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
The Disciplic Succession
In the Introduction to "Bhagavad-gita As It Is" we find a list of the complete disciplic succession of the Brahma Madhva Gaudiya Sampradaya, beginning with Lord Sri Krsna, up to and including the current Sampradaya Acarya, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada.
Lord Krsna says: Evam parampara-praptam imam rajarsayo viduh "This Supreme science was thus received through the chain of Disciplic Succession, and the Saintly Kings understood it in this way."
This Bhagavad-gita As It Is is received through this disciplic succession:
10. Jaya Tirtha
17. Brahmanya Tirtha
18. Vyasa Tirtha
20. Madhavendra Puri
21. Isvara Puri, (Nityananda, Advaita)
22. Lord Caitanya
23. Rupa, (Svarupa, Sanatana)
24. Raghunatha, Jiva
28. (Baladeva) Jagannatha
31. Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati
32. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
(Bhaktivedanta Book Trust. HDG A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada)
The name of our sampradaya -- Brahma-Madhva-Gaudiya-sampradaya - suggests three distinct phases, or links in the disciplic chain. The disciplic succession begins with Lord Brahma, who first spoke the absolute truth into the cosmic creation after receiving it in his heart directly from Lord Krsna. Lord Brahma was the spiritual master of Narada Muni, and Narada passed the teachings on to Vyasadev.
The second phase is marked after Vyasadev with Sripada Madhvacarya, who took his birth at Udupi somewhere between the years of A.D. 1119 and A.D. 1239. While the chronological gap between the manifestations of Sri Vyasadev and Madhvacarya is long, as Srila Prabhupada wrote in a letter to Dayananda (12-04-68): "Regarding parampara system, there is nothing to wonder for big gaps. We have to pick up the prominent acarya and follow from him."
Sri Madhvacarya claimed to be a direct disciple of Vyasa, from whom he directly received the Vedanta. Their relationship is not stated to be one of initiation, and in fact, Madhva is described as having taking initiation from the Sankara line. From his base in Udipi, he went on to establish what continues today as a strict system of succession.
The third phase of the succession is marked by the appearance of Lord Caitanya in Gauda-desa, Bengal. Lord Caitanya took birth in Navadvipa, Bengal in the year A.D. 1407. Lord Caitanya did not formally initiate anyone, and it is stated by Sanatana Goswami that, as an incarnation, he would not personally do so.
Prior to Lord Caitanya's appearance Madhavendra Puri appeared, and he initiated several of Caitanya's associates, including Sri Advaita and Nityananda prabhu. Madhavendra Puri also initiated Lord Caitanya's own guru, Isvara Puri. As stated in Caitanya-caritamrta, Madyam lila 4:197, Sri Madhavendra Puri introduced the conception of conjugal love for the first time in the Madhvacarya-sampradaya, and this conclusion was later revealed by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.
Following Lord Caitanya, the modern age of the Gaudiya Sampradaya was marked by the appearance of Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur, who took birth in A.D. 1838 in the Nadia District of West Bengal. Following Srila Bhaktivinode in the disciplic succession is his son, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati, who appeared in 1874 in Puri. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta took initiation from Gaurakisora das Babaji. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta became the spiritual master of A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the most recent Sampradaya Acarya, who appeared in 1896 in Calcutta.
What is a Guru?
A lecture given by
His Divine Grace
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
on Vyasa-puja day, 1973, at Bhaktivedanta Manor, England
om ajnana-timirandhasya / jnananjana-salakaya
caksur unmilitam yena / tasmai sri-gurave namah
"I was born in the darkest ignorance, and my guru, my spiritual master, opened my eyes with the torch of knowledge. I offer my respectful obeisances unto him."
The word ajnana means ignorance or darkness. If all the lights in this room immediately went out, we would not be able to tell where we or others are sitting. Everything would become confused. Similarly, we are all in darkness in this material world, which is a world of tamas. Tamas or timira means darkness. This material world is dark, and therefore it needs sunlight or moonlight for illumination. However, there is another world, a spiritual world, that is beyond this darkness. That world is described by Sri Krsna in Bhagavad-gita:
na tad bhasayate suryo / na sasanko na pavakah
yad gatva na nivartante / tad dhama paramam mama
"That abode of Mine is not illumined by the sun or moon, nor by electricity. One who reaches it never returns to this material world." (Bg. 15.6)
From Darkness to Light
The guru's business is to bring his disciples from darkness to light. At present everyone is suffering due to ignorance, just as one contacts a disease out of ignorance. If one does not know hygienic principles, he will not know what will contaminate him. Therefore due to ignorance there is infection, and we suffer from disease. A criminal may say, "I did not know the law," but he will not be excused if he commits a crime. Ignorance is no excuse. Similarly, a child, not knowing that fire will burn, will touch the fire. The fire does not think, "This is a child, and he does not know I will burn." No, there is no excuse. Just as there are state laws, there are also stringent laws of nature, and these laws will act despite our ignorance of them. If we do something wrong out of ignorance, we must suffer. This is the law. Whether the law is a state law or a law of nature, we risk suffering if we break it.
The guru's business is to see that no human being suffers in this material world. No one can claim that he is not suffering. That is not possible. In this material world, there are three kinds of suffering: adhyatmika, adhibhautika and adhidaivika. These are miseries arising from the material body and mind, from other living entities and from the forces of nature. We may suffer mental anguish, or we may suffer from other living entities—from ants or mosquitoes or flies—or we may suffer due to some superior power. There may be no rain or there may be flood. There may be excessive heat or excessive cold. So many types of suffering are imposed by nature. Thus there are three types of miseries within the material world, and everyone is suffering from one, two or three of them. No one can say that he is completely free from suffering.
We may then ask why the living entity is suffering. The answer is: out of ignorance. He does not think, "I am committing mistakes and am leading a sinful life; that is why I am suffering." Therefore the guru's first business is to rescue his disciple from this ignorance. We send our children to school to save them from suffering. If our children do not receive an education, we fear that they will suffer in the future. The guru sees that suffering is due to ignorance, which is compared to darkness. How can one in darkness be saved? By light. The guru takes the torchlight of knowledge and presents it before the living entity enveloped in darkness. That knowledge relieves him from the sufferings of the darkness of ignorance.
Guru is One
One may ask whether the guru is absolutely necessary.
The Vedas inform us that he is:
tad-vijnanartham sa gurum evabhigacchet
samit-panih srotriyam brahma-nistham
(Mundaka Up. 1.2.12)
The Vedas enjoin us to seek out a guru; actually, they say to seek out the guru, not just a guru. The guru is one because he comes in disciplic succession. What Vyasadeva and Krsna taught 5,000 years ago is also being taught now. There is no difference between the two instructions. Although hundreds and thousands of acaryas have come and gone, the message is one. The real guru cannot be two because the real guru does not speak differently from his predecessors. Some spiritual teachers say, "In my opinion you should do this," but this is not a guru. Such so-called gurus are simply rascals. The genuine guru has only one opinion, and that is the opinion expressed by Krsna, Vyasadeva, Narada, Arjuna, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and the Gosvamis. Five thousand years ago Lord Sri Krsna spoke Bhagavad-gita, and Vyasadeva recorded it. Srila Vyasadeva did not say, "This is my opinion." Rather, he wrote, sri bhagavan uvaca, that is, "The Supreme Personality of Godhead says." Whatever Vyasadeva wrote was originally spoken by the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Srila Vyasadeva did not give his own opinion.
Consequently, Srila Vyasadeva is a guru. He does not misinterpret the words of Krsna but transmits them exactly as they were spoken. If we send a telegram, the person who delivers the telegram does not have to correct it, edit it or add to it. He simply presents it. That is the guru's business. The guru may be this person or that, but the message is the same; therefore it is said that guru is one.
In the disciplic succession we simply find repetition of the same subject. In Bhagavad-gita Sri Krsna says:
man-mana bhava mad-bhakto / mad-yaji mam namaskuru
mam evaisyasi yuktvaivam / atmanam mat-parayanah
"Engage your mind always in thinking of Me, become My devotee, offer obeisances and worship Me. Being completely absorbed in Me, surely you will come to Me." (Bg. 9.34) These very instructions were reiterated by all the acaryas—Ramanujacarya, Madhvacarya and Caitanya Mahaprabhu. The six Gosvamis also transmitted the same message, and we are simply following in their footsteps. There is no difference. We do not interpret the words of Krsna by saying, "In my opinion, the Battlefield of Kuruksetra represents the human body." Such interpretations are set forth by rascals. In the world there are many rascal gurus who give their own opinion, but we can challenge any rascal. A rascal guru may say, "I am God," or, "We are all God." That is all right, but we should find out from the dictionary what the meaning of God is. Generally, a dictionary will tell us that the word God indicates the Supreme Being. Thus we may ask such a guru, "Are you the Supreme Being?" If he cannot understand this, then we should give the meaning of supreme. Any dictionary will inform us that supreme means "the greatest authority." We may then ask, "Are you the greatest authority?" Such a rascal guru, even though proclaiming himself to be God, cannot answer such a question. God is the Supreme Being and the highest authority. No one is equal to Him or greater than Him. Yet there are many guru Gods, many rascals who claim to be the Supreme. Such rascals cannot help us escape the darkness of material existence. They cannot illumine our darkness with the torchlight of spiritual knowledge.
The bona fide guru will simply present what the supreme guru, God, says in bona fide scripture. A guru cannot change the message of the disciplic succession. Once there was a gentleman named Vallabhacarya, who was very devoted to Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Vallabhacarya wrote a commentary on Srimad-Bhagavatam, and he presented it to Caitanya Mahaprabhu, saying, "Lord Caitanya, please hear my commentary on Srimad-Bhagavatam. You will find that it is far better than Sridhara Svami's." Sridhara Svami was a very ancient commentator Caitanya Mahaprabhu immediately rejected Vallabhacarya, saying, "Oh, are you claiming that you have written something better than Sridhara Svami?" Caitanya Mahaprabhu then chastised Vallabhacarya, saying, svamike yini na manena, tini vesya. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu sarcastically used the word svami, which also means husband. He said, "I think that one who does not recognize the svami [husband] is a prostitute." In other words, "If you do not recognize Sridhara Svami, then you are a prostitute. How can I hear from a prostitute?"
No Research Necessary
We must understand that we cannot carry out research to find the Absolute Truth. Caitanya Mahaprabhu Himself said, "My Guru Maharaja considered me a great fool." He who remains a great fool before his guru is a guru himself. However, if one says, "I am so advanced that I can speak better than my guru," he is simply a rascal. In Bhagavad-gita Sri Krsna says:
evam parampara-praptam / imam rajarsayo viduh
sa kaleneha mahata / yogo nastah parantapa
"This supreme science was thus received through the chain of disciplic succession, and the saintly kings understood it in that way. But in course of time the succession was broken, and therefore the science as it is appears to be lost." (Bg. 4.2)
Taking on a guru is not simply a fashion. One who is serious about understanding spiritual life requires a guru. A guru is a question of necessity, for one must be very serious to understand spiritual life, God, proper action and one's relationship with God. When we are very serious about understanding these subjects, we need a guru. We shouldn't go to a guru simply because a guru may be fashionable at the moment. Surrender must be there, for without surrender we cannot learn anything. If we go to a guru simply to challenge him, we will learn nothing. But we must accept the guru just as Arjuna accepted his guru, Sri Krsna Himself:
karpanya-dosopahata svabhavah / prcchami tvam dharma-sammudha-cetah
yac chreyah syan niscitam bruhi tan me / sisyas te 'ham sadhi mam tvam prapannam
"Now I am confused about my duty and have lost all composure because of weakness. In this condition I am asking You to tell me clearly what is best for me. Now I am Your disciple and a soul surrendered unto You. Please instruct me." (Bg. 2.7)
From "God" to Dog
This is the process for accepting a guru. The guru is Krsna's representative, the former acaryas' representative. Krsna says that all acaryas are His representatives; therefore the guru should be offered the same respect one would offer to God. As Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura says in his prayers to the spiritual master: yasya prasadad bhagavat-prasadah. "By the mercy of the spiritual master, one receives the benediction of Krsna." Thus, if we surrender to the bona fide guru, we surrender to God. God accepts our surrender to the guru.
In Bhagavad-gita, Krsna instructs:
sarva-dharman parityajya / mam ekam saranam vraja
aham tvam sarva-papebhyo / moksayisyami ma sucah
"Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me. I shall deliver you from all sinful reaction. Do not fear." (Bg. 18.66) Someone may argue, "Where is Krsna? I shall surrender to Him." But no, the process is that we first surrender to Krsna's representative; then we surrender to Krsna. Therefore it is said, saksad-dharitvena samasta-sastraih: the guru is as good as God. When we offer respects to the guru, we are offering respects to God. Because we are trying to be God conscious, it is required that we learn how to offer respects to God through God's representative. In all the sastras, the guru is described to be as good as God, but the guru never says, "I am God." The disciple's duty is to offer respect to the guru just as he offers respect to God, but the guru never thinks, "My disciples are offering me the same respect they offer to God; therefore I have become God." As soon as he thinks like this, he becomes a dog instead of God. Therefore Visvanatha Cakravarti says, kintu prabhor yah priya eva tasya. Because he is the most confidential servitor of God, the guru is offered the same respect that we offer God. God is always God, guru is always guru. As a matter of etiquette, God is the worshipable God, and guru is the, worshiper God (seva-bhagavan). Therefore the guru is addressed as prabhupada. The word prabhu means "lord," and pada means "position." Thus prabhupada means "he who has taken the position of the Lord." This is the same as saksad-dharitvena samasta-sastraih.
Only if we are very serious about understanding the science of God is a guru required. We should not try to keep a guru as a matter of fashion. One who has accepted a guru speaks intelligently. He never speaks nonsense. That is the sign of having accepted a bona fide guru. We should certainly offer all respect to the spiritual master, but we should also remember how to carry out his orders. In Bhagavad-gita Sri Krsna Himself tells us the method of seeking out and approaching the guru:
tad viddhi pranipatena / pariprasnena sevaya
upadeksyanti te jnanam / jnaninas tattva-darsinah
"Just try to learn the truth by approaching a spiritual master. Inquire from him submissively and render service unto him. The self-realized soul can impart knowledge unto you because he has seen the truth." (Bg. 4.34) The first process is that of surrender. We have to find an exalted person and willingly surrender before him. The sastras enjoin that before we take a guru we study him carefully to find out whether we can surrender to him. We should not accept a guru suddenly out of fanaticism. That is very dangerous. The guru should also study the person who wants to become a disciple to see if he is fit. That is the way a relationship is established between the guru and disciple. Everything is provided, but we must take up the process seriously. Then we can be trained to become a bona fide disciple. First we must find a bona fide guru, establish our relationship with him and act accordingly. Then our life will be successful, for the guru can enlighten the sincere disciple who is in darkness.
Perfecting Our Life
Everyone is born a rascal and a fool. If we are born learned, why do we need to go to school? If we do not cultivate knowledge, we are no better than animals. An animal may say that there is no need of books and that he has become a guru, but how can anyone obtain knowledge without the study of authoritative books on science and philosophy? Rascal gurus try to avoid these things. We must understand that we are all born rascals and fools and that we have to be enlightened. We have to receive knowledge to make our lives perfect. If we do not perfect our lives, we are defeated. What is this defeat? The struggle for existence. We are trying to obtain a better life, to attain a superior position, and for this we are struggling very hard. But we do not know what a superior position actually is.
Whatever position we have in this material world must be given up. We may have a good position or a bad position; in any case, we cannot remain here. We may earn millions of dollars and think, "Now I am in a good position," but a little dysentery or cholera will finish our position. If the bank fails, our position is gone. So actually there is no good position in this material world. It is a farce. Those who try to attain a better position in the material world are ultimately defeated because there is no better position. Bhagavad-gita (14.26) says what the better position is:
mam ca yo 'vyabhicarena / bhakti-yogena sevate
sa gunan samatityaitan / brahma-bhuyaya kalpate
"One who engages in full devotional service, who does not fall down in any circumstance, at once transcends the modes of material nature and thus comes to the level of Brahman."
Is there any science that gives us the knowledge by which we may become immortal? Yes, we may become immortal, but not in the material sense. We cannot receive this knowledge in so-called universities. However, there is knowledge contained in the Vedic scriptures by which we may become immortal. That immortality is our better position. No more birth, no more death, no more old age, no more disease. Thus the guru takes on a very great responsibility. He must guide his disciple and enable him to become an eligible candidate for the perfect position, immortality. The guru must be competent to lead his disciple back home, back to Godhead. Thank you very much.
Reporter (2): What will happen to the movement in the United States when you die?
Prabhupada: I WILL NEVER DIE.
Devotees: Jaya! Hari bol! (laughter)
Prabhupada: I SHALL LIVE From MY BOOKS, AND YOU WILL UTILIZE.
Reporter (2): Are you training a successor?
Prabhupada: Yes, my Guru Maharaja is there. Where is my photo of Guru Maharaja? I think... Here is.
"He reasons ill who tells that Vaishnavas die -
When thou are living still in sound.
The Vaishnavas die to live -
and living try to Spread a holy life around!"
Indian Lady: ... is that spiritual master still guiding after death?
Srila Prabhupada: Yes, yes. Just like Krsna is guiding us, similarly spiritual master will guide us. (General lectures, 69/09/23)
Devotee: Srila Prabhupada when you're not present with us, how is it possible to receive instructions? For example in questions that may arise...
SRILA PRABHUPADA: Well the questions are answ... answers are there in my books.
(Morning Walk, Los Angeles, 13/5/73)
So utilise whatever time you find to make a thorough study of my books. Then all your questions will be answered. (Letter to Upendra, 7/1/76)
Every one of you must regularly read our books at least twice, in the morning and evening, and automatically all questions will be answered. ( Letter to Randhira, 24/01/70)
If I depart there is no cause for lamentation. I will always be with you through my books and orders. I will always remain with you in that way. (BTG 13:1-2, December 1977)
74-11-22 Letter: Bahurupa
In my books the philosophy of Krishna Consciousness is EXPLAINED FULLY so if there is anything which you do not understand, then you simply have to read again and again. By reading daily THE KNOWLEDGE WILL BE REVEALED TO YOU AND BY THIS PROCESS YOUR SPIRITUAL LIFE WILL DEVELOP.
Note: This clearly indicates that Srila Prabhupada's books are understood through their own potency, and that there is therefore no need for a physically present guru to understand the books. Our Srimad Bhagavatam is unique because the verses of the Bhagavatam are directly complemented with the purports of Srila Prabhupada, who is the bonafide maha-bhagavata ; therefore, the book Bhagavata and the person Bhagavata are combined in Srila Prabhupada's Srimad Bhagavatam. Therefore, there is no need for a third party, "the so called current Iskcon links" to (mis)interpret what Srila Prabhupada "really means to say". sic
Prabhupada: So I cannot speak. I am feeling very weak. I was to go to other places like Chandigarh program, but I cancelled the program because the condition of my health is very deteriorating. So I preferred to come to Vrndavana. If death takes place, let it take here. So there is nothing to be said new. Whatever I have to speak, I have spoken in my books. Now you try to understand it and continue your endeavor. Whether I am present or not present, it doesn't matter.
73-11-25. Letter: Cidananda
I should be returning to Los Angeles the last week of November and I should be more than happy to see you there. Please always try to remember me by my teachings and we shall always be together. Just like I have written in the first publications of Srimad-Bhagavatam, "THE SPIRITUAL MASTER LIVES FOREVER BY HIS DIVINE INSTRUCTION AND THE DISCIPLE LIVES WITH HIM.", because I have always served my Guru Maharaja and followed His teachings I am now even never separated from Him. Sometimes Maya may come and try to interfere but we must not falter, we must always follow the chalked out path layed down by the great acharya's and in the end you will see.
Prabhupada: So there is nothing to be said new. Whatever I have to speak, I have spoken in my books. Now you try to understand it and continue your endeavor. Whether I am present or not present, it doesn't matter.
"I shall remain your personal guidance, physically present or not physically, as I am getting personal guidance from my guru maharaja" (Srila Prabhupada to Tamal Krishna, 14 July 1977)
Please also see: Guru cheating not effective