Who is a bonafide spiritual master?
In this yuga first of all hardly any one interest in understanding the self, God and relation between God and living entity. Even if little interest comes they are devoured by so called cheating gurus. Actually those who want to be cheated they get cheating gurus. We consider spiritual life as if some sabzi mandi market where we bargain. So we generally reject those who are strict and adheres to regulative principle as mentioned sastras, rather we choose those guru who tell us do whatever we want to do, eat whatever, just pay this much to get mantra and chant this mantra, perfection will come. But all this are bogus.
i) The bonafide guru should be from four authorised Vaisnav parampara. There are four bonafide Vaisnav sampradaya-
- The Sri Brahma Sampradaya whose Sampradaya Acarya is Sri Madhvacarya.
- The Sri Laksmi Sampradaya whose Sampradaya Acarya is Sri Ramanujacarya.
- The Sri Kumara Sampradaya whose Sampradaya Acarya is Sri Nimbarkacarya.
- The Sri Rudra (Siva) Sampradaya whose Sampradaya Acarya is Sri Visnu Swami.
Our Gaudiya Vaisnav sampradaya comes in Brahma Sampradaya that is why it is also called Brahma-Madhva-Gaudiya sampradaya.
ii) A bonafide guru has full control over his senses. As mentioned by Srila Rupa Goswami, (one of the chief disciple of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu) in Upadesamrta “A sober person who can tolerate the urge to speak, the mind’s demands, the actions of anger and the urges of the tongue, belly and genitals is qualiﬁed to make disciples all over the world”.
iii) The guru should be one hundred percent fully Krishna bhakta. As Chaitanya mahaprabhu tells “kibā vipra, kibā nyāsī, śūdra kene naya , yei kṛṣṇa-tattva-vettā, sei 'guru' haya” - It does not matter whether a person is a vipra (learned scholar in Vedic wisdom) or is born in a lower family, or is in the renounced order of life-if he is master in the science of Kṛṣṇa, he is the perfect and bona fide spiritual master." (Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Madhya 8.128) So without being a master in the science of Kṛṣṇa science, no one is a bona fide spiritual master.
We know from the biography of Sadhu Thakur, how he is blessed by Srimati Radha Rani and sakhis. He perfectly matches with all qualification mentioned by our previous acharyas. On this occasion I want to dedicate a vaisnav bhajan to Great Krishna Bhakta, Sadhu Thakur, written by Bhakti Vinoda Thakur
ohe! vaiṣṇaba ṭhākura, doyāra sāgara, e dāse koruṇā kori'
diyā pada-chāyā, śodho he āmāya, tomāra caraṇa dhori
O venerable Vaisnava, devotee of Krsna! O ocean of mercy, be merciful unto your servant. Give me the shade of your lotus feet and purify me. I hold on to your lotus feet.
chaya bega domi', chaya doṣa śodhi', chaya guṇa deho' dāse
chaya sat-sańga, deho' he āmāre, bosechi sańgera āśe
Teach me to control my six passions; rectify my six faults, bestow upon me the six qualities, and offer unto me the six kinds of holy association.*
ekākī āmāra, nāhi pāya bala, hari-nāma-sańkīrtane
tumi kṛpā kori', śraddhā-bindu diyā, deho' kṛṣṇa-nāma-dhane
I do not find the strength to carry on alone the sankirtana of the holy name of Hari. Please bless me by giving me just one drop of faith with which to obtain the great treasure of the holy name of Krsna.
kṛṣṇa se tomāra, kṛṣṇa dīte pāro, tomāra śakati āche
āmi to' kāńgāla, 'kṛṣṇa' 'kṛṣṇa' boli', dhāi tava pāche pāche
Krsna is yours. You have the power to give Him to me. I am simply your servant running behind you shouting, "Krsna! Krsna!"
*The six passions are those pertaining to words, the mind, anger, the tongue, the stomach and the genitals. The six faults are overeating, attachment to material things, inability to follow regulative principles, sense gratification, useless idle talk, and impure habits.