Characteristics of the Bona Fide Guru

bona fide spiritual master Srila Prabhupada

Recently there has been some discussion on the internet about Jayadvaita Swami’s remarks on kirtana standards in his Kirtan Seminar lectures. I cannot repeat here, what he said on the YouTube Lecture, finding it offensive and not worthy of repeating. Rather than dwell on the negetive statements of Jayadvaita Swami, we thought it better to repeat the words of the bona fide spiritual master Srila Prabhupada, who so nicely describes the characteristics of the “Bona Fide Guru” in the pages of the Sri Caitanya-caritmrta.

…The guru must be situated on the topmost platform of devotional service. There are three classes of devotees, and the guru must be accepted from the topmost class. The first-class devotee is the spiritual master for all kinds of people. It is said: gurur nṛṇām. The word nṛṇām means “of all human beings.” The guru is not limited to a particular group. It is stated in the Upadeśāmṛta of Rūpa Gosvāmī that a guru is a gosvāmī, a controller of the senses and the mind. Such a guru can accept disciples from all over the world. Pṛthivīṁ sa śiṣyāt. This is the test of the guru.

…When one has attained the topmost position of mahā-bhāgavata, he is to be accepted as a guru and worshiped exactly like Hari, the Personality of Godhead. Only such a person is eligible to occupy the post of a guru. (purport Madhya 24.330)

Full text and purport More

The Guru Is A Pure Devotee!

Guru Is a pure devotee Prabhupada

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The following is a very nice post written by Madhudvisa Prabhu, it is heavy, but is backed up by scripture and quotes by Srila Prabhupada himself. It was worth my time reading, and thus I share it with all of you. Hare Krishna!

The Guru Is A Pure Devotee!
by Madhudvisa dasa

During Srila Prabhupada’s physical presence there was no confusion in ISKCON over the qualifications and qualities of a bona fide guru. Srila Prabhupada was personally present and he exhibited all the qualities perfectly and all the devotees understood the spiritual master was a pure devotee. That’s what Srila Prabhupada demonstrated by his personal actions, that’s what he wrote in his books, that’s what he preached in his classes and that’s what the devotees understood and accepted. The spiritual master is a transparent via-medium to Krishna. His words are non-different from Krishna’s, hearing him is just as good as hearing Krishna personally. And his words are absolute and perfect because he is not presenting his own ideas, he is simply repeating what Krishna and the previous acaryas have said in a way suitable for the understanding of the audience. He’s not changing the message, adulterating it or adding in any ideas of his own, he’s presenting Krishna’s words and Krishna’s philosophy AS IT IS.


Prabhupada (Free PDF Download)


The following PDF file entitled “Prabhupada” is a very nice little pamphlet describing Srila Prabhupada’s Journey to the West, the society he formed, his teachings, ect. It is very nice and you can click on the following link to view it or save it to your comuputer.

click of the following link to veiw or save pdf file Prabhupada

In My Books the Philosophy of Krishna Consciousness is Explained Fully

Srila Prabhupada with Books

The following is a nice collection of Srila Prabhupada Quotes on the importance of reading and hearing, compiled by Sri Vrindavan das.

Touch Krishna Immediately by Sound Vibration
by Sri Vrindavan das

Lecture 13 January, 1969

Srila Prabhupada: “So although a physical body is not present, the vibration should be accepted as the presence of the Spiritual Master, vibration. What we have heard from the Spiritual Master, that is living.”

Paramahamsa: My question is, a pure devotee, when he comments on Bhagavad-gita, someone who never sees him physically, but he just comes in contact with the commentary, explanation, is this the same thing?

Srila Prabhupada: “Yes, you can associate with Krishna by reading Bhagavad-gita. And these saintly persons, they have given their explanations, comments. So where is the difficulty?”


Srila Prabhupada: The Prominent Link

Srila Prabhupada the Prominent Link

Srila Prabhupada: The Prominent Link

Recently I had the good fortune to meet one of my God brothers, Dhira Govinda Prabhu. It was on the appearance day of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur. I had heard of him, and in the past, had posted some of his writings, and had read his book “Srila Prabhupada; The Prominent Link”, but had not yet meet him. I found him to be a very nice devotee of good character. And just to give his voice a broader range we decided to post his book Srila Prabhupada The Prominent Link as well as the Prominent Link Supplementary Articles here.

Click on either of the above underlined links to read or save the pdf files.


Mahatma; Great Soul

Srila Prabhupada with unbrella etc.

This morning I happened upon the above picture of Srila Prabhupada, and my mind immediately thought of the following two verses from the Bhagavad-gita:

O son of Pṛthā, those who are not deluded, the great souls, are under the protection of the divine nature. They are fully engaged in devotional service because they know Me as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, original and inexhaustible. (Bg 9. 13)

Always chanting My glories, endeavoring with great determination, bowing down before Me, these great souls perpetually worship Me with devotion. (Bg 9.14)

…In this verse the description of mahātmā is clearly given. The first sign of the mahātmā is that he is already situated in the divine nature…The mahātmā does not divert his attention to anything outside Kṛṣṇa because he knows perfectly well that Kṛṣṇa is the original Supreme Person, the cause of all causes. There is no doubt about it. Such a mahātmā, or great soul, develops through association with other mahātmās, pure devotees.

…The mahātmā cannot be manufactured by rubber-stamping an ordinary man. His symptoms are described here: a mahātmā is always engaged in chanting the glories of the Supreme Lord Kṛṣṇa, the Personality of Godhead. He has no other business. He is always engaged in the glorification of the Lord. In other words, he is not an impersonalist. When the question of glorification is there, one has to glorify the Supreme Lord, praising His holy name, His eternal form, His transcendental qualities and His uncommon pastimes. One has to glorify all these things; therefore a mahātmā is attached to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. (from purports)

I find that for me personally, thinking about Srila Prabhupada is one of the best forms of meditation, is good for my Krishna consciousness, and makes me feel very fortunate to be a part of The Hare Krishna Movement.

Full text and purport More

Bhakti-latā / Devotional Creeper

Srila Prabhupada preaching to disciples

ckick on image to enlarge

“…If one thinks that there are many pseudo devotees or nondevotees in the Kṛṣṇa Consciousness Society, one can keep direct company with the spiritual master, and if there is any doubt, one should consult the spiritual master. However, unless one follows the spiritual master’s instructions and the regulative principles governing chanting and hearing the holy name of the Lord, one cannot become a pure devotee. By one’s mental concoctions, one falls down… (CC Madhya 19.157 purport)

Full verse and purport More

Letter on Initiation

Letter to Hansadutta

I read this letter today, by Srila Prabhupada to Hamsadutta Prabhu, written in 1973, putting in practice, the process of ritvik initiation (although we did not have a name for it then, it was simply how it was done); “…Please accept my blessings. I am in due receipt of your letter dated April 7, 1973 and am pleased to accept the following boys and girls as my initiated disciples.

I am also enclosing Gayatri Mantras for the 14 disciples and 10 sacred threads duly chanted upon by me for the men disciples. You show them how to count on the fingers, and let them hear the mantra chanted by me on the tape through the right ear.”

What I find interesting is how devotees today will decry and belittle the Ritvik Process of initiation, but this was how the initiations were performed in the early days of our movement. The majority of disciples, initiated by Srila Prabhupada when he was personally present, received initiation exactly as it was described in above letter. We almost all recieved Ritvik initiation from Srila Prabhupada. I know I did.

Anyway, food for thought.

Letter More

Srila Prabhupada’s Arrival in the USA

Srila Prabhupada on the Jaladuta

Today we celebrate the Arrival of Srila Prabhupada in the U.S.A. 1965 with this poem written aboard the ship the Jaladuta and with a free pdf download the Jaladuta Diary. Just click on link at bottom of post to read or save the pdf file.

Poem by Srila Prabhupada on His First Arrival in the USA
By His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Excerpted from Back to Godhead Magazine 1970, Vol. 1, No 34

The spiritual master and founder of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, is now engaging thousands of men and women in America and throughout the world in the science of bhakti-yoga, transcendental loving service to God. Prabhupada had no personal motive in first beginning ISKCON; he so vigorously preaches the philosophy of God consciousness simply because he has been ordered to do so by his own spiritual master, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Maharaja.

His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada first arrived in the United States in 1965 with seven dollars, a letter of introduction to an Indian family in Pennsylvania, and a suitcase with some volumes of Srimad-Bhagavatam. In the following poem, written in Bengali on the day of his arrival in the USA, Srila Prabhupada addresses the Supreme Lord Krsna, asking Him His purpose in sending His servant to America. The translation from Bengali was done by Srila Prabhupada himself.

Poem More

Resident of Krishna Loka

Srila Prabhupada

…Unless one is a resident of Krishna Loka, one cannot be a Spiritual Master. That is the first proposition. A layman cannot be a Spiritual Master, and if he becomes so then he will simply create disturbance. And who is a liberated person? One who knows Krishna. It is stated in BG, fourth chapter, anyone who knows Krishna in truth is immediately liberated, and after quitting the present body, he immediately goes to Krishna. That means he becomes a resident of Krishna Loka. As soon as one is liberated he is immediately a resident of Krishna Loka, and anyone who knows the truth of Krishna can become Spiritual Master. That is the version of Lord Caitanya. So to summarize the whole thing, it is to be understood that a bona fide Spiritual Master is a resident of Krishna Loka. (Letter to Mukunda June 10, 1969)

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Captain of the Ship

Srila Prabhupada murti

This morning I saw this image of Srila Prabhupada’s murti while I was surfing on Sampradaya Sun. I like it very much and just wanted to include it here on our page.

…When one wants to cross a large ocean, he requires a strong boat. It is said that this human form of life is a good boat by which one can cross the ocean of nescience. In the human form of life one can obtain the guidance of a good navigator, the spiritual master. One also gets a favorable wind by the mercy of Kṛṣṇa, and that wind is the instructions of Kṛṣṇa. The human body is the boat, the instructions of Lord Kṛṣṇa are the favorable winds, and the spiritual master is the navigator. The spiritual master knows well how to adjust the sails to catch the winds favorably and steer the boat to its destination. If, however, one does not take advantage of this opportunity, one wastes the human form of life. Wasting time and life in this way is the same as committing suicide.


The Symptoms of a Sādhu

Srila Prabhupada

click on image to enlarge

The symptoms of a sādhu are that he is tolerant, merciful and friendly to all living entities. He has no enemies, he is peaceful, he abides by the scriptures, and all his characteristics are sublime. (SB. 3,25,21)

A sādhu, as described above, is a devotee of the Lord. His concern, therefore, is to enlighten people in devotional service to the Lord. That is his mercy. He knows that without devotional service to the Lord, human life is spoiled. A devotee travels all over the country, from door to door, preaching, “Be Kṛṣṇa conscious. Be a devotee of Lord Kṛṣṇa. Don’t spoil your life in simply fulfilling your animal propensities. Human life is meant for self-realization, or Kṛṣṇa consciousness.” These are the preachings of a sādhu. He is not satisfied with his own liberation. He always thinks about others. He is the most compassionate personality towards all the fallen souls. (from purport)

Full text and purport More

Appearance Day of Oṁ Viṣṇupāda Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Gosvāmī Mahārāja

Srila Bhaktivinoda holding young Bhaktisiddhanta

Today marks the appearance day of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Goswami Maharaja, the spiritual master of our Srila Prabhupada. We honor his appearance day with a half day fast, and this short post.

Or he takes his birth in a family of transcendentalists who are surely great in wisdom. Verily, such a birth is rare in this world.
(Bhagavad-gita As It Is 6.42)

Birth in a family of yogīs or transcendentalists—those with great wisdom—is praised herein because the child born in such a family receives spiritual impetus from the very beginning of his life. It is especially the case in the ācārya or gosvāmī families. Such families are very learned and devoted by tradition and training, and thus they become spiritual masters. (From purport)

full text and purport More

Srila Prabhupada’s Visit to Mexico

Aguilar Puerto Vallarta.jpg

click on image to enlarge

I was talking with one devotee the other day about Puerto Vallarta Mexico. We both agreed that it was a very beautiful and magical place and the devotee informed me that Srila Prabhupada had once visited there, liked it very much and said it reminded him of the birth place of Bhaktivinoda Thakur. This prompted me to do a search on Srila Prabhupada’s visit to Mexico…


Belief in the Words of Our Spiritual Master

Srila Prabhupada on morning walk

“I firmly believe in these words of My spiritual master, and therefore I always chant the holy name of the Lord, alone and in the association of devotees. That holy name of Lord Kṛṣṇa sometimes causes Me to chant and dance, and therefore I chant and dance. Please do not think that I intentionally do it. I do it automatically. (Sri Caitanya-caritamrta Adi-lila 7.95-96)

A person who cannot keep his faith in the words of his spiritual master but acts independently never receives the authority to chant the holy name of the Lord. (from purport)

This is one of my favorite verses from the Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, and the purport here is one of the most important lessons in spiritual life. Namely, success in spiritual life is faith in the words of the spiritual master and following his instructions. Thereby receiving his blessings. If one receives the blessings of his spiritual master he can chant the holy name of the lord constantly.

Full text and purport More

Sri-guru-carana-padma (Sri Guru Puja)

Bury Place Vyasasana

This is a very nice song composed by Narottama dasa Thakura, which is sung daily in all of the Hare Krishna Temples around the world. What is interesting about transcendental sound vibration, is that it never gets old. This song is as relishable today, as it was 38 years ago. Actually even more relishable, as the meaning of the words become more and more realized.

The lotus feet of our spiritual master are the only way by which we can attain pure devotional service. I bow to his lotus feet with great awe and reverence. By his grace one can cross the ocean of material suffering and obtain the mercy of Krsna.

My only wish is to have my consciousness purified by the words emanating from his lotus mouth. Attachment to his lotus feet is the perfection that fulfills all desires.

He opens my darkened eyes and fills my heart with transcendental knowledge. He is my Lord birth after birth. From him ecstatic prema emanates; by him ignorance is destroyed. The Vedic scriptures sing of his character.

Our spiritual master is the ocean of mercy, the friend of the poor, and the lord and master of the devotees. O master! Be merciful unto me. Give me the shade of your lotus feet. Your fame is spread all over the three worlds.

Full song with synonyms; More

With All the Humility at My Command

Srila Prabhupada

Personally, I have no hope for any direct service for the coming crores of births of the sojourn of my life, but I am confident that some day or other I shall be delivered from this mire of delusion in which I am at present so deeply sunk. Therefore let me with all my earnestness pray at the lotus feet of my divine master to allow me to suffer the lot for which I am destined due to my past misdoings, but to let me have this power of recollection: that I am nothing but a tiny servant of the Almighty Absolute Godhead, realized through the unflinching mercy of my divine master. Let me therefore bow down at his lotus feet with all the humility at my command. -Abhay Charan Das 1936

The following speech was delivered in 1936 Bombay by the pure devotee who three decades later will become the world-renowned spiritual master of The Hare Krishna Movement. Abhay Charan das who latter becomes His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada glorifies his own spiritual master Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Goswami Maharaja with this Appearance day (Vyasa-puja) homage. Thus we learn the time-honored meaning of spiritual master, disciple and their relationship.

With All the Humility at My Command
His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada


Nitya Siddha; Never Contaminated

In my reading I came across the word siddha and nitya siddha. By now I should know what this word means, but still…I wanted some clarification. So I went to Vani Quotes and did a search. One of the best definitions I could find came from the following letter to Mukunda dasa:

Letter to Mukunda
by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabupada
New Vrindaban 10 June, 1969

…Your next question, whether the Spiritual Master was formerly a conditioned soul, actually a bona fide Spiritual Master is never a conditioned soul. There are three kinds of liberated persons. They are called 1) sadhan siddha, 2) kripa siddha, and 3) nitya siddha. Sadhan siddha means one who has attained perfection by executing the regulative principles of devotional service. Kripa siddha means one who has attained perfection by the special mercy of Krishna and the Spiritual Master, and nitya siddha means one who was never contaminated. The symptoms of nitya siddha is that from the beginning of his life he is attached to Krishna, and he is never tired of rendering service to Krishna. So we have to know what is what by these symptoms. But when one is actually on the siddha platform there is no such distinction as to who is sadhan, kripa, or nitya siddha. When one is siddha, there is no distinction what is what. Just like when the river water glides down to the Atlantic Ocean nobody can distinguish which portion was the Hudson River or some other river. Neither is there any necessity to make any such distinction. Actually, every living entity is eternally uncontaminated, although he may be in the material touch. This is the version of the Vedas. Asanga ayam purusha—the living entity is uncontaminated. Just like when there is a drop of oil in water you can immediately distinguish the oil from the water, and the water never mixes with the oil. Similarly, a living entity, although in material contact, is always distinct from the matter.

This was an amazing answer. For more on the meaning of nitya siddha More

His Holiness the Dalai Lama visits ISKCON Bangalore

His Holiness the Dalai Lama of Tibet

click on image to enlarge

Even though this is old news, still we are posting this because the image of His Holiness the Dalai Lama of Tibet placing a flower garland around the neck of Srila Prabhupada, at the ISKCON Bagalore center, is so beautiful. The Dalai Lama is a generous and compassionate human being, an inspiration to all spiritual seekers, and is a world ambassador for peace.

Bangalore, June 05, 2013. His Holiness the Dalai Lama – the spiritual leader of Tibet paid a visit to the Radha Krishna Chandra temple at the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) Bangalore, Rajajinagar as part of a cultural exchange inititiative. His Holiness the Dalai Lama, while at the temple, said he was impressed by the peace and tranquillity that encompasses the holy place and added that the mission of this non-sectarian movement in promoting the well being of society by teaching the science of Krishna Consciousness is admirable.

His Holiness Dalai Lama was welcomed by the Temple President Shri Madhu Pandit Dasa. After a brief visit to the main shrine of Shri Radha Krishna Chandra, His Holiness interacted with Shri Madhu Pandit Dasa on the need for spirituality, compassion and the role of spirituality in moulding the behavior and thoughts of youth. The discussion also dwelt on the importance of promoting world peace and compassion.


Faith in the Words of the Spiritual Master

Founder-Acarya ISKCON

This is another nice verse from the Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, on the importance of following strictly the instructions of the spiritual master, and thereby receiving his blessings and mercy. Allowing us to taste the nectar of the Holy Name.

Sri Caitanya-caritamrta 1975
By His Diine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Adi-lila 7. Texts 95-96

ei tāṅra vākye āmi dṛḍha viśvāsa dhari’
nirantara kṛṣṇa-nāma saṅkīrtana kari
sei kṛṣṇa-nāma kabhu gāoyāya, nācāya
gāhi, nāci nāhi āmi āpana-icchāya

ei—this; tāṅra—his (My spiritual master’s); vākye—in the words of; āmi—I; dṛḍha—firm; viśvāsa—faith; dhari’-depend; nirantara—always; kṛṣṇa-nāma—the holy name of Lord Kṛṣṇa; saṅkīrtana—chanting; kari—continue; sei—that; kṛṣṇa-nāma—the holy name of Lord Kṛṣṇa; kabhu—sometimes; gāoyāya—causes Me to chant; nācāya—causes Me to dance; gāhi—by chanting; nāci—dancing; nāhi—not; āmi—Myself; āpana—own; icchāya—will.


“I firmly believe in these words of My spiritual master, and therefore I always chant the holy name of the Lord, alone and in the association of devotees. That holy name of Lord Kṛṣṇa sometimes causes Me to chant and dance, and therefore I chant and dance. Please do not think that I intentionally do it. I do it automatically.


A person who cannot keep his faith in the words of his spiritual master but acts independently never receives the authority to chant the holy name of the Lord. It is said in the Vedas (Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad 6.23):

yasya deve parā bhaktir
yathā deve tathā gurau
tasyaite kathitā hy arthāḥ
prakāśante mahātmanaḥ

“Only unto those great souls who have implicit faith in both the Lord and the spiritual master are all the imports of Vedic knowledge automatically revealed.”

This Vedic injunction is very important, and Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu supported it by His personal behavior. Believing in the words of His spiritual master, He introduced the saṅkīrtana movement, just as the present Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement was started with belief in the words of our spiritual master. He wanted to preach, we believed in his words and tried somehow or other to fulfill them, and now this movement has become successful all over the world. Therefore faith in the words of the spiritual master and in the Supreme Personality of Godhead is the secret of success. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu never disobeyed the orders of His spiritual master and stopped propagating the saṅkīrtana movement.


Previous Older Entries

108 Imporant Slokas from the 1972 Bhagavad-gita As It Is

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The Hare Krishna Cookbook

Songs of the Vaisnava Acaryas

Bhagavad-gita As It Is 1972 Edition “Online”

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Srimad Bhagavatam Online

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Raja-Vidya the King of Knowledge

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