic views, we are on the lookout for increasing the numbers of Apasampradaya.

Srila Prabhupada always said, “The condition of so called Guru and Sisya is very miserable. Furthermore, the condition of all these Gurus is more regrettable than Sisyas.” He stated clearly that both Guru and Sisya of this type are blind while they follow the path of devotion. Gurudev is the pathfinder to the Bhagavatdham. A blind person cannot show the way to another blind person. If a person plays the role of a Guru without practicing pure devotion and is negligent to the scriptures he will receive two hard pushes, and his sisya will get one. His venture of this type will bring to him the first push. He will fall down in a ditch. His second push will come when his sisya falls flat on top of him from behind.

In recent days another problem is very apparent. Having become connected with different posts in religious organizations, Guru and sisya are both now busy in these positions. Whenever they are asked about pure devotion, they, being burdened with their posts, say with wonder, “What is that?! Now we are very busy.” Srila Sukadeva Goswami told us to chant sixteen rounds of the Name of Hari on beads, and look after our property remembering that it actually belongs to Krishna. When we think that we own what has been gifted to us then we never take the time to chant Hari Nama. When property is taken as belonging to oneself instead of Krishna, Krishna goes far away, and all the jiva is left with is a burning sensation as an entity separated from his Lord.

Gold, female relations and reputation are our necessity in place of love of Krishna. What will be the consequence? Will our taking shelter of the lotus feet of Guru and our endeavor or service be proven futile? Our taking shelter of the lotus feet of Guru will be meaningful only when we are able to follow with pleasure, and without imitating, all the principles as taught by him.  Then we will chant the Name of Hari whole-heartedly. In this way, our venture to be united with the soul of our Guru, to chant Harinam every day, and our attempts to serve the Vaisnavas and the Lord will set us on the path of Bhakti-anga, instead of playing the role of accepting pure devotion. If a Guru is engaged in robbing the wealth of his sisya instead of removing his miseries, and if a sisya is entangled in enjoying his Guru instead of rendering devotional service to him, then Yamaraj will construct a special naraka (hell) for both the Guru and his said sisya.

This dasadhama prays with a piece of cloth fastened around his neck to Srila Guru Padapadma, Srila Prabhupada and the Acharyas following in the footsteps of Rupa, “Please, wake every living entity in the world, making them detached from Anyabhilasa (other aspirations) by defeating the two hindrances to pure devotion, knowledge and work, and give them all that is conducive to the nourishment of pure devotion. Allow them to be the eternal devotees of Lord Krishna Chandra.” They are also requested by him to allow the boat of his human body to serve the lotus feet of the pilot who takes us to the opposite bank of the ocean of misery that is this world, to rescue us by creating the chance for establishing an eternal relation with the Lord, and to make us liberated from our condition of confinement in Maya.

This Dasadhama politely submits to the readers to kindly forgive the Aparadha (offences) for his faults.


Bhakti Bibudha Bodhayan




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