Who is Guru – Qualifications of the Spiritual Master

 

Srila Prabhupada talks with a journalist about:

RASCALS, BLUFFERS and SHOW-BOTTLE SPIRITUALISTS
 

Late in 1968, in Los Angeles, His Divine Grace A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada,
Founder and Acarya of the International Society for Krsna Consciousness, granted a magazine interview.

  • Journalist: I think an awful lot of our readers, and an awful lot of people in the United States, are terribly confused with the many people who claim to be Gurus and gods and who pop up in this country, one after the other, after the other, and they say that…
  • Srila Prabhupada: “I can declare that they are all nonsense”
  • Journalist: I wonder if you could elaborate on that a little bit.
  • Srila Prabhupada: I can say, furthermore, they’re all rascals.
  • Journalist: For example, the famous one who sells meditation mantras?
  • Srila Prabhupada: HE is Rascal number one. I say it publicly.
  • Journalist: Could you explain, give me a little background on that and why, because our readers…
  • Srila Prabhupada: From his behaviour I can understand he is rascal number one. I do not want to know about him, but what he has done makes it obvious. But the wonderful thing is that people in the Western countries are supposed to be so advanced-how they are befooled by these rascals?
  • Journalist: Well, I think that people are looking for something, and he comes along…
  • Srila Prabhupada: Yes, but they want something very cheap-that is their fault. Now, for our disciples, we don’t give anything cheap. Our first condition is character-moral character. You see? Unless one is strictly following moral principles, we don’t initiate him, we don’t allow him in this institution. And this so-called guru has been telling people, “Just do whatever you like. You simply pay me thirty-five dollars, and I’ll give you a mantra.” You see? So people want to be cheated, and so many cheaters come. People do not wish to undergo any discipline. They have got money, so they think, “We shall pay and immediately we’ll get whatever we want.”
  • Journalist: Instand heaven.
  • Srila Prabhupada: Yes. That is their foolishness.
  • Journalist: Let me ask you-I have my opinion, but let me ask you-Why do you feel that the younger people today are turning more and more toward the Eastern-oriented religions?
  • Srila Prabhupada: Because your materialistic way of life no longer satisfies them. In America, especially, you have got enough for enjoyment. You have got enough food, enough women, enough wine, enough houses-enough of everything. But still you have confusion and dissatisfaction-more in your country than in India, which is said to be poverty-stricken. But you’ll find in India that although they are poverty-stricken, they are continuing their old spiritual culture. So the people are not as disturbed. This shows that material advancement alone cannot give one satisfaction. So it is necessary now that people should take to spiritual life. That will make them happy. All these people-they are in darkness. There is no hope. They do not know where they are going; they have no aim. But when you are spiritually situated, you know what you are doing and where you are going. Everything is clear.
  • Journalist: In other words, you feel that the Western-oriented church, whether it be a synagogue or a church or whatever-has failed to present spiritual life. Would you say that their message is not relevant? Or is it that they have failed to present their message properly?
  • Srila Prabhupada: Take the bible. It was spoken long, long ago in the desert. These people were not very advanced. So at that time, in the Old Testament, it was sufficient to say, “There is a God, and God created the world. “That is a fact. But now people are scientifically advanced, and they want to know in detail how the creation has taken place. You see? And that detailed, scientific explanation is not there in the Bible. And the church can’t give any more than that. Therefore people are not satisfied. Simply officially going to the church and offering prayers does not appeal to them. Besides that, the so called religious leaders are not following even the most basic religious principles. For instance, in the Old Testament there are the Ten Commandments, and one commandment is “Thou shalt not kill. “But killing is very prominent in the Christian world. The religious leaders are sanctioning slaughterhouses, and they have manufactured a theory that animals have no soul. “give the dog a bad name and hang it,” So when we ask, “Why are you committing this sinful act of killing?” the priests refuse to discuss the matter. Everyone is silent. That means they are deliberately disobeying the Ten Commandments. So where are religious principles? It is plainly stated, “Thou shalt not kill”. Why are they killing? How do you answer?
  • Journalist: Are you asking me?
  • Srila Prabhupada: Yes
  • Journalist: Well “Thou shalt not kill” is obviously an ethic…and its timeless, and it’s valid. But man is not really interested…
  • Srila Prabhupada: Yes, that’s right. They are not really interested in religion. It is simply show-bottle. If you do not follow the regulative principles, then where is your religion?
  • Journalist: I’m not arguing with you. I couldn’t agree with you more. I’m in total agreement. It doesn’t make any sense. “Thou shalt not kill.” “Thou shalt worship no other gods before Me.” “thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s goods.” “Thou shalt honour thy father and thy mother.”… Those are beautiful-
  • Srila Prabhupada: “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife” -but who is following this?
  • Journalist: Very few.
  • Srila Prabhupada: So how can they say they’re religious? And without religion, human society is animal society.
  • Journalist: All right, but let me ask you this. How does your interpretation differ from the basic Judeo-Christian ethic of the Ten Commandments?
  • Srila Prabhupada: There is no difference. But as I have told you, none of them are strictly following the Ten Commandments. So I simply say, “Please follow God’s commandments.” That is my message.
  • Journalist: In other words, you’re asking them to obey those principles
  • Srila Prabhupada: Yes. I don’t say that Christians should become Hindu. I simply say, “Please obey your Commandments.” I’ll make you a better Christian. That is my mission. I don’t say, “Obey God.” I dont say, “God is not your tradition-God is only here in ours.” I simply say, “Obey God.” I don’t say, “You have to accept that Gods name is Krsna and no other. “No I say “Please obey God. Please try to love God.”
  • Journalist: Let me put it this way. If your mission and the mission of the Western Judeo-Christian ethic are the same, again let me ask, why is it that the younger people, or people in general, are disenchanted, are trying to go toward the Eastern-oriented religions? Why are they going toward the Eastern if both are the same?
  • Srila Prabhupada: Because Judaism and Christianity are not teaching them practically. I am teaching them practically.
  • Journalist: In other words, You’re teaching them what you feel is practical, everyday method for attaining this fulfilment of man’s spirit.
  • Srila Prabhupada: Love of Godhead is being taught both in the Bible and in the Bhagavad-gita. But today’s religionists are not actually teaching how to love God. I am teaching people how to love God-that is the difference. Therefore, young people are attracted.
  • Journalist: All right. So the end is the same, but it’s the method of getting there that’s different?
  • Srila Prabhupada: No-the end is the same and the method is also the same. But these so-called religious leaders are not teaching people to follow the method. I am teaching them practically how to follow it.
  • Journalist: Let me ask you something that we’ve run into a great deal just recently. The biggest problem holding men and women back from love of God and following the Ten Commandments is the problem-how should I put it?-well the sexual problem. Now I’m stating something thats obvious. We’ve all gone though this.
  • Srila Prabhupada: Yes, everyone.
  • Journalist: And there is nothing in Western culture or religion that teaches or helps a young person to cope with this difficult problem. I went though it. We all have. Now do you, in your message, give the young people something to hang on to? And if so, what?
  • Srila Prabhupada: I ask my disciples to get married. I don’t allow this nonsense of boys living with girl friends. No. “You must get yourself married and live like a gentleman.”
  • Journalist: Well, let me get a little more basic. How about when one is fourteen-fifteen-sixteen years old?
  • Srila Prabhupada: One thing is that we teach our boys how to become (brahmacari)-how to live the life of celibacy, how to control their senses. In Vedic culture, marriage generally doesn’t take place until the boy is about twenty-four or twenty-five and the girl is about sixteen or seventeen. And because they are experiencing the spiritual pleasure of Krsna consciousness, they are not simply interested in sex life. So we don’t say “don’t mix with women,” or ,”Stop sex life.” But we regulate everything under the higher principle of Krsna Consciousness. In this way everything goes nicely.
  • Journalist: So your disciples don’t just bite their tongue or their lip and say, “I won’t touch her (or him).”There is a substitute?
  • Srila Prabhupada Yes, a higher taste. That is Krsna Consciousness. And it is working: I’m already teaching Western men and women how to control their sexual impulse. My disciples that you see here are all Americans. They are not imported from India.
  • Journalist: One thing I want to know is what you think about people like this famous Mantra-selling Guru, who turned me off and so many other people. My daughter was very involved in that kind of thing for awhile. She’s terribly disillusioned.
  • Srila Prabhupada: The psychology is that the Western people, especially youngsters, are hankering after spiritual life. Now, if somebody comes to me and says, “Svamiji, initiate me, ” I immediately say, “You have to follow these four principles-no meat-eating, no gambling, no intoxication, and no illicit sex.” Many go away. But this mantra seller-he did not put any restrictions. That’s just like a physician who says, “You can do whatever you like; you simply take my medicine and you’ll be cured. “That physician will be very popular.
  • Journalist: Yes, He’ll kill a lot of people, but he’ll be very will liked.
  • Srila Prabhupada: Yes, (Laughs). And a real Physician say’s, “You cannot do that. You cannot eat this. “This is a botheration for people. They want something very cheap. Therefore the cheaters come and cheat them. They take the opportunity–because people want to be cheated. “Oh, let us take advantage!” You see? So the rascals advise people, You are God — everyone is God. You just have to realize yourself-you have simply forgotten. You take this mantra, and you’ll become god. You’ll become powerful. There is no need to control the senses. You can drink. You can have unrestricted sex life and whatever you like. People like this. “Oh, simply by fifteen minutes meditation I shall become God, and I have to pay only thirty-five dollars. “Many millions of people will be ready to do it. For Americans, thirty-five dollars is not very much. But multiplied by a million, it becomes thirty-five million dollars. [Laughs.] We cannot bluff like that. We say that if you actually want spiritual life, you have to follow the restrictions. The commandment is, “You shall not kill.” So I shall not say, Yes, you can kill-the animal has no feeling, the animal has no soul .”We cannot bluff in this way, you see.
  • Journalist: This kind of thing has disenchanted an awful lot of young people.
  • Srila Prabhupada: So please try to help us. This movement is very nice. It will help your country. It will help the whole human society. It is a genuine movement. We are not bluffing or cheating. It is authorized
  • Journalist: Authorized by whom?
  • Srila Prabhupada Authorized by Krsna, God. In India this Krsna consciousness philosophy has millions and millions of followers — eighty percent of the population If you ask any Indian he will be able to tell you so many things about Krsna Consciousness.
  • Journalist: Do you really think, from a very practical standpoint, that your movement has a chance to make it here in America?
  • Srila Prabhupada: From what I’ve seen it has a great chance. We don’t say “give up your religion and come to us.” We say, “At least follow your own principles. And then if you want to, study with us. “Sometimes it happens that although students have received their M.A. degree, they go to foreign universities to study more. Why does it happen? They want more enlightenment. Similarly, any religious scripture you may follow will give you enlightenment. But if you find more in this Krsna consciousness movement, then why should you not accept it? If you are serious about god, why should you say, Oh, “I am Christian,” “I am Jewish,” “I cannot attend your meeting”? If I am speaking about God, what objection can you have?
  • Journalist: Well I couldn’t agree with you more.
  • Srila Prabhupada: I am prepared to talk with any God conscious man. Let us chalk out a program so that people may be benefited. But they want to go on in their stereotyped way. If we see that by following a particular type of religious principle one is developing love of God, that is first-class religion. But if one is merely developing his love for mammon, then what kind of religion is that?
  • Journalist: Right you are.
  • Srila Prabhupada: That is our test-you have to develop love for GOD. we don’t say that you must follow Christianity, or Muhammadanism, or Judaism, or Hinduism. We simply look to see whether you are developing your love of Godhead. But they say, “Who is God? I am God.” you see? Everyone is taught nowadays that everyone is God.
  • Journalist: Have you seen pictures of a smiling man with a moustache and a pushed-in nose? Before he died, he said he was God.
  • Srila Prabhupada: He was God? He was another rascal. Just see-this is going on. He was making propaganda that he was God. That means that people do not know what God is. Suppose I come to you and say that I am the President of the United States. Will you accept me?
  • Journalist: [Laughs] No, I don’t think I would.
  • Srila Prabhupada: These rascals! The people are accepting them as God because they do not know what god is—that is the problem.
  • Journalist; It’s just absolutely absurd that somebody comes along and tells you he’s God.
  • Srila Prabhupada: But whoever accepts him as God is just as much a rascal. The man who says he’s God-he’s rascal number one. He’s a cheater. And the man who is cheated-he’s also a rascal. He doses not know what God is. He thinks that God is so cheap that you can find Him in the marketplace.
  • Journalist: Of course, the Western concept is that man is created in the image of God, Consequently, God must look somewhat like man.
  • Srila Prabhupada: You have got so many scientists. So just find out what the actual image of God is, what His form is really like. Where is that department? You have got so many departments, research department, technology department. But where is that department that researches what God is? Is there any such department of knowledge?
  • Journalist: There’s no God department working tonight-I’ll tell you that right now.
  • Srila Prabhupada: That is the difficulty. But the Krsna consciousness movement is the department of how to know God. If you study with us, then you’ll not accept any rascals as God. You’ll accept only God as God. We are teaching about another nature beyond this material nature. This material nature is coming into existence and again dissolving, but God and His Spiritual nature are eternal. We living entities are also eternal-with out any end or any beginning. This Krsna consciousness movement is teaching how we can transfer ourselves to that eternal, spiritual nature where God is residing.
  • Journalist: That’s man’s quest.
  • Srila Prabhupada: Yes, that is the quest. Everyone is trying to be happy, because that is the living entity’s prerogative. He is meant by nature to be happy, but he does not know where he can be happy. He is trying to be happy in a place where there are four miserable conditions-namely birth, old age, disease, and death. The scientists are trying to be happy and make other people happy. But what scientist has stopped old age, disease, death, and rebirth? Has any scientist succeeded?
  • Journalist: I don’t think so.

Srila Prabhupada: So what is this? Why do they not consider, “We have made so much improvement, but what improvement have we made in theses four areas? They have not made any, and still they are very much proud of their advancement in education and technology. But the four primary miseries remain as they are. You see? The scientists may have made advancements in medicine, but is there any remedy that can allow us to claim, “Now there is no more disease”? Is there any such remedy? No. So then what is the scientists’ advancement? Rather, disease is increasing in so many new forms. They have invented nuclear weapons. What good is that? Simply for killing. Have they invented something so that no more men will die? That would be to their credit. But people are dying at every moment, and the scientist have simply invented something to accelerate their death. That is all. Is that to their credit? So there is still no solution to death. And they are trying to stop overpopulation. But where is their solution? Every minute the population is increasing by three persons. These are the statistics. So there is no solution for birth. There is no solution for death. There is no solution for old age. Even a great scientist like Professor Einstein had to undergo old age and death. Why could he not stop old age? Everyone is trying to remain youthful, but what is the process? The scientist do not care to solve this problem-because it is beyond their means. They are giving some kind of bluff, that’s all. But Krsna Consciousness is the solution, and the whole thing is described in Bhagavad-gita. Let them try to understand it. At least let them make an experiment. (His Divine Grace A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami, Late in 1968)


The Qualifications of the Spiritual Master

An address given at the University of Stockholm in September of 1973, by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.

In order to enter into spiritual life, two things are required. As enunciated by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, one needs the mercy of the Supreme Lord and the mercy of the spiritual master:

brahmanda bhramite kona bhagyavan jiva guru-krsna-prasade paya bhakti-lata-bija

The livinq entities are wandering throughout the universe changing bodies, transmigrating from one body to another, from one place to another, and from one planet to another. Brahmanda bhramite: they are rotating within this material universe.

This science is unknown to the modern educators-how the spirit soul is transmigrating from one body to another, and how he is being transferred from one planet to another. But we have explained this in our book Easy Journey to Other Planets. In fact, the guru can help you transmigrate from this planet directly to the spiritual sky, Vaikunthaloka, where there are innumerable spiritual planets. The topmost planet in the spiritual sky is Krsna’s planet, called Goloka Vrndavana. The Krsna consciousness movement is trying to give information of how one can be transferred directly to the Goloka Vrndavana planet, Krsnaloka. That is our mission.

What is the difference between this material world and the spiritual world? The difference is that in the material world you have to change your body, although you are eternal. Ajo nityah sasvato ‘yam purano na hanyate hanyamane sarire. You are not destroyed after the annihilation of your material body, but you transmigrate to another body, which may be one of 8,400,000 forms. Jalaja nava-laksani. There are 900,000 forms in the water, 2,000,000 forms of trees and plants, 1,100,000 forms of insects, 1,000,000 forms of birds, and 3,000,000 forms of beasts. Then you come to this human form of life. Now it is your choice whether to be transferred again, by the cycle of transmigration, from one body to another in the lower species of life, or whether to be transferred to the spiritual sky-to the highest spiritual planet, known as Goloka Vrndavana. That is your choice.

You have been given the chance of this human form of body to make your choice. In the lower species you are completely under the control of material nature, but when the material nature gives you a chance to get this human form of body, you can choose whatever you like. That is confirmed in the Bhagavad-gita (9.25): yanti deva-vrata devan pitrn yanti pitr-vratah bhutani yanti bhutejya yanti mad-yajino ‘pi mam Those who are trying to be elevated to the higher planets-deva-loka, or the planets of the demigods, where the standard of living and the life span are very great-may worship the demigods. Or if you want you may be transferred to the Pitrloka, to the planets of the ghosts, or to the planet where Krsna lives (yanti mad-yajino ‘p mam). This all depends on your activities. But samsara-rotating, wandering within this material world from one body to another or from one planet to another-is not advised.

Material existence is called samsara. Bhutva bhutva praliyate: you take your birth in some form of body, you live for some time, then you have to give up this body. Then you have to accept another body, again live for some time, then give up that body, and then again accept another body. This is called samsara. The material world is compared to davanala, a forest fire. As we have experienced, no one goes to the forest to set a fire, but still it takes place. Similarly, no one within this material world wants to be unhappy. Everyone is trying to be very happy, but one is forced to accept unhappiness.

In this material world, from time immemorial to the present moment, there have been occasional wars, world wars, even though people have devised various means to stop wars. When I was a young man there was the League of Nations. In 1920, after the First World War, different nations formed the League of Nations, just to arrange for peaceful living among themselves. No one wanted war, but again there was a forest fire-the Second World War. Now they have devised the United Nations, but war is still going on-the Vietnam war, the Pakistan war, and many others. So you may try your best to live very peacefully, but nature will not allow you. There must be war. And this warlike feeling is always going on, not only between nation and nation, but also between man and man, neighbour and neighbour-even between husband and wife and father and son. This warlike feeling is going on. This is called davanala, a forest fire. No one goes to the forest to set fire, but automatically, by the friction of dried bamboo, sparks arise, and the forest catches fire.

Similarly, although we do not want unhappiness, by our dealings we create enemies, and there is fighting and war. This is called samsara-davanala. This forest fire of material existence goes on perpetually, and the authorized person who can deliver you from this fire is called guru, the spiritual master. How does he deliver you? What is his means? Consider the same example. When there is a fire in the forest, you cannot send a fire brigade or go there yourself with bucketfuls of water to extinguish it. That is not possible. Then how will it be extinguished? You need water to extinguish fire, but where will the water come from-from your bucket or your fire brigade? No, it must come from the sky. Only when there are torrents of rain from the sky will the blazing forest fire be extinguished. These rains from the sky do not depend on your scientific propaganda or manipulation. They depend on the mercy of the Supreme Lord. So the spiritual master is compared to a cloud. Just as there are torrents of rain from a cloud, so the spiritual master brings mercy from the Supreme Personality of Godhead. A cloud takes water from the sea. It doesn’t have its own water, but takes water from the sea. Similarly, the spiritual master brings mercy from the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

Just see the comparison. He has no mercy of his own, but he carries the mercy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. That is the qualification of the spiritual master. The spiritual master will never say, “I am God-I can give you mercy.” No. That is not a spiritual master-that is a bogus pretender. The spiritual master will say, “I am a servant of God; I have brought His mercy. Please take it and be satisfied.” This is the spiritual master’s business. He is just like a mailman. When a mailman delivers you some large amount of money, it is not his own money. The money is sent by someone else, but he honestly delivers it-“Sir, here is your money. Take it.” So you become very much satisfied with him, although it is not his money he is giving you. When you are in need and you get money from your father or someone else-brought by the mailman-you feel very much satisfaction.

Similarly, we are all suffering in this blazing fire of material existence. But the spiritual master brings the message from the Supreme Lord and delivers it to you, and if you kindly accept it, then you’ll be satisfied. This is the business of the spiritual master, samsara-davanala-lidha-loka- tranaya karunya-ghanaghanatvam praptasya kalyana-gunarnavasya vande guroh sri-caranaravindam Thus the spiritual master is offered obeisances: “Sir, you have brought mercy from the Supreme Lord; therefore, we are much obliged to you. You have come to deliver us, so we offer our respectful obeisances.” That is the meaning of this verse: the first qualification of the spiritual master, or guru, is that he brings you the message to stop the blazing fire in your heart. This is the test.

Everyone has a blazing fire within his heart-a blazing fire of anxiety. That is the nature of material existence. Always, everyone has anxiety; no one is free from it. Even a small bird has anxiety. If you give the small bird some grains to eat, he’ll eat them, but he won’t eat very peacefully. He’ll look this way and that way- “Is somebody coming to kill me?” This is material existence. Everyone, even a president like Mr. Nixon, is full of anxieties. What to speak of others. Even Gandhi, in our country-he was full of anxiety. All politicians are full of anxiety. They may hold a very exalted post, but still the material disease-anxiety-is there. So if you want to be anxiety-less, then you must take shelter of the guru, the spiritual master. And the test of the guru is that by following his instructions you’ll be free from anxiety.

This is the test. Don’t try to find a cheap guru or a fashionable guru. Just as you sometimes keep a dog as a fashion, if you want to keep a guru as a fashion-“I have a guru” -that will not help. You must accept a guru who can extinguish the blazing fire of anxiety within your heart. That is the first test of the guru. The second test is, mahaprabho kirtana-nrtya-gita- vaditra-madyan-manaso rasena. The second symptom of the guru is that he is always engaged in chanting, glorifying Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu – that is his business. Mahaprabhoh kirtana-nrtya-gita. The spiritual master is dancing and chanting the holy name of the Lord, because that is the remedy for all calamities within this material world. At the present moment, no one can meditate. The so-called meditation now popular in the West is humbug. It is very difficult to meditate in this disturbing age of Kali [the age of quarrel and hypocrisy). Therefore sastra [scripture] says,  krte yad dhyayato visnum.

In the Satya-yuga [the age of truth], when people used to live for one hundred thousand years, Valmiki Muni attained perfection by meditating for sixty thousand years. But now we have no guarantee that we are going to live for sixty years or even sixty hours. So meditation is not possible in this age. In the next age [the Treta-yuga], people performed rituals, as they are described in the Vedic sastra.Tretayam yajato makhaih. Makhaih means performing big, big sacrifices. That requires huge amounts of money. In the present age people are very poor, so they cannot perform these sacnfices. Dvapare paricaryayam– in the Dvapara- yuga [the age just prior to the present age] it was possible to worship the Deity opulently in the temple, but nowadays, in the Kali-yuga, that is also an impossible task. Therefore, the general recom- mendation is kalau tad dhari-kirtanat: in this age of Kali one can attain all perfection simply by chanting the holy name of the Lord.

The Krsna consciousness movement is meant to spread such chanting. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu inaugurated this movement of chanting and dancing. It has been going on for the last five hundred years. In India it is very popular, but in the Western countries we have just introduced it five or six years ago. Now people are taking to it, and they are feeling happy. This is the only process. Therefore, the guru is always engaged in chanting. Mahaprabhoh kirtana-nrtya-gita chanting and dancing. Unless he performs it himself, how can he teach his disciples? So his first symptom is that he will give you such instructions that immediately you will feel relief from all anxiety, and his second symptom is that he is always personally engaged in chanting the holy name of the Lord and dancing. Mahaprabhoh kirtana-nrtya-gita-vaditra-madyan-manaso rasena – the spiritual master enjoys transcendental bliss within his mind by chanting and dancing. Unless you become blissful, you cannot dance. You cannot dance artificially. When devotees dance, it is not artificial. They feel some transcendental bliss, and therefore they dance. It is not that they are dancing dogs. No. Their dancing is performed from the spiritual platform. Romanca-kampasru-taranga-bhajah. There are sometimes transformations of the body with spiritual symptoms-sometimes crying, sometimes the hairs standing on end. There are so many symptoms. These are natural. These symptoms are not to be imitated, but when one is spiritually advanced, they are visible.

The third symptom of the guru is: sri-vigraharadhana-nitya-nana-srngara-tan-mandira-marjanadau yuktasya bhaktams ca niyunjato pi vande guroh sri-caranaravindam The spiritual master’s duty is to engage the disciples in worshiping the Deity, sri-vigraha. In all of our one hundred centers, we engage in Deity worship.

Here in Stockholm this worship has not yet been fully established, but we worship the pictures of Lord Caitanya and the guru. In other centres, such as the ones in England and America, there is Deity worship. Sri-vigraharadhana- nitya-nana-srngara-tan-mandira-marjanadau: Deity worship means to dress the Deity very nicely, to cleanse the temple very nicely, to offer nice foodstuffs to the Deity, and to accept the remnants of the Deity’s foodstuffs for our eating. This is the method of Deity worship. Deity worship is done by the guru himself, and he also engages his disciples in that worship. This is the third symptom.

The fourth symptom is: catur- vidha-sri-bhagavat-prasada-svadv-anna-trptan hari-bhakta-sanghan krtvaiva trptim bhajatah sadaiva vande guroh sri-caranaravindam The spiritual master encourages distribution of prasada (remnants of Krsna’s foodstuffs) to the public. Ours is not dry philosophy- simply talk and go away. No. We distribute prasada, very sumptuous prasada. In every temple, we offer prasada to anyone who comes. In each and every temple we already have from fifty to two hundred devotees, and outsiders also come and take prasada. So prasada distribution is another symptom of the guru. If you eat bhagavat-prasada, then gradually you become spiritualized; it has this potency. Therefore it is said that realization of God begins with the tongue. Sevonmukhe hi jihvadau: if you engage your tongue in the service of the Lord, then you realize God. So what is that engagement of the tongue? You chant the holy name of the Lord, and you take this prasada, remnants of foodstuffs offered to the Lord. Then you become self-realized, God-realized-by these two methods. You don’t have to be very highly educated or be a philosopher, a scientist, or a rich man to realize God. If you just sincerely engage your tongue in the service of the Lord, you will realize Him. It is so simple. It is not very difficult. Therefore the guru, the spiritual master, introduces this prasada program. Svadv-anna-trptan hari-bhakta-sanghan. Hari-bhakta-sanghan means “in the association of devotees.” You cannot do it outside. Krtvaiva trptim bhajatah sadaiva: when the guru is fully satisfied that prasada distribution is going on, he is very much pleased, and he engages himself in the devotional service of the Lord by chanting and dancing. This is the fourth symptom.

The fifth symptom is: sri-radhika-madhavayor apara-madhurya-lila-guna-rupa-namnam pratiksanasvadana-yatrdsvddana-lolupasya vande guroh sri-caranaravindam The spiritual master is always thinking of the pastimes of Krsna with His consort Srimati Radharani and the gopis. Sometimes he is thinking about Krsna’s pastimes with the cowherd boys. This means that he is always thinking of Krsna engaged in some kind of pastime. Pratiksanasvadana-lolupasya. Prati-ksana means he is thinking that way twenty-four hours a day. That is Krsna consciousness. One must be engaged twenty-four hours a day in thinking of Krsna. You have to make yourself a program like this. We, at least, have made such a program-all the boys and girls in the Krsna consciousness movement are engaged twenty-four hours daily- not just officially, not that once a week they meditate or go to some temple. No, they engage twenty-four hours a day.

The next symptom is: nikunja-yuno rati-keli-siddhyai ya yalibhir yuktir apeksaniya tatrati-daksyad ati-vallabhasya vande guroh sri-caranaravindam The spiritual master’s ultimate goal is that he wants to be transferred to the planet of Krsna, where he can associate with the gopis to help them serve Krsna. Some spiritual masters are thinking of becoming assistants to the gopis, some are thinking of becoming assistants to the cowherd boys, some are thinking of becoming assistants to Nanda and mother Yasoda, and some are thinking of becoming God’s servants. Some are thinking of becoming flower trees, fruit trees, calves, or cows in Vrndavana.

There are five kinds of mellows: santa [veneration], dasya [servitorship], sakhya [friendship], vatsalya [parenthood], and madhurya [conjugal love]. Everything is there in the spiritual world. Cintamani-prakara-sadmasu: in the spiritual sky, even the land is spiritual. The trees are spiritual, the fruit is spiritual, the flowers are spiritual, the water is spiritual, the servants are spiritual, the friends are spiritual, the mothers are spiritual, the fathers are spiritual, the Lord is spiritual, and His associates are spiritual. It is all absolute, although there are varieties. In the material world these spiritual varieties are merely reflected, just like trees on a riverbank. A tree is reflected in the water, but reflected how? Upside down. Similarly, this material world is a reflection of the spiritual world, but a perverted reflection. In the spiritual world there is love between Radha and Krsna. Krsna is always young- nava-yauvana. And Radharani is always young, because She is Krsna’s pleasure potency. Sri-radhika-madhavayor apara. Jaya radha-madhava. We worship not Krsna alone but Krsna with His eternal consort Srimati Radharani. There is eternal love between Radharani and Krsna. Therefore the Vedanta-sutra says, janmady asya yatah: the Absolute Truth is that from which everything emanates. In this world we find love between mother and son, love between wife and husband, love between master and servant, between friend and friend, between the master and the dog or the cat or the cow. But these are only reflections of the spiritual world. Krsna is also the good lover of the animals, the calves and cows. Just as here we love dogs and cats, there Krsna loves cows and calves. You have seen this in pictures of Krsna. So the propensity to love even an animal is there in the spiritual world. Otherwise, how can it be reflected?

This world is simply a reflection. If in the reality there is nothing like that, how can it be reflected here? So everything is there in the spiritual world. But to understand that original propensity to love, you have to practice Krsna consciousness. Here in this world we are experiencing frustration. Here we love-a man loves a woman, or a woman loves a man-but there is frustration. After some time they are divorced, because their love is a perverted reflection. There is no real love in this world. It is simply lust. Real love is in the spiritual world, between Radha and Krsna. Real love is there between Krsna and the gopis. Real love is there in the friendship between Krsna and His cowherd boys. Real love is there between Krsna and the cows and calves. Real love is there between the trees, flowers, and water. In the spiritual world, everything is love.

But within this material world, we are satisfied merely by the reflection of the things in the spiritual world. So, now that we have this opportunity of human life, let us under-stand Krsna. That is Krsna consciousness- let us understand Krsna. And as the Bhagavad-gita [4.9] says, janma karma ca me divyam evam yo vetti tattvatah -you should understand Krsna in truth, not superficially. Learn the science of Krsna. This is the instruction- you should simply try to love Krsna. The process is that you worship the Deity, you take prasada, you chant Krsna’s holy names, and you follow the instruction of the spiritual master. In this way you’ll learn how to understand Krsna, and then your life will be successful. This is our Krsna consciousness movement. Thank you very much. (A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.)

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