The Root Of Devotional Service by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur
Before awakening pure devotional service, we must certainly learn of our relationship with the Supreme Lord. The spiritual master alone is able to bestow such knowledge. Therefore the root of devotional service is firm faith in the transcendental spiritual master. This faith is the first principle on the devotional path. The first requirement any devotee must fulfill is to give up the blind conception that there are many religions. He must also reject the path of argumentation and maintain faith in his spiritual master’s auspicious instructions.
What is faith? Faith means full confidence in Sri Gurudeva’s words. We cannot rely on the words of worldly persons but rather we should trust only Gurudeva. Everyone else is a pretender. Therefore, we should give up all worldly topics and have complete faith in the spiritual master’s words. We cannot find success in any other way. By the spiritual master’s mercy, our anarthas ( obstacles to spiritual progress ) will be destroyed, our desires fulfilled, and we will certainly attain the Lord’s mercy and auspicious audience (darśana).
Our troubles are vanquished and we achieve devotional service which is possible when we approach and associate with guru and sādhus. That is why we should rely implicitly on Sri Gurudeva if we wish to approach and serve the Absolute Person, Sri Krishna. The spiritual master will give us the highest good. If perchance we meet a real spiritual master, we must be saved. We must be able to reach our goal. The spiritual master will always supply and enrich us with transcendental knowledge and spiritual service.
“I will regulate the spiritual master”: this is an atheists conception. It comes from the offense of disregarding the spiritual master’s order. We must renounce this mentality as soon as it appears. I will not listen to the words of anyone in this world. I will listen only to my spiritual master’s words because he has descended from Vaikuntha to deliver me.
We are minute, conscious souls. We can approach the supreme conscious Lord simply by the guru’s mercy. We will give up the association of others and return to our Eternal Master. Although the spiritual master considers himself the Supreme Lord’s insignificant servant, we must undoubtedly accept him as the only means by which we can go back to Godhead. He is our eternal well-wisher. I offer everything at the lotus feet of my spiritual master, knowing that he is most dear to God; he is as good as God. I will perform all my work in his service and desire nothing in return. Thus I will attain perfection.
—Amṛta Vāṇī: Nectar of Instructions of Immoratality His Divine Grace Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura Prabhupāda Compiled by Śrīpāda Bhakti Mayukha Bhāgavat Mahāraja Adapted and Published by Īśvara dāsa. Translated from Bengali by Bhumipati dāsa.