A Perfect Guru

Srila Prabhupada speaking

This is a very nice lecture given by Srila Prabhupada in Bombay April, 1976 and is a very good description of what is a guru. We have also included a link to the audio file so that you can listen to the lecture at the same time you are reading it. This is our first audio link that we have posted from this site, as an experiment.

In this lecture Srila Prabhupada begins “So the first training, how to create a brahmacari… This is human civilization…So we must come to the platform of varnasrama-dharma, not “Hindu dharma”. As he’s stated many times, the term “Hindu” is not a name that you find in the Vedas or in Sanskrit. Rather, it was a name given by the Muslims, who were referring to the people of the Indus region. The religion of the Vaisnavas is Sanatana-dharma, not Hinduism.

Also a very nice definition of what it means to be a guru is described; “A perfect guru is one who is speaking on behalf of Krsna – not on his own behalf.” “If you want to have a perfect guru, then you have to see whether he is speaking on behalf of Krsna or on his own behalf. One who speaks on his own behalf, manufactures, he is not guru. He’s a rascal. One who speaks on behalf of Krsna, he is guru.”

Class on the Srimad-Bhagavatam 7.12.02
Bombay, April 13, 1976
By His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

to Listen to Lecture

Pradyumna: “At both the junction of day and night, namely early in the morning and in the evening, one should be fully absorbed in the thought of the spiritual master, fire, the sun-god, and Lord Visnu, and by chanting the Gayatri mantra one should worship them.”


sayam pratar upasita
ubhe sandhye ca yata-vag
japan brahma samahitah
[SB 7.12.2]

Samahitah word is better or the appropriate. Sanatana is also appropriate, but it is better word, samahitah.

So the first training, how to create a brahmacari… This is human civilization. Unless one comes to the platform of varnasrama-dharma… This Hindu dharma, this is not the proper word. Hindu, this word, is not found in the Vedic literature. It is a foreign word, from Sindu to Hindu. It is the word given by the Muslims. The other side of the Sindu, the Muslim countries begin. So the Muslim used to call this part, the other side of the river Sindu, “Hindu.” So our real, this Bharatavarsa, real dharma, is varnasrama-dharma. Here it is not said, “Hindu dharma.” Brahmacari. Four asramas-brahmacari, grhastha, vanaprastha, and sannyasa. So the beginning of life is brahmacari, how to remain a celibate. It is very scientific. People have neglected this culture and they are suffering. It is so essen… Because they do not know what is the aim of life, so in the Bhagavad-gita all these people have been described as mudha, rascals. They do not know what is the aim of life.

na te viduh svartha-gatim hi visnum
durasaya ye bahir-artha-maninah
andha yathandhair upaniyamanas
te ‘pisa-tantryam uru-damni baddhah
[SB 7.5.31]

These people, especially modernized people, according to sastra and scientifically… It is not the sastra accuses mudha. Krsna says. It is not that Krsna is angry upon anyone. Actually, one who does not know the aim of life, he is mudha, rascal, that’s all. He does not know. Simply they are working so hard like animals and eating, sleeping and mating, and they are thinking this is the end of life. Therefore they are mudhas. That is not life. The birds and beasts, they are also doing the same thing. In the morning they find out any tree, anywhere they stop, and small fruits they can eat. So the eating arrangement is already there, although they have no kitchen or hotel. The eating arrangement is there. And then sleeping: they have got a small nest. Or without nest, they sit down on the top of the tree and sleep. Eating, sleeping, and mating, sex. There is always a pair, one male, one female. They are born like that. The sex is there. Eating is there, sleeping is there, and being afraid of other animals, that is also there. As soon as they are little afraid, immediately the sparrow goes up to the… You cannot catch him. So these things are there even in the animal life, lower grade of life. But is that human life is also meant for that, the same thing? There is no other aim of life? No. That they do not know. Therefore sastra says, na te viduh svartha-gatim hi visnum [SB 7.5.31]. They do not know what is the aim of life.

The aim of life is how to become free from these clutches of maya, repetition of birth and death. That is the aim of life.

mam upetya kaunteya
duhkhalayam asasvatam
napnuvanti mahatmanah
samsiddhim paramam gatah
[Bg. 8.15]

This is aim of life. One has to become mahatma, greater soul, great soul, must understand. So therefore there must be training. Without training, how… Because after all, we are coming from the lower grade of life, animal life, and they are very expert scientist that “Man is coming from monkey.” That’s all right, but shall you remain a monkey or you shall become a better person than the monkey? But they have preferred to remain as monkey. That’s all. When there is impotency, they borrow glands from the monkey for increasing their sex appetite. That means again going to the monkey. Punar musiko bhava. There is a story that a mouse approached a saintly person. “Sir, I have come to you for some favor.” “What is that?” “Now, I am mouse. The cats gives me much trouble. I cannot live peacefully on account of the cats.” So the saintly person asked, “What do you want to become?” “I want to become a cat.” “All right, you become a cat.” Then after some time he again came: “Sir, I am still bothered.” “Why?” “The dogs, they bother me.” “Then what do you want?” “Now, let me become a dog.” “All right, you become a dog.” Then again after some time he came back, that “Still they bother me, sir.” “What do you want?” In this way, after, one after, he, at last he begged the saintly person to become a tiger. So the saintly person, “All right, you become a tiger.” Then, when he became tiger, he began to stare his eyes on the saintly person. The saintly person, “What do you mean by this?” “I shall eat you.” “Oh, you shall eat me? All right. Punar musiko bhava: Again you become a mouse. I have made you tiger, and you want to eat me. So you become again mouse.”

So our civilization is like that, that in the gradual process of evolution we have come to the platform of human being. This human being is meant for understanding God, but they are forgetting God. Therefore the next stage is punar musiko bhava, “Again become monkey.” That is waiting us. The nature’s law is like that, that from monkey we have become human being, and in the human being we are dancing like monkey. So nature will say, “All right, again you become monkey.” You cannot check that. That is not possible. Daivi hy esa guna-mayi mama maya duratyaya [Bg. 7.14]. This nature’s process is going on, but we are so advanced scientist that we do not know how nature is working. Automatically working. Nature’s way of working is automatic. Just like you have got so many automatic machine, similarly, this is, this machine is made by the Supreme Lord. It is perfect machine, one after another, one after another. So just like if you infect some disease, nature’s way, you will develop that disease. That is the way. Karanam guna sango ‘sya sad-asad janma-yonisu [Bg. 13.22]. This is stated. Now we have got this nice human form of body, but if we associate with the low-grade qualities of this material world — means tamo-guna — then again we are going to become animal automatically. They do not know it. They are thinking, “I am enjoying life by eating meat and drinking wine and having illicit sex and gambling. It is very joyful life.” But he does not know that he is associating with tamo-guna, and he is going to be an animal, cats and dogs and monkey. This is a fact.

Therefore we should be very, very careful. This Krsna consciousness movement is simply a very scientific movement that will help the human society not to be degraded again, to be elevated.

yanti deva-vrata devan
pitrn yanti pitr-vratah
bhutejya yanti bhutani
mad-yajino ‘pi yanti mam
[Bg. 9.25]

This chance is there in the human form of life. If you want to be elevated to the higher planetary system, you can do that. Yanti deva-vrata devan. Why you are jumping with a jet plane to go to the moon planet? If you prepare yourself… There are methods; otherwise, why Krsna says, yanti deva-vrata? “If you want to go to the higher planetary system, you prepare yourself in this life. You’ll be next life…” Tyaktva deham: “You shall go there. Or if you want to remain, go to the planets of Pitrloka, you can go there. And if you prepare yourself to come to Me, back to home, back to God, you can do that.” So what should be our aim of life? We shall go to the higher planetary system or back to home, back to Godhead? “Back,” we say, because we have come from God. Just like one man is put in the prison house. He has come from his free home. By his work he is criminal; therefore he is put into the prison house. Similarly, we are all part and parcel of God. Our real home is Vaikuntha. But we have come here. How we have come, that is a very mysterious thing; but we are part and parcel. Somehow or other… Bhaktivinoda Thakura has sung, anadi karama phale, padi ‘bhavarnava-jale. Somehow or other we have fallen this. Therefore the real aim of life, how to get out of this bhavarnava, nescience, that is the aim of life. If we remain again like the monkeys and cats and dogs, eating, sleeping, mating, and dancing, that is not very responsible life. Every man should be responsible. That is Vedic culture, to create responsible man, not varna-sankara. Therefore Arjuna was very much afraid that “After war the women will be widows, they will be polluted, and varna-sankara population will come out.” Actually that is the fact. After the last war the hippies have come out all over the world. This is the fact.

So if there is varna-sankara population, that means the human civilization is lost. Therefore here is the civilization, how… In this Srimad-Bhagavatam, Narada Muni is describing how civilization should be advanced. The first proposal is brahmacari, how to create brahmacari. Brahmacari guru-grhe vasan danto guror hitam. What is that? So what is the duty of the brahmacari, it is now said. The first duty is that sayam pratar upasita: “They should be taught how to worship the Supreme Lord at least twice in a day,” sayam pratah, “in the morning and in the evening.” Tri-sandhya. The prescription is for tri-sandhya. One should take bath three times. In India there is no difficulty. Even in Western countries you have got very good arrangement, hot water and cold water. You can arrange and can take bath. This is essential. Not that sleeping up to ten o’clock. This kind of civilization will not help you. This asuric civilization will degrade the human society. He got the opportunity of elevating himself, even going back to home, back to Godhead. But for want of real civilization they are going again back to monkey and cats and dogs. This is a fact. So the Krsna consciousness movement is trying to save them from going back to become cats and dogs. Instead of going back there, they are trying to send him back to God. That is Krsna consciousness movement.

So the first teaching is brahmacari should rise early in the morning. Brahmacari… That is the general education. It doesn’t require that you have to learn some book immediately. No. First of all build your character. Otherwise what is the use of taking degrees if you have no character? Yasyasti bhaktir bhagavaty akincana sarvair gunair tatra samasate surah [SB 5.18.12]. If you become a devotee of Krsna… Just like in our institution they are being trained up as devotee, so to rise early in the morning is automatically there. There is no separate training. Because he is devotee, he has to rise early in the morning for offering mangala-aratika, and you have got our order that everyone must attend the mangala-arati. That is automatically brahmacari. Eh? Sayam pratar upasita. And what is the upasana? The first guru. Guru, agni, arka — means sun — and then God. Therefore you see in our Deity room there is picture of guru first of all. First of all your guru, then his guru, then his guru — at least four, five generation, because the spiritual knowledge is received through the parampara. I have received from my guru; you are receiving from your guru; and my guru received from his guru; he received his guru. Evam parampara-praptam imam rajarsayo viduh [Bg. 4.2]. Adau gurvasrayam. You cannot learn to become a perfect human being without accepting guru. Then you remain a rascal. Tad-vijnanartham sa gurum evabhigacchet [MU 1.2.12]. That is the Vedic injunction. If you want to learn that transcendental science, you must approach a guru. Guru principle is the same, not that your guru and my guru will be different. If he is actually guru, then there is no difference between my guru and your guru. Just like a medical man. You consult one medical man; I consult another. That does not mean the medical man is different. They are depending on the same medical science. So guru means the following the same principles. Evam parampara-praptam [Bg. 4.2]. The first guru is Krsna, the supreme guru. He is the guru of Brahma even. Brahma is the first creature of this universe. Tene brahma hrda adi-kavaye muhyanti yatra surayah. So Krsna is the original guru. Then Krsna spoke to the sun-god. Imam vivasvate yogam proktavan aham. So anyone, if we follow Krsna, then we are actually guru. And if you do not follow Krsna and want to become Krsna, then you are rascal. This is the test. If you want to have a perfect guru, then you have to see whether he is speaking on behalf of Krsna or on his own behalf. One who speaks on his own behalf, manufactures, he is not guru. He’s a rascal. One who speaks on behalf of Krsna, he is guru. Therefore guru is so worshiped.

Krsna says in the Bhagavad-gita,

tad viddhi pranipatena
pariprasnena sevaya
upadeksyanti tad-jnanam
jnaninas tattva-darsinah
[Bg. 4.34]

Jnani means tattva-darsi. Tattva means Krsna, the Absolute Truth, param tattva. Vadanti tat tattva-vidas tattvam [SB 1.2.11]. Tattva. What is that tattva? The tattva is described in three phases: vadanti tat tattva-vidas tattvam yaj jnanam advayam. Tattva-jnana is one. What is that? Brahmeti paramatmeti bhagavan iti sabdyate. So Bhagavan is Krsna. Krsnas tu svayam bhagavan. So guru, according to the capacity of the student, he teaches first about Brahman, then Paramatma, then Bhagavan, Krsna. So Krsna is the ultimate knowledge of tattva-jnana. And one who teaches this tattva-jnana, he is guru. Otherwise he’s a rascal. So therefore the first indication is that if you want to become a real human being, then you must approach a real guru and learn from him. Mold your life in that way. This is human civilization. Then, after guru… Gurvastaka we chant daily. Guru. What is the duty of the guru?

tranaya karunya-ghanaghanatvam
praptasya kalyana-gunarnavasya
vande guroh sri caranaravindam

We have Daily we understand what is guru. Guru-mukha-padma-vakya, citette kariya aikya, ara na kariya mane asa **. This is that. This is wanted. If you have got real guru and if you follow him, then your life is successful. There is no doubt. But if you have a so-called bogus guru, and without any knowledge of the sastra, then your life will be spoiled. Especially the Mayavadi guru, Caitanya Mahaprabhu has warned, mayavadi-bhasya sunile haya sarva-nasa [Cc. Madhya 6.169]. Mayavadi guru means one who thinks that everyone is God. That is Mayavadi guru. If you approach such guru, then your life is spoiled. Mayavadi-bhasya sunile haya sarva-nasa. Finished. Your spiritual progress finished. So in this way, guru, arka, these are the training. Where is that training? Where is that school? So why they will not learn from eight years, ten years of age, smoking bidi and cigarette? When I was in America first, I saw some little boys, not more than ten to twelve years, smoking cigarette. I was astonished that “What kind of education is there?” But they don’t mind. Even in their classroom, the elderly young boys and girls, they smoke before the teacher. I have seen it in New York University. So this is not training. Training is he must be very controlled. And if you teach from the beginning, then he will be trained up. There is a Bengali proverb, gancai noale vas, mas korbe tans tas(?): “When the bamboo is green, you can bend it, but when it is yellow, dried, it will crack.” So education begins from the very childhood. That is education. Therefore gurukula is required. It doesn’t require how much he has learned ABCD and grammar. No. First of all character. That is gurukula living. Let him become danta, guru-grhe. Brahmacari guru-grhe vasan dantah. How to become sense controller, that is first education.

So these rules and regulation, as it is prescribed, guru, arka, agni, and then Bhagavan… You cannot jump over directly to Bhagavan. Then you will never be able to be successful. You have to go through guru, agni, sastra. Sadhu-sastra-guru-vakya, tinete kariya aikya. This is the way. Then ubhe sandhye ca yata-vak. You should not talk nonsense. Mahaprabhu has very strictly forbidden, gramya katha na karibe. We talk. That has become our training. As soon as we assemble, a few persons, immediately we talk all nonsense-politics, this politician, that politician, this is that, this is that — and waste our time. You talk something substantial. You talk about the sastra. Talk about the aim of life, the problem of life. But they are described in the sastra as the croaking of the toads, “Kakaka kakaka kakaka.” Don’t talk nonsense. Simply be engaged in talking about Krsna. Sa vai manah krsna-padaravindayor vacamsi vaikuntha-gunanuvarnane [SB 9.4.18]. Our talking should be engaged about vaikuntha-gunanuvarnana. Vaikuntha means the Supreme Lord Krsna, about Him. We can talk so many things about Krsna. Therefore we require to read books. Bhagavatam means it is full of topics of Krsna and His devotee. That is Bhagavatam. And Bhagavad-gita is full of instruction given by Krsna. Why don’t you talk about that? Caitanya-caritamrta… We have got so many books. This should be our principle; we should not talk any nonsense. That is called yata-vak. Yata-vak means gontrolling the talking power. Yata-vak. Samahitah, very sober. Try to become sober, don’t talk nonsense, and abide by the orders of guru and sastra. In this way training begins. It does not mean that you have to learn very big grammatical rules and… No. That you shall see later on. First of all build up character. Then it will be helpful to make further progress in spiritual life.

Thank you very much. (end)

to Listen to Lecture

Text pasted from; PrabhupadaVani.org

1 Comment (+add yours?)

    Sep 28, 2013 @ 23:16:29

    Jai Srila Prabhupada!!!


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