Why Do I Need a Bona Fide Spiritual Master?
(Click to enlarge photo of Srila Prabhupada and disciples)

"Why guru is necessary? Tad vijñānārtham (MU 1.2.12). When we are perplexed, that 'I do not know what is my actually goal of life, what is benefit here for me...' Just like Arjuna did. When he was talking with Kṛṣṇa on equal terms, two friends... But when he saw that the actual solution is not coming, then he submitted himself to Kṛṣṇa, that 'Kṛṣṇa, now we are not friends. We are friends, but treat me as Your disciple.' Śiṣyas te 'haṁ śādhi māṁ tvāṁ prapannam (BG 2.7). So 'Make me paṇḍita. I am talking all foolishly. I am kṣatriya, it is my duty to fight, and I am denying it. I know that I am deviating from my duties. So how it has happened? What is the cause? So kindly, śiṣyas te, I am submitting myself before You as Your student.' Śādhi māṁ prapannam, 'I am surrendering.'

So one has to learn the philosophy of life from the person superior, spiritual master. Tad-vijñānārthaṁ sa gurum evābhigacchet (MU 1.2.12). Do not remain puffed-up, that 'I am all-learned, I know everything.' That is false. One has to submit. In order to know the solution of life, we have to submit to the proper spiritual master. That is essential. Tad-vijñānārthaṁ sa gurum evābhigacchet. This is Vedic injunction. This abhigacchet, this word is used when it is meant 'must.' There is no escape. We have seen big, big personalities... Just like Caitanya Mahāprabhu; He is Kṛṣṇa Himself, but He accepted Īśvara Purī as His guru. Kṛṣṇa, He also accepted His guru as Sāndīpani Muni. Lord Rāmacandra, He accepted His guru as Vasiṣṭha. So it is necessary. Kṛṣṇa or Rāma, They are Supreme Personality of Godhead. They are the supreme instructor, full of knowledge, everything. Aiśvaryasya samagrasya vīryasya (Viṣṇu Purāṇa 6.5.47). There is nothing short, but still, to show us example, They accepted guru. That is essential."

(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, Washington D.C., July 5, 1976)

"Guru is necessary for him who is inquisitive of transcendental subject matter. He requires a guru. Not ordinary man. Just like somebody keeps some cats and dogs as fashion. Guru is not like that. Guru means one... First of all, who requires a guru? Tasmād guruṁ prapadyeta jijñāsuḥ śreya uttamam (SB 11.3.21): one who is inquisitive to know about the spiritual world. Uttamam. Uttamam means ud-gata tamam: transcendental to this darkness. This material world is called darkness, ignorance. Actually it is dark. Because it is dark, material world, therefore we require the sun. By the grace of Kṛṣṇa, we have got the sun. Yac-cakṣur eṣa savitā sakala-grahāṇāṁ (Bs. 5.52). He is the light of all the planets. Yac-cakṣur eṣa savitā. Savitā means sun. Oṁ bhūr bhuvaḥ svaḥ tat savitur vareṇyam. This is Gāyatrī-mantra. So who requires a guru? Jijñāsuḥ śreyaḥ uttamam (SB 11.3.21). One who wants to go beyond this world of darkness. Tamasi mā jyotir gama. This is Vedic injunction. Don't remain in this darkness. Jyotir gama: go to the world where light is there."

(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, Toronto, June 18, 1976)

"So guru's business is to bring out the disciples from darkness to light. That is guru's business. That is guru."

(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, London, August 22, 1973)

"Guru is essential. It is necessary. But take the real guru. But if you go to the bogus guru, you must be disappointed. For your treatment you need to go to a physician. That's all. When you are diseased you cannot say, 'No, no, I don't want to...' It is necessary. But go to the real physician. Don't go to a cheater. He has no knowledge in the medical science, and he places himself as 'I am physician, MD.' Then you'll be cheated. The guru is necessary, that's a fact. But go to the real guru. Who is real guru? Real guru is Kṛṣṇa or one who has seen Kṛṣṇa, Arjuna. Take them. Then you'll be benefitted. And if you go to a bogus man who does not know Kṛṣṇa, who does not know what is Kṛṣṇa's instruction, then you must be cheated. So the answer is guru is absolute necessary. Tad-vijñānārthaṁ sa gurum evābhigacchet (MU 1.2.12). This is Vedic injunction, that one must go. But he must go to the real guru. And who is real guru? Who knows Kṛṣṇa."

(Srila Prabhupada Answers to a Questionnaire from Bhavan's Journal, Vrindavan, June 28, 1976)

"According to Lord Krsna's instructions to Arjuna in the Bhagavad Gita, this science is passed down perfectly only via the bona fide line of disciplic succession. So one has got to find out some representative of the Lord who is in the bonafide disciplic succession and then follow the Lord's instructions that after finding out such a Spiritual Master one should try to learn the truth from him by inquiring submissively and rendering service unto him. This method of approaching Krsna must be accepted because it is offered by the Lord Himself."

(Srila Prabhupada Letter, November 17, 1970)

"If one does not come in the disciplic succession, he'll spoil the teaching. That is being done. So-called commentator, teacher of Bhagavad-gītā, he does not come in the disciplic succession. He is self-made guru. Therefore he's not guru. Self-made guru cannot be guru. He must be authorized by the bona fide guru. Then he's guru. This is the fact."

(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, Vrindavan, October 31, 1972)

"We cannot jump over the highest authority directly. That is not possible. That is not the etiquette or rules, regulations we have to go. Caitanya Mahāprabhu says, gopī-bhartuḥ pada-kamalayor dāsa-dāsānudāsaḥ (CC Madhya 13.80). So He presents Himself as the servant of the servant of the servant of the servant of Kṛṣṇa. So in order to become Kṛṣṇa's servant, we have to become the servant of the servant of Kṛṣṇa. So, my Guru Mahārāja is servant of Kṛṣṇa, his guru, his guru is servant of Kṛṣṇa, his guru is servant of Kṛṣṇa. I am also servant of Kṛṣṇa, but I have to approach through the other servants, not directly. That is not possible. Kṛṣṇa will not accept that service. If one disrespect the paramparā system, then he'll not be accepted by Kṛṣṇa."

(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, Bombay, January 8, 1973)

"You have to select such a spiritual master that you can surrender there. If you think, 'Oh, this, this swamijī or the spiritual master is less intelligent than me or less educated than me or less in so many ways,' then you cannot select a spiritual master. You have to select another person where you will find that 'Here is a mind, here is man where I can surrender. Yes, he is greater than me in so many respects. Therefore I can surrender.' This is called praṇipāt. So selection of spiritual master means first of all you must agree that 'Here is a personality where I can bow down my head, yes.' Everyone is proud. Why shall he bow down before a person unless he understands that 'Here is a personality who is greater than me'? So this is the first condition, praṇipāt. Praṇipāt means prakṛṣṭa-rūpeṇa nipāt. You have to become blank slate: 'Now, sir, whatever I have learned, oh, I forget. It is now blank slate. Now you write whatever you like.' "

(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, San Francisco, March 15, 1967)

"So our, this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is that we are presenting Kṛṣṇa as the supreme guru. You take instruction from Him and be benefited. But one who is carrying this message, he is also authorized. Just like one money order, it is coming through the post office, but an ordinary peon is handing over the money. But he is representative of post office. Actually, the money order is being delivered by the post office, general post office. But it is coming through an ordinary peon. But because he is authorized to deliver you, he is also post office. He's as good as the post office. Just you have got a letter box, a small box, but if you put your letter there, your letter will surely go ten thousand miles away. Therefore, although it is a small box, you don't think it is small box. It is whole post office. Similarly, anyone who is carrying the message of Kṛṣṇa, don't think that he's ordinary man. If you imitate one box like that post box and put your letter, for thousand years it will lie down there. Because it is not authorized. So if somebody says this small box, red box, is as good as the post office, one may say, 'Huh, this is small box. How it can be as good as the post office?' But you see. You post your letter, it will go. Therefore, sākṣād-dharitvena samasta-śāstrair uktas tathā bhāvyata eva sadbhiḥ. Guru is directly the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Why? Because he is presenting the words of Supreme Personality of Godhead without any deterioration. Therefore he is so honored. So therefore the conclusion is guru is necessary and guru is he who is representative of Kṛṣṇa. Otherwise he's bogus."

(Srila Prabhupada Answers to a Questionnaire from Bhavan's Journal, Vrindavan, June 28, 1976)

<< What's New
Home  |  Srila Prabhupada  |  Meditations  |  Site Map  |  What's New  |  Contact us  |  Glossary

About Srila Prabhupada
Srila Prabhupada's Books
Selected Writings
Early Writings
Your ever well-wisher
Prabhupada Meditations
Written Offerings
Artistic Offerings
Photo Album
Deity Pictures
Causeless Mercy
Editorial Notes
Site Map
What's New