His Divine Grace A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
(founder of the Hare Krsna movement)
His Divine Grace A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
(founder of the Hare Krsna movement)
I want that all married couples should open new centers and carry on by dint of hard labor. Every householder, husband and wife together, they require to live in an apartment, so if they have got an extra room, they can immediately start a center. You have seen in Hawaii how Gaurasundara and Govinda are gradually developing from this beginning to a nice center in Hawaii. Wherever we sit down and chant Hare Krishna people will gather and gradually become our devotees and thus the center is developed.
Srila Prabhupada in a letter to: Vamanadeva -- Tittenhurst 21 October, 1969
Hayagriva: The belief in the creation of the soul. The soul is created, and that the body is a gift. And he also rejects, on the basis of this, he rejects reincarnation. He writes, "Let these Platonists..." Because Plato believed in it, reincarnation. "Let these Platonists stop threatening us with reincarnation as a punishment for our souls. Reincarnation is ridiculous. There is no such thing as a return to this life for the punishment of souls. If our creation, even as mortals, is due to God..."
Prabhupada: Punishment of the soul? What is that return?
Hayagriva: He says, "There is no such thing as a return to this life for the punishment of souls." And the reason he gives, he says, "If our..."
Prabhupada: Soul is life. What does it mean, "returning to the life"?
Hayagriva: He believes there is no reincarnation as punishment. Reincarnation is envisioned as a kind of a punishment. To have to take birth again is a type of punishment, and Augustine rejects this, saying that how can the return to bodies, which are gifts of God, be punishment? He doesn't see how that this is a form of...
Prabhupada: But does he think that the body of a hog and the body of similar lower creatures eating stool and living in filthy place, is it not punishment? Does he think like that? Why one gets the body of King Indra or Lord Brahma and why one gets the body of a pig and hog, and living in filthy place and eating stool? Is it not punishment and reward?
Hayagriva: Well, he would say that, um...
Prabhupada: How he explains the body of a pig eating stool?
Hayagriva: I've been putting this off. He wouldn't agree that man could be reincarnated as an animal.
Prabhupada: Why, why he will not agree? If a body is a gift by God, then body can be a punishment also by God.
Prabhupada: This is reasonable. When he is punished, he gets the body of a pig. When he is rewarded, he gets the body of King Indra. So that is punishment and reward.
Hayagriva: What about the body of a man? Is that punishment or gift?
Prabhupada: Man, man, there are many men who are very well situated and there are many men who are suffering. So two things are there according, suffering and enjoyment, according to the body. So this has been explained in the Bhagavad-gita, matra-sparsas tu kaunteya sitosna-sukha-duhkha-dah [Bg. 2.14]. According to the body the heat and, what is called, cold? Heat or cold?
Prabhupada: Sita usna. That is perceived. An old man perceives very much cold, and a young child, he does not perceive -- according to the body. An animal, naked body, he can walk on the street in severe cold, but a man cannot. So this body is the source of suffering and enjoying. So why not take it as punishment and reward?
by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
When Lord Visnu appeared in the great arena of sacrifice at the time when King Prthu was performing a great sacrifice (asvamedha), He predicted that the Kumaras would very soon come and advise the King. Therefore Prthu Maharaja remembered the causeless mercy of the Lord and thus welcomed the arrival of the Kumaras, who were fulfilling the Lord's prediction. In other words, when the Lord makes a prediction, He fulfills that prediction through some of His devotees. Similarly, Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu predicted that both His glorious names and the Hare Krsna maha-mantra would be broadcast in all the towns and villages of the world. Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura and Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Prabhupada desired to fulfill this great prediction, and we are following in their footsteps.
Guru-krpa: Srila Prabhupada, what about, say, many of your Godbrothers? They also have disciples, and they also are properly initiated by a proper spiritual master, and they give the Hare Krsna mantra.
Prabhupada: The thing is the spirit, real service of preaching, stopped. Formality is going on, but the real business.... Caitanya Mahaprabhu's movement means amara ajnaya guru hana tara ei desa [Cc. Madhya 7.128]. That is stopped. Do you follow? The formalities is there, but the real life of Caitanya Mahaprabhu's movement is preaching. Otherwise why Caitanya Mahaprabhu says, amara ajnaya guru hana tara ei desa. Tara means preaching. Yare dekha, tare kaha 'krsna-upadesa' [Cc. Madhya 7.128]. And that is stopped. They are satisfied if they could construct one temple and beg some rice from the neighborhood: "Sir, we have got some temple," that's all. They are satisfied. The spirit of preaching forward-papi tapi jata chilo, hari-name uddharilo -- that is stopped. So by hari-nama, by chanting, by this way, to live little peacefully in the temple and eat and sleep, that much they have got. If that is the success, that success they have got. And this was condemned by my Guru Maharaja, that "To earn some money by showing Deity in the temple and eat and sleep -- better you become a sweeper in the street and earn your honest livelihood and live." This is cheating. This was condemned. To construct a temple.... Just like the Vrndavana Gosvamis are doing. They thought that "This is our business. Some innocent people will come here and offer some.... Bas, that's our good income." According to the temple's popularity, they think, "This is our success." Therefore they are deteriorating. So that is not success. Success is his who is pushing forward the preaching method. That is his success. And if we think that "By showing a temple Deity we get some money and rice and cloth and just peacefully live here. Don't bother about going to Fiji and all over..." (laughs) That much success they have got. But that is not Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Prthivite ache yata nagaradi grama, sarvatra pracara. What they are doing for that? That is point.
Guru-krpa: What if sometimes disciple, he may go to preach, but he's not preaching in the exact same spirit of his spiritual master?
Prabhupada: Therefore he is not to be preached. Caitanya Mahaprabhu says, janma sarthaka kari' kara para-upakara: [Cc. Adi 9.41] "Go to do good to others. First of all you do good to yourself." First of all you become really preacher. Then go to preach. Caitanya Mahaprabhu never sent neophyte to go to preach. For neophyte the preaching is not their business. For neophyte, one should stick to the worship of Deity in the temple. And those who have understood the philosophy, applied the philosophy in his life, he should go for preaching. Otherwise he'll preach wrongly, like.... What is that? Charan das Babaji. And it will stop. He wanted to preach, but he did not know how to preach, and therefore, after his life, it is finished. So Caitanya Mahaprabhu does not say like that, that "You remain a rascal and go to preach." No. Janma sarthaka kari. "Your first business is that you make your life perfect. Then go to preach. Perfect means you learn how to obey My orders." That is perfection. Amara ajnaya. So if you are actually, perfectly carrying out the orders of Caitanya Mahaprabhu, then you are preaching. Otherwise you will do wrongly, mislead. Don't do that. Andha yathandhair upaniyamanah [SB 7.5.31]. If you remain blind, don't try to lead other blind men. That is misleading. First of all open your eyes. Everything is there. Nobody can do anything whimsically. If you do whimsically, concoctedly, that will be failure. It will not be effective.
Guru-krpa: Even though one may get many followers, that is not...
Prabhupada: Many? What you...? Many followers.... The philosophy you present, it must be followed by everyone. That is wanted. You have got, say, ten thousand followers. That does not mean success. Everyone has got some followers. This.... What is that? Guruji Maharaja. He has got also so-called followers. The T.M., he has got also some followers. Everyone has got some followers. But what kind of followers they have? That is quality. Everything has quality. Simply quantity is not. There are many Christians. Even up to date, some Christian fair or.... Many millions will come. What is the quality? Quality is all meat-eater. But Christian means he should not kill. Where is the Christian? So we have to test by the quality, followers. Not many followers, the quality of the followers. My Guru Maharaja used to say like that, that "If I get at least one quality disciple, then all my labor will be success." He was saying like that: quality, not the quantity. By quantity if one is amazed, then he is also goru. By quality -- what kind of followers? That is the.... From the very beginning my strictures are there, that "You have to follow this" -- quality. If I were..., "No, you can do like Vivekananda. Yes, what you can, whatever you like," then I think quantity would have been very, very big. But I don't say. I make him promise before the fire, before the Deity, before guru. [break] That one moon is taken into account. Who takes account of the millions of stars? Ekas candras tamo hanti na ca tara sahasrasah. Quality. So we should be quality devotee, not quantity devotee. I have taken two glasses. Just see how nice water is, tap water. Here so many dobs are available, and this rascal is manufacturing RC and he is going as to be..., business. And for hearing Bhagavad-gita they have no time, and they are trying to go to Vrndavana. Quantity, not quality. So civilization should be quality civilization, not quantity civilization. Do that. Bhedyadasana. Bhedyadasana (indistinct). Bhedi, lamb, they are going, hundreds and thousands. They flock. So, and if one bhedi, lamb, is somehow or other pushed into slaughterhouse stockroom, so all the.... All of them. You haven't got to take many. Some way or other, you induce one of them to go into the, what is called, shed, where stocks are kept for taking out daily and killing. So they do not mind that "We are being pushed into this room for future killing. Never mind. One has gone. Go." They'll go. So this is called in Hindi, bhedyadasana, that without any consideration, "One has entered. Let us all enter." That is bhedi, means animal, their disciple like this.
Room Conversation -- May 2, 1976, Fiji
by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
In the present age, the king or president forgets that he is the servant of God and thinks of himself as servant of the people. The present democratic government is proclaimed to be a people's government, a government by the people and for the people, but this type of government is not sanctioned by the Vedas. The Vedas maintain that a kingdom should be governed for the purpose of satisfying the Supreme Personality of Godhead and should therefore be ruled by a representative of the Lord. The head of a state should not be appointed if he is bereft of all Vedic knowledge. In this verse it is clearly stated (veda-sastra-vid arhati) that all high government posts are especially meant for persons who are well conversant with the teachings of the Vedas. In the Vedas there are definite instructions defining how a king, commander-in-chief, soldier and citizen should behave. Unfortunately there are many so-called philosophers in the present age who give instruction without citing authority, and many leaders follow their unauthorized instruction. Consequently people are not happy.
by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
A Krsna conscious person can occupy an exalted position beyond the imagination of any ambitious materialist.
by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
A Krsna conscious being is always engaged in planning how to take all of suffering humanity back home, back to Godhead. Even if one is not successful in reclaiming all the fallen souls back to Godhead, still, because he is Krsna conscious, his path to Vaikunthaloka is open. He personally becomes qualified to enter the Vaikunthalokas, and if anyone follows such a devotee, he also enters into Vaikunthaloka. Others, who engage in envious activities, are known as karmis. Karmis are envious of one another. Simply for sense gratification, they can kill thousands of innocent animals. Jnanis are not as sinful as karmis, but they do not try to reclaim others back to Godhead. They perform austerities for their own liberation. Yogis are also engaged in self-aggrandizement by trying to attain mystic powers. But devotees, Vaisnavas, who are servants of the Lord, come forward in the actual field of work in Krsna consciousness to reclaim fallen souls. Only Krsna conscious persons are eligible to enter into the spiritual world. That is clearly stated in this verse and is confirmed in Bhagavad -- gita, wherein the Lord says that there is no one dearer to Him than those who preach the gospel of Bhagavad-gita to the world.
by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupäda
It is stated that when Kardama Muni created an airplane to carry his wife, Devahūti, all over the universe, the airplane was like a big city, carrying many houses, lakes and gardens. Modern scientists have manufactured big airplanes, but they are packed with passengers, who experience all sorts of discomforts while riding in them.
Material scientists are not even perfect in manufacturing a material airplane. In order to compare to the plane used by Kardama or the plane sent from Viṣṇuloka, they must manufacture an airplane equipped like a big city, with all the comforts of life—lakes, gardens, parks, etc. Their plane must be able to fly in outer space and hover, and visit all other planets. If they invent such a plane, they will not have to make different space stations for fuel to travel into outer space. Such a plane would have an unlimited supply of fuel, or, like the plane from Viṣṇuloka, would fly without it.
In Acyutananda prabhu’s book, Blazing Sadhus, he writes, "...on July 24, 1966, the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) was registered. That evening in the storefront temple, sitting on the dais, Swamiji held the documents of incorporation. Beaming like a father over his newborn son, Swamiji said, 'This International Society for Krishna Consciousness, ISKCON, is a great tool we can use to spread our Hare Krishna chanting. If it is not helpful, we can dissolve it. So we must be very careful.'"
by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Devotees have no interest in seeing other planets, but while going back to Godhead, they see all of them as passing phases, just as one who is going to a distant place passes through many small stations.
by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
The chanting of the holy name of the Lord is perfect; even though one does not know how to please Lord Visnu or His associates, simply by sincerely chanting the holy name of the Lord, everything becomes perfect. A devotee, therefore, either in danger or in happiness, constantly chants the Hare Krsna mantra. When he is in danger he is immediately relieved, and when he is in a position to see Lord Visnu or His associates directly, by chanting this maha-mantra he can please the Lord. This is the absolute nature of the maha-mantra. Either in danger or in happiness, it can be chanted without limitation.
by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Every devotee should take his bath early in the morning and decorate his body with tilaka. In Kali-yuga one can hardly acquire gold or jeweled ornaments, but the twelve tilaka marks on the body are sufficient as auspicious decorations to purify the body.
by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
If we indulge in sex life than it is absolutely required, then we are gliding towards hellish condition of life. And if we follow the path of mahatmas, mahat-seva, that is dvaram ahur vimukteh. We are making progress towards liberation.
Morning Lecture -- Allahabad, January 15, 1977
by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupäda
For material prosperity there are recommendations in the Vedas for various types of yajna (sacrifice). In Bhagavad-gita (3.10) it is confirmed that Lord Brahma created all living entities, including human beings and demigods, and advised them to perform yajna according to their material desires (saha-yajnah prajah srstva). These performances are called yajnas because their ultimate goal is to satisfy the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Visnu. The purpose of performing yajnas is to get material benefit, but because the aim is to simultaneously satisfy the Supreme Lord, such yajnas have been recommended in the Vedas. Such performances are, of course, known as karma-kanda, or material activities, and all material activities are certainly contaminated by the three modes of material nature. Generally the karma-kanda ritualistic ceremonies are performed in the mode of passion, yet the conditioned souls, both human beings and demigods, are obliged to perform these yajnas because without them one cannot be happy at all.
Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura comments that these karma-kanda ritualistic ceremonies, although contaminated, contain touches of devotional service because whenever there is a performance of any yajna, Lord Visnu is given a central position. This is very important because even a little endeavor to please Lord Visnu is bhakti and is of great value. A tinge of bhakti purifies the material nature of the performances, which by devotional service gradually come to the transcendental position. Therefore although such yajnas are superficially material activities, the results are transcendental. Such yajnas as Surya-yajna, Indra-yajna and Candra-yajna are performed in the names of the demigods, but these demigods are bodily parts of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The demigods cannot accept sacrificial offerings for themselves, but they can accept them for the Supreme Personality of Godhead, just as a departmental tax collector of a government cannot collect taxes for his personal account but can realize them for the government. Any yajna performed with this complete knowledge and understanding is described in Bhagavad-gita as brahmarpanam, or a sacrifice offered to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Since no one but the Supreme Lord can enjoy the results of sacrifice, the Lord says that He is the actual enjoyer of all sacrifices (bhoktaram yajna-tapasam sarva-loka-mahesvaram [Bg. 5.29]). Sacrifices should be performed with this view in mind. As stated in Bhagavad-gita (4.24):
brahmarpanam brahma havir
brahmagnau brahmana hutam
brahmaiva tena gantavyam
"A person who is fully absorbed in Krsna consciousness is sure to attain the spiritual kingdom because of his full contribution to spiritual activities, in which the consummation is absolute and that which is offered is of the same spiritual nature." The performer of sacrifices must always keep in view that the sacrifices mentioned in the Vedas are meant to satisfy the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Visnur aradhyate panthah (Visnu Purana 3.8.9). Anything material or spiritual done for the satisfaction of the Supreme Lord is understood to be an actual yajna, and by performing such yajnas one gets liberation from material bondage. The direct method of getting liberation from material bondage is devotional service, comprising the nine following methods:
sravanam kirtanam visnoh
arcanam vandanam dasyam
This ninefold process is described in this verse as visuddha-vijnana-ghanah, or satisfying the Supreme Personality of Godhead directly by transcendental knowledge concentrated on the form of the Supreme Lord, Visnu. This is the best method for satisfying the Supreme Lord. One who cannot take to this direct process, however, should take the indirect process of performing yajnas for the satisfaction of Visnu, or Yajna. Visnu is therefore called yajna-pati. Sriyah patim yajna-patim jagat-patim (SB 2.9.15).
The Supreme Personality of Godhead's deep scientific knowledge is concentrated to the supreme point. For example, medical science knows some things superficially, but doctors do not know exactly how things happen in the body. Lord Krsna, however, knows everything in detail. Therefore His knowledge is vijnana-ghana because it does not have any of the defects of material science. The Supreme Personality of Godhead is visuddha-vijnana-ghana, concentrated transcendental knowledge; therefore, even though He accepts karma-kandiya materialistic yajnas, He always remains in a transcendental position. Therefore, the mention of aneka-guna refers to the Supreme Personality of Godhead's many transcendental qualities, for He is not affected by the material qualities. The different kinds of material paraphernalia or physical elements are also gradually transformed into spiritual understanding because ultimately there is no difference between material and spiritual qualities, for everything emanates from the Supreme Spirit. This is realized by a gradual process of realization and purification. One vivid example of this is Dhruva Maharaja, who took to meditation in the forest to achieve material benefit but ultimately became spiritually advanced and did not want any benediction for material profit. He was simply satisfied with the association of the Supreme Lord. Asaya means "determination." Generally a conditioned soul has the determination for material profit, but when these desires for material profit are satisfied through performance of yajna, one gradually achieves the spiritual platform. Then his life becomes perfect. Srimad-Bhagavatam (2.3.10) therefore recommends:
akamah sarva-kamo va
yajeta purusam param
Everyone-whether akama (a devotee), sarva-kama (a karmi) or moksa-kama (a jnani or yogi) -- is encouraged to worship the Supreme Personality of Godhead by the direct method of devotional service. In this way one can get both material and spiritual profit simultaneously.
by His Divine Grace A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
The transcendental vibration established by the chanting of Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare/ Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare, is the sublime method for reviving our transcendental consciousness As living spiritual souls, we are all originally Kṛṣṇa conscious entities, but due to our association with matter from time immemorial, our consciousness is now adulterated by the material atmosphere. The material atmosphere, in which we are now living, is called māyā, or illusion. Māyā means that which is not. And what is this illusion? The illusion is that we are all trying to be lords of material nature, while actually we are under the grip of her stringent laws. When a servant artificially tries to imitate the all-powerful master, it is called illusion. We are trying to exploit the resources of material nature, but actually we are becoming more and more entangled in her complexities. Therefore, although we are engaged in a hard struggle to conquer nature, we are ever more dependent on her. This illusory struggle against material nature can be stopped at once by revival of our eternal Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare is the transcendental process for reviving this original pure consciousness. By chanting this transcendental vibration, we can cleanse away all misgivings within our hearts. The basic principle of all such misgivings is the false consciousness that I am the lord of all I survey.
Kṛṣṇa consciousness is not an artificial imposition on the mind. This consciousness is the original natural energy of the living entity. When we hear the transcendental vibration, this consciousness is revived. This simplest method of meditation is recommended for this age. By practical experience also, one can perceive that by chanting this mahā-mantra, or the Great Chanting for Deliverance, one can at once feel a transcendental ecstasy coming through from the spiritual stratum. In the material concept of life we are busy in the matter of sense gratification as if we were in the lower animal stage. A little elevated from this status of sense gratification, one is engaged in mental speculation for the purpose of getting out of the material clutches. A little elevated from this speculative status, when one is intelligent enough, one tries to find out the supreme cause of all causes—within and without. And when one is factually on the plane of spiritual understanding, surpassing the stages of sense, mind and intelligence, he is then on the transcendental plane. This chanting of the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra is enacted from the spiritual platform, and thus this sound vibration surpasses all lower strata of consciousness—namely sensual, mental and intellectual. There is no need, therefore, to understand the language of the mantra, nor is there any need for mental speculation nor any intellectual adjustment for chanting this mahā-mantra. It is automatic, from the spiritual platform, and as such, anyone can take part in vibrating this transcendental sound without any previous qualification. In a more advanced stage, of course, one is not expected to commit offenses on grounds of spiritual understanding.
In the beginning, there may not be the presence of all transcendental ecstasies, which are eight in number. These are: (1) Being stopped as though dumb, (2) perspiration, (3) standing up of hairs on the body, (4) dislocation of voice, (5) trembling, (6) fading of the body, (7) crying in ecstasy, and (8) trance. But there is no doubt that chanting for a while takes one immediately to the spiritual platform, and one shows the first symptom of this in the urge to dance along with the chanting of the mantra. We have seen this practically. Even a child can take part in the chanting and dancing. Of course, for one who is too entangled in material life, it takes a little more time to come to the standard point, but even such a materially engrossed man is raised to the spiritual platform very quickly. When it is chanted by a pure devotee of the Lord in love, it has the greatest efficacy on hearers, and as such this chanting should be heard from the lips of a pure devotee of the Lord, so that immediate effects can be achieved. As far as possible, chanting from the lips of nondevotees should be avoided. Milk touched by the lips of a serpent has poisonous effects.
The word Harā is the form of addressing the energy of the Lord, and the words Kṛṣṇa and Rāma are forms of addressing the Lord Himself. Both Kṛṣṇa and Rāma mean the supreme pleasure, and Harā is the supreme pleasure energy of the Lord, changed to Hare (Hah-ray) in the vocative. The supreme pleasure energy of the Lord helps us to reach the Lord.
The material energy, called māyā, is also one of the multi-energies of the Lord. And we the living entities are also the energy, marginal energy, of the Lord. The living entities are described as superior to material energy. When the superior energy is in contact with the inferior energy, an incompatible situation arises; but when the superior marginal energy is in contact with the superior energy, called Harā, it is established in its happy, normal condition.
These three words, namely Harā, Kṛṣṇa and Rāma, are the transcendental seeds of the mahā-mantra. The chanting is a spiritual call for the Lord and His energy, to give protection to the conditioned soul. This chanting is exactly like the genuine cry of a child for its mother's presence. Mother Harā helps the devotee achieve the Lord Father's grace, and the Lord reveals Himself to the devotee who chants this mantra sincerely.
No other means of spiritual realization is as effective in this age of quarrel and hypocrisy as the mahā-mantra: Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare/ Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare.
If we were to name one single book, which connects all the devotees of Krsna in the world, it would be the Bhagavad-gita. Spoken 5000 years ago, on a battlefield, it is a recorded conversation between Sri Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead and Arjuna, his confidential associate. In the Second Chapter of this exalted literature, Lord Krsna explains the fundamental teaching of spiritual knowledge as follows:
As the embodied soul continually passes, in this body, from boyhood to youth to old age, the soul similarly passes into another body at death. The self-realized soul is not bewildered by such a change.
In other words, just as we had a body of a child, then youth, then grown up person, we will have a body of an old man and although the body changes, we remain the same self, who observes these changes. It is only on account of the spirit soul being present in the body that the body works. As soon as the living force leaves the body, there’s no more life and no amount of scientific knowledge can bring it back. The body works because of the presence of spirit, not the other way around. The same might be said of spiritual movements, or spiritual institutions. Whenever powerful devotee of the Lord appears in the world, he re-establishes eternal principles of religion and inspires a great number of conditioned souls to assist him in spreading the message of the Supreme Lord. For this reason he might also establish a spiritual institution, or an organized society through which the message is systematically disseminated amongst the humankind. However, when the powerful saint departs, things again deteriorate and unauthorized persons introduce imperfect sectarian concepts of religion, with a hidden motive to dominate a small section of people instead of serving the Lord for the benefit of humanity at large.
When we speak of departure of a great saint, it is not necessary a departure on the physical plane. The genuine saint does not act on the physical plane whatsoever being fully absorbed in his transcendental engagement of pure service. The departure rather means a departure from the hearts of his followers. As long as the follower sticks to the order of the spiritual master, the master is always present with him and just as the body, where the soul is absent, becomes a subject to many living entities in the ground, the follower who disobeys his master becomes immediately subservient to the stringent laws of the degraded material world. The institution which was initially meant for spiritual upliftment of mankind thus turns into a compromised mundane business formula. No matter how nicely the so-called follower decorates himself by the stolen dress of his saintly master, he cannot awaken the true spirit of surrender to God in the hearts of the innocent. Rather, he becomes a mere salesman subjected to the whims of his materialistic customers, a salesman, who will depict Krsna, the Supreme Lord according to the latest fashion and not as He truly is. In this way, the spiritual institution becomes dead and no amount of reformatory planning commissions can bring it to life. Without a driver, a car can never move. It will stay in one spot for millions of years. A thief might steal it, but he will only use the car for his nefarious activities and therefore the purpose of the car is lost. The original owner however is not specifically concerned with the car. His first concern is to accomplish his task of moving himself and his good friends to his destination-Back to Godhead. To fulfill this transcendental objective he might therefore take advantage of another car. Similarly, the powerful saint whose instructions might not be followed by one group of his disciples, might inspire another group outside of his original institution to accomplish his task-namely to enlighten the humanity about the real purpose of life-devotional service to the Lord with the purpose of transferring them back home, back to the spiritual world. The Bhaktivedanta Lives in Sound Society proclaims to be nothing, but such a new vehicle for the divine spiritual master His Divine Grace A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (Srila Prabhupada) and we are confident that His Divine Grace is with us due to our feeling of transcendental bliss. We humbly ask you to bless us so we can accomplish this great task.
by Purujit Dasa
Lord Sri Krsna becomes very pleased when His devotee is being praised. He is pleased even more than when the devotees praise Him directly. So one should not minimize the value of the auspicious ceremony called Vyasa Puja organized for glorification of the spiritual master. Yet, this is not all in all we have to do in order to glorify our spiritual master. Srila Prabhupada says:
You can eulogize your Guru Mahārāja, but you have to learn it and face the public and be strong to defend yourself. That is success. Not by praising your Guru Mahārāja. You'll praise your Guru Mahārāja. That is not very difficult. But be victorious to the opposing elements. Then you will praise your Guru Mahārāja nicely. At home, you can praise your Guru Mahārāja, and Guru Mahārāja be satisfied, "Oh, my disciples are praising me." That is not very.... That is good. Respectful. That is the qualification. But you have to fight. Then your Guru Mahārāja will be glorified.
Conversation on Roof -- December 26, 1975, Sanand
What are the opposing elements to the spreading of Krsna consciousness movement? The list is endless, but they can be all put under one unifying category, which can be understood from Srila Prabhupada's pranam mantra:
namas te sārasvate deve gaura-vāṇī-pracāriṇe
“Our respectful obeisances are unto you, O spiritual master, servant of Sarasvatī Gosvāmī. You are kindly preaching the message of Lord Caitanyadeva and delivering the Western countries, which are filled with impersonalism and voidism.”
This is the sum and substance of Srila Prabhupada's mission -to defeat the philosophy of impersonalism and voidism and establish the sublime philosophy of acintya abheda-bheda tattva of Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. It is just like watering the root of a tree. If we are able to defeat the philosophy of impersonalism and voidism, then all other problems that face our movement will be understood in their proper perspective.
Voidism and impersonalism are both different versions of the Mayavada philosophy. While in the case of voidism, the denial of God is honestly admitted, the impersonal philosophy claims that although we are all God, we have come under the control of maya, which is a denial of God in a disguise. The proponents of such a doctrine however fail to explain how it is possible for God, who is the supreme absolute and unchanging to be conquered by maya. Srila Prabhupada challenges:
“The last illusion, the last snare of māyā to trap the living entity, is the proposition that he is God. The living entity thinks that he is no longer a conditioned soul, but God. He is so unintelligent that he does not think that if he were God, then how could he be in doubt? That he does not consider. So that is the last snare of illusion."
Bg. 18.73 purport
Blind man thinks everyone else is blind and because the Mayavadis are conditioned they think that when Krsna comes into this world, He becomes subjected by the laws of material nature, falls into maya (illusion) and acquires a material body just like them. The reality is however different. It is the conditioned soul’s perverted vision of Krsna’s body which is tinged by illusion, not that Krsna’s transcendental body itself is an illusion. Srila Prabhupada explains:
Certainly the transcendental body of Śrī Kṛṣṇa is not perishable. He is just like the sun, and mayā is like the cloud. In the material world we can see that there is the sun and that there are clouds and different stars and planets. The clouds may cover all these in the sky temporarily, but this covering is only apparent to our limited vision. The sun, moon and stars are not actually covered. Similarly, māyā cannot cover the Supreme Lord. By His internal potency He is not manifest to the less intelligent class of men.
Although the cloud is the energy of the sun and in one sense same with the sun in quality, there’s a quantitative difference in the sense that the cloud is covering only an insignificant portion of the sun. The sun is so much more powerful that it can evaporate the cloud at any moment. Actually, the cloud is not covering the sun at all. Simply our limited vision of the sun is obstructed. Similarly, Sri Krsna can never be covered by maya. Only our vision of Sri Krsna can be influenced by maya. In one of the purports, Srila Prabhupada elaborates on this point:
The energy emanated from the Supreme Personality of Godhead manifests in two ways—as an emanation from the Supreme Lord and as a covering of the Lord's face. In Bhagavad-gītā it is said that the whole world is illusioned by the three modes of material nature, and thus the common conditioned soul, being covered by such energy, cannot see the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The example of a cloud is very nicely given. All of a sudden there may appear a big cloud in the sky. This cloud is perceived in two ways. To the sun the cloud is a creation of its energy, but to the ordinary common man in the conditioned state, it is a covering to the eyes; because of the cloud, the sun cannot be seen. It is not that the sun is actually covered by the cloud; only the vision of the ordinary being is covered. Similarly, although māyā cannot cover the Supreme Lord, who is beyond māyā, the material energy covers the ordinary living entities. Those conditioned souls who are covered are individual living entities, and He from whose energy māyā is created is the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
In another place in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, in the First Canto, Seventh Chapter, it is stated that by his spiritual vision Vyāsadeva saw the Supreme Lord and the material energy standing behind Him. This indicates that material energy cannot cover the Lord, just as darkness cannot cover the sun. Darkness can cover a jurisdiction which is very insignificant in comparison to that of the sun. Darkness can cover a small cave, but not the open sky. Similarly, the covering capacity of the material energy is limited and cannot act on the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is therefore called vibhu. As the appearance of a cloud is accepted by the sun, so the appearance of the material energy at a certain interval is accepted by the Lord. Although His material energy is utilized to create the material world, this does not mean that He is covered by that energy. Those who are covered by the material energy are called conditioned souls. The Lord accepts the material energy for His material pastimes in creation, maintenance and dissolution. But the conditioned soul is covered; he cannot understand that beyond this material energy there is the Supreme Personality of Godhead who is the cause of all causes, just as a less intelligent person cannot understand that beyond the covering of the clouds there is bright sunshine.
What is true about Krsna can be also applied to his pure devotee. A pure devotee cannot be influenced by material nature as he is under the protection of Krsna’s divine nature. Krsna says in the Bhagavad-gita:
O son of Pṛthā, those who are not deluded, the great souls, are under the protection of the divine nature. They are fully engaged in devotional service because they know Me as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, original and inexhaustible.
Srila Prabhupada explains this verse in the following way:
The first sign of the mahātmā is that he is already situated in the divine nature. He is not under the control of material nature. And how is this effected? That is explained in the Seventh Chapter: one who surrenders unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Śrī Kṛṣṇa, at once becomes freed from the control of material nature. That is the qualification. One can become free from the control of material nature as soon as he surrenders his soul to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. That is the preliminary formula. Being marginal potency, as soon as the living entity is freed from the control of material nature, he is put under the guidance of the spiritual nature. The guidance of the spiritual nature is called daivīṁ prakṛtim, divine nature. So, when one is promoted in that way-by surrendering to the Supreme Personality of Godhead-one attains to the stage of great soul, mahātmā.
Also he mentions in another purport:
A pure devotee of the Lord does not live on any planet of the material sky, nor does he feel any contact with the material elements. His so-called material body does not exist, being surcharged with the spiritual current of the Lord's identical interest, and thus he is permanently freed from all contaminations of the sum total of the mahat-tattva.
The problem is that as the conditioned souls think of Krsna to be under the subjugation of material nature, they think his pure devotee is under the control of material nature as well. Srila Prabhupada confirms:
Foolish people consider Krsna a human being, and they consider Lord Krsna's pure devotee an ordinary human being also.
C.c Madhya lila purport 22.51
The mentality which generates the idea that the spiritual master is controlled by material nature is considered by the Vedic literatures to be hellish (naraki buddhi). Anyone who thinks that a pure devotee is under the control of material nature is fit to reside in hell. It is a very serious offence.
Padma Purāṇa clearly states:
"One who thinks the Deity in the temple to be made of wood or stone, who thinks of the spiritual master in the disciplic succession as an ordinary man, who thinks the Vaiṣṇava in the Acyuta-gotra to belong to a certain caste or creed or who thinks of caraṇāmṛta or Ganges water as ordinary water is taken to be a resident of hell."
If we study how the puffed up conception of one’s being God enters, we can see that the root is an offense to a Vaisnava, namely to consider his body to be controlled by material nature.
“Impersonalist Mayavadis, who have no relationship with Krsna, who cannot take to devotional service, and who simply engage in material arguments to understand Brahman, regard devotional service to Krsna as karma-kanda, or fruitive activities. According to them, devotional service to Krsna is but another means for attaining dharma, artha, kama and moksa. Therefore they criticize the devotees for engaging in material activities. They think that devotional service is maya and that Krsna or Visnu is also maya. Therefore they are called Mayavadis. Such a mentality awakens in a person who is an offender to Krsna and His devotees."
C.C Antya 8.27
Prabhupāda: … to consider guru's body as material, that is also wrong.
Dr. Patel: I read somewhere that you have got to take guru as God from this point of view, that he's ātmā. You are worshiping God...
Prabhupāda: No, no. This is Māyāvāda.
Morning Walk -- February 23, 1974, Bombay
Prabhupāda: Why do you distinguish between guru's ātmā and guru's body?
Dr. Patel: But the body... But the body's not guru!
Prabhupāda: That is Māyāvāda. That is Māyāvāda.
Morning Walk -- February 23, 1974, Bombay
Because the Mayavadi thinks the pure devotee spiritual master is under the subjugation of material energy, naturally his conclusion is that the pure devotee spiritual master is depending on various material circumstances to guide his disciples properly. In other words, the Mayavadi says that the material circumstances forced the spiritual master to instruct in a particular way and because the material circumstances might be different now, it is not necessary to follow the instruction of the spiritual master. In this way the Mayavadi is able to mix in his materially concocted ideas into spiritual life. As soon as he establishes incompleteness of the spiritual master, he has a justification to fill up the gap with his own opinions and thus becomes a so-called successor to the spiritual master. One is thus sure to differ from the opinion of the spiritual master.
One who interprets the divine sound, or śabda-brahma, by his imperfect sense perception cannot be a real spiritual guru, because, in the absence of proper disciplinary training under the bona fide ācārya, the interpreter is sure to differ from Vyāsadeva (as the Māyāvādīs do). Śrīla Vyāsadeva is the prime authority of Vedic revelation, and therefore such an irrelevant interpreter cannot be accepted as the guru, or ācārya, howsoever equipped he may be with all the acquirements of material knowledge.
SSR 2b: The Absolute Necessity of a Spiritual Master
When disciples do not stick to the principle of accepting the order of their spiritual master, immediately there are two opinions. Any opinion different from the opinion of the spiritual master is useless. One cannot infiltrate materially concocted ideas into spiritual advancement. That is deviation. There is no scope for adjusting spiritual advancement to material ideas.
To avoid such a Mayavadi confusion, we should more carefully study the nature of transcendence itself. The following verse is fundamental in this regard:
The Personality of Godhead is perfect and complete. And because He is completely perfect, all emanations from Him, such as this phenomenal world, are perfectly equipped -as a complete whole. Whatever is produced of the complete whole is also complete by itself. And because He is the Complete Whole, even though so many complete units emanate from Him, He remains the complete balance.
Because the spiritual master is the representative of the Lord, his nature is similar to God’s. He is not the Supreme Godhead, but because he acts on behalf of the Supreme Godhead, he should be respected on the same level with the Supreme Godhead.
Although I know that my spiritual master is a servitor of Sri Caitanya, I know Him also as a plenary manifestation of the Lord.
Every living entity is essentially a servant of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and the spiritual master is also His servant. Still, the spiritual master is a direct manifestation of the Lord. With this conviction, a disciple can advance in Krsna consciousness. The spiritual master is nondifferent from Krsna because he is a manifestation of Krsna.
According to the deliberate opinion of all revealed scriptures, the spiritual master is nondifferent from Krsna. Lord Krsna in the form of the spiritual master delivers His devotees.
The relationship of a disciple with his spiritual master is as good as his relationship with the Supreme Lord. A spiritual master always represents himself as the humblest servitor of the Personality of Godhead, but the disciple must look upon him as the manifested representation of Godhead.
Let us now analyze the different parts of the sloka in the Sri Isopanisad one by one:
1. The Personality of Godhead is perfect and complete.
The spiritual master, who is the representative of the Personality of Godhead is therefore also perfect and complete. This is the difference between a bona fide spiritual master and an imposter.
Imposter’s knowledge is material and therefore incomplete and limited, whereas guru’s knowledge is eternal, complete and unlimited. It does not depend on the material circumstances.
If we take the instruction of God and His representative as temporary, then he is not representative, He is not God. Whatever is spoken by God and His representative, that is eternal. You cannot change by your whims.
Interview with Mike Darby
June 30, 1976, Wheeling, W. Virginia
It is for this reason that we do not necessarily need the physical presence of the spiritual master. If we are sincere, his teaching itself is complete to bring us to perfection and does not depend on whether the spiritual master is present or not. The physical presence of the spiritual master becomes an absolute necessity only if the spiritual master’s teachings are material, or in other words they change according to the material circumstances. Srila Prabhupada mentions an example of such a bogus relationship in the following purport:
There is a type of spiritual master and disciple much advertised in this age of Kali. It is said that the master injects spiritual force into the disciple by an electrical current generated by the master, and the disciple begins to feel the shock. He becomes unconscious, and the master weeps for exhausting his store of so-called spiritual assets. Such bogus advertisement is going on in this age, and the poor common man is becoming the victim of such advertisement. We do not find such folk tales in the dealings of Śukadeva Gosvāmī and his great disciple Mahārāja Parīkṣit. The sage recited Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam in devotion, and the great King heard him properly. The King did not feel any shock of electrical current from the master, nor did he become unconscious while receiving knowledge from the master. One should not, therefore, become a victim of these unauthorized advertisements made by some bogus representative of Vedic knowledge. The sages of Naimiṣāraṇya were very respectful in hearing about Mahārāja Parīkṣit because of his receiving knowledge from Śukadeva Gosvāmī by means of ardent hearing. Ardent hearing from the bona fide master is the only way to receive transcendental knowledge, and there is no need for medical performances or occult mysticism for miraculous effects. The process is simple, but only the sincere party can achieve the desired result.
SB 1972 1.12.3 purport
Therefore Īśopaniṣad informs us that pūrṇasya pūrṇam ādāya pūrṇam eva avaśiṣyate. If you take the whole energy of Krsna from Krsna, then still, the whole energy is there. But you will be surprised nowadays. Modern Gods... There are so many modern Gods; I do not wish to name. But one modern God, he gave his power to his disciple, and the, when he came into consciousness, then he was crying. The disciple inquired from the guru, "Why you are crying, sir?" "Now I have finished everything. I have given you everything. I have given you everything; therefore I am now finished." That is not spiritual. That is material.
Bombay, January 17, 1975
The whole understanding of what initiation is and who the spiritual master is and what is the relationship between the disciple and the spiritual master becomes thus perverted. Instead of enlightening the disciple with transcendental knowledge by which he can become free from the material entanglement, the pseudo-guru makes the disciple depended on his material body. He claims that his body emanates a mysterious electrical current by which the disciple becomes miraculously enlightened automatically. Thus all disciples must receive the current personally from the body of the pseudo-guru. This is however a misunderstanding of what a spiritual relationship is in the first place:
The instruction given in my books is supposed to be personal instruction. When we read the Bhagavad-gita As It Is, it is understood that we are receiving personal instructions of Krsna. No physical barrier is there in the case of spiritual affairs. It is stated in the Srimad-Bhagavatam:
sa vai pumsam paro dharmo
yato bhaktir adhoksaje
``The supreme occupation (dharma) for all humanity is that by which men can attain to loving devotional service unto the transcendental Lord. Such devotional service must be unmotivated and uninterrupted in order to completely satisfy the self.''
Letter to: Dhrstaketu:
14 October, 1973
We may add that such pure devotional service besides being unchecked by material circumstances is non-different from Krsna as it is His internal potency. Srila Prabhupada explains:
The penance by which one can see the Personality of Godhead eye to eye is to be understood as devotional service to the Lord and nothing else because only by discharging devotional service in transcendental love can one approach the Lord. Such penance is the internal potency of the Lord and is nondifferent from Him.
Sb 2.9.23 first edition
Therefore to say that devotional service can be checked by material circumstances means that Krsna can be covered by maya. Srila Prabhupada speaks of such adulterated devotional service in the purport to the ahaituky verse from the SB 1.2.6:
Material existence is temporary, illusory and full of miseries. There is no happiness at all. There is just the futile attempt to get rid of the miseries, and temporary cessation of misery is falsely called happiness. Therefore, the path of progressive material enjoyment, which is temporary, miserable and illusory, is inferior. But devotional service of the Supreme Lord, which leads one to eternal, blissful and all-cognizant life, is called the superior quality of occupation. This is sometimes polluted when mixed with the inferior quality. For example, adoption of devotional service for material gain is certainly an obstruction to the progressive path of renunciation. Renunciation or abnegation for ultimate good is certainly a better occupation than enjoyment in the diseased condition of life. Such enjoyment only aggravates the symptoms of disease and increases its duration.
SB 1972 1.2.6 purport
Therefore, a so-called disciple who is hankering for so-called personal instruction is actually not approaching the guru to understand how to get out of the material clutches. His idea of a guru is that guru is a pet, or in other words an instrument to fulfill his sense gratification. This only aggravates his material disease. It is of no wonder that his so-called relationship of getting material benefits from the guru is checked when the spiritual master physically departs. He is not serving the guru, he is serving his material motive. That is why his service has to stop at a certain point. Just as anything material, such devotional service is temporary.
There are three divisions of Kṛṣṇa conscious men. In the third class are those who have no faith. If they are engaged in devotional service officially, for some ulterior purpose, they cannot achieve the highest perfectional stage. Most probably they will slip, after some time. They may become engaged, but because they haven't complete conviction and faith, it is very difficult for them to continue in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. We have practical experience in discharging our missionary activity that some people come and apply themselves to the Kṛṣṇa consciousness with some hidden motive, and as soon as they are economically a little well-situated, they give up this process and take to their old ways again.
2. And because He is completely perfect, all emanations from Him, such as this phenomenal world, are perfectly equipped -as a complete whole.
Because the spiritual master is completely perfect, all emanations from him, such as his disciples or his organizations are perfectly equipped as a complete whole. Provided the members are following the instructions of the spiritual master, naturally his organizations are identical with Krsna and therefore with the spiritual master as well.
So if we work sincerely, the Krishna Consciousness Movement is non-different from Krishna.
(Letter to Yasomatinandana 1976)
When we speak of organization however it means disciples. The organization is simply to facilitate the preaching of the disciples. Without disciples, who repeat the words of the spiritual master, the organization is just an empty shell, which at that point becomes different from the spiritual master. The spiritual master expands through his devotees into an organization because they follow his instructions and thus the movement expands.
GBC means now they should tour very extensive. That is the first principle, the GBC. Not sit down (in) one place and pass resolution. No, they must be active. They must act like me. As I am old man, I am traveling all over the world. Now to give me relief, the GBC members... I shall expand into twelve more so that they can exactly work like me. Gradually they will be initiators. At least first initiation. You must make advance. That is my motive. So, in that way I want to divide it in twelve zones. And we have to make more propaganda throughout the whole world.
Conversation with the GBC -- May 25, 1972, Los Angeles
So one who is spreading kṛṣṇa-upadeśa, simply repeat what is said by Kṛṣṇa, then you become ācārya. Not difficult at all. Everything is stated there. We have to simply repeat like parrot. Not exactly parrot. Parrot does not understand the meaning; he simply vibrates. But you should understand the meaning also; otherwise how you can explain? So, so we want to spread Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Simply prepare yourself how to repeat Kṛṣṇa's instructions very nicely, without any malinterpretation. Then, in future... Suppose you have got now ten thousand. We shall expand to hundred thousand. That is required. Then hundred thousand to million, and million to ten million.
Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Ādi-līlā 1.13 -- Māyāpur, April 6, 1975
The disciples are also gurus by repeating strictly whatever they have heard from the spiritual master.
To answer your last point, one who teaches can be treated as Spiritual Master. It is not that after we become initiated we become perfect. No. It requires teaching. So if we take instruction from them, all senior godbrothers may be treated as guru, there is no harm. Actually, you have only one Spiritual Master, who initiates you, just as you have only one father. But every Vaisnava should be treated as prabhu, master, higher than me, and in this sense, if I learn from him, he may be regarded as guru. It is not that I disobey my real Spiritual Master and call someone else as Spiritual Master. That is wrong. It is only that I can call Spiritual Master someone who is teaching me purely what my initiating Spiritual Master has taught.
Letter to: Sri Galim — Delhi 20 November, 1971
If a child says: “This is a microphone.” and if an adult says: “This a microphone.” there is no difference in the information. This is parampara. It's about the conclusion, the instruction, not about the person who instructs. It is by the instruction we can ascertain who is in a bona fide line of succession or not.
Narada was the Spiritual Master of Vyasadeva, and Arjuna was Vyasadeva's disciple, not as initiated disciple but there was some blood relation between them. So there is connection in this way, and it is not possible to list all such relationships in the short description given in Bhagavad-gita As It Is. Another point is that disciplic succession does not mean one has to be directly a disciple of a particular person. The conclusions which we have tried to explain in our Bhagavad-gita As It Is is the same as those conclusions of Arjuna. Arjuna accepted Krishna as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and we also accept the same truth under the disciplic succession of Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Things equal to the same thing are equal to one another. This is an axiomatic truth. So there is no difference of opinion of understanding Krishna between ourselves and Arjuna. Another example is that a tree has many branches, and you will find one leaf here and another leaf there. But if you take this leaf and the other leaf and you press them both, you will see that the taste is the same. The taste is the conclusion, and from the taste you can understand that both leaves are from the same tree.
Letter to: Kirtanananda — Los Angeles 25 January, 1969
I have heard how the new devotees are all executing their devotional services very enthusiastically and with sincerity and humility. Yes, I have asked them to take instruction from you, one of their elder Godsisters. Whatever you have learned—you are one of the old students—whatever you have gathered by experience, you must hand them over to the new students. This is called parampara.
Letter to: Malati — Los Angeles 6 March, 1970
Actually, if the guru teaches Kṛṣṇa consciousness, then he may be in lesser degree, but he's accepted as guru. There is no question of rejection. Because Kṛṣṇa is actually jṣāna. One who teaches Kṛṣṇa as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, "One has to know Kṛṣṇa, one has to surrender to Kṛṣṇa," this kind of teaching is required. And if the guru says that "I am Kṛṣṇa. Everyone is Kṛṣṇa," then, "daridra-kṛṣṇa, daridra-nārāyaṇa," he is not a guru. He's not a guru. He's misguiding. Misguiding. Avaiṣṇavo gurur na syāt. This is the shastric injunction. Ṣaṭ-karma-nipuṇo vipro mantra-tantra-viśāradaḥ. A... Generally, a qualified brāhmaṇa becomes guru. That is natural. Brāhmaṇa is the head of the society. So he is... And without becoming brāhmaṇa, nobody can become guru. That is also fact. Because brāhmaṇa means brahma jānātīti brāhmaṇaḥ, one who knows Brahman, Brahman. So guru must be a brāhmaṇa, mean a qualified brāhmaṇa, not born-brāhmaṇa, so-called brāhmaṇa. Qualified brāhmaṇa. So still, brāhmaṇa's qualification, ṣaṭ-karma, paṭhana pāṭhana yajana yājana dāna pratigraha. So śāstra says that ṣaṭ-karma-nipuṇo vipraḥ. If one vipra is quite expert in executing the six kinds of business, and mantra-tantra-viśāradaḥ, and very well known in the Vedic mantras and hymns and everything complete, but if he is avaiṣṇava, if he is not Vaiṣṇava, he does not know viṣṇu-tattva, or kṛṣṇa-tattva, then he cannot become spiritual master. Avaiṣṇavo gurur na syād vaiṣṇavaḥ śva-paco guruḥ. But if a Vaiṣṇava, one who knows viṣṇu-tattva, kṛṣṇa-tattva, even if he's born in the family of śva-paca, the dog-eaters, caṇḍāla, he can be accepted as guru. So the real test is whether the guru is a Vaiṣṇava, whether he know the science of Kṛṣṇa. That is also confirmed by Caitanya Mahāprabhu:
kibā vipra, kibā nyāsī, śūdra kene naya
yei kṛṣṇa-tattva-vettā sei 'guru' haya
[Cc. Madhya 8.128]
A... It doesn't matter what he is, whether he's a sannyāsī or a gṛhastha or a brāhmaṇa or a su..., born in brāhmaṇa family or... It doesn't matter. Yei kṛṣṇa-tattva. Anyone who knows Kṛṣṇa, he can become guru, not others. So that is the statement of the śāstras. Avaiṣṇava cannot become guru.
Bhagavad-gītā 7.1 -- Ahmedabad, December 13, 1972
Therefore there’s no reason to minimize the position of bona fide disciples. They should be treated with respect and they can teach us also.
You speak of pure devotee, that he is saktyavesa avatara, that we should obey him only—these things are the wrong idea. If anyone thinks like that, that a pure devotee should be obeyed and no one else, that means he is a nonsense. We advise everyone to address one another as Prabhu. Prabhu means master, so how the master should be disobeyed? Others, they are also pure devotees. All of my disciples are pure devotees. Anyone sincerely serving the spiritual master is a pure devotee, it may be Siddhasvarupa or others, a-Siddhasvarupa. This must be very clearly stated. It is not only that your Siddhasvarupa is a pure devotee and not others. Do not try to make a faction. Siddhasvarupa is a good soul. But others should not be misled. Anyone who is surrendered to the spiritual master is a pure devotee, it doesn't matter if Siddhasvarupa or non-Siddhasvarupa.
Letter to: Tusta Krsna — Ahmedabad 14 December, 1972
To say that no one is guru, only Prabhupada is guru is a mayavada tendency and it only reveals the motivation of such an individual to be a guru himself.
Bhāgavata: He said, "You are your own guru," Śrīla Prabhupāda.
Prabhupāda: Yes. That is...
Devotee: I have heard him.
Prabhupāda: You see? Kṛṣṇa says, tad vijṣānārthaṁ sa gurum evābhigacchet... [MU 1.2.12]. Tad viddhi praṇipātena [Bg. 4.34]. He says, "Everyone is guru." Just see. "Everyone is guru." Then why you are instructing? Why you are becoming guru?
Dr. Patel: He's not becoming guru of anybody.
Prabhupāda: No, no. Why does he say that "You do this"? That is guru. Guru means one who orders. That is guru. That means you reject all other gurus... That means... He means to say that "You reject all other gurus. Accept me guru." That's all.
Morning Walk -- March 23, 1974, Bombay
You have to accept guru this way or that way. You need a guru for everything. We might not officially call them gurus, but there are so many people who gave us instructions in our life and we have benefited from them. There’s no such a thing as being without a spiritual master at any stage of our life. We simply have to consider who the bona fide spiritual master is, not whether we should accept someone or not.
So your question is without spiritual master. Without spiritual master you cannot be, at any stage of your life. You may accept this spiritual master or that spiritual master. That is a different thing. But you have to accept. As you say that "by reading Bible," when you read Bible that means you are following the spiritual master represented by some priest or some clergyman in the line of Lord Jesus Christ. So any case, you have to follow a spiritual master. There cannot be the question without spiritual master. Is that clear?
Madhudviṣa: I mean like we couldn't understand the teachings of the Bhagavad-gītā without your help, without your presentation.
Prabhupāda: Similarly, you have to understand Bible with the help of the priest in the church.
Lecture -- Seattle, October 2, 1968
Even if the gurus are not liberated, provided they follow the instructions of the liberated, they can be accepted as spiritual masters.
At the present moment it has become fashionable to disobey the unimpeachable directions given by the ācāryas and liberated souls of the past. Presently people are so fallen that they cannot distinguish between a liberated soul and a conditioned soul. A conditioned soul is hampered by four defects: he is sure to commit mistakes, he is sure to become illusioned, he has a tendency to cheat others, and his senses are imperfect. Consequently we have to take direction from liberated persons. This Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement directly receives instructions from the Supreme Personality of Godhead via persons who are strictly following His instructions. Although a follower may not be a liberated person, if he follows the supreme, liberated Personality of Godhead, his actions are naturally liberated from the contamination of the material nature. Lord Caitanya therefore says: "By My order you may become a spiritual master." One can immediately become a spiritual master by having full faith in the transcendental words of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and by following His instructions.
Generally the spiritual master comes from the group of such eternal associates of the Lord; but anyone who follows the principles of such ever liberated persons is as good as one in the above mentioned group. The gurus from nature's study are accepted as such on the principle that an elevated person in Krishna Consciousness does not accept anyone as disciple, but he accepts everyone as expansion of his guru. That is very high position, called Maha-bhagavata. Just like Radharani, sometimes thinks a subordinate of hers as her teacher, to understand devotion of Krishna. A person who is liberated acharya and guru cannot commit any mistake, but there are persons who are less qualified or not liberated, but still can act as guru and acharya by strictly following the disciplic succession.
Letter to: Janardana — New York 26 April, 1968
Yet the initiating spiritual master remains the complete balance. Our Godbrothers can help us, but the initiating spiritual master does not depend on them. If I can benefit from someone’s association, why not take it? But my Godbrother is never equal to my spiritual master. My relationship with the spiritual master remains always complete. I simply have to follow the instruction. This is the meaning of the current link. The current is available for anyone and everyone. It is only up to the individual to hook up and preach.
They promised before me to follow the principles. If they are not, then they are not allowed to initiate, but if they are actually following, then they are allowed. These things should be raised in our next meeting in Mayapur and decided.
My point is that even if somebody does not go in one line with the rest of the godbrothers, he can remain separately, but it does not mean that he may disobey the principles that I have laid down. So long as one follows the principles, he continues to be my disciple.
Letter to: Madhudvisa: — Bombay 7 November, 1975
If Kirtanananda Maharaja speaks what I speak, then he can be taken a siksa guru. Guru sastra sadhu. The spiritual master is one, that is a fact. Kirtanananda Swami may be taken a sadhu not spiritual master, or as instructor guru. I don't think he is saying anything against our principles, so what is the wrong?
You have written that the devotees here say that you cannot know me, but only Kirtanananda Maharaja can know me. But, if Kirtanananda is a disciple and he can know me, and you are also a disciple, why you cannot know me?
Letter to: Satyabhama, Paramananda — New Vrindaban 20 July, 1974
by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Since time immemorial, the sannyasa order has carried the tridanda. Later Sankaracarya introduced the ekadandi-sannyasa. A tridandi-sannyasi is a Vaisnava sannyasi, and an ekadandi-sannyasi is a Mayavadi sannyasi. There are many other types of sannyasis, who are not approved by Vedic rituals. A type of pseudo-sannyasa was introduced by Indra when he tried to hide himself from the attack of Vijitasva, the great son of King Prthu. Now there are many different types of sannyasis. Some of them go naked, and some of them carry a skull and trident, generally known as kapalika. All of them were introduced under some meaningless circumstances, and those who have a poor fund of knowledge accept these false sannyasis and their pretenses, although they are not bona fide guides to spiritual advancement. At the present moment some missionary institutions, without referring to the Vedic rituals, have introduced some sannyasis who engage in sinful activities. The sinful activities forbidden by the sastras are illicit sex, intoxication, meat-eating and gambling. These so-called sannyasis indulge in all these activities. They eat meat and flesh, fish, eggs and just about everything. They sometimes drink with the excuse that without alcohol, fish and meat, it is impossible to remain in the cold countries near the Arctic zone. These sannyasis introduce all these sinful activities in the name of serving the poor, and consequently poor animals are cut to pieces and go into the bellies of these sannyasis. As described in the following verses, such sannyasis are pakhandis. Vedic literature states that a person who puts Lord Narayana on the level with Lord Siva or Lord Brahma immediately becomes a pakhandi. As stated in the Puranas:
yas tu narayanam devam
sa pasandi bhaved dhruvam
[Cc. Madhya 18.116]
In Kali-yuga the pakhandis are very prominent. However, Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu has tried to kill all these pakhandis by introducing His sankirtana movement.
by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
evam indre haraty asvam
pakhandesu matir nrnam
dharma ity upadharmesu
prayena sajjate bhrantya
pesalesu ca vagmisu
In this way, King Indra, in order to steal the horse from King Prthu's sacrifice, adopted several orders of sannyasa. Some sannyasis go naked, and sometimes they wear red garments and pass under the name of kapalika. These are simply symbolic representations of their sinful activities. These so-called sannyasis are very much appreciated by sinful men because they are all godless atheists and very expert in putting forward arguments and reasons to support their case. We must know, however, that they are only passing as adherents of religion and are not so in fact. Unfortunately, bewildered persons accept them as religious, and being attracted to them, they spoil their life.
As stated in Srimad-Bhagavatam, men in this age of Kali are short-lived, devoid of spiritual knowledge, and susceptible to accept false religious systems due to their unfortunate condition. Thus they always remain mentally disturbed. The Vedic sastras practically prohibit the adoption of sannyasa in the age of Kali because less intelligent men may accept the sannyasa order for cheating purposes. Actually the only religion is the religion of surrender unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead. We must serve the Lord in Krsna consciousness. All other systems of sannyasa and religion are actually not bona fide. In this age they are simply passing for religious systems. This is most regrettable.