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The Way to Serve Sri Guru

Śrīla Bhakti Vinod Ṭhākur explains the importance of worshipping Śrī Guru before the Lord.

The following is an excerpt from Śrī Hari-nāma-chintāmaṇi (6.31–38, 50–59) which was published in Śrī Gauīya DarśanVolume 1, Issue 4, 15 November 1955, and Volume 14, Issue 2, 1 December 1970.

Guru-tattva: the position of Śrī Guru

dīkṣā-guru śikṣā-guru du̐he kṛṣṇa-dāsa
du̐he vraja-jana kṛṣṇa-śaktira prakāśa

The Dīkṣā-guru and Śikṣā-guru are both servants of Kṛṣṇa; they are both residents of Vraja and manifestations of Kṛṣṇa’s potency.

guruke sāmānya jīva nā jānibe kabhu
guru kṛṣṇa-śakti kṛṣṇa-preṣṭha nitya prabhu

Never consider Śrī Guru an ordinary soul. Śrī Guru is Kṛṣṇa’s potency, Kṛṣṇa’s favourite, and one’s eternal master.

Commentary: Do not consider Śrī Guru an ordinary soul. Serve Śrī Guru considering him an associate of Kṛṣṇa who is empowered by Kṛṣṇa’s personal energy (svarūp-śakti). Thinking that Guru is Kṛṣṇa is a conception of the māyāvādīs. It is not the conception of the pure Vaiṣṇavas. Sincere devotees should be especially careful about this. If māyāvād even subtly enters one’s practice (sādhana), then one’s entire practice becomes contaminated.

ei buddhi saha sadā guru-bhakti kare
sei guru-bhakti-bale saṁsārete tare

With this conception, always serve Śrī Guru. By the power of one’s devotion to Śrī Guru, one crosses over saṁsāra.

Guru-pūjā: worship of Śrī Guru

agre guru-pūjā pare śrī-kṛṣṇa-pūjana
gurudeve śrī-kṛṣṇa-prasāda samarpaṇa

One should first worship Śrī Guru, then worship Śrī Kṛṣṇa, and then offer Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s prasād to Śrī Guru.

Commentary: After worshipping Śrī Guru with a seat, water to wash his feet, arghya, a bath, clothes, and ornaments, one should take his permission and worship the Divine Couple. One should offer Their prasād first to Śrī Guru and then to the other Vaiṣṇavas.

guru-ājñā laye kṛṣṇa pūjibe yatane
śrī-guru smariyā kṛṣṇa balibe vadane

After taking permission from Śrī Guru, one should carefully worship Kṛṣṇa. Remembering Śrī Guru, one should chant Kṛṣṇa’s Name.

Gurute ki rūpe śraddhā karā uchita: how should one have faith in Śrī Guru?

gurute avajñā yā̐ra tā̐ra aparādha
sei aparādhe tā̐ra haya bhakti-bādha

One who disrespects Śrī Guru commits an offence, and by that offence, one’s devotion is obstructed.

guru-kṛṣṇa-vaiṣṇavete sama-bhakti kari’
nāmāśraye śuddha-bhakta śīghra yāya tari’

Being equally devoted to Śrī Guru, Kṛṣṇa, and the Vaiṣṇavas, a pure devotee who takes shelter of the Name is quickly delivered.

gurute achalā śraddhā kare yei jana
śuddha-nāma bale sei pāya prema-dhana

One who has unwavering faith in Śrī Guru attains, through the pure Name, the wealth of divine love.

Guru-sevāra prakriyā: the way to serve Śrī Guru

guru-śayyāsana āra pādukādi yāna
pāda-pīṭha snānodaka chāyāra laṅghana

One should not lay on the bed of the Guru, sit on his seat, wear his shoes, use his vehicle, use his footrest, touch his bathwater, or step on his shadow.

gurura agrete anya pūjādvaita jñāna
dīkṣā vyākhyā prabhutvādi karibe varjana

In front of Śrī Guru, one should not worship others, give initiation, offer explanations, or show mastership in any way.

yathā yathā gurura pāibe daraśana
daṇḍavat paḍi’ bhūme karibe vandana

Wherever one sees him, one should bow down and offer obeisance.

guru-nāma bhaktite karibe uchchāraṇa
guru-ājñā helā nā karibe kadāchana

One should pronounce Śrī Guru’s name with devotion, and one should never disregard his order.

gurura prasāda sevā avaśya karibe
gurura apriya vākya kabhu nā kahibe

One must honour Śrī Guru’s prasādam, and should not speak words that are unpleasant to him.

gurura charaṇe dainye la-ibe śaraṇa
karibe gurura sadā priya ācharaṇa

One should humbly take shelter at Śrī Guru’s feet, and always act in a way that is pleasing to him.

e rūpa āchāre kṛṣṇa-nāma-saṅkīrtane
sarva siddhi haya prabho bale śruti gaṇe

By practising in this way, one attains all perfection through the chanting of Kṛṣṇa’s Name. So say the scriptures, O Lord!

nāma-guru prati yadi avajñā ghaṭaye
duṣṭa saṅge duṣṭa śāstra mata samāśraye
tabe sei saṅga sei śāstra dūra kari’
vilāpa kariba sei guru-pade dhari’

If, by associating with condemned persons or accepting conceptions given in condemned books, one happens to disrespect the Guru who initiated one into the Name, then one should leave that association and such books, and lament at the feet of Śrī Guru, grasping his feet.

Commentary: He who teaches one the truth about the Name, reveals the supremacy of the Name, and gives one the Name, or the mantra made up of the Name, is the Nām-guru. The Dīkṣā-guru is the Nām-guru, as the mantra is the Name. If one separates the Name from the mantra, the quality of the mantra is lost. Moreover, only by chanting the Name is the mantra chanted.

kṛpā kari’ gurudeva ha-ibe sadaya
nāme prema dibe se vaiṣṇava dayāmaya

Śrī Gurudev will kindly be merciful. As an all-merciful Vaiṣṇava, he will give one love for the Name.

Note

The commentaries are part of the text of Śrī Hari-nāma-chintāmaṇi and written by Śrīla Bhakti Vinod Ṭhākur himself.

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