Prema Vivarta 20:
“The hallmark of a Maha-bhagavata, (the most elevated devotee,) in kali-yuga is that he chants the holy name of the Lord constantly”
The key word in this verse Is “hallmark”. The meaning of this words is,
“a distinctive feature, especially one of excellence”.
It is a “no brainer”, that a Maha-bhagavata certainly would have, distinctive features which are especially endowed with the characteristic of excellence. Here is a very good example of verifiable criteria of symptoms of a Maha-bhagavata, and is very specific.
I am not an English scholar, however, I know that we will know what that “hallmark” is, when we encounter it. In the sentence, the phrase, “is that he”; “he” is specifying the Maha-bhagavata. The sentence then follows by saying,
“Chants the holy name of the Lord constantly”.
This verse does not say that the prime, “HALMARK”, attribute of a maha-bhagavata is some sentimental, esoteric or unverifiable criteria.
It is very much possible for you to see if a Vaisnava chants the holy name of the Lord constantly. This is not the only attribute that we should look for; it is just one, and it can be a starting point in the investigation of other verifiable criteria that Srila Prabhupada has so nicely made us aware of, in his speech, and writing.
The verse did not say that the “hallmark” of a Maha-bhagavata,
- “Is that he sees Krishna”.
- “Is that he walks on the banks of the Yamuna with Krishna”.
- “Is that he is an internal associate of Lord Caitanya”.
- “Is that they are a rubber-stamped guru, who has been voted a guru by an ecclesiastical body.
Integral to the issue of Guru, is the issue of what does it mean “to be a disciple.” This subject matter you will find in the White Paper entitled “Guru & Disciple Tattva According to Srila Prabhupada”. In this White Paper, you will also find additional references by Srila Prabhupada, in regards to the Guru Issue. You will find that these references that where written and spoken by Srila Prabhupada, are abundant.