Published in Dandavats
We are so serious, so enthusiastic and so happy when we are just about to receive the beads from our spiritual master during the initiation ceremony. We promise to ourselves that as soon as we will get the beads we will chant not just 16 rounds but many more rounds with utmost sincerity, will follow the 4 regulative principles not just carefully but with extraordinary determination and with extraordinary zeal will serve the mission of Srila Prabhupada.
And in fact, for few days or weeks or even for few months we live up to our expectations. But gradually the enthusiasm starts waning and we start taking our devotional life casually.
We chant just to complete our rounds, follow regulative principles only grossly and do services casually.
Initiation isn't a formality or a name giving ceremony but it's a very serious commitment, it’s connection of the heart. A disciple is utterly serious about serving Krishna and he knows that the best way to be Krishna Conscious is by consciously serving as per the instructions of his spiritual master. Spiritual master isn't just a designation, he is not an ordinary soul but he represents the guru parampara and so the mercy of Krishna is reaching to us through him.
Great souls in the past through their exemplary examples have shown us the importance of having a spiritual master and how to practice devotional life as per the instructions of the spiritual master.
Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura was seriously contemplating to give up his life when Srila Gaur Kishore Das Babaji Maharaj, out of his humility, was not willing to initiate him. With tears in his eyes, Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura said, “karuna na haile kandiya kandiya prana na rakhibe ara – If there is no mercy, weeping and weeping, I can sustain my life no more. If I do not receive your mercy I do not see any need in holding onto life”. The prayer melted the heart of Srila Gaur Kishore Das Babaji and he happily accepted him as his disciple.
Lokanath Goswami had taken a vow not to accept any disciple so he was finding ways so that he can avoid initiating Narottama Das Thakura. But Narottama Das Thakura desperately wanted to take initiation from Lokanath Goswami. With utmost humility, he pleaded, “The guru guides his disciple in practical spiritual life. I have no spiritual insight, and I am feeling separation from the Lord. For this reason, I beg for your mercy.” In his heart, he had already accepted Lokanath Goswami as his spiritual master. He followed his instructions seriously, happily served him even doing menial services for him and patiently but eagerly waited to get initiated. After waiting for a year, he again approached Lokanath Goswami, “I am like a young woman who has already chosen her husband. My heart is clear without any doubt. A young woman who makes up her mind in this way prays that her father will agree with her choice. I pray that our Father in heaven agrees with my choice.” Lokanath was so moved by his sincerity. Accepting him as his disciple, the great sage said, “Your fierce determination has exceeded my own – but you are the only disciple I will ever make.”
These great devotees of the Lord through their conduct have demonstrated that for our spiritual progress we need a bonafide guru.
Spiritual master is our spiritual father who is very much interested in our spiritual growth. A father knows the best for his child so our spiritual master knows what is the best medicine which should be administered to us to cure our manifold material miseries.
We can never repay our debt to our spiritual father who has taken the responsibility to take us back to the kingdom of Krishna. But yes, we can at least become a responsible disciple and try our best not to commit any sinful activities. We should not be just sentimentally attached to our spiritual master and neither be a pretender trying to portray ourselves as a dedicated soul.
But in fact, we should be devoted and determined. And should always accept the fact without any doubt that our spiritual master is more elevated than us and is our best well-wisher.
Srila Prabhupada explains, “Chaitanya Mahaprabhu taught us this instruction that we shall always remain a foolish student before our Guru Maharaja. That is the Vedic culture. I may be very big man, but still, I should remain a foolish student to my guru. That is the qualification. Guru more murkha dekhi karila sasana (Chaitanya Charitamrita Adi 7.71). We should be always prepared to be controlled by the guru. That is very good qualification. Yasya prasadad bhagavat-prasadaḥ. Ara na kariha mane asa. So, we should become always a very obedient student to our guru. That is the qualification. That is the spiritual qualification.” His Divine Grace Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Prabhupada's Disappearance Day, Lecture -- Hyderabad, December 10, 1976:
Initiation is a serious commitment and if we are serious to seek shelter of Krishna then we must seriously practice our devotional life by enthusiastically following the vow which we take during initiation.
Only a disciplined disciple develops love for Krishna and is welcomed in the kingdom of Krishna.