Faith in the Words of the Spiritual Master

Founder-Acarya ISKCON

This is another nice verse from the Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, on the importance of following strictly the instructions of the spiritual master, and thereby receiving his blessings and mercy. Allowing us to taste the nectar of the Holy Name.

Sri Caitanya-caritamrta 1975
By His Diine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Adi-lila 7. Texts 95-96

ei tāṅra vākye āmi dṛḍha viśvāsa dhari’
nirantara kṛṣṇa-nāma saṅkīrtana kari
sei kṛṣṇa-nāma kabhu gāoyāya, nācāya
gāhi, nāci nāhi āmi āpana-icchāya

ei—this; tāṅra—his (My spiritual master’s); vākye—in the words of; āmi—I; dṛḍha—firm; viśvāsa—faith; dhari’-depend; nirantara—always; kṛṣṇa-nāma—the holy name of Lord Kṛṣṇa; saṅkīrtana—chanting; kari—continue; sei—that; kṛṣṇa-nāma—the holy name of Lord Kṛṣṇa; kabhu—sometimes; gāoyāya—causes Me to chant; nācāya—causes Me to dance; gāhi—by chanting; nāci—dancing; nāhi—not; āmi—Myself; āpana—own; icchāya—will.

TRANSLATION

“I firmly believe in these words of My spiritual master, and therefore I always chant the holy name of the Lord, alone and in the association of devotees. That holy name of Lord Kṛṣṇa sometimes causes Me to chant and dance, and therefore I chant and dance. Please do not think that I intentionally do it. I do it automatically.

PURPORT

A person who cannot keep his faith in the words of his spiritual master but acts independently never receives the authority to chant the holy name of the Lord. It is said in the Vedas (Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad 6.23):

yasya deve parā bhaktir
yathā deve tathā gurau
tasyaite kathitā hy arthāḥ
prakāśante mahātmanaḥ

“Only unto those great souls who have implicit faith in both the Lord and the spiritual master are all the imports of Vedic knowledge automatically revealed.”

This Vedic injunction is very important, and Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu supported it by His personal behavior. Believing in the words of His spiritual master, He introduced the saṅkīrtana movement, just as the present Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement was started with belief in the words of our spiritual master. He wanted to preach, we believed in his words and tried somehow or other to fulfill them, and now this movement has become successful all over the world. Therefore faith in the words of the spiritual master and in the Supreme Personality of Godhead is the secret of success. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu never disobeyed the orders of His spiritual master and stopped propagating the saṅkīrtana movement.

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Vani Seva

Srila Prabhupada with cartals

Vani Seva
by Ananda devi dasi
May 12 2009, UK

In Srimad Bhagavatam 4.28.47 we read: “The disciple and spiritual master are never separated because the spiritual master always keeps company with the disciple as long as the disciple follows strictly the instructions of the spiritual master. This is called the association of Vani. Physical presence is called Vapuh. As long as the spiritual master is physically present, the disciple should serve the physical body of the spiritual master, and when the spiritual master is no longer physically existing, the disciple should serve the instructions of the spiritual master.”

Srila Prabhupada makes it crystal clear that after the disappearance of the Spiritual Master, the disciple follows the instructions of the Spiritual Master. The Spiritual Master left His instructions in the form of Books, verbal instructions, letters, tapes, videos, all these are instructions from the Spiritual Master,Vani.

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Association with the Spiritual Master; Srila Prabhupada

Srila Prabhupada is our Spiritual Master, the Bona Fide Uttama-Adhikari, the current link to the Disciplic succession, the all merciful, all compassionate Diksa Guru, impartially distributing Sri Caitanya’s mercy. And Initiating the general population into the cult of Devotional Service to Lord Krsna.

Our relationship with Srila Prabhupada is a spiritual relationship, it is not based on whether or not we were physically present simultaneously. Spiritual inspiration comes from within the heart, wherein the Supreme Personality of Godhead, in His Paramatma feature, is always sitting with all His devotees and associates. The Spiritual Master is the external manifestation of the Supersoul and is simultaneously manifest within the heart of the sincere disciple seated with the Supersoul and accompanying the disciple everywhere.

The disciple and spiritual master are never separated because the spiritual master always keeps company with the disciple as long as the disciple follows strictly the instructions of the spiritual master.

“In the absence of physical presentation of the Spiritual Master, the vaniseva is more important. My Spiritual Master Saraswati Goswami, may appear to be physically not present but still I try to serve His Instruction, I never feel separated from Him” (Srila Prabhupada Lecture, August 22, 1970)

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