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Hide Your Guru

Excerpted from Sri Krishna Kathamrita Bindu issue 16

In Hari-bhakti-vilāsa, verse 2.147, Srila ācāryera mata yei, sei mata sāra
Sanatan Goswami quotes Sammohana-tantra: tāra ājñā laghi’ cale, sei ta’ asāra
gopayed devatām iā gopayed gurum ātmana The order of the spiritual master is the active
gopayec ca nija mantra gopayen nija-mālikām principle in spiritual life. Anyone who disobeys
the order of the spiritual master immediately
One should hide one’s ia-deva, one should hide becomes useless. (Cc. ādi 12.10)
one’s guru, one should hide one’s mantra, and
one should hide one’s japa-mālā. Similarly, it is stated in the Raghu-vaśa:
sa śuśruvān mātari bhārgavea
Wise persons keep their valuables in a pitur niyogāt prahta dviad-vat
confidential place. Similarly, an intelligent sādhaka pratyaghīd agraja-śāsana tad
does not advertise his or her guru, nor do they ājñā gurūā hy avicāraīyā
broadcast themselves as disciples of their guru. Being ordered by his father, Parasuram killed
Considering themselves as low, fallen, and unfit his mother, Renuka, just as if she were an
to be considered disciples, sincere devotees do enemy. When Lakshman, the younger brother
not want to advertise who their guru is. of Lord Ramachandra, heard of this, He
Srila Krishnadas Kaviraj Goswami has immediately engaged Himself in the service of
illustrated the mood of a devotee and disciple: His elder brother and accepted His orders. The
order of the spiritual master must be obeyed
jagāi mādhāi haite muñi se pāpiha without consideration. (verse 14.46, quoted in
purīera kīa haite muñi se laghiha Cc. madhya 10.145)
I am more sinful than Jagai and Madhai and even Srila Thakur Bhaktivinode has described that
lower than the worms in stool. (Cc. ādi 5.205) there are two types of disciples, the antarmukha-
Similarly, Thakur Bhaktivinode has stated: śiyas and the bahirmukha-śiyas. Antarmukha
literally means “inward-facing”. It refers to
garhita ācāre, rahilāma maji’,
nā karinu sādhu-saga someone who is introspective. Bahirmukha
laye sādhu-veśa, āne upadeśi, literally means “outward-facing”, and refers to
e baa māyāra raga someone who is absorbed in external things.
Antarmukha-śiyas are desirous of bringing
Remaining absorbed in abominable activities, I
never kept company with sadhus. Now I adopt the
pleasure to their guru. Their focus is on following
garb of a sadhu and act out the role of instructing the guru’s instructions. The antarmukha-
others. This is māyā’s big joke. (Śaraāgati 7.3) śiyas practice gopayed gurum ātmana. They
keep their guru and their relationship with
Although Thakur Bhaktivinode had so much him confidential. An antarmukha-śiya is not
association with elevated vaiavas, including interested in advertising himself as a disciple
his śikā-guru Jagannath Das Babaji Maharaja, of his guru, but prefers to follow the guru’s
he did not flaunt that. Rather, he considered instructions. His meditation is to try to
that, nā karinu sādhu-saga — “I have never had understand what will please his guru. The
association with sadhus”. antarmukha-śiya is anartha-mukta-avasthā, he
The essential principle in being a disciple is is free from anarthas. His vision of guru is
to follow the order of the guru. Srila Krishnadas known as sevya-darśana. He sees that guru
Kaviraj Goswami has described: should be served and pleased.
2 Hide Your Guru
Bahirmukha-śiyas are disciples who practice March 1974 when some devotees mentioned
the opposite of gopayed gurum ātmana. They to him that some of the followers of Swami
are absorbed in advertising their guru and in Narayan were chanting the name of their guru
making a show of themselves as being big or instead of Krishna’s name:
intimate disciples. Such a disciple is also known Devotee: In England they are chanting, “Swami
as guru-giri, or one who makes a business out Narayan,” not “Krishna”.
of guru and one’s relationship with guru. Prabhupada: Just see.
They are not absorbed in the inner intention of Indian man (1): No, they are also ka-
guru. Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur has described bhaktas.
persons who act on such an external platform as Devotee: How are they, if they are chanting
dharmadhvajīs (“religion flag-wavers”), meaning Swami Narayan’s name?
those who make a hypocritical or pretentious Indian man (1): They actually work for the
Krishna only, and they...
show of religiosity.
Prabhupada: No, no. Krishna recommends
 Following the logic of ātmavan manyate jagat śāstra, harer nāma, harer nāma, harer nāmaiva
(everyone thinks like I do), the bahirmukha-śiyas kevalam. So why they should chant “Swami
consider that their guru thinks like they do. Narayan”? ... In the Bhagavad-gītā it is said,
Because they are motivated by the desires for satata kīrtayanto mām — Krishna. Why should
fame and adoration they think that their guru one chant any other name? Krishna says
also wants such things. The bahirmukha-śiyas satata kīrtayanto mām. Hare Krishna. Not any
are anartha-yukta-avasthā, they have anarthas, other name.... But they are chanting “Swami
material desires, in their hearts. Because of those Narayan.” They’re saying Swami Narayan is
better than Krishna. What kind of preaching is
anarthas they only see guru in terms of their
this? ... This is nonsense. People will go to the
own pleasure. This vision is known as bhogya-
temple and the preacher will say that Swami
darśana. They think that making a big show of Narayan’s name should be chanted....
devotion will impress their guru and enable Indian man (2): Swami is their guru and
them to come close to their guru. Their idea of Narayan is God, so both, Prabhupada
guru-bhakti is to loudly proclaim to the world, and Krishna, Prabhupada and Krishna,
āmār guru jagad-guru — “My guru is the best or Prabhupada Krishna...
the only one and any other guru is lesser.” They Prabhupada: But that does not mean they
think that such publicizing will please their should chant [like that]. Just like, we are
guru. Neglecting or minimizing their guru’s not instructing our disciples to chant my
name, “Bhaktivedanta Swami, Bhaktivedanta
instruction regarding the worship of Krishna,
Swami.” No. They’re chanting Hare Krishna.
the bahirmukha-śiyas place more emphasis on hari-tvena samasta-śāstrair ukta — “Guru is
worshiping their spiritual master. respected as good as Krishna.” But that does
In the histories of all the major religions of not mean I shall teach them to go and chant my
the world it is commonly seen that the followers name, “Bhaktivedanta Swami, Bhaktivedanta
prefer to worship the guru, prophet, or founder Swami, Bhaktivedanta Swami.” What is this?
rather than follow the instructions of that We are teaching, “Chant Hare Krishna.” Harer
prophet to worship the Lord (who is unseen and nāma, harer nāma...
unknown to them). Srila Prabhupada addressed — Srila Prabhupada morning walk, 29 March
1974, Bombay.
this topic on a morning walk in Bombay on 29
Hide Your Guru 3

Although the antarmukha-śiyas, who follow with mere external shows of devotion. They
the instructions of guru, get the full blessings of are moved, however, when they see the
guru, the bahirmukha-śiyas do not get the proper genuine vaiava humility and other good
result. In this connection Srila Jagadananda qualities that have manifest in a devotee due
Pandit has written: to that devotee’s dedication to the instructions
gorāra āmi gorāra āmi mukhe balile nā cale and bhajan given by guru (guru-nihā). Hence,
torāra ācāra gorāra vicāra laile phala phale introspective devotees prefer to keep their
It is not enough to repeatedly advertise that guru hidden and glorify him by exhibiting
one is a devotee of Mahaprabhu by saying, “I exemplary behavior.
am Gaura’s! I am Gaura’s!” Rather, those who For some devotees, pushing their guru
follow the practices taught by Mahaprabhu is an easy way to avoid facing the reality of
are understood to get the results of being the their own lack of advancement. They want
Lord’s follower. — Prema-vivarta 8.6 respect, and they think it is easier for them to
Sometimes we see that bona fide spiritual get it by broadcasting themselves as a disciple
masters allow themselves to be advertised of a great personality than for themselves to
in order to preach. However, this is done manifest the qualities of a vaiava. However,
in service to Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Such this kind of cheating mentality will never attract
personalities are not materially desirous of the attention of saintly persons. They are not
receiving prestige from their disciples. The impressed with whom we have taken initiation
dakiā, gift, that the guru wants is jñāna- or instructions from. Rather, they want to see
sandeśa — the sincere search for spiritual what is our own level of realization.
knowledge (Bhāg. 11.19.39). Since such neophytes equate the showing
As the ideal guru, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu of respect to themselves with the showing
has taught us how to please the spiritual master. of respect to their guru, when they become
Mahaprabhu instructed His followers: chastised or fail to receive the honor and
yadi āmā prati sneha thāke sabākāra recognition they want, they accuse the devotees,
tabe ka-vyatirikta nā gāibe āra “You have offended my guru!” In this way, Kali,
the personification of this age of quarrel and
If you really love me, then you should love My
instructions: Don’t think of anything but Krishna. hypocrisy, is able to enter the movement of Sri
Don’t utter any name but Krishna. (Caitanya- Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and cause dissension,
bhāgavat madhya 8.27) distracting them from their real business of
chanting and distributing the holy names.
Understanding that his spiritual master is
So Srila Sanatan Goswami’s instruction
always with Krishna, the antarmukha-śiya knows
gopayed gurum ātmana — “One should hide
that by chanting Krishna’s name he will come
one’s guru” — is advising devotees to go
closer to his guru. In the Vāmana-kalpa, Lord
deeper in their relationship with guru by
Brahma explains:
basing that relationship on following the
yo mantra sa guru sākād yo guru sa hari svayam instructions about service and bhajan that
One should understand that the mantra one their guru has given.
has received from the guru is identical with the — MD
guru and that the guru is identical with Lord
Hari. (cited in Srila Jiva Goswami’s Bhakti-
sandarbha, anuccheda 237.8)
Srila Rupa Goswami has described:
atha guro śrī-pada-dvandva-bhaktim
The holy name gives devotion to the guru.
(Padyāvalī text 24)
Historically, the sādhu-samāja, the society
of saintly vaiavas, has never been impressed