William Mathew: In current times when the eligibility of a particular gender to act as Guru is being questioned, the need of the hour is not to question the roles of the gender, what is needed is to question who is a Guru and what makes him or her eligible to act as a spiritual master of others.
In this conversation recorded on Ramanavami in 2010, Sripada Aindra prabhu presents a deep and sastric understanding of the Guru Tattva in line of the disciplic succession from Lord Caitanya. Imbued with humility, knowledge and practical realization of philosophy, this conversation would surely make any sincere sadhaka be contemplative and introspective of the actual essence of the Guru Tattva.
Sripada Aindra Prabhu: The point is that whoever is advanced. You know, what is the use of having a male guru if the male is not above the platform of anartha-nivritti platform even? Then he is not a guru. He is a guru abhasa. If it is Vaishnava abhasa because he is not chanting suddha nama then he is guru abhasa.
All Vaishnava or Vaishnavais are gurus. There are abhas, just different degrees of empowerment depending on their particular status. If they are kanishta adhikari then they are not actually Vaishnavas, so they can not actually be gurus. They can be guru abhasa. But if they are madhyama adhikaris chanting suddha nama then they have certain rights to act as gurus because they can give suddha nama, their disciples can hear suddha nama from their mouth.The point is that advancement is required. Otherwise if there is meager advancement then how are you going to help? If your hands are tied then how are you going to help untie the hands of another baddha jiva?
Therefore the recommendation is that before one ventures to become guru or act as guru he should on uttama adhikari platform. Atleast, from the stage of bhava onwards. Because from the stage of bhava one is considered to be practically above the influences’ of the three modes of material nature, situated on the spiritual platform. Therefore srotriyam brahma-nistam. Srotriyam means who is fixed on the spiritual platform. Should be a realized soul. If he is not realized or she is not realized then why, why the guru business? For business purposes? So that we can get a piece of the cake?
Devotee: Then it’s definitely not like Amara ajsaya guru haya tara ei desa. One has to have the ability to deliver.
Sripada Aindra Prabhu: He has to. He has to be. He has to be empowered. Empowered means Krishna sakti. Krishna shakti vina nahe tara pravartana. If he is not a Vaishnva or Vaishnavi and that empowerment is lacking then maybe, you know some display, but show bottle display is not the real substance. Actual substance should be there. Then the thing is substantial. It has real effect otherwise those who are Vaishnava abhasa they can generate sraddha abhasa in the persons that they preach to. Because the whole idea of becoming or acting as guru, the whole idea is to disseminate, to act as a agent for the dissemination of Krishna’s kripa sakti.
So according to Bhakti Vinoda Thakur in his Caitanya Siksamrita, he says that Kripa can be disseminated on three levels:
As a sadhaka from the stage of ruci, meaning one is chanting suddha nama. This goes along with the statement of Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati where he says that actually only the maha-bhagavat have the fitness to bestow the pure name which is identical with nami, Krishna himself. And it goes along with the understanding given by Jiva Goswami where he describes that there are three different types of maha-bhagavats.
So there is maha-bhagvat with both the feet in the spiritual world, extending his hand in the acharya svarup to pull the conditioned souls up to his platform. Pull him out of the material world to the spiritual world.
Then there is the maha-bhagavat who is a sadhana siddha. It means he has attained the stage of sadhya, bhava or prema and he is in the sadhaka deha. Because he has attained perfection, realization of his sthayi-bhava, he is considered to have one foot in the spiritual world and one foot in the material world. And there is the maha-bhagavat who has both the feet in the material world but he has his eyes in the spiritual world. That means that he already knows what will be his perfection, it is just that he hasn’t… in other words he is still a green mango but he can understand that he is a mango and in due course he will be ripened.
So that is like a sadhaka meaning a raganuga sadhaka who is practicing, contemplating his antaras cinta siddha deha, etc from the stage of ruci. From the state of ruci means he is still a madhyama adhikari. Of course, there is the statement in Bhakti Tattva Viveka by Bhaktivinoda Thakur that in the raga marga those who are from the stage of ruci, having ruci for raganuga sadhana practices, they are also considered to be on the lower stages of uttama adhikari platform.
So, in any case, who is chanting suddha nama can bestow suddha nama. So who is chanting suddha nama is a pure devotee and according to Caitanya Siksamrita that sadhaka who is chanting suddha nama, he can generate pure devotional sraddha in the heart of any ordinary man. And on an other level, the bhavuka or the bhava bhakta can immediately generate ruci.
Just like if someone is speaking with bhava then those who are hearing, he can immediately create taste for hearing Krishna katha and there is the premika bhakta who can immediately bring pull someone up to his own level. So if someone is acting as guru on one level he may generate pure devotional sraddha if he is pure devotee, but if he is not a pure devotee yet because he is not chanting suddha nama yet then he is not going to do very much in the matter of creating pure devotional sraddha in anyone.
Likely what happens is, because of lack of his clarity he has a tendency to confuse the disciples and the disciples generally get a distorted image, get the wrong idea and it may take them a long time to actually come around to understanding what is actual pure devotional siddhanta, you know, as a basis.
If he has pure devotional sraddha even, that means he is a pure devotee in making so he can understand the siddhanata to a certain extent and he can share that on one level or another. But still he is not considered to be empowered because the pure name is only having included all of Krishna’s antaranga-sakti. So without having the pure name where is the question of having Krishna shakti vina nahe tara pravartana? Where is the question of him having the power to propagate the sankirtan movement? He is not going to be able to propagate the sankirtan movement. He is not going to be able to generate further generations, so to speak of, or create further generations of pure devotees. Propagation means to disseminate something to someone. To inculcate pure devotional sakti into the hearts of people that come into his association.
To wrap the point up, it not a question what kind of body; external body the soul has, that does not qualify one as being guru or any of these things. What qualifies a person as being guru is whether of not that person is advanced in spiritual realization. If he is God realized or she is a God realized soul then certainly there is fitness of acting as guru of anyone. It is not a question of he or she or any of these things. These are all mundane considerations. But if we are thinking that only men can become gurus but then the next question is that are they actually acting guru? Are they actually Vaishnava? If they are not yet Vaishnava then what is the right to act as guru?
First become Vaishnava then act as Vaishnava guru. And you know there is Madhyama Vaishnava and there is Uttama Vaishnva. Kanishtha Vaishanvas are actually not Vaishnavas. They are vaishnava praya, they are like Vaishanva but not Vaishnava. So you can hardly expect to make easy advancement to the goal of life under the insufficient guidance of kanishtha adhikaris and madhyama adikaris who are not yet evolved to the suddha nama bhajan platform.
First chant suddha nama at the stage of ruci and then asakti, bhava, preama. They have certain rights to act as guru. Others have no right to act as guru in real sense. A kanishtha adhikari, a Vaishnava in the making, certainly has more right to act as a guru than a mayavadi. If a mayavadi is chanting the holy name and there is a kanishtha bhakta chanting the semblance of nama, mayavadi is also chanting the semblance of holy name. One is chanting pratibimba namabhasa and the other is chanting chaya namabhasa. Who is chanting chaya namabhasa is certainly more qualified to act as guru then who is chanting pratibimba namabhasa. But it does not mean that he is qualified in the real way to act as guru. Who is chanting suddha nama is actually fit to bestow suddha nama to the disciple. And it does not matter who is chanting suddha nama. If a Vaishnavi is chanting suddha nama then she is far more qualified and advanced than a so-called Vaishnava bhakta praya who is not chanting suddha nama.
So it is a question of what level of empowerment based on what degree of realization and what degree of revelation has been achieved by a individual.
Does that make sense to you? It is not a question of legislation. They can legislate and rubber stamp guru all they want and still it does not guarantee that whoever they rubber stamp, whether it is a male or female, does not matter. If they rubber stamp someone who is unqualified then just by the rubber stamping does not make them qualified. And if they do not rubber stamp someone who is qualified that doesn’t make him less fit to act as guru.
The legislation business and the rubber stamping business is a erroneous approach from the get go. That is not standard sampradayic system. The real question is who is qualified. Atleast that is my observation on the topic. Ok?