Service to Spiritual Master - Part 1

Hare Krishna Prabhujis and Matajis,
Please accept my humble obeisance. All glories to Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudev.

At Singapore all disciples of HH Mahavishnu Goswami Maharaj got together at H G Devakinandan Prabhu's residence, yesterday on 25 Jan 2013, the date when Maharaj completed his pastimes in this mortal world. We listened to a lecture by Maharaj and read verses from Srimad Bhagavatam, SB 4.28.47 to 4.28.53.

Srila Prabhupada has very beautifully described how a spiritual master serves the Lord and the relation between the disciple and the spiritual master in the purports to these verses. Following are extracts from these purports on this topic.

1. As long as the spiritual master is physically present, the disciple should serve the physical body of the spiritual master, and when the spiritual master does no longer physically exist, the disciple should serve the instructions of the spiritual master.

2. Whenever an acharya comes, following the superior orders of the Supreme Personality of Godhead or His representative, he establishes the principles of religion, as enunciated in Bhagavad-Gita.

3. It is the acharya's duty to spread a bona fide religious system and induce everyone to bow down before the Supreme Lord. One executes the religious principles by rendering devotional service, specifically the nine items like hearing, chanting and remembering.

4. The acharya, the authorized representative of the Supreme Lord, establishes these principles, but when he disappears, things once again become disordered. The perfect disciples of the acharya try to relieve the situation by sincerely following the instructions of the spiritual master.

5. Just as a devoted wife becomes afflicted at the passing away of her husband, when a spiritual master passes away, the disciple becomes similarly bereaved.

6. A devoted disciple of the spiritual master would rather die with the spiritual master than fail to execute the spiritual master's mission. As the Supreme Personality of Godhead comes down upon this earth to re-establish the principles of religion, so His representative, the spiritual master, also comes to re-establish religious principles. It is the duty of the disciples to take charge of the mission of the spiritual master and execute it properly. Otherwise the disciple should decide to die along with the spiritual master. In other words, to execute the will of the spiritual master, the disciple should be prepared to lay down his life and abandon all personal considerations.

7. When one becomes serious to follow the mission of the spiritual master, his resolution is tantamount to seeing the Supreme Personality of Godhead. As explained before, this means meeting the Supreme Personality of Godhead in the instruction of the spiritual master. This is technically called vani-seva. Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura states in his Bhagavad-Gita commentary on the verse vyavasāyātmikā buddhir ekeha kuru-nandana (Bg. 2.41) that one should serve the words of the spiritual master. The disciple must stick to whatever the spiritual master orders. Simply by following on that line, one sees the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

8. If one sticks to the principles enunciated by the spiritual master, somehow or other he is in association with the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

Krishna willing we shall continue to meditate on other points mentioned by His Divine Grace in the subsequent offering.

Thank you very much.
Yours in service of Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudeva,
Govardhan das