Relationship between Spiritual Master and Disciple

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

In Srimad Bhagavatam 4.28, "Puranjana Becomes a Woman in the Next Life" - King Puranjana owing to excessive attachment to his wife and being engrossed in thoughts of worrying about her at the time of death, is born as a woman in his next life. He takes birth as the daughter Vaidarbhi of King Vidarbha. Vaidarbhi gets married to King Malayadhvaja and during vanaprastha follows her husband and serves him and performs austerities herself. Her relationship with her husband is compared with the relationship of the disciple with his spiritual master. The example and comparison teaches us at two levels:

a) Vanaprastha duties for wife and husband
b) Relationship of disciple with spiritual master

In this mail, let us hear from Srila Prabhupada's purports as to how the relationship should be between the disciples and spiritual master. Most of us are in physical separation from our spiritual masters and some of the activities of a disciple in separation from the spiritual master mentioned by Srila Prabhupada in the purports are very powerful messages for us to meditate upon. Srila Prabhupada's words below are soothing to all of us who are feeling great separation from HH Mahavishnu Goswami and other acaryas from the movement.

The following are some of powerful statements from Srila Prabhupada's purports which very nicely brings out the duties of disciple in the testing times of separation from their dear spiritual master.

a) Figuratively the queen is supposed to be the disciple of the king; thus when the mortal body of the spiritual master expires, his disciples should cry exactly as the queen cries when the king leaves his body. However, the disciple and spiritual master are never separated because the spiritual master always keeps company with the disciple as long as the disciple follows strictly the instructions of the spiritual master. This is called the association of vaani (words). Physical presence is called vapuḥ. 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 is no longer physically existing, the disciple should serve the instructions of the spiritual master. SB 4.28.47

b) The main business of human society is to think of the Supreme Personality of Godhead at all times, to become His devotees, to worship the Supreme Lord and to bow down before Him. 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. SB - 4.28.48

c) 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 reestablish the principles of religion, so His representative, the spiritual master, also comes to reestablish 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. - 4.28.50

d) 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 vaani seva. Srila Vishvanaatha Cakravarti Thaakura states in his Bhagavad-gita commentary on the verse vyavasaayaatmikaa 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. - 4.28.51

So the lessons to be learnt from the above valuable instructions of Srila Prabhupada are as follows

a) Making the order and mood of the spiritual master as one's life and soul is extremely important. If one is successful in doing that, one can imbibe the spiritual master's teachings and thus serve as an instrument in the mission of the spiritual master and Krishna.

b) If one fails to do that, one will not be able to fulfill his duty as a disciple. Thus one should use one's life in training as per the guidance of the spiritual master and eventually fulfilling the spiritual masters preaching mission/desires in the process.

Thank you very much.
Yours in service of Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudeva,
Nava Kishori devi dasi