This article is meant for seekers who are aware that the presence of guru is important if one wants to advance and understand the core reason of human birth, and how the guru helps tide over the cycle of birth and death. This article also might be especially for those who are initiated and looking for more depth in their bhajan (spiritual life).
If by chance, if you are not aware of this, then it's completely fine. Nobody knows everything in a day. If you are very new in your spiritual life or an absolute beginner, I would advise you to check How should beginner's approach spirituality and Must Read books for spiritual advancement. You also might read this below-mentioned article as well so as to learn about inner guru tattva. It might connect to you later in your spiritual journey at some point of life.
So, the guru is not only physical (panhcbhautik) body made up of 5 elements. Rather, the guru is a tattva (or manifestation) of the original guru, Sri Radha (You might read this exhaustive article till the bottom if you want to know the inner confidential and exalted position of Srimati Radharani, our Queen of Vrindavan).
I will humbly attempt to discuss a bit about the most merciful guru tattva as heard from Rasika Vaishnavas and as inspired by Sri Vrindavan Dham impromptu at the time of writing this.
The guru is a Rasika Vaishnav who has fully realised his eternal constitutional position as an eternal servant (in one of 5 rasas) of Divine Couple Sri Radha and Sri Krishna. The inner meaning of this statement manifests in the seeker's heart as one begins to chant Hare Krishna Mahamantra sincerely and desperately.
You can read the detailed inner confidential meaning of Hare Krishna Mahamantra here. This is a must must must-read for sincere devotees. This path of vraj-prema-bhakti is an urgent need for the soul (as mentioned by Rasika Acharyas every now and then) and is non-negotiable for sincere seekers.
I write for nobody except for my own meditation on Sri Vrindavan Dham and my param-guru as inspired and guided by Rasika Acharyas and Sri Vrindavan Dham. You can analyse it as inspired to you from within by Sri Vrindavan Dham and Srimati Radharani.
The different manifestations of Guru Tattva
THIS SEGMENT IS A MUST READ FOR THOSE WHO HAVE TAKEN DIKSHA (INITIATION) AS WELL FOR SEEKERS WHO ARE SEEKING DIKSHA (INITIATION).
The guru is one who gives you an initiation (diksha) or the beginning of your spiritual life.
Initiation is of two types - First Initiation and Second Initiation. Different sects of Vaishnavism have different names to it. Some say the first initiation as diksha, while others say it as sharanagati dikha. Some say the second initiation as brahman diksha while the others say it as niz mantra diksha.
We will get into the depth of inner tattva behind these two initiations. As Sri Vrindavan Dham inspires me at the time of writing this, I would highly advise sincere seekers to go through it sentence by sentence.
The first initiation (or diksha) is the process where the devotee or seeker surrenders to the guru, and makes a vow to follow the 4 regulative principles, chant fixed number of mantra (different for different sects), and obey by rules and regulations of scriptures and guru.
By taking the first initiation, one's karma gets vanquished and this is the fresh beginning to their new life.
All the previous karmas are taken by guru tattva (Note that this is pure guru tattva and not only the physical manifestation of guru). By getting diksha, one is promising to go ahead in the path of vaidhi bhakti (bhakti bound by rules and regulations), but this is not the prayojana (goal) but rather only the beginning of spiritual life.
One will learn the intricacies of spiritual life in the journey. There would be a topsy turvy situation in life as the guru tattva will come to test and purify the devotee from the vikar (material conditioning) of false ego, pride, envy, lust, greed and anger. So, after initiation, it is often seen that devotee struggles and their life changes upside down for the good.
Check How should beginner's approach spirituality and Advanced Spirituality Guide to grow 1000x spiritually for sure after you have read this article. It will help you like anything in your inner pursuit of vraja-prema-bhakti.
Though the interesting thing is that anybody who reads Prabhupada Books or chants Hare Krishna Mahamantra even once also is already initiated by the guru-tattva. The Hare Krishna Mahamantra is very powerful and you can read the inner meaning here.
One needs not to wait for the first initiation to chant Hare Krishna Mahamantra. Even if a normal person says it once unknowingly, he is initiated, what to speak about practising devotees!! Hare Krishna Mahamantra is tarak-brahma mantra of Kali Yuga after all!
Whenever Sriji inspires, I will write a separate post on how anybody who has even said Hare Krishna Mahamantra even once in life is also initiated. Though Srila Prabhupada mentions that anybody who reads his books is already initiated. All they require is to chant 16 rounds every day, follow regulative principles, no tea, no coffee, and that's it. Everything manifests further internally by due course of sincere chanting.
Then the second initiation is gayatri. (This is not that Gayatri "Ya devi sarvabhutehu.." that we hear on Durga Puja. This is a different mantra that is very confidential).
Now, this is not ordinary. General people say that you become brahman but the very thing is you don't even look up to yourself as brahman at this stage. (Brahman has two meaning which is a discussion for another day). The second initiation is all about attaining complete realisation of the spiritual identity of your eternal soul (swarup) that you inner Satchidananda Atma Tattva has been searching for since millions of births.
The example of the second initiation is best demonstrated by Chaitanya Mahaprabhu (who is none other than Krishna in the mood of Radharani and had appeared 500 years ago in Mayapur to reclaim fallen conditioned souls back to their original constitutional position as an eternal servant of Krishna).
Mahaprabhu took the second initiation (gayatri diksha) from Isvara Puri to demonstrate to the world the importance of spiritual master and gayatri mantra (to revive the original true identity of the soul).
The second initiation straight away leads to nav-nivritta nikunja, or the inner confidential groves of Goloka Vrindavan. It is from here that Hare Krishna Mahamantra descends. Read this completely to know how Hare Krishna Mahamantra descends from there.
That's how Mahaprabhu gives manjari tattva mode of worship. By chanting Gayatri, Mahaprabhu displays to seekers that how He serves Lotus Feet of Radha and Krishna (Charan Seva or Radha Dashyam Bhav) on Govardhan in manjari bhava. You can read more about manjari tattva here. Prior to Mahaprabhu, this maha-madhurya prema bhakti in topmost vipralabha bhav was not accessible and hence, this Kali Yuga and especially this time of kala-chakra (time cycle) which we are a part of is considered as the highest in the entire day of Brahma (One day of Brahma is 8 billion 640 million years).
Mahaprabhu and Krishna appear just once in a day of Brahma, and Mahaprabhu is billion times more kripalu (merciful) than Krishna Himself. That's why the current time is called the golden time of the entire day of Brahma as Mahaprabhu has just appeared 500 years ago and his teachings are easily accessible via nityananda swarup sakti of Lord, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada (Aindra Prabhu has revealed this beautifully in one of his lectures. You can read about it here).
Anyway, coming back to point, the second initiation mantra (the 10 syllables Gayatri Mantra) when chanted in the right manner (in the mood of raganuga or spontaneous prema-mayi bhakti), yields immediate results. It manifests the complete nature of guru-tattva from within. Before the soul's individual identity, the guru tattva's identity is revealed.
The second initiation is given by Guru Maharaj via ears or heart so that nobody else can hear it. It is based on adhikar (eligibility).
The Gayatri Mantra is the jhuthan (remnants) or most prized possession or highest wealth of Guru Maharaj. It is not given to anybody like this but only to those who just by the kripa (mercy) of their Guru Tattva have become eligible to enter the prema-rasa and have to come to an understanding of accepting that "Radharani and Krishna are mine and I belong to Them."
One needs to maintain the right attitude while chanting Gayatri Mantra. It has to be respected as this is the highest treasure. The more intensely one cries while chanting Gayatri, the closer they are to their eternal identity.
It is the beej (seed) of swarup (eternal identity and core tattva of Atma) and straight away gives what you are thinking. Gayatri is the mantra that Brahma Dev received before creation from Krishna. By chanting this, Brahma Dev created the entire universe. Thus, one's heart needs to be fertile to accept the power of Gayatri. The only desire during Gayatri should be serving the Lotus Feet of Guru Tattva. Hence, all are not qualified for Gayatri Diksha.
It needs to be received from a guru who is fully realised so that it works. It held no meaning without receiving it from a bonafide guru.
Thus, approaching vraja-prema bhakti is only possible via Premi Rasika Achrayas (Guru) who give Gayatri that has the mood of prema-rasa, and not that Gayatri that is not realised or used for attaining wealth, fame and irrelevant kinds of stuff.
A confidential thing about Gayatri is that it is non-different from original guru tattva, Sri Radha!
You can read How to advance 1000x spiritually to understand the inner tattva behind all this and to reach this stage faster.
For sincere devotees who are eager for vraj-prema-bhakti, you can pray to Krishna or Radharani, the original guru tattva, and they will make you meet a Rasika Guru from whom you can take initiation, or will provide both first initiation and second initiation within the heart. Though the later is very very rare and is dependent on kripa primarily and a bit on surrender which also is provided by kripa of Rasika Vaishnavas that the seeker meets along the journey.
It requires one to chant Hare Krishna maha-mantra to understand the guru-tattva. By sincere chanting, one invokes kripa (mercy) of Rasika Acharyas. This is a very confidential discussion and is not be discussed with everybody. If you don't understand this at first go, simply chant Hare Krishna Mahamantra and it will guide you to this inner tattva, and at right time, all will connect.
How to identify and choose a guru? Who is a true guru?
Important Note: Initiation is very serious siddhanta (philosophy) and it is all about completing the purpose of human birth in one go. You can begin your journey of finding the inner beautiful meaning of surrender as explained in Bhagavad Gita here.
The guru is a Premi Rasika Vaishnav. As such, the guru is not the only person who is popular or followed by masses. Popularity is never a criterion for a bonafide guru. You can't know about a bonafide guru until they want you to know them. Maintain neutral stance and focus on the goal of vraja-bhakti, take shelter of Krishna, chant Hare Krishna Mahamantra and pray for Krishna to guide you to guru-tattva.
If you have heard and know about Srila Prabhupada, then take shelter of Srila Prabhupada and his teachings (Read here how is he nityananad swarup shakti of Divine Couple or satyakesh avatar). It is well mentioned in Bhagavad Gita (4.11) that as one surrender, they are rewarded accordingly.
Though it's impossible to know the guru tattva until they want you to know them, but in the presence of true guru tattva, your heart will tell it to you from within if you are seeking the answer to it desperately.
Though it's also a matter of fact that today, it's 99% "guru" business. Don't look at it with hate and rather just focus on your individual search. The path of spirituality is the most rebellious thing to do, and it is full of thorns as the most confidential treasure of vraja-prema-bhakti is at stake for sincere seekers. It's about reviving the original constitutional position of the soul at one go!
Don't look at others with hate and negative view as it hurts your consciousness. After all, it's all Krishna playing in different ways. If the "guru" talks about lifestyle, personality development, yoga and all, stay alarmed. That is Krishna coming in a way to distract you. The prema-bhakti is a very confidential and narrow path. The guru tattva is all about Krishna, Radha, Vrindavan and Mahaprabhu. If a "guru" doesn't have words Krishna, Radha, Mahaprabhu, Nityananda Prabhu, Vrindavan in every second or third sentence, it's better to sit quiet and chant Hare Krishna Mahamantra intensely, praying to Krishna to meet the true guru.
Your heart will say it from within at the right time. Wait for it and keep chanting Hare Krishna Mahamantra. Associate with Premi Vaishnavas. It's another matter of fact that finding Premi Vaishnav is very very difficult and requires a lot of kripa and good karma from past lives. Rasika Vaishnavas say that meeting Krishna is not difficult, but finding a Premi Rasika who can guide you to Krishna is very very very difficult.
If you don't have Premi sang (association), be with Prabhupada books, lectures (search on YouTube), Aindra Prabhu shudh kirtan etc. Keep chanting Hare Krishna Mahamantra sincerely and all will manifest in the heart at the right time.
Guru Tattva is the most merciful. Guru never leaves you. Guru Tattva guides from within, or through somebody if the seeker is sincere and has a simple heart.
Prabhupada has clearly said that anybody who reads his books is initiated. Just accept this statement of Srila Prabhupada, chant sincerely, read his books and at the right time, a physical manifestation of guru tattva will come to you.
Chant intensely and be a drishta (observer). Let Krishna guide you. Let Him be the doer (karta). The Hare Krishna maha-mantra is complete. One is initiated by just saying, Hare Krishna! As the seeker dives further, Hare Krishna maha-mantra bestows the Gayatri from within (through Chaitya Guru) or from a bonafide guru. Gayatri augments the realisation of the spiritual identity of the seeker.
This is something which can't be explained and understood. And when understood, there are no questions.
Chant Hare Krishna and all direction will sprout in the heart. Eventually chanting Hare Krishna Mahamantra is the sum and substance.
Chant like a mad man. Search Radharani and Krishna by taking shelter of Mahaprabhu, Nityananda Prabhu and Gadhadhara Pandit. They give direction to Radha Krishna bhakti literally within 10 days!!! Yes. They give it very quick!! Devotees I know have experienced it time and again. 10 days!!!
Hare Krishna Mahamanta guides you to guru tattva internally. Chant. Don't do anything in your spiritual search in haste. Wait. See how Krishna is playing. You are just a drista (observer). Krishna will come and sit in your heart and do His bhajan through you. You just have to be a spectator of His game. Chanting manifests all direction.
Come to Vrindavan often. I have compiled a list of all the inner confidential tips to advance in bhakti (by listening to Rasika Acharyas). Do read it once to augment your devotional life further 1000x.
Shiksha Guru is the manifestation of guru tattva whom you can meet in person, listen to lectures, communicate and take instructions. There can be many Shiksha gurus. The basic meaning of this is something everybody knows. We won't dive much into this subject but would rather see it from a perspective of who is the right Shiksha guru?
Sometimes Krishna as Shiksha Guru tests the intention of the seeker of whether the seeker wishes to thicken his prema-bhakti. He will come as "apparent philosophy and lifestyle" Shiksha Guru as per individual's karma to deviate him from true inner bhajan. The secret is that even this is for the advancement of the devotee in long-run.
It is important to have Rasika Shiksha gurus for real benefit, else the path to confidential Vrindavan-Prema-Rasa will be longer. Hare Krishna Mahamantra is so powerful that it will definitely guide the seeker, but due to the mixed Siddhanta (philosophy) of "not-fully-realised" Shiksha guru that the seeker is taking instructions from, it will take a longer time as Krishna will teach the seeker now through the maya-devi potency. It will take time to understand, get entangled in the apparent play of Lord, use mind, intelligence, fall in the process before realising the true guru tattva. This would be a long journey indeed, and may even take few births.
Hence finding Premi Rasika Vaishnavas as Shiksha Gurus is important. Though, they don't open their heart to anybody and everybody. They will mercifully tell you their heart and inner prema-bhajan ONLY when you go to them in a humble manner and are sincerely looking for confidential direction.
Chanting Hare Krishna Mahamantra is complete. But shudh or atleast nama-abhasa chanting is important if you want Krishna to provide you with Premi Rasika Shiksha Gurus.
Chant and cry the holy names. With due course of sincere chanting, Krishna will make you meet His Premi Shiksha guru tattva.
Chaitya Guru is the Krishna residing in your heart (as Kshirodakshayi Vishnu. Read Srimad Bhagavatam Canto 1 Chapter 3).
Chaitya guru guides you from within. Have you ever experienced that sometimes, some inner realisation sprouts in your heart all of a sudden and it is something that you have never read or heard before, and when you cross-check, it is same as what the scriptures say!
Chaitya Guru guides all internally, but the clarity of it depends on the consciousness and simple heart of the seeker.
It won't be easy to listen to Chaitya Guru until anartha nivritti (clearing of anarthas, namely greed, anger, lust, envy, pride, false ego) stage. But once, one slowly dives to asakti (attachment to Radharani and Krishna) stage, chaitya guru guides more clearly.
Chaitya guru is your heart. With simple mood and humility, close your eyes, intensely cry and Radharani will guide you internally as Chaitya Guru.
Who can remember the huge volume of Vedic texts? It's so so much. The internal thing (which devotees in vaidhi bhakti path won't be able to understand initially) is that Rasika Vaishnavas have forgotten the scriptures and that Krishna is god, and for them, Radharani and Krishna never leave their manas patal (mind) and play with them in inner groves of Vrindavan. But when required to speak, the Rasika Vaishnavas know all scriptures and references. Radharani gives it to them from within (Bhagavad Gita 9.22).
To listen to Chaitya Guru, one should be simple-hearted. When one is simple and sincere, Chaitya Guru clearly says what is right and what is wrong for general life (for new seekers), leave apart devotional life where the guidance is thousand times stronger.
Bahu guru is guru tattva who instructs you via somebody, through a picture, through a photograph etc. but is the direct instruction of your guru tattva.
Say that you are thinking about some aspect of Bhagavad Gita. Now, you search for a Youtube video and incidentally, a Bhagavad Gita related video appears in your feed. You open it and your answer is right there. The topic of video is the same as the question you were internally thinking about!! You will like oh my Krishna. How come this?
This is the bahu guru tattva of Krishna.
Sometimes, you are having doubts and at exactly that time, somebody comes and begins to talk about that point only. That is Bahu guru tattva guiding you.
Though, the instructions of bahu guru need to be filtered using the intelligence (vivek) that Radharani provides you during that time. As one progresses ahead in bhajan (devotional life), the heart can quickly analyse the instructions of guru tattva.
The guru tattva never leaves you. It's up to the sincere seeker to analyse how to connect to guru tattva.
Srila Prabhupada writes that in Radha Damodar Mandir, he was always in connect with Srila Rupa Goswami, Guru Shishya Parampara and Krishna. He also writes that they are accessible for all and it's up to the seeker to connect to them via surrender and sincerity (Though, it's impossible to explain the exalted position of Srila Prabhupada. He has given all treasure of prema-bhakti mercifully).
Srila Rupa Goswami is still doing kirtan in his samadhi mandir at Radha Damodar Mandir!
It's up to the seeker's sincerity and desperation to connect to guru tattva. This is a path for fearless. Chant more and more of Hare Krishna Mahamantra sincerely and everything will manifest internally.
If you look at original guru, Sri Radha's heart, for the people of Kali Yuga, Her only instruction is chanting Hare Krishna Mahamantra. This is very deep, and you can read why Sri Radha is original guru tattva here. Guru is most merciful and hence is worshipped even more than Krishna Himself. As one progresses in devotional life, it is realised that Krishna and guru are non-different!
Jai Jai Shri Radhe!
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