Recognizing Sri Guru

g111aBy Srila B.R. Sridhara Deva Goswami

Devotees only have difficulty understanding how it is that someone can have two gurus because they are situated in a formal position, but when they enter into substantial spiritual realization, they will not have such a grievance because they will see what is guru. Guru means one who has come to give Krishna consciousness. The formal difference will be reduced when one can catch the very substance of the teachings for which the guru is respected. When one is intimately connected with the thread of divine love that the guru comes to impart to us, one will accept it, wherever it comes from. One will see it as a friendly relation, not antagonistic, but cooperative.

Although separate in figure, at heart both of the gurus are the same because they have a common cause. They have not come to fight with one another; they have come to fight only with the agents of maya. If we can recognize the real thing for which we are approaching the guru, then we will understand how to make the adjustment in our relationship with the siksa guru, diksa guru, and vartma-pradarsaka guru.

We are infinitely indebted to all our gurus. We are helpless. What can we do? They are benevolent, they are infinitely gracious, they are our guardians. We may have many guardians; they are to look after our welfare, they have not come to destroy us.

How will we recognize the guru if he appears before us in another form or in a different body? Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya argued that Sri Caitanyadeva could not have been an incarnation. Gopinatha Acarya told him, “You do not know the sastra. ” “No, no,” Sarvabhauma said, “In the scriptures it is mentioned that God does not appear in Kali-yuga, but only in three ages and is therefore known as Triyuga.” Gopinatha Acarya replied, “You think that you know so much about sastra, but in the Srimad-Bhagavatam and Mahabharata, there is direct mention of the avatara of Kali-yuga. Have you no knowledge, no recognition of that?” Then Sarvabhauma, apparently defeated, said, “You go and take prasadam, and afterwards come and teach me.” Then Gopinatha said, “Not by the dint of one’s study or intelligence can one understand God, but only through his grace.”1

Then Sarvabhauma said, “You say that you have that grace, and I do not? What is your reasoning behind this? You say that you have the grace of the Lord because you say that he is an incarnation. And because I can’t give recognition to that, I have no grace? What is the proof of this?” Then Gopinatha Acarya replied, “vastu-visaye haya vastu-jnana vastu-tattva-jnana haya krpate pramana (Caitanya-caritamrta Madhya 6.89).” It is evident that I have the grace of the Lord, because I know him, and that you have not, because you deny Him. The answer to the question is given here. Our own inner experience, our internal satisfaction, our connection or acquaintance with reality is the real evidence; nothing external can give any real proof.

Our guru maharaja gave the example that if one is born in the darkness of a dungeon, and someone proposes “Let us go see the sun,” then the prisoner will carry a lantern in his hand saying “Oh, you will show me the sun?”

“Yes. Come with me. Leave your lantern behind. No light is necessary to see the sun.”

“Are you trying to fool me? Nothing can be seen without the help of a light.”

His friend will catch him and forcibly take the prisoner into the sunlight. “Do you see the sun?” And the prisoner will say, “Oh, this is the sun! By sunlight alone we can see the sun.” One will have that sort of experience when he comes in connection with the truth. Neither calculation, nor evidence, nor witness, but only direct experience is proof that Krishna is there, like the sun.

In the Srimad-Bhagavatam it is said, atma parijnanamayo : what to speak of Krishna, even the conscious unit is self effulgent. A certain section says, “There is God. Surely He exists.” Others say, “No, there is no God, He never existed.” This quarrel is useless; still it will continue. In a particular section this argument will have no end. Those who have no eyes will be unable to see the sun. They will say there is no sun (mattah para-nistat amsa-lokam). This misconception will continue for those who deny the existence of both the soul and the Supreme soul. For those who have direct experience, however, there is no question: it exists! But for the owl section who cannot admit the existence of the sun, the sun does not exist. It is something like that. Our own realization of a thing will be the greatest proof of its existence: vastu-tattva-jnana haya krpate.

One may be born blind, but if somehow or other his eyes are opened, he will be astonished to see the particular aspects of the environment. But if one has no vision, he can see no color or figure. Those who have vision will feel, “How can I deny the fact? I have seen it. I am feeling it, it is so magnanimous, so great and so benevolent, I can’t deny all these things. You are unfortunate; you cannot see.” Some see, some cannot see. In the same place, one can see, another cannot. Those to whom Krishna wishes to reveal himself can see him; others cannot.

  1. SB 10.14.29 []


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