Francisco Valencia Berrueta,16th August 2011
Su Santidad Sankarshan Das Adhikari, in The Ultimate Self Realization Course, “Is It Essential to Have a Living Guru?” (Lesson C24); wrote:
“One does not need to be spiritually disadvantaged by the physical disappearance of a great spiritual master, such as ISKCON Founder-Acharya His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, thinking that now there is no more opportunity for spiritual progress. All one has to do is find a sincere disciple of Srila Prabhupada and fully take shelter of him.”; my question is: How to recognize the sincere disciples of Sri Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada who have the qualifications to be a spiritual master?
I thank in advance for your kind comments.
Servant of the devotees of Krishna
Mahabhagavat Das SDA,17th August 2011
Hare Krishna Prabhu,
Please accept my humble obeisances.
All glories to Srila Prabhupada.
Yes, this is a very important question. Thank you very much Prabhu.
You can study the books of Srila Prabhupada, especially the Nectar of Instruction, which is a translation from the Sanskrit version Bhakti Rasamrta Sindhu by Srila Rupa Goswami, and other instructions by Srila Prabhupada about the qualifications of the spiritual master, then you can assess any person you encounter who presents himself as a spiritual master, who is a personally initiated disciple of Srila Prabhupada (not this bogus so-called initiation where a so-called disciple imposes himself upon Srila Prabhupada after he has entered Samadhi).
A spiritual master is 100% dedicated to spreading Srila Prabhupada’s mission all over this planet, every single moment of their day, this is their only business.
The spiritual master never deviates from the instructions of his own spiritual master, and never asks anyone to deviate also. For example, in South America there are some so-called disciples of Srila Prabhupada who are initiating disciples and saying that chanting 4 rounds of Hare Krishna Mahamantra on the beads is alright. Such so-called spiritual masters may be sincere themselves, but by deviating, they make themselves unqualified to be spiritual masters. Some other spiritual masters, they left ISKCON and started their own organizations, such persons, even though they may be sincere devotees, are again not qualified to be spiritual masters themselves because they disobeyed the order of Srila Prabhupada to not leave ISKCON.
In other words, a spiritual master always remains a sincere disciple of his own spiritual master. But note that not every person who is eligible to bea spiritual master is actually willing to accept the responsibility of taking disciples.
In ISKCON, there is a very careful process that goes beyond emotion and sentiment, there is careful assessment and very very strong checks-and-balances, continual observation of the spiritual masters who are authorized to initiate. This process is accomplished via the ISKCON GBC which is how Srila Prabhupada instructed his disciples to manage ISKCON. In other words, no one who is not authorized by the ISKCON GBC is allowed initiate disciples within ISKCON.
Also, there is a personal component also – if you are really sincere, you can feel in your heart which spiritual master is connecting you to Krishna best. But when you meet such a person, carefully assess without wasting time, and then please do not hesitate. Don’t go by external things like name, fame, etc., as a spiritual master is a pure devotee. Do not lose the opportunity to be connected to the disciplic succession through a bona fide spiritual master.
Tirtharaja Dasa, 18th August 2011
Yes another good source of information is the compilation of Srila
Prabhupada’s writings and sayings on this subject matter known as ‘The
Spiritual Master and The Disciple’. Thank you and happy, informed and
Mahabhagavat Das SDA, 18th August 2011
Here is a very good article:
Jagannatha dasa,18th August 2011
Hare Krishna prabhus.
Here are some quotations by Srila Gurudeva on the topic.
Question: How to Find Guru?
Can you have more than one guru ?
How you can find guru?
How you can get faith and increase faith in guru and God?
Answer: You Already Have
While we have only one initiating guru, we may have an unlimited number of instructing gurus.
You do not need to go looking for a guru. You have already found one.
The way to increase your faith in guru and God is to chant the Hare Krishna mantra on a regular daily basis.
Sankarshan Das Adhikari
Question: How to Find an Enlightened Guru?
I am really in need of your precious advice. For the last ten years I have been looking for an enlightened guru. In this regard I have met many monks, but I have found most of them fake. I want to live a spiritual life and want to know the Absolute Truth, but I have failed to meet a real guru. Kindly help me out and tell me the address of a real enlightened guru. I will very much obliged.
Answer: You’ve Already Found One
I understand your frustration of encountering so many fake gurus because I was also disappointed in the same way when I was seeking a guru who could bless me with genuine spiritual enlightenment. By Krishna’s grace after four-and-a-half years of difficult struggle, I finally found such a bona fide spiritual master, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Prabhupada, the Founder-Acharya of ISKCON (the International Society for Krishna Consciousness). He enlightened me with perfect spiritual knowledge and saved me from the vicious cycle of birth and death. If you will read his translation of the Bhagavad-gita known as Bhagavad-gita As It Is, you will find great joy and solace.
Before his left this world in 1977 he carefully trained me and his other disciples how to become gurus so that in his physical absence we could carry on with his mission of enlightening the human society. So there is no need for you to be frustrated anymore in your search for an enlightened spiritual master because you have already found one. You may consult with me and the other devotees of ISKCON regarding how to become free from all material miseries. There are many ISKCON temples throughout India. Is there one in your area?
Sankarshan Das Adhikari
Who is the Real Guru?
Please accept my humble pranams.
In these days many people claim to be Gurus. And it is very difficult for an ordinary person to judge who is the real Guru
who is self-realized and can take his/her disciple to the highest truth. How one can find his/her Guru and how he/she will be sure that his chosen person is a real Guru who is self-realized?
With humble pranams
The Real Guru is Realized in the Vedic Wisdom
My Dear Devadas,
Please accept my blessings.
If someone decides to be a gold merchant they must have some preliminary knowledge of what is gold, otherwise they will be cheated by so many people who will sell them imitation gold. In a similar way if we are going to seek out a guru or spiritual master we must have some preliminary knowledge of what is a guru or we will be cheated by so many imposters. We are currently living in the Kali Yuga, the Age of Quarrel and Cheating, so we must be very careful when seeking out a guru that we do not become cheated.
Guru is not an invented concept. The idea of guru comes from India’s ancient Vedic literature. If we want some preliminary knowledge to enable us to find out the bona fide spiritual master, then we simply must carefully study the Vedic literature to learn the method of discerning who is the bona fide guru. For the example, the following injunction is given in the Srimad Bhagavatam:
tasmad gurum prapadyeta
jijnasuh sreya uttamam
sabde pare ca nisnatam
“Therefore any person who seriously desires real happiness must seek a bona fide spiritual master and take shelter of him by initiation. The qualification of the bona fide guru is that he has realized the conclusions of the scriptures by deliberation and is able to convince others of these conclusions. Such great personalities, who have taken shelter of the Supreme Godhead, leaving aside all material considerations, should be understood to be bona fide spiritual masters.”
Note that the spiritual master must have realized the conclusion of the scriptures. Sadly, nowadays, the so-called gurus present conclusions which go against the authoritative Vedic literatures.
In this way they create societies of the cheater and the cheated. They are the cheater and their disciples are the cheated.
Therefore if you want to find out who is your actual proper guru you must become educated in the Vedic wisdom. In this way you can find out the real guru who is presenting the Vedic wisdom as it is without any distortion. There is a great need in the modern day society for real gurus and real disciples, but due to a lack of Vedic education we have a world full of cheating so-called gurus and their millions and millions of cheated disciples. This is why there is so much chaos in the world.
To try to bring relief to the suffering humanity we are trying to educate the mass of people what is the proper Vedic understanding. So my best advise to you in regards to finding out who is your guru is that first you should become learned in the Vedic wisdom. Then you will have no difficulty at all in discerning who is your guru. I am willing to give you all training and guidance to become expert in the Vedic wisdom. This why I am offering this e-course, the Ultimate Self Realization Course. Kindly take full advantage of it.
Hoping this meets you in good health and in a cheerful mood,
Your eternal well-wisher,
Sankarshan Das Adhikari
There are also so many more quotes along these lines available.
One can search http://www.sda-archives.com in the search bar for keywords or questions. I got 10 pages of quotes on this topic by searching how to find a guru there.
I hope this is useful.
All glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga!
All glories to Srila Prabhupada!