Pride is called ahaṅkāra and abhimāna. Many persons may be worshipping guru with the pride of being qualified and wealthy. They think, “I myself have many followers, I please Gurudeva so much. Without me who can serve Gurudeva and spread his glories? I am so qualified. I am following Gurudeva’s footsteps.” This pride itself is asat-saṅga. These two traits, ahaṅkāra and abhimāna, or false ego and pride, are considered to be the worst type of asat-saṅga. Gurudeva will never be pleased by any amount of service rendered with this mood.
How to avoid this asat-saṅga? Narottama Ṭhākura is advising, “Kara ātma-nivedana deha-geha parijana guru-vākya parama mahattva.” One must offer first his own self, his body, mind, family, and relatives to the lotus feet of guru. If all is not offered to Gurudeva then these things will control and steal our energy and love. If anything is separate from Gurudeva then that thing disturbs us. If we offer all to guru then it is guru–prasāda, guru–kṛpa. Foolish persons cannot do this. They try to collect and enjoy everything themselves and as a result they are always sad and miserable. If one offers everything then Guru-pāda-padma will accept and he will become the caretaker of that person’s body, mind, and family. He will accept all their service, then they too will be on the correct path and will not distract you. By guru–vākya they all will become purified as well. Then they will become favorable to bhajana. Therefore guru–śikṣā is everything in life and it is essential to surrender everything at guru’s feet. Without surrender no one can understand Gurudeva or his advice.
Sometimes a sādhaka may have the pride, “I am chanting three lakhs, daily doing parikramā, offering praṇāmas, and singing songs.” But disciples should understand that this is only possible if Gurudeva is pleased and gives you power. He gives a connection of saccidānanda–śakti to the disciple, then that sādhaka can do real sādhana. But if the pride of being the doer and being very qualified is present then nothing can be gained. On the contrary, everything will be lost. Kṛṣṇa therefore tells in the Bhagavad-gītā (3.27):
prakṛteḥ kriyamāṇāni guṇaiḥ karmāṇi sarvaśaḥ
ahaṅkāra-vimūḍhātmā kartāham iti manyate
All aspects of material energy are carried out by the modes of material nature, but a person whose brain is bewildered by false ego thinks himself to be the doer.
All action in this world is actually carried out by prakṛti. But the action of pure bhajana is above prakṛti. Bhajana is only possible by the effect of bhāgavad–śakti.
If one avoids asat-saṅga but doesn’t take up sat-saṅga, then there is no benefit. What is the meaning of sat-saṅga? Sat means sandhinī–śakti, the holy dhāma, bhakti, bhakta, and Bhagavān. If I renounce everything unfavorable in order to serve Guru-pāda-padma then God will surely be pleased seeing I have good relation with His dear representatives. This is the process to have a connection with God. This is sat-saṅga. Once this connection is present, the sādhaka will naturally be respected by all and his saṅga will be beneficial for all who he comes in contact with. If the sādhaka has no relation with Gurudeva, he will have no connection with God and will not be able to help himself what to speak of others. Those this sādhaka touches will automatically get God’s mercy, no separate sādhana is required. Therefore understand guru to be God’s direct representative. Surrender to him is the same as surrender to God. Kṛṣṇa says in the Bhagavad-gītā—sarva-dharmān parityajya mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja—give up all varieties of dharma and just surrender unto Me. But Kṛṣṇa is not present directly before the sādhaka. So to whom can the sādhaka take shelter of? Only to Gurudeva. Completely surrender to Gurudeva, then Kṛṣṇa will accept you. If one fails in this practice then he will not understand God or ever surrender to Him. By surrendering to guru, Gurudeva will pray to God on the sādhakas behalf. Then all of Kṛṣṇa’s mercy will manifest.
Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī says that in this regard, one should refer to the following verse of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (11.26.26):
tato duḥsaṅgam utsṛjya satsu sajjeta buddhimān
śānta evāsya chindanti mano-vyāsaṅgam uktibhiḥ
A smart person should therefore renounce all bad association and instead enter the association of saintly devotees, whose words sever the deep attachments of the mind.
The following evidence is also cited:
iṣṭānya-devāna phala-kāñkṣino ye
jivan-mṛtānte na labhante keśavam
Those who are proud of their mundane learning, money, house, family, and so forth, thinking their bodies and those related to the body, such as wife and children are ever-lasting, as well as considering other demigods as their worshipful Lord in order to obtain some fleeting benefits, are actually dead although alive. Such persons cannot attain Kṛṣṇa.
śrī-kṛṣṇa-caitanyadeva rati-mati bhave seva
aparūpa ei saba kathā
Perform bhāva-sevā, service performed with rati, to Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanyadeva with deep attachment and determination, because He is the desire-tree for bestowing prema. He is non-different from Vraja-rāja-nandana, the son of the King of Vraja, and the life and soul of Śrī Rādhīka. All these topics are simply sublime.
His name is Caitanyadeva. Before Mahāprabhu descended to this world all were chanting kṛṣṇa–nāma, yet not so much benefit was received. Mahāprabhu gave this name and included within it cetana or spiritual consciousness. Until this consciousness is awakened in the jīva, one will continue to receive only punishment for millions of lives. So Mahāprabhu first gives consciousness and then kṛṣṇa–nāma. Then one will understand that kṛṣṇa–nāma and Kṛṣṇa are non-different.
Before people chanted kṛṣṇa–nāma with the intent to make Kṛṣṇa their order supplier. They created a contract with Kṛṣṇa that states, “I will chant this much and You must give me these fruits. Otherwise I will not chant.” When problems come in life, at that time one will begin chanting and doing nāma–yajña. When the problem is relieved then one will stop chanting. This condition is due to absence of pure consciousness.
Mahāprabhu has come and first given pure consciousness so one can understand that Kṛṣṇa is not ordinary. He is not simply the maintainer of my body and mind. Our soul is suffering so much, arrested in the prison of māyā. Kṛṣṇa is the remover of our anarthas and gives the platform for the soul to achieve its true position. Then one will not look towards māyā. While in māyā the jīvas are unconscious. They have forgotten their svarūpa. Mahāprabhu gives ātmā–jñāna, and causes one to become ātmārāma and aptakāmae Then one serves Kṛṣṇa and nāma without any condition. He will not remember anything material. Mahāprabhu also gives rati–mati, or pure mood and love to chant. If one has not come under the guidance of Caitanya Mahāprabhu, then the benefit they receive in chanting kṛṣṇa–nāma is very limited.
He is Vrajarāja-nandana and Nanda-nandana. He is Rādhārānī’s beloved, and lover of the Vraja-devīs. Mahāprabhu gives this consciousness and guides all to go towards svarūpa-śakti and take shelter there. There one can collect rādhā–dāsya and mañjarī-bhāva. Mahāprabhu is prema-kalpa-taru. With His acintya–śakti He is continuously distributing this supreme gift. Whoever does not take His gift cannot ever understand bhakti-rasa.
Srila Narottama dasa Thakura ki Jaya (excerpted from the book “Sri Sri Prema-Bhakti Candrika” by Narottama dasa Thakura available from: email@example.com