niyamān mat-paraḥ kvacit
mad-abhijñaṁ guruṁ śāntam
The word yamān refers to major regulative injunctions necessary for preserving one’s purity. In the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement all bona fide members must give up eating meat, fish and eggs, and they must also avoid intoxication, gambling and illicit sex. The word abhīkṣṇam indicates that one cannot at any time perform such forbidden activities, even in difficult circumstances. The word niyamān refers to less obligatory injunctions, such as bathing three times daily. In certain difficult situations one may not bathe three times daily yet may still maintain one’s spiritual position. But if one engages in sinful, forbidden activities, even in difficult circumstances, there undoubtedly will be a spiritual falldown. Ultimately, as explained in Upadeśāmṛta, mere adherence to rules and regulations cannot give one spiritual perfection. One must approach a bona fide spiritual master who is mad-abhijñam, or in full knowledge of the personal form of Godhead. The word mat (“Me”) negates the possibility of a bona fide spiritual master having an impersonal conception of the Absolute Truth. Furthermore, the guru must be in complete control of his senses; therefore he is called śānta, or peaceful. Because of being completely surrendered to the mission of the Lord, such a spiritual master is mad-ātmakam, or nondifferent from the Personality of Godhead.