Choosing a Guru: Personal Perspective
Posted August 9, 2006
It was a pleasureto read Hare Krsna dasi's article, How To Select a Spiritual Master, as she brings out solid philosophical and cultural points to uphold her argument. Spending my childhood years in a traditional Bengali Vaishnava family outside ISKCON, I was always given the idea that one needs to deepen one's understanding of the Shastras, take shelter of sadhus and Krishna naturally sends one a diksa guru when the time is ripe. Siksa was always more important than diksa.
I was personally told by a Vaishnava friend to pray to Nityananda prabhu every day to get a guru. I was chanting the following names of Nityananda and praying:
nityananda avadhutendu vasudhaprana vallabha
jahnava jivana pati krishna prema prada prabhu
padmavati suta sriman saci nandana purvaja
bhavonmatta jagat trata rakta gaura kalevaram
Eventually, after a few years, I came in touch with HH Tamal Krishna Goswami, a sannyasi who hardly visited my hometown, Calcutta. Based on my own personal experience and my hearing from sadhus, I can perhaps highlight some general points of Hare Krishna prabhu's article.
Though pure devotees of Krishna sometimes can use charisma to attract
conditioned souls, charisma shouldn't be taken into account as a
criterion to judge a prospective guru. Doing so can lead to the devotee
feeling unenthusiastic, worn out or 'disillusioned' in the long run, as
soon as one gets over the initial attraction. Personally, it took me
more than eight years of serious searching and assessment of both self
and guru to get initiation from a bonafide spiritual master, after
having surrendered to Srila Prabhupada and maintaining all the
requirements, but today I am happy and satisfied about my long wait,
prayers and initiation.