Follow the Mahajanas

Bhaktivinode Thakur

Follow the Mahajanas by Srila Bhaktivinode Thakura Prabhupada

Aspiring devotees should first take shelter of the lotus feet of a bona fide guru. Without taking shelter of a guru, one cannot achieve anything auspicious. There are two types of people-one has developed intelligence and one has undeveloped intelligence. Those whose intelligence is undeveloped are absorbed in the so-called happiness of this world. If by chance they get the association of a mahajana, then they also become intelligent.. Then they consider, “How unfortunate I am! I’m always engaged in sense gratification. I’m passing my days hankering for material enjoyment.” This initial association with a great soul is also called association with the guru by hearing. By good fortune, at this time faith is awakened. When faith is awakened, one endeavors for devotional service. Then it is essential for one to take shelter of the lotus feet of a guru. In this way by good fortune persons with undeveloped intelligence become intelligent and take shelter of the lotus feet of a guru.

What type of guru one should take shelter of is explained in the sastras. One who has conquered the six enemies beginning with lust, one who is pure, one who performs devotional service on the path of raga, one who is brahminical, one who knows the clear path of the Vedas, one who sadhus can respect as guru, one who is able to control the senses, one who is merciful to all living entities, one who is cultured, one who is without duplicity, and one who is truthful-this type of householder is fit to be a guru. All these qualities are considered in two ways. The principle quality of a guru is attachment to Krsna and detachment for what is not related with Krsna. All other qualities are secondary. That is why Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu has said in the Caitanya-caritamrta (Madhya 8.127):

kiba vipra, kiba nyasi, sudra kene naya
yei krsan-tattva-vetta, sei `guru’ haya

“Whether one is a brahmana, a sannyasi, or a sudra regardless of what he is he can become a spiritual master if he knows the science of Krsna.”

If one possess this principle symptom of a guru, then he is eligible to be guru even though he lacks one or two secondary symptoms. Being a brahmana and being a householder are counted as secondary symptoms. It is good if a person possesses these two secondary symptoms along with the principle qualification. But those who are defective in the principle symptom are unqualified to be guru even though they possess the other two. As stated in Sri Padma Purana:

mahabhagavata srestho brahmano vai gurur nanam
sarvesam eva lokanam asau pujyo yatha harih
mahakula prasuto `pisarva yajshesu diksitah
sahasrasakhadhyayi ca na guruƒ syad avaisnavah

“Among all human beings the brahmana who is a maha-bhagavata, or great devotee, is topmost and qualified as guru.. He is as worshipable as Lord Hari. A non-Vaisnava is never fit to be guru even if he has taken birth in a great family, performed all sacrifices, and studied many branches of the Vedas.”

After finding a qualified guru, a faithful disciple should serve him with firm conviction and without duplicity. One should accept initiation and krsna-mantra after pleasing the guru. Those who are averse to taking initiation and only make a drama of pseudo-kirtana while advertising themselves as Vaisnavas certainly cheat themselves. It is not the duty of materialistic persons to renounce the process of initiation because a few great souls like Jada Bharata did not take initiation.. Initiation is a constitutional injunction for every birth of the living entity. If initiation is not seen in the life of a perfected soul, it should not be taken as an example. General rules are not changed because something happens to a particular person in a special situation. Sri Dhruva Maharaja went to Dhruvaloka in his material body; seeing that, should one waste time hoping for the same? The general rule is a living entity gives up his material body and goes to Vaikuntha in his spiritual body. General rules should be accepted by people in general. Whenever and whatever is desired by the Lord, who is full of inconceivable potencies, that only happens. Therefore we should never transgress the general rules. After pleasing the guru by serving him without duplicity, one should receive from him instructions on the Absolute Truth and initiation into chanting the holy name of the Lord.

After receiving initiation and instructions from a bona fide guru, a fortunate disciple should follow the path of the previous sadhus. Those who are proud neglect the previous mahajanas and create new paths. As a result, they soon proceed on their inauspicious path and ruin themselves.. It is said in the Skanda Purana:

sa magya sreyasa hetuh panthah santapa-varjitah
anavapta-sramam purve yena santah pratasthire

“One should strictly follow the easy path which the previous mahajanas have accepted. That path bestows great auspiciousness and is devoid of all misery.” By discussing the path of the previous sadhus, one gets determination, courage, and satisfaction. When we discuss the path of devotional service exhibited by Sri Rupa, Sri Sanatana, Sri Raghunatha, and Sri Haridasa Thakura, then we feel such happiness that it cannot be described. When the miscreant Mohammedans tortured Haridasa Thakura, he said:

khanda khanda hai’ deha yaya yadi prana
tabu ami vadane na chadi hari-nama

e saba jivere krsna! karaha prasada
mora drohe nahu e sabara aparadha

“Even if my body is cut into pieces and I loose my life, I will never give up chanting the Lord’s holy name. O Krsna, please be merciful upon these poor souls, kindly excuse them for their offense of torturing me.”

Maintaining this type of determination and being compassionate to all living entities while always chanting the holy name of Krsna is the path of devotional service exhibited by the previous mahajanas. A path cannot be manufactured. Whatever path is there should be accepted by sadhus. Those who are proud and want fame try vigorously to discover new paths. Those who have good fortune from past lives give up pride and respect the established path. Those who are unfortunate promenade on a new path and thus cheat the world.


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