Hari-Bhakti-Vilaasa lists the following qualifications for a bona fide disciple:
1) He should be devoted to the lotus feet of the
2) He should be fully capable of
upholding the vows made
to the spiritual master.
3) He should be engaged day and night in the Lord's
service with body, mind and words.
4) He should be desirous of knowing the Absolute
5) He should be spotless in character, truthful,
gentle and polite,
pleasing in appearance and intelligent.
6) 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.
7) He should have no attraction for committing
The bona fide disciple should not possess the following characteristics:
1) He should not be lazy, dirty, sickly, continually
lamenting, angry, proud, lusty or
coveting material desires.
2) He should not
show the enjoying mood; he should not indulge in
sinful activities such as
taking meat, intoxication, gambling or illicit sex;
3) He should not earn a
living by unjust means.
4) 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
5) He should not be ignorant,
nor should he be proud of material
6) He should not
indulge in non-Vaisnava philosophies
7) He should not be addicted to
The following rules of etiquette should be observed by the bona fide disciple in relation to his spiritual master:
1) He should fall down like an uprooted tree
(dandavat) on seeing the guru. When the guru
approaches he should face him
and when he leaves, he
should follow him.
2) He should not leave the guru's
presence without asking
3) He should not utter the guru's name
inattentively, but always
with respect. He should address him as om sri
............Visnupada, and bow
his head and fold his hands in respect.
4) He should not imitate the gait, activities or voice
of the guru.
5) He should always hold the guru's words
in great respect. Though he may be
punished by the guru, he should not take it
6) He should not bear to
hear criticism of the guru, the scriptures or the
Lord, but should leave the
7) He should not step on the guru's garland, bed,
shoes, aasana, shadow
or eating table.
8) He should not spread his legs
before the guru, nor should
he yawn, laugh or make disrespectful noises before
9) He should not
sit on an aasana or bed before the guru.
10) He should not worship others in preference to the
guru. He should not give diksaa, give scriptural
explanations or show superiority in front of
11) He should not give orders to the guru, but
12) He should
treat the guru's guru with similar respect and he
should treat the wife, son
and relatives of the guru as the guru, but he should
not clean the body of
the son, take his remnants or wash his feet.