In the Bhagavad-gita 14.1, referring to the three modes of nature, the Supreme Lord said:
“Again, I shall declare to you this supreme wisdom, the best of all knowledge, knowing which all the sages have attained the supreme perfection.”
Srila Prabhupada makes some compelling statements in the purport:
“In the Thirteenth Chapter, it was clearly explained that by humbly developing knowledge one might possibly be freed from material entanglement.
It has also been explained that it is due to association with the modes of nature that the living entity is entangled in this material world. Now, in this chapter, the Supreme Personality explains what those modes of nature are, how they act, how they bind and how they give liberation.
The knowledge explained in this chapter is proclaimed by the Supreme Lord to be superior to the knowledge given so far in other chapters. By understanding this knowledge, various great sages attained perfection and transferred to the spiritual world. The Lord now explains the same knowledge in a better way. This knowledge is far, far superior to all other processes of knowledge thus far explained, and knowing this many attained perfection. Thus, it is expected that one who understands this Fourteenth Chapter will attain perfection.”
Srimad-bhagavatam 4.21.32, purport.
“Our false appetite for enjoyment and lordship of the material world is due to a prominence of passion and ignorance.
By bhakti-yoga, these two qualities are diminished, and one becomes situated in the mode of goodness.”
“Gradually surpassing the mode of goodness, one is situated in pure goodness, which is not contaminated by the material qualities”.
“When thus situated, a devotee no longer has any doubts; he knows that he will not come back to this material world.”
There is one preliminary question that you should ask yourself, and that is,
“After 5-year of practicing bhakti, why on Krishna’s Earth, am I having these 3 questions to begin with?”
It is essential that you answer this question first, otherwise, you will have difficulties in understanding, the answers to the 3 questions, that you have posited.
The answer to the preliminary question stated previously, is,
“You do not have the proper, guru & disciple, relationship; it is as simple as that. Without, this proper relationship, how can you get knowledge and instruction, which would answer your 3 questions. Otherwise, why would you be embarrassed and ashamed to inquire from your own guru. These questions should, without any doubt, be placed at the feet of your guru, and once getting the answers to them, you may or may not be satisfied.”
You must feel that you have been abandon by your guru. Like a father who fathers a child, and then leaves the family, and they never see him, except on occasional special days, like birthdays, Christmas, or some holiday. This child is no better off than an orphan; no direction from the father, no guidance, no proper father & son relationship; actually, no personal relationship at all. A child in this situation, would naturally, have fear or reluctance to communicate with his father. Moreover, this child in actuality does not have a father.
I am sensing the beginning of your departure from ISKCON, and I am afraid that you could abandon bhakti altogether, and return to the cycle of Samsara.
There cannot, just be, a quick and simple answers to your questions, as you are requesting. Three simply answers are possible, however, they would be of very little benefit, resulting in only more frustration. However, due to your status as a leader in a small Vaisnava community, and your attachment to ISKCON and their programs, and to your guru, who perhaps does not know you intimately and personally; you would not really benefit from quick answers.
You first must accept that you do not have an appropriate relationship with your guru. This relationship with your guru is not performing normally. This is what is known as, “dysfunctional”, or not operating normally or properly. More than likely, if this fact was mentioned to you;, you would deny it. You are addicted somehow or another, to your predicament, of a dysfunctional guru & disciple relationship, and it will be very difficult for you to admit this as a fact.
 Samsara—the cycle of repeated birth and death in the material world; The baddha-jiva (conditioned soul), captivated by the modes of material nature (goodness, passion and ignorance), is moved as if on a wheel through 8,400,000 kinds of births (species of life), lifetime after lifetime. At the lower range of the cycle are births within aquatic, vegetative and animal forms. At the middle range are births within human forms. At the upper range are births within superhuman forms, such as the demigods. But as high as the soul may reach, even up to the position of Brahma, there is no freedom from samsara. Impelled by prakrti, kala and karma, the jiva will surely be forced into another womb, until the day that soul surrenders to the origin of the force that turns the wheel of samsarathe isvara, Krishna. The materialistic theory of evolution put forward by Anaximander and Darwin imperfectly recapitulates the Vedic description of the cycle of birth and death. It is true that we were once microbes, fish, reptiles, mammals and apes. But who are we? We are spirit souls. Materialists have no knowledge of the soul. They are unable to explain how and why dead matter assumes the forms of the gradient species. The Vedas explain that the gradient species mark the evolution and devolution of the soul’s material desires.