Adi 17.126-.. Although the members of the so-called
Hindu society had followed the social customs and formulas, they had
practically forgotten to execute their religious principles strictly.
But with the presence of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu they actually began
following the regulative principles according to His order. That order
is still existing, and anywhere and everywhere, in all parts of the
world, one can execute it. That order is to become a spiritual master
under the direction of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu by following the
regulative principles, chanting daily at least sixteen rounds of the
Hare Krsna maha-mantra, and preaching the cult of Krsna consciousness
all over the world. If we adhere to the order of Sri Caitanya
Mahaprabhu, we shall get spiritual strength without a doubt, and we
shall be free to preach this cult of the Hare Krsna movement and not
be hampered by anyone.
So by reading this quote many will take it to mean we all should become initiating spiritual masters and--- take on disciples. However, this is not what Srila Prabhupada nor Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu says here. What he is saying is one should become a spiritual master HOW?- BY following the regulative principles, chanting, 16 rounds,
and preaching. Doing this basic sadhana bhakti qualifies one to become an instructing spiritual master.
So what exactly does Srila Prabhupada mean here by "guru" or "spiritual master" and "initiates"??
First lets look at the very order given by Mahaprabhu in CC and see what is directly said, and then we will look at his definitions
of "guru" and "initiates"
Madhya 7.128--"Instruct everyone to follow the orders of Lord Sri Krsna as they
are given in the Bhagavad-gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam. In this way
become a spiritual master and try to liberate everyone in this land."
This is the sublime mission of the International Society for
Krishna Consciousness. Many people come and inquire whether they have
to give up family life to join the Society, but that is not our
mission. One can remain comfortably in his residence. We simply
request everyone to chant the maha-mantra: Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna,
Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare. Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. If
one is a little literate and can read the Bhagavad-gita As It Is and
Srimad-Bhagavatam, that is so much the better. These works are now
available in an English translation and are done very authoritatively
to appeal to all classes of men. Instead of living engrossed in
material activities, people throughout the world should take advantage
of this movement and chant the Hare Krsna maha-mantra at home with
their families. One should also refrain from sinful
activities--illicit sex, meat-eating, gambling and intoxication. Out
of these four items, illicit sex is very sinful. Every person must get
married. Every woman especially must get married. If the women
outnumber the men, some men can accept more than one wife. In that way
there will be no prostitution in society. If men can marry more than
one wife, illicit sex life will be stopped. One can also produce many
nice preparations to offer Krsna--grain, fruit, flowers and milk. Why
should one indulge in unnecessary meat-eating and maintain horrible
slaughterhouses? What is the use of smoking and drinking tea and
coffee? People are already intoxicated by material enjoyment, and if
they indulge in further intoxication, what chance is there for
self-realization? Similarly, one should not partake in gambling and
unnecessarily agitate the mind. The real purpose of human life is to
attain the spiritual platform and return to Godhead. That is the
summum bonum of spiritual realization. The Krsna consciousness
movement is trying to elevate human society to the perfection of life
by pursuing the method described by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu in His
advice to the brahmana Kurma. That is, one should stay at home, chant
the Hare Krsna mantra and preach the instructions of Krsna as they are
given in the Bhagavad-gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam.
In the above very important verse and purport, first of all there is absolutely no mention of taking on disciples, in the process of becomming a guru or spiritual master. Secondly this purport only tells us to stay at home, become purified by following the regulative principles and preach the instructions of Lord Krsna--thats it---a basic description of a "regular devotee" who has become a dedicated follower of Srila Prabhupada.
Madhya 7.129--Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu further advised the brahmana Kurma, "If you
follow this instruction, your materialistic life at home will not
obstruct your spiritual advancement. Indeed, if you follow these
regulative principles, we will again meet here, or, rather, you will
never lose My company."
This is an opportunity for everyone. If one simply follows the
instructions of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, under the guidance of His
representative, and chants the Hare Krsna mantra, teaching everyone as
far as possible the same principle, the contamination of the
materialistic way of life will not even touch him. It does not matter
whether one lives in a holy place like Vrndavana, Navadvipa or
Jagannatha Puri or in the midst of European cities, where the
materialistic way of life is very prominent. If a devotee follows the
instructions of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, he lives in the company of
the Lord. Wherever he lives, he converts that place into Vrndavana and
Navadvipa. This means that materialism cannot touch him. This is the
secret of success for one advancing in Krsna consciousness.
Madhya 7.130--At whosoever's house Sri Caitanya accepted His alms by taking
prasada, He would convert the dwellers to His sankirtana movement and
advise them just as He advised the brahmana named Kurma.
The cult of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu is explained here very nicely.
One who surrenders to Him and is ready to follow Him with heart and
soul does not need to change his location. Nor is it necessary for one
to change status. One may remain a householder, a medical
practitioner, an engineer or whatever. It doesn't matter. One only has
to follow the instruction of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, chant the Hare
Krsna maha-mantra and instruct relatives and friends in the teachings
of the Bhagavad-gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam. One has to learn humility
and meekness at home, following the instructions of Sri Caitanya
Mahaprabhu, and in that way one's life will be spiritually successful.
One should not try to be an artificially advanced devotee, thinking,
"I am a first-class devotee." Such thinking should be avoided. It is
best not to accept any disciples. One has to become purified at home
by chanting the Hare Krsna maha-mantra and preaching the principles
enunciated by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Thus one can become a spiritual
master and be freed from the contamination of material life.
There are many sahajiyas who decry the activities of the six
Gosvamis--Srila Rupa, Sanatana, Raghunatha dasa, Bhatta Raghunatha,
Jiva and Gopala Bhatta Gosvamis--who are the personal associates of
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and who enlightened society by writing books
on devotional service. Similarly, Narottama dasa Thakura and other
great acaryas like Madhvacarya, Ramanujacarya and others accepted many
thousands of disciples to induce them to render devotional service.
However, there is a class of sahajiyas who think that these activities
are opposed to the principles of devotional service. Indeed, they
consider such activities simply another phase of materialism. Thus
opposing the principles of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, they commit
offenses at His lotus feet. They should better consider His
instructions and, instead of seeking to be considered humble and meek,
should refrain from criticizing the followers of Sri Caitanya
Mahaprabhu who engage in preaching. To protect His preachers, Sri
Caitanya Mahaprabhu has given much clear advice in these verses of Sri
So now we have read in these three continuous verses that Sri Caitanya and Srila Prabhupada wants His followers to remain at home, become purified , preach Krsna to everyone we meet, best not to accept any disciples, and in this way by simply giving instructions to all, become spiritual masters. No mention whatsoever of accepting disciples. In fact he recommends its BEST to NOT accept disciples.
OK now lets read what Srila Prabhupada says about who and what is a spiritual master or guru.
1)" I am the initiator guru, and you should be the instructor guru by teaching what I am teaching and doing what I am doing. This is not a title, but you must actually come to this platform. This I want. (letter August 4, 1975)
2) "If everyone just initiates, then there will only be a contradictory result. As long as it goes on, there will be only failure." (Phalgun Krishna Pancami-SP poem honoring his guru 1961)
3) 68-04-26. Letter: Janardana
On the whole, you may know that he is not a liberated person, and therefore, he cannot
initiate any person to Krishna Consciousness. It requires special spiritual benediction
from higher authorities.
4) a.-- 760607mw.la Conversations
Hari-sauri: I always understood before that the rasa was fixed, but
that within that rasa one may take different..., one may take a
Prabhupada: That will be revealed when you are liberated. Why you are
you understand God perfectly well... And there is intricate
relationship also. That relationship will be revealed when you are
perfectly liberated. Each and every living creature has got a
particular relationship with God. We have forgotten that. So when that
relationship will be revealed in the process of devotional activities,
Krsna consciousness, you should know that is the perfection of your
4) Bg 2.8 P-- scholarship,high position, etc., are all useless in solving the
problems of life; help can only be given by a spiritual master like
Krsna. Therefore, the conclusion is that a spiritual master who is one
hundred percent Krsna conscious is the bona fide spiritual master, for
he can solve the problems of life.
CONCLUSIONS FROM THE ABOVE--
Srila Prabhupada tells us in these 4 verses
1)Adi 17.126--that one should become a spiritual master--HOW? By following the regulative principles, chanting 16 rounds a day and preaching Krsna Consciousness to all we meet. Sounds like a sisksa guru or ritvik acarya to me-or one who does NOT take disciples per the orders of Srila Prahbupada.
2)Madhya 7.128-- Here is the actual order of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu- tell everyone about Krsna by giving him the instructions of Krsna and in this way by instructions, become a spiritual master.
3) Madhya 7.129--Again here the instruction is to live if one wants at home, become purified,preach to others,and by following the sadhana bhakti process as already given by Srila Prabhupada, the contamination of kali yuga will not touch one--this is the secret of of success in spiritual life !! Ok here is the open secret that unmotivated followers of Sri Caitanya and Srila Prabhupada enjoy !!
4) Madhya 7.130--One should not think artificially himself to be an advanced devotee, but should remain at home, learn all the devotional principles, teach them to others, best not to accept disciples, and in THIS WAY one can become a spiritual master. No mention in any of these three very important verses of accepting disciples-rather the opposite is stressed to NOT accept disciples. Why not? Because that activity is for the liberated souls, namely Srila Prabhupada.
Therefore, unless one is a liberated soul, he cannot initiate anyone. How can one tell? Do we know our eternal relationship or rasa (siddha deha) with God? No? Then that alone simply means we are not liberated hence cannot liberate anyone else nor initiate them. This is my humble conclusion and if anyone disagrees please feel free to write me back and straighten me out.
your humble servant