Our Disciplic Succession:
Srila Bhakti Nirmal Acharya Maharaj  Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj  Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj  Bhagavan Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur Prabhupad
"The Sun Never Sets on Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math":
Worldwide Affiliate Branches and Centres

Descent of the Revealed Truth


Krishna consciousness, the spiritual conception of the highest level, descends by flowing down from one level to the next, just as from the peak of a mountain the Ganges flows in a zigzag way, from one peak to another. Sometimes the water of the Ganges mixes with the current of the river Saraswati. That water is not to be considered Ganges water. When the water of the Saraswati joins the current of the Ganges, it is considered to be Ganges water. When the two rivers meet, the water that flows away from the Ganges is not the Ganges; but when the Saraswati's waters enter into the current of the Ganges, it becomes the Ganges. There is a saying that whatever water is deep within the current of the Ganges riverbed is the real Ganges water. That water will purify us, whatever its point of origin may have been.

The purifying potency of the water has nothing to do with the water we can feel and see. What can we see with our physical eyes? The current of the Ganges is pure. When the spirit and sanction is there, it is a living thing and can purify everyone.

Dead mantras

So, the very gist of the Guru-parampara, the disciplic succession, is siksa, the spiritual teaching, and wherever it is to be traced, there is Guru. One who has the transcendental eye, the divine eye, will recognise the Guru wherever he appears. One who possesses knowledge of absolute divine love in purity—he is Guru. Otherwise the guru-parampara is only a body parampara: a succession of bodies. Then the caste brahmans, the caste goswamis, will continue with their trade, because body after body they are getting the mantra, but their mantra is dead. We are after a living mantra, and wherever we can trace the living tendency for a higher type of devotional service we shall find that there is our Guru. One who has that sort of vision awakened will be able to recognise the Guru wherever he may appear.

Initiation into the mantra means to impart real knowledge and devotional sentiment from one to another. And that must be genuine. Nothing can be known about a homeopathic globule by an outer physical inspection, but the potency is within. So also within the mantra the important thing is the type of thought or sentiment which is imparted through that sound. The impersonalists have got the same mantra, and are also chanting the Holy Name of Krishna, but that sort of name will vanish in the Brahma-jyoti. They won't be able to cross the Viraja, the river between the material and spiritual worlds. Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur says that when a mayavadi chants the Name of Krishna, his chanting of the Name of Krishna is just like thunder to the holy body of Krishna. It does not produce any soothing effect.

The Gaudiya Math deals with reality, not with the frame. We are trying to understand what is what in the spiritual thought-world. We are not enchanted or captured by the mere form. We are interested in the step-by-step development in spiritual thought. In his Upadesamrta (10), Srila Rupa Goswami has said:

karmibhyah parito hareh priyataya vyaktim yayur jnaninas
tebhyo jnana-vimukta bhakti-paramah premaika nisthas tatah

"Out of many materialists, one may be a philosopher. Out of many philosophers, one may become liberated and take to devotional service. Out of many devotees, one may attain pure love of Krishna. He is the best of all." We are interested in understanding this gradation: what is the Viraja River, what is the spiritual sky, the planet of Lord Siva, the Vaikuntha world of Visnu, Lord Rama's Ayodhya, and then Krishna in Dvaraka, Mathura, and Vrndavan? We want to know the realistic view of the whole gradation of devotional thought. Krishna shows this gradation in the Srimad Bhagavatam (11.14.15) where He says:

na tathame priyatama atma-yonir na sankarah
na cha sankarsano na srir naivatma cha yatha bhavan

"Neither Brahma, nor Siva, nor Sankarsan of Vaikuntha, nor the Goddess of fortune Laksmi Devi, nor even My own self is as dear to Me as you. You are My favourite, Uddhava."

We have to follow the spirit; otherwise after Jahnava Devi, the wife of Lord Nityananda, up to Vipin Goswami, from whom Bhakti Vinod Thakur took initiation, there are so many unknown lady gurus. Through them, the mantra came to Vipin Goswami, and from him Bhakti Vinod Thakur received the mantra. We accept Bhakti Vinod Thakur, but should we count all those ladies in our disciplic succession? What was their realisation?

Slaves of the truth

We are slaves of the truth. We are beggars for the pure current of truth that is constantly flowing: the fresh current. We are not charmed by any formality. I will bow down my head wherever I find the river of nectar coming down to me. When one is conscious that the Absolute Truth is descending to him from the highest domain, he will think, "I must surrender myself here."

Mahaprabhu says to Ramananda Ray:

kiba vipra, kiba nyasi, sudra kene naya
yei krsna-tattva-vetta, sei 'guru' haya

"Wherever the truth appears, wherever the nectar of divine ecstasy descends, I shall offer myself as a slave. That is my direct concern." Whatever form it takes doesn't matter much; the form has some value, but if there is any conflict, the inner spirit of a thing should be given immense value over its external cover. Otherwise, if the spirit has gone away and the bodily connection gets the upper hand, our so-called spiritual life becomes sahajiya, a cheap imitation.

When we are conscious of the real substance of Krishna consciousness, the real wealth we are receiving from our Spiritual Master, then our spiritual life cannot be sahajiyaism, imitationism. We must be aware enough to detect our Guru's advice when we find it in another. One who is awake will see, "Here is my Guru's advice; I find it here in this man. Somehow or other, it has come here. How, I do not know, but I see my Guru's characteristics, his dealings, and behaviour in this person." When we are able to recognise a thing for its intrinsic value, then, wherever we find it, we cannot neglect it.

There is an example of this in an instance regarding Aurobindo Ghosh of Pondicherry. He was the first leader of the Anarchist Party and practically the founder of the revolutionary movement in Bengal. In 1928, a case against him was proceeding in Kolkata High Court. A famous attorney, Mr Norton, was in charge of the prosecution. Aurobindo had absconded, and when the case was going on, he was not to be found anywhere. Norton was concerned. How to find him? Aurobindo's English was very good English. He had been educated in England from childhood and could speak English even better than many Englishmen. Norton began to search through different papers and magazines for Aurobindo's writing. Finally, he found Aurobindo's style of writing in the Amrita Bazar Patrika, a Bengali newspaper. "Here is Mr Ghosh!" he said. The editor of the Amrita Bazar Patrika was summoned to court to find out whether Aurobindo Ghosh had written the article. Norton examined him:

"This is your paper. You must know who has written this article. You are the editor."

"Yes, I know."

"Do you know this man, Aurobindo Ghosh?"

"Yes, I know him. I consider him to be one of the greatest men in the world."

"As the editor of this newspaper do you know who wrote this article?"

"Yes, I know."

"Has Mr Ghosh written this article?"

"I won't say."

Norton asked him, "Do you know what is the punishment?"

"Yes. Six months imprisonment."

"You are ready for that?"

"Yes, I am ready for that." Holding up the newspaper article, Norton said, "Here is Mr Ghosh! I rest my case."

He saw Aurobindo in his writing, and in a similar way we must see, "Here is my Gurudev!" Our Spiritual Master would also sometimes say of one of his disciples who had departed, "Bhakti Vinod Thakur came to me, but I could not recognise him." Those whose divine vision is awakened are always seeing signs of divinity everywhere.

One Krishna in many Gurus

We must have the vision to recognise the presence of our Guru's temperament. Mahaprabhu says, "Madhavendra-Purira 'sambandha' dhara, jani." When Mahaprabhu met the Sanodiya brahman, upon seeing his movements, He at once detected that this brahman must have some connection with Madhavendra Puri. He said, "Without his connection, I could never find such symptoms of transcendental ecstasy. It must come from Madhavendra Puri." So, we must know Krishna consciousness in truth. It is said, "Acharyam Mam vijaniyan: the Spiritual Master is not to be differentiated." One thing is coming down from the Supreme Lord, so the oneness of continuity is not to be ignored. Guru can be here; Guru can be in another body also. The same teacher may come in a different body to inspire us; he may come to give us new hope and higher education. The substance should always be given a higher value than the form.

First understand the degree of purity in Krishna consciousness. The followers of form are only imitationists; they want only to exploit Mahaprabhu and not to serve Him. They are our worst enemies. They are traitors; they have taken the garb of Mahaprabhu's sampradaya, and they are saying something bogus. This is cheap marketing; they are extensively selling adulterated things very cheaply. They have no inner necessity to attain the purest thing (pujala raga-patha gaurava-bhange). Although he was such an exalted Vaisnava, our Guru Maharaj never presented himself as a great devotee. He always used to say, "I am a servant of the servant of the Vaisnavas." That was his claim. And he would say, "The higher devotees are my Guru. They are so exalted." First come and practise all these things, and then you can hope to reach the goal. It is not so easy, or so cheap. "Out of many liberated persons, a pure devotee of Lord Krishna is extremely rare" (koti-mukta-madhye 'durlabha' eka Krishna-bhakta).

Krishna consciousness is an internal thing, and those who cannot see the internal truth will make much of the external cover. We do not support that. Rather we are interested in the real spirit. All the opposing elements who are interested in externals cannot touch us. Dogs may bark, but the barking of a dog has no importance. Because they make so much of the outer thing, they have no real purification of the heart to accept the pure thing, to discriminate what is purity, or what is love of Godhead, prema, after which even Brahma and Mahadev aspire.


⇐ Initiation into Transcendental Science

The Original Guru ⇒


Surrender to Sri Guru
Initiation into Transcendental Science
Descent of the Revealed Truth
The Original Guru
God Consciousness vs Society Consciousness
"I Command You—Become Guru!"
The Initiating Spiritual Master
Separation from Sri Guru
Nam-guru and Mantra-guru
The Disciplic Succession
Instructing Spiritual Masters
The Land of Gurus
Servant of the Servant
Lives of the Saints
The Line of Sri Rupa
Explanation of Math Logo