Our Progress Lies In Serving The Spiritual Master by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura
As long as we remain attached to family life or house and home, we are in trouble; but if we follow and serve the spiritual master, who is constantly absorbed in the service of Lord Krishna, we will no longer have any problems. There is no way to make our lives auspicious other than to follow the Lord’s devotees. Service to the spiritual master who is most dear to the Supreme Lord, is more beneficial than service to the Supreme Lord Himself. Our progress lies in serving the spiritual master, because by such service the fallen living entities are delivered. Those who want actual benefit in life must serve the spiritual master and the devotees with love and devotion.
What does it mean to serve them? Guru and the Vaishnavas engage in no other activity but Krishna’s service. To serve them means we should assist them in their service to the Supreme Lord and happily follow their orders without reservation.
Subordination to the spiritual master is required at all stages of life. To try to personally serve Krishna with pride and without the guru’s guidance simply causes disturbance. By denying or disobeying the
spiritual master, one certainly brings about his own ruination. To think that “I am independently serving Hari” is a symptom of pride. False pride is the first and main cause of downfall from spiritual life. By finding fault with guru and the Vaishnavas, one’s ruination is inevitable. Without service to guru, the living entities cannot find benefit anywhere.
Being solely interested in one’s material happiness brings misfortune on a living entity. Unless one is an unalloyed devotee of the Lord he cannot serve Krishna; and without serving guru one cannot become an unalloyed devotee. There is no other way for the conditioned souls to become delivered except through service to the spiritual master and the Vaishnavas.
—Amṛta Vāṇī – Nectar of Instructions for Immortality, Adapted and Published by Īśvara dāsa. Translated from Bengali by Bhumipati dāsa