After Finding A Qualified Guru by Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura
After finding a qualified guru, a faithful disciple should serve him with firm conviction and without duplicity. One should accept initiation and kṛṣṇa-mantra after pleasing the guru. Those who are averse to taking initiation and only make a drama of pseudo kīrtana while advertising themselves as Vaisnavas are certainly cheaters. It is not advised for materialistic persons to renounce the process of initiation just because a few great souls like Jada Bharata did not take initiation. Spiritual initiation is a constitutional injunction for every birth of the living entity. If initiation is not seen in the life of a perfected soul, it should not be taken as an example. General rules are not changed because something happens to a particular person in a special situation. Sri Dhruva Maharaja went to Dhruvaloka in his material body; seeing that, should one waste time hoping for the same? The general rule is a living entity gives up his material body and goes to Vaikuntha in his spiritual body. General rules should be accepted by people in general. Whenever and whatever is desired by the Lord, who is full of inconceivable potencies, certainly takes place. Therefore we should never transgress the general rules. After pleasing the guru by serving him without duplicity, one should receive from him instructions on the Absolute Truth and initiation into chanting the holy name of the Lord.
After receiving initiation and instructions from a bona fide guru, a fortunate disciple should follow the path of the previous sadhus. Those who are proud neglect the previous mahājanas and create new paths. As a result, they proceed on an inauspicious path and ruin themselves. It is said in the Skanda Purāṇa:
sa mṛgyaḥ śreyasāṁ hetuḥ
yena santaḥ pratasthire
“One should strictly follow the easy path which the previous mahājanas have accepted. That path bestows great auspiciousness and is devoid of all misery.” By discussing the path of the previous sadhus, one gets determination, courage, and satisfaction. When we discuss the path of devotional service exhibited by Sri Rupa, Sri Sanatana, Sri Raghunatha, and Sri Haridasa Thakura, then we feel such happiness that it cannot be described. When the miscreant Mohammedans tortured HaridasaThakura, he said:
khaṇḍa khaṇḍa hai’ deha yāya yadi prāṇa
tabu āmi vadane nā chāḍi hari-nāma
e saba jīvere kṛṣṇa! karaha prasāda
mora drohe nahu e sabāra aparādha
“Even if my body is cut into pieces and I loose my life, I will never give up chanting the Lord’s holy name. O Krishna, please be merciful upon these poor souls, kindly excuse them for their ofense of torturing me.” Maintaining this type of determination and being compassionate to all living entities while always chanting the holy name of Krishna is the path of devotional service exhibited by the previous mahājanas. A path cannot be manufactured. Whatever path is there should be accepted by sadhakas. People who are proud and desire fame try vigorously to discover new paths. However, those who have good fortune from past lives give up pride and respect the established path. People who are unfortunate promenade on a new path and thus cheat the world. Regarding such persons the Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu (1.2.46-47) quotes the Brahma-yāmala as follows:
aikāntikī harer bhaktir
vastu tastu tathā naiva
“Devotional service of the Lord that ignores the authorized Vedic literatures like the Upaniṣads, Purāṇas, and Narada Pañcarātra is simply an unnecessary disturbance in society. Such activities are born out of speculation and therefore they only superficially resemble unalloyed devotion because they are disrespectful to the Vedic injunctions. Disrespecting Vedic injunctions falls in the category of atheism. Whenever there is disrespect for the scriptures, which are the Lord’s instructions, that cannot be true devotional service.”
The purport is that although the path of devotion is of two kinds – vaidhi and rāgānugā – the previous mahājanas have clearly prescribed them according to one’s qualification. These paths are explained in the scriptures such as the śruti, smṛti, and pañcarātra. Rejecting these paths, the new paths discovered by Lord Buddha and Dattatreya ultimately create disturbance in the world.. Due to improper consideration these new paths are advertised as unalloyed devotional service to Kṛṣṇa, although they are not actually so. The proper path is explained by the Vedic literatures. Nowadays many new paths are discovered, and they ultimately disappear along with their propounders.
— Śrī Bhaktyāloka – The Six Faults and Qualities of Bhakti» Six Qualities that Enhance Bhakti» Tat-tat-karma-pravartana – Various activities favorable for devotional service »Writings of Śrīla BhaktivinodeṬhākura.