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Bhaktiyoga - practical IV.

Devotional Service - 81 Types
Diksa
What is a Disciple?
Expert (daksa)
Fasting
Gambling and Investing
The Characteristics of a Spiritual Master
Dealing with gurus having problems or falling down

Devotional Service - 81 Types

"Devotional service in the modes of ignorance, passion and goodness can be divided into eighty-one categories. There are different devotional activities, such as hearing, chanting, remembering, worshiping, offering prayer, rendering service and surrendering everything, and each of them can be divided into three qualitative categories. There is hearing in the mode of passion, in the mode of ignorance and in the mode of goodness. Similarly, there is chanting in the mode of ignorance, passion and goodness, etc. Three multiplied by nine equals twenty-seven, and when again multiplied by three it becomes eighty-one." (SB 3.29.10p.)

Ekanath Das:

Sridhara Svamin mentions 81 types of bhakti in his commentary to 3.29.10: "... tad evam saguna bhaktir ekasiti-bheda bhavati."

He reasons as follows (summarized from his comments on these verses): the three verses 29.8, 29.9 and 29.10 each describe three types of tamasa, rajasa and sattvika bhaktas (more precisely "prthag-darsi bhaktas") respectively:

29.8 three types of tamasa bhaktas: those worshiping with himsa-, those worshiping with dambha- and those worshiping with matsaryah- motives respectively.

29.9 three types of rajasa bhaktas: those worshiping with visayah-, those worshiping with yasas- and those worshiping with aisvaryah- motives respectively.

29.10 three types of sattvika bhaktas: those worshiping with a motive to destroy their sins, those worshiping with a motive to please the Lord, and those worshiping with the motive to fulfill their duties.

Then he applies the nine processes of devotional service to each of those, and gets 81.

In Prabhupada's translation the threefold nature of tamasa, rajasa and sattvika bhakti is not obvious.

Visvanatha, in his commentary on 29.8, quotes a couple of verses from the Naradiya Purana. These verses too list tamasa, rajasa and sattvika types of bhakti. The Naradiya says that in each of these three there are three more sub-categories, namely adhama, madhyama and uttama. For tamasa bhakti one then gets tamasadhama, tamasa-madhyama and tamasottama types. The Purana then states that the same applies to rajasa and sattvika. The Naradiya's example for the three types of tamasa bhakti is similar to the Bhagavata's:

yas canyasya vinasartham bhajate sraddhaya harim
phalavat prthivi-pala sa bhaktis tamasadhama

yo 'rcayet kaitava-dhiya svairini svapatim yatha
narayanam jagannatham sa vai tamasa-madhyama

devapujaparan drstva spardhaya yo 'rcayed dharim
srnusva prthivi-pala sa bhaktis tamasottama

Diksa (Narada Pancaratra)

di - divya jnana (about one's own svarupa and received mantra), ksa - destruction of sins

The process by which a devotee becomes attached to Krsna is described in Caitanya-caritamrta (Antya 4.192):

diksa-kale bhakta kare atma-samarpana
sei-kale krsna tare kare atma-sama

"At the time of initiation, when a devotee fully surrenders to the service of the Lord, Krsna accepts him to be as good as He Himself."

Diksa, or spiritual initiation, is explained in the Bhakti-sandarbha (283) by Srila Jiva Gosvami:

divyam jnanam yato dadyat
kuryat papasya sanksayam
tasmad dikseti sa prokta
desikais tattva-kovidaih

"By diksa one gradually becomes disinterested in material enjoyment and gradually becomes interested in spiritual life."

A spiritual master simply must be conversant in the essence of the sastra; he must understand the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Only then can one become a spiritual master. Diksa actually means initiating a disciple with transcendental knowledge by which he becomes freed from all material contamination. It is the spiritual master who delivers the disciple from the clutches of maya by initiating him into the chanting of the Hare Krsna maha-mantra. in this way a sleeping human being can revive his consciousness by chanting Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. In other words, the spiritual master awakens the sleeping living entity to his original consciousness so that he can worship Lord Visnu. This is the purpose of diksa, or initiation. Initiation means receiving the pure knowledge of spiritual consciousness.

Ekanath Das:

Jiva Gosvami quotes one verse from the Agamas (Visnu-yamala) in anuccheda 283 of the Bhakti-sandarbha [the above divya jnanam verse]. There it is stated that diksa means that one receives "divya-jnana"; from the guru and that this "divya-jnana" destroys the seeds of one's sinful desires.

from SAC's Response:

divyam jnanam yato dadyat
kuryat papasya sanksayam
tasmad dikseti sa prokta
desikais tattva kovidaih

Diksa is the process by which one can awaken his transcendental knowledge and vanquish all reactions caused by sinful activity. A person expert in the study of the revealed scriptures knows this process as diksa. (Srila Prabhupada’s translation from Caitanya-caritamrta, 2.15.108).

Here diksa is described as, basically, a process of receiving a Vaisnava mantra so that one can begin the formal methods of Pancaratrika devotional service such as Deity worship and the chanting of mantras. The identification of diksa with the transmission of transcendental knowledge is only mentioned in a secondary way, and as part of a two-verse statement from an anonymous Pancaratra that goes on to define diksa as the official receiving of a Vaisnava mantra. Citing this verse out of context therefore fails as proof that the transmission of knowledge is the svarupa-laksana (essential definition) of diksa, as the PL author postulates. It is rather only a tatastha-laksana (secondary characteristic).

The same conclusion is also shown in Srila Sanatana Gosvami’s equivalent presentation in Hari-bhakti-vilasa. He cites the same two verses beginning divyam jnanam, preceding them with the heading: atha diksa-mahatmyam ("Now the glories of diksa.") In other words, Srila Sanatana cites the two verses to highlight the importance of diksa, not to give its essential definition. As Srila Prabhupada also pointed out when he also cited and explained the first words of these verses in several different initiation lectures, the first two lines are giving a poetic analysis of the syllables di-ksa. The syllable di alludes to divyam jnanam, and ksa figuratively indicates ksapayati ("it eliminates [ignorance]"). Such poetic explanations, known in the Vedic tradition as artha-vada, are often given by scriptures and their commentators to evoke appreciation of facts that have been already established by more scientific methods. They are not meant to be taken as the essential definition or literal proof of anything, even according to the strict rules of grammar. The syllable di in diksa is not actually derived from the same root as divyam, nor is it necessarily connected with the noun jnanam Nor does the bare syllable ksa necessarily mean ksapayati, nor is the object of that verb necessarily "ignorance."

Of course, the properly observed vows of initiation do lead to the gain of spiritual knowledge and defeat of ignorance, but these are secondary characteristics. Properly speaking, diksa is a specific Pancaratrika method of mantra initiation, which Srila Rupa Gosvami has stipulated as one of the required elements of vaidhi sadhana-bhakti.

Arcana without diksa brings only 1% result. (Bhanu Swami)

Gangamata Goswamini didn't perform yajna. No one in Gaudiya Vaisnava sampradaya did yajna for initiations. They just gave out mantras without much fanfare. There is pancaratric ceremony including yajna for Vaisnava initiation, but the origins of the yajna we perform seem to come solely from the custom set up by Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati to give upanayanam Vedic samskara after giving Vaisnava mantras.

na hi pApAbhibhUtena dIkSA kAryA tu vaiSNavI

Nor is the diksa to be given to people touched by sin. (Parama samhita 17.2)

Diksa is taken only once. (Sanatkumara samhita 97) If taken from a non-Vaisnava, bhakti doesn't grow. (Narada Pancaratra 2.2.12)

evaM teSAM pArSadAnAM nAsti mRtyur yathA hareH
yasmin dehe labhen mantraM vaiSNavo vaiSNavAd api 23
pUrva-karmAzritaM dehaM tyaktvA sa pArSado bhavet
paJca-vaktreNa satataM tan-nAma-guNa-kIrtanam 24

Again like Hari, His Parsadas (attendants) do not die. The bodies in which the Vaisnavas take the mantra from the Vaisnavas are due to their previous karmas; hence they quit their bodies and then attain the positions of Parsadas [siddha deha]. With my five faces I [Siva] always recite the praises of the name of Sri Hari. (Narada Pancaratra 2.2.23-24)

Elaborate information about diksa is in Caitanya Caritamrta Madhya 15.108-110,purp.

What is a Disciple?

(a lesson from Shaolin temple)

A young student was curious about why some wore the black sash and others didn't, though both showed similar martial prowess. The Master was approached and the questions presented to him. His answer was lucid.

"What is a black sash? By now you know that it means entry into discipleship, one who has proven himself over a period of rigorous training. He is dedicated, loyal, knowledgeable and above all, trustworthy. So trustworthy, in fact, that they alone in the organization have a rank which automatically expires annually unless they prove they are still worthy.

"It is not an automatic award; there are no specific physical requirements to meet for all. The number of forms is irrelevant. Intangible elements are the most important elements in this promotion. Taking responsibility for one's life and actions; the ability to respect a trust; the ability to be friend, counselor, sibling, or training companion. Out of the nearly 3000 students in this pai (gym, school), only a very few have got the black sash.

"They do more than what is asked of them, seeing tasks not as duties but as challenges to learn from. They sacrifice time and effort. Rather than neglect work or school, they learn to cultivate each with their Gung Fu. They are competent in their chosen field, and use this knowledge to enhance that competence. They do not forget the philosophical principles after each class; they LIVE them. And they persevere, even - ESPECIALLY - when things get rough.

"They lead, not through intimidation or rank, but through compassion and respect. They are models, and people openly and genuinely respect them. And they learn, always."

The student pondered this answer for some time. He watched the senior students and new disciples work out, then he watched them during non-training time. In time he saw the difference in action between those who acted in full knowledge of their actions and those desperately fighting a flow from outside.

Finally he understood the whole point of the structure of Shaolin ranking, as it were. You could not be made into a worthy one, but rather you acknowledge that you are by being one. How subtle! How appropriate. How Shaolin.

Accept a discipline (Gour Govinda Swami Maharaja: The Worship of Sri Guru, p. 112-113)

One should be very eager to see guru. If one wants to see guru or see his guruship, how he is guru, then he should always remain as a disciple and give opportunity to his guru to inflict discipline on him. He is a true disciple. He will see the real form of guru. Otherwise you cannot see the real form of guru. Unless you remain under strict discipline you cannot have the darsana of guru. Sisya, disciple, does not mean to just pose or dress a certain way. That is not sisya. There are many who are sisya in name only. One is a real sisya who gives opportunity to his guru to inflict punishment on him and who accepts the punishment and discipline inflicted on him very gladly. Otherwise he is not a sisya at all. The true guru is he who engages his disciples and who inflicts discipline on them to help them give enjoyment to Krishna.

Parama-samhita ch. 7:

24. The three groups, Brahmana, Ksatriya and Vaisya, are considered worthy of initiation (diksa); Sudras and women are also eligible who are of good birth, of good character and of good qualities.
25. Do not confer initiation (diksa) on those who are merely curious to know, unbelieving, cruel, of unrighteous conduct, ignorantly perverse, who do not follow better, who are uneducated and ungrateful.
26. This supreme Vaisnava diksa shouldn't be conferred upon the evil-minded who seek it for mere parade, or for mere investigation.
27. That wise man who is ever anxious to gain knowledge of the proper way of worshipping God, is alone fit for diksa. By this dharma prospers.

Agastya-samhita (quoted in Hari-bhakti-vilasa 1.68) describes who cannot be a disciple:

akrtyebhyo 'nivaryas ca
guru-siksasahisnavah
evam-bhutah parityajah
sisyatvenopakalpitah

Those disciples who do not turn away from what should not be done and who cannot bear to follow the spiritual master's teachings should be rejected. They are not fit to be disciples.

What is the duty of the sisya, disciple? In Visnu-smrti (quoted in Hari-bhakti-vilasa 1.99-100) it is said:

na guror apriyam kuryat
taditah pidito 'pi va
navamanyeta tad-vakyam
napriyam hi samacaret

Even if the spiritual master hits him or gives him trouble, the disciple should not act to displease him. The disciple should never disrespect his spiritual master's words. The disciple should never act to displease his spiritual master.

acaryasya priyam kuryat
pranairapi dhanair api
karmana manasa vaca
sa yati paramam gatim

A disciple who with his life, wealth, actions, mind, and words pleases his spiritual master goes to the supreme destination.

Expert (daksa)

(Lecture on Srimad-Bhagavatam 1976, 760417SB.BOM)

So this is called daksa. Not that because he has become Krsna conscious, and Vaisnava, he is unable to do anything of this material world. No. One who is Krsna conscious, he is conscious of everything and he knows how to deal with them. That is called daksa, not that "Because I have become Krsna conscious I have no knowledge in other things." No. Every... You must have, if not complete, to know something of everything. That is intelligence, to know something of everything and to know everything of something. That is wanted. You may be expert, a devotee. You know everything of devotional service but you should not be callous. You know something of everything. That is called daksa.

(Room Conversation London, September 11, 1969, 690911RC.LON)

Yoko Ono: But does it depend on knowledge? I mean, the final judgement that you make?

Prabhupada: Everything depends on knowledge. Without knowledge how can we make progress? Student means to acquire knowledge. Serious student means to acquire knowledge.

Fasting

Health view
Fasting attitude
Removing sins
Spiritual view
Ekadasi
Fasting unauthorized by sastras condemned
Fasting to death
Transcendental level

The Sanskrit word for fasting is upavasa. Upa indicates nearness and vasa means 'to reside'. Thus the literal meaning of upavasa is "to reside with the Lord". Another reading of upavasa can also be "going back to life", withdrawing from sin and leading a proper life (upa - going back, and vasa - life). In other words, all improper actions must be given up.

Both definitions suggest a spiritual concept of fasting. Not simply to abstain from food, but to search for divine communion with the Lord. Fasting is seen not as an act of self-mortification, but as a joyful occasion, for one can give more time and energy to his devotional exercises and come closer to Krsna. Vaisnavas accept fasting for their own purification, to increase their remembrance of Krsna and to please Him.

Health view

Life (Sanskrit 'ayus') fully manifests in a healthy combination of body, sense organs, mind and soul. According to Ayurveda, the oldest medical science, health is not merely a state of freedom from disease but a state of permanent physical, mental and spiritual happiness and fulfillment. Ayurveda prescribes fasting as a means of restoring one's health. In the beginning of a disease or in an acute phase such as during fever, when one or more of the dosas have become imbalanced, it is the time to fast. Fasting means to rest the dosas that have become spoiled. Taking heavy food at this time increases the strength of the spoiled dosas.

Fasting attitude

The benefits on health, derived by occasional fasts, are well known to the world at large. But only spiritual aspirants know about the spiritual advantages of fasting. Monks or brahmacaris are aware that fasting weakens the sexual drive, at least temporarily.

"By fasting, learned men quickly bring all of the senses except the tongue under control, because by abstaining from eating such men are afflicted with an increased desire to gratify the sense of taste." (SB 11.8.20)

Complete fasting helps also to control sleep. As such, its application and practical value in spiritual life have an immense potential. However, emphasis should be put on spiritual awareness if we want to derive any substantial benefit from fasting. No doubt, fasting can give a temporary relief to our body and mind, but spiritual benefits are not guaranteed. Fasting can be even detrimental if we lack the right attitude of humility and tolerance.

"When you fast, don't assume an air of sorrow just like the hypocrites, who contort their faces to show others that they are fasting. They have their reward." (Matthew 6:16)

"There are so many rules and regulations, and if one at all wants to understand Krsna, he must follow the regulative principles described in the authoritative literature. One can perform penance in accordance with those principles. For example, to undergo serious penances one may observe fasting on Janmastami, the day on which Krsna appeared, and on the two days of Ekadasi (the eleventh day after the new moon and the eleventh day after the full moon)." (BG 11.54 p.)

Removing sins

In the Manu-samhita fasting is associated with atonement from sinful reactions. Manu enumerates different types of fast, according to the gravity of the offense performed. They are called santapana, krcchra, ati-krcchra, tapta-krcchra, candrayana, paraka, etc.

Through fasting, one can counteract an offensive mentality, such as disrespectful behavior toward one's own superiors. "One who does not show proper respect toward a brahmana or anyone of his seniors, by words or actions, shall bathe and fast during the remaining part of the day, and appease the person offended by reverential salutation." (Manu-samhita 11.205)

Spiritual view

Pusta Krsna: May I ask the next question, Srila Prabhupada? "Are fasting and other dietary regulations necessary for leading a spiritual life?" Srila Prabhupada: Certainly. For advancement in spiritual life, such tapasya is essential. Tapasya means voluntarily accepting something which may be painful. (Civilization and Transcendence 8: Civilization means Regulation)

There are different levels of fasting - from just avoiding certain foodstuffs up to complete fasting with added austerities. "Drinking water only, without solid food, is also considered fasting." (SB 1.13.53 p.)

Fasting is also held at the appearance days of the Lord and appearance and disappearance days of important spiritual persons.

Vaisnavas in general don't eat anything unoffered to the Lord. This could also be considered as fasting.

Ekadasi

Main fasting occasion for Vaisnavas comes on Ekadasi, eleventh day after full and new moon. Purpose of fasting on Ekadasi, which Sri Caitanya stressed very much, is to avoid the sins manifested in grains at that day and especially satisfying the Lord by this bit of austerity.

Hari-bhakti-vilasa (16.301) mentions that the personality of Ekadasi is an unmanifested form of Sri Visnu on the Earth (ya sa visnoh para murtir avyaktaneka rupini sa ksipta manuse loke). Ekadasi is said to be equal to the Lord Himself. Srila Sanatana Gosvami remarks in his Digdarsini-tika, "One who strictly observes the Ekadasi fast, worships Sri Hari." The Srimad-Bhagavatam (9.4.29) reports that it was with this aim in mind that King Ambarisa and his wife accepted the austerity of Ekadasi for a whole year.

"Nevertheless, regulated fasting on Ekadasi is not an impediment to spiritual advancement. Rather, it is a perpetual aspect of devotional service and can be considered an auxiliary principle supporting the main principle of worshiping Lord Krsna and His devotees. Because such secondary principles help one become fit for executing the primary processes of devotional service, they are also greatly beneficial." (SB 11.12.1-2)

Srila Jiva Gosvami has extolled the greatness of Ekadasi in his commentary on Bhakti-sandarbha. Therein we find that once a brahmana's daughter observed fasting very strictly on Ekadasi and during the Karttika month. As a result of her penance, she took birth as Satyabhama, one of Sri Krsna's wives in Dvaraka.

padme kartika-mahatmye cha brahmana kanyayah
kartika vrata ekadasi vrata prabhavat
srimat satyabhamakhya-bhagavat preyasi pada praptir
api sruyate, kim bahuna?

By the mercy of Ekadasi, the simple daughter of a brahmana attained to the unparalleled position of Krsna's consort and queen of Dvaraka. Srila Jiva Gosvami has expressed his wonder about the extraordinary effect of the Ekadasi-vrata with the words 'kim bahuna?' - What more (can be said about the glories of Ekadasi)?

Related:
Ekadasi

Fasting unauthorized by sastras condemned

"Austerity means to accept voluntarily things which may not be very comfortable for the body but are conducive for spiritual realization, for example, fasting. Fasting twice or four times a month is a sort of austerity which may be voluntarily accepted for spiritual realization only, and not for any other purposes, political or otherwise. Fastings which are meant not for self-realization but for some other purposes are condemned in the Bhagavad-gita (17.5-6)." (SB 1.17.25 p.)

Besides, one should not torture one's body with excessive fasts because this can create a mental imbalance. The material body requires food for its maintenance. This is unavoidable, for it is a fundamental need which has to be satisfied. One must learn the ways of moderation and sobriety as Krsna Himself teaches in the Bhagavad-gita (6.16). Whoever wants to practice yoga (communion with the Lord) must avoid extremes such as eating too much or not eating at all, sleeping more than necessary or keeping awake all night. One should accept whatever is required to keep the body fit for Krsna' service.

"Although we should minimize our eating and sleeping, we should not attempt this too rapidly, at the risk of becoming sick. Because people are accustomed to eating voraciously, there are prescriptions for fasting. We can reduce our sleeping and eating, but we should remain in good health for spiritual purposes. We should not attempt to reduce eating and sleeping too rapidly or artificially; when we advance we will naturally not feel pain due to the reduction of these natural bodily processes." (Path of Perfection 4: Moderation in Yoga)

"There are many rules and regulations in the Vedas which apply here, like rising early in the morning and taking a bath. Sometimes it is very troublesome to rise early in the morning, but whatever voluntary trouble one may suffer in this way is called penance. Similarly, there are prescriptions for fasting on certain days of the month. One may not be inclined to practice such fasting, but because of his determination to make advancement in the science of Krsna consciousness, he should accept such bodily troubles when they are recommended. However, one should not fast unnecessarily or against Vedic injunctions. One should not fast for some political purpose; that is described in Bhagavad-gita as fasting in ignorance, and anything done in ignorance or passion does not lead to spiritual advancement. Everything done in the mode of goodness does advance one, however, and fasting done in terms of the Vedic injunctions enriches one in spiritual knowledge." (BG 10.4-5 p.)

"Those who undergo severe austerities and penances not recommended in the scriptures, performing them out of pride and egoism, who are impelled by lust and attachment, who are foolish and who torture the material elements of the body as well as the Supersoul dwelling within, are to be known as demons." (BG 17.5-6)

PURPORT: "There are persons who manufacture modes of austerity and penance which are not mentioned in the scriptural injunctions. For instance, fasting for some ulterior purpose, such as to promote a purely political end, is not mentioned in the scriptural directions. The scriptures recommend fasting for spiritual advancement, not for some political end or social purpose. Persons who take to such austerities are, according to Bhagavad-gita, certainly demoniac. Their acts are against the scriptural injunctions and are not beneficial for the people in general. Actually, they act out of pride, false ego, lust and attachment for material enjoyment. By such activities, not only is the combination of material elements of which the body is constructed disturbed, but also the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself living within the body. Such unauthorized fasting or austerities for some political end are certainly very disturbing to others. They are not mentioned in the Vedic literature. A demoniac person may think that he can force his enemy or other parties to comply with his desire by this method, but sometimes one dies by such fasting. These acts are not approved by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and He says that those who engage in them are demons. Such demonstrations are insults to the Supreme Personality of Godhead because they are enacted in disobedience to the Vedic scriptural injunctions. The word acetasah is significant in this connection. Persons of normal mental condition must obey th e scriptural injunctions. Those who are not in such a position neglect and disobey the scriptures and manufacture their own way of austerities and penances."

Fasting to death

On the other hand, although the Vedas reject the suicide, dying by fasting (prayopavista) is the only authorized, karma-free way to die. An example is Maharaja Pariksit (SB 1.4.10, 1.19.5,7,12,18, 12.12.57). "When because of disease or old age one is unable to perform his prescribed duties for advancement in spiritual consciousness or study of the Vedas, he should practice fasting, not taking any food." (SB 7.12.23)

Transcendental level

Finally there is another kind of fast, which is unconscious of the environment and without a tinge of calculation. It is the fruit of a highly emotional condition. This was, for instance, the spiritual frame of the Vrndavan Gosvamis such as Sri Rupa and Sri Raghunatha. These celebrated associates of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu were the emblem of self-forgetfulness and divine surrender. We should not think, however, that they fasted and underwent austerities as ordinary sadhakas do. They simply forgot to eat due to their consuming absorption in the sublime intoxication of divine love. Vows and rules lose meaning for an advanced devotee who sometimes becomes indifferent to their bodily needs. Being always in touch with the Lord (upavasa) through the divine service of guru and Krsna, one has already gone back to life (upavasa) having regained one's original devotional temperament. Such a devotee experiences the real life of the soul.

Gambling and Investing

Q: A new sector of gambing has emerged which is called daytrading. Many daytraders do not investigate and research stocks and the businesses that own them to make informative decisions. Instead, many daytraders just look for a trend whether upwards or downwards and place their trades accordingly to capitalize on the movement of the stock and get out. Are investors considered gamblers? I invest in mutual funds and have for a long time. Is this wrong? Also, how about daytraders that actually research stocks and make informed decisions. Are they committing a sin?

I would appreciate you clarifying this information. The world has changed, adding new vices trying to intrigue people in doing wrong. I just want to make sure I am acting correctly.

A: Srila Prabhupada often puts together "gambling" with "speculation" but mainly he means mental, not financial speculation. However, he also says in SB 1.17.38 p.:

"Gambling of all description, even speculative business enterprise, is considered to be degrading, (...)"

I can't say what kinds of speculative enterprise are meant. Even if you simply put your money in a bank, the bank invests them in various ways beyond your control, including stock market. And SP did use banks and many devotees continue to do so. At the same time he gave the ideal:

"Instead of wasting his time with business speculations, he should seek the life of plain living and high spiritual thinking and thus save himself from perpetual materialistic unrest." (CC Adi 5.22p.)

"But even if we do speculation business and do it for Krsna, that is not good. (...) They are doing little business because grhasthas, they require money. All right, do some incense, this, that. Not very big business." (Room Conversation, August 1, 1972, London)

The Characteristics of a Spiritual Master

Nayana-ranjana Das

The following is a summary of the characteristics of the spiritual master which are listed in Hari Bhakti Vilasa:

He should be knowledgeable of the Vedas and know the conclusions of the scriptures.
He should be absorbed in worship of the Lord by chanting of the Lord's name.
He should be peaceful, fully satisfied in activities of devotional service.
He should have deep faith in the Lord.
He should exhibit all good qualities.
He should be intelligent, steady, austere and truthful.
He should be sweet in speech, pleasant to look at, clean, youthful-looking, wearing clean cloth.
He should be expert in conducting himself as a saintly person, (sad-acara).
He should be expert at arguing with and defeating those opposed to devotional service.
He should be an expert judge.
He should feel gratitude for services rendered to him.
He should be capable of both showing favor to and reprimanding another person.
He should feel affection for his disciples.
He should always be anxious for the welfare of all living beings.
He should be completely free from envy, malice, violence, anger, laziness, sinful activity.

The spiritual master should not possess the following characteristics:

He should not desire wealth, fame or service from his disciples.
He should not have a desire for accumulating material objects.
He should not be attached to receiving things or hesitant to give things.
He should not delay in making decisions which must be made.
He should not eat too much.
He should not be prone to lying.
He should not be critical of the good qualities of others.
He should not absorb himself in talking about the sinful activities of others.
He should not associate with low characters (people who take intoxication and indulge in illicit sex or criminal activities).
He should not involve himself in useless philosophies and material logic.

The following is a summary of the characteristics of a true disciple, as found in Hari Bhakti Vilasa:

He should be truthful.
He should be gentle and polite.
He should be pleasing to look at.
He should be spotless in conduct.
He should be intelligent.
He should be in control of his senses.
He should show proper respect to elders, to initiated Vaisnavas and to the Lord.
He should observe silence concerning material subjects.
He should have not attraction for committing sinful activities.
He should be desirous of knowing the absolute truth.
He should be devoted to the lotus feet of guru.
He should be engaged day and night in the Lord's service with body, mind and words.
He should be fully capable of upholding vows made to the spiritual master.

The true disciple should not possess the following characteristics:

He should not be lazy, dirty, or sickly.
He should not be continually afflicted or lamenting.
He should not be angry, proud, or lusty.
He should not covet material desires.
He should not show the enjoying spirit.
He should not be miserly, malicious, devious or envious.
He should not give pain to others or be addicted to cruel activities.
He should not use vulgar or coarse language.
He should not indulge in illicit sex.
He should not be constantly critical of others.
He should not earn his living by unjust means.
He should not be proud of material learning.
He should not be ignorant.
He should not indulge in other philosophies.
He should not be addicted to overeating.
He should not indulge in sinful activities such as taking meat, intoxication, gambling or illicit sex.

The person who cannot give up his bad habits and cannot follow the instructions of guru is not qualified as a disciple.

Though a person may be devoid of the qualities mentioned above, if he is devoted to guru and the Supreme Lord, he can become purified and eventually become a suitable candidate for initiation through performance of devotional activities.

Related:
Pariksa - mutual testing
Post-modern perspectives on the guru-disciple relationship

Guru (spiritual master)

- definition:

gu-zabdas tv andhakArasya
ru-zabdas tan-nivArakaH
andhAkara-nirodhitvAd
gurur ity abhidhIyate

"The syllable 'gu' refers to the darkness of ignorance; the syllable 'ru' means that which impedes it. Thus the guru is so named because he eradicates the darkness of ignorance in others." (Skanda Purana)

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. (SB 11.3.21)

- (must be) a pure devotee (also kanistha and madhyama - CC Adi 7.51-52p., CC Madhya 15.106p., 26 characteristics - SB 2.3.13p.)

SB 1.1.15, 1.2.18 (service to pure devotee), 4.22.22p. (ditto), 4.29.51p., 5.5.18p., 5.14.1p., 5.14.41p., 7.5.32p. (surrender to p.d.), 7.6.27p., 7.7.29-31., 10.2.37p., 10.10.25p., 11.18.39, TLC 31, NOD 1, 12, 19, SSR 8, TYS 9, CCM 3.96p. (to be considered paramahamsa), 15.106 (neophyte cannot understand p.d.), 19.169p., 22.47 (cooperates with Paramatma), 24.313

- nondifferent from the Lord: SB 11.17.27, 11.29.6, CC Adi 1.44-48.

- takes disciple's karma (Skanda Purana 2.5.16.17, quoted in Hari-bhakti-vilasa 1.77)

rajni camatyaja dosah
patni-papam sva-bhartari
tatha sisyarjitam papam
guruh prapnoti niscitam

"Just as a king accepts the faults of his minister and a husband the sins of his wife, similarly a spiritual master receives the sins of his disciples."

- guru-sisya (disciple) analogies by Jayapataka Swami

Kindling firesticks:

The spiritual master can be compared to the lower kindling stick, the disciple to the upper kindling stick, and the instruction given by the guru to the third stick placed in between. The transcendental knowledge communicated from guru to disciple is compared to the fire arising from the contact of these, which burns the darkness of ignorance to ashes, bringing great happiness both to guru and disciple. (SB 11.10.12)

Cow and calf:

A cow doesn't run after a calf; the calf has to go to the cow because she has the milk (knowledge) for calf's nourishment.

Hospital:

A patient (disciple) in the hospital (sadhu-sangha) is in a daily care of nurses (senior devotees) but when his state gets serious the doctor (guru) comes. (Guru should not be bothered with minor problems of a disciple which can be solved by other devotees. Vapu is not necessary all the time.)

Wood & saw mill:

A tree log (a new devotee) is brought to a saw mill (sadhu-sangha) where it is gradually processed (spiritual advancement). After a gross manipulation (barked and cut into beams) it comes to an expert craftsman (guru) who will make it a masterpiece.

- false

Persons who are strongly entrapped by the consciousness of enjoying material life, and who have therefore accepted as their leader or guru a similar blind man attached to external sense objects, cannot understand that the goal of life is to return home, back to Godhead, and engage in the service of Lord Visnu. As blind men guided by another blind man miss the right path and fall into a ditch, materially attached men led by another materially attached man are bound by the ropes of fruitive labor, which are made of very strong cords, and they continue again and again in materialistic life, suffering the threefold miseries. (SB 7.5.31)

As a blind man, being unable to see, accepts another blind man as his leader, people who do not know the goal of life accept someone as a guru who is a rascal and a fool. But we are interested in self-realization. Therefore we accept You, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, as our spiritual master, for You are able to see in all directions and are omniscient like the sun. (SB 8.24.50)

A materialistic so-called guru instructs his materialistic disciples about economic development and sense gratification, and because of such instructions the foolish disciples continue in the materialistic existence of ignorance. But Your Lordship gives knowledge that is eternal, and the intelligent person receiving such knowledge is quickly situated in his original constitutional position. (SB 8.24.51)

In his book Saints and Psychopaths William Hamilton gives a checklist of saintly and psychopathic qualities:

Saints:

Say Mean Do consistency
Adhere to own moral standards
Pay debts
Keep promises
Truth is highest standard
Insists close associates tell the truth
Unaggressive philosophy
Attractive but not drawing
Wait for you to seek help
Good reputation endures & improves
Projects & organization grow & improve
In the long run things turn out well
People have long-term benefit from association
Have concern for effect of actions on self and others
Will immediately apologize for errors
Look for their own mistakes & will apologize
If trapped will not renounce principles
Typically have good health
Typically have few accidents & injuries
Felt loved when a child
Can sit very still
Encourage associates to be self-reliant
Refrain from using mind-dulling substances
Are comfortable being in the background

May adopt a spiritual name one time

Psychopaths:

Say Mean Do disparity
Break own rules [Jan: Have different rules for themselves and for their followers]
Many bad debts, write bad checks
Break promises
No true regard for truth
Tell close associates to lie
Push philosophy aggresively
Attractive and drawing
Come on with unsolicited advice
Good reputation fades in time
Projects & organization degenerate
In the long run things turn out badly
People are damaged by long term association [Jan: They take people and work for granted, don't give thanks.]
Are unconcerned for effect of actions on self and others
Apologize as a last resort
Ignore their own mistakes and apologize only if cornered
If trapped will do or say anything to escape
Typically have variable exotic health problems [Jan: To attract attention and care which they misuse.]
Typically have many accidents & injuries
Felt unloved when a child
Can sit still only when center of attention
Enslave people around them [Jan: They have no friends.]
Substance abuse common
Compulsion to become the center of attention
Adopt many aliases

Any one psychopath or saint is unlikely to have all of the characteristics listed. Just because someone has some of these characteristics does not mean he or she is a psychopath or saint.

checklist pic

Hervey M. Cleckley and Robert Hare give checklists of traits common to psychopaths. "Savage Messiah" is a movie about a psychopathic leader of a 'religious' commune in Canada.

Srila Prabhupada says that there are mundane men in the dress of Vaisnavas even in the Krishna consciousness movement and they should be neglected (upeksha, CC 2.1.218 p.). An example of a psychopathic leader in ISKCON was Kirtanananda Swami Bhaktipada from New Vrindavan, WV. The story of this community is shown in docudrama titled "Deadly Devotion" (Discovery Channel 2013).

SB 5.14.13:

ekadat-prasangan nikrta-matir vyudaka-srotah-skhalanavad
ubhayato 'pi duhkhadam pakhandam abhiyati

ekada - sometimes; asat-prasangat - by association of nondevotees who are against the Vedic principles and who manufacture different paths of religion; nikrta-matih - whose intelligence has been brought to the abominable status of defying the authority of the Supreme personality of Godhead; vyudaka-srotah - into rivers without sufficient water; skhalana-vat - like jumping; ubhayatah - from both sides; api - although; duhkha-dam - giving distress; pakhandam - the atheistic path; abhiyati - he approaches.

Sometimes, to mitigate distresses in this forest of the material world, the conditioned soul receives cheap blessings from atheists. He then loses all intelligence in their association. This is exactly like jumping in a shallow river. As a result one simply breaks his head. He is not able to mitigate his sufferings from the heat, and in both ways he suffers. The misguided conditioned soul also approaches so-called sadhus and svamis who preach against the principles of the Vedas. He does not receive benefit from them, either in the present or in the future.

SB 5.14.30:

yada pakhandibhir atma-vancitais tair uru vancito brahma-kulam samavasams tesam silam upanayanadi-srauta-smarta-karmanusthanena bhagavato yajna- purusasyaradhanam eva tad arocayan sudrakulam bhajate nigamacare 'suddhito yasya mithuni-bhavah kutumbabharanam yatha vanara jateh

yada - when; pakhandibhih - by pasandis (godless atheists); atma-vancitaih - who themselves are cheated; taih - by them; uru - more and more; vancitah - being cheated; brahma-kulam - the bona fide brahmanas strictly following the Vedic culture; samavasan - settling among them to advance spiritually; tesam - of them (the brahmanas who strictly follow Vedic principles); silam - the good character; upanayana-adi - beginning with offering the sacred thread or training the conditioned soul to qualify as a bona fide brahmana; srauta - according to the Vedic principles; smarta - according to the authorized scriptures derived from the Vedas; karma-anusthanena - the performance of activities; bhagavatah - of the Supreme personality of Godhead; yajna-purusasya - who is worshiped by Vedic ritualistic ceremonies; aradhanam - the process of worshiping Him; eva - certainly; tat arocayan - not finding pleasure in it due to its being difficult for unscrupulous persons to perform; sudra-kulam - the society of sudras; bhajate - he turns to; nigama-acare - in behaving according to Vedic principles; asuddhitah - not purified; yasya - of whom; mithuni-bhavah - sex enjoyment or the materialistic way of life; kutumba-bharanam - the maintenance of the family; yatha - as it is; vanara-jateh - of the society of monkeys, or the descendants of the monkey.

The pseudo svamis, yogis and incarnations who do not believe in the Supreme Personality of Godhead are known as pasandis. They themselves are fallen and cheated because they do not know the real path of spiritual advancement, and whoever goes to them is certainly cheated in his turn. When one is thus cheated, he sometimes takes shelter of the real followers of Vedic principles [brahmanas or those in Krsna consciousness], who teach everyone how to worship the Supreme Personality of Godhead according to the Vedic rituals. However, being unable to stick to these principles, these rascals again fall down and take shelter among sudras who are very expert in making arrangements for sex indulgence. Sex is very prominent among animals like monkeys, and such people who are enlivened by sex may be called descendants of monkeys.

SB 6.9.49-50:

na veda krpanah sreya
atmano guna-vastu-drk
tasya tan icchato yacched
yadi so 'pi tatha-vidhah

na - not; veda - knows; krpanah - a miserly living entity; sreyah - the ultimate necessity; atmanah - of the soul; guna-vastu-drk - who is attracted by the creation of the modes of material nature; tasya - of him; tan - things created by the material energy; icchatah - desiring; yacchet - one bestows; yadi - if; sah api - he also; tatha-vidhah - of the kind (a foolish krpana who does not know his real self-interest).

Those who think material assets to be everything or to be the ultimate goal of life are called misers [krpanas]. They do not know the ultimate necessity of the soul. Moreover, if one awards that which is desired by such fools, he must also be considered foolish.

svayam nihsreyasam vidvan
na vakty ajnaya karma hi
na rati rogino 'pathyam
vanchato 'pi bhisaktamah

svayam - personally; nihsreyasam - the supreme goal of life, namely the means of obtaining ecstatic love for the Supreme Personality of Godhead; vit-van - one who is accomplished in devotional service; na - not; vakti - teaches; ajnaya - unto a foolish person not conversant with the ultimate goal of life; karma - fruitive activities; hi - indeed; na - not; rati - administers; roginah - unto the patient; apathyam - something unconsumable; vanchatah - desiring; api - although; bhisak-tamah - an experienced physician.

A pure devotee who is fully accomplished in the science of devotional service will never instruct a foolish person to engage in fruitive activities for material enjoyment, not to speak of helping him in such activities. Such a devotee is like an experienced physician, who never encourages a patient to eat food injurious to his health, even if the patient desires it.

Caitanya-caritamrta (Madhya 22.39):

ami - vijna, ei murkhe 'visaya' kene diba?
sva-caranamrta diya 'visaya' bhulaiba

"Since I am very intelligent, why should I give this fool material prosperity? Instead I shall induce him to take the nectar of the shelter of My lotus feet and make him forget illusory material enjoyment."

Dealing with gurus having problems or falling down

sa guruH paramo vairI yo dadAti hy asan-matim
taM namas-kRtya sat-ziSyaH prayAti jJAnadaM gurum

That guru is considered the greatest enemy who imparts bad knowledge so a good disciple should salute him and go to serve another guru who can impart true knowledge. (NArada PaJcarAtra 1.10.21)

(from Krsna Bhajanamrta by Narahari Sarakara)

Word meanings and translations by Hridayananda das Goswami

Sri Krsna Bhajanamrta was published by Bhaktivinoda Thakura. Therefore it is very important for practicing Vaisnavas in the Krsna Consciousness movement.

(59)

kintu yadi gurur asamanjasam karoti tarhi yukti-siddhaih
siddhantais tasya rahasi dandah karaniyo na tu tyajyah

kintu - however; yadi - if; guruh - the guru; asamanjasa - a wrongful act; karoti - commits; tarhi - thereupon; yukti - with logic and reason; siddhaih - made perfect; siddhantaih - with the conclusions of scriptures; tasya - of him; rahasi - privately; dandah - reprimand, restraining; karaniyah - is to be done; na - not; tu - but; tyajyah - to be given up.

If a spiritual master commits a wrongful act, one should privately confront him for his rectification, using logically presented conclusions from sastra, but one is not to give him up.

(60)

guror danda iti cen na
guror apy avaliptasya karyakaryam ajanatah
utpatha-pratipannasya nyayo dando vidhiyate

guroh - of the guru; dandah - reprimand; iti - thus; cet - if; na - (one considers should) not (be done); guror api - even of a guru; avaliptasya - proud and contaminated; karya-akaryam - what is to be done and what is not to be done; ajanatah - who does not know; utpatha - the wrong path; pratipannasya - who has taken to; nyayah - reason; dandah - reprimand, restraining; vidhiyate - is enjoined.

If one thinks one shouldn't reprimand a spiritual master, one should consider this statement: "If the guru becomes attached to sense gratification, loses his sense of duty, and follows a degraded path, a path other than devotional service to the Lord, he should be restrained or reprimanded with logical arguments." (Mahabharata, Udyoga Parva 179.25; apy>aty in Narada Pancaratra 1.10.20)

(61)

anena sarvam susobhanam iti

anena - with this (understanding); sarvam - everything; susobhanam - (becomes) very beautiful, auspicious; iti - thus.

With this understanding, everything becomes auspicious.

(62)

svabhava eva vaisnavanam krsnasraya eva mulam
tad-guna-gana- yaso-varnana-vilasa-vinoda-prakhyapanam jivanam

svabhavah - the nature; eva - certainly; vaisnavanam - of devotees; krsna-asrayah - to take shelter of Lord Sri Krsna; eva - alone; mulam - the foundation, basis; tad-guna - this (Lord Krsna's) qualities; gana - singing; yasah - glories; varnana - describing; vilasa - of the pastimes; vinoda-prakhyapanam - spreading the news; jivanam - the very life.

The natural behavior of Vaisnava devotees is to take complete refuge of Lord Sri Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, accepting Him as their real and principal shelter. Their very life is to sing His glories, describe and expand His fame, and discuss the nectar of His transcendental pastimes.

(63)

vaisnavah sarve tad anusaram eva guru-mukhat va
sva-buddhya va vyavaharanti iti kramah

vaisnavah - the devotees; sarve - all; tad-anusaram - following this (nature); eva - only; guru-mukhat - from the mouth of the guru; va - either; sva-buddhya - by one's own intelligence; va - or; vyavaharanti - perform the regular (devotional) activities; iti - thus; kramah - the process.

Therefore, following this devotional nature, all devotees continue their regular devotional service. Guided by the bona fide instructions of the guru or by one's own intelligence, in all cases one should continue in one's devotional service. This is the authorized course.

tatra gurur yadi vi-sadrsa-kari isvare bhrantah krsna-yaso-vimukho
vilasa-vinodam na angikaroti svayam va durabhimani loka-stavaih
krsnatvam prapnoti tarhi tyajya eva

tatra - in this matter; guruh - the guru; yadi - if; vi-sadrsa - improprieties; kari - commits; isvare - about the Lord; bhrantah - bewildered; krsna-yasah - the glories of Sri Krsna; vimukhah - against; vilasa - pastimes (of Krsna); vinodam - relishing; na - does not; angi- karoti - accept; svayam - personally; va - or; durabhimani - terribly conceited; loka-stavaih - by the praises and flattery of the public; krsnatvam - darkness; prapnoti - comes to; tarhi - then; tyajyah - to be rejected; eva - simply.

But if the spiritual master commits improprieties, is bewildered about the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is averse to expanding Lord Krsna's glories, personally refuses to hear or chant about the pastimes of the Lord, or has become utterly puffed up by the false praises of ignorant persons and thus falls into darkness, then the spiritual master is simply to be rejected.

katham eva gurus tyajya iti no, krsna-bhava-lobhat krsna-praptaye
guror asrayah krtas tad-anantaram yadi tasmin gurau asuri-bhavas
tarhi kim kartavyam asura-gurum tyaktva sri-krsna-bhaktimantam
gurum anyam bhajet

katham - how (is it possible); eva - indeed; guruh - the guru; tyajyah - is to be rejected; iti - thus; no - (if one thinks) not; krsna-bhava-lobhat - out of eagerness for Sri Krsna's transcendental nature; krsna-praptaye - to achieve Sri Krsna; guroh - of a guru; asrayah krtah - one took shelter; tad-anantaram - after that; yadi - if; tasmin gurau - in that guru; asuri-bhavah - the demonic nature; tarhi - then; kim kartavyam - what is to be done; asura-gurum - the asura guru; tyaktva - rejecting; sri krsna-bhaktimantam - full of devotion for Sri Krsna; gurum - guru; anyam - another; bhajet - one should accept and worship.

Under those circumstances one should not think, "How can I give up my spiritual master?" With a strong desire to achieve spontaneous devotional service and attain the lotus feet of Lord Krsna, a devotee accepts the shelter of a spiritual master. But if after that the spiritual master takes on a demonic mentality, what is to be done? Rejecting such a demonic guru, in his place one should accept a Krsna conscious spiritual master and worship him.

tasya krsna-balad asurasya guror balam
mardaniyam iti vaisnava-bhajana-vicarah

tasya - his; krsna-balat - by strength derived from Lord Krsna; asurasya guroh - of the asura guru; balam - the strength, influence; mardaniyam - is to be smashed, destroyed; iti - thus; vaisnava-bhajana - (the way of) serving and accepting Vaisnavas; vicarah - the correct analysis of.

By the strength of the devotional service of the Krsna conscious spiritual master, the ill effects of the demonic spiritual master are destroyed. This is the authorized way of Vaisnava devotional service.

(67)

evam tu drsta bahavah sri-krsna-caitanyavatare

evam - thus; tu - indeed; drstah - have been seen; bahavah - many (cases); sri-krsna-caitanya-avatare - during the appearance of Lord Caitanya.

During the appearance of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu many examples of this were seen.

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