Now, for recognizing a true Saint, we will be discussing some direct evidences, some signs, which are generally seen in a Saint's behavior.
Now we will discuss some direct evidences and notable specialties of a Mahapurush, or a true Saint. In recognizing a true Saint, we should be very careful regarding a few things. For example, a genuine Saint does not grant any kind of material objects to people.
A Mahapurush never gives worldly things to people. This is a very important point to think carefully. In the world, cheaters play a fake act of granting material gains, like wealth, son, etc. to take advantage of people. In the material realm, ninety percent of the people desire worldly things. These desires are often fulfilled by people's own prarabdh, or destiny. When people visit a fake saint and wish for a material thing, if that desire is fulfilled, people think that it was due to the blessing they received from that saint.
Just imagine, a Saint who understands the transitory nature of the world and has attained God, why will he give material things to people? If he does that, then is he a Mahapurush or a demon? Not even God can grant a person worldly gains, if it is not destined for him. In Mahabharat, Abhimanyu's uncle was God Shree Krishna Himself, his father was the great Saint, Arjun, and the person who conducted his marriage was God Ved Vyas. Yet, they could not save him from being killed in the battle. Then how can a saint change the destiny of an ordinary person? In our country, there is always a story of a so-called saint who has made the impossible possible. Just imagine, if this kind of a thing would happen, then everybody in this world would have attained the Divine bliss of God. That so-called saint who claims to make the impossible possible would only have to wish it, and all souls would be released from Maya. However, even a God-realized Saint cannot make a resolution that souls attain God and be liberated from Maya. The Saints are ready to take physical and mental abuses from the world, then why haven't they graced us spiritually? It is said in Mahabharat:
nābhuktaṁ kṣīyate karm kalpakoṭi śhatairapi
"Even the great personalities have to experience what is written in their destiny." Then how can we expect Saints to change our destiny just by their blessings. And if someone pretends to do so, that person is not a genuine Saint.
However some people argue that a Mahapurush is: par upakār vachan man kāyā. According to Ramayan, God is causelessly merciful, and desires the welfare of others. So, if He fulfills their material desires then what is wrong in it? Yes, it is true that sometimes God and Saints break their rules and grant material things to devotees, but history bears the fact that this was only for people who surrendered completely to God. It was for just a few of them. Secondly, even if a Saint or God grants some worldly thing with a special intention, he also gives the soul a special power so that the soul does not get attached to that thing.
According to the Saints, while practicing devotion, we should keep contact with the world only to the extent that is necessary for the survival of this body. This is for the reason that, our mind does not get entangled with the material world, and can concentrate on God freely and easily. Kunti also asked for this wish from God, "O Shree Krishna! Give me sorrow and pain, so that due to the lack of material pleasures, I can chant Your glories.
The second point to note carefully is that a Mahapurush never reveals any miracles or displays any siddhis, or supernatural powers. We get into the trap of fake saints who perform miracles of a material nature.
There are mainly five types of siddhis. The lowest of all is called as tāmas siddhi. This power is practiced by the lowest kind of people and the result of performing this siddhi is hell.
The second kind of siddhi is rājas siddhi. This type of siddhi is exercised by people to protect themselves. This siddhi also keeps you within the bondage of Maya.
The third siddhi is sātvik siddhi. It contains siddhis such as: aṇimā, laghimā, garīmā, prākāmyā, and others. With these siddhis, a person can come to know the thoughts of other people, can take many forms of body, can become invisible, and can perform many impossible tasks. We might be fooled into considering this kind of a person to be God. However, we should stay a thousand miles away from such kind of people because they are still under the domination of Maya. Hence, if they are not able to free themselves from the clutches of Maya, how can they do welfare for others?
The fourth siddhi is spiritual siddhi, which is called mukti, or liberation. A person who acquires this siddhi gets liberated from the bondage of Maya, but with this siddhi, our own personality or individuality gets destroyed. Just like a river, which flows into the sea and loses its identity, in the same way, we will always be deprived of the Divine Love Bliss of God. So, we should be very cautious with this kind of siddhi. The great spiritual teachers have referred mukti as a witch:
bhukti mukti spṛihā yāvat piśhāchī hṛidi vartate |
tāvad bhakti sukhasyātra kathambhyudayo bhavet ||
"As long as bhukti, or worldly desires up to the attainment of Brahmalok, and mukti, or the desire for liberation, resides in our heart, until then, devotion can never enter our hearts." Therefore, those who are intelligent, reject this siddhi too.
as vichārī je param sayāne mukti nirādari bhakti lubhāne (Ramayan)
The fifth siddhi is Divine Love, which is the ultimate attainment. In this kind of siddhi, a person not only gets freedom from material bondage, but also relishes the ultimate Bliss of Divine Love and receives it till eternity.
You must have understood by now that we should be very alert and careful with the four siddhis and make attainment of the fifth siddhi as our goal of life, which is the attainment of Divine Love. We should be far away from the person who performs miracles otherwise we would drift away from our aim of life.
Generally, people have a fear that a saint may curse them. But this is against the kindhearted nature of a Saint. We will now discuss how soft a Saint's heart is.
Our history is filled with instances of people misbehaving with a Mahapurush, and being cursed in return. For example, the four brothers Sanat, Sanandan, Sanak, and Sanatan, who are known as Shaunakadik Paramahans and considered as the top most Mahapurushas, cursed Jai and Vijay to turn into demons. Jai and Vijay were also Mahapurushas, but due to a small mistake, had to turn into demons. An ordinary person always fears of being cursed by a saint. If a Mahapurush can curse great personalities like Jai and Vijay, then what chance does a normal individual have? Does a Mahapurush bless or curse a person with reason or without a cause? No, it is not so.
A genuine Saint neither gives false blessings nor does he curse anyone.They follow the principle, "nindā stuti ubhay sam". It means that they treat criticism and praise alike, so there is no question of cursing anyone. Moreover, the Mahapurush knows that an individual soul is ignorant and is bound to commit transgressions.
"As long as a soul is under the clutches of Maya, it cannot remain without committing sins." That means that before God-realization, the soul will only commit sins. A true Saint knows this fact. So, how can he possibly be angry with anyone? Saint Haridas was beaten up by burglars so badly that he was bleeding heavily. But, Saint Haridas prayed to God saying, "O God! They are ignorant. They are not at fault. If you love me, then please accept my prayer and purify their minds." Just imagine, in spite of such a painful condition, the Saint has a kindhearted nature! If someone says that there is historical evidence of Saints cursing people, what does it mean? It denotes that there is a deeper meaning behind these acts. It was done for the benefit of that individual or as a message to human kind, and not to harm anyone or that person.
In the same manner, a Mahapurush does not give blessings to anyone. These days, so-called saints put their hands on people's heads and narrate long prayers of worldly blessings to cheat people. It is just ignorance and foolishness. But, it is true that a Mahapurush wishes only the welfare of the entire universe, as he has become complete in himself and does not desire anything for his selfish needs.
In recognizing a Mahapurush, the strongest evidence is that by seeing him and associating with him, our mind begins to get naturally attached to God. Nevertheless, the extent to which the mind gets attached to God differs from person to person. When you keep needles in front of a magnet, the ones which are made of pure iron get attracted to the magnet faster compared to the impure ones. Similarly, purer the heart of a person, faster is the degree of attraction towards a Saint.
This is the reason why in history, some souls surrendered immediately by just looking at the Saint, and attained the Divine Bliss of God. Others had a lesser level of surrender, and some people just abused the Saint. Yet, the one who abuses the Saint will also be elevated spiritually, as he hears about God from him. And when the mind is detached from the world, the knowledge given by the Mahapurush will bear fruit and lead him to the correct path.
Another direct advantage is that a Mahapurush can solve practical difficulties and clear doubts faced by a devotee while practicing sadhana, or devotion. It cannot be solved by a theoretical scholar Instead, mere theoretical learning without practical realization creates more confusion and increases doubts in a devotee's mind.
Furthermore, if there are doubts in the mind, one cannot practice devotion properly. Thus, only a Mahapurush who has attained God and has thorough knowledge of scriptures can remove the doubts of a devotee, which arise on the spiritual path. This is because the Mahapurush himself has undergone and experienced these difficulties and situations earlier.
Another direct evidence of a genuine Saint is that his heart is full of Divine Love which sometimes manifests outside in the form of ashta saatvik bhav, or Divine Love emotions.
Ved Vyas ji says:
evaṁvrataḥ svaprīyanāmakīrtyā jātānurāgo drutāchitta uchchaiḥ
hasatyatho roditi rauti gāyatyunmādavan nṛityati lokabāhyaḥ (Bhaagavat 11.2.40)
staṁbhaḥ svedo'tha romāñchaḥ svarabhedo'tha vepathuḥ (Bhakti Rasaamrit Sindhu)
In remembrance of his Beloved, a Mahapurush becomes motionless like a tree, perspires abundantly, the hair on his body stand erect, his voice chokes, his body trembles, the color of his skin changes, he sheds tears and becomes unconscious. These are the eight signs of Divine ecstasy. By seeing these emotions, one can predict the profound depth of Divine Love in the heart of a Mahapurush.
In this manner, by associating with a Saint for some time and by considering these signs, a Mahapurush can be recognized. However, we cannot be certain that we can recognize a true Saint, as it is said in the scriptures that with full faith and by the Grace of a Mahapurush only, one can recognize him. It is impossible to recognize him with the material intellect. By misunderstanding just one act of a Mahapurush, a soul could commit spiritual transgression leading to its downfall.
Thus, with faith and by the Grace of God and His associates, one can recognize a true Saint. And, once you find a Mahapurush, you should do complete surrender to him in every possible way. One should unite the mind and intellect with that of a Mahapurush. Just by doing so, we will be able to attain our goal of Divine Bliss. At the same time, we will go beyond Maya forever and relish the unlimited Bliss.
In this way, with the Grace of a Mahapurush our spiritual journey begins and during sadhana, or devotion, the Guru protects the devotee at every step. And in the end, once the heart is purified, he bestows Divine Love causelessly. According to the rules of spiritual realm, God does not have the right to bestow Divine Love directly to a soul. That is the reason why the descension of God, Ved Vyas strictly declared that there is no personality higher than the Guru.
nāsti tatvam guruḥ param
In this way, guru tattva, or entity called the Guru, is highly respected and is non-different from the Ultimate Entity. One cannot express the greatness of the glories of such causelessly gracious and merciful personality, even in endless lifetimes.