In Dharma, The Way of Transcendence 2, Srila Prabhupada wrote:
“So, everyone can practice bhakti-yoga under the guidance of a bona fide spiritual master, one who knows the science of Krishna. Don’t lose this opportunity of human life. Practice bhakti-yoga, be Krishna conscious, and make your life successful.”
Lecture Bhagavad-gita 7.1—Hong Kong, January 25, 1975:
“Of course, it is not possible to take the shelter of Krishna directly. That is not possible. May be possible by Krishna’s special mercy, but general process is you have to go through the mercy or process of accepting a guru.. And who is guru?
Caitanya-caritamrta Madhya 8.128,
‘It does not matter whether he is a sannyasi or grhastha or a brahmana or sudra. It does not matter. If he knows the science of Krishna, then he remains guru.‘
There is no difficulty to find out. Sometimes they plead that ‘Whom I can accept as guru?’ That is… Caitanya Mahaprabhu has cleared. You haven’t got any trouble to find out guru. Anyone who knows about Krishna, he is guru.
So directly we cannot take shelter of Krishna. Therefore, one who has taken shelter of Krishna, one who knows the science of Krishna, one who knows what is Krishna—you take shelter of that person.. Taking shelter, that is the process of this Krishna consciousness movement. In the beginning, you have to take shelter of guru. Then you inquire from him about Krishna. Then follow the footstep of big, big devotees; just like Prahlada Maharaja, a great devotee; Kapiladeva, a great devotee; and similarly, Brahma, a great devotee. Lord Siva is great devotee; Narada Muni, a great devotee.
There are especially twelve names are given in the sastras, that we have to follow them. That is called sampradaya. Sampradaya means coming in disciplic succession from the original guru. Just like Krishna instructed Brahma, so Brahma is one of the gurus. So, Brahma-sampradaya there is. Brahma-sampradaya. Our this Gaudiya-sampradaya belongs to that Brahma-sampradaya. In this way there is Ramanuja-sampradaya. This sampradaya comes from the goddess of fortune, Laksmiji. Sri-sampradaya. In this way there are twelve mahajanas. They are stated in the sastra.
Caitanya-caritamrta Madhya 17.186,
‘Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu continued, ‘Dry arguments are inconclusive. A great Personality whose opinion does not differ from others is not considered a great sage. Simply by studying the Vedas, which are variegated, one cannot come to the right path by which religious principles are understood. The solid truth of religious principles is hidden in the heart of an unadulterated, self-realized person. Consequently, as the sastras confirm, one should accept whatever progressive path the mahajanas advocate.’
We have to take the path of mahajana, and the purpose is how to increase your attachment for Krishna. This is the business.”
Lecture Bhagavad-gita 7.3—Bombay-March 29, 1971:
“So, it is not the question of a brahmacari, sannyasi or grhastha. Caitanya Mahaprabhu said, Caitanya-caritamrta Madhya 8.128,
‘It does not matter whether he is a sannyasi or grhastha or brahmacari. One who knows the science of Krishna and preaches all over the world, he is guru, spiritual master. It does not matter.’”
Lecture on The Nectar of Devotion—Calcutta, January 28, 1973:
“It is a science. Just like Caitanya Mahaprabhu said Caitanya-caritamrta Madhya 8.128,
‘It does not matter whether he is a sannyasi or grhastha or brahmacari. One who knows the science of Krishna and preaches all over the world, he is guru, spiritual master. It does not matter’
So Caitanya Mahaprabhu confirmed it: It does not matter whether one is a grhastha or one is a sannyasi or one is a brahmana or not brahmana. It does not matter. Because this is not the science of this physiological ana…, anatomical science, or cobbler’s science. Cobbler’s science means cobbler knows what kind of skin it is. It is not like that. Neither cobbler’s science nor anatomical science or physiological science.
Bhagavat-tattva-vijnanam. It is another science. So, anyone who is well-versed in bhagavat-tattva-vijnanam, he’s, he can become guru. Not others.”
Room Conversation—January 31, 1977, Bhuvanesvara:
“So siksa-guru becomes diksa-guru. But guru means one who knows the science of Krishna and teaches properly. That is all.”
“Are you knowing people take diksa from many gurus?”
No, diksa-guru is one. But siksa-guru can be many.
“But suppose diksa gurus or people take one mantra from one guru and other one…”
“Then you have not selected guru. You have selected some rascal. Guru can be…, cannot be different. Guru means one who knows the science of Krishna. Yei Krishna-tattva-vetta sei guru haya [Caitanya-caritamrta Madhya 8.128]. Anyone who knows the science… So, suppose if you want to become medical man, you must go to a qualified medical man to learn. And if you go to a panwala, what he’ll teach you? That is your mistake. Guru cannot be different. Guru is one, one who knows the science of Krishna. If he does not know, then he is not guru. Why should you go there?”
“How should we know that he knows about Krishna?”
“That requires your fortune. Little intelligence. Therefore, Caitanya Mahaprabhu says Caitanya-caritamrta Madhya 19.151,
“According to their karma, all living entities are wandering throughout the entire universe. Some of them are being elevated to the upper planetary systems, and some are going down into the lower planetary systems. Out of many millions of wandering living entities, one who is very fortunate gets an opportunity to associate with a bona fide spiritual master by the grace of Krishna. By the mercy of both Krishna and the spiritual master, such a person receives the seed of the creeper of devotional service.”
That intelligence is for the most fortunate person. That is not ordinary thing. But guru means who knows the science of Krishna. If you go to a bogus man, that is your misfortune. So, this is the description of guru, Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s statement Caitanya-caritamrta Madhya 8.128, It does not matter whether he is a sannyasi or grhastha or a brahmana or sudra. It does not matter. If he knows the science of Krishna, then he remains guru.”
“Science of Krishna. If he knows about Bhagavatam, Bhagavad-gita, or anything else…”
“To know about Krishna. It is not also difficult. Science of Krishna is there, Bhagavad-gita. Krishna speaks Himself. So, to know the science of Krishna is also not difficult. But because we are unfortunate, we go to rascal, and they interpret Bhagavad-gita in a rascaldom way, and we are missing. So, you should be very careful not to go to a rascal. Then your mission will be successful. If you want to purchase gold, you must go to a shop where actually gold is purchased, gold. If you do not know, then you’ll be cheated.”
Back To Godhead #59, 1973 A Spiritual Master Who Knows the Lord, Srila Prabhupada wrote:
“It is absolutely necessary to receive Srimad-bhagavatam from a bona fide spiritual master coming in disciplic succession and not from professional reciters or pseudo-devotees. A spiritual master is one who knows the science of Krishna consciousness. He must have given up all other engagements and be fixed solely in the service of the Lord. Such a spiritual master will always lead one towards Krishna and not away from Him. Krishna says, ‘Surrender unto Me only’, and the spiritual master says, ‘Surrender unto Krishna.’ He does not interpret Krishna’s words and say that it is not to Krishna that we must surrender. He delivers the message as it is, like a postman who delivers a letter to the addressee without opening it and changing what it says.”