The importance of praying to Sri Guru for humility, tolerance, and respect for others.

By Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj

trnad api sunichena taror iva sahisnuna
amanina manadena kirtaniyah sada harih

[“The Lord’s Name should always be chanted with more humility than a blade of grass, tolerance like that of a tree, respect for everyone, and without desire for respect from anyone.”]

Mercifully Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur explained this verse in his song Gurudev! krpa bindu diya. Through this song we can understand how to practise Krishna consciousness. Real devotion means fully surrendering to Krishna and engaging in devotional activities for the purpose of serving Sri Krishna under the guidance of our Gurudev.

krpa-bindu diya kara’ ei dase
trnapeksa ati hina
(Saranagati: Bhajana-lalasa, 11.1)

Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur showed us how to pray to our Gurudev: “Please mercifully give me the power to be humble, to be tolerant, and to honour others.”

Humility gives us the strength needed to practise Krishna consciousness. Tolerance gives us the ability to adjust with the environment. Honouring others is the main way that we can avoid pratistha. If we attain these powers by the mercy of Gurudev, then we can properly chant the Hare Krishna mahamantra.

tabe ta’ gaiba hari-nama sukhe
aparadha habe hata
(Saranagati: Bhajana-lalasa, 11.1)

Only if we get the three powers of humility, tolerance, and honouring others can we chant the Lord’s Name without offence.

Gurudev mercifully gives these powers to us. But when Gurudev serves his Lord, he also prays for these powers. That is called disciplic succession. Our succession comes down from Krishna through Brahma, Devarsi Narad, and Vedavyas down to Madhavendra Puri and Isvar Puri. Every Guru in our disciplic succession prays for these three qualities.

Why do we say disciplic succession? Guru Maharaj always gave the example of a telescopic system. When we look through a powerful lens we can see farther than we can with our eyes, but when we look into the night sky through many powerful lenses that are adjusted to each other, then we can see the position of the planets and many other things in the sky.

We receive Krishna’s mercy through the disciplic succession. When you worship your Guru, he digests everything you do. That is a mundane matter we can say, but when your Guru also sends everything you offer him on to his Guru, then your Guru also becomes clear and receives mercy from his Guru.

Our Guru system is a servitor’s line, and we see Radha-Krishna’s lotus feet through our disciplic succession of Gurus. The system works according to a principle called sata-patra-vedha-nyaya. If we poke a needle through a bunch of 100 leaves, the needle passes through them all immediately, yet it also passes one by one through each leaf. We send our devotional activities to Srimati Radharani and Lord Krishna in this way.


Spoken in Sri Jagannath Puri Dham in 1990.