The friends of the twice-born families are those who are born in the families of brāhmaṇas, kṣatriyas and vaiśyas, or the spiritually cultured families, but who themselves are not equal to their forefathers. Such descendants are not recognized as such, for want of purificatory achievements. The purificatory activities begin even before the birth of a child, and the seed-giving reformatory process is called Garbhādhāna-saṁskāra. One who has not undergone such Garbhādhāna-saṁskāra, or spiritual family planning, is not accepted as being of an actual twice-born family. The Garbhādhāna-saṁskāra is followed by other purificatory processes, out of which the sacred thread ceremony is one. This is performed at the time of spiritual initiation. After this particular saṁskāra, one is rightly called twice-born. One birth is calculated during the seed-giving saṁskāra, and the second birth is calculated at the time of spiritual initiation. One who has been able to undergo such important saṁskāras can be called a bona fide twice-born.
(SRIMAD BHAGAVATAM------1:4:25-------PURPORT).

The spiritual master is also called ācārya, or a transcendental professor of spiritual science. The Manu-saṁhitā (2.140) explains the duties of an ācārya, describing that a bona fide spiritual master accepts charge of disciples, teaches them the Vedic knowledge with all its intricacies, and gives them their second birth. The ceremony performed toinitiate a disciple into the study of spiritual science is called upanīti, or the function that brings one nearer to the spiritual master. One who cannot be brought nearer to a spiritual master cannot have a sacred thread, and thus he is indicated to be a śūdra. The sacred thread on the body of a brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya or vaiśya is a symbol of initiation by the spiritual master; it is worth nothing if worn merely to boast of high parentage. The duty of the spiritual master is to initiate a disciple with the sacred thread ceremony, and after this saṁskāra, or purificatory process, the spiritual master actually begins to teach the disciple about the Vedas. A person born a śūdra is not barred from such spiritual initiation, provided he is approved by the spiritual master, who is duly authorized to award a disciple the right to be a brāhmaṇa if he finds him perfectly qualified.

Vyāsadeva himself was the disciple of Nāradajī, and therefore it was natural to be anxious to hear what Nārada did after initiation from the spiritual masters. He wanted to follow in Nārada's footsteps in order to attain to the same perfect stage of life. This desire to inquire from the spiritual master is an essential factor to the progressive path. This process is technically known as sad-dharma-pṛcchā.

A sincere student aurally receives the holy name from the spiritual master, and after being initiated he follows the regulative principles given by the spiritual master. When the holy name is properly served in this way, automatically the spiritual nature of the holy name spreads; in other words, the devotee becomes qualified in offenselessly chanting the holy name. When one is completely fit to chant the holy name in this way, he is eligible to make disciples all over the world, and he actually becomes jagad-guru. Then the entire world, under his influence, begins to chant the holy names of the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra. Thus all the disciples of such a spiritual master increase in attachment for Kṛṣṇa, and therefore he sometimes cries, sometimes laughs, sometimes dances and sometimes chants. These symptoms are very prominently manifest in the body of a pure devotee. Sometimes when our students of the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement chant and dance, even in India people are astonished to see how these foreigners have learned to chant and dance in this ecstatic fashion. As explained by Caitanya Mahāprabhu, however, actually this is not due to practice, for without extra endeavor these symptoms become manifest in anyone who sincerely chants the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra.

In his previous life, when Nāradajī was impregnated with spiritual knowledge by the grace of the great sages, there was a tangible change in his life, although he was only a boy of five years. That is an important symptom visible after initiation by the bona fide spiritual master. Actual association of devotees brings about a quick change in life for spiritual realization. How it so acted upon the previous life of Śrī Nārada Muni is described by and by in this chapter.

It is stated that Śuklāmbara Brahmacārī, an inhabitant of Navadvīpa, was Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s first companion in the saṅkīrtana movement. When Lord Caitanya returned from Gayā after initiation, He stayed with Śuklāmbara Brahmacārī because He wanted to hear from this devotee about the pastimes of Lord Kṛṣṇa. Śuklāmbara Brahmacārī collected alms of rice from the inhabitants of Navadvīpa, and Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu took pleasure in eating the rice that he cooked. It is said that Śuklāmbara Brahmacārī was one of the wives of the yajñic brāhmaṇas during the time of Lord Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes in Vṛndāvana. Lord Kṛṣṇa begged food from the wives of the yajñic brāhmaṇas, and Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu performed a similar pastime by begging rice from Śuklāmbara Brahmacārī.
(SRI CAITANYA CARITAMRTA--------1:10:38--------PURPORT).

The life of a sincere devotee of the Lord is thus explained in a nutshell by Nārada Muni by his personal example. Such a devotee, after his initiation by the Lord or His bona fide representative, takes very seriously chanting of the glories of the Lord and traveling all over the world so that others may also hear the glories of the Lord. Such devotees have no desire for material gain. They are conducted by one single desire: to go back to Godhead. This awaits them in due course on quitting the material body. Because they have the highest aim of life, going back to Godhead, they are never envious of anyone, nor are they proud of being eligible to go back to Godhead. Their only business is to chant and remember the holy name, fame and pastimes of the Lord and, according to personal capacity, to distribute the message for others' welfare without motive of material gain.
(SRIMAD BHAGAVATAM------1:6:26-------PURPORT).

Actually this is Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s initiation of Dabira Khāsa and Sākara Mallika. They approached the Lord with all humility, and the Lord accepted them as old servants, as eternal servants, and He changed their names. It is to be understood from this that it is essential for a disciple to change his name after initiation.

tan nāma-karaṇaṁ caiva
vaiṣṇavatvam ihocyate
“After initiation, the disciple’s name must be changed to indicate that he is a servant of Lord Viṣṇu. The disciple should also immediately begin marking his body with tilaka (ūrdhva-puṇḍra), especially his forehead. These are spiritual marks, symptoms of a perfect Vaiṣṇava.” This is a verse from the Padma Purāṇa, Uttara-khaṇḍa. A member of the sahajiyā-sampradāya does not change his name; therefore he cannot be accepted as a Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava. If a person does not change his name after initiation, it is to be understood that he will continue in his bodily conception of life.
(SRI CAITANYA CARITAMRTA--------2:1:208--------PURPORT).

Śrīla Śrīdhara Svāmī confirms that a part of the material nature, after being initiated by the Lord, is known as the mahat-tattva. A fractional portion of the mahat-tattva is called the false ego. A portion of the ego is the vibration of sound, and a portion of sound is atmospheric air. A portion of the airy atmosphere is turned into forms, and the forms constitute the power of electricity or heat. Heat produces the smell of the aroma of the earth, and the gross earth is produced by such aroma. And all these combined together constitute the cosmic phenomenon. The extent of the cosmic phenomenon is calculated to be diametrically (both ways) four billion miles. Then the coverings of the universe begin.
(SRIMAD BHAGAVATAM------2:2:28-------PURPORT).

The Vedas are considered to have been spoken by the Supreme Lord. They were first realized by Brahmā, who is the first created being within the universe (tene brahma hṛdā ya ādi-kavaye [SB 1.1.1]). Our process is to receive knowledge through the paramparā system, from Kṛṣṇa to Brahmā, to Nārada, Vyāsa, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu and the six Gosvāmīs. By disciplic succession, Lord Brahmā was enlightened from within by the original person, Kṛṣṇa. Our knowledge is fully perfect due to being handed from master to disciple. A Vaiṣṇava is always engaged in the transcendental loving service of the Lord, and thus neither karmīs nor jñānīs can understand the activities of a Vaiṣṇava. It is said, vaiṣṇavera kriyā-mudrā vijñeha nā bujhaya: [Cc. Madhya 23.39] even the most learned man depending on direct perception of knowledge cannot understand the activities of a Vaiṣṇava. After beinginitiated into Vaiṣṇavism by Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, Sārvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya realized what a mistake he had made in trying to understand Rāmānanda Rāya, who was very learned and whose endeavors were all directed to rendering transcendental loving service to the Lord.

So the Lord incarnated Himself as Pṛśnigarbha just to satisfy a pure devotee of the Lord. And Prince Dhruva achieved this perfection simply by chanting the hymn mentioned above, after being initiated by another pure devotee, Nārada. A serious personality can thus achieve the highest perfection of meeting the Lord and attain his objective simply by being guided by a pure devotee, who automatically approaches by dint of one's serious determination to meet the Lord by all means.

The word kariha āśīrvāde means “continue to bestow your blessings upon Me.” Being a sannyāsī, Caitanya Mahāprabhu was in the fourth order of life and was thus due all respect and adoration, whereas Sārvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya, as a householder, was in the second order. A sannyāsī is supposed to offer blessings to a gṛhastha, yet now, by His practical behavior, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu requested the blessings of a gṛhastha. This incident shows the special significance of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s preaching. He gave equal status to everyone, regardless of material considerations. His movement is thoroughly spiritual. Although apparently a gṛhastha (householder), Sārvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya was unlike the so-called karmīs interested in sense gratification. After being initiated by Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, the Bhaṭṭācārya was perfectly situated in the spiritual order; therefore it was quite possible for him to offer blessings even to a sannyāsī. He was always engaged in the service of the Lord, even at home. In our disciplic line we have the example of a perfect householder paramahaṁsa—Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura. In his book Śaraṇāgati, Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura states, ye-dina gṛhe, bhajana dekhi’, gṛhete goloka bhāya (Śaraṇāgati 31.6). Whenever a householder glorifies the Supreme Lord in his home, his activities are immediately transformed into the activities of Goloka Vṛndāvana, spiritual activities taking place in the Goloka Vṛndāvana planet of Kṛṣṇa.

To achieve success in life, one should follow the example of Lord Brahmā, the first living creature in the beginning of creation. After being initiated by the Supreme Lord to execute tapasya, he was fixed in his determination to do it, and although he could not find anyone besides himself, he could rightly understand that the sound was transmitted by the Lord Himself. Brahmā was the only living being at that time because there was no other creation and none could be found there except himself. In the beginning of the First Canto, in the First Chapter, first verse, of the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, it has already been mentioned that Brahmā was initiated by the Lord from within. The Lord is within every living entity as the Supersoul, and He initiated Brahmā because Brahmā was willing to receive the initiation. The Lord can similarly initiate everyone who is inclined to have it.

One point to note in this regard is that the spiritual master of the Buddhists did not initiate his disciples. Rather, his disciples were initiated by Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya Mahāprabhu, and they in turn were able to initiate their so-called spiritual master. This is the paramparā system. The so-called spiritual master of the Buddhists was actually in the position of a disciple, and after his disciples were initiated by Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, they acted as his spiritual masters. This was possible only because the disciples of the Buddhist ācārya received the mercy of Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. Unless one is favored by Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu in the disciplic succession, one cannot act as a spiritual master. We should take the instructions of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, the spiritual master of the whole universe, to understand how one becomes a spiritual master and a disciple.

As already stated, Brahmā is the original spiritual master for the universe, and since he was initiated by the Lord Himself, the message of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is coming down by disciplic succession, and in order to receive the real message of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam one should approach the current link, or spiritual master, in the chain of disciplic succession. After being initiated by the proper spiritual master in that chain of succession, one should engage himself in the discharge of tapasya in the execution of devotional service. One should not, however, think himself on the level of Brahmā to be initiated directly by the Lord from inside because in the present age no one can be accepted to be as pure as Brahmā. The post of Brahmā to officiate in the creation of the universe is offered to the most pure living being, and unless one is so qualified one cannot expect to be treated like Brahmājī directly.

Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī explains dīkṣā in his Bhakti-sandarbha (283):
divyaṁ jñānaṁ yato dadyāt kuryāt pāpasya saṅkṣayam
tasmāt dīkṣeti sā proktā deśikais tattva-kovidaiḥ
“Dīkṣā is the process by which one can awaken his transcendental knowledge and vanquish all reactions caused by sinful activity. A person expert in the study of the revealed scriptures knows this process as dīkṣā.” The regulative principles of dīkṣā are explained in the Hari-bhakti-vilāsa (2.3–4) and the Bhakti-sandarbha (283). As stated:

dvijānām anupetānāṁ svakarmādhyayanādiṣu
yathādhikāro nāstīha syāc copanayanād anu
tathātrādīkṣitānāṁ tu mantra-devārcanādiṣu
nādhikāro ‘sty ataḥ kuryād ātmānaṁ śiva-saṁstutam
“Even though born in a brāhmaṇa family, one cannot engage in Vedic rituals without being initiated and having a sacred thread. Although born in a brāhmaṇa family, one becomes a brāhmaṇa only after initiation and the sacred thread ceremony. Unless one is initiated as a brāhmaṇa, one cannot worship the holy name properly.”
(SRI CAITANYA CARITAMRTA--------2:15:108--------PURPORT).

We have seen that in spite of the very black record of their past lives, persons who take to Kṛṣṇa consciousness become perfectly cleansed of all dirty things and make spiritual progress very swiftly. Therefore Pṛthu Mahārāja advises that without the benediction of the Supreme Lord, one cannot make advancement—either in so-called morality, economic development or sense gratification. One should therefore take to the service of the Lord, or Kṛṣṇa consciousness, and thus very soon become a perfect man, as confirmed in Bhagavad-gītā (kṣipraṁ bhavati dharmātmā śaśvac chāntiṁ nigacchati). Being a responsible king, Pṛthu Mahārāja recommends that everyone take shelter of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and thus be immediately purified. Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa also says in Bhagavad-gītā that simply by surrendering unto Him one is immediately relieved of all sinful reactions. As Kṛṣṇa takes away all the sinful reactions of a person immediately upon his surrender unto Him, similarly the external manifestation of Kṛṣṇa, the representative of Kṛṣṇa who acts as the mercy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, takes all the resultant actions of the sinful life of the disciple immediately after the disciple's initiation. Thus if the disciple follows the principles instructed by the spiritual master, he remains purified and is not contaminated by the material infection.
(SRIMAD BHAGAVATAM------4:21:31-------PURPORT).

After being initiated, the devotees in the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement change their names. Whenever a person in the Western world becomes interested in this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement, he is initiated by this process. In India we are falsely accused of converting mlecchas and yavanas to the Hindu religion. In India there are many Māyāvādī sannyāsīs known as jagad-guru, although they have hardly visited the whole world. Some are not even sufficiently educated, yet they make accusations against our movement and accuse us of destroying the principles of the Hindu religion by accepting Muslims and yavanas as Vaiṣṇavas. Such people are simply envious. We are not spoiling the Hindu system of religion but are simply following in the footsteps of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu by traveling all over the world and accepting those who are interested in understanding Kṛṣṇa as Kṛṣṇadāsa or Rāmadāsa. By the process of a bona fide initiation, their names are changed.
(SRI CAITANYA CARITAMRTA--------2:18:207--------PURPORT).

It is clear that to perform austerities or penances, or, for that matter, any form of devotional service, one has to be guided by a spiritual master. Here it is clearly stated that the ten sons of Mahārāja Prācīnabarhi were favored by the appearance of Lord Śiva, who, out of great kindness, gave them instructions regarding the execution of austerities. Lord Śiva actually became the spiritual master of the ten sons, and in turn his disciples took his words so seriously that simply by meditating upon his instructions (dhyāyantaḥ) they became perfect. This is the secret of success. After being initiated and receiving the orders of the spiritual master, the disciple should unhesitatingly think about the instructions or orders of the spiritual master and should not allow himself to be disturbed by anything else. This is also the verdict of Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura, who, while explaining a verse of Bhagavad-gītā (vyavasāyātmikā buddhir ekeha kuru-nandana, Bg. 2.41), points out that the order of the spiritual master is the life substance of the disciple. The disciple should not consider whether he is going back home, back to Godhead; his first business should be to execute the order of his spiritual master. Thus a disciple should always meditate on the order of the spiritual master, and that is perfectional meditation. Not only should he meditate upon that order, but he should find out the means by which he can perfectly worship and execute it.
(SRIMAD BHAGAVATAM------4:24:15-------PURPORT).

Bhakti-latā-bīja means “the seed of devotional service.” Everything has an original cause, or seed. For any idea, program, plan or device, there is first of all the contemplation of the plan, and that is called the bīja, or seed. The methods, rules and regulations by which one is perfectly trained in devotional service constitute the bhakti-latā-bīja, or seed of devotional service. This bhakti-latā-bīja is received from the spiritual master by the grace of Kṛṣṇa. Other seeds, called anyābhilāṣa-bīja, include karma-bīja and jñāna-bīja. If one is not fortunate enough to receive the bhakti-latā-bīja from the spiritual master, he instead cultivates such seeds as karma-bīja, jñāna-bīja, or political, social or philanthropic bījas. However, the bhakti-latā-bīja is different from these other bījas. The bhakti-latā-bīja can be received only through the mercy of the spiritual master. Therefore one has to satisfy the spiritual master to get the bhakti-latā-bīja (yasya prasādād bhagavat-prasādaḥ **). The bhakti-latā-bīja is the origin of devotional service. Unless one satisfies the spiritual master, he gets the bīja, or root cause, of karma, jñāna and yoga without the benefit of devotional service. But one who is faithful to his spiritual master gets the bhakti-latā-bīja. This bhakti-latā-bīja is received when one is initiated by the bona fide spiritual master. After receiving the spiritual master’s mercy, one must repeat his instructions, and this is called śravaṇa-kīrtana—hearing and chanting. One who has not properly heard from the spiritual master or who does not follow the regulative principles is not fit for chanting (kīrtana). This is explained in the Bhagavad-gītā (2.41): vyavasāyātmikā buddhir ekeha kuru-nandana. One who has not listened carefully to the instructions of the spiritual master is unfit for chanting or for preaching the cult of devotional service. One has to water the bhakti-latā-bīja by receiving instructions from the spiritual master.
(SRI CAITANYA CARITAMRTA--------2:19:152--------PURPORT).

King Purañjana's coming home, taking bath and having an appropriate dinner indicate that a materialistic person must retire from sinful activities and become purified by accepting a spiritual master and hearing from him about the values of life. If one would do this, he would feel completely refreshed, just as one feels after taking a bath. Afterreceiving initiation from a bona fide spiritual master, one must abandon all kinds of sinful activities, namely illicit sex, intoxication, gambling and meat-eating.
(SRIMAD BHAGAVATAM------4:26:11-------PURPORT).

Thus devotional life is divided into two stages—sādhana-bhakti and bhāva-bhakti. Sādhana-bhakti refers to the development of devotional service through the regulative principles. The basic principle for the execution of devotional service is faith. Above that, there is association with devotees, and after that there is initiation by a bona fide spiritual master. After initiation, when one follows the regulative principles of devotional service, one becomes freed from all unwanted things. In this way one becomes firmly fixed and gradually develops a taste for devotional service. The more the taste grows, the more one desires to render service to the Lord. In this way one becomes attached to a particular mellow in the Lord’s service—śānta, dāsya, sakhya, vātsalya or madhura. As a result of such attachment, bhāva develops. Bhāva-bhakti is the platform of purified goodness. By such purified goodness, one’s heart melts in devotional service. Bhāva-bhakti is the first seed of love of Godhead. This emotional stage is there before one attains pure love. When that emotional stage intensifies, it is called prema-bhakti, or transcendental love of Godhead. This gradual process is also described in the following two verses, which are found in the Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu (1.4.15–16).
(SRI CAITANYA CARITAMRTA--------2:23:13--------PURPORT).

A first-class intelligent man is called a brāhmaṇa because he knows the Supreme Brahman, the Absolute Truth. According to the Vedic instructions, tad-vijñānārthaṁ sa gurum evābhigacchet: [MU 1.2.12] to know this science, one must approach a bona fide guru, a spiritual master who will initiate the disciple with the sacred thread so that he may understand the Vedic knowledge. Janmanā jāyate śūdraḥ saṁskārād dhi bhaved dvijaḥ. Becoming a brāhmaṇa through the endeavor of a bona fide spiritual master is called saṁskāra.After initiation, one is engaged in study of the śāstra, which teaches the student how to gain release from materialistic life and return home, back to Godhead.
(SRIMAD BHAGAVATAM------6:5:20-------PURPORT).

A bona fide spiritual master, under the guidance of authorities, can turn anyone to the Vaiṣṇava cult so that naturally he may come to the topmost position of a brāhmaṇa. Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī warns, however, that if a person is properly initiated by a bona fide spiritual master, he should not think that simply by the acceptance of such initiation his business is then finished. One still has to follow the rules and regulations very carefully. If after accepting the spiritual master and being initiated one does not follow the rules and regulations of devotional service, then he is again fallen. One must be very vigilant to remember that he is the part and parcel of the transcendental body of Kṛṣṇa, and that it is his duty as part and parcel to give service to the whole, or Kṛṣṇa. If we do not render service to Kṛṣṇa then again we fall down. In other words, simply becoming initiated does not elevate one to the position of a high-class brāhmaṇa. One also has to discharge the duties and follow the regulative principles very rigidly.

After hearing instructions from their dead child, Citraketu and his wife could understand that all relationships in this material world are causes of misery. The queens who had administered poison to the son of Kṛtadyuti were very much ashamed. They atoned for the sinful act of killing a child and gave up their aspiration to have sons. Thereafter. Nārada Muni chanted prayers to Nārāyaṇa, who exists as catur-vyūha, and instructed Citraketu about the Supreme Lord, who creates, maintains and annihilates everything and who is the master of the material nature. After instructing King Citraketu in this way, he returned to Brahmaloka. These instructions about the Absolute Truth are called the mahā-vidyā. After being initiated by Nārada Muni, King Citraketu chanted the mahā-vidyā, and after one week he attained the presence of Lord Saṅkarṣaṇa, who was surrounded by the four Kumāras. The Lord was nicely dressed in bluish garments, with a helmet and ornaments of gold. His face appeared very happy. In the presence of Lord Saṅkarṣaṇa, Citraketu offered his obeisances and began to offer prayers.

Śrī Nārada Muni is a naiṣṭhika-brahmacārī. There are four types of brahmacārīs. The first is called sāvitra, which refers to a brahmacārī who, after initiation and the sacred thread ceremony, must observe at least three days of celibacy. The next is called prājāpatya, which refers to a brahmacārī who strictly observes celibacy for at least one year afterinitiation. The next is called brāhma-brahmacārī, which refers to a brahmacārī who observes celibacy from the time of initiation up to the time of the completion of his study of the Vedic literature. The next stage is called naiṣṭhika, which refers to a brahmacārī who is celibate throughout his whole life. Out of these, the first three are upakurvāṇa, which means that the brahmacārī can marry later, after the brahmacārī period is over. The naiṣṭhika-brahmacārī, however, is completely reluctant to have any sex life; therefore the Kumāras and Nārada are known as naiṣṭhika-brahmacārīs.

3. One should hear the transcendental topics enunciated in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. This hearing is made possible through platform lectures by bona fide devotees and by authorized translations of the Bhāgavatam.

4. One should make his home at Mathurā, the birthplace of Lord Kṛṣṇa. Or one may make his home as good as Mathurā by installing the Deity of the Lord to be worshiped by all members of the family after proper initiation from the spiritual master.

5. One should worship the installed Deity with attention and devotion so that the whole atmosphere of one's home becomes the replica of the Lord's abode. This is made possible by the direction of the spiritual master who knows the transcendental art and can show the candidate the proper method.

If a devotee, after being initiated, adheres rigidly to the instructions of the spiritual master, he is naturally endowed with the material opulences of vidyādhara-adhipatyam and similar posts as by-products. A devotee need not practice yoga, karma or jñāna to achieve a successful result. Devotional service alone is competent to award a devotee all material power. A pure devotee, however, is never attached to material power, although he gets it very easily without personal endeavor. Citraketu received this side benefit of his devotional service, which he rigidly performed in accordance with the instructions of Nārada.
(SRIMAD BHAGAVATAM------6:16:28-------PURPORT).

Great sages and mystics worship You as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the original cause of all living entities, all cosmic manifestation and all demigods. They worship You as all-inclusive. Some of the learned brāhmaṇas also worship You by observing Vedic ritualistic ceremonies. They offer different kinds of sacrifices in the names of different gods. And there are others also, who are fond of worshiping transcendental knowledge. They are very peaceful, and after giving up all kinds of material activities, they engage in the sacrifice known as jñāna-yajña, the philosophical search for You. “There are also devotees, known as bhāgavatas, who worship You as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. After being properly initiated in the method of Pañcarātra, they decorate their bodies with tilaka and engage in worshiping Your different forms of viṣṇu-mūrti. There are others also, known as Śaivites, followers of different ācāryas, who worship You in the form of Lord Śiva.”

Because of sinful activities, at night we have bad dreams, which are very troublesome. Indeed, Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira was obliged to see hell because of a slight deviation from devotional service to the Lord. Therefore, duḥsvapna—bad dreams—occur because of sinful activities. A devotee sometimes accepts a sinful person as his disciple, and to counteract the sinful reactions he accepts from the disciple, he has to see a bad dream. Nonetheless, the spiritual master is so kind that in spite of having bad dreams due to the sinful disciple, he accepts this troublesome business for the deliverance of the victims of Kali-yuga. After initiation, therefore, a disciple should be extremely careful not to commit again any sinful act that might cause difficulties for himself and the spiritual master. Before the Deity, before the fire, before the spiritual master and before the Vaiṣṇavas, the honest disciple promises to refrain from all sinful activity. Therefore he must not again commit sinful acts and thus create a troublesome situation.
(SRIMAD BHAGAVATAM------8:4:15-------PURPORT).

Lord Kṛṣṇa and Lord Balarāma are the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the master of all education and knowledge. There was no need for Them to accept a spiritual master, or ācārya, yet for the instruction of ordinary men They also accepted a spiritual master for advancement in spiritual knowledge. It is customary, after being initiated in the Gāyatrī mantra, for one to live away from home for some time under the care of the ācārya, to be trained in spiritual life. During this period, one has to work under the spiritual master as an ordinary menial servant. There are many rules and regulations for a brahmacārī living under the care of an ācārya, and Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma strictly followed those regulative principles while living under the instruction of their spiritual master, Sāndīpani Muni, who was a resident of Avantīpura, in the northern Indian district of Ujjain.

One who is very powerful is not affected by any sinful activity. But here we see that mother Ganges fears being burdened with the sins of the people in general who would bathe in her waters. This indicates that no one but the Supreme Personality of Godhead is able to neutralize the reactions of sinful deeds, whether one's own or those of others. Sometimes the spiritual master, after accepting a disciple, must take charge of that disciple's past sinful activities and, being overloaded, must sometimes suffer—if not fully, then partially—for the sinful acts of the disciple. Every disciple, therefore, must be very careful not to commit sinful activities after initiation. The poor spiritual master is kind and merciful enough to accept a disciple and partially suffer for that disciple's sinful activities, but Kṛṣṇa, being merciful to His servant, neutralizes the reactions of sinful deeds for the servant who engages in preaching His glories. Even mother Ganges feared the sinful reactions of the people in general and was anxious about how she would counteract the burden of these sins.


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