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Fools Think Guru To Be An Ordinary Man.

Sometimes there are so-called devotees who criticize the acharya or a spiritual master by depicting him as an ordinary human being with the four defects of conditional perception. Such concepts ruin one's Krsna consciousness. One should not accept a spiritual master if he is not sure that the spiritual master can deliver him from ignorance. The following is a series of quotes by His Divine Grace A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, where this concept is explained and elaborated upon.



It is better service to Krishna and Spiritual Master in a feeling of separation; sometimes there is risk in the matter of direct service. For example, Kirtanananda was giving me direct service by massaging, cooking for me, and so many other things; but later on by dictation of Maya, he became puffed up, so much so that he thought his Spiritual Master a common man, and was existing only on account of his service. This mentality at once pushed him down. Of course, those who are sincere devotee, they take direct service as an opportunity, but the illusory energy is so strong that it acts on this doctrine of familiarity breeds contempt. Kirtanananda was thinking I was existing on his service, instead of realizing I was giving him opportunity to do me some service.


Letter to: Madhusudana — San Francisco 30 December, 1967


Both the Lord's Deity form and the spiritual master should be seen from a distant place. This is called maryada. Otherwise, as it is said, familiarity breeds contempt. Sometimes coming too near the Deity or the spiritual master degrades the neophyte devotee. Personal servants of the Deity and the spiritual master should therefore always be very careful, for negligence may overcome them in their duty.


CC Madhya 12.212


Maya is so strong that unless one is determined not to fall victim, even the Supreme Personality of Godhead cannot give protection. The Supreme Lord and His representative always want to give protection, but a person must take advantage of their personal contact. If one thinks that the Supreme Personality of Godhead or His representative is an ordinary man, he will certainly fall down.


Cc mad 17.14


Damodara Pandita was a great devotee of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Sometimes, however, a person in such a position becomes impudent, being influenced by the external energy and material considerations. Thus a devotee mistakenly dares to criticize the activities of the spiritual master or the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Despite the logic that "Caesar's wife must be above suspicion," a devotee should not be disturbed by the activities of his spiritual master and should not try to criticize him. A devotee should be fixed in the conclusion that the spiritual master cannot be subject to criticism and should never be considered equal to a common man. Even if there appears to be some discrepancy according to an imperfect devotee's estimation, the devotee should be fixed in the conviction that even if his spiritual master goes to a liquor shop, he is not a drunkard; rather, he must have some purpose in going there. it is said in a Bengali poem:


yadyapi nityananda sura-badi yaya

tathapio haya nityananda-raya


"Even if I see that Lord Nityananda has entered a liquor shop, I shall not be diverted from my conclusion that Nityananda Raya is the Supreme Personality of Godhead."


cc antya 3.11


Prabhupada: Don't come very near.

Nitai: I'm sorry.


Morning Walk -- February 23, 1974, Bombay


Aksayananda: I was recently told by one devotee that the acarya does not have to be a pure devotee.

Prabhupada: What?

Aksayananda: That the acarya does not have to be a pure devotee.

Prabhupada: Who is that rascal?

Aksayananda: Well, he said it. Who said it?

Prabhupada: Who said? Who is that rascal? The acarya does not require to be a pure devotee?

Aksayananda: He said it. Nitai said it. He said it in this context. He said that Lord Brahm is the acarya in the Brahma-sampradaya, but yet he is sometimes afflicted by passion. So therefore he is saying that it appears that the acarya does not have to be a pure devotee. So it does not seem right.

Prabhupada: So who is that rascal? I want to know who has said.

Aksayananda: Nitai. Nitai dasa.

Harikesa: Nitai said that?

Prabhupada: Who is Nitai dasa?

Harikesa: Our Nitai.

Aksayananda: Nitai.

Prabhupada: Oh, our Nitai? Oh.

Aksayananda: He said he couldn't understand it, but he thought, he said that he thought...

Prabhupada: He manufactured his idea. Therefore he's a rascal. Therefore he's a rascal. Nitai has become an authority?

Aksayananda: No, actually he said that he thought...

Prabhupada: He thought something rascaldom, and he is expressing that. Therefore he is more rascal. These things are going on. As soon as he reads some books, he becomes an acarya, whatever rascal he may be.


Morning Walk -- December 10, 1975, Vrndavana


It will be a great mistake if somebody thinks that Krsna, or Krsna's representative... Just like bona fide representative, Jesus Christ or other great, I mean to say, leaders of the religious faiths, they do not come with the inferior nature. They come with the superior nature of God. That we have to accept. If we have to accept the truth explained in the Bhagavad-gita, then we must accept that, that God and His representative, they do not come, who come directly from the kingdom of God, they do not come, accepting this inferior nature.


Bhagavad-gita 4.6-8 -- New York, July 20, 1966



Foolish people consider Krsna a human being, and they consider Lord Krsna's pure devotee an ordinary human being also.


C.c Madhya lila purport 22.51


Karmīs may consider the body of a devotee material, but factually it is not, for a devotee has no conception of material enjoyment. If one thinks that the body of a pure devotee is material, he is an offender, for that is a vaiṣṇava-aparādha.


Antya 4.194


Material means when the consciousness is not Krsna. That is material. The same example, that iron rod, if kept to the fire, gradually it becomes warm, warmer, and at last it becomes red. When it is red, it is no longer iron; it is fire. Similarly, by spiritual association, your body gradually becomes spiritualized. And at the perfection stage, there is no more material activities, simply the activities of the fire. That is stated in the Bhagavad-gita:

mam cavyabhicarini-

bhakti-yogena yah sevate

sa gunan samatityaitan

brahma-bhuyaya kalpate

[Bg. 14.26]

The whole body becomes supplemented with Brahman effulgence. It is not for everyone, and those who are very, very much spiritually advanced, their body becomes like that. Therefore a Vaisnava acarya's body is never burned. It is entombed. They worship the body. But that is spiritual body.


Srimad-Bhagavatam 6.1.27-34

Surat, December 17, 1970



The spiritual master, or ācārya, is always situated in the spiritual status of life. Birth, death, old age and disease do not affect him. According to the Hari-bhakti-vilāsa, therefore, after the disappearance of an ācārya, his body is never burnt to ashes, for it is a spiritual body. The spiritual body is always unaffected by material conditions.


SB 10.4.20


The first sign of the mahatma is that he is already situated in the divine nature. He is not under the control of material nature.


Bg 9.13



Krsna's representative comes into the material energy in order to preach. Although he is within the material energy, he is not under its control. But if you come in contact with material energy without serving Krsna's purpose, you suffer. For instance, in a jail there are many superintendents and government officials.There are also prisoners. However, their conditions differ. We cannot say that because they are all in jail that they are all suffering in the same way. The superintendent is there because he is serving the government's purpose. Therefore he is not subject to the laws of the jail.


(Descartes)


Prabhupada: Just like a man has gone to jail, he's giving education to the prisoners, "My dear brother prisoners, this life is not good, you become honest, don't come to the jail." So other prisoners, they are working hard, they are hammering on the bricks, they think that "This man is not hammering on the bricks, he's talking only."

Interviewer: I didn't gather that.

Bali-mardana: In the prison the people are, their work is, say, to hammer on bricks. So when, if someone comes into the jail and tells the prisoners, "You shouldn't be doing this, actually you should become honest and go out of the jail and be free." Now if the persons in the jail... Because... They will then become envious that "this person, instead of working hard like us, he's simply talking." They cannot understand the benefit that he's giving them and they become envious, that "Because he's not working like us he is nonsense."


Interview with Religious Editor Of the Associated Press -- July 16, 1976, New York



Gurusu means those who are acaryas, to accept their body as ordinary man’s body, this is denied in the sastras.


(Lecture Excerpt – Los Angeles, January 13, 1969)



A spiritual body is not formless; it is a different type of body, of which we cannot conceive with our present mundane senses. Formless therefore means devoid of mundane form, or possessing a spiritual body of which the nondevotee can have no conception by the speculative method.


SB 2.9.32


Hari, or the Personality of Godhead, is the Supreme transcendental Person situated beyond the range of material affection. These statements are also confirmed even by Acarya Sannkara. One may argue that His relation with the goddesses of fortune may be transcendental, but what about His relation with the Yadu dynasty, being born in that family, or His killing the nonbelievers like Jarasandha and other asuras directly in contact with the modes of material nature. The answer is that the Divinity of the Personality of Godhead is never in contact with the qualities of material nature in any circumstances. Actually He is in contact with such qualities because He is the ultimate source of everything, yet He is above the actions of such qualities. He is known, therefore, as Yogesvara, or the master of mystic power, or in other words the all-powerful. Even His learned devotees are not affected by the influence of the material modes. The great six Gosvamis of Vrrndavana all came from greatly rich and aristocratic families, but when they adopted the life of mendicants at Vrndavana, superficially they appeared to be in wretched conditions of life, but factually they were the richest of all in spiritual values. Such mahabhagavatas, or first-grade devotees, although moving amongst men, are not contaminated by honor or insult, hunger or satisfaction, by sleep or wakefulness, which are all resultant actions of the three modes of material nature. Similarly, some of them are engaged in worldly dealings, yet are unaffected. Unless these neutralities of life are there, one cannot be considered situated in transcendence. The Divinity and His associates are on the same transcendental plane, and their glories are always sanctified by the action of yogamaya, or the internal potency of the Lord.


SB 1972 1.11.38



To be in Krsna consciousness or in devotional service means to acquire the equality of Krsna. The Lord says that His nature is eternal, blissful and full of knowledge, and the living entities are part and parcel of the Supreme, as gold particles are part of a gold mine. Thus the living entity's spiritual position is as good as gold, as good as Krsna in quality. The difference of individuality continues, otherwise there is no question of bhakti-yoga. Bhakti-yoga means that the Lord is there, the devotee is there and the activity of exchange of love between the Lord and the devotee is there. Therefore the individuality of two persons is present in the Supreme Personality of Godhead and the individual person, otherwise there is no meaning to bhakti-yoga. If one is not situated in the same transcendental position with the Lord, one cannot serve the Supreme Lord. To be a personal assistant to a king, one must acquire the qualifications. Thus the qualification is to become Brahman, or freed from all material contamination.


Bg 14.26


Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura gives his opinion about how a person completely engaged in the service of the Lord transforms his body from material to transcendental. He says: "A pure devotee engaged in the service of Lord Krsna has no desire for his personal sense gratification, and thus he never accepts anything for that purpose. He desires only the happiness of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna, and because of his ecstatic love for Krsna, he acts in various ways. Karmis think that the material body is an instrument for material enjoyment, and that is why they work extremely hard. A devotee, however, has no such desires. A devotee always engages wholeheartedly in the service of the Lord, forgetting about bodily conceptions and bodily activities. The body of a karmi is called material because the karmi, being too absorbed in material activities, is always eager to enjoy material facilities, but the body of a devotee who tries his best to work very hard for the satisfaction of Krsna by fully engaging in the Lord's service must be accepted as transcendental. Whereas karmis are interested only in the personal satisfaction of their senses, devotees work for the satisfaction of the Supreme Lord. Therefore one who cannot distinguish between devotion and ordinary karma may mistakenly consider the body of a pure devotee material. One who knows does not commit such a mistake. Nondevotees who consider devotional activities and ordinary material activities to be on the same level are offenders to the chanting of the transcendental holy name of the Lord. A pure devotee knows that a devotee's body, being always transcendental, is just suitable for rendering service to the Lord.

A devotee on the topmost platform of devotional service always humbly thinks that he is not rendering any devotional service. He thinks that he is poor in devotional service and that his body is material. On the other hand, those known as the sahajiyas foolishly think that their material bodies are transcendental. Because of this, they are always bereft of the association of pure devotees, and thus they cannot behave like Vaisnavas. Observing the defects of the sahajiyas, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura has sung as follows in his book Kalyana-kalpa-taru:


ami ta' vaisnava, e-buddhi ha-ile,

amani na haba ami

pratisthasa asi', hrdaya dusibe,

ha-iba niraya-gami

nije srestha jani', ucchistadi-dane,

habe abhimana bhara

tai sisya tava, thakiya sarvada,

na la-iba puja kara


"If I think I am a Vaisnava, I shall look forward to receiving respect from others. And if the desire for fame and reputation pollute my heart, certainly I shall go to hell. By giving others the remnants of my food, I shall consider myself superior and shall be burdened with the weight of false pride. Therefore, always remaining your surrendered disciple, I shall not accept worship from anyone else." Srila Krsnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami has written (Antya-lila 20.28):


premera svabhava—yahan premera sambandha

sei mane,—'krsne mora nahi prema-gandha'


"Wherever there is a relationship of love of Godhead, the natural symptoms are that the devotee does not think himself a devotee, but always thinks that he has not even a drop of love for Krsna."


cc antya 4.173


Karmis may consider the body of a devotee material, but factually it is not, for a devotee has no conception of material enjoyment. If one thinks that the body of a pure devotee is material, he is an offender, for that is a vaisnava-aparadha.


cc antya 4.191-194



Although Balabhadra Bhattacarya was personally serving Lord Krsna in His role as a devotee (Caitanya Mahaprabhu), he mistook Lord Krsna for an ordinary man and an ordinary man for Lord Krsna because he did not follow the rules set down by sastra and guru.


CC mad. 18.101

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