(Kadamba Kanana Swami, Untitled Lecture)
When I approached my spiritual master for initiation, he said, “Hmmm, as good as God, are you prepared to accept that?” And I thought, “Umm, well, I don’t know…” but I just said yes with a weak voice because it is not so simple to accept the spiritual master as good as God. But this is Krsna’s standard so what can we say. So somehow, gradually we must bring the guru-disciple relationship to that point. For me, it was not so easy because I had been initiated before and that relationship did not work – the spiritual master did not maintain spiritual standards and then to try to get into the mood of being a disciple again was a little difficult.
At that time, I was the temple president in Vrindavan, one of the big international headquarters of Iskcon. People would salute me as I would walk by and offer pranams (respectful hand gesture)! Half the town would come and offer respects, what to speak of devotees in the temple. And suddenly, I had to sit in a yajna again with the new bhaktas, remove my brahmin thread and sit down there and be initiated!
So I had a complete identity crisis to tell you the truth! At that time I felt somewhat awkward but my spiritual master understood and was kind and gave me some credit in the midst of that sacrifice. He said, “I want to give him two initiations at once.” Well, that was a relief because I wasn’t sure if he was going to do that so at least I was going to get my brahmin thread back; that was something! And then he said, “In fact, I would like to give him three, I would like to give him sannyasa as well but we will have to postpone that due to the particular rules and regulations in that regard.” By then it got pretty nice but it was not easy to just sit down in the sacrifice!
But afterward, there was the whole thing of bowing down! I had to get used to it, to bow down! The scriptures say to bow down many times whenever one sees the spiritual master. That was a bit of an adjustment. Like that, I had to practice and I still have to practice in this guru-disciple relationship – to not take it casually, to not take it cheaply but to get really serious about it as a disciple and try to really act in such a way as he likes, as he would like in all situations. By now, I have some idea of what he likes and what he does not like.
So the spiritual master is always present in his instructions and following instructions does not come automatically, it takes real endeavour, but when that endeavour is made then the relationship becomes really meaningful…