The Process Of Accepting A Real Guru
by Damaghosa dasa
Below we have summarized a few lectures by Srila Prabhupada where he nicely explains who will find a real guru, and how to determine who is a real guru.
- Accept a guru who is infallible
- If you dont get a qualified guru, then everything is bogus
- If you dont find such a guru, that means Krsna is not pleased or your not serious
- Guru must be accepted from highest order- paramahamsa
- Who has been cheated by bogus gurus? He says-“Practically everyone”
… Sisyas te ‘ham sadhi mam prapannam: “Now, Krsna, I accept You as my guru. Not as friend.” Because friendly talking is useless waste of time. He accepted Him as guru. When guru speaks, you cannot argue. That is not the process. You should accept a guru who is infallible. Otherwise it is useless. He accepted guru Krsna because Krsna is infallible. If we accept guru, a bogus guru, then it is no benefit. Guru means Krsna’s representative. Not that everyone can be guru.
Prabhupada: Just like Dhruva Maharaja. He was advised by his mother that “If you go to the forest you can see God.” So he went there. But when he was very serious, then Krsna sent him Narada Muni. So if you are actually serious about Krsna, then Krsna will send you some of His representative and he will take charge of you. That is the process. If you do not find a guru, that means Krsna is not yet pleased, either you are not serious.
Devotee: What determines, Srila Prabhupada, if one is serious or one is not serious? What makes one…
Prabhupada: Well, this seriousness comes after many, many births. It is also not so easy. Rupa Gosvami says, tatra laulyam api mulyam ekalam janma-koti-sukrtair na labhyate. He wrote a verse,
krsna-bhakti-rasa-bhavita matih kriyatam yadi kuto ‘pi labhyate: “The krsna-bhakti, Krsna consciousness, this thing, if you can purchase somewhere, just immediately purchase it.” Krsna-bhakti-rasa-bhavita matih kriyatam: “Just purchase.” Yadi kuto ‘pi labhyate. First of all, if you want to purchase, the things must be available. Yadi kuto. Therefore kuto ‘pi, “If it is available, immediately purchase.” Then next question is, “What is the value? What is the price I have to pay?” Then he said, tatra laulyam ekalam mulyam, “Simply your serious eagerness to have it. That is the price.” “Oh, that I can have very
easily.” “No.” Janma-koti-sukrtair na labhyate: “That laulyam, that seriousness, is not obtained after thousands of years’ pious activities.” It is so difficult. Janma-koti-sukrtair na labhyate. People are acting piously, but that kind of seriousness is not available even after executing pious activities for thousands of lives. So that seriousness is also very difficult, to become very serious that “In this life I shall finish my business and go home, back to home, back to Godhead.” Bahunam janmanam ante jnanavan mam prapadyate. Krsna says, “After many, many births, when actually one becomes in knowledge, he surrenders unto Me.”
So for that there are so many practices, regulative principles, mentioned here. The first thing is hamse gurau mayi bhaktyanuvrtya. This is religion. Adau gurvasrayam. If you do not get a qualified guru, then everything is bogus. If you, by good fortune, if you get the association of a guru, qualified hamsa, paramahamsa… Paramahamsa guru means sannyasi’s last stage is paramahamsa. Kuticaka, bahudaka, parivrajakacarya, and paramahamsa, these are the different stages. When one takes sannyasa, he lives outside the village in a kuti, in a cottage, and the family members goes and delivers him the food, because he is not practiced. So in the beginning, he keeps up this association of neighborhood or family, but he is not practiced. He therefore lives outside the village, and if somebody gives some food, he eats. Then when he becomes experienced, then he does not accept food from one, either his own home or one home. He takes foodstuff from many homes: “Give me a little piece of capati.” So somebody gives half, because they are also not overburdened. If they have to deliver, so many sannyasis come, and sumptuous food, then how the grhastha will provide? Therefore though… They do not overburden. There may be other sannyasis, therefore little only. Madhupuri. The Gosvamis practiced this madhupuri in Vrndavana. They lived, but they would take little only from the house. This is called bahudaka. Then when he has practiced more, he travels all over the world, parivrajakacarya. And when he is fully experienced, then, in spiritual life and everything, then he is paramahamsa. So one must find out a guru who is paramahamsa. Neither kuticaka, nor bahudaka, nor parivrajakacarya. Paramahamsa. So in the Caitanya-caritamrta also, Lord Caitanya says, guru-krsna-krpaya paya bhakti-lata-bija. This bhakti-lata-bija can be obtained through the mercy of guru and Krsna. Here Rsabhadeva, who is incarnation of Krsna, therefore He says mayi, hamse gurau mayi. You cannot jump over Krsna. “Well, I know Krsna. I shall go to Krsna directly, without guru.” There are many rascals, they say like that. No, that is not possible. First of all guru, then Krsna. Hamse gurau mayi, bhaktyanuvrtya.
So these are description, this is the beginning. If we actually practice the description of the prescription given in the sastra, then it will be possible that, as it is said, karmanubaddho drdha aslatheta. Then our strong desire to enjoy this material world in different way, that will be slackened. That is wanted.
Thank you very much.
Devotees: Jaya! (end)
SSR 2 Choosing a Spiritual Master
Reporter: Have the real gurus like yourself ever tried to put a stop to the false gurus–that is, put pressure on them to put them out of business, so to speak?
Srila Prabhupada: No, that is not my purpose. I started my movement simply by chanting Hare Krsna. I chanted in New York in a place called Tompkins Square Park, and soon people began to come to me. In this way, the Krsna consciousness movement gradually developed. Many accepted, and many did not accept. Those who are fortunate have accepted.
Reporter: Don’t you feel that people are suspicious because of their experience with fake gurus? If you went to a quack dentist and he broke your tooth, you might be suspicious about going to another dentist.
Srila Prabhupada: Yes. Naturally, if you are cheated, you become suspicious. But this does not mean that if you are cheated once, you will always be cheated. You should find someone genuine. But to come to Krsna consciousness, you must be either very fortunate or well aware of this science. From the Bhagavad-gita we understand that the genuine seekers are very few: manusyanam sahasresu kascid yatati siddhaye. Out of many millions of people, there may be only one who is interested in spiritual life. Generally, people are interested in eating, sleeping, mating, and defending. So how can we expect to find many followers? It is not difficult to notice that people have lost their spiritual interest. And almost all those who are actually interested are being cheated by so-called spiritualists. You cannot judge a movement simply by the number of its followers. If one man is genuine, then the movement issuccessful. It is not a question of quantity, but quality.
Reporter: I wondered how many people you think might have been taken in by fake gurus.
Srila Prabhupada: Practically everyone. [Laughter.] There is no question of counting. Everyone.
Reporter: This would mean thousands of people, wouldn’t it?
Srila Prabhupada: Millions. Millions have been cheated, because they want to be cheated. God is omniscient. He can understand your desires. He is within your heart, and if you want to be cheated, God sends you a cheater.