A first-class devotee does NOT fall down!
You are correct when you say that when the Spiritual Master speaks it should be taken that Krishna is speaking. That is a fact. A Spiritual Master must be liberated.
It should be understood that a madhyama-adhikari, a second-class
devotee, is fully convinced of Krsna consciousness but cannot support his convictions with sastric reference. A neophyte may fall down by associating with nondevotees because he is not firmly convinced and strongly situated. The second-class devotee, even though he cannot support his position with sastric reference, can gradually become a first-class devotee by studying the sastras and associating with a first-class devotee. However, if the second-class devotee does not advance himself by associating with a first-class devotee, he makes no progress. THERE IS NO POSSIBILITY THAT A FIRST-CLASS DEVOTEE WILL FALL DOWN, EVEN THOUGH HE MAY MIX WITH NONDEVOTEES TO PREACH. Conviction and faith gradually increase to make one an uttama-adhikari, a first-class devotee.
There are three divisions of Krsna conscious men. In the third class are those who have no faith. If they are engaged in devotional service
officially, for some ulterior purpose, they cannot achieve the highest
perfectional stage. Most probably they will slip, after some time. They may become engaged, but because they haven’t complete conviction and faith, it is very difficult for them to continue in Krsna consciousness. WE HAVE PRACTICAL EXPERIENCE IN DISCHARGING OUR MISSIONARY ACTIVITY THAT SOME PEOPLE COME AND APPLY THEMSELVES TO KRSNA CONSCIOUSNESS WITH SOME HIDDEN MOTIVE, AND AS SOON AS THEY ARE ECONOMICALLY A LITTLE WELL SITUATED THEY GIVE UP THIS PROCESS AND TAKE TO THEIR OLD WAYS AGAIN. It is only by faith that one can advance in Krsna consciousness. As far as the development of faith is concerned, one who is well versed in the literatures of devotional service and has attained the stage of firm faith is called a first-class person in Krsna consciousness. And in the second-class are those who are
not very advanced in understanding the devotional scriptures but who
automatically have firm faith that krsna-bhakti or service to Krsna is the best course and so in good faith have taken it up. Thus they are superior to the third-class who have neither perfect knowledge of the scriptures nor good faith but by association and simplicity are trying to follow. THE THIRD-CLASS PERSON IN KRSNA CONSCIOUSNESS MAY FALL DOWN, BUT WHEN ONE IS IN THE SECOND-CLASS OR FIRST-CLASS HE DOES NOT FALL DOWN. One in the first-class will surely make progress and achieve the result at the end. As far as the third-class person in Krsna consciousness is concerned, although he has faith in the conviction that devotional service to Krsna is very good, he has no knowledge of Krsna through the scriptures like Srimad-Bhagavatam and Bhagavad-gita. Sometimes these third-class persons in Krsna consciousness have some tendency toward karma-yoga and jnana-yoga, and sometimes they are disturbed, but as soon as the infection of karma-yoga or jnana-yoga is vanquished, they become second-class or first-class persons in Krsna consciousness. FAITH IN KRSNA IS ALSO DIVIDED INTO THREE STAGES AND DESCRIBED IN SRIMAD-BHAGAVATAM. FIRST-CLASS ATTACHMENT, SECOND-CLASS ATTACHMENT, AND THIRD-CLASS ATTACHMENT ARE ALSO EXPLAINED IN SRIMAD-BHAGAVATAM IN THE ELEVENTH CANTO. Those who have no faith even after hearing about Krsna and the excellence of devotional service, who think that it is simply eulogy, find the path very difficult, even if they are supposedly engaged in devotional service. For them there is very little hope in gaining perfection. Thus faith is very important in
the discharge of devotional service.
There are three classes of devotees according to the degree of
conviction. The first-class devotee is conversant with all kinds of Vedic literature and at the same time has the firm conviction mentioned above. He can deliver all others from the pangs of material miseries. The second-class devotee is firmly convinced and has strong faith, but he has no power to cite evidence from revealed scriptures. The third-class devotee is one whose faith is not very strong, but, by the gradual cultivation of devotional service, he will eventually be eligible for promotion to the second or first-class position. It is said in Srimad-Bhagavatam (11.2.45-47) that the first class devotee always sees the Supreme Lord as the soul of all living entities. Thus in seeing all living entities, he sees Krsna and nothing but Krsna. The second-class devotee places his full faith in the Supreme Personality of Godhead, makes friends with the pure devotees, favors innocent persons and avoids those who are atheistic or opposed to devotional service. The third-class devotee engages in devotional service according to the directions of the spiritual master, or engages out of family tradition, and worships the Deity of the Lord, but he is not cultivated in knowledge of devotional service, and he does not know
a devotee from a nondevotee. SUCH A THIRD-CLASS DEVOTEE CANNOT ACTUALLY BE CONSIDERED A PURE DEVOTEE; HE IS ALMOST IN THE DEVOTIONAL LINE, BUT HIS POSITION IS NOT VERY SECURE.
Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura says that if an observer
immediately remembers the holy name of Krsna upon seeing a Vaisnava, that Vaisnava should be considered a maha-bhagavata, a first-class devotee. Such a Vaisnava is always aware of his Krsna conscious duty, and he is enlightened in self-realization. He is always in love with the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna, and this love is without adulteration.
Because of this love, he is always awake to transcendental realization.
Because he knows that Krsna consciousness is the basis of knowledge and
action, he sees everything connected with Krsna. Such a person is able to chant the holy name of Krsna perfectly. Such a maha-bhagavata Vaisnava has the transcendental eyes to see who is sleeping under the spell of maya, and he engages himself in awakening sleeping conditioned beings by spreading the knowledge of Krsna consciousness. He opens eyes that are closed by forgetfulness of Krsna. Thus the living entity is liberated from the dullness of material energy and is engaged fully in the service of the Lord. The madhyama-adhikari Vaisnava can awaken others to Krsna consciousness and engage them in duties whereby they can advance. It is therefore said in Caitanya-caritamrta (Madhya-lila, Chapter Six, verse
lohake yavat sparsi’ hema nahi kare
tavat sparsa-mani keha cinite na pare
“One cannot understand the value of touchstone until it turns iron into
gold.” One should judge by action, not by promises. A MAHA-BHAGAVATA CAN TURN A LIVING ENTITY FROM ABOMINABLE MATERIAL LIFE TO THE LORD’S SERVICE. THIS IS THE TEST OF A MAHA-BHAGAVATA. Although preaching is not meant for a maha-bhagavata, a maha-bhagavata can descend to the platform of madhyama-bhagavata just to convert others to Vaisnavism. ACTUALLY A MAHA-BHAGAVATA IS FIT TO SPREAD KRSNA CONSCIOUSNESS, but he does not distinguish where Krsna consciousness should be spread from where it should not. He thinks that everyone is competent to accept Krsna consciousness if the chance is provided. A neophyte and intermediate devotee should always be anxious to hear the maha-bhagavata and serve him in every respect. The neophyte and intermediate devotees can gradually rise to the platform of uttama-adhikari and become first-class devotees. Symptoms of a first-class
devotee are given in Srimad-Bhagavatam (11.2.45):
sarva-bhutesu yah pasyed
bhutani bhagavaty atmany
When teaching Sanatana Gosvami, the Lord further said:
sastra-yuktye sunipuna, drdha-sraddha yanra
‘UTTAMA-ADHIKARI’ SE TARAYE SAMSARA
“If one is expert in Vedic literature and has full faith in the Supreme
Lord, then he is AN UTTAMA-ADHIKARI, A FIRST-CLASS VAISNAVA, A TOPMOST
VAISNAVA WHO CAN DELIVER THE WHOLE WORLD AND TURN EVERYONE TO KRSNA
CONSCIOUSNESS.” (Cc. Madhya 22.65) With great love and affection, the
maha-bhagavata observes the Supreme Personality of Godhead, devotional
service and the devotee. He observes nothing beyond Krsna, Krsna
consciousness and Krsna’s devotees. The maha-bhagavata knows that everyone is engaged in the Lord’s service in different ways. He therefore descends to the middle platform to elevate everyone to the Krsna conscious position.
NOTE: UTTAMA-ADHIKARI is on the topmost level PREMA (love of Godhead)stage. Now just see the extremely high level of Bhava which considered just a PRELIMINARY STAGE OF LOVE OF GODHEAD.
In this verse it is explained that one who chants the Hare Krsna mantra
develops BHAVA, ECSTASY, WHICH IS THE POINT AT WHICH REVELATION BEGINS. It is the PRELIMINARY STAGE in developing one’s original love for God. Lord Krsna mentions this bhava stage in the Bhagavad-gita (10.8):
aham sarvasya prabhavo
mattah sarvam pravartate
iti matva bhajante mam
“I am the source of all spiritual and material worlds. Everything emanates from Me. The wise who know this perfectly engage in My devotional service and worship Me with all their hearts.”
ALTHOUGH MAYA MAY BE PRESENT, IT CANNOT DISTURB A DEVOTEE ONCE HE
ATTAINS THE BHAVA STAGE. This is because the devotee can see the real
position of maya. Maya means forgetfulness of Krsna, and forgetfulness of Krsna and Krsna consciousness stand side by side like light and shadow. If one remains in shadow, he cannot enjoy the facilities offered by light, and if one remains in light, he cannot be disturbed by the darkness of shadow.
Bhavena, or bhava, is a very important factor in the practice of yoga or in any spiritual process. Bhava is explained in Bhagavad-gita (10.8). Budha bhava-samanvitah: one should be absorbed in the thought of love of Krsna.
When one knows that Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is the
source of everything and that everything emanates from Him (aham sarvasya prabhavah), then one understands the Vedanta aphorism janmady asya yatah (“the original source of everything”), AND THEN HE CAN BECOME ABSORBED IN BHAVA, OR THE PRELIMINARY STAGE OF LOVE OF GODHEAD.
Note: BEFORE reaching the stage of BHAVA one is considered as NEOPHYTE.
The Syamasundara form of Krsna is His inconceivable simultaneous
personal and impersonal self-contradictory form. True devotees see that
form in their purified hearts under the influence of devotional trance. The form Syama is not the blue color visible in the mundane world but is the transcendental variegated color affording eternal bliss, and is not visible to the mortal eye. On a consideration of the trance of Vyasadeva as in the sloka, bhakti-yogena manasi etc., it will be clear that the form of Sri Krsna is the full Personality of Godhead and can only be visible in the heart of a true devotee, which is the only true seat in the state of trance under the influence of devotion. When Krsna manifested Himself in Vraja, both the devotees and nondevotees saw Him with this very eye; but only the devotees cherished Him, eternally present in Vraja, as the priceless jewel of their heart. Nowadays also the devotees see Him in Vraja in their hearts, saturated with devotion although they do not see Him with their eyes. The eye of devotion is nothing but the eye of the pure unalloyed spiritual self of the jiva. The form of Krsna is visible to that eye in proportion to its purification by the practice of devotion. WHEN THE DEVOTION OF THE NEOPHYTE REACHES THE STAGE OF BHAVA-BHAKTI THE PURE EYE OF
THAT DEVOTEE IS TINGED WITH THE SALVE OF LOVE BY THE GRACE OF KRSNA, WHICH ENABLES HIM TO SEE KRSNA FACE TO FACE. The phrase “in their hearts” means Krsna is visible in proportion as their hearts are purified by the practice of devotion. The sum and substance of this sloka is that the form of Krsna, who is Syamasundara, Natavara (Best Dancer), Muralidhara (Holder of the Flute) and Tribhanga (Triple-bending), is not a mental concoction but is transcendental, and is visible with the eye of the soul of the devotee under trance.
Note: this is why Srila Prabhupada is warning these lusty devotees not to go power crazy pretending to give diksa(transcendental knowledge which the Uttama adhikari gives that enables one to realize his svarupa with Krishna).AND this is why Srila Prabhupada wanted the RITVIK system—to SAVE them from going to hell.
ACARYA receives VYASA-PUJA not neophyte (kanistha-adhikari).Neophytes
Photos are NOT put on alters either.
74-04-28 Letter: Rupanuga
You are right about Sridhara Maharaja’s genuineness. But in my opinion
he is the best of the lot. He is my old friend, at least he executes the regulative principles of devotional service. I do not wish to discuss about activities of my Godbrothers but it is a fact they have no life for preaching work. ALL ARE SATISFIED WITH A PLACE FOR RESIDENCE IN THE NAME OF A TEMPLE, THEY ENGAGE DISCIPLES TO GET FOODSTUFF BY TRANSCENDENTAL DEVICES AND EAT AND SLEEP. They have no idea or brain how to broacast the cult of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. My Guru Maharaja used to lament many times for this reason and he thought if one man at least had understood the principle of preaching then his mission would achieve success. In the latter days of my Guru Maharaja he was very disgusted. Actually, he left this world earlier, otherwise he would have continued to live for more years. Still he requested his disciples to form a strong Governing body for preaching the cult of Caitanya Mahaprabhu. He never recommended anyone to be acarya of
the Gaudiya Math. BUT SRIDHARA MAHARAJA IS RESPONSIBLE FOR DISOBEYING THIS ORDER OF GURU MAHARAJA, AND HE AND OTHERS WHO ARE ALREADY DEAD
UNNECESSARILY THOUGHT THAT THERE MUST BE ONE ACARYA. IF GURU MAHARAJA COULD HAVE SEEN SOMEONE WHO WAS QUALIFIED AT THAT TIME TO BE ACARYA HE WOULD HAVE MENTIONED. Because on the night before he passed away he talked of so many things, but never mentioned an acarya. HIS IDEA WAS ACARYA WAS NOT TO BE NOMINATED AMONGST THE GOVERNING BODY. He said openly you make a GBC and conduct the mission. So his idea was amongst the members of GBC who would come out successful and self effulgent acarya would be automatically selected. So Sridhara Maharaja and his two associate gentlemen unauthorizedly selected one acarya and later it proved a failure. The result is now everyone is claiming to be acarya even though they may be kanistha adhikari with no ability to preach. In some of the camps the acarya is being changed three times a year. THEREFORE WE MAY NOT COMMIT THE SAME MISTAKE IN OUR ISKCON CAMP. ACTUALLY AMONGST MY GODBROTHERS NO ONE IS QUALIFIED TO BECOME ACARYA. SO IT IS BETTER NOT TO MIX WITH MY GODBROTHERS VERY INTIMATELY BECAUSE INSTEAD OF INSPIRING OUR STUDENTS AND DISCIPLES,THEY MAY SOMETIMES POLLUTE THEM. This attempt was made previously by them, especially Madhava Maharaja and Tirtha Maharaja and Bon Maharaja but somehow or other I saved the situation. This is going on. We shall be very
careful about them and not mix with them. This is my instruction to you
all. They cannot help us in our movement, but they are very competent to harm our natural progress. So we must be very careful about them.
So in order to know that science, one has to APPROACH A PERFECT TEACHER. Tad-vijnanartham sa gurum evabhigacchet. Here also it is said, gurau hamsa. Hamse gurau mayi. The mayi is also significant. That means, PARAMAHAMSA GURU MEANS, HE’S AS GOOD AS THE SUPREME PERSONALITY OF GODHEAD. BECAUSE HE DOES NOT DEVIATE from the instructions of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. That is the symptom of guru. GURU DOES NOT DEVIATE FROM THE INSTRUCTION OF THE SUPREME PERSONALITY OF GODHEAD.
Bg 4.42 P Transcendental Knowledge
A BONA FIDE SPIRITUAL MASTER IS IN THE DISCIPLIC SUCCESSION FROM TIME ETERNAL, AND HE DOES NOT DEVIATE AT ALL from the instructions of the Supreme Lord as they were imparted millions of years ago to the sun-god, from whom the instructions of Bhagavad-gita have come down to the earthly kingdom. One should, therefore, follow the path of Bhagavad-gita as it is expressed in the Gita itself and BEWARE OF SELF-INTERESTED PEOPLE AFTER PERSONAL AGGRANDIZEMENT WHO DEVIATE OTHERS FROM THE ACTUAL PATH.
“A person acting in the service of Krsna with his body, mind and words IS A LIBERATED PERSON, EVEN WITHIN THE MATERIAL WORLD.” (Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu 1.2.187) Therefore, one is forbidden to regard the guru as an ordinary human being (gurusu nara-matir. .. naraki sah). THE SPIRITUAL MASTER, OR ACARYA, IS ALWAYS SITUATED IN THE SPIRITUAL STATUS OF LIFE.
69-06-10. Letter: Mukunda
Your next question, whether the Spiritual Master was formerly a conditioned soul, ACTUALLY A BONAFIDE SPIRITUAL MASTER IS NEVER A CONDITIONED SOUL.
69-06-10. Letter: Mukunda
You are correct when you say that when the Spiritual Master speaks it should be taken that Krishna is speaking. That is a fact. A SPIRITUAL MASTER MUST BE LIBERATED.