Q&A: Once initiated, how does one further develops and maintains a strong and proper relationship as a disciple with the Guru?

Thank you for your question. However, it is not an easy question to answer but nevertheless I’ll try to offer some of sastric advice and some of my personal experience of whatever little value that may be. First of all here is an straightforward and excellent explanation which summons it all up by Srila Bhaktissidhanta Saraswati Thakur in his Amrita-vani “immortal instructions”:

33. Can one be attached to sense gratification even after taking initiation?

“The process of attaining transcendental knowledge is called initiation. We should know that the Supreme Lord is the transcendental Absolute Truth, we are His eternal servants, and we have no duty other than to serve Him. Knowing this is actual initiation. The absence of this understanding is ignorance. At present, there is a controversy about the word “initiation”. People proudly claim that they have taken initiation from a bona fide spiritual master, but how can they maintain material attachment even after taking initiation? How can they desire to make advancement in material life? If they don’t learn about their relationship with the Lord, independent and proud people uselessly brag about their initiations. Rather than treating their spiritual master as if he were as good as God, they treat him as their disciple, fit to be their order-supplier. Considering the guru an ordinary mortal being, these persons become offenders at his lotus feet.

The spiritual master is worshipable. There is no one more worshipable to us than guru. Serving the guru is superior to serving the Lord. There is no greater religious principle than serving the spiritual master. Even though we repeatedly hear this, due to our strong attachment for body and house, we forget it and think that serving our family members and ourselves is more important. Our position is similar to that of the boy who forgets his duty and absorbs himself in play rather than study.

If after accepting initiation we do not awaken our propensity to serve the Lord, then we must be cultivating a desire for fame, wealth, and serving our family members. It is only by good fortune that one receives the opportunity to serve the Lord, but we foolishly waste that opportunity. The results of our folly are so poisonous that we are left only with disappointment. Do not doubt my words. If we do not follow the guru and the Vaisnavas’ orders, what can they do to help us?”

From Narottama das Thakur’s song which we sing every morning it is obvious that guru disciple relationship, especially on the part of a disciple, is not “lightweight”. He says ‘guru-mukha-padma-vakya, cittete koriya aikya, ar na koriho mane asa – Make the teachings from the lotus mouth of the spiritual master ONE with your heart, and do NOT desire ANYTHING else…so this is a state of FULL SURRENDER which we have to attain, first we have to learn how to surrender to living spiritual master in order to be able to surrender to Krsna. Since we are beginners we don’t see and think of Krsna 24/7 in fact if we analyze how much we are absorbed in “non thinking” on Krsna we should be ashamed. Therefore our serious practice of Krsna consciousness is way to please ones guru and Krsna, yasya prasadad bhagavat prasado…and the best way to deepen our relationship with guru. The initiation means that we accept spiritual master as our guide and trainer and the best friend…one should not be ashamed to inquire from guru about spiritual life.

Submissive inquiry and service, pranipatena,pariprasnena,sevaya…and simultaneously love and gratitude to our guru. The best way to develop relationship with ones guru is to help him, assist him in the mission of his spiritual master. To maintain sense for the missionary spirit of Srila Prabhupada’s movement and participation in it is in my humble opinion the best way to advance. 

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