Vyasa Puja

On this auspicious day, disciples gather to glorify their spiritual master, sharing remembrances of the great soul who guides their lives back home, back to godhead. This collection of offerings are presented at the lotus feet of HH Jayapataka Swami Guru Maharaj as a humble tribute, to remind us of our eternal debt towards our spiritual master.

His own spiritual master, His Divine Grace Srila AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada, revealed the timeless science of Krsna consciousness to the entire world. Following in the footsteps of his spiritual master, His Holiness Jayapataka Swami Guru Maharaja is delivering the very same message of Vyasadeva to the fallen conditioned souls. This is the commitment of all exalted masters in this line.

yasya deve para bhaktir
yatha deve tatha gurau
tasyaita kathita hy arthah
prakasante mahatmanah

Only to one who has implicit faith in both the spiritual master and the Supreme Lord, are all the imports of the Vedic literature automatically revealed. The great spiritual masters apart from delivering the science intact, without speculative interpretation, lived and demonstrated the teachings of the Vedic literature.

The spiritual master is the representative of Vyasa because he is delivering that same knowledge that is coming down by disciplic succession from Vyasa. Because he delivers that knowledge without change, he is offered special respects one day out of the year, on his appearance day as the representative of Vyasadeva and this is called Vyasa-puja. The disciple can approach the Supreme Lord only through the bonafide spiritual master.

yasya prasadad bhagavat prasado
yasyaprasadan na gatih kuto ‘pi
dhyayan stuvams tasya yasas tri-sandhyam

“By the mercy of the spiritual master one receives the benediction of Krsna. Without the grace of the spiritual master one cannot make any advancement.”

The disciple is therefore indebted to the spiritual master for taking him out from the material ocean and accepting him into his fold as worthy recipient of the mercy of the previous spiritual masters. The disciple considers the spiritual master to be non-different from the Supreme Lord Himself and thus offers him respects accordingly.

He strictly adheres to the instructions of the spiritual master and renders service submissively. The relationship between the spiritual master and the disciple is of a very subtle nature and is perceived and realized by the disciple as he develops the spiritual finesse through following the instructions of the spiritual master and serves him.

Whatever service the spiritual master accepts he does so on behalf of the Supreme Lord, Krsna. Pleasing the spiritual master, therefore, directly pleases the Supreme Lord. This simple yet mysterious understanding is the crux of the whole relationship between the spiritual master and the disciple.

The importance of the spiritual master in our lives:

Throughout Srila Prabhupada’s books we find emphatically stated that the centre of spiritual life is the acceptance of the order of the spiritual master. With his own example Srila Prabhupada, showed us that pleasing the spiritual master is the secret of spiritual success. And his most dedicated followers are also living examples of this.

As a dedicated disciple of Srila Prabhupada, Guru Maharaja, with his own example and in his nectarine classes, has never stopped teaching us about the importance of the spiritual master. Even in periods in which the position of the spiritual master was being attacked, Guru Maharaja, despite all criticisms and difficulties, firmly defended this most secret principle.

Srila Prabhupada states in the Caitanya Caritamrta,

One should always remember that a person who is reluctant to accept a spiritual master and be initiated is sure to be baffled in his endeavor to go back to Godhead. One who is not properly initiated may present himself as a great devotee, but in fact he is sure to encounter many stumbling blocks on his path of progress toward spiritual realization, with the result that he must continue his term of material existence without relief. Such a helpless person is compared to a ship without a rudder, for such a ship can never reach its destination. It is imperative, therefore, that one accept a spiritual master if he at all desires to gain the favor of the Lord.

The service of the spiritual master is essential. If there is no chance to serve the spiritual master directly, a devotee should serve him by remembering his instructions. There is no difference between the spiritual master’s instructions and the spiritual master himself. In his absence, therefore, his words of direction should be the pride of the disciple. If one thinks that he is above consulting anyone else, including a spiritual master, he is at once an offender at the lotus feet of the Lord.

Once Guru Maharaja told us a story about Srila Prabhupada. Srila Prabhupada was in the room and suddenly he started thinking aloud, “I don’t think I will be successful in my spiritual life because I have published so many books. Nor because I chant my rounds every day, nor because I have opened so many temples. All these is simply to please my spiritual master and by his mercy I will be able to attain perfection.”

As disciples and followers of Guru Maharaja, it is our duty to follow in his footsteps and understand his mood. We can see how Guru Maharaja has unlimited divine qualities, but of all of them, his dedication to Srila Prabhupada shines as the main jewel of his bhakti bhusanas.

(The importance of the spiritual master in our lives: taken from the book ‘The Most Blessed Event, Sri Vyasa Puja: HDG Sri Srimad Jayapataka Swami Acaryapada’ (April 7th, 1998) text by Ananta Sri Dasa.)