(Click to enlarge picture of Srila Prabhupada and Irish Poet, Desmond O'Grady)
Prabhupāda: In a chaotic condition, in a confused state of life, one should approach another who is in full knowledge of the matter. You go to a lawyer to solve legal problems, and you go to a physician to solve medical problems. Everyone in the material world is confused about spiritual identity. It is therefore our duty to approach a bona fide spiritual master who can give us real knowledge.
Mr. O’Grady: I am very confused.
Prabhupāda: So you must approach a spiritual master.
Mr. O’Grady: And he makes a decision on how to help me stop this confusion?
Prabhupāda: Yes, the spiritual master is one who solves all confusion. If the spiritual master cannot save his disciple from confusion, he is not a spiritual master. That is the test.
vande guroḥ śrī-caraṇāravindam
This whole confused world is just like a blazing forest fire. In a forest fire all the animals are confused. They do not know where to go to save their lives. In the blazing fire of the material world, everyone is confused. How can that blazing forest fire be extinguished? It is not possible to utilize your man-made fire brigade, nor is it possible to simply pour buckets of water. The solution comes when rain from the clouds falls on the forest fire. Only then can the fire be extinguished. That ability is not in your hands, but is in the mercy of God. So, human society is in a confused state, and it cannot find a solution. The spiritual master is one who has received the mercy of God, and he can deliver the solution to the confused man. One who has received the mercy of God can become a spiritual master and deliver that mercy to others.
Mr. O’Grady: The problem is to find this spiritual master.
Prabhupāda: That is not the problem. The problem is whether you are sincere. You have problems, but God is within your heart. Īśvaraḥ sarva-bhūtānām (BG 18.61). God is not far away. If you are sincere, God sends you a spiritual master. Therefore God is also called caitya-guru, the spiritual master within the heart. God helps from within and from without. Everything is thus described in the Bhagavad-gītā. This material body is like a machine, but within the heart is the soul, and with the soul is the Supersoul, Kṛṣṇa, who gives directions. The Lord says, "You wanted to do this; now here is the chance. Go and do it." If you are sincere, you say, "Now, God, I want You." Then He will give you directions. "Yes, now you come and get Me like this." This is His kindness. However, if we want something else, that is all right. We can have it. God is very kind. When I want something, He is in my heart directing me and telling me how to have it. So why should He not give directions on how to have a spiritual master? First of all we must again be eager to revive our God consciousness. Then God will give us a spiritual master.
Mr. O’Grady: Thank you very much.
Prabhupāda: Thank you very much. My request to you is this. You are a poet. Just describe God. You are expert in describing, and therefore I ask you to kindly describe God in your occupation. Then your life will be successful. And if one hears you, his life will also be successful. That is the injunction:
idaṁ hi puṁsas tapasaḥ śrutasya vā
sviṣṭasya sūktasya ca buddhi-dattayoḥ
avicyuto ’rthaḥ kavibhir nirūpito
There are many leaders in society who are poets, scientists, religionists, philosophers, politicians, and so on. Those who are so expert are given this injunction: Your duty is to perfect your occupation by describing the glories of the Supreme Being.
Mr. O’Grady: My experience is that, for some extraordinary reason, one is chosen to do a particular thing.
Prabhupāda: That reason is given here. Avicyutaḥ. The infallible choice is this: "Let them describe the glories of the Lord."
Mr. O’Grady: But you were saying that the spiritual master is chosen. The spiritual master, the poet, the priest, is chosen by God. This person is chosen to write poems or paint pictures or make music.
Prabhupāda: So when you compose music, compose music about God. That is your perfection.
Mr. O’Grady: When one works for God in his line, then his line becomes his perfection?
Mr. O’Grady: Thank you very much.
(Srila Prabhupada Conversation with Irish Poet Desmond O'Grady, Rome, May 23, 1974)