How can I find a spiritual master (guru)?
It’s said that when the student is ready, Krishna sends him a teacher, and then the teacher gives him Krishna.
To find a teacher, it helps to know:
1) the qualifications of a teacher
2) the qualifications of a student
Finding and accepting the guidance of a spiritual teacher requires a seriousness about learning, and willingness to make that learning a priority. Without being willing to do what it takes to pursue a path of spiritual knowledge, better to be honest and wait until you are before you seriously accept a guru.
There are many kinds of spiritual teachers. In one sense, there’s something we can learn from everyone, so everyone is our guru.
In another sense, there are people whom we deeply respect and trust, who amplify the voice of Krishna within our heart. For a successful spiritual life in Krishna consciousness, it's very helpful to have relationships with people who help us understand Srila Prabhupada. The more we understand Prabhupada’s writings, the more we’ll be able to see how to apply Krishna conscious principles in our life.
To find a spiritual teacher, it can help to have recommendations from trusted devotees, and testimonials (if available) from other students and disciples. Accepting a spiritual master is a lifelong commitment, and the more we know a person, the better we’ll be equipped to make a choice about entering such a relationship with them.
In general, it is very helpful to have relationships with our spiritual elders, especially people whom we are inspired by and whose advice we naturally seek. It’s very helpful to offer service to our respected superiors and seek their good wishes. It is by the good wishes of Krishna’s devotees that we are able to make any progress at all in our spiritual lives.
If we ourselves are following the process of Krishna consciousness, learning as much as possible about the qualifications of a spiritual master, and what’s expected of us as students, over time we will develop relationships with a healthy variety of spiritual teachers. From these relationships it will eventually become clear who inspires us the most in our spiritual practice.