Crooked Disciples




by Sri Srimad Gour Govinda Swami Maharaja

Once a guru went to the house of one of his disciples. The disciple prepared nice food, and after the guru had eaten, the disciple wanted to show his guru-bhakti. In Ayurveda the haritaki fruit is recommended for good digestion, so the disciple came with haritaki for his guru. The guru said, “All right. Remove the unnecessary things and give me the necessary part.”

That disciple was a speculator, a crooked person. He thought, “Oh, the outer portion of the haritaki is unnecessary and the inner portion is necessary.” So he threw away the outer skin and gave the inner portion, the hard seed, to the guru. But with haritaki the outer skin is necessary and the inner portion is thrown away. That disciple did the opposite because he was a speculator— bharavahi, saragrahi nahin— he always accepted the unnecessary things that are not the essence.

His guru could not enjoy the haritaki. “You are such a unintelligent fellow,” he said. “Don’t you know? The inner portion, the hard nut of haritaki, is unnecessary. The outer portion, the skin, is necessary.”


The next day, after the guru had eaten, that so-called disciple brought some cardamom. Remembering the previous day’s event, he thought, “Oh, the guru has taught that this inner portion is unnecessary and this outer portion is necessary.” So he threw away the inner portion of the cardamom and offered the outer skin to the guru. But with cardamom, the seed is necessary and the skin is useless. That means that those who are kapati, crooked persons, only speculate. They will not accept anything as it is.

Therefore the mahajanas have said that one who is very serious and eager to achieve perfection in his human birth, that is krsna-bhakti, should cultivate simplicity. Simplicity is Vaishnavism. Those who are real vaisnavas are simple by nature. Kapatya, crookedness, is a great hindrance on this path of perfection. It is a sort of disease. And because a crooked person becomes envious towards the doctor who has come to cure him, his disease is incurable.

In Bhakti-Sandarbha, Jiva Goswami has said that there are many such persons who pretend to be devoted, but inside their heart there is great crookedness. Outwardly they pay dandavats, falling down like a rod from a great distance, as if they are very humble. Yet they criticize sadhu, acarya, and gurus. They may even offer worship, but actually they have no respect at all. They are very keen to find out the faults of the sadhu.

Such persons take to karma, jnana, yoga, tapasya, tyaga, and niti— fruitive activities, speculative knowledge, penance, renunciation, and morality. Externally they practice these things and pose as if they are of very high moral character, but actually their hearts are very hard.

Unreal Shelter

Those persons who leave the bona fide guru and go elsewhere due to crookedness cannot be delivered. In Skanda Purana it is said, bhumau skhalita-padanam, bhumir evavalambanam — “If your feet slip up from the ground, only that same ground can give you shelter.” Similarly, if you have slipped up from the lotus feet of a bona fide guru, only that guru can give you shelter. A crooked person who pretends to be a humble follower of the guru will leave that guru and go somewhere else to take shelter. But he should understand that no one can give him shelter. It may seem that someone may give him shelter, but that is not real shelter at all because he cannot make any advancement there.

Rather, for his offense he will definitely fall down and go to hell. If he does not come back to his guru and beg to be excused, his offense cannot be destroyed or counteracted. If he is really an intelligent, simple-hearted person, he will understand this and come back. Unless he comes back, he must be entrapped by this crookedness. In this way, Jiva Goswami has discussed kapatya in his Bhakti-Sandarbha, and how it is a great stumbling block on the path of devotional service.

Stool of a Hog

Sastra, sadhus, and mahajanas have all warned us about kapatya. But still you will find this crookedness going on in the Vaisnava community. Why is it that people do not become simple? It is because they are running after name, fame, and prestige. Our Vaisnava acaryas have said, vaisnava pratistha, sukarera vistha, such fame is the stool of a hog. A real Vaisnava will never run after it. But all are running after this by cultivating crookedness. “How can I get labha, puja and pratistha? How can I get worship from others and occupy a superior position?” Those who think in this way cannot understand that an incurable disease has infected them. They have given up kanaka and kamini, wealth and women, but they have not given up this pratistha, the desire for worldly reputation.


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