Qualities of a Spiritual Master

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

While studying Srimad Bhagavatam, I came across a very enlightening sloka in the 3rd canto - SB 3.7.36. It gives a wonderful picture of the spiritual master and highlights one of his most important quality.

anuvratānāṁ śiṣyāṇāṁ putrāṇāṁ ca dvijottama
anāpṛṣṭam api brūyur guravo dīna-vatsalāḥ

O best among the brahmanas, those who are spiritual masters are very kind to the needy. They are always kind to their followers, disciples and sons and without being asked by them, the spiritual master describes all that is knowledge.

Three important points are highlighted in this verse:

1. The spiritual masters are very kind to the needy.

2. They are always kind to their followers, disciples and sons.

3. Without being asked by them, the spiritual master describes all that is knowledge.

The spiritual master is always very compassionate and merciful to the suffering masses. And then they are equally compassionate to their followers, disciples and sons. It means that they do not differentiate between someone who is receiving instruction from him or someone taken initiation from him and serves him sincerely or even their own children. This is a very important point that distinguishes the spiritual master from the common living entities because we always make differentiation between people who are intimately related with us and who are not so intimate with us. But spiritual masters are sama-darshis, they do not make differentiation based on bodily identification.

But the third point is the most important. Without being asked by them, they describe the transcendental knowledge to the living entities. Because they know that in this world, hardly anyone is interested in self-realization or in performing devotional service.

In Srimad Bhagavatam, we have the perfect example of Dhruva Maharaj initiated into the world of devotional service by Sri Narada Muni. Dhruva Maharaj did not start for Vrindavan with the aim of performing devotional service or searching for a spiritual master. He only wanted to attain a position greater than his great-grand father, Brahma. But seeing the determination in the heart of such a young boy, Narada Muni came from nowhere and initiated him into the dwadasha mantra "Oṁ namo bhagavate vāsudevāya". Sri Narada Muni is the perfect example of such a spiritual master having all the qualities as mentioned above and those who are in the disciplic succession following Sri Narada Muni also possess those same qualities.

All we can do is at least perceive these wonderful qualities in these great souls and be grateful to them for the kindness and compassion they show towards us, and  also try to follow in their footsteps by distributing love of Godhead to as many living entities as possible, without being asked by them.

Thank you very much.
Yours in service of Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudev,
Kalacakra Krsna das.