His Divine Grace
Sri Srimad Bhakti Ballabh Tirtha Maharaj
[exerpted from the Introduction to a forth-coming book on Guru-Tattva]
Etymological significance of the word, "Guru" has been elaborately described in different Indian scriptures It will not be wise to make the subject terse and beyond the scope of the subject by going through theoretical scholarly discussion which frusrates the real purpose of getting spiritual amelioration - practical realization of the Highest Bliss. Fundamental points relevant for devotional practice in procuring the Highest objective - Transcendental Divine Knowledge descending through preceptorial or disciplic channels as taught by realized souls, bona fide gurus, pure devotees with evidence from authentic scriptures - will be delineated.
Ordinary usual meaning:
GURU - Spiritual Master (Acharya), Preceptor, Professor or Lecturer, Advisor, Teacher, Instructor, Initiator.
alparn va vahuva yasya
"As per scriptural prescript, one who imparts a bit or sufficient knowledge of the Vedas to deserving aspirant for his eternal benefit is termed 'Guru'."
"'Gu' syllable of the word Guru denotes darkness (nescience) and the syllable 'Ru' denotes removal of darkness (nescience). One who removes darkness-ignorance is considered Guru."
"'GU' syllable signifies darkness-ignorance and 'Ru' syllable light. Therefore, it truely indicates without doubt, that the self-effulgent Para-Brahma, whose light removes darkness and/or ignorance, is Guru."
"My prostrated obeisances to Shri Gurudeva who opens my blind eyes removing dark nescience with the application of the eye-salve of Divine Knowledge."
"The Spiritual Master is to be honoured as much as the Supreme Lord because He is the most Confidential Servitor of the Lord. This is acknowledged in all revealed scriptures and followed by all authorities. I offer my respectful obeisances unto the Lotus Feet of such a Spiritual Master, who is bona ride representative of Sri Hari."
The Spiritual Master (Gurudeva) is one with Supreme Lord Sri Han in the sense that he is His dearest servitor. Gurudev is not the Enjoyer Bhagavan, but He is the Most Confidential Servitor. As such Tulasi (basil) leaf is offered on the Lotus Feet of Sri Hari, but not on the Lotus Feet of Gurudeva; it is offered on the upper portion of His Spiritual Body, i.e., in His Hands.
yasya prasadat bhagavat prasado
"I offer my respectful obeisances unto the Lotus Feet of the Spiritual Master after meditating and singing in adoration, His Glories in the morning, at midday and afternoon, by whose Grace I can get the Grace of Sri Hari (the Supreme Lord) and without Whose Grace and compassion, I have got no shelter."
sri guruoharanapadma kevalabhakatisadma
guru mukha padmavakhya chittete kariya aikya
chakhu dano dila jei janme janme prabhu sei divya
jnan hride prokashita
"The Lotus Feet of His Divine Grace Sri Gurudeva is the abode of exclusive devotion. I chant the glories of Sri Gurudeva in devout adoration. One can cross the ocean of births and deaths as well as get Sri Krishna by His unfathomable Grace. I should be satisfied by reconciling the nectarean sayings emerging from the lotus-lips of Gurudeva with the thoughts of my mind; nothing more should I expect to get. Devotion to the Lotus Feet of Sri Gurudev is the highest objective. All desires can be fulfilled by His Grace. It is by His grace I get the spiritual eyes to see God and thereafter, Divine Transcendental Knowledge is revealed within me. Thus, I have got prema-bhakti.1 My ignorance is removed. Such a Gurudev may become my eternal divine master in every birth. These Transcendental Pastimes of Gurudeva have been narrated in the Vedas.
We have heard one peculiar story of a community in India who do not acknowledge guru [a head for spiritual guide]. According to them, God is the only Guru and others are god-brothers. The eldest god-brother is called 'Dada Guru'. [ Dada - elder brother]. This sort of conclusion is neither rational nor supported by scriptures We find in this world that we accept authorities or experts in all matters. When we are acknowledging 'Guru' in every sphere, it seems absurd to declare that we need not require the help of Guru to know 'God' - Who is even beyond human comprehension. Those who espouse such an opinion are really not serious to know God. The indispensability for accepting guru for God-realisation is substantiated by scriptural evidence.
acharyavan purusho veda
The person initiated "by Guru" can only know Para-brahma (God).
Veda, Divinity Himself, is giving beneficial instructions to the sadhus, "O Sadhus! Rise up! [Withdraw your material senses from the material objects completely] Awake! [Be reinstated in your own real self] Sincerely endeavour to know God praying for the grace of the great saints. This world is as sharp as a razor and full of miseries; as such it is very difficult to get deliverance. It is impossible to cross the ocean of births and deaths without worship of Divinity. The realized saints state that without careful, zealous efforts, nobody can get God-realization - the only panacea for the malady of worldly afflictions, i.e. nobody can cross the ocean of births and deaths without worship of God, taking absolute shelter at the Lotus Feet of gurudeva."
Even the Supreme Lord Sri Krishna, Sri Gaurahari, and Lord Ramachandra played the pastimes of accepting Guru to teach indispensability of accepting Guru. Sri Krishna, Sri Gaurahari, and Sri Ramachandra accepted Sandipani Muni, Sri Ishwarapuripad and Sri Vasishtha Muni respectively as spiritual Guides.
[Extracts from a sermon delivered by His Divine Grace Om Vishnupad 108 Sri Srimat Bhakti Dayita Madhava Goswami Maharaj, illustrious Founder-Acharya of Chaitanya Gaudiya Math -- Registered Gaudiya Mission - on the Holy Day of His advent on Utthan Ekadashi Tithi in 1967 at Sree Chaitanya Gaudiya Math, 35, Satish Mukherjee Road, Calcutta 26.]
"To me, Gurudeva manifests Himself in four distinct forms:
"Redeemers! Sympathisers! My Sri Gurudeva is the manifestation
of the Pastimes of Vishnuvigrahah (Godhead) as His Absolute Counterpart
Servitor. Though He is God's dearest Vishnuvigraha, yet he is dwelling
in the hearts of all living beings of the world in the form of a Vaishnava
to rescue fallen souls like me.
Sripad Purnaprajna Anandatirtha Madhavamuni [Sri Madhavendra-acharya]
has blessed me by manifesting his allegiance to Vedavyas in this adverse
situation. I am unable to express the extent of his grace unto me for
my eternal benefit. Sri Gaurasundar distributed bountifully to all His
associates, the sincere endeavour to serve the object of worship which
has been inherited from Sri Madhavendrapuripad and preserved by him
in the heart of Sri Ishwarpuripad. I was so long averse to Sri Hari
due to my reluctance to serve the Lotus Feet of Sri [Raghunath] Das
Goswami, embodiment of esoteric bhajan. [Ragunath] Das Goswami's Bhajan
under the benign guidance of Srila Rupa Goswami, who expanded the Gospel
of Divine Love, is conspicuous.
Gosvami, pulled me by the hair and placed me on the Lotus Feet of Raghunath Das and Svarup Damodar as their eternal servant. I have got the opportunity to realise Sri Gurudeva as non-different from the Lotus Feet of Sri Narottam Thakur in view of my being blessed in getting the privilege of hearing apophthegm flowing from the holy pen of Srila Kaviraj Goswami. I am a wretched insignificant creature of the world. Sri Vishvanath Chakravarthy is making the gesture of invoking Vyasapuja in one form or other by various alternative means to resist me from going astray. Vedantacharya Sri Baladev Vidyabhushan, who made the pastimes of appealing as Guru to infuse divine power to Sri Madhusudan Das and Sri Uddhav Das, has rescued me from the menace of the path of logical altercation by pronouncing propriety of Vedic knowledge descending through preceptorial channel. Sri Vishvanath Chakravarthy is perceived by his associates as custodian of the world. In that context, Sri Vishvanath appeared as Absolute Counterpart - grace incarnate of the Lord - to resist me in my attempt to know the Truth through empiricism. Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur, Absolute Counterpart - Krishnavigraha, who is non-different from Krishna Dvaipayan Vedavyasmuni, has given me shelter at Vraja-rattan (at Chandrashekhar Acharya Bhavan - the holy place of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's Vraja-lila pastimes) inside Nabadwip by His pen and devotional practice.
[this concludes Part I of Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Goswami Pragbhupada's Vaktritabali - a series of speeches delivered]
B.B. Tirtha Goswami Maharaj