Published in The Harmonist (Sree Sajjanatoshani)
Two ways are found in the world in order to earn knowledge about some particular object. One is to make an attempt for it with the help of our experience about the world; the other is that, realizing the inefficiency of the worldly experience, we should entirely surrender ourselves to the personage who has come down from the realm to which the required knowledge relates, and acquire it from him through the ear. Some one many [sic] question: “When we are inhabitants of this world, how, after fully relinquishing our experience about it, can we take refuge with some super-mortal being?” In answer it is to be said that it will not do to get afraid of the difficulty; to know the truth, there should be a great strength of mind. You will not learn how to swim, if, seeing the water, you get afraid. Self-surrender is not a very difficult thing: that is rather very natural and easy for the soul. Whatever is contrary to self-surrender, is rather unnatural and difficult. If we want to learn about God, we will have to learn from His agent. When we listen to him, we must stop all our experience about the world and all misleading argumentations. It is by continually listening to the strong and forceful narratives about God’s glories that all the evils like of heart weakness will be liquidated. There will appear an unprecedented courage in the heart. Then will arise, in its full glow, self-surrender which is the natural virtue of the soul. Then will reveal itself in that self-surrendered heart, the self-manifested truth of the transcendental region of the fourth dimension. It is in this way that truth can be known; there is no other way in which can be realized the real truth beyond all deceitfulness. There is a distinction between divine and mundane topics. There are two senses in which a word is used; one refers to a transformable object of the world, creating forgetfulness about God; and the other to an eternal object leading to the conception of an excited feeling towards God’s own divine realm. One acquires fitness to take God’s Names after learning from the Acharya’s mouth about the difference between God as the Word of Vaikuntha or the transcendental World, and the mundane words of this world, limited by maya.
It is in the nature of jiva averse from God to cherish desires to majesty, power, knowledge, indifference to the world, fame and affluence. Man is divested of his virtue of sub-servience to God and Guru by such an enjoying mood as: “I shall remain independent; for dependence means serving the desires of others and my own desires to enjoyment are not fully satisfied thereby.” But such a jiva does not feel that these (majesty, power, etc.) cannot be owned by any jiva whose constitutional nature is eternal servitorship to God. They can stay only in God. These six excellences were glorified when they stayed naturally in Shrila Raghunatha Dasa Goswami, for he never attempted to get them. All majesty, power supernatural, etc., were under his thumb. But he never hankered after these, nor was he anxious to make a display thereof, like the karmis, jnanis, yogis and tapasvis. These were gloried at the feet of Shri Raghunatha, staying there even in an unlimited degree beyond what these people would not be lucky enough to possess, but he never did any trafficking in them; nor even did he ever make any attempt for abnegation like the pithless aspirers thereafter. But the climax of the achievement of all asceticism was glorified in his person.
Why did not Raghunatha attempt abnegation, etc. Every jiva is anxious to get his wished-for object. This is not bad, if it centers round Krishna. He attains to such a status as that of Raghunatha, who loves Krishna a hundred-fold better than himself. In his prayer to Shri Radha, Raghunatha said  “Somehow I have spent my life in high expectations of the ocean of nectar; if even yet you do not show kindness towards me, then what is the necessity of my life, of my residence in the Braja or even with Krishna?” Has any one ever heard of such a climax of the attainment of abnegation? He does not want even Shri Krishna without the service of Shri Radha. Such a maximum height of abnegation is not possible for a man of this world unless he has been, like Raghunatha, drenched with the moisture of the Grace of Shri Swarupa Goswami; none else can even explain this standard of abnegation. Is it possible for him to crave for the six terrestrial excellences as above, who does not want Krishna even without service to Radha? What an amount of service done to the highest darling of Krishna and what a degree of the highest love felt for her can endow one with such a spirit?
God has said : “A truly intelligent person should shun evil company but seek association with holy saints who, with their instructions, gnaw the knot of the worldly attachments of our mind.” The meaning is that for our true well-being we should always accept the guidance of the true Guru (spiritual guide) and should not be misled by pseudo-gurus. The Guru never accepts the preyah-panthaa (way to pleasure), but he is a shreyah-panthi (i.e., he follows the way to the true well-being). He gives others (i.e., his disciples) the same instruction to walk along the real path as he has received from his own Guru, of course a true one. If a disciple asks permission of the Guru for drinking, he is sure to disapprove of it and never to grant it. When the Guru does not indulge the disciple in his prayer for things after his mind, he may dismiss the Guru. Such disciples accept only the gurus that are ready to supply fuel for their sensualism. Acceptance of a Guru has become a fashion now-a-days, not for the disciple’s true well-being, but for getting one’s sensual pleasures approved of. Such appointments satisfy only the social or family customs, like those of barbers and washers.
As soon as a truth is ascertained, it should be ardently given effect to then and there. The span of our life being very short, we should not mis-spend even a moment, of what still remains, in attending to our worldly affairs but utilize it in the performance of our service to Hari. King Khattanga and Ajamila attained their highest good by spending only one muhurtha (forty-eight minutes) and only the time of death respectively in Lord Hari’s Serivce. Here is an anecdote to the point. One Sivananda Bhattacharya, a Sakta by faith i.e., worshipper of Goddess Kali or Durga, sent his son Ramakrishna to purchase some sacrificial beasts, goats and buffaloes, and other necessary articles against the coming Durga Puja. When Ramakrishna was returning home with the purchases, he met Shrila Narottama Thakura, a holy saint of the highest order, who after some instructive talk changed the youth’s mind altogether, and the latter let off the beasts to obtain initiation from the Thakura and came back empty-handed. Sivananda, expectantly looking for his son’s return with the goats and buffaloes and other articles for the Devi’s Puja, asked him eagerly about them, seeing him return without them. Shri Ramakrishna replied that he had been blessed to have got the grace of the illustrious Vaishnava, Shrila Narottama, on which the father flared up in excessive wrath and called him a disgrace to the family for accepting one, not born in a Brahmana family as his Guru. Now Ramakrishna was fortunate enough to have been roused up from the worldly mire on hearing the truth from the mouth of the Thakura Mahasaya (Narottama) and to have at once given up the duties of the world as hateful and insignificant in order to be engaged in the service of Hari. We cannot rely on the time even of a breath, for it may be the last one; so we should utilise even this moment for attaining our true well-being, for which we should not listen to any one of this world who may give us contrary advice. In the Bhagavatam  God, as Rishbha Deva, teaches us thus: “We are encompassed by death and whoever does not deliver us from it cannot be obeyed as our well-wisher, let him or her be the Guru (like Sukracharya to Bali), or a near relative (like Ravana to Vibhishana), or the father (like Hiranyakasipu to Pradlada), or the mother (like Kaikeyi to Bharata), or a god (like Indra to Nanda) or a husband (like the sacrificial Brahman of Vraja to his wife devoted to Shri Krishna). Such was the case with Shri Ramakrishna Bhattacharya who wisely courted his father’s certain displeasure to secure his true well-being.
Who is the true Guru? He who is constantly engaged in the service of Hari. Who is the truly  learned man? He who in the words of God Krishna is well conversant with the correct knowledge of the bondage of a jiva and his deliverance therefrom. We should accept only him as our Guru who employs cent percent of his time in God’s service; otherwise we should fail miserably in following him. The Shri Chaitanya Charitamrita has taught us: “A true Guru teaches his disciple after his own behaviour and practice; one can not be the teacher of Dharma, if one does not perform it himself.” 
From the Shruti we get the instruction that an enquirer after the true knowledge about Tat (God), should approach a Guru, with necessary articles for initiation, who is conversant in the Veda and steeped in Brahman (God). This instruction has also been given in the Shrimad Bhagavatam,  “An enquirer after the highest well-being should surrender himself to a Guru who is fully versed in the Veda as well as Para-Brahman and who has thereby become the shelter of true peace.”
The platform speakers of improper conduct, skilled in speeches only, or the professional priests cannot be Gurus. When a man does not keep himself engaged all the while in Hari-bhajan (service of Hari), then he is anxious to be occupied with other things on the strength of Shri Nama and committing the great aparaadha (spiritual offence) utilizing Shri Nama in sinful affairs. A stipend-holder or a contractor cannot be a Guru, nor a blind reader of the Shrimad Bhagavatam. First of all refrain from approaching the professional priest. See whether he devotes his time fully to Bhagavata or not. All the time of one who is steeped or accomplished in Para-Brahman is fully occupied with the service of God.
From whom is the Bhagavatam to be heard? The Bhagavatam is to be heard from or to be studied with a true Vaishnava. The Bhagavatam cannot come out of the mouth of one who is not a Bhagavata or true devotee. Pretending to be a reader of the Bhagavatam one such leads others astray. He is deceived himself and, as such, he deceives others. How can the Bhagavatam which is not different from Shri Bhagavan have a full play on the tongues of the professional readers who pose as scholars conversant in reading it before others, but have no true devotion in Him, being engaged in worldly enjoyments? On the plea of discoursing the Bhagavatam, they only gratify their own senses, instead of the senses of Shri Krishna. A person anxious for his true well-being should never come in contact with such professional readers and thereby court their own downfall, falsely thinking that they would get true benefit by accepting them as true Gurus and listening to them as disciples.
How can those act as Jagad-Gurus or true instructors of people who are busy with the maintenance of their wives and children, who give full steps to their desire for enjoyments arising out of illusion, who try to employ God Who is the highest Entity to be adored and served, for supplying them fuel for the fire thereof? What do we see in the Shrimad Bhagavatam and in the conduct and preaching of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and His devotees? Such people as cherish in their hearts fear, affliction, wrong illusory ideas, desire, greed, feeling of discomfiture, concerning body, wealth, friendly relation, etc., on account of their attachment to some second object besides Him, have not surrendered themselves to God. Such non-dedicated persons cannot advise others to surrender themselves to God. Even if they give verbal instructions therefore, such conduct is not effective. Only such a Mahabhagavata (great devotee of God) as is a nishkinchana (having nothing to call his own in the world) and has sincerely surrendered himself to Krishna or is His exclusive servitor all the twenty-four hours of the day can legitimately occupy the Acharya’s seat.
Those who attend to the service of God’s Name, God’s Dhama (Abodes) and God’s Desire (Kama) are the only persons really adorable in the world. No being can extricate himself from wrong understandings due to maya without doing service to Shri Nama (Divine Name). As the result of service to Shri Nama, men can get rid of all prejudices and be settled in the service of Krishna-Desires (Krishna Kama Seva). From Dharma-Seva one can be rid of the clutches of the tremendously dangerous doctrine, “I am the Lord, there are no eternal Name, Form, Attributes, ‘Sports, Majesty, etc., of God”. And from Krishna-Kama-Seva, one can save oneself from the serious danger in the shape of the desire for gratifying one’s senses; and being free from the temporal lust one can be firmly established in the service of the Transcendental Kama-deva (viz Krishna) and of Kama-Gayatri.
If we are fortunately able to secure attachment towards Krishna-Kama-Seva, then we can change the direction of the course of the different inferior desires that have arisen in us for sensual enjoyments in connection with our material body, and also that of the road we are running along under the direction of our subtle body i.e., the mind, if it has grown apathetic towards attempts for God’s services; they will then take just the contrary trend.’
And that Krishna-Kama-Seva is available, if we engage ourselves in the service of Dhama. Dhama means ‘rays’, ‘prowess’, ‘influence’, ‘home’, ‘place’, ‘body’, ‘birth’, etc. According to the sense accepted by the truly learned savants, Shridhama is that in which there is no malice, jealousy, nor evanescence, and that which is eternally self-manifested, spiritual and blissful. Shri Chaitanya Deva, having made His Advent in that Dhama, has made the world conscious of the spirituality of a holy place.
Failing to realize the dignity of Dhama, we had no predilection for Dhama Seva and not so much faith in the worshippable representative, (murti) of God, having remained engaged in studies, full of the understanding that we shall vanquish the people of the world by means of dialectics, splendour of erudition and glory of exemplary character. But some holy saints engaged in Dhama-Seva have enlightened us saying that it would bring us the highest welfare. He who seeks connection with Dhama, finds his attachment to grama (or domesticated life and connection therewith) soon liquidated. Then Shri Nama Seva, the means of attaining true blessedness, soon brings us our real end viz., Krishna-Kama.
Shri Vaikuntha-Nama alone has come down to this earth, and it is in Shri Dhama that Shri Nama has been deposited. The presence of Nama-Seva does not give the real end, viz. Krishna-Kama-Seva to one who disconnects oneself from Shri Dhama.
 Vilapakusumanjali 102.
 Bh. XI. 26/26.
 vide V. 5/18.
 Bh. XI. 19.41.
 Mundaka. 1.2.12.
 Vide. XI. 3.21.