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Srila Prabhupada’s warning concerning imitative spiritual masters

Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (6.3.20) states that there are twelve mahājanas: Brahmā, Nārada, Śambhu, Kumāra, Kapila, Manu, Prahlāda, Janaka, Bhīṣma, Bali, Śukadeva and Yamarāja.

To select our mahājanas in the Gauḍīya-sampradāya, we have to follow in the footsteps of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu and His representatives. His next representative is Śrī Svarūpa Dāmodara Gosvāmī, and the next are the six Gosvāmīs-Śrī Rūpa, Śrī Sanātana, Bhaṭṭa Raghunātha, Śrī Jīva, Gopāla Bhaṭṭa and Dāsa Raghunātha. The follower of Viṣṇusvāmī was Śrīdhara Svāmī, the most well known commentator on Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. He was also a mahājana. Similarly, Caṇḍīdāsa, Vidyāpati and Jayadeva were all mahājanas. One who tries to imitate the mahājanas just to become an imitative spiritual master is certainly far away from following in the footsteps of the mahājanas. Sometimes people cannot actually understand how a mahājana follows other mahājanas. In this way people are inclined to fall from devotional service.

Sri Caitanya-caritamrta – 1975 Edition : Cc. Madhya-lila : Madhya 17: The Lord Travels to Vrndavana : Madhya 17.185

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