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With a Case for the Reconstitution of Srila Prabhupada’s “Mission”.

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Segment 10
Some Superlative Definitions of What is a Genuine Guru

The word “superlative” means, “of the highest quality or degree”.  The following are a few commonly used such superlative definitions of what is a genuine Guru.

A genuine guru is one who sees Krishna. This one is impossible for any human being to verify. If by the sweet will of Krishna, if such a genuine guru does see Krishna; it can be understood that they will not advertise it to be so.  This can only be verified by criteria that defines the symptoms of an Uttama Vaisnava.

A genuine guru is an Uttama Vaisnava. This can only be verified by criteria that defines the symptoms of an Uttama Vaisnava, as specified by Vaisnava siddhanta that is based on the principle of “GSS.” Nevertheless, an Uttama Vaisnava will never advertise his first-class status.  They can only be scrutinized by verifiable criteria based on symptoms that are agreement with Vaisnava siddhanta that is based on the principle of “GSS.”

A genuine guru is a Maha-bhagavata.  This one is also impossible for any human being to verify.  A Maha-bhagavata does not advertise him or herself as being one.

A genuine guru is a Paramahansa. This one is also impossible for any human being to verify.  A paramahansa does not advertise themselves as being one.

A genuine guru is a pure devotee of Lord Krishna. This can only be verified by criteria that defines the symptoms of pure a Vaisnava, which is in harmony with Vaisnava siddhanta that is based on the principle of “GSS.”  Nevertheless, an Uttama Vaisnava will never advertise his first-class status.  They can only be scrutinized by verifiable criteria based on symptoms.

All of the above is actually true, but how can these definitions help us in deciding whom to choose as guru.  Would they be verifiable by a neophyte Vaisnava?  No way!  What is needed is “personally verifiable criteria”.  Criteria that can be verified by even a neophyte devotee. This action of deciding and choosing will require some information other than any of the above definitions.  With some additional information, one can then use one’s own power of discrimination. 

The best information comes from Sastra.  Remember that the term Sastra, when used as proof, also includes the words written or spoken by the past-acharyas in our parampara, (Gaudiya Vaisnava Sampradaya), the disciplic succession through which bona-fide spiritual masters transmit spiritual knowledge; literally, one after the other.  It refers to the disciplic succession of spiritual masters and their disciples who became spiritual masters; beginning with Lord Krishna, and Lord Brahma, His disciple at the dawn of creation.  Hence, a careful study of what Sastra says, what Srila Prabhupada spoke and wrote, and the what the acharyas of the Gaudiya Vaisnava Sampradaya have written, will aid one in this endeavor.

Some logical questions come to mind:

  • Who is guru?
  • What does guru mean?
  • What is a genuine guru?

The totality of references made by Srila Prabhupada, in regard to these questions, are to be understood as Sabda-Pramana.  Proof from revealed scripture or from the words of a genuine Sadhu.  This is the Gaudiya Vaisnava Sampradaya system to establish siddhanta, or conclusions. 

As you will see yourself, Srila Prabhupada made an extensive effort to go beyond the superlative definitions of ‘guru’, which are not practical for a neophyte seeker of a bona fide spiritual master.  It is currently understood that the vast majority of Gaudiya Vaisnavas, are not aware of the large body of references that are contained within the works of Srila Prabhupada, in regards to the “Guru Issue”. 

Srila Prabhupada gave so many explanations in different ways, of symptoms, which anyone can verify, that are practical, and concrete; and leaving no doubt in a seekers mind, as to how to find and evaluate one’s guru, so that one is not cheated.  You will also get a sense of what Srila Prabhupada meant when he said,

Everything is in my books.”

The point being is that Srila Prabhupada did have many definitions, which can be used to determine who is a genuine guru with criteria that is practical, concrete, and verifiable.  No confusion, no guesswork, no need to use sentimental criteria, or to allow others to determine for you.  You should have no problem in accepting or rejecting anyone blindly in regards to who is a genuine guru.  The careful study of this store house of references in the White Paper “Guru & Disciple Tattva According to Srila Prabhupada”, would benefit any person seeking a spiritual master, both Siksa-guru, (instructing guru) and Diksa-guru, (initiating guru).  In this Treatise, only a few are going to be referenced, and commented on, because of their uniqueness and the profound words used by Srila Prabhupada to dispel anyone’s doubt of their ability to determine who is a genuine guru. 

With great regret, if in 1977, all of Srila Prabhupada disciples could have been aware of what Srila Prabhupada, wrote and spoke on the issue of guru; there would have been no confusion or misdirection in regards to the issue of “Guru”, and the cheating and plundering could have been prevented.  It is easy to conclude that this ignorance, was taken advantage of, in order to create this unauthorized guru protocol.

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