Guru and His Instructions are Non-different

Dear Vaishnavas, 
Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudev.

In Srimad Bhagavatam there are wonderful examples of relationship between spiritual master and disciple. One such powerful example is that of Mother Devahuti and her son Kapila muni who is none other than the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This particular example and many others in our scriptures reveal the subtle fact that the relationship between a spiritual master and disciple does not depend on the mundane limitations, anybody can become a spiritual master provided he has fully realized himself as the eternal servant of Krishna (jīvera ‘svarūpa’ haya — kṛṣṇera ‘nitya-dāsa’) and anyone can become a disciple provided he is simply eager to serve the Supreme Lord, sincerely.

Through the medium of these puranic examples, not only the instructions are imparted to us, but also the relationship of a spiritual master and disciple and the ways of identifying a guru, serving the guru, following the instructions of the guru and many other intricate details are described. So much importance is given to the guru-tattva because it is a simple truth that without a spiritual master's guidance it is next to impossible to advance in our spiritual life.

In the example of mother Devahuti, she prays to Lord Kapila for His mercy. It is very interesting to note how Srila Prabhupada expertly explains this prayer into a spiritual master-disciple relationship. Certainly, in this age none of us are eligible to have the Lord Himself as our son, this is why Srila Prabhupada stresses the importance of meeting Lord's pure devotee, who is non-different from his Lord. As Lord and His instructions are non-different, also pure devotee and his instructions are indeed non-different.

I find this verse SB 3.25.8 as a very nice prayer to spiritual master :

tasya tvaṁ tamaso ’ndhasya duṣpārasyādya pāragam
sac-cakṣur janmanām ante labdhaṁ me tvad-anugrahāt

Your Lordship is my only means of getting out of this darkest region of ignorance because You are my transcendental eye, which, by Your mercy only, I have attained after many, many births.

In the purport, Srila Prabhupada explains so wonderfully,

"This verse is very instructive since it indicates the relationship between the spiritual master and the disciple. The disciple or conditioned soul is put into this darkest region of ignorance and therefore is entangled in the material existence of sense gratification. It is very difficult to get out of this entanglement and attain freedom, but if one is fortunate enough to get the association of a spiritual master like Kapila Muni or His representative, then by his grace one can be delivered from the mire of ignorance. The spiritual master is therefore worshiped as one who delivers the disciple from the mire of ignorance with the light of the torch of knowledge. The word pāragam is very significant. Pāragam refers to one who can take the disciple to the other side. This side is conditioned life; the other side is the life of freedom. The spiritual master takes the disciple to the other side by opening his eyes with knowledge. We are suffering simply because of ignorance. By the instruction of the spiritual master, the darkness of ignorance is removed, and thus the disciple is enabled to go to the side of freedom. It is stated in Bhagavad Gita that after many, many births one surrenders to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. (7.19) Similarly, if, after many, many births, one is able to find a bona fide spiritual master and surrender to such a bona fide representative of Krishna, one can be taken to the side of light." 

Srila Prabhupada mentions very clearly that only by the opening of disciple's eyes with transcendental knowledge, the disciple is able to cross over to the other side. There is no cheap formula by which a disciple with 100$, a special mantra and 6 month period can cross over to the other side.  

Then somebody can ask how can we then get spiritual master's favour and cross over to the other side? The formula is given SB 1.2.18,

By regular attendance in classes on the Bhagavatam and by rendering of service to the pure devotee, all that is troublesome to the heart is almost completely destroyed, and loving service unto the Personality of Godhead, who is praised with transcendental songs, is established as an irrevocable fact.

Let us constantly follow such a formula and cross on the other side. All this is so easy to write/say but our wonderful mind makes it so difficult to follow. Only by constant reminding the mind of the real fact (bodhayan ātmanātmānaṁ) and by theistic conduct (sad-ācāraiḥ) based on the scriptural injunctions (pramāṇaiḥ), can we get the mercy of devotional service.

Yours in service of Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudev, 
Murlidhara das