How to Recognize a Saintly Person
An interview with Gour Govinda Swami
Devotee: How can one recognize a sadhu (pure devotee of Krishna)?
Gour Govinda Swami: Cry before Krishna. Only He can help you to find a sadhu. You can’t recognize a sadhu. You have no vision to see the sadhu. If you try by yourself to recognize sadhu, then you will be cheated. If you are serious, then cry before Him. “O Krishna! I am your servant!”
patitam mam vishame bhavambudhau
krpaya tava pada-pankaja-
—Quoted from Sri Caitanya Caritamrita, Antya-lila 20.32
Mahaprabhu has taught us this. This is crying before Krishna. “O nanda-tanuja, son of Nanda Maharaja, I am your kinkara, your servant. Somehow or other I am fallen here in this dreadful ocean of material existence and I have been drowning from time immemorial. But I want to serve you. How can I serve you? How can I become a speck of dust at Your lotus feet? Please help me.” Just cry. Without the help of sadhu you cannot approach Krishna. You can’t utter Krishna’s name. When you cry like that, Krishna is there in your heart as paramatma. He will say, “Oh now he is crying for Me.” Then he makes an arrangement.
This is the proper way. If by your own effort you try to recognize a sadhu, you will be cheated. You can’t see a sadhu. You have no vision at all. You see only all outward, external things. You can’t see the real thing. There are many persons who are only outwardly sadhus. You will be enchanted by their external activities: “Oh, he is a great sadhu! Yes, he is producing gold!” You will be cheated.
You can’t get a real sadhu in this way. A real sadhu is one who is completely absorbed in Krishna, day and night, twenty-four hours. He has gotten Krishna. He is with Krishna. He can give you Krishna. You can’t see him. You have no vision. Only you can cry for Krishna from the core of your heart. This is not an external cry. It is internal. Then Krishna, who is in your heart, will see that you are crying and he will help you. He will make arrangement for you to meet such a sadhu. That is the arrangement of Krishna. When you meet such a person you will feel some spontaneous attraction from the core of your heart. That attraction is the proof.
Devotee: To meet a sadhu is so rare. How can one get the opportunity?
Gour Govinda Swami: It’s a fact that it is rare, but if you are really crying for it then Krishna can make an arrangement. It is impossible for you, but nothing is impossible for Krishna.
Home program in Vancouver, Canada: May 1993