Qualifications of a Bona Fide Disciple

The Hari-bhakti-vilasa lists the following qualifications for a bona fide disciple, who may be trained and engaged in Deity worship: 

  • He should be devoted to the lotus feet of the spiritual master
  • He should be fully capable of upholding the vows made to the spiritual master
  • He should be engaged day and night in the Lord’s service with body, mind, and words
  • He should be desirous of knowing the Absolute Truth 
  • He should be spotless in character, truthful, gentle and polite, pleasing in appearance, and intelligent
  • He should show proper respect to elders, to initiated Vaisnavas, and to the Lord; he should observe silence concerning material subjects and should have control of his senses
  • He should have no attraction for committing sinful activities

The bona fide disciple should not possess the following characteristics: 

  • He should not be lazy, dirty, sickly, continually afflicted or lamenting angry, proud, lusty, or coveting material desires
  • He should not show the enjoying mood; he should not indulge in sinful activities such as taking meat, intoxication, gambling, or illicit sex; he should not earn a living by unjust means
  • He should not use vulgar or coarse language, should not be critical of others, and should not be miserly, malicious, devious, or envious; he should not give pain to others or be addicted to cruel activities
  • He should not be ignorant, nor should he be proud of material learning; he should not indulge in nonVaisnava philosophies; he should not be addicted to over-eating

From the GBC Book on Deity Worship

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