Topic: Teachers, see also Gurus

Reading Complexity: Info
The spiritual master acts as the representative of Krishna, who is in the heart of the spiritual master and the disciple An acharya is a spiritual teacher who teaches not only by verbal instructions but by the way he acts in his own life. The Bhagavad-gita advises that anyone who wants spiritual knowledge should approach, serve, and sincerely inquire from a qualified acharya. An authentic...
Reading Complexity: Info
The spiritual master and disciple People these days call any kind of expert a "guru," but for our purposes guru means a spiritual master, a teacher of Krishna consciousness, considered in relation to his or her disciple or student. In the Bhagavad-gita, Krishna recommends the guru-disciple system—parampara—as the most reliable means of passing down spiritual knowledge. He suggests that anyone...
Reading Complexity: Easy
As one cultivates Krishna consciousness, these qualities gradually develop. A pure devotee of Krishna is said to have innumerable good qualities. The following list from the scripture Sri Chaitanya Charitamrita contains many of the prominent ones. A pure devotee is: merciful not defiant truthful equal to everyone faultless magnanimous clean aware that everything belongs to Krishna a performer...
Reading Complexity: Easy
Why should I accept a spiritual master? Spiritual life is like trying to find a post office in a strange city—we can waste our time speculating, trying to follow our hearts, or we can get serious and find someone who knows what’s what. I remember that, before I met my spiritual master eight years ago, I had always hoped I would meet someone who could guide me to a higher truth. It wasn’t a...
Reading Complexity: Easy
Finding a spiritual teacher is serious business, but it’s not impossible. Every human being is supposed to have a spiritual master. It’s said that when the student is ready, Krishna gives a teacher, and then the teacher gives him Krishna. To find a teacher, it helps to know what the qualifications of a teacher are. It also helps to know what the qualifications of a student are, since, if you’re...
Reading Complexity: Easy
Can’t I figure everything out myself? What do I need a guru for? Can’t I just read a book and learn that way? Teachers help us progress faster. They can see (if we let them) what we’re doing wrong, and help us correct it. Books can’t do that. Plus, you can close a book. A teacher may pursue you. Krishna consciousness works best when three items are in place: guru (spiritual master or teacher),...
Reading Complexity: Easy
The most important element in Bhakti yoga, or any genuine spiritual path, is to learn from a teacher who is pure. Pure teachers are rare, but we can learn how to recognize them and thus avoid being misguided. Such discretion is an important characteristic of progressive spiritual life. Bhagavad-gita, Chapter Two, says that a pure teacher speaks exactly what God, Krishna, has taught, without...
Reading Complexity: Easy
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!” ayi nanda-tanuja kinkaram patitam mam...
Reading Complexity: Easy
On the path of perfection in spiritual life, it’s essential to receive guidance from a guru, a spiritual master or guide, because we can’t directly or immediately approach God on our own. If you want to meet the president or prime minister, you can’t expect to just knock on his door and get an audience. First you need an appointment from his secretary, or an introduction by a mutual friend. It is...
Reading Complexity: Easy
Examining the Guru’s Teachings A recent Gallup poll revealed that more than nineteen million American adults are now practicing some form of yoga, meditation, or other “self-renewal” process. To meet this great demand, many “gurus” have appeared on the scene, each teaching his version of spiritual truth. Some have attracted large followings, and every disciple undoubtedly feels that his guru is...
Reading Complexity: Easy
This conversation between His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada and physicist Gregory Benford took place in October, 1973, at the Los Angeles Krishna center. Dr. Benford: You are probably familiar with what Western theology calls “the problem of evil”: Why does evil exist? Srila Prabhupada: Evil is the absence of good, just as darkness is the absence of sunlight. If you keep...
Reading Complexity: Easy
Reporter: Your Grace, it seems that more people than ever are seeking some kind of spiritual life. I wonder if you could tell me why this is so. Srila Prabhupada: The desire for spiritual life is an absolutely natural hankering. Because we are spirit souls, we cannot be happy in the material atmosphere. If you take a fish out of the water, it cannot be happy on land. Similarly, if we are without...
Reading Complexity: Easy
“Ever since the Stone Age, people have come up with so many nonsensical ideas to explain the forces of nature.” That’s what my father, a Chicago lawyer, would tell me when I was growing up. “The idea of a God may give peace and inspire morality, but scientifically-minded people are beyond all that.” My seventh grade teacher showed me a different angle. He reasoned, “There are so many things we...
Reading Complexity: Easy
In his book Perfect Escape, Devamrita Swami comments on the teachings of the saint Jada Bharata to King Rahugana, found in the Fifth Canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam. Having heard from Jada Bharata, King Rahugana is now speaking. "Because of the material conceptions that have shackled my mind, I declare myself diseased. My body, made of matter, is full of dirty things, and my vision is polluted by...
Reading Complexity: Easy
If the religious “cult “phenomenon has proved anything, it’s that the established religions aren’t providing our young people with real spiritual life. Of course, this is not to say that the “cults” are. To be bona fide, any religion—new or old—must pass a rigorous nonsectarian test.... The infamous “anticult” groups, who have attempted by kidnapping and “deprogramming” to break members of the...
Reading Complexity: Medium
There have always been cheaters posing as gurus. Many thousands of years ago, the demon Ravana dressed himself as a swami to win an audience with Sita, the wife of Lord Ramacandra (an incarnation of Lord Krishna). Ravana kidnapped Sita, but Lord Ramacandra killed him. Five thousand years ago, when the Lord appeared in the world in His original form as Krishna, He dealt with another cheater: King...
Reading Complexity: Medium
Questions at Harvard Divinity School Student: The idea of “spiritual guide” or “spiritual master” is not exclusive to the Indian spiritual tradition, as you know. It’s found, in varying degrees of formality, in a wide spectrum of religious and cultural contexts: the Christian abbot or prior, the Jewish rabbi, the Zen roshi, and so on. Yet most people in the West seem apprehensive about the idea...