The Spiritual Master Is Not Ordinary Man
“…if one considers the spiritual master an ordinary human being, one is doomed. His study of the Vedas and his austerities and penances for enlightenment are all useless, like the bathing of an elephant.” (SB 7.15.26 purport)
“The spiritual master is as good as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and therefore one who is very serious about spiritual advancement must regard the spiritual master in this way. Even a slight deviation from this understanding can create disaster in the disciple’s Vedic studies and austerities.” (SB 7.15.27 purport)
“By the mercy of the spiritual master one is benedicted by the mercy of Kṛṣṇa. Without the grace of the spiritual master, one cannot make any advancement.” A disciple should never be a hypocrite or be unfaithful to his spiritual master. In Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (11.17.27), the spiritual master is also called ācārya. Ācāryaṁ māṁ vijānīyān: the Supreme Personality of Godhead says that one should respect the spiritual master, accepting him as the Lord Himself. Nāvamanyeta karhicit: one should not disrespect the ācārya at any time. Na martya-buddhyāsūyeta: one should never think the ācārya an ordinary person. Familiarity sometimes breeds contempt, but one should be very careful in one’s dealings with the ācārya. Agādha-dhiṣaṇaṁ dvijam: the ācārya is a perfect brāhmaṇa and has unlimited intelligence in guiding the activities of his disciple.” (SB 6.7.15 purport)
Spiritual master does not commit mistakes
“Mistakes, illusions, cheating and defective perception do not occur in the sayings of the authoritative sages.”
“…there cannot be mistakes, illusion, cheating or imperfect perception in the words of liberated sages… Śrīla Vyāsadeva revealed these statements after perfect realization, and therefore they are perfect, for liberated sages like Vyāsadeva never commit errors in their rhetorical arrangements…” Sri Caitanya-caritamrta (Unrevised 1975 edition- 1975 Adi-lila 2.86 purport)
“If you want advice, instruction, niścitam, which is without any doubt, without any illusion, without any mistake, without any cheating, that is called niścitam. That you can get from Kṛṣṇa or His representative. You cannot get right information from the imperfect person or a cheater. That is not right instruction.” (Lecture: Bhagavad-gita 2.1-11 — Johannesburg, October 17, 1975)
“So contradiction means imperfect knowledge. Perfect knowledge means who sticks to his principles. That is perfect knowledge. One who does not stick to his original proposal, his knowledge is imperfect.”(Philosophy Discussions: Discussions with Syamasundara dasa: Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibnitz)
“The modern world is puffed up with personal research knowledge, but the person who is engaging in this research work does not know that he is imperfect on account of his aptitude for becoming illusioned, for committing mistakes, for his cheating propensity and for his possessing imperfect senses. Therefore there is no possibility of receiving perfect knowledge without approaching a self-realized Spiritual Master coming down in disciplic succession.” (Letter — Los Angeles 28 February, 1969)
“Presently, people are so fallen that they cannot distinguish between a liberated soul and a conditioned soul. A conditioned soul is hampered by four defects. He is sure to commit mistakes, he is sure to become illusioned, he has a tendency to cheat others and his senses are imperfect. Consequently, we have to take directions from liberated persons…Because the entire world is now following the imperfect directions of conditioned souls, humanity is completely bewildered.” (S.B. 4.18.5 purport)
Disciple(1): …Śrīla Prabhupāda, what are the qualifications of a perfect leader?
Prabhupāda: No mistake, no illusion, no cheating, no imperfection. Anyone who commits mistake, he’s illusioned, he’s a cheater and imperfect—he cannot lead. So bring any leader of these rascal groups and test with these four principles; he is misleader.
Disciple(2): They’re all servants of their senses.
Disciple(3): They will also say that within our movement the so-called leaders also have imperfections.
Disciple(3): They will say, within our movement, that the leaders also have imperfection.
Prabhupāda: No imperfection.
Disciple(2): No imperfection.
Disciple(3): They will say, “Yes, we can give you examples.”
Prabhupāda: No. No, no. Why? Why you shall accept? They will say. Because therefore they are saying, we shall accept?
Disciple(1): Here’s Prabhupāda. Here’s Prabhupāda
Disciple(2): The so-called leaders, maybe they are imperfect, but the real leader, He is perfect.
Prabhupāda: Yes, this is test of.
Disciple(3): They will say, “He is also makes mistakes.”
Disciple(1): Where is that mistake?
Prabhupāda: No, there is no mistake.
Disciple(1): We have not seen any mistakes.
Disciple(4): Where is the mistake?
Prabhupāda: There is no mistake.
Disciple(1): Śrīla Prabhupāda?
Disciple(1): What would you define…
Prabhupāda: If you think your leader is mistaken, then you are mistaken. (laughter)
(Morning Walk — March 16, 1976, Mayapura)
“… The spiritual master is the representative of the Supreme Lord, his direction is directly the direction of the Supreme Lord…” (Bhagavad-gita As It Is, (Unrevised 1972 edition) 10.3)
“One is forbidden to accept the guru, or spiritual master, as an ordinary human being (gurusu nara-matih). When Ramananda Raya spoke to Pradyumna Misra, Pradyumna Misra could understand that Ramananda Raya was not an ordinary human being. A spiritually advanced person who acts with authority, as the spiritual master, speaks as the Supreme Personality of Godhead dictates from within. Thus it is not he that is personally speaking. When a pure devotee or spiritual master speaks, what he says should be accepted as having been directly spoken by the Supreme Personality of Godhead in the parampara system.” (Caitanya-caritamrta Antya 5.71 purport)
“It is not possible for a common man to write books on bhakti, for his writings will not be effective. He may be a very great scholar and expert in presenting literature in flowery language, but this is not at all helpful in understanding transcendental literature. Even if transcendental literature is written in faulty language, it is acceptable if it is written by a devotee, whereas so-called transcendental literature written by a mundane scholar, even if it is a very highly polished literary presentation, cannot be accepted. The secret in a devotee’s writing is that when he writes about the pastimes of the lord, the lord helps him; he does not write himself. As stated in the Bhagavad-gita (10.10), dadami buddhi-yogam tam yena mam upayanti te. Since a devotee writes in service to the Lord, the Lord from within gives him so much intelligence that he sits down near the Lord and goes on writing books. Krsnadasa Kaviraja gosvami confirms that what Vrndavana dasa Thakura wrote was actually spoken by Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu, and he simply repeated it”. (Caitanya-caritamrta Adi 8.39 – The Author Receives the Orders of Krsna and Guru)
Pure devotee can even be omniscient
Bharadvāja: I understand, Śrīla Prabhupāda, that the pure devotee can be as pervasive as Supersoul?
Bharadvāja: By the mercy of Supersoul, he can be present in many places at once?
Prabhupāda: Yes. By the grace of Kṛṣṇa, a devotee can become anything.
Duryodhana-guru: So in other words that means the pure devotees can be omniscient?
Prabhupāda: Everything. God is omniscient, so a pure devotee can become omniscient by the grace of
Rādhāvallabha: Śrīla Prabhupāda explains that Varuṇa is omniscient.
Rādhāvallabha: It’s in Fourth Canto.
(Morning Walk — June 8, 1976, Los Angeles)
“Familiarity sometimes breeds contempt, but one should be very careful in one’s dealings with the ācārya. Agādha-dhiṣaṇaṁ dvijam: the ācārya is a perfect brāhmaṇa and has unlimited intelligence in guiding the activities of his disciple.” (SB 6.7.15 purport)
Activities of a Vaiṣṇava – How to see
“Unless Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya Mahāprabhu discloses the fact, no one can understand who is actually a great devotee of the Lord engaged in His service. It is therefore said in Caitanya-caritāmṛta (Madhya 23.39), tāṅra vākya, kriyā, mudrā vijñeha nā bujhaya: even the most perfect and learned scholar cannot understand a Vaiṣṇava’s activities.” (Cc Madhya-lila 15.120 purport)
“A pure devotee always thinks himself more deficient than everyone else.
” (S.B. 7.1.27 purport)
“Although a devotee may apparently express himself to be ignorant, he is full of knowledge in every intricate matter.” (SB 3.7.8 purport)
“Unless endowed with the mercy of the Lord, one cannot preach of the Lord’s name, fame, quality, form, entourage and so on. It should be concluded, therefore, that the description of Caitanya-caritāmṛta by Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja Gosvāmī manifests specific mercy bestowed upon the author, although he thought of himself as the most fallen. We should not consider him fallen because he describes himself as such.” (Cc Adi-lila 13.1 purport)
Cannot argue with the spiritual master
“When guru speaks, you cannot argue. That is not the process. You should accept a guru who is infallible. Otherwise it is useless. He accepted guru Krsna because Krsna is infallible. If we accept guru, a bogus guru, then it is no benefit. Guru means Krsna’s representative. Not that everyone can be guru.” (Lectures : Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.7.43 — Vrndavana, October 3, 1976)
“And the process is praṇipāta, praṇipātena. Praṇipāta means full surrender. Pra means prakṛṣṭa-rūpeṇa, fully, and nipāta means completely becoming a blank slate. Blank slate. Nobody should approach a bona fide spiritual master just to argue with him and just to, with a desire that “I shall see what kind of spiritual master.” No. This is useless.” (Lecture: Bhagavad-gita 4.24-34 — New York, August 12, 1966)
“Brahmānanda Bhāratī admitted that when there is an argument between the spiritual master and the disciple, the spiritual master is naturally victorious, although the disciple may put forward a strong argument. In other words, it is customary that the words of the spiritual master are more worshipable than the words of a disciple.” Cc Madhya-lila 10.175 purport)
To think of becoming a fool is the real qualification for a bona fide disciple. As soon as one thinks that he has become the wiser man than the spiritual master one is surely doomed. We should remain everlastingly a fool before the spiritual master. Not artificially but feelingly and then we can make real progress. Even my spiritual master a great scholar remained a so called fool before His spiritual master Who was outwardly an illiterate village fellow.”(Letter — San Francisco 14 December, 1967)
“Therefore we must have a guru where exact knowledge is coming, without any mistake. Because we cannot argue. So we must find out such guru, where perfect knowledge is coming. Just like… Therefore guru is… Ācāryaṁ māṁ vijānīyāt. Guru must be perfect representative of Kṛṣṇa. So ācāryaṁ māṁ vijānīyān nāvamanyeta karhicit: [SB 11.17.27] “Do not neglect the ācārya.” Na martya-buddhyā: “Don’t consider him as ordinary human being.” Asūyeta. If he sometimes chastises you, don’t be envious: “Oh he is also man, I am also man. Why he is talking like that?” No. Nāsūyeta martya-buddhyā. These are the instructions. This is called praṇipāta.” (Lectures : Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.2.6 — London, July 23, 1973)
Just like if you want to get yourself married, you have to call for a priest. That does not mean that you have to agree with the priest’s personal opinion. Do you follow? Yes. He may execute the rules and regulation of marriage ceremony, but that does not mean that one has to agree with the priest’s opinion, personal opinion. This is the answer. But when you accept a spiritual master, that is not allowed. Unless you cent percent agree with the spiritual master’s opinion or philosophy, there is no need of accepting a spiritual master. There is no need. (Lecture: Bhagavad-gita 2.8-12 — Los Angeles, November 27, 1968)
Cannot accept that part of the scripture we like and reject what we don’t like
“If you miss one point, there is a mistake in your calculation. Regardless of what you add or subtract after that, the mistake is already in the calculation, and everything that follows will also be faulty. We cannot simply accept that part of the scripture we like, and reject what we don’t like, and still expect to get the result. For example, a hen lays eggs with its back part and eats with its beak. A farmer may consider, “The front part of the hen is very expensive because I have to feed it. Better to cut it off.” But if the head is missing there will be no eggs anymore, because the body is dead. Similarly, if we reject the difficult part of the scriptures and obey the part we like, such an interpretation will not help us. We have to accept all the injunctions of the scripture as they are given, not only those that suit us.” (The Science of Self Realization 4: Understanding Krsna and Christ)
Should not go to modern science for knowledge
““If you are looking for some excuse to doubt, then maya will always provide you. So this or that you may find out something flaw if you want. But Krsna says surrender unto Me and I will give you all protection, perfect knowledge of everything. You should not go to modern scientists for perfect knowledge. They cannot supply that. Krsna will supply you.” (Letter to: VARIOUS — Unknown Place Unknown Date)
Must rely on words of the liberated spiritual master
“The statements of Thakura Bhaktivinode are as good as scriptures because he is liberated person.” (Letter —New York 26 April, 1968)
“Conditioned life means we must have four disqualifications. What is that? To commit mistake, to become illusioned, to become cheater, and to possess imperfect senses. This is our qualification. And we want to write books and philosophy. Just see. One does not consider his position.” (Lectures : Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.1.2 — London, August 16, 1971)
Disciple must accept the words of his spiritual master as his life and soul
Śrī Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Gosvāmī Mahārāja comments in this connection, “One can become perfectly successful in the mission of his life if he acts exactly according to the words he hears from the mouth of his spiritual master.” This acceptance of the words of the spiritual master is called śrauta-vākya, which indicates that the disciple must carry out the spiritual master’s instructions without deviation. Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura remarks in this connection that a disciple must accept the words of his spiritual master as his life and soul. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu here confirms this by saying that since His spiritual master ordered Him only to chant the holy name of Kṛṣṇa, He always chanted the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra according to this direction (‘kṛṣṇa-mantra’ japa sadā,-ei mantra-sāra). (C.C. ADI 7.72 purport)