How an accountability vacuum can suck our devotion
Some people question: “When Krishna is present in our heart and as devotion is also an inner feeling, what is the need for an external guru to develop our internal relationship with Krishna?”
Because (among several reasons) without an external mentor, whatever devotion we have is likely to be sucked by an accountability vacuum.
Our devotion remains ethereal and superficial as long as it is not founded in accountability. Only when we feel and become accountable to Krishna for our devotional commitments does our relationship with him become real.
Due to our material conditionings, we can’t perceive Krishna directly. That’s why when we succumb to our anti-devotional attachments, we frequently don’t feel ourselves accountable to him. This is all the more so because we have not yet realized the spiritual truth that he knows everything. The resulting inner accountability vacuum sucks whatever devotion is present in our heart, just as vacuum sucks air from its surroundings.
If we are to fill this accountability vacuum, we absolutely need the spiritual master. The Bhagavad-gita (13.08) recommends that we worship the spiritual master (acharyopasanam). This worship is not merely the external offering of flowers to his body. It is also the internal offering of the flower of commitment to the values of pure devotion that he embodies.
By gaining education, clarification and correction from him, we can avoid or abandon distracting attachments that militate against this pure devotion. Unlike Krishna, the spiritual master is visible and accessible to us. So, feeling and becoming accountable to the spiritual master is much easier and more real, thereby filling our inner accountability vacuum
Thus, the relationship with our spiritual master far from coming in between our inner relationship with Krishna removes the attachments that come between us and Krishna.
“Humility; pridelessness; nonviolence; tolerance; simplicity; approaching a bona ﬁde spiritual master; cleanliness; steadiness; self-control; renunciation of the objects of sense gratiﬁcation; absence of false ego; the perception of the evil of birth, death, old age and disease; detachment; freedom from entanglement with children, wife, home and the rest; even-mindedness amid pleasant and unpleasant events; constant and unalloyed devotion to Me; aspiring to live in a solitary place; detachment from the general mass of people; accepting the importance of self-realization; and philosophical search for the Absolute Truth – all these I declare to be knowledge, and besides this whatever there may be is ignorance.”