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Pseudo Devotees / Spiritual Masters

“A jealous person in the dress of a Vaiṣṇava is not at all happy to see the success of another Vaiṣṇava in receiving the Lord’s mercy. Unfortunately in this Age of Kali there are many mundane persons in the dress of Vaiṣṇavas, and Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura has described them as disciples of Kali. He says, kali-celā. He indicates that there is another Vaiṣṇava, a pseudoVaiṣṇava with tilaka on his nose and kaṇṭhī beads around his neck. Such a pseudoVaiṣṇava associates with money and women and is jealous of successful Vaiṣṇavas. Although passing for a Vaiṣṇava, his only business is earning money in the dress of a Vaiṣṇava. Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura therefore says that such a pseudoVaiṣṇava is not a Vaiṣṇava at all but a disciple of Kali-yuga. A disciple of Kali cannot become an ācārya by the decision of some high court. Mundane votes have no jurisdiction to elect a Vaiṣṇava ācārya. A Vaiṣṇava ācārya is self-effulgent, and there is no need for any court judgment. A false ācārya may try to override a Vaiṣṇava by a high-court decision, but Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura says that he is nothing but a disciple of Kali-yuga.” (Cc Madhya-lila 1.220 purport)


“Śrīla Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura says, chāḍiyā vaiṣṇava sevā nistāra pāyeche kebā: unless one serves a Vaiṣṇava, he cannot be delivered. The spiritual master initiates the disciple to deliver him, and if the disciple executes the order of the spiritual master and does not offend other Vaiṣṇavas, his path is clear. Consequently Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu requested all the Vaiṣṇavas present to show mercy toward the two brothers, Rūpa and Sanātana, who had just been initiated by the Lord. When a Vaiṣṇava sees that another Vaiṣṇava is a recipient of the Lord’s mercy, he becomes very happy. Vaiṣṇavas are not envious. If a Vaiṣṇava, by the mercy of the Lord, is empowered by Him to distribute the Lord’s holy name all over the world, other Vaiṣṇavas become very joyful-that is, if they are truly Vaiṣṇavas. One who is envious of the success of a Vaiṣṇava is certainly not a Vaiṣṇava himself, but an ordinary mundane man. Envy and jealousy are manifested by mundane people, not by Vaiṣṇavas. Why should a Vaiṣṇava be envious of another Vaiṣṇava who is successful in spreading the holy name of the Lord? An actual Vaiṣṇava is very pleased to accept another Vaiṣṇava who is bestowing the Lord’s mercy. A mundane person in the dress of a Vaiṣṇava should not be respected but rejected. This is enjoined in the śāstra (upekṣā). The word upekṣā means neglect. One should neglect an envious person. A preacher’s duty is to love the Supreme Personality of Godhead, make friendships with Vaiṣṇavas, show mercy to the innocent and reject or neglect those who are envious or jealous. There are many jealous people in the dress of Vaiṣṇavas in this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement, and they should be completely neglected. There is no need to serve a jealous person who is in the dress of a Vaiṣṇava. When Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura says chāḍiyā vaiṣṇava sevā nistāra payeche kebā, he is indicating an actual Vaiṣṇava, not an envious or jealous person in the dress of a Vaiṣṇava.” (Cc Madhya-lila 1.218 purport)


“The cult of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu is explained here very nicely. One who surrenders to Him and is ready to follow Him with heart and soul does not need to change his location. Nor is it necessary for one to change status. One may remain a householder, a medical practitioner, an engineer or whatever. It doesn’t matter. One only has to follow the instruction of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, chant the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra and instruct relatives and friends in the teachings of the Bhagavad-gītā and Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. One has to learn humility and meekness at home, following the instructions of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, and in that way one’s life will be spiritually successful. One should not try to be an artificially advanced devotee, thinking, “I am a first-class devotee.” Such thinking should be avoided. It is best not to accept any disciples. One has to become purified at home by chanting the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra and preaching the principles enunciated by Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. Thus one can become a spiritual master and be freed from the contamination of material life.

There are many sahajiyās who decry the activities of the six Gosvāmīs-Śrīla Rūpa, Sanātana, Raghunātha dāsa, Bhaṭṭa Raghunātha, Jīva and Gopāla Bhaṭṭa Gosvāmīs-who are the personal associates of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu and who enlightened society by writing books on devotional service. Similarly, Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura and other great ācāryas like Madhvācārya, Rāmānujācārya and others accepted many thousands of disciples to induce them to render devotional service. However, there is a class of sahajiyās who think that these activities are opposed to the principles of devotional service. Indeed, they consider such activities simply another phase of materialism. Thus opposing the principles of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, they commit offenses at His lotus feet. They should better consider His instructions and, instead of seeking to be considered humble and meek, should refrain from criticizing the followers of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu who engage in preaching. To protect His preachers, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu has given much clear advice in these verses of Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta.” (Cc Madhya-lila 7.130 purport)


“If one thinks that there are many pseudo devotees or nondevotees in the Kṛṣṇa Consciousness Society, one can keep direct company with the spiritual master, and if there is any doubt, one should consult the spiritual master. However, unless one follows the spiritual master’s instructions and the regulative principles governing chanting and hearing the holy name of the Lord, one cannot become a pure devotee. By one’s mental concoctions, one falls down. By associating with nondevotees, one breaks the regulative principles and is thereby lost.” (Cc Madhya-lila 19.157 purport)


“Becoming a devotee of the Lord to serve material purposes is a great mistake. Many people become showbottle devotees for material profits. Indeed materialistic persons sometimes take to professional devotional service and keep Viṣṇu, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, as a means of livelihood. None of this, however, is approved. In the book known as Sapta-śatī, as mentioned by Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura, one can discover how a person worshiping the goddess Durgā begs her for different varieties of material profit. Such activities are very popular among people in general, but they are the attempts of foolish, blind people (sei jñāna-andha).” (Cc Antya-lila 9.68 purport)


“Whenever an ācārya comes, following the superior orders of the Supreme Personality of Godhead or His representative, he establishes the principles of religion, as enunciated in Bhagavad-gītā. Religion means abiding by the orders of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Religious principles begin from the time one surrenders to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. It is the ācārya’s duty to spread a bona fide religious system and induce everyone to bow down before the Supreme Lord. One executes the religious principles by rendering devotional service, specifically the nine items like hearing, chanting and remembering. Unfortunately, when the ācārya disappears, rogues and nondevotees take advantage and immediately begin to introduce unauthorized principles in the name of so-called svāmīs, yogīs, philanthropists, welfare workers and so on. Actually, human life is meant for executing the orders of the Supreme Lord, and this is stated in Bhagavad-gītā (9.34):

man-manā bhava mad-bhakto
mad-yājī māṁ namaskuru
mām evaiṣyasi yuktvaivam
ātmānaṁ mat-parāyaṇaḥ

“Engage your mind always in thinking of Me and become My devotee. Offer obeisances and worship Me. Being completely absorbed in Me, surely you will come to Me.”

The main business of human society is to think of the Supreme Personality of Godhead at all times, to become His devotees, to worship the Supreme Lord and to bow down before Him. The ācārya, the authorized representative of the Supreme Lord, establishes these principles, but when he disappears, things once again become disordered. The perfect disciples of the ācārya try to relieve the situation by sincerely following the instructions of the spiritual master. At the present moment practically the entire world is afraid of rogues and nondevotees; therefore this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is started to save the world from irreligious principles. Everyone should cooperate with this movement in order to bring about actual peace and happiness in the world.” (SB 4.28.48 purport)


“The lord states that as soon as one reaches him by devotional service–which is the one and only way to approach the personality of godhead–one attains complete freedom from the bondage of birth and death. In other words, the path of salvation from the material clutches fully depends on the principles of knowledge and detachment gained from serving the lord.

The pseudo religionists have neither knowledge nor detachment from material affairs, for most of them want to live in the golden shackles of material bondage under the shadow of philanthropic activities disguised as religious principles. By a false display of religious sentiments, they present a show of devotional service while indulging in all sorts of immoral activities. In this way they pass as spiritual masters and devotees of god.

Such violators of religious principles have no respect for the authoritative acaryas, the holy teachers in the strict disciplic succession. They ignore the vedic injunction acaryopasana–“one must worship the acarya”–and krsna’s statement in the bhagavad-gita (4.2) evam parampara-praptam, “this supreme science of god is received through the disciplic succession.” Instead, to mislead the people in general they themselves become so-called acaryas, but they do not even follow the principles of the acaryas.

These rogues are the most dangerous elements in human society. Because there is no religious government, they escape punishment by the law of the state. They cannot, however, escape the law of the supreme, who has clearly declared in the bhagavad-gita that envious demons in the garb of religious propagandists shall be thrown into the darkest regions of hell (bg. 16.19-20).

Sri isopanisad confirms that these pseudo religionists are heading toward the most obnoxious place in the universe after the completion of their spiritual master business, which they conduct simply for sense gratification.” (Sri Isopanisad 12)


“In this verse, the royal road to hell is described. The demoniac want to make a show of religion and advancement in spiritual science, although they do not follow the principles. They are always arrogant or proud in possessing some type of education or so much wealth. They desire to be worshiped by others, and demand respectability, although they do not command respect. Over trifles they become very angry and speak harshly, not gently. They do not know what should be done and what should not be done. They do everything whimsically, according to their own desire, and they do not recognize any authority.” (Bg As It Is 16.4 purport the divine and demoniac natures)


Pusta krsna: some of them will say some things that krsna says, but they’ll take from other places also. What is the position of such persons?

Prabhupada: he’s most dangerous. He’s most dangerous. He is opportunist. He’s finding out customer, something here… according to the customer he is giving something, as the customers will be pleased. So he is not guru. He’s a servant. He wants to serve the so-called disciples so that he may be satisfied and pay him something. He’s servant. He’s not guru. Guru is the master.

You cannot disobey guru. But if you become a servant, you want to please the disciple by flattering him to get his money, then you are not guru, you are servant. Just like a servant pleases the master. He’s not guru. He’s servant. So our position should be servant, yes, but servant of the supreme. So guru means heavy. You cannot utilize him for satisfying your whims. That is not guru. (760628bj.nv conversations)


“The prākṛta-sahajiyās are not even worthy of being called Vaiṣṇavas. They think that only caste gosvāmīs should be called Prabhupāda. Such ignorant sahajiyās call themselves vaiṣṇava-dāsa-anudāsa, which means the servant of the servant of the Vaiṣṇavas. However, they are opposed to addressing a pure Vaiṣṇava as Prabhupāda. In other words, they are envious of a bona fide spiritual master who is addressed as Prabhupāda, and they commit offenses by considering a bona fide spiritual master an ordinary human being or a member of a certain caste. Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura describes such sahajiyās as most unfortunate. Because of their misconceptions, they fall into a hellish condition.” (cc/madhya/10/23)


Prabhupada: These sahajiyas will come out of so many devotees. What can be done? From my Guru Maharaja’s disciples, so many sahajiyas came. These are called sahajiyas. Very easily they capture thing. So my Guru Maharaja used to say, “When my disciples will be sahajiya, it will be more dangerous.” He used to say like that. Take things very easily. You know that Purushottama, supposed to be my Godbrother?” (Room Conversation — January 28, 1977, Bhuvanesvara)

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