[Excerpt from Srila Gurudeva: Around the World, U.K. 1996 (Radlett, 23 May), the second book in a series of volumes on Srila Gurudeva’s world preaching tours.]
I speak on the authority of the sastra like the Srimad Bhagavatham and I follow what the disciplic acaryas have to say. We should follow in the footsteps of the associates of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. If any guru falls, we should give him up. Then our faith will not be broken. So, we should wait and look for a bona fide guru. By accepting him or a siksa guru, we will advance rapidly in our devotion. If we don’t have faith in anyone, then we should wait and pray to Krsna that He will arrange a bona fide guru for us. If you are not satisfied by the character of any guru, then you shouldn’t accept him as your diksa guru. I told some devotees of ISKCON to consider Svamiji as their siksa guru.
I told them, “Thinking of Svamiji as your siksa guru, you should try to develop your mood. You should pray to him and to Krsna that they will manage a bona fide guru for you. Then there will be no need for you to repent as you did earlier, when you thought, ‘The guru I accepted has fallen down. The second guru I accepted has also fallen down.’”
So, wait a little and see a bona fide guru by his own mercy. Without having a bona fide diksa guru, you will remain unqualified and you will not progress in your devotion. You will not come in the line of devotion because of this shortcoming. Not coming in order, you will not be able to totally follow anyone. Therefore, a diksa guru is needed. Hence, in our disciplic order it has been told that we should give up the fallen guru and accept a bona fide guru. But if he is chanting, his devotional services will not go in vain. They will help him to some extent; they will help him find a bona fide guru. Really, Krsna will manage and Krsna Himself will accept his service. If anyone hasn’t accepted a diksa-guru or a siksa guru, but still, chants, “Krsna Krsna,” then will his chanting go in vain? I think not because Ajamila didn’t accept a guru. He named his son as Narayana and would always call out to him, saying, “Narayana, Narayana.”
When he did so at the point of his death, the messengers of Narayana came and chastised the messengers of Yama Maharaja. They then instructed Ajamila on how he could obtain the service of Narayana. They saved him from death and Ajamila had the good fortune of listening to the discussion between the Yamadutas and Visnudutas. He then realized the glories of the holy name.
He thought, “Oh the glories of the holy name are so marvelous. To unintentionally chant or listen to the name of Narayana even once, without having a guru, will bestow incalculable transcendental benefit. Thus, I should go to Haridvar and accept the shelter of a bona fide guru. From him, I will learn and engage in the service of Narayana.”
With this objective in mind, Ajamila went to Haridvar to seek the shelter of a bona fide guru. He then accepted the shelter of a bona fide guru and came in the line of devotion. He chanted, worshiped, and meditated on the mantra of Narayana. Thus, he achieved perfection. Although, he chanted nama-abhasa, a semblance of the holy name, his chanting never went in vain. The bhakti we engage in presently is bhakti-abhasa, a semblance of devotion; we are not practicing pure bhakti. When we perform sadhana to attain bhava-bhakti, then the services we perform can constitute real bhakti.
The definition of pure bhakti has been given by Srila Rupa Gosvami in the following verse. We must know this verse:
silanam bhaktir uttama
By observing the limbs of bhakti according to this verse, we will engage in svarupa-siddha bhakti. So, you need not worry or bother yourself. All your devotional services like chanting the holy name will never go in vain. The semblance of the holy name will provide something, but it will not provide entrance into Vraja. By receiving the holy name from a bona fide guru, you will enter Vraja.
Devotee: How will I find a bona fide guru?
Srila Gurudeva: Krsna will manage. You cannot find a bona fide guru by yourself. If you are sincere, Krsna will arrange for you to take the shelter of a bona fide guru. Any of the disciples of Svamiji had never made any effort to find him. But, he went door to door of every house and gave everyone the instructions of Krsna. So, you should not be worried about these matters. The opposing devotees cannot tell all these truths to you. If I speak, they will patiently hear. I know.
So, you should see me as a friend and not otherwise. Let them do whatever propaganda they wish to make against me. One day, they will realize their folly. But, they may not have any time for repentance.
Gaura Premanande! Hari Haribol!
[Devotee reads Srila Svami Maharaja’s purport of a particular verse]
Devotee: When you become convinced that Krsna is your intimate friend and protector, how happy and peaceful you will be. When everyone will love Krsna, the world will be filled with tranquillity. When you are protected by Krsna, you will never be worried about insufficiency. You will become pure and make progress in spiritual life.
Srila Gurudeva: Svamiji has written this?
Srila Gurudeva: Very good. Do you want this as a blessing from me? Or should I keep my blessings to myself?
Now I will take prasadam and become ready for the evening class. I should be excused if I have given pain to any devotees. My mood is to only glorify your Prabhupada. I want everyone to know who Svamiji really was.
Devotee: Maharaja, thank you very much for answering my questions.
Srila Gurudeva: I am also glad to have answered your questions. I will be gladder if you believe and act according to my answers.
Gaura Premanande! Hari Haribol!
Is my daughter Anandini satisfied by my answers?
Anandini dasi: Very much.
Devotee: I am also satisfied.
Srila Gurudeva: You are also satisfied?
I want to see you all again.
[To read or download the full upcoming book as a pdf, visit www.patreon.com/bhaktabandhav]