Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami
Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami

Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktivedānta Nārāyana Gosvāmī Mahārāja
February 12, 2003

[The following is a transcription of the kathā given by Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja on the 12th of February 2003 based on the following sound file:
Based on the hundreds of lectures that we have heard over the years and the questions we have asked Śrīla Gurudeva directly, we have slightly edited the transcription for clarity:]

You should hear very carefully and attentively. This is not a place for sleeping. We came from very far away, India, and you also came from very far, far away, to hear something. For one hour, give your attention and your ears to me. We human beings should try to make some higher aim and object of our life. If there is no such aim and object of our life, then we are like animals. After millions and millions of births, in millions of millions of species, we have a human form.

In Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, Śukadeva Gosvāmī has told:

labdhvā su-durlabham idaṁ bahu-sambhavānte
mānuṣyam artha-dam anityam apīha dhīraḥ
tūrṇaṁ yateta na pated anu-mṛtyu yāvan
niḥśreyasāya viṣayaḥ khalu sarvataḥ syāt
Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (11.9.29)

[“After many, many births and deaths one achieves the rare human form of life, which, although temporary, affords one the opportunity to attain the highest perfection. Thus a sober human being should quickly endeavor for the ultimate perfection of life as long as his body, which is always subject to death, has not fallen down and died. After all, sense gratification is available even in the most abominable species of life, whereas Kṛṣṇa consciousness is possible only for a human being.”]

labdhvā su-durlabham idaṁ bahu-sambhavānte – Kṛṣṇa is very merciful. It is only by His mercy that without any reason, He has given us this human body. The human life is otherwise very rare to get, even after spending millions of lifetimes in other species. He has done so because He is our most beloved and He loves us.

mānuṣyam artha-dam anityam apīha dhīraḥ –But this human life is very short. We don’t know when we will die, whether at once or after many years. Yet, we will surely have to die, giving up everything of this world; even this body and senses.

That is why you will have to go to any pure devotee, who is very expert and realized in all tattvas: māyā-tattva, jīva-tattva, kṛṣṇa-tattva, prema-tattva, and bhakti-tattva. He knows everything, so we should try to go to him.

tūrṇaṁ yateta na pated anu-mṛtyu yāvan – I told you that this life is very short. Tūrṇaṁ yateta na pated means that before we die, we should try to know the aim and object of our life. Don’t waste your life in sense gratification, lust, and other such things. You can taste sense gratification in other species of life – even as a donkey, monkey, and hog.

niḥśreyasāya viṣayaḥ khalu sarvataḥ syāt – In this life you can have one husband, one wife, or two, three, four, five – though not so many, but in the species of hogs, pigs, and others like that, how many? There is no limit on the number of husbands or wives. They have thousands and thousands, and have so many children – sixteen or fourteen at a time. Don’t waste this human form. Try to know the aim and object of our life, otherwise you are like animals.

First of all, we should know that we are part and parcel of the Supreme Lord; but who is He and what is His nature? We should first know the Supreme God, God of gods. What is the meaning?

G-O-D. G – generator. He is the creator of all universes; O – operator, He operates all universes. By His arrangements we have come, [and likewise] all species, trees, creepers, and everyone else has come. D is for destroyer. What is the meaning of destroyer? The material body is like ears of corn that come from any plant. When the corn is fully mature, then we cut them off and burn the other [residual] part and take only the seeds or fruits. This is also the mercy of our Lord.

You should know that God has some transcendental form. God created us after His own image, so His form is a transcendental human form. He is very attractive, very beautiful, very sweet, and also very merciful. Our worship, and aim and object of our life, should be only to serve Him. If you are not serving and you have no desire to serve Him, then you are like an animal. You are all very fortunate to come, and you have a desire to serve the Supreme Lord Kṛṣṇa. The question is where will we take darśana of Kṛṣṇa so that we can serve Him? It is a very big, deep question.

Where is He? And where can we take His darśana? Śāstras and realized Vaiṣṇavas have said, “Oh, it is very easy, very easy.” The only point is that you should be sincere, very sincere. Kṛṣṇa is everywhere. There is no place, no atom, no tree, no creeper, not any human, or anywhere in this world where Kṛṣṇa is not. Kṛṣṇa is everywhere, just as fire is everywhere. Fire is in our body, in the air, in all atoms, trees, and creepers. Everywhere there is fire. But, we will have to do something to see fire. How? Take matches and stike them. At once fire appears. You will have to go to a realized soul and serve him, obey him:

tad viddhi praṇipātena
paripraśnena sevayā
upadekṣyanti te jñānaṁ
jñāninas tattva-darśinaḥ
Bhagavad-gītā (4.34)

[“Just try to learn the truth by approaching a spiritual master. Inquire from him submissively and render service unto him. The self-realized souls can impart knowledge unto you because they have seen the truth.”]

First of all, you will have to go to a realized soul. But this is a very big problem, how to know who is a realized soul. Śāstras are like mother and father. They have told some symptoms that you can realize:

tasmād guruṁ prapadyeta
jijñāsuḥ śreya uttamam
śābde pare ca niṣṇātaṁ
brahmaṇy upaśamāśrayam
Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (11.3.21)

[“Therefore, any person who seriously desires real happiness must seek a bona fide spiritual master and take shelter of him by initiation. The qualification of the bona fide guru is that he has realized the conclusions of the scriptures by deliberation and is able to convince others of these conclusions. Such great personalities, who have taken shelter of the Supreme Godhead, leaving aside all material considerations, should be understood to be bona fide spiritual masters.”]

You should go to the place where there is a realized guru. He is tasmād. What is the meaning of tasmād?

[Tasmād means ‘for this reason.’ For what reason? When one understands the temporary nature of this material world, then one accepts that there is no happiness here. Any little happiness we see in this world is also temporary. When one completely understands this, then he desires to know the topmost auspiciousness, śreya uttamam.]

In this world you want to be happy; you are wealthy, very beautiful, intelligent, you have all kinds of paraphernalia to be happy, very good houses, and equipped with all kinds of facilities. But what would you do, if in a moment you die and have to give up everything? These are all material things, and they cannot give you eternal happiness.

You should know the symptoms of a bona fide guru. There are some external symptoms, and there are some internal symptoms of guru.

śābde pare ca niṣṇātaṁ – He should be [niṣṇātam] expert in [1. śābde, i.e. śabda-brahman] all the siddhānta [established conclusions] of the Vedas, Vedānta, Upaniṣads, and epics, He should be able to remove all the doubts of all persons.Most important is that he should be realized in [2. Pare, Parabrahma, Kṛṣṇa] who is Kṛṣṇa. ‘Pare’ means transcendental, topmost tattva [absolute truth] and Kṛṣṇa is that. How sweet, how beautiful, attractive, and merciful He is.

He has realized His human transcendental form, he has realized something and he must be detached from worldly things.

If anyone, any guru, who has some false ego that he is guru, but really he wants money, wealth, reputation, some position and is running after them to be happy, then he is not guru. He may know so many śāstra quotations, but we should offer praṇāma to him from very far away.

If anyone thinks, “What is the use of these gurus? Everything has been written in epics and śāstras. We know that the mahā-mantra is: “hare kṛṣṇa hare kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa hare hare / hare rāma hare rāma rāma rāma hare hare,” so we will chant and will worship so there is no need of a guru at all.” Then this person is bogus, certainly bogus.

If anyone is chanting, remembering, worshiping this siddha-kṛṣṇa-nāma, the pure and perfect Kṛṣṇa name, then what is the need to take dīkṣā, puraścaryā [five preliminary devotional activities performed to qualify for initiation]. So many are of this opinion that there is not really a need of taking dīkṣā, there is no need of a guruand śāstra is our guru. They think, “We should read the books of our Gurudeva Prabhupāda. Everything is there in Prabhupāda’s books and there is nothing remaining to know. There is no need of accepting any guru. He was guru, Prabhupāda, and Gurudeva is our Prabhupāda and in the future he will also be; so there is no need of any physical guru. Oh, ritvik is the best.” This is the most bogus idea.

Śyāmarāṇī, you should explain some reasons that I gave in any class. Explain what is necessary in brief.

Śyāmarāṇī dāsī: Śrīla Gurudeva has ordered me to reply to this question or challenge in brief. What is the need of dīkṣā? Everything is in Prabhupāda’s books. Kṛṣṇa Himself is the pure holy name.

It is true that we find everything in Śrīla Prabhupāda’s books, so let us consider what Śrīla Prabhupāda’s books are saying. After all, Śrīla Prabhupāda is only quoting from his guru-varga, like Śrī Sanātana Gosvāmī and Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī. Śrīla Prabhupāda’s books are full of histories of great personalities from time immemorial, explaining how they achieved perfection. At the beginning of creation there is the first living being and that is Lord Brahmā. He accepted dīkṣā initiation from Bhagavān Śrī Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa played His flute, and the sound of His flute was the kāma-gāyatrī-mantra. He received gopāla-mantra also from Sarasvatī, from Kṛṣṇa.

We have examples from our Srila Prabhupāda regarding great personalities who achieved perfection by accepting dīkṣā. Kṛṣṇa Himself accepted dīkṣā. We already know how Kṛṣṇa accepted instructions from His teacher Sāndīpani Muni. But he was a teacher; he wasn’t Kṛṣṇa’s dīkṣā-guru. Once the gopīs teased Kṛṣṇa, “Oh, you have not accepted a guru?” Kṛṣṇa replied to them, “What do you mean I haven’t accepted a guru? My guru is Bhāguri Muni.” Bhāguri Muni gave Him mantra, that is, rādhā-mantra, which He is always chanting.

Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu also accepted dīkṣā initiation. His initiating spiritual master is Śrī Īśvara Purīpāda. Śrī Īśvara Purīpāda gave Him the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra, and also the gopāla-mantra. Caitanya Mahāprabhu is explaining that He received not only nāma, but mantra from His guru. He mentioned this to Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī and his sixty-thousand disciples. Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī had asked Him, “Why aren’t You like the rest of us Māyāvadi sannyāsīs? Why don’t You study Vedānta? Why are You acting like some sentimentalist – always chanting and rolling on the ground and weeping?” Caitanya Mahāprabhu replied, “This is the mercy of my dīkṣā-guru, Śrī Īśvara Purīpāda. After he gave Me the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra and the gopāla-mantra, I began chanting them for a while. Then I returned to him, and I asked, “Japite japite mantra” [Note 1], by chanting and doing japa of this nāma and this mantra, I have become like a madman. What is it that you gave Me? I was chanting nāma, I was chanting the mantra, and all of the sudden, what happened? The nāma and the mantra turned into a blue boy with a peacock feather in His hair. He was playing His flute so enchantingly. As I walked towards Him, He walked backward, very attractively. And then when I went to embrace Him, He disappeared. I began rolling on the ground and weeping, ‘O Kṛṣṇa, where are You, where are You!’” Mahāprabhu was saying, “This is the result of receiving dīkṣā and following the instructions of my spiritual master.”

In the fifth chapter of the First Canto of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, we find a very interesting history. Prabhupāda is translating the work of Śrīla Vyāsadeva and the commentaries of previous ācāryas. Vyāsadeva is the incarnation of Kṛṣṇa Himself, and he had already authored some of the Vedas, and compiled and expressed them not only by intelligence, but also by realization - the Vedas, the Mahābhārata, so many books. But still, he was lamenting; his heart was not satisfied. His bona fide gurudeva, Śrī Nārada Muni, appeared to him and told him, “You won’t be fully satisfied until you write Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. Now, write Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. It is the svarūpa of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa Themselves. You should go into trance.” Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is samādhi-bhāṣya, a scripture written in trance language. “You should go into trance and meditate on the pastimes of the Supreme Personality of Godhead Kṛṣṇa in Vṛndāvana.”

The guru knows how to ‘twist the ear’ of the disciple and give him good guidance. Nārada said, “Have you written how mother Yaśodā chastises Kṛṣṇa for stealing butter and yogurt, and binds Him to a mortar?” Vyāsadeva said, “No, I have not.” His gurudeva said, “Then what have you written? You haven’t written anything. Have you written how, after the rāsa dance, when the gopīs are perspiring, Kṛṣṇa said to them, ‘Oh, may I massage your feet? You are tired. May I wipe the perspiration from your forehead with my yellow cloth?’”

“No Gurudeva, I haven’t written this, I don’t know about it, so how can I write it.”

His gurudeva said, “Then you haven’t touched the glories of the Supreme Lord.”

Under the guidance of Śrī Nāradajī, Śrī Vyāsadeva went into trance of bhakti-yogaand manifested from his heart Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam.

All these histories, of Dhruva Mahārāja and all the great saints like Prahlāda Mahārāja, confirm that these personalities accepted dīkṣā initiation from a bona fide guru. In the fifteenth chapter of Madhya-līlā, Śrīla Prabhupāda translated that dīkṣāis not necessary because chanting of the pure nāma is complete in Himself. [Note 2] But in the purport of this verse, Śrīla Prabhupāda quotes Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī and Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī who say that this is true for those who chant śuddha-nāma, but is not true for conditioned souls, who are chanting nāma-aparādha or nāma-ābhāsa. He quoted Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī that unless one accepts brahminicalinitiation, his nāma will never become śuddha, or pure. [Note 3] And he quotes Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī that as discussing how bell metal is turning to gold by an alchemical process of mixing it with mercury [Note 4]. So, by accepting dīkṣāinitiation, receiving gāyatrī-mantras from a bonafide guru, one’s harināma becomes pure. One cannot have a relationship with nāma without dīkṣā.

In conclusion, it is true that everything is in the pure holy name, and everything is in Prabhupāda’s books. We can see from all of these examples that unless one accepts bona fide initiation, brahminical initiation and harināma initiation, one can never become perfect.

Śrīla Nārāyana Gosvāmī Mahārāja: This is the most prominent question; whether the devotee who is asking all these questions was initiated by Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Swāmī Mahārāja, your Prabhupāda. Has he accepted any guru or not? And why did Śrīla Prabhupāda Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Gosvāmī Mahārāja initiate thousands and thousands of devotees? Why did all the disciples of Śrīla Prabhupāda Sarasvatī Ṭhākura, such as parama-pūjyapāda Śrī Śrīmad Bhakti Rakṣaka Śrīdhara Gosvāmī Mahārāja, Bhāratī Mahārāja, Purī Gosvāmī Mahārāja, and all others make so many disciples?

To accept guru is very essential. Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura and Jīva Gosvāmī have said, “Those who think that there is no need of taking dīkṣā are offensive, very offensive. If they are chanting and remembering for thousands and thousands of births, no fruit will come. We should certainly take [dīkṣā from] a sad-guru – if not now, then very soon. We don’t know when we will die. Before death, we should accept any high-class guru, and our life will be successful.

In Vedas, in the Upaniṣads, it has been written:

yasya deve parā bhaktir
yathā deve tathā gurau
tasyaite kathitā hy arthāḥ
prakāśante mahātmanaḥ
Svetasvatara Upaniṣad (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."]

Yasya deve parā bhaktir – Devotees who want to enter in the realm of bhakti [should know that] those who have prema-bhakti in the lotus feet of the Supreme Lord Kṛṣṇa, in the same way should worship the lotus feet of gurudeva also. If anyone is worshiping Kṛṣṇa but not gurudeva, then the result will be zero.

You should know that all realized souls are very high class of bhāgavatas; they are all gurus. Guru is of two kinds: dīkṣā-guru and śikṣā-guru. They may be of the same rank. Sometimes it may be that śikṣā-guru is more superior than dīkṣā-guru, and sometimes dīkṣā-guru may be superior. For example, Narottama Ṭhākura, Śyāmānanda Prabhu, and Śrīnivāsa Ācārya accepted Jīva Gosvāmī as their śikṣā-guru, even though their gurus were high-class devotees. It was by their gurus’ order that they went to Jīva Gosvāmī for śikṣā.

So, don’t think that śikṣā-guru is less than dīkṣā-guru – sometimes he is more superior, especially in the case where we accept Kṛṣṇa as śikṣā-guru. Mahāprabhu had a śikṣā-guru, Nityānanda Prabhu [also had a] śikṣā-guru – so many śikṣā-gurus. We see that in Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Śrīla Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja Gosvāmī had first paid respect and offered his vandana to his śikṣā-gurus, not dīkṣā-guru.
All the writers of any transcendental books, like Vyāsadeva, Śukadeva Gosvāmī, Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī, Sanātana Gosvāmī, and Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja Gosvāmī, have offered vandana [paid obeisances] to their gurudeva, and then they began.

Śrī Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja Gosvāmī is telling:

śrī-rūpa, sanātana, bhaṭṭa-raghunātha
śrī-jīva, gopāla-bhaṭṭa, dāsa-raghunātha
ei chaya guru - śikṣā-guru ye āmāra
tāṅ’-sabāra pāda-padme koṭi namaskāra
Caitanya-caritāmṛta Ādi līlā (1.36-37)

["My instructing spiritual masters are Śrī Rūpa Gosvāmī, Śrī Sanātana Gosvāmī, Śrī Bhaṭṭa Raghunātha, Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī, Śrī Gopāla Bhaṭṭa Gosvāmī and Śrīla Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī. These six are my instructing spiritual masters, and therefore I offer millions of respectful obeisances unto their lotus feet."]

“My śikṣā-gurus are Śrī Rūpa, Sanātana, Bhaṭṭa Raghunātha, Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī, Gopāla Bhaṭṭa dasa. I am praying at their lotus feet that this book should be finished without any disturbance.” He is not taking the name of his dīkṣā-guru. Why is he only naming his śikṣā-gurus?

All of our acaryas – top to bottom –first prayed to their gurus. Here, who was the guru of Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja Gosvāmī? Can anyone tell? Can anyone discover this? It is very hard. Do you know who was the dīkṣā-guru of Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī and Sanātana Gosvāmī? They accepted Caitanya Mahāprabhu as their śikṣā-guru and they never wrote the name of their dīkṣā-guru. So, there is more prominence here of śikṣā-guru.

To accept siksa-guru is bhāgavata-paramparā. Śrīla Prabhupāda has accepted this and our guru-varga have accepted this lineage: Brahmā, then Nārada, and Śukadeva Gosvāmī, Madhvācārya in line, Īśvara Purīpāda, Mādhavendra Purīpāda, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, Pañca-tattva and then Svarūpa Dāmodara, Rāya Rāmānanda, and in their line, Rūpa, Sanātana, and Narottama Ṭhākura, and then Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura, and after that Jagannātha dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja and Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura, Śrīla Prabhupāda Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī, and after that our gurudeva, Śrīla Bhakti Prajñāna Keśava Gosvāmī Mahārāja, his so many god-brothers and also his god-brother Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Swāmī Mahārāja. This is proper bhāgavata-paramparā. In the dīkṣā-guru line, it may be that any of the gurus are not perfect – that they are not qualified guru – but in śikṣā-paramparā/bhāgavata-paramparā, all are perfect.

So, this bhāgavata-paramparā is most important. Within bhāgavata-paramparā, dīkṣā-paramparā (pāñcarātrika-dīkṣā) is automatically included; nothing is left.

Someone can ask, “Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura, in bhāgavata-paramparā, has accepted Śrīla Jagannātha dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja as his guru, but really he was initiated in pāñcarātrika-dīkṣā by Vipin Bihārī Gosvāmī, and he has written as such somewhere, but he gave no prominence of that. He gave all the prominence to Śrīla Jagannātha dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja. So, Jagannātha dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja, Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura, Śrīla Gaurakiśora dāsa Bābājī, and Śrīla Prabhupāda are all in bhāgavata-paramparā. It is all right.

Sahajiyās may raise so many questions about this, but they don’t know all these truths; they know nothing, so don’t follow them. I remember that when I came for the first time to San Paolo, four or five devotees were very eager to take initiation from me. I initiated them and I told them, “Be careful from bābājīs, otherwise you will be ruined.”

They always tried to serve Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa conjugal as goopīs [pseudo-gopīs], and have siddha-praṇālī, to think that “I am a goopī [pseudo-gopīs]. I am very beautiful, and I can even attract Kṛṣṇa.” They were attracted to this, and I told them, “First try to give up all your nonsense things, all anarthas, chant and remember and follow your Gurudeva. Then, automatically your transcendental form will come, and you will be successful. You are not following – you are jumping, galloping, not following the [prescribed] route; but jumping (to reach directly to) the top of the tree, so you will fall down.”

They were not satisfied. They left Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Swāmī Mahārāja, and they left me. They went to Rādhā-kuṇḍa, they collected some very beautiful widows, and they left for relishing parakīya-rasa, even in this life.

What became of them? In the end they gave up all devotional practices. Along with widows, they gave up the practice of chanting, remembering, and everything, and thus their life is ruined. I request you all, be careful. Don’t try to jump. We should begin from the very beginning.

[A more comprehensive article on this topic “Pāñcarātrika guru-paramparā and bhāgavata-paramparā” can be found in Part 4ācārya-kesari-Śrī-Śrīmad-bhakti-prajnana-kesava-Gosvāmī-his-life-and-teachings/file]

We should know the process.

guru kṛṣṇa-rūpa hana śāstrera pramāṇe
guru-rūpe kṛṣṇa kṛpā karena bhakta-gaṇe
Caitanya-caritāmṛta Ādi līlā (1.45)

[“According to the deliberate opinion of all revealed scriptures, the spiritual master is non-different from Kṛṣṇa. Lord Kṛṣṇa in the form of the spiritual master delivers His devotees.”]

Padmanābha Mahārāja, you should explain.

Śrīpāda Padmanābha Mahārāja: Śrīla Gurudeva is speaking on the subject matter of guru-tattva. He has told one verse in Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta which describes the identity of śrī guru. Guru kṛṣṇa-rūpa hana śāstrera pramāṇe – the form of guru, the personality who takes his form of guru, is actually a manifestation of the rūpa, the form, of Kṛṣṇa.

Actually, Bhagavān, the Supreme Personality of Godhead Kṛṣṇa, manifests out of His causeless mercy to the conditioned souls in the form of śrī guru, because all the souls of this world are eternal parts and parcels of Śrī Kṛṣṇa.

In Bhagavad-gītā Kṛṣṇa says mamaivāṁśo jīva-loke, jīva-bhūtaḥ sanātanaḥ (Bg 15.7) – all the living beings within this material world are My eternal aṁśas, My eternal parts and parcels. Manaḥ-ṣaṣṭhānīndriyāṇi, prakṛti-sthāni karṣati – now in this material conditioned life, they have forgotten their relation with Me, and they are struggling against the senses and the mind.

Kṛṣṇa, out of His mercy, wants to help all the souls in this world to realize their relationship with Him. To give this causeless mercy to all the souls, He appears in the form of śrī guru. Actually, Kṛṣṇa is with everyone, with all of us. Kṛṣṇa is within the heart of every conditioned soul. īśvaraḥ sarva-bhūtānāṁ, hṛd-deśe 'rjuna tiṣṭhati(Bg 18.61) – I am within the heart of everyone, and I’m directing the wanderings of all the conditioned souls in this world. I see that all the souls within this world are My eternal parts, but they cannot see Me. Although I am within their heart, they are not able to perceive Me directly.

Therefore, out of His causeless mercy, Kṛṣṇa appears in the form of guru and takes the role of ācārya. Ācārya means one who is a great devotee, and who teaches all his disciples by his own example. The ācārya’s identity is told by Kṛṣṇa in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. In the Eleventh Canto He is speaking to Uddhava jī, and He says:

ācāryaṁ māṁ vijānīyān
navamanyeta karhicit
na martya-buddhyāsūyeta
sarva-deva-mayo guruḥ
Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (11.17.27)

[“One should know the ācārya 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.”]

“You should know, ‘O Uddhava, that I am the ācārya.’ Navamanyeta karhicit –the guru is not different from Kṛṣṇa and he should never be seen as an ordinary soul of this world. One should not have martya-buddhi, thinking that he is an ordinary mortal, that he will die. He is actually the direct prakāśa, the direct manifestation of the Supreme Lord.

sākṣād-haritvena samasta-śāstrair
yuktas tathā bhāvyata eva sadbhiḥ
kintu prabhor yaḥ priya eva tasya
vande guroḥ śrī caraṇāravindam
Śrī Gurvastakam 7

[“All the scriptures proclaim śrī gurudeva is sākṣād-hari, the direct potency of Śrī Hari, and is thus considered by saintly authorities to be His non-different representative. Because śrī gurudeva is so dear to the Lord, being His confidential servitor (acintya-bhedābheda-prakāśa-vigraha, the inconceivable different and non-different worshipable manifestation of the Lord), I offer prayers unto his lotus feet.”]

In this prayer that we are all familiar with, Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura is telling how one should view the identity of his guru. Śrī gurudeva has two aspects. He has his divine side in which he is sākṣād-hari, a direct manifestation of Kṛṣṇa, but also ‘kintu prabhor yaḥ priya eva tasya’, he also has his devotee side, and in his devotee side he is serving Kṛṣṇa in the most intimate relationship.

Bhagavān, the Supreme Lord, appears in these two ways, as directly the Supreme Lord, and also the Supreme Lord’s servitor. In this form He is teaching all the conditioned souls how to engage in their eternal serving mood to His lotus feet. This is the complete form of mercy, kṛṣṇa-kṛpā-śrī-mūrti. He is the very embodiment of the mercy of God for all the conditioned souls – śrī guru. In this way, he delivers all the conditioned souls from the endless chain of repeated births and deaths.

Śrīla Nārāyana Gosvāmī Mahārāja: Śrīla Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja Gosvāmī is telling:

śikṣā-guruke ta 'jāni kṛṣṇera svarūpa
antaryāmī, bhakta-śreṣṭha, - ei dui rūpa
Caitanya-caritāmṛta Ādi līlā (1.47)

[“One should know the instructing spiritual master to be the Personality of Kṛṣṇa. Lord Kṛṣṇa manifests Himself as the Supersoul and as the greatest devotee of the Lord.”]

Śyāmarāṇī dāsī: Gurudeva, I have Śrīla Prabhupāda’s purport if you want.

Śrīla Nārāyana Gosvāmī Mahārāja: You should read.

Śyāmarāṇī dāsī: Śrīla Prabhupāda translates and comments on this verse: “One should know the instructing spiritual master to be the Personality of Kṛṣṇa. Lord Kṛṣṇa manifests as the Supersoul and as the greatest devotee of the Lord.”

The purport is long so I will read a little bit of it. “Śrīla Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja Gosvāmī states that the instructing spiritual master is a bona fide representative of Śrī Kṛṣṇa. Śrī Kṛṣṇa Himself teaches us as the instructing spiritual master from within and without. From within He teaches as Paramātmā, our constant companion, and from without He teaches us Bhagavad-gītā as the instructing spiritual master. There are two functions of the instructing spiritual master. He is the liberated person, fully absorbed in meditation in devotional service, and he invokes the disciple’s spiritual consciousness by means of relevant instructions.”

Śrīla Nārāyana Gosvāmī Mahārāja: Now time is over. You should all come on time.

Note 1:
pāgala ha-ilāṅ āmi, dhairya nāhi mane
eta cinti’ nivediluṅ gurura caraṇe
Caitanya-caritāmṛta Ādi līlā (7.80)

“I saw that I had become mad by chanting the holy name, and I immediately submitted this at the lotus feet of my spiritual master.

kibā mantra dilā, gosāñi, kibā tāra bala
japite japite mantra karila pāgala
Caitanya-caritāmṛta Ādi līlā (7.81)

“‘My dear lord, what kind of mantra have you given Me? I have become mad simply by chanting this mahā-mantra!

Note 2
ākṛṣṭiḥ kṛta-cetasāṁ sumahatām muccāṭanaṁ cāṁhasāṁ
ācaṇḍālam amūka-loka-sulabho vaśyaś ca mokṣa-śriyaḥ
no dīkṣāṁ na ca dakṣināṁ na ca puraścaryāṁ manāg īkṣate
mantro'yaṁ rasanā-spṛg eva phalati śrī-kṛṣṇa-nāmātmakaḥ
Padyāvalī (29)

The holy name of Kṛṣṇa is an attractive feature for many saintly, liberal people. It is the annihilator of all sinful reactions and is so powerful that it can even save the dumb who cannot chant it; it is readily available to everyone, including the lowest type of man, the caṇḍāla. The holy name of Kṛṣṇa is the controller of the opulence of liberation, and it is identical with Śrī Kṛṣṇa. Simply by touching the holy name with one's tongue, immediate effects are produced. Chanting the holy name does not depend on initiation, pious activities, or the puraścaryā regulative principles generally observed before initiation. The holy name does not wait for all these activities. It is self-sufficient.

Note 3
The Hari-bhakti-vilāsa (17.11–12), in discussing the puraścaryā process, quotes the following verses from the Agastya-saṁhitā:

pūjā traikālikī nityaṁ japas tarpaṇam eva ca
homo brāhmaṇa-bhuktiś ca puraścaraṇam ucyate
guror labdhasya mantrasya prasādena yathā-vidhi
pañcāṅgopāsanā-siddhyai puraś caitad vidhīyate

"In the morning, afternoon, and evening one should worship the Deity, chant the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra, offer oblations, perform a fire sacrifice, and feed the brāhmaṇas. These five activities constitute puraścaryā. To attain full success when taking initiation from the spiritual master, one should first perform these puraścaryā processes."

Note 4
The Bhakti-sandarbha (298) gives the following quotation from the Tattva-sāgara:
yathā kāñcanatāṁ yāti kāṁsyaṁ rasa-vidhānataḥ
tathā dīkṣā-vidhānena dvijatvaṁ jāyate nṛṇām

"By chemical manipulation, bell metal is turned into gold when touched by mercury; similarly, when a person is properly initiated, he can acquire the qualities of a brāhmaṇa."