Sri Guru and Gauranga – what does this mean?

If you have ever been to a Hare Krishna program, there is this time when one person begins to chant some prayers, and everyone else drops to the floor and offers obeisances periodically saying “jay”, “jay”. This can be confusing to someone who doesn’t know what’s going on, this article describes what they are doing… quite profound.

Sri Sri Gaura Nitai

Premananda das, 20th August 2016

Hare Krsna Devotees

Please accept my humble obeisances
All glories to Srila Gurudeva
All glories to Srila Prabhupada

I hear in the Prema dhvani several times “All glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga “
What does Sri Guru represent only spiritual masters in discipline succession or other meaning too.
What does Sri Gauranga stand for in this context ,only Sri Krsna or His unlimited expansion or some other meaning too.
Kindly give your understanding on Sri Guru and Gauranga.

your servant
Premananda Das

Sacinandana Das, 21st August 2016

Hare Krishna Prabhu ji,

Please accept my humble obeisances.

All glories to Srila Gurudev and Srimati Gurumata ji.
All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

Sri Guru means the Spiritual Master and Gauranga means Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Krishna could not understand how her devotee Srimati Radharani who is also known as Gaurangi is getting more pleasure than him. Krishna thought I am the Supreme Enjoyer and my devotee Srimati Radharani is getting more pleasure than me. So He came as Gauranga to understand the mood of Srimati Radharani. This is very intense mood. Love in seperation. Vipramlamba Bhav. We can take a mundane example a girlfriend and boyfriend who are different cities when the love letter each other it is very very intense. So Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is feeling seperation from Krishna like Radharani and Brijwasi’s felt when He was not in Vrindavan. They were almost about to die. This is the mood of Gauranga.It is very very intense. Mahaprabhu ia known as Gauranga because Her bodily colour is golden like Srimati Radharani.

your servant,
Sacinandana Das

Premananda das, 22nd August 2016

Hare Krsna

All glories to Srila Gurudeva
All glories to Srila Prabhupada

Thank you Sacinandan prabhu for clear answer to Sri Guru and Garuanga.

your servant
Premananda Das

Mahabhagavat Das SDA, 22nd August 2016

Dear Premananda Prabhu,

Please accept my humble obeisances.
All glories to Srila Gurudeva.
All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

Thank you for the nice question, and also Sacinandana Prabhu thank you for the nice answer.
The Prema Dhvani prayers, which are an expression of gratitude and glorification, are usually recited after an Arati and also sometimes after a Kirtan or before a class.
These prayers, for those unfamiliar go something like written below, usually the seniormost person or the person who did the Kirtan or who is giving the class recites these prayers.

Everyone else present bows on the ground and says “Jaya” in unison after each of these are recited.

There are no hard-and-fast scripts for these, other holy personalities, special days, festivals, activities, etc., can also be glorified.

1.Jaya-nitya-lila-pravishta om Vishnu-pada paramahamsa parivrajakacharya ashtottara-shata Shri Srimad His Divine Grace Srila A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja Prabhupada ki jaya.
2.Jaya om Vishnu-pada paramahamsa parivrajakacharya ashtottara-shata Shri Srimad Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Goswami Maharaja Prabhupada ki jaya.
3.Iskcon founder acharya Srila Prabhupada ki jaya.
4.Ananta-kotivaishnava-vrinda ki jaya.
5.Namacharya Haridasa Thakura ki jaya
6.Premse kaho Shri-Krishna-Caitanya, Prabhu Nityananda, Shri Advaita, Gadadhara, Shrivasadi-gaura-bhakta-vrinda ki jaya.
7.Shri-Shri-Radha-Krishna Gopa-Gopinatha, Shyama Kund, Radha Kund, Giri Govardhana ki jaya.
8.Vrindavana-dhama ki jaya.
9.Mathura-dhama ki jaya.
10.Navadvipa-dhama ki jaya.
11.Jagannatha-puri dhama ki jaya.
12.Ganga-mayi ki jaya
13.Yamuna-mayi ki jaya.
14.Tulasi-devi ki jaya.
15.Bhakti-devi ki jaya.
16.Harinam Sankirtan ki jaya.
17.Srila Prabhupada book distribution ki jaya.
18.Samaveta-bhakta-vrinda ki jaya.
19.Gaura-premananda Hari Hari bol,
20.All glories to the assembled devotees. (Hare Krishna) All glories to the assembled devotees. (Hare Krishna) All glories to the assembled devotees. (Hare Krishna)

  1. All glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga.

Sri Guru refers not only to one’s own initiating spiritual master but to all spiritual masters. Primarily of course it refers to the original spiritual master, Lord Balaram, also known as Lord Nityananda. All spiritual masters are expansions of the original spiritual master. It also refers to Krishna as Paramatma, who, as supersoul, guides all wayward souls lost in the material world back to their homes in the spiritual world. This refers to all spiritual masters in disciplic succession, but also all spiritual masters who contributed to us getting to the point of devotional service, so it refers also to our parents and other teachers who made us fit to sit and hear from Sri Guru. Not only did we have spiritual masters in this life, but also we had spiritual masters in previous lives, so this expresses gratitude to all of them. And this also includes those spiritual masters we don’t remember consciously today but who have helped us get to where we are today in the service of Krishna.

When we glorify Krishna, who is the source of all the incarnations of God, or Lord Gauranga, who is Krishna Himself in the mood of His devotee Srimati Radharani, we automatically glorify all the incarnations of God. In the Chaitanya Charitamrita, there is a description of Avatara and Avatari as follows:

sṛṣṭi-hetu yei mūrti prapañce avatare
sei īśvara-mūrti ‘avatāra’ nāma dhare

“The form of the Lord that descends into the material world to create is called an avatāra, or incarnation.

māyātīta paravyome sabāra avasthāna
viśve avatari’ dhare ‘avatāra’ nāma

“All the expansions of Lord Kṛṣṇa are actually residents of the spiritual world. But when they descend into the material world, they are called incarnations [avatāras].

This is from Chaitanya Charitamrita Madhya Lila verses 264-265, further verses quote reference from Srimad Bhagavatam first and second canto.

So yes, when we glorify Lord Gauranga, who is Krishna, all other incarnations of Krishna are automatically glorified.

And by glorifying the Guru Tattva, all those who have helped us get to where we are in spiritual life are glorified.

your servant,
Mahabhagavat Das

Rantideva das, 23rd August 2016

My dear Mahabhagavat Das,

Please accept my humble obeisances.
All glories to Sri Guru and Sri Gauranga.
All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

I trust that you are well.

This discussion brings up a question of proper grammar. I’ve seen all three of these but I’m not sure which one would be most proper;

Sri Guru and Gauranga
Sri Guru and Sri Gauranga
Sri Sri Guru and Gauranga

I personally use the second as you can see above. The third doesn’t seem grammatically correct to me, and the first I’m not sure of. Are they all correct or is any one more so than others? Just something I’ve been curious about, but never thought to ask anyone until this topic showed up here.

I remain your worthless servant,

Rantideva das

Mahabhagavat Das SDA, 23rd August 2016

Dear Rantideva Prabhu,

Please accept my humble obeisances.
All glories to Srila Gurudeva.
All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

“Sri” is an honorific that is prefixed in front of honorable personalities endowed with opulence of any kind… for example a person may be wealthy or beautiful or wise or renounced or any kind of opulence such as the possessor of a good family and so on. Literally “Sri” means “Goddess of Fortune” or “Lakshmidevi”, and in this context, means “One who is blessed by Good Fortune”.

One can say “Krishna” or “Sri Krishna” or “Lord Krishna”, and all of them are grammatically correct, it comes down to context and one’s understanding of what is etiquette.

Generally though, we understand that both Guru and Gauranga are honorifics in themselves. It is technically redundant (but we can and do say Sri even 108 times before in the “astottara sata sri”) to say “Sri” to Guru because obviously no one could be Guru without being endowed with the opulence of devotional service, and who can be more opulent than Krishna Himself as we know Gauranga is?

So then it comes down to a matter of personal preference in this case, there are no hard-and-fast rules for this.

Of course, some might argue over this, but we have bigger problems in life 🙂 Or maybe that’s just me.

your servant,
Mahabhagavat Das

Shridhar Das, 23rd August 2016

Hare Krishna,
Please accept my humble obeisance!

All glories to Srila Gurudeva!
All glories to Srila Prabhupada!

I always wish to thank the devotees who question, which gives us all an opportunity to test our understanding and improve it by research by dwelling into the teachings of Srila Prabhupada, as desired by Srila Gurudeva.

I had concluded the following from my research which is already concluded by His Grace Mahabhagavat Prabhu. The most important part is what Srila Prabhupada originally said.

Guru means teacher in any sense. In material world the relationship of disciple and guru takes place even in terms of musical lessons, Sanskrit classes, etc. Shastra asks us to see the guests of Krishna as God Himself. Wife is also asked to see the husband as guru. Even when we guide someone on the basis of received experience and clarity on a subject matter, we act as guru. But every guru in reality is expected to be a deliverer of his dependents:

gurur na sa syāt sva-jano na sa syāt
 pitā na sa syāj jananī na sā syāt
daivaṁ na tat syān na patiś ca sa syān
 na mocayed yaḥ samupeta-mṛtyum

One who cannot deliver his dependents from the path of repeated birth and death should never become a spiritual master, a father, a husband, a mother or a worshipable demigod. (SB 5.5.18).

Confirming the conclusions shared by Prabhuji from Srila Prabhupada’s teachings:

Who is a Guru?

Prabhupāda: And Caitanya Mahāprabhu, Kṛṣṇa, He says, yei kṛṣṇa tattva vettha sei guru haya: “Anyone who knows the science of Kṛṣṇa, he’s guru.” And what is the guru’s business? Yāre dekha, tāre kaha ‘kṛṣṇa’-upadeśa: (CC Madhya 7.128) “Whomever you meet, you just try to impress upon him about the instruction of Kṛṣṇa.” Sarva-dharmān parityaja… So in this way, if we take it up, very seriously—”This is my duty”—then you are a sannyāsī. That’s all. (Conversation with Devotees — April 12, 1975, Hyderabad)

Caitanya Mahāprabhu said: yei kṛṣṇa-tattva vetta sei guru haya (CC Madhya 8.128). Guru does not become. Guru is not so cheap thing. One must know what is kṛṣṇa-tattva. One must know what is Kṛṣṇa. (Lecture on Brahma-samhita, Lecture — Bombay, January 3, 1973)

When we say Guru, it is a very deep purport as Prabhuji has revealed already.

Guru tattva

Guru cannot be different. Guru is one, one who knows the science of Kṛṣṇa. (Room Conversation — January 31, 1977, Bhuvanesvara)

Elaboration on above concept…

Therefore the guru is offered first the respectful prayers, vande gurūn. And gurūn, bahu-vacana, plural number, that many gurus. But they are not many; they are one, guru-tattva. Just like Kṛṣṇa has many forms, but that does not mean Kṛṣṇa is different. No. Kṛṣṇa is one. Similarly, guru, there may be many gurus, it doesn’t matter, but their philosophy must be one: to teach everyone that Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. So there may be thousands of gurus, but the guru’s business is to teach the disciple that Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. (Lecture on CC Adi-lila 1.1 — Mayapur, March 25, 1975)

Srila Gurudeva has often clarified, that Guru is one but that doesn’t mean all gurus are one. Then it is like Mayavada philosophy. One in purpose, difference in individuality. Srila Prabhupada further clarifies:

Sometimes a dīkṣā-guru is not present always. Therefore one can take learning, instruction, from an advanced devotee. That is called the śikṣā-guru. Śikṣā-guru does not mean he is speaking something against the teachings of the dīkṣā-guru.( Lecture on BG 17.1-3 — Honolulu, July 4, 1974)

Balarāma means guru-tattva. Balarāma represents guru. Yasya prasādād bhagavat-prasādaḥ **. If we want to understand Caitanya Mahāprabhu, if we want to understand Kṛṣṇa, then we must take shelter of Balarāma. (Lord Nityananda Prabhu’s Avirbhava Appearance Day Lecture — Bhuvanesvara, February 2, 1977)

But offering gratitude in a menial mood, as a fallen servant as Srila Gurudeva has often instructed, to spiritual master is sufficient to offer it to all in parampara. And now and very often in services, we must offer to Lord Nityananda, Gauranga whomever we may have recently heard the glories of. But we perceive Krishna more directly through the medium of Guru, so we must definitely be attached to Sri Guru, in my opinion. Srila Prabhupada clarifies:

Many of our Temples are now requiring pictures of Pancatattva and Acaryas, principally your Spiritual Master and my Spiritual Master, for their Guru Gauranga worship. (Letter to Vasudeva — Tokyo 15 August, 1970)

Regarding Guru & Gauranga, this is the actual purport/importance

That is His mercy. So by the mercy of Caitanya Mahāprabhu, so many people are becoming vāsudeva-parāyaṇāḥ. But otherwise, it is not possible. Therefore we first offer our obeisances to Guru-Gaurāṅga, by whose mercy we get Kṛṣṇa. This is the system. Adau gurvāśrayam. (Lecture on SB 6.1.15 — Los Angeles, June 27, 1975)

Since everyone within this material world is more or less influenced by sinful activities, in the beginning it is essential that one take to the worship of Guru-Gaurāṅga and ask their favor, for thus despite all his disqualifications one will very soon become qualified to worship the Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa vigraha. (CC Adi 8.31, Purport)

Irregularity in worshiping Guru and Gauranga can be tolerated, as they are always kind and forgiving, but irregularity in worshiping Lord Jagannatha and Sri Sri Radha Krishna is not good. (Letter to Karandhara — Calcutta 19 September, 1970)

your servant
Shridhar Das

Premananda das, 23rd August 2016

Hare Krsna

All glories to Srila Gurudeva
All glories to Srila Prabhupada
All glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga

Thank you Sacinandan prabhu,Mahabhagavat prabhu,Rantindeva prabhu and Shridhar prabhu.
The answers were all enlightening and inspiring to understand Sri Guru and Gauranga.

your servant
Premananda Das

Ekanga Radha Devi Dasi, 21st December 2016

Hare Krishna Dandavats Pranam,

Very Good explanation Prabhu

Sincerely yhs
Ekanga Radha Devi Dasi

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Author: Mahabhagavat Das SDA

I am a formally initiated disciple of His Grace Sriman Sankarshan Das Adhikari. My spiritual master was initiated by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada in 1971. He is the author of the famous Ultimate Self Realization Course. Check it out at www.joincourse.com.

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