why do we need a spiritual master?

Dandavat pranam to all devotees, Please accept my humble obeisances. Harekrishna!!

I have a few questions,for my knowledge and better understanding.
1. When its said that one can simply attain the lotus feet of the supreme personality of God head through pure bhakti and devotion, why do we then need a spiritual master?
2. What is the role and importance of a spiritual master?

3. Is it true that lord will not accept anything that is offered to him directly, if yes then what about the offerings done by a devotee who does not have a gurudev?
4. How will i know who's my Gurudev and how can i approach?

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  • SB 8.24.48One who wants to be free of material entanglement should take to the service of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and give up the contamination of ignorance, involving pious and impious activities. Thus one regains his original identity, just as a block of gold or silver sheds all dirt and becomes purified when treated with fire. May that inexhaustible Supreme Personality of Godhead become our spiritual master, for He is the original spiritual master of all other spiritual masters.
    SB 8.24.49Neither all the demigods, nor the so-called gurus nor all other people, either independently or together, can offer mercy that equals even one ten-thousandth of Yours. Therefore I wish to take shelter of Your lotus feet.
    SB 8.24.50As a blind man, being unable to see, accepts another blind man as his leader, people who do not know the goal of life accept someone as a guru who is a rascal and a fool. But we are interested in self-realization. Therefore we accept You, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, as our spiritual master, for You are able to see in all directions and are omniscient like the sun.
    SB 8.24.51A materialistic so-called guru instructs his materialistic disciples about economic development and sense gratification, and because of such instructions the foolish disciples continue in the materialistic existence of ignorance. But Your Lordship gives knowledge that is eternal, and the intelligent person receiving such knowledge is quickly situated in his original constitutional position.

    SB 8.24.52My Lord, You are the supreme well-wishing friend of everyone, the dearmost friend, the controller, the Supersoul, the supreme instructor and the giver of supreme knowledge and the fulfillment of all desires. But although You are within the heart, the foolish, because of lusty desires in the heart, cannot understand You



    • Dandvat pranam Prabhu, thanks you for your answers.

      Haribol!! PAMHO unto your feet !

  • Sevak

    Hare Krsna 

    1. When its said that one can simply attain the lotus feet of the supreme personality of God head through pure bhakti and devotion, why do we then need a spiritual master?

    It is very true that Supreme personality of godhead can be attained by pure devotion. But how to attain pure devotion ? 

    Srila Prabhupada says Krsna consciousness is the natural constitutional position of the soul. But we have now lost our Krsna consciousness or it is covered over by material propensities. So we need to get rid of these material entanglements permanently. It is not an easy task to do it, because we are in material world. Like a person bound to a chair by heaps and heaps of invisible ropes. So a devotee who is free from such (or all)entanglements can free another person from these entanglements if that person also cooperates. 

    2. What is the role and importance of a spiritual master?

    The person who wants to be freed from material entanglements can take help of the devotee, by surrendering to the devotee. The devotee out of compassion may agree to disentangle the person but still the person has follow the advise of the devotee. The person who approaches the devotee agrees to be disciplined by the devotee and accepts him as his spiritual master and becomes his disciple. This is voluntary. The devotee is recognized by the disciple as his spiritual master. So role spiritual master plays is to advise his disciple in freeing from the material entanglements. 

    Importance of spiritual master is that he can gives us the knowledge by which we can engage our material propensities in a spiritual manner and thus slowly purify our propensities.

    • Sevak

      3. Is it true that lord will not accept anything that is offered to him directly, if yes then what about the offerings done by a devotee who does not have a gurudev?

      Lord Sri Krishna says in BG 9.26

      patram pushpam phalam toyam
      yo me bhaktyaa prayacchati
      tad aham bhakty-upahritam
      ashnaami prayataatmanah

      If one offers Me with love and devotion a leaf, a flower, fruit or water, I will accept it.

      This is a simple conditional "if" statement. The condition is unconditional pure love. 

      Krsna doesn't say I will not accept if you don't have a gurudev or Krsna doesn't say I will accept if you have a guru. Krsna says you give me with love , I accept it. Now do we have love for Krsna ? Yes we do.  But it may not be pure love. Our love for Krsna is contaminated by our love for material things. Srila Prabhupad says 

      This love of God is now in a dormant state in everyone's heart. And, there, love of God is manifested in different ways, but it is contaminated by material association. Now the heart has to be purified of the material association, and that dormant, natural love for Krsna has to be revived. That is the whole process. Purport BG 12.9

      So now question arises I have dormant love for Krsna which is contaminated by my material desires, if I still offer will Krsna accept it ? Krsna hints towards this in BG 4.11

      ye yathaa maam prapadyante
      taams tathaiva bhajaamy aham
      mama vartmaanuvartante
      manushyaah paartha sarvashah

      As all surrender unto Me, I reward them accordingly. Everyone follows My path in all respects, O son of Prtha

      Here Krsna says as one approaches me I reciprocate with Him. From this one can understand that relationship with Krsna is not a binary variable - Either zero or one, either white or black, either you have guru or you are a failure. Relationship with Krsna can have all possible decimals in between zero and one, all shades of gray. But what is most important is am I going towards Krsna, 1 or away from Krsna, 0. 

      So how will I know if I am going towards Krsna or away from Krsna. This is where guidance of spiritual master helps. 

      Srila Prabhupada writes 

      To practice the regulative principles of bhakti-yoga one should, under the guidance of an expert spiritual master, follow certain principles: one should rise early in the morning, take bath, enter the temple and offer prayers and chant Hare Krsna, then collect flowers to offer to the Deity, cook foodstuffs to offer to the Deity, take prasädam, and so on. There are various rules and regulations which one should follow. And one should constantly hear Bhagavad-gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam from pure devotees. This practice can help anyone rise to the level of love of God, and then he is sure of his progress into the spiritual kingdom of God. This practice of bhakti-yoga, under the rules and regulations, with the direction of a spiritual master, will surely bring one to the stage of love of God.

      • Sevak

        4. How will i know who's my Gurudev and how can i approach?

        Krsna takes that responsibility. As seen above Krsna reciprocates with the sincere desires of living entity. I am hungry, Krsna arranges food. I am thirsty Krsna arranges water. I need light Krsna creates Sun. I need knowledge Krsna gives Scriptures. I need spiritual master - Krsna gives spiritual master. 

        Srila Prabhupad writes - A person may have a bona fide spiritual master and may be attached to a spiritual organization, but if he is still not intelligent enough to make progress, then Krsna from within gives him instructions so that he may ultimately come to Him without difficulty.  If a devotee is not intelligent enough to make progress on the path of self-realization but is sincere and devoted to the activities of devotional service, the Lord gives him a chance to make progress and ultimately attain to Him. BG Purport - 10.10

        Srila Bhakti Siddhanta saraswati Thakur in Amrita vani Chapter 3, writes as below

        Only the person Lord Krsna send us as spiritual master will manifest before us as our guru. By the Lord’s mercy we attain a spiritual master, and by the spiritual master’s mercy we attain Krsna.

        We are given a spiritual master according to our fortune. Different people have different mentalities, and the omniscient Lord sends each an appropriate spiritual master.

        There are those who desire the Lord’s nonduplicitous mercy and who completely depend on Him for their success. These souls please the Lord with their simple sincerity.

        To those who want something else from the Lord, who are not actually aspiring for His complete mercy, the Lord sends through His illusory energy a spiritual master appropriate to their mentality.

        So the most important aspect here is simplicity(non-duplicity) of heart with faith and patience --> Magic begins 

        YAS Bharat

        • Dandvat pranam Prabhu,

          Harekrishna, Thank you so much for taking out time to reply my queries. I am fully convinced by your replies.
          Please accept my humble obeisances. Haribol!!

  • E-Counselor

    Hare KRsna dear Mataji,


    I will try to answer the questions to the best of my ability:

    1) How does one get pure bhakti mataji, without the mercy of the pure devotee. It is only one who is realised who can show the conditioned soul the path to self realisation. Without walking on that path, how does one understand what is pure devotion.

    In Kaliyuga, the devotee runs behind the materialist and says please understand the highest goal of human life, do harinam. Whereas in the other yugas, people would do lot of penances to get the mercy of guru. Thats why it is called causeless mercy.

    2) There are 4 types of gurus - (i) Path pradarshak guru - one who shows us the path to self realisation, (ii) Shiksha guru - who gives knowledge about spirituality, (iii) Diksha guru - who takes on the responsibility to deliver the soul, to take the soul back to godhead, (iv) chaitya guru - the paramatma residing in each soul's heart. Typically, spiritual master is meant to convey diksha guru.

    3) It is more pleasing to the lord, if we approach Him through His disciples. He can even go back on His own words, but will never allow a devotee's words to be false. The lord holds His devotee in high esteem and gives this importance to His devotee, thats why we also, to please the lord, try to please His devotee.

    4) A true seeker finds - when, where - that is the mercy and very individualistic for each individual. You should do your sadhana and keep the desire in your heart for a guru. The right person will come in front of you at the right time and if you are sincere, you will know. For now, chant 16, follow 4, read Srila Prabhupada's books, study the existing gurus of ISKCON, hear their lectures and decide who inspires you and whose teachings you can relate to.

    I hope I have been able to answer your queries.


    Your servant,


    • PAMHO Mataji, Thanks for your replies. Really appreciate you for explaining the different types of Guru and also the importance.
      Your Servant

  • NBS 38Primarily, however, one develops bhakti by the mercy of great souls, or by a small drop of the Lord's mercy.
    NBS 39The association of great souls is rarely obtained, difficult to understand, and infallible.
    NBS 40The association of great souls can be attained—but only by the Lord's mercy.
    NBS 41[One can attain bhakti either by the association of the Lord's pure devotees or directly by the Lord's mercy because] the Lord and His pure devotees are nondifferent.
    NBS 42Strive, strive only for the association of pure devotees.
    thiese slokas answers all your questions very clearly.
    • Harekrishna Prabhu,

      Thank you so much for your effort to answer my queries. I read them and yes as you said it does have answers to my questions to a great extent, I will have read it repeatedly to get it more clearly though. However answer to question 3 and 4 is still not very clear.

      Dandavat pranam. Haribol!!

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