First posted on December 15, 2014

In this auspicious day – the appearance day of Srila Param Gurudev Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktivedānta Vāman Gosvāmī Mahārāj and the disappearance day of Srila Param Gurudev Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇ Gosvāmī Mahārāj – our dearmost Srila Gurudev wants to share with all his disciples this wonderful offering to Srila Param Gurudev BV Narayan Gosvami Maharaj:

Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami-Vandana

nama om visnu-padaya radhikayiai priyatmane
sri-srimad-bhaktivedanta-narayana iti namine
I offer pranama to om visnupada Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja who is very dear to Srimati Radhika.

Perfect guru-puja means to glorify the guru’s life history and to follow his instructions. I have heard some things from Sripada BV Vana Maharaja that I would like to repeat.

If I worship with flowers, fruit and a ghee-lamp, but do not follow his instructions, this is called a joke. If I have no faith in guru’s instructions, there will not be any progress on the path of devotion, or bhakti.

A disciple should give respect to guru as like the Lord. One must give up his own desires and conceptions and surrender to his guru, and try to help his guru. One must try to fulfill the desires of his or her guru and understand his heart.

Guru is non different from the Lord. Guru has none of the 4 faults that a conditioned soul has –
(bhrama -mistake; pramāda -illusion; vipralipsā -cheating purposes; karaṇa-apāṭava - inefficiency of the material senses)

The material defects of mistakes, illusions, cheating and sensory inefficiency do not exist in the words of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

Therefore, a conditioned soul cannot speak perfect truth. Gurudeva and Bhāgavata-tattva are beyond all these defects.
dharmaḥ projjhita-kaitavo ’tra paramo nirmatsarāṇāṁ satāṁ
 vedyaṁ vāstavam atra vastu śivadaṁ tāpa-trayonmūlanam
śrīmad-bhāgavate mahā-muni-kṛte kiṁ vā parair īśvaraḥ
 sadyo hṛdy avarudhyate ’tra kṛtibhiḥ śuśrūṣubhis tat-kṣaṇāt
(dharmaḥ - religiosity; projjhita - completely rejected; kaitavaḥ - covered by fruitive intention)

Completely rejecting all religious activities, which are materially motivated, this Bhāgavata Purāṇa propounds the highest truth, which is understandable by those devotees who are fully pure in heart.

If we want the mercy of gurudeva we have to serve him without duplicity and any type of gain. Service is not what we want to do, but what gurudeva desires. Disciple means to help with his preaching. A disciple should have a humble and submissive mood.

Anugatya – follow the guru’s instructions and mood, then there will be success, otherwise the service is tainted with selfishness, and material gain, which leads to an incorrect mood that gurudeva is the disciple’s servant. Bhakti means seva. One who is free from all material designations, whose heart is not contaminated with jnana, karma, yoga and tapasya, lust and anger, can serve guru.

Guru seva, guru nistha, guru bhakti are the backbone of spiritual life. All anarthas have to be removed by the guru’s mercy. We cannot remove anarthas by our self; guru has a method of removing anarthas in every jiva’s heart. When anarthas are removed, or partially removed, the disciple can come to the platform of suddha-sattva – where there is no lust, anger, jealousy, or desire for pratistha (name and fame). Our heart must be like crystal, being able to reflect everything. Then we can serve gurudeva. Try to understand the guru’s heart and please him; that is called bhakti.

If you want to serve gurudeva in any way, you need to have tolerance.

If you have some pride that you are of a high class caste or race, very wealthy, very beautiful, or have vast amounts of knowledge, then bhakti will not come.

Be prepared to be like a clay pot. There is a nice story about a clay pot, which always stays in the temple. The clay pot in the temple has Ganga water inside, and always stays close to the lotus feet of the Lord.

How did the clay pot get this service of staying close to the lotus feet of the Lord in the temple?
The clay pot narrates his story like this:

"Once I was mud, and one day a pot-maker came and took me from the bank of a river. Then the pot-maker put me in the hot sun. When I was completely dried from the sun, the pot-maker took a stick and beat me until I became dust. Then he took one silk cloth and strained all the rocks and other debris. The potter than had nice soft dust, and added water, then beat me by punching and kicking me. I was then ready to be put on the middle of the potter’s wheel.

He made different shapes out of me, and then put me in the rays of the hot sun at a temperature of 101 degrees for 7 days until I was dry. Then he put me in an oven for 3 days at a very hot temperature at 401 degrees, and I was completely red.

He took me to the market. Many people were coming and checking me by pulling my ear and beating me. If you want to buy a clay pot, you always check that pot by holding it up and beating with a stick; so many people came to beat me, but I had to tolerate this.

Then one-day gurudeva came to the market, he also took my ear and beat me to see if I had any cracks. Gurudeva then put me under the water to see if I had any holes. I had no cracks or holes so gurudeva brought me to his temple. Now I have to tolerate everything."

The sun, fire and water are substances for purification, but the best purification is by mantra. Gurudeva is your ever well wisher, and it is his duty to chastise and you have to tolerate.

(Offering based on a class that Srila Gurudev gave this week in Brazil. 
by Braja-bala devi dasi)