Gaudiya literature such as the Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta sheds light on Guru Tattva, the ontological position of the spiritual master.

In CC 1.1.44/45 we find the following:

yadyapi āmāra guru — caitanyera dāsa
tathāpi jāniye āmi tāṅhāra prakāśa
guru kṛṣṇa-rūpa hana śāstrera pramāṇe
guru-rūpe kṛṣṇa kṛpā karena bhakta-gaṇe

Although I know that my spiritual master is a servitor of Śrī Caitanya, I know Him also as a plenary manifestation of the Lord. According to the deliberate opinion of all revealed scriptures, the spiritual master is nondifferent from Kṛṣṇa. Lord Kṛṣṇa in the form of the spiritual master delivers His devotees.

Furthermore, Śri Hari-bhakti-vilasa 4.346-365 quotes a variety of scriptures where the Guru is equated with the Lord Himself. Examples are "know the acarya as Myself" (SB 11.17.27 ācāryaṁ māṁ vijānīyān, quoted in 4.437), "the Guru is Viṣṇu" (4.352) and "He who is known as the Guru is known as Hari" (yo gurūḥ sa hariḥ smṛtaḥ, quoted in 4.353). In Bhakti Sandarbha (202, 211, 213), Jīva Gosvāmī also raises the topic of the nature of the Guru in relation to God.

All works mentioned above are native to the Gaudiya tradition and I was hard-pressed to find any writings of members of other Vaiṣnava traditions which would address the issue at play. Are there any works of non-Gaudiya Vaiṣnavas who elaborate on Guru Tattva (whether the Guru is as good as God or God Himself)?

1 Answer 1


Each and every Vaishnava sect respects the Upanishads. In tye Svetasvatara Upanishad, we get

yasya deve parA bhaktir yathA deve tathA gurau/tasya ete kathiA arthA prakashente mahatmanah// (6.23). Meaning : The meanings of the scriptures is revealed only to him who has supreme devotion to God and the same devotion to Guru.

It is quite natural therefore that all the Vaishnava sects respect Guru as God.

An example is the Nimvarka sect:

According to Sri Nimbarka Jiva can attain Salvation (realize its proper form) only by obeying the advices of Guru. If one follows the instructions of his/her Guru in an unperturbed, indiscriminate, unopposed manner he/she can attain the Moksha (liberation from all bondages even births and deaths) without observing any other rituals. Reference : http://www.sadgurus-saints-sages.com/Details_2.aspx?pageid=QEplZnIey%2FBLiy955it4lQ%3D%3D

That, as mentioned, is obvious because most of the Vishnava Sects regard the Upanishads and Srimad-Bhagavatam as their most dear scripture and Sri Krishna says in Gita 'Acharyam mAm vijAniyAt' as you have already mentioned.

The following slokas are mentioned in the Srimad-Bhagavatam published by Sri Amatprasad Bhattachaya Vedantashastri Kavya-vedanta-vyakaranatirtha of the Nimvarka sect:

namostu gurave tuybham sansarArnavatAraka/sansArasAgare magnam mAm samuddhara he guro// na jAtu vismare'ham tvAm na tvam mAm vishmayeh kvachit/bhavatAm me parA bhaktis tvyai janmani janmani//

Meaning: O Guru! I bow down to Thee. You are the saviour in the world-ocean. I am being drowned in the ocean of worldliness, save me. May I never forget you and nor may you forget me ever. May I have pure devotion to You in every birth.

He also calls Guru as Bhagavan and Gopijana-ballava as per the sayings of Sri Krishna in the Srimad-Bhagavatam.

In the Sri-Sampradaya also, Guru as well as Guru-parampara is very revered. http://sriramanujar.tripod.com/vamsa_vriksham.html

I salute the line of our preceptors which starts with Lakshmi Naatha, Naatha Muni, Yaamuna Muni and others coming in between and up to my present Acharya.

Reference: Srmad-Bhagavatam comwmentary by Amarprasad Bhattacharya, Mahesh Library, 10th Canto, Vol. 12, page 360-1.

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