This is my first audio on guru-tattva. I have written an article on this subject and I will share the link with you: https://www.facebook.com/notes/dharmavira-das/understanding-who-is-guru-by-dharmavira-dasa/195300977474628
In 1977 when Srila Prabhupada departed 11 of his disciples claimed that they were his successors. They were advised by their godbrothers not to act as ‘gurus’ because they were not self-realised, but they did not listen to the advice.
Twenty years later they apologised to Pradyumna prabhu for not taking his advice.
Yet up to this date the ‘guru appointment system‘ is still going on within the society even though there have been numerous fall-downs with so-called ‘appointed gurus’.
I am now going to share with you two conversations Srila Prabhupada had regarding fraudulent gurus whom he called hypocrites.
The first one was recorded in London on 11 of July 1973, entitled hypocrites.
Srila Prabhpada said that in United States 5,000 priests were in hospitals to cure their intoxication habits. If the priests were going to hospital to cure their intoxication habit, then such priests are hypocrites.
The reply from the gentlemen is that they would admit that and say that it was just a weakness.
Srila Prabhupada replied: ‘Weakness is hypocrisy. If you are weak, you cannot become priest, because you are a religious teacher and you should not take that post. That is hypocrisy.‘
It is not a rocket science to understand what Srila Prabhupada was saying. In simple words that if our gurus are regularly falling down, then they cannot take the post of religious teacher because this is hypocrisy.
Yet in spite of the numerous fall-downs by the so called ‘gurus’ in our organisation this hypocrisy still prevails undeterred.
Therefore Srila Bhaktisiddanta Sarasvati Prabhupada, the guru of our Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami, Srila Prabhupada, used to say that this world is full of cheaters and the cheated.
Please, don’t let yourself be cheated by these fraudulent gurus.
In another conversation Srila Prabhupada had with the poet Allen Ginsberg, Srila Prabhupada said: ‘You have to corroborate with the scripture and holy man to test whether a person is a spiritual master. We should not accept any person to be spiritual master if he does not corroborate with the statement of the scripture.‘
In the Bhagavad-gita Krishna says in chapter 4 text 34: “Just try to learn the truth by approaching a spiritual master. Inquire from him submissively and render service unto him. The self-realised soul can impart knowledge to you because he has seen the truth.”
The key element here is that for one to be accepted as a spiritual master he must have seen the Truth which simply means that he must be God realised.
In the purport to this verse Srila Prabhupada said: ‘Satisfaction of the self-realised spiritual master is the secret of success of advancement in spiritual life. One must pass the test of spiritual master. In this verse both blind following and absurd inquires are condemned.‘
Srila Prabhupada used to say that the ‘blind leading the blind and they both will end up in the ditch’.
Every morning we sing Guruvastakam prayers to the spiritual master and in the eight verses the understanding who is spiritual master is very nicely described.
Once Srila Prabhupada was travelling in a car and his disciples were singing and Srila Prabhupada stopped them and asked them if they knew the meaning of the song. They replied that they did not know. Srila Prabhupada said: Then how can you sing with any feeling if you do not know what you are singing?
I request you to learn the meaning of the Guruvastakam prayers that you are daily singing to determine who is spiritual master.
The first verse tells us that the spiritual master extinguishes the fire of repeated birth and death which is also corroborated in the scriptures.
“One who cannot deliver his dependents from repeated birth and death should never become a spiritual master, a father, a husband, a mother or a worshipable demigod.” [Srimad-bhagavatam 5.5.18]
If your so-called ‘guru‘ is himself not free from repeated birth and death then how can he save you from repeated birth and death?
In the purport to this verse from the Srimad Bhagavatam Srila Prabhpada said that ‘Sukracharya was rejected by Bali Maharaja due to his inability to save Bali Maharaja from repeated birth and death. Unless one is a pure devotee of Krishna, he cannot save himself from repeated birth and death.‘
Pure devotee means that a person is God realised. Why must a person be self-realised or God realised?
A guru must be self-realised because one cannot communicate that which one has not realised. For example, when one receives Gayatri initiation from the guru, the guru has to give one diksha mantras. The mantras are actually persons and if one has not realised them, then how can one communicate this to the disciple? Such initiation is useless and will not give the desired results.
A teacher does not have to be self-realised but a spiritual master has to be self-realised. Many members who have been initiated by such so-called ‘gurus‘ frequently ask me whether it is Vaishnava aparadha to reject the ‘gurus‘ that they received initiation from.
My reply to them is that it is Vaishnava aparadha not to reject such so-called gurus because they are not gurus in the first place, they are simply teachers and no offence will be committed by rejecting these fraudulent so-called ‘gurus‘. Srila Prabhupada would term them as hypocrites.
Therefore it is recommended that one studies the spiritual master thoroughly before accepting him as spiritual master.
Thank you very much!
Links to the Conversations of Srila Prabhupada with Father Tanner and Allen Ginsberg: