Guru, Sadhu, Sastra and Heart?

Gopakumardas - September 16, 2004 11:32 pm

Bhaktin E:


You told me the other day of the idea that there are four evidences for accepting something: guru, sadhu sastra, and how it sits in your heart. Where does this come from?




The idea is that one must also accept what is said by sadhu, sastra, and guru. It is then that it can become the goal of our lives. All these other pramanas are as good as they are able to bypass the mind and intellect and enter one's heart. There it will have value. The song Sri Guru Vandana is being quoted here by two bonafide gurus (GM and Paramadvaiti Swami). It is a song by Narottama das Thakur (sadhu). I do not know his pramana for this statement in his song. But he himself is one who is qualified to manifest sastra.


Paramadvaiti Maharaja says:


After the founder acharya leaves, his books are sastras. They are passive, and any interpretation is only as true as the interpreter is pure and inspired. Also it is a fact, that all is written in the vaishnava books, we cannot follow bookshelves, we have to follow our own inner guide (cittete koriya aikya). That means to search for a valid sadhu and guru and to consult the sastra on all issues with their help. And at least you need the peace of your conscience.


Guru Maharaja says:


We hear we have to be in accordance with sadhu, sastra and guru. But there is a fourth thing also. What is that? 'Guru-mukha-padma-vakhya, cittete koriya aikya.' Our heart, 'cittete koriya aikya.' How these things strike our hearts, then we respond accordingly. That is why we go in that direction. It is not out of law but out of some feeling that has influenced us through guru, sadhu and sastra.


So the heart is all important. We should know that each of us has a heart of our own for Krsna. We should know the tattva, the philosophy, very well either by our own careful study or if we don't have that type of aptitude, by serving those who exemplify the Bhagavat, the scripture, and that way we can learn the tattva. As a result, gradually we can come to have a feeling ourself for these things. Then so many wonderful things that have not yet come out will come to light and we will be the vehicle, the instrument for that.


That is a development from taking what has been brought down from above and distributing it, which is widely considered to be the supreme service, selling the books. From that, to actually bringing the books down by writing and publishing them and so forth, that is a natural progression. We hope that all of you will become such that you will have some thoughts of your own, having thought about all the things that have gone into your heads and hearts.


Bhaktin E:


I did find the source of the 4 pramanas after I called

you. It's in Manu Samhita (of all places) Chapter 2.

Here's some info from veda.harekrsna.cz:


Manu on Pramana


Q: What does Manu-samhita say about one's conscience

as a pramana?


A: (Ekanath Das) Manu mentions "pramana(s)" in eight

different places. I am not sure which one you are

asking about. Could it be 2.6? Here Medhatithi has

produced twelve pages of (small print) Sanskrit

commentary. It appears to be an important verse:


vedo 'khilo dharma-mula smrti-kule ca tad-vidam

acarah caiva sadhunam atmanas tusnir eva ca


Max Mueller's translation:


"The whole Veda is the (first) source of the sacred

law, next the tradition and the virtuous conduct of

those who know the (Veda further), also the customs of

holy men, and (finally) self-satisfaction."


This verse could be interpreted as being the basis of

the famous "guru, sadhu, sastra," dictum.


The interesting word would of course be "atmanas

tusnih," "self-satisfaction." Mueller has the

following note:


"The 'self-satisfaction,' i.e. of the virtuous (Medh.,

Gov., Nand.), is the rule for the cases not to be

settled by any of the other authorities (Nar., Nand.),

or for cases where an option is permitted (Medh.,

Gov., Kull.)."


A verse that seems to summarize or repeat the

statements of 2.6, appears at 2.12:


vedah smrtih sadacarah svasya ca priyam atmanah

etac catur vidha prahuh saksad dharmasya laksanam


Mueller's translation:


"The Veda, the sacred tradition, the customs of

virtuous men, and one's own pleasure, they declare to

be visibly the fourfold means of defining the sacred



Here, "one's own pleasure," is what remains to be

defined. If these are the passages that you have in

mind, it would appear that "one's own conscience" has

been chosen by some as a suitable interpretation of

both "atmanas tusnih" and "priyam atmanah." One could

perhaps say "one's own discretion," but (I think), it

would have to be made clear that this should mean the

discretion of a properly trained person of saintly




Gopa asks:


Do any of you have anything to add to this discussion between a friend of mine and I?

Gopakumardas - September 17, 2004 6:22 pm


Nanda-tanuja Dasa - September 18, 2004 5:37 am

My edition of “The Laws of Manu” has different translation (by Wendy Doniger):

2-6: The root of religion is the entire Veda, and the tradition and customs of those who know, and the conduct of virtuous people, and what is satisfactory to oneself.

2-12: The Veda, tradition, the conduct of good people, and what is pleasing to oneself --they say that this is the four-fold mark of religion, right before one’s eyes.

This is another version (by George Buhler):

2-6: The whole Veda is the (first) source of the sacred law, next the tradition and the virtuous conduct of those who know the (Veda further), also the customs of holy men, and (finally) self-satisfaction.

2-12: The Veda, the sacred tradition, the customs of virtuous men, and one's own pleasure, they declare to be visibly the fourfold means of defining the sacred law.


From what I can understand, this section of Manu Samhita talks about source of law/religion, not pramana -- means of acquiring true knowledge.


Three kinds of pramana are accepted in our sampradaya:

sabda/agama/apta-vakyas -- spiritual sound, authoritative testimony, evidence from the Vedic literature, revelation

pratyaksa -- sensory, direct perception

anumana -- inference, logic


Pramana provides a means to know, but the knowledge has to be gained by the seeker through his self-effort. Such as guru-mukha-padma vakya cittete koriya aikya -- making the words of the spiritual master one with your heart.


Another interesting thought could be that "self-satisfaction" and "what is pleasing to oneself" means atma suprasidati (Ahaituky apratihata yayatma suprasidati).

Citta Hari Dasa - September 20, 2004 12:38 am

The idea that pratyaksa (realization; direct experience) is the ultimate pramana is found in the Cc in the Ramananda-samvada (Madhya Ch 8). At Mahaprabhu's request Raya Ramananda gave progressively higher and deeper understandings of the goal of life, with Ramananda quoting shastra all along. But at a certain point (text 191) the Lord says, "This is all right, but go on." Then in text 192 Ramananda says that he could go further but that he had no sastric evidence for it. He then began to sing a song of his own, upon hearing which Mahaprabhu covered his mouth. The Lord then confirmed that what Ramananda had sung was the limit of the goal of human life.

Swami - September 20, 2004 2:30 am

sadhu sastra guru vakya cittete kariya aikya



The idea is that within what is Krsna consciousness as defined by guru, sadhu, and sastra there is still freedom to follow one's heart. For example, all gurus say that one needs a guru. Sadhu and sastra agree on this point. Still one has the freedom to follow one's heart and choose the guru that brings the whole thing to life for oneself.


Still, as Citta Hari dasa has pointed out, everything is not written down. But this kind of realization is for advanced devotees. After all Ramanada Roy realized the milita tanu of Mahaprabhu and this is the life of our entire religion! sri krsna caitanaya radha krsna nahe anya rupanuga janera jivana. He followed his heart, and we should follow his heart as well.