Authorized by his predecessor spiritual master
One should take initiation from a bona fide spiritual master coming in the disciplic succession, who is authorized by his predecessor spiritual master. This is called diksa-vidhana. (SB 4.8.54 Purport)
One should approach the current link, or spiritual master, in the chain of disciplic succession
As already stated, Brahmā is the original spiritual master for the universe, and since he was initiated by the Lord Himself, the message of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is coming down by disciplic succession, and in order to receive the real message of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam one should approach the current link, or spiritual master, in the chain of disciplic succession. After being initiated by the proper spiritual master in that chain of succession, one should engage himself in the discharge of tapasya in the execution of devotional service. (SB 2.9.7 purport)
An unalloyed devotee strictly following the instructions of the previous ācārya without deviation
This is the way to advance in spiritual science. One must accept the words of an ācārya, a bona fide spiritual master, to clear the path for spiritual advancement. This is the secret of success. However, one’s guide must be a spiritual master who is actually an unalloyed devotee strictly following the instructions of the previous ācārya without deviation. Whatever the spiritual master says must be accepted by the disciple. Only then is success certain. This is the Vedic system. (Cc Madhya-lila 10.17)
The guru must be bona fide, and he must have heard from his bona fide guru
Sometimes the prākṛtā sahajiyās claim that they have heard the truth from their guru. But one cannot have transcendental knowledge simply by hearing from a guru who is not bona fide. The guru must be bona fide, and he must have heard from his bona fide guru. Only then will his message be accepted as bona fide. (CC Madhya-lila 8.312)
Must be authorized – not self-made
Guru cannot be self-made. No. There is no such single instance throughout the whole Vedic literature. And nowadays, so many rascals, they are becoming guru without any authority. That is not guru. You must be authorised. Evam parampara-praptam imam ra… As soon as the parampara is….kalena yogo nasta parantapa, immediately finished. The spiritual potency finished. You can dress like a guru, you can talk big, big words, but it will never be effective.” (Srila Prabhupada Lecture, February 27th 1977, Mayapur, India)
He must be authorized by the superior guru
Self-made guru cannot be guru. He must be authorized by the bona fide guru. Then he’s guru. This is the fact…Similarly, bona fide guru means he must be authorized by the superior guru. (SP NOD Lecture, October 31. 1972)
A guru can become guru when he’s ordered by his guru. That’s all. Otherwise nobody can become guru
Indian man: When did you become the spiritual leader of Kṛṣṇa consciousness?
Prabhupāda: What is that?
Brahmānanda: He’s asking when did you become the spiritual leader of Kṛṣṇa consciousness?
Prabhupāda: When my Guru Mahārāja ordered me. This is the guru-paramparā.
Indian: Did it…
Prabhupāda: Try to understand. Don’t go very speedily. A guru can become guru when he’s ordered by his guru. That’s all. Otherwise nobody can become guru.
Indian woman 2: (Hindi)
Prabhupāda: (Hindi) Śādhi māṁ prapannam. “I am surrendered to You. Whatever You say, I shall carry out.” That’s all.
Indian man: When did he tell you to…?
Prabhupāda: What is the business, when did he tell me? And why shall I disclose to you? It is so very insignificant thing that I have to explain to you?
Indian man: No, I am just curious when…
Prabhupāda: You should be curious within your limit. You should know that one can become guru when he is ordered by his guru, this much.
Lecture on Bhagavad-gītā 7.2 — Nairobi, October 28, 1975
“I cannot do anything independently, without His order.”
Vallabha Bhatta wanted to be initiated by Gadadhara Pandita, but Gadadhara Pandita refused, saying, “The work of acting as a spiritual master is not possible for me. “I am completely dependent. My Lord is Gauracandra, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. I cannot do anything independently, without His order.” (CC, Antya 7:150-151)
Nor can he impart instruction without being authorized
The process of understanding spiritual or transcendental knowledge from the realized person is not exactly like asking an ordinary question from the schoolmaster. The schoolmasters in the modern days are paid agents for giving some information, but the spiritual master is not a paid agent. Nor can he impart instruction without being authorized. In the Bhagavad-gītā (4.34), the process of understanding transcendental knowledge is directed as follows… (SB 2.9.43 purport)
When the ācārya disappears, rogues and nondevotees take advantage and immediately begin to introduce unauthorized principles
O best of kings, please get up! Get up! Just see this world surrounded by water and infested with rogues and so-called kings. This world is very much afraid, and it is your duty to protect her.
Whenever an ācārya comes, following the superior orders of the Supreme Personality of Godhead or His representative, he establishes the principles of religion, as enunciated in Bhagavad-gītā. Religion means abiding by the orders of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Religious principles begin from the time one surrenders to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. It is the ācārya’s duty to spread a bona fide religious system and induce everyone to bow down before the Supreme Lord. One executes the religious principles by rendering devotional service, specifically the nine items like hearing, chanting and remembering. Unfortunately, when the ācārya disappears, rogues and nondevotees take advantage and immediately begin to introduce unauthorized principles in the name of so-called svāmīs, yogīs, philanthropists, welfare workers and so on. Actually, human life is meant for executing the orders of the Supreme Lord, and this is stated in Bhagavad-gītā (9.34):
man-manā bhava mad-bhakto
mad-yājī māṁ namaskuru
mām evaiṣyasi yuktvaivam
“Engage your mind always in thinking of Me and become My devotee. Offer obeisances and worship Me. Being completely absorbed in Me, surely you will come to Me.”
The main business of human society is to think of the Supreme Personality of Godhead at all times, to become His devotees, to worship the Supreme Lord and to bow down before Him. The ācārya, the authorized representative of the Supreme Lord, establishes these principles, but when he disappears, things once again become disordered. The perfect disciples of the ācārya try to relieve the situation by sincerely following the instructions of the spiritual master. At the present moment practically the entire world is afraid of rogues and nondevotees; therefore this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is started to save the world from irreligious principles. Everyone should cooperate with this movement in order to bring about actual peace and happiness in the world.
When I Order
Srila Prabhupāda: When I order, “You become guru,” he becomes regular guru. That’s all. He becomes disciple of my disciple. That’s it.
Failure of Gaudiya Matha: They wanted to create artificially somebody ācārya and everything failed
Why this Gauḍīya Maṭha failed? Because they tried to become more than guru. He, before passing away, he gave all direction and never said that “This man should be the next ācārya.” But these people, just after his passing away they began to fight, who shall be ācārya. That is the failure. They never thought, “Why Guru Mahārāja gave us instruction so many things, why he did not say that this man should be ācārya?” They wanted to create artificially somebody ācārya and everything failed. They did not consider even with common sense that if Guru Mahārāja wanted to appoint somebody as ācārya, why did he not say? He said so many things, and this point he missed? The real point? And they insist upon it. They declared some unfit person to become ācārya. Then another man came, then another, ācārya, another ācārya. So better remain a foolish person perpetually to be directed by Guru Mahārāja. That is perfection. And as soon as he learns the Guru Mahārāja is dead, “Now I am so advanced that I can kill my guru and I become guru.” Then he’s finished. (Srila Prabhupada Room Conversation, 16/8/76)