Characteristics of the Bona Fide Guru and the Bona Fide Disciple


The guru must be situated on the topmost platform of devotional service. There are three classes of devotees, and the guru must be accepted from the topmost class. The first-class devotee is the spiritual master for all kinds of people.

The disciple must have the following qualifications. He must give up interest in the material bodily conception. He must give up material lust, anger, greed, illusion, madness and envy. He should be interested only in understanding the science of God, and he should be ready to consider all points in this matter. He should no longer think, “I am this body,” or, “This thing belongs to me.” One must love the spiritual master with unflinching faith, and one must be very steady and fixed. The bona fide disciple should be inquisitive to understand transcendental subject matter. He must not search out faults among good qualities, and he should no longer be interested in material topics. His only interest should be Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

From Sri Caitanya-caritamrta – 1975 Edition
Madhya 24.330
By His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

TEXT 330

guru-lakṣaṇa, śiṣya-lakṣaṇa, doṅhāra parīkṣaṇa
sevya–bhagavān, sarva-mantra-vicāraṇa

SYNONYMS

guru-lakṣaṇa—the symptoms of a bona fide spiritual master; śiṣya-lakṣaṇa—the symptoms of a bona fide disciple; doṅhāra—of both; parīkṣaṇa—the testing; sevya-bhagavān—the Supreme Personality of Godhead is worshipable; sarva-mantra-vicāraṇa—consideration of the different types of mantras.

TRANSLATION

“In your book there should be the characteristics of the bona fide guru and the bona fide disciple. Then, before accepting a spiritual master, one can be assured of the spiritual master’s position. Similarly, the spiritual master can also be assured of the disciple’s position. The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa, should be described as the worshipable object, and you should consider the bīja-mantra for the worship of Kṛṣṇa, Rāma or any other expansion of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

PURPORT

In the Padma Purāṇa, the characteristics of the guru, the bona fide spiritual master, have been described:

mahā-bhāgavata-śreṣṭho
brāhmaṇo vai gurur nṛṇām
sarveṣām eva lokānām
asau pūjyo yathā hariḥ

mahā-kula-prasūto ‘pi
sarva-yajñeṣu dīkṣitaḥ
sahasra-śākhādhyāyī ca
na guruḥ syād avaiṣṇavaḥ

The guru must be situated on the topmost platform of devotional service. There are three classes of devotees, and the guru must be accepted from the topmost class. The first-class devotee is the spiritual master for all kinds of people. It is said: gurur nṛṇām. The word nṛṇām means “of all human beings.” The guru is not limited to a particular group. It is stated in the Upadeśāmṛta of Rūpa Gosvāmī that a guru is a gosvāmī, a controller of the senses and the mind. Such a guru can accept disciples from all over the world. Pṛthivīṁ sa śiṣyāt. This is the test of the guru.

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