Who is a True Disciple?

Who is a True Disciple?


A selection from a class
delivered by His Divine Grace Srila Gour Govinda Swami Maharaja.
(Śmad-Bhāgavatam 9.18.44 Bhubaneswar  — April 18, 1995)

Sent in by Goloka Vṛndāvana Dāsa


One Indian poet has spoken of putra and mūtra. Putra means “son” and mūtra means “urine”. Both a son and urine come from the same genitals. If a son is an obedient devotee of the Lord he is called putra, or a real son; otherwise, if he is not learned and is not a devotee, a son is nothing better than urine. ⎯ (Śrīla Prabhupāda purport, Śmad-Bhāgavatam 9.18.44)


Similarly, the guru and disciple, the guru is the spiritual father and the disciples are his sons. He who cannot be a śiya, disciple is rejected. The disciple who understands Gurudeva’s desire and acts is a first class śiya. The disciple who doesn’t wait for guru’s order, who understands what Gurudeva wants and acts immediately is a first class śiya, disciple. The disciple who receives the order from guru then carries out that order, he is a second class śiya. The disciple who executes guru’s order irreverently is a third class disciple. When the guru orders him to do something he grumbles, “O, I have difficulties. I have some problem. I would have done it but now I have a problem, my health is very weak.” With such grumbling he acts. This is a third class disciple. It is not carried out with love. Then, the fourth one, he who refuses guru’s order, is rejected. He is like stool, stool is rejected. This fourth type is not a disciple at all. So tattva-āryas have said:


harau ruṣṭe gurus trā gurau ruñe na kaścana
tasmāt sarva-prayatnenagurum eva prasādayet
 (Aditya Purāa)


“If Lord Hari is displeased, Gurudeva can deliver him, but if guru becomes displeased no one can deliver him.” Then there is no place for you at all, everything is finished. Therefore, with utmost care the disciple should please guru, yasya prasād bhagavat-prasādo yasyāprasān na gati kuto ’pi.

Those persons whose consciousness is very low, completely covered with ignorance, nescience, they think guru is an ordinary human being, therefore sometimes they speak ill of guru, so they will take birth in the hog species for one hundred births. As long as Gurudeva is not pleased you should go on serving guru. If guru becomes pleased all the sinful reactions of that śiṣya are immediately destroyed. If guru becomes pleased, Brahmā, Viṣṇu, Śiva—all the demigods, munis, yogīs, they all become pleased and they will shower their mercy upon that person. Kṛṣṇa also says (Bhāg. 10.80.34): guru-śayā yathā— “I am never as pleased with the person who strictly follow the principles of brahmacarya, the principles of ghastha-āśrama, the principals of vānaprastha-āśrama as I am pleased with the person who serves guru faithfully and pleases him.” Śāstra says, if someone thinks the guru is an ordinary human being, and the mantra is only letters of the alphabet, that the deity is an idol, definitely he will go to hell.

In this Bhāgavata verse (11.17.27) Kṛṣṇa says:


ārya vijān
navamanyeta karhicit
na martya-buddhyāyeta
sarva-deva-mayo guru


One should not think the ārya-guru is an ordinary human being. If someone thinks like that, whatever mantra he has received from that guru will be useless. There will be no effect at all, and the devā-arcanā, the worship of the deity will never be effective, will never be perfect at all. Such a devotee cannot be a śiya and will be rejected. The disciple who is incorrigible, who cannot be corrected, who cannot tolerate or accept the discipline inflicted by guru, he cannot be a śiṣya at all. He should be rejected. He is like stool or urine. He refuses guru’s discipline, so he cannot be a disciple at all. In Bhad-viṣṇu-smti it is said, who is a true disciple.

Guru, sad-guru has the right to inflict discipline. Disciple means under discipline. Guru inflicts very severe, most severe discipline on the śiya and that is beneficial for you, thereby you will be purified. The goldsmith puts the gold into fire repeatedly and he hammers and beats it many times, then again he puts it into the fire, then when it heats up again he hammers it. He does it many times, thereby the impurities will all be burned out and the pure gold will come out. Similarly, guru inflicts discipline, more and more severe discipline on the disciple, he puts you in the fire so that whatever impurities are there in you will be burned to ashes, then only the purity will remain. One who can tolerate the severe discipline of guru and can accept it gladly is a real disciple. If you cannot accept it, instead you grumble, “O, Gurudeva is always scolding me, always beating me, hitting me, kicking me. I cannot tolerate it,” you are not a disciple at all. However, the disciple who accepts it gladly and never acts in such a way that will displease guru, he is a real disciple. He has full faith in the words of guru. He never acts in a displeasing way in spite of severe punishment inflicted on him. With his body, mind, speech, strength, wealth, whatever he has he serves guru and pleases guru— he is a real disciple, and he gets the mercy of guru, and within a very short time achieves perfection in life. He is the uttama śiya, the first class disciple. Otherwise without this understanding he cannot be a disciple.

6 Responses to Who is a True Disciple?

  1. Goloka Vrndavana Das May 25, 2012 at 11:45 pm #

    My Gurudeva Appears to Me Everywhere

    Sri Srimad Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Prabhupada Acarya Thakura:

    “Our spiritual masters (asraya-jatiya guru-varga) are the abodes of love. They appear to us in different forms to bestow their mercy upon us. They are reflected in all objects and in every entity. Indeed, they are the special manifestations of Srila Gurudeva, he who imparts divya-jnana, transcendental knowledge.

    The object of love, Krsna (visaya-jatiya), is one half of the equation, and the abode of love, Sri Guru (asraya-jatiya), is the other half. Their combination results in a complete whole through vilasa vaicitrya (wonderfully variegated pastimes). Sri Krsna is the complete manifestation of the object of love, and Srila Gurudeva is the complete perception of the abode of love. When the transcendental reflection of asraya-jatiya tattva falls upon any conscious being, he is to be understood as a manifestation of my Gurudeva.

    Gurudeva is that person whose behaviour at every moment instructs us that our entire life is meant for serving Bhagavan. That very Gurudeva is reflected in the heart of every living being and is situated in every entity as asraya-jatiya tattva.

    ye ‘nye parart ha-bhavaka yamunopakulah
    samsantu krsna-padavim rahitatmanam nah

    “O mango, priyala, jackfruit, asana and kovidara trees! O trees of jambu, arka, bilva and bakula! O amra, kadamba and nipa trees, as well as all other plants and trees growing along Yamuna’s shores whose lives are devoted to benefiting others, we have lost our minds in the agony of separation from Sri Krsna, so please tell us where He has gone.”
    (Srimad-Bhagavatam 10.30.9)

    Sri Krsna disappeared from the rasa-sthali (the place of the rasa-lila), and the gopis, who are eternally liberated souls, approached each and every living entity in search of Him. Did the gopis simply depend upon the knowledge acquired through their senses to find Him? We receive the opportunity to hear about these subjects from our Gurudeva. The variegated transcendental pastimes of Nanda-Govinda, Yasoda-Govinda, Sridama-Sudama-Govinda, Citraka-Patraka-Govinda, Vamsi-Govinda, Go-Govinda and Kadamba-Govinda are accounts of the rasa-laden pastimes of Sri Sri Radha-Govinda.

    If a person is blessed with the darsana of Sri Guru in his heart, or if he makes a place in his mind where Sri Guru can wander, then such pastimes are revealed in his heart. The one and only way to attain service to the Complete Being is to worship that person who, by his every activity, encourages us to serve the Complete Being. Our Gurudeva’s image, reflected in many different ways, constantly manifests newer and newer lessons for us.

    My Gurudeva manifests in various repositories and, upon seeing their attitude of service to Bhagavan, I pray that I may spend thousands and thousands of lifetimes serving Sri Hari in their association, and that my aversion to serving Him, which has prevailed for millions of lifetimes, is finally destroyed.”

    Excerpt from a lecture delivered
    in the Sarasvata Assembly Hall, Sri Caitanya Matha, Sridham Mayapura
    Saturday, 9.00 pm, on the 28th day of the month of Magha (January) 1931

  2. Goloka Vrndavana Das May 25, 2012 at 2:44 pm #

    Ideal Guru, Ideal Disciple
    14=07=1992 BBSR\
    After Class

    Yogeshwar Das: You were saying in one lecture that Vallabhacharya when he went to visit Rupa Goswami, and he was reading the scriptures and he said, “There is some mistake in this one.” And Rupa Goswami said, “Yes, yes, there is some mistake.” He accepted.

    Gour Govinda Swami: Yes, how humble he is. “Yes, yes, yes, you are great. You are guru, master. I am ignorant fool.”
    He said, “Some little mistake. It is very nice. Little mistake. So I will correct it.”
    “Oh yes, very nice. That’s your mercy.” Because he’s so puffed up. But Jiva Goswami was standing there. Jiva Goswami was student of Rupa Goswami, fanning. He heard. But he couldn’t tolerate it. But Rupa Goswami tolerated. Jiva Goswami couldn’t tolerate. This is disciple. This is guru. Guru can tolerate but disciple cannot tolerate.

    So then when Vallabhacharya went to the Yamuna to take bath. Jiva Goswami said, “All right, just take your bath. Please come, I’ll serve you prasäda.” He went to take bath.
    Then on the plea of fetching some water from the Yamuna, Jiva went, then caught him, “Hey, what mistake is there in the writing of my guru, and what will you correct? Tell me.”
    Then he cited some…..?
    “How is this mistake? This is not mistake. This is about this.”
    He thought, “Oh, this boy, who is this boy?” Then after taking bath he came back and asked, “Who is that boy? He is so learned, so proficient in Vedic scriptures, truth, tattva.”
    Then immediately Rupa Goswami could understand that this is Jiva’s activity. When Jiva came he chastised: “Hey! I tolerated. We accept Vallabhacharya as guru. I tolerated. This little thing, couldn’t you tolerate? Get out from here! Get out of here! I won’t look at your face. Get out of here. Go back to your father’s house. Go there. When your mind will be fixed, then you’ll come to Vrindavan. But [now] no place in Vrindavan.”

    Such heavy punishment was inflicted on Jiva Goswami. He cried and cried. “All right, my Guru Maharaja is inflicting severe punishment on me.” So he didn’t go back. He just stayed in a very solitary place, dilapidated structure was there, day and night crying, crying, crying. So he became very lean and thin, skinny. No eating, no sleeping, nothing. Vrajaväsis saw, “Oh, this is the student of Rupa Goswami.” They informed Sanatan Goswami that this boy is crying and crying, staying there and has become skinny, suffering, suffering.

    Then Sanatan Goswami came, what had happened he heard everything. Then Sanatan Goswami went to Rupa Goswami and asked: “Have you finished writing Bhakti-rasämåta-sindhu?” Because Rupa Goswami was writing and Jiva Goswami was editing it, helping. And now Jiva Goswami is not there, so his writing is not finished.” Then he said, “No, it is not finished.”

    “Why have you not finished? What happened? Where is Jiva?”
    Then he said everything. Then Sanatan Goswami said how now Jiva’s condition is like this. Then Rupa Goswami, because his heart is soft. This is guru. outward very hard. It is like coconut, very hard shell outward. But inside is very soft. That is coconut. That is sädhu-guru.
    Then his heart melted. Immediately he got Jiva. Took care of him, everything nice. This is ideal guru, ideal disciple.

    Yogeshwar Das: So guru means heavy, but not heavy-hearted.
    Gour Govinda Swami: No. Heart is very soft. Outward very heavy, very hard. Inside is very soft. That is sädhu-guru. This is ideal guru and ideal disciple. Guru can tolerate, but disciple cannot. No. He cannot.

    Dinabandhu Das: So that was actually perfect for Jiva to do like that?
    Gour Govinda Swami: Yes, that’s perfect. Because he is student, disciple.
    Dinabandhu Das: But at the same time Rupa Goswami had to chastise him, for that reason.
    Gour Govinda Swami: Yes, because otherwise how teaching will be there? By practical guru will teach this thing. In the heart, a different thing is there.
    Yogeshwar Das: But did Jiva Goswami change? He didn’t. He remained the same.
    Gour Govinda Swami: He is disciple, he is same. You can know that is proper mood of disciple.
    Yogeshwar Das: It should be there.
    Gour Govinda Swami: Should be there, yes. And this is the mood of guru, and this is the mood of disciple, yes.
    Dinabandhu Das: And Jiva Goswami was so humble that he accepted the mood of his guru and didn’t feel anything against him.
    Gour Govinda Swami: No, no, no. Doesn’t feel anything against. No enviousness, nothing. No.
    Dinabandhu Das: Just tears.
    Yogeshwar Das: Tears of love.
    Gour Govinda Swami: Tears of love, yes. Yes, this is mercy on me bestowed by my guru. Because such punishment is mercy, yes. He accepted in that way. That is real disciple, student.
    Unless you accept the punishment from sädhu-guru you cannot develop bhakti at all. No Vaishnavism, no. You should accept it. Otherwise you are cheated. If there is no punishment then I am cheated, vaïcito ‘smi, vaïcito ‘smi, vaïcito ‘smi — “I am cheated, I am cheated. No punishment.”

  3. Murali Krsna Swami May 22, 2012 at 9:16 pm #

    Guru Tattva; Seriousness is required!
    SGGSM 891124 Darsan-

    Devotee: Why they don’t follow this important instruction of Srila Prabhupada, on his authority from so many years?

    Gurudeva: They are not so serious, they have not taken it seriously, so they cannot carry out the instructions. You understand. If someone has taken seriously, he must carry out! Do you understand?

    Yes. Seriousness is required. My Guru Maharaja, Srila Prabhupada repeatedly said, “Take it seriously. This is for serious students.” He has said this repeatedly, “Seriousness is required. You understand”?

  4. Murali Krsna Swami May 17, 2012 at 4:46 pm #

    My dear friend Goloka……what can be said?…..Using Srila Gurudeva’s sharp and absolute and very unpalatable words, you have once again exposed me as a pretender and a hypocrite and NOT a real disciple. Very painfully, I thank you!

    I can understand now, that you are my real friend and brother!….

  5. Goloka Vrindavana das May 17, 2012 at 7:29 am #

    Hare Krsna!
    Check out……………….

    Gopal Jiu Publications
    They publish the books of Srila Gour Govinda Swami.
    A complete list of books and magazines are available on their site.
    Here you can read excerpts from the books.

    Read and relish original lectures by HDG Srila Gour Govinda Swami on the topic complete surrender.

    Srila Gour Govinda Swami gave Janeshwar prabhu the honour of publishing a newsletter for the benefit of all favourable devotees. Janeshwar das commissioned Ananda Samvada.org to archive online copies of previous newsletters as they become available in a suitable digital format. Search function permits search by topic, date, whatever. Some great reading available here.


  6. JAGADISH PANDIT DAS May 17, 2012 at 6:44 am #




Dedicated to the Life and Teachings of Srila Gour Govinda Swami