Srila Prabhupada has told us that we must become transparent via media to Krsna and the disciplic succession. We have also heard that a guru takes on the sinful reactions of disciples. But Krsna burns up our sinful reactions. It is said in the Brahma Samhita, 5.54:
yas tv indragopam athavendram aho sva-karma-
karmaei nirdahati kintu ca bhakti-bhajaa
govindam adi-purusam tam aham bhajami
“I ADORE THE PRIMEVAL LORD GOVINDA, WHO BURNS UP TO THEIR ROOTS ALL FRUITIVE ACTIVITIES OF THOSE WHO ARE IMBUED WITH DEVOTION (emphasis mine) and impartially ordains for each the due enjoyment of the fruits of one’s activities, of all those who walk in the path of work, in accordance with the chain of their previously performed works, no less in the case of the tiny insect that bears the name of indragopa than in that of Indra, king of the devas.”
There is a theory that would apply to guruship. It goes something like this. The more transparent the guru is, the more Lord Krishna accepts and burns up disciples’ sinful activities. According to this concept, a guru who thinks of himself as being important, who is proud, or thinks he is God, takes on more of the disciples’ karma. But it’s difficult to accept this theory completely because of so many maxims that a guru takes on disciples’ sinful reactions. This appears to be well established. Nonetheless, it does make sense that the more transparent and more ‘powerful” a guru is, the LESS sinful effects he will take on than one who is not ‘transparent.” Of course this thinking tends to make “power” the same as “transparency,” an equation which may not be accurate. Regarding the injunction that a guru takes on the karmic reactions of disciples, Srila Prabhupada writes, in the Caitanya Caritamrta (Madhya 22,118): “Accepting an unlimited number of devotees or disciples is very risky for one who is not a preacher. According to Srila Jiva Gosvami, a preacher has to accept many disciples to expand the cult of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. This is risky because when a spiritual master accepts a disciple, he naturally accepts the disciple’s sinful activities and their reactions. Unless he is very powerful, he cannot assimilate all the sinful reactions of his disciples and has to suffer the consequences. Therefore one is generally forbidden to accept many disciples.” In his conversation with ‘Bob Cohen’ Srila Prabhupada said this (Perfect Questions, Perfect Answers, Chapter 6): “…when I suffer is it due to my past misdeeds? Was it not? That is my misdeed—that I accepted some disciples who are nonsense. That is my misdeed.” Srila Prabhupada also wrote this: “Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu therefore stated that the spiritual master who plays the part of Krsna’s representative has to consume all the sinful reactions of his disciple. Sometimes a spiritual master takes the risk of being overwhelmed by the sinful reactions of the disciples and undergoes a sort of tribulation due to their acceptance.” (Srimad Bhagavatam 4.21.34—purport excerpt).