“When one receives the seed of devotional service by the mercy of the guru and Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, one’s real life begins. If one abides by the orders of the spiritual master, by the grace of Krsna he is freed from service to the mind.” (SB 5.11.17 : Purport
“He lives forever by his divine instructions, and the follower lives with him.” (S.B. Preface)
“There are two words, vani and vapuh. Vani means words, and vapuh means the physical body. Vapuh will be finished. This material body it will be finished, that is the nature. But if we keep to the vani, to the words of the spiritual master, then we remain very fixed up…if you always keep intact, in link with the words and instructions of the higher instructions, then you are always fresh. This is spiritual understanding.” (Lecture, 02/03/75)
“As far as my blessing is concerned, it does not require my physical presence. If you are chanting Hare Krishna there, and following my instructions, reading the books, taking only Krishna prasadam etc., then there is no question of your not receiving the blessings of Lord Caitanya, whose mission I am humbly trying to push on.” (Letter –30/6/74)
“Anyone who has developed unflinching faith in the Lord and the Spiritual Master can understand the revealed scripture unfolding before him”. So continue your present aptitude and you will be successful in your spiritual progress. I am sure that even if I am not physically present before you, still you will be able to execute all spiritual duties in the matter of Krishna Consciousness, if you follow the above principles.” (Letter — 29/9/67)
“Just like I am working, so my Guru Maharaja is there, Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati. Physically he may not be, but in every action he is there. To serve master’s word is more important than to serve physically.” (Room Conversation, Vrindavan, 2/5/77)
Devotee: …so sometimes the Spiritual Master is far away. He may be in Los Angeles. Somebody is coming to Hamburg Temple. He thinks “How will the Spiritual Master be pleased?”
Srila Prabhupada: Just follow his order, Spiritual Master is along with you by his words. Just like my Spiritual Master is not physically present, but I am associating with him by his words. (Lecture, 18/08/71)
“One may argue that “Where is Krsna?” No, you have got Krsna’s representative, guru. Yasya prasadad bhagavat-prasado **. The representative is there. If you act according to his instruction, if you want to please him, then Krsna is pleased.” (Lecture on Srimad-Bhagavatam 6.1.15 — Denver, June 28, 1975)
“So if you want to be anxiety-less, without any anxiety, then you must take shelter of the guru, or the spiritual master, and the test is that by the instruction of guru, by following the instruction of guru, you will be anxiety-less. This is the test.” (Lecture on Gurvastakam at Upsala University — Stockholm, September 9, 1973)
“I also do not feel separation from my Guru Maharaja. When I am engaged in his service, his pictures give me sufficient strength. To serve master’s word is more important than to serve him physically.” (Letter — 19/7/70)
“If there is no chance to serve the spiritual master directly, a devotee should serve him by remembering his instructions. There is no difference between the spiritual masters instructions and the spiritual master himself. In the absence therefore, his words of direction should be pride of the disciple.” (C.c. Adi 1.35, Purport)
“The disciple and Spiritual Master are never separated because the Spiritual Master always keeps company with the disciple as long as the disciple follows strictly the instructions of the Spiritual Master. This is called the association of Vani. Physical presence is called Vapuh. As long as the Spiritual Master is physically present, the disciple should serve the physical body of the Spiritual Master, and when the Spiritual Master is no longer physically existing, the disciple should serve the instructions of the Spiritual Master.” (S.B. 4:28:47, Purport)
“So far as personal association with Guru is concerned, I was only with Guru Maharaj 4 or 5 times, but I have never left his association, not even for a moment. Because I am following his instruction, I have never felt any separation. There are some of my Godbrothers here in India, who had constant personal association with Guru Maharaja, but who are neglecting his orders. This is just like the bug who is sitting on the lap of the king. He may be very puffed up by his position but all he can succeed in doing is biting the king. Personal association is not so important as association through serving.” (Letter — 20/2/72)
“Yes. Anyway, follow the instruction. That is required. Follow the instruction. Wherever you remain, it doesn’t matter. You are secure. Follow the instruction. Then you are secure anywhere. It doesn’t matter. Just like I told you that I saw my Guru Maharaja not more than ten days in my life, but I followed his instruction. I was a grhastha, I never lived with the Matha, in the temple. It is practical. So many Godbrothers recommended that “He should be in charge in this Bombay temple, this, that, that…” Guru Maharaja said, “Yes, better he lives outside. That is good, and he will do what is needed in due course of time.” (Morning Walk — February 3, 1975, Hawaii)
“Yes I am glad that your centre is doing so well and all the devotees are now appreciating the presence of their spiritual master by following his instructions, although he is no longer present. This is the right spirit.” (Letter — 13/9/70)
Narayana: So those disciples who don’t have the opportunity to see you or speak with you…
Srila Prabhupada: That he was speaking, vani and vapuh. Even if you don’t see his body, you take his words, vani.
Narayana: But how do they know that they’re pleasing you?
Srila Prabhupada: If you actually follow the words of Guru, that means he is pleased. And if you do not follow, how can he be pleased?
Sudama: Not only that, but your mercy is spread everywhere, and if we take advantage, you told us once, then we will feel the result.
Srila Prabhupada: Yes.
(Morning Walk, 21/7/75, San Francisco)