Vrindavan Feeling in Toronto

Sometimes, you’re so near to a spiritually perfect person or in a sacred place of pilgrimage, but your consciousness is far from spiritual, and sometimes you could be far from a spiritual preceptor or a place of pilgrimage, but feel blessed with spiritual grace… w Howhy is that? How can we be in perfect spiritual consciousness always? How can we experience Krishna at every moment?

Kusum Sarovar, Govardhan, near Vrindavam
Kusum Sarovar, Govardhan, near Vrindavan

One Morning a few years ago, well before sunrise, I suddenly had the feeling that I was in the sacred sublime atmosphere of Vrindavan, or at the very minimum, in the personal presence of my spiritual master, Srila Sankarshan Das Adhikari.

Everything I did that morning was done in a very pure way, without any disturbance from body, mind, or external sources. I cannot describe the experience in words fully, and neither do I want to disclose details, because that is not the point of this post.

On that morning however, neither was I in Vrindavan, and nor was I in the personal presence of my divine spiritual master.

So what to make of that wonderful ecstatic feeling I was gifted with?

For those who may not know, Vrindavan is a sacred tract of land, a replica of the highest spiritual realm, mentioned in the scriptures as Goloka. That the Vrindavan in the material realm, in the modern-day district of Mathura, Uttar Pradesh, is confirmed by great saints… for example, Srila A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada writes:

The Lord descends to this mortal world to show His pastimes in Vṛndāvana, which are full of happiness. When Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa was in Vṛndāvana, His activities with His cowherd boyfriends, with His damsel friends, with the other inhabitants of Vṛndāvana and with the cows were all full of happiness. The total population of Vṛndāvana knew nothing but Kṛṣṇa….

Of course we have a material conception of the sky, and we think of it in relationship to the sun, moon, stars and so on, but in this verse the Lord states that in the eternal sky there is no need for the sun nor for the moon nor electricity or fire of any kind because the spiritual sky is already illuminated by the brahma-jyotir, the rays emanating from the Supreme Lord. We are trying with difficulty to reach other planets, but it is not difficult to understand the abode of the Supreme Lord. This abode is referred to as Goloka. In the Brahma-saṁhitā (5.37) it is beautifully described: goloka eva nivasaty akhilātma-bhūtaḥ. The Lord resides eternally in His abode Goloka, yet He can be approached from this world, and to this end the Lord comes to manifest His real form, sac-cid-ānanda-vigraha. When He manifests this form, there is no need for our imagining what He looks like. To discourage such imaginative speculation, He descends and exhibits Himself as He is, as Śyāmasundara. Unfortunately, the less intelligent deride Him because He comes as one of us and plays with us as a human being. But because of this we should not consider the Lord one of us. It is by His omnipotency that He presents Himself in His real form before us and displays His pastimes, which are replicas of those pastimes found in His abode


After much reflection, I realized that this meant I was doing something right in my spiritual practice. Actually this meant I was following my spiritual master’s instructions sincerely, even if not perfectly. What I was feeling was the pleasure of my spiritual master, and the grace of Sri Radha Krishna.

Since then, I have regularly tested that internal state to determine what kind of consciousness I am in. For example, whenever I am in material consciousness, even if I am directly in Vrindavan, or in the personal presence of my spiritual master, I feel far far away from that divine spiritual consciousness.

How amazing is that! By being there, doing that, still one can feel so far away, and yet, still, while far far away, one can feel that special feeling?

You can’t go to Vrindavan by buying a ticket to travel to Delhi and then taking a taxi or whatever. You can only enter Vrindavan by the blessings of the pure devotee.

His Grace Sriman Sankarshan Das Adhikari

I have had a chance to test this out on several occasions…

  1. While in the personal presence of my spiritual master but unfortunately distracted, and
  2. By physically being in Vrindavan but due my misfortune, in the association of materialistic persons.

Can’t get no Bhaav!

His Grace Sriman Vaisesika Das Adhikari

I cannot just go and sit down in Vrindavan, and even if I do, the current external atmosphere of Vrindavan has become so degraded that it is so easy to come under the influence of the many materialistic persons who prowl there in the hope of making money or enjoying personal sense gratification… it takes a lot of intense prayer and mercy to be able to enter into the real mood of Vrindavan.

It is said that the pure devotee, due to their intense Krishna Consciousness, carries Krishna within their heart, and therefore, wherever they go, that place becomes spiritual even if it is the most abominable place.

भवद्विधा भागवतास्तीर्थभूता: स्वयं विभो ।
तीर्थीकुर्वन्ति तीर्थानि स्वान्त:स्थेन गदाभृता ॥ १० ॥

bhavad-vidhā bhāgavatās
tīrtha-bhūtāḥ svayaṁ vibho
tīrthī-kurvanti tīrthāni
svāntaḥ-sthena gadābhrtā

My lord, devotees like your good self are verily holy places personified. Because you carry the Personality of Godhead within your heart, you turn all places into places of pilgrimage.


And neither can I always be in the personal presence of my spiritual master, owing to my various responsibilities, which he has instructed me to manage intelligently.

It is further confirmed by Krishna Himself that He lives where His pure devotees are hearing and chanting about Him…

nāhaṁ tiṣṭhāmi vaikuṇṭhe
yogināṁ hṛdayeṣu vā
tatra tiṣṭhāmi nārada
yatra gāyanti mad-bhaktāḥ

“My dear Nārada, actually I do not reside in My abode, Vaikuṇṭha, nor do I reside within the hearts of the yogīs, but I reside in that place where My pure devotees chant My holy name and discuss My form, pastimes and qualities.”

Padma Purana, quoted in https://vedabase.io/en/library/sb/4/30/35/

So therefore, all I have to do is to sincerely remember and follow in the footsteps of my spiritual master, and strive to sincerely hear and chant about Krishna.

Simply by bringing the memory of an instruction received, one can practically bring into one’s heart the presence of the spiritual master.

Even though, due to my past sinful activities, I have to be in a place where almost everyone practices forgetting Krishna, and where speaking nonsense and doing stupid things are the norm… even for such a lowly wretch such as myself, there is hope.

I can still always be in the association of my spiritual master, and in the sacred spiritual realm of Vrindavan. How?

आभीरशुम्भा यवना: खसादय: ।
येऽन्ये च पापा यदपाश्रयाश्रया:
शुध्यन्ति तस्मै प्रभविष्णवे नम: ॥ १८ ॥

ābhīra-śumbhā yavanāḥ khasādayaḥ
ye ’nye ca pāpā yad-apāśrayāśrayāḥ
śudhyanti tasmai prabhaviṣṇave namaḥ

Kirāta, Hūṇa, Āndhra, Pulinda, Pulkaśa, Ābhīra, Śumbha, Yavana, members of the Khasa races and even others addicted to sinful acts can be purified by taking shelter of the devotees of the Lord, due to His being the supreme power. I beg to offer my respectful obeisances unto Him.


I may be the most lowly wretch, and yet, simply by remembering my spiritual master, by taking shelter of him within my mind, by following his instructions, wherever I am, and whatever I might be doing, I shall be instantly purified.

To do what I can, with what I have, this is what I pray for, birth after birth. For a moment of pleasure for Guru and Krishna, I am prepared to work hard sincerely, lifetime after lifetime. May this ever be.

What does it mean to ignore your mind?

What does it mean to “ignore the mind”? Is this even possible? Why would I do that? And how can it be done?

Vishal, 23 February 2020

Hare Krishna,

Dandavats to everyone.

I have heard statements a lot of time, ignore your mind. Can we really ignore our mind and overcome issues like sadness, depression, laziness, confusion etc. Is it so easy to ignore ?

Please help me to understand what it means by ignoring the mind.

Hare Krishna 


Nuria.k, 23 February 2020

Hare Krishna,

Please accept my humble obeisances 

All glories to Srila Prabhupada

In my humble understanding it means ignoring what is not good for Krsna consciousness because sometimes the mind is lamenting or putting obstacles like on the spiritual path. In that case it is better to strengthen our sadhana and move our attention to Maha mantra and spiritual master.


Tapas Chakraborty, 24 February 2020

Hare Krishna 

All glories to Srila Prabhupada 

High regards for putting forward such an important subject around which revolves our resolves in our tune to consciousness. I hope a lot of debate and inputs from our learned disciples to shed enough of illuminations for others’ enlightenment.

As a novice in the subject, I am just attempting to put forth my understanding.

Mind is the most critical part of human intelligence, the control or discipline of which is the core to values in understanding of the truth or opening our intelligence to higher knowledge. Ignoring the mind is not a lasting solution to our spiritual journey for everlasting peace and ecstasy rather training it to be focused on our objectives of desires for higher realization in pursuit of excellence.

But the question remains how? In Bhagavad Gita this Subject has been dwelt in great details with 4 paths, viz Bhakti Jyana Raj and Karma yogas each of which deals with different aspects of training our mind. At ISKCON we are in the path of Bhakti Yoga in achieving the twin objectives of Krishna consciousness as well as controlled focus of mind as well as our senses. 

I wish to hear in detail from the disciples in this group whom I look upon as highly realized souls.

Hare Krishna 

From an endearing servant 


Sacinandana Das, 25 February 2020

Hare Krishna.

Please accept my humble obeisances. 

All glories to Srila Gurudev and Srimati Gurumata ji. 

All glories to Srila Prabhupada. 

We should ignore the mind if it stops us to perform Krishna Service by intelligence as intelligence is higher than mind. 

Jivera swarupa hoye nitya Krishna Das. 

The constitutional position of the living entity is to serve Krishna. 

For example if we want to get up early and chant the holy names of the Lord but the mind may stay asleep for some more time but we should not listen to it. We should ignore it and wake and chant Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare. 

Mind may give us hundreds of reasons not to chant. It may say oh you are so tired, please take a little more rest but Srila Gurudev says we should chastise the mind. We should tell the mind to get up. Our mind has kept us so long in the material world. We should stop listening to our mind and control it by intelligence. We should be heavy with our mind. Our mind is a rascal.

Mind is like a little child. We must have seen a small child troubling his or her mother but when the child does not listen to her mother, the mother sometimes becomes angry and chastises her child and the child immediately comes under control. 

Our mind is like that small child and intelligence is like a mother. Above the intelligence is the soul whose Constitutional position is to serve Krishna as we are not this body. 

Bhagavad Gita says that the mind can be our best friend or enemy. So how to make our mind our best friend by performing devotional service to our beloved Lord Sri Krishna. In case one does some crime and has to go to jail, will our best friend go to jail with us? No. But Lord Krishna is so kind that as a Paramatma He never leaves us. He follows us from one to another for 84 lakhs yonis waiting for us when this living entity will turn face towards me. Lord Krishna says in Bhagavad Gita that He is the best friend of all living entities. He is like a loving father and we are like a rich man’s son who has left our father. If some body recognises us and tells oh you are the son of Mr. Such and such. That someone is the Spiritual Master. That is why the Spiritual Master is so dear to Krishna. 

So let us stop listening to our mind and make the whole world Krishna conscious. I hope it helps. Hare Krishna.

your servant, 

Sacinandana das. 

Shridhar Das, 25 February 2020,

Hare Krishna,

Dear Vishal,

Please accept my humble obeisance.

All Glories to Srila Gurudeva and Srimati Gurumata!

All Glories to Srila Prabhupada!

Ignoring is one of the mind techniques to deal with the mind.

Srila Gurudeva tells in one lecture that ignoring someone is a very heavy way of chastising. Srila Prabhupada did so with his disciples on a few occasions. Any spiritual master does to train the disciple. On the other hand, a parent has to also apply the technique of neglect with their children who is restless by nature. Children speak many things which they do not mean/intend to. It’s just a monkey stunt. If one was to pay heed to each such action from the energetic child, one will have no time for personal life unless really expert.

In the same way, we are already having custody of our child “mind”. Of course it’s a nasty demon in most cases than a child. Therefore, there are many ways to deal with these different behaviors of the mind. The standard principle is:

1) To engage the mind in the lotus feet of the Lord. Since the mind controls the reigns of all 5 senses, the 5 senses also become engaged.

a. Since we are not there,

2) We engage the 5 senses to ensure the mind, whose focus lie on the senses also becomes busy in their engagements

a. This is why we should keep ourselves busy in services

b. That service gives a meaning to our existence and the mind becomes occupied in planning and executing it. Where then is the question for the mind to think otherwise? Besides, if it is service to Krishna, mind purifies. Otherwise, there are millions who are foaming, working hard 16 hours a day for earning some money and experience a drop of sense gratification, but are more entangled with the desires of mind and senses. And are still dissatisfied.

3) Besides engaging, we also restrain our mind and senses from their sense objects.

a. Just as a drunkard who trying to get rid of addiction to alcohol tries to maintain distance from such drinks and his booze circle, we have to distance our mind and senses from their material addictions

b. At the same time apply first 2 principles of engaging somewhere. We are not dry speculators or renunciants who are after giving up the world but we are to connect everything with Krishna through devotional service.

The above 2 are standard principles as per Bhagavad Gita (Engaging & Refraining). 

In our initial stages where we are cultivating the habit of above 2, mind will still sometimes take time out in midst of our engagements to ponder upon negative thoughts. Then we deal mind with the following weapons: (SS RBNJ – Sri Sri Radha Brindavan Nath Jee)

1) Daily Reading of Scriptures: By knowledge, intelligence sharpens and the sword of knowledge comes handy to  cut the illusions of mind.

2) Regular Hearing from Sadhus who are determined and taking their association from time to time!

3) Rosy Words: We console it with a Rosy Words: “My dear mind, let us engage yourself in the service of Guru & Vaishnavas. That will make us happy…” and so on.

4) Beat the Mind: If we get too mellow with the mind, chances are it will switch to the role of master from a friend. Then, we have to beat Hundred times with a broomstick “You rascal! Hypocrite! Cheater! Stop this Nonsense!…” and so on, whenever it blabbers something negative. Please note, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura prescribes, 100 in morning and 100 in night J. If we do daily, mind will be trained.

5) Simple Neglect: Still when we are busy, it will mutter and then we may Simply Neglect/Ignore it knowing it doesn’t carry any weight to whatever it blabbers. Srila Prabhupada often instructs this.

6) Japa: with full struggle to hear the Holy Names of Krishna is the most powerful technique, knowing the power of Holy Names.

So you were speaking of Neglect. Now you have so many instruments. Choose whichever handy and aim at the mind to curb its negativity and then engage in devotional service!

Also note, if you cannot remember these, I have made an Acronym SS RBNJ – Sri Sri Radha Brindavan Nath Jee, Deities of New Vrindavan, West Virginia.

your servant

Shridhar das

Selena Saar, 25 February 2020

Hare Krsna Matajis/Prabhus

Please accept my humble obeisances

All Glories to Srila Prabhupada

In the book written by His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada ;

● The path of perfection, Chapter 2 page 13; Mastering the mind and senses.

Your answer must be found precisely here. 

The Path of Perfection

Radhe Radhe, 

your servant,

Selena Saar

Selena Saar, 25 February 2020

Hare Krsna Mataji/Prabhu

Please accept my humble obeisances

All Glories to Srila Prabhupada

A very good question.

Srila Prabhupada mentioned, to “hit your mind before sleep 100 times with a Chappal (sandal) and in the morning with a danda (stick)”. 

You should not ignore but try to correct your mind. 

Asking help from the Guru and SriKrsna is always recommended. Chant your rounds and read the Holy books given by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, listen to lectures. Follow Ekadashi as sincerely as possible. Do Seva. Have love for Godhead and be patient with the process. Have faith in the power of His name. Answers will come from within and without. We have to sharpen our radio-antenna of the mind to the right frequency, and remove the dust from our hearts by these processes.

If you sincerely surrender unto the Lotus Feet, there is no need to for extra worry. 

We first need to understand this concept of fully surrendering. 

Krsna states that those who have surrendered unto His lotus feet. Lamentation is not suitable and befitting.

*Kirtaniya Sada hari*

Radhe Radhe,

your servant

Selena Saar

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Why take shelter of a Spiritual Master

Jaanvi, 19th January 2015

Dear all,

Many people in this world have no spiritual master, but are following all the good qualities of human being, moreover, helping needy people, social service, etc. Also, visiting temple and listening to spiritual talks. Now, where will they go after leaving this material body?



Priya Sutradhar, 19th January 2015

Dear Jaanvi mataji,

Hare Krsna. Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga! All glories to Prabhupad!
Gu means darkness and ru means brightness or knowledge.

The person who helps us to overcome the ignorance of darkness and bring us to the light of knowledge, he is called guru. It is said in Padma purana, that the guru by his power and devotion is capable of rendering a person absolute knowledge and purify him.

And lord Sri Krsna instructs in Bhagawad Gita, if you want to come to Me, if you want to know about Me, first of all go to a bonafide Guru. And if you don’t approach a spiritual master and try to learn scriptures like Gita own your own then all your efforts will prove to be futile.

HG Sriman Sankarshan Das Maharaj explains that “in Krishna consciousness we have a tripod, the three basic legs of bhakti that will solidly situate you on the spiritual platform. They are described as follow by Srila Prabhupada in Chapter Six of the Nectar of Devotion:
(1) Accepting the shelter of the lotus feet of a bona fide spiritual master.
(2) Becoming initiated by the spiritual master and learning how to discharge devotional service from him.
(3) Obeying the orders of the spiritual master with faith and devotion.

All the other items of bhakti are automatically included in these three principles. So if you will simply take shelter of the spiritual master, get initiated by him and always obey him, you will quickly and easily be elevated to the transcendental platform of pure devotional service. In other words, Lord Sri Krishna will become your property”

So dear mataji, in simple words we cannot be liberated from material bandage without the mercy of our spiritual master.

Even if you cannot undergo a formal ceremony, if the spiritual master accepts you and you follow his instructions, that’s initiation. Srila Prahbupada did not get formally initiated until after twelve years after accepting his spiritual master, yet he says from the first meeting, the actual initiation took place, as he accepted his spiritual master within his heart and his instructions as his life and soul.

And as far as the good deeds you mentioned are concerned,everyone is rewarded or punished according to his karma. And if the activities are in Krsna consciousness, Lord Sri Krsna says that anyone who renders even a small amount of service unto Him, it doesn’t go in vain. In this or next life Krsna blesses Him with sufficient intelligent and also makes situation favorable for Him by letting him take birth in a high or vaishnava family so that He can attain the Supreme.

I however have no knowledge. I just made an insignificant attempt to answer and shared what I have learnt from senior devotees. Forgive for any offense.

your servant,

Yamini Narang, 20th January 2015

Hare Krishna!

Please accept my humble obeisances at your feet.
All glories to Srila Gurudeva and Srimati Guru Mataji.
All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

Dear HG Jaanvi Mataji,

First of all, I totally agree with what Priya said just except one thing that she mentioned.

She mentioned that we are rewarded or punished because of our karma. Actually prabhupada says that we are not rewarded or punished, we get reciprocation to our own deeds. Whatever we do, we get reciprocation of that.

And coming to your question, I know a prabhu he’s actually a very good human being, always eager to help others, social services, very positive, no grudges for anyone etc. In other words a very good person. He’s my uncle and his wife is a very good devotee so once we had a programme at some devotee’s place so she asked this question to the speaker “prabhuji, my husband is a very good person but not a krsna devotee so where will he go after leaving his body?”
And prabhuji said that if you’re having a very positive attitude, very down to earth attitude,you’re very good etc. But you are not serving the Lord then after some births you’ll get to know about the Supreme or as u have a very much service attitude so may be by Krsna’s arrangement you sometime may get a chance to serve a Vaishnava, a pure soul then by his blessings you’ll for sure become a good devotee someday may be in this birth or some other. Prabhuji mentioned a quote by HH Radhanath Swami in this regard “a devotee’s anger can turn all your good qualities bad” so prabhu said the same applies the other way.. If you can serve a Vaishnava and please him his blessings can turn all your bad qualities good. So we should grab any opportunity to serve devotees with both of our hands.

In the end we all have to return back home, Back to God head, we have to go into our original identity, the eternal one. So it depends on our karmas when we get that wonderful opportunity to be able to try to go back home. We are really blessed that we got Srila Prabhupada, the savior of this world. We should follow him very sincerely. He has put in a lot of effort to revolutionize this world and we all should assist him and his wonderful disciples in spreading Lord Chaitanya’s message to the fallen souls in this world and make this Hare Krishna Movement even more successful.

I’m the most fallen soul on this planet. Just tried to share a very little knowledge I had. Please forgive for any offenses committed.

your insignificant servant,


Sudarshan Das, 20th January 2015

Hare Krishna,

Such a wonderful question and such wonderful replies!!

Priya Mataji has very beautifully answered the question. I just wanted to mention that someone without a Spiritual Master is like a dog with no master. They do not have the care and protection that a dog with a master has. So getting initiate is a must have. However for those who were not able to attain the perfection stage they are not losers. This is the beauty of putting efforts into a Spiritual goal.

Please refer to the following verses from the 6th Chapter:

Bg 6.37 — Arjuna said: O Kṛṣṇa, what is the destination of the unsuccessful transcendentalist, who in the beginning takes to the process of self-realization with faith but who later desists due to worldly-mindedness and thus does not attain perfection in mysticism?
Bg 6.38 — O mighty-armed Kṛṣṇa, does not such a man, who is bewildered from the path of transcendence, fall away from both spiritual and material success and perish like a riven cloud, with no position in any sphere?
Bg 6.39 — This is my doubt, O Kṛṣṇa, and I ask You to dispel it completely. But for You, no one is to be found who can destroy this doubt.

Bg 6.40 — The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: Son of Pṛthā, a transcendentalist engaged in auspicious activities does not meet with destruction either in this world or in the spiritual world; one who does good, My friend, is never overcome by evil.
Bg 6.41 — The unsuccessful yogī, after many, many years of enjoyment on the planets of the pious living entities, is born into a family of righteous people, or into a family of rich aristocracy.
Bg 6.42 — Or [if unsuccessful after long practice of yoga] he takes his birth in a family of transcendentalists who are surely great in wisdom. Certainly, such a birth is rare in this world.
Bg 6.43 — On taking such a birth, he revives the divine consciousness of his previous life, and he again tries to make further progress in order to achieve complete success, O son of Kuru.
Bg 6.44 — By virtue of the divine consciousness of his previous life, he automatically becomes attracted to the yogic principles – even without seeking them. Such an inquisitive transcendentalist stands always above the ritualistic principles of the scriptures.
Bg 6.45 — And when the yogī engages himself with sincere endeavor in making further progress, being washed of all contaminations, then ultimately, achieving perfection after many, many births of practice, he attains the supreme goal.

your Servant,
Sudarshan Das


Haldhar Das, 20th January 2015

Hare Krsna mataji,

Qs. Many people in this world have no spiritual master, but are following all the good qualities of human being, moreover, helping needy people, social service, etc. Also, visiting temple and listening to spiritual talks.

It’s a very nice question and personally I feel it’s relevant to everyone as everyone thinks himself the epitome of good qualities. Regarding visiting a temple actually and spiritual master importance, one can answer by pondering over what he was before coming in contact with Iskcon devotees and what he is now.

Some years before I got an acquaintance with such a person, who always used to talk of organizations doing social services etc. and he used to regularly donate there. I wanted to help him in diverting his energy to the source of every energy, so I became friendly with him, with time made him understand the real cause, the best welfare activity, that prevalent social service these days or such welfare activities targeting the body or the outer shirt only whereas our various welfare activities are for the eternal soul which by serving the suffering soul are serving the body automatically like Food For Life Program, Bhakti Vedanta Hospital, Gurukul Institutes etc. So gradually gradually he was convinced and somehow I get him enrolled to “Discover Yourself Course” and now he is not only a regular donor but also fortunately listens to spiritual talks from pure devotee only.

So only going to temple(which one? Following the path shown by acharyas?) does not make one devotee, it’s the motive what one has signifies his real position and regarding listening to spiritual talks Sanatana Goswami says hearing from a non-devotee is like drinking milk being touched by a serpent. So we have to see from the light of the scriptures what a good human being is. Scriptures says, human life starts from enquiring about one’s real position

By chance, I was today morning reading from Srimad Bhagvatam Canto 4th , chapter 25th and verse 5th is answering your question fully on the subject matter i.e. fruitve activities and spiritual master. So I am putting the same below for reference:

While the princes were undergoing severe austerities in the water, their father was performing different types of fruitive activities. At this time the great saint Narada, master and teacher of all spiritual life, became very compassionate upon the King and decided to instruct him about spiritual life. (So we should be compassionate also towards such people)

Narada Muni asked King Pracinabarhisat: My dear King, what do you desire to achieve by performing these fruitive activities? The chief aim of life is to get rid of all miseries and enjoy happiness, but these two things cannot be realized by fruitive activity. (we may too ask as per time , place & circumstances what do they desire to achieve by these fruitive activities)

“The King replied: O great soul, Nārada, my intelligence is entangled in fruitive activities; therefore I do not know the ultimate goal of life. Kindly instruct me in pure knowledge so that I can get out of the entanglement of fruitive activities.” (This shows that such people may be ripe for injecting Krsna consciousness in case they have not become too arrogant with doer mentality or they are doing the same in ignorance or without any ill motive etc.)

Sri Narottama dasa Thakura has sung:
sat-sanga chadi kainu asate vilasa
te-karane lagila ye karma-bandha-phansa

As long as a person is entangled in fruitive activities, he is bound to accept one body after another. This is called karma-banda-phansa, entanglement in fruitive activities. It does not matter whether one is engaged in pious or impious activities, for both are causes for further entanglement in material bodies. By pious activities one can take birth in a rich family and get a good education and a beautiful body, but this does not mean that the distresses of life are ultimately eliminated. In the Western countries it is not unusual for one to take birth in a rich aristocratic family, nor is it unusual for one to have a good education and a very beautiful body, but this does not mean that Westerners are free from the distresses of life. Although at the present moment the younger generation in Western countries has sufficient education, beauty and wealth, and although there is enough food, clothing, and facilities for sense gratification, they are in distress. Indeed, they are so distressed that they become hippies, and the laws of nature force them to accept a wretched life. Thus they go about unclean and without shelter or food, and they are forced to sleep in the street. It can be concluded that one cannot become happy by simply performing pious activities. It is not a fact that those who are born with a silver spoon in their mouth are free from the material miseries of birth, old age, disease and death. The conclusion is that one cannot be happy by simply executing pious or impious activities. Such activities simply cause entanglement and transmigration from one body to another. Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura calls this karma-bandha-phansa.

King Pracinabarhisat admitted this fact and frankly asked Narada Muni how he could get out of this karma-bandha-phansa, entanglement in fruitive activities. This is actually the stage of knowledge indicated in the first verse of Vedanta-sutra: athāto brahma-jijnasa. When one actually reaches the platform of frustration in an attempt to discharge karma-bandha-phansa, he inquires about the real value of life, which is called brahma-jijnasa. In order to inquire about the ultimate goal of life, the Vedas (Mundaka Upaniṣad 11.2.12) enjoin, tad-vijnanartham sa gurum evabhigacchet: “In order to understand the transcendental science, one must approach a bona fide spiritual master.”

King Pracinabarhisat found the best spiritual master, Narada Muni, and he therefore asked him about that knowledge by which one can get out of the entanglement of karma-bandha-phansa, fruitive activities. This is the actual business of human life. Jivasya tattva-jijnasa nartho yas ceha karmabhihḥ. As stated in the Second Chapter of the First Canto of Srimad Bhagvatam (1.2.10), a human being’s only business is inquiring from a bona fide spiritual master about extrication from the entanglement of karma-bandha-phansa.

Qs. Where will they go after leaving their material body?
It’s already answered above. But we may ask them, where are you heading to (in a mood to help them)? Like Narada Muni being compassionate asking above – “My dear King, what do you desire to achieve by performing these fruitive activities?”

Thank you.

your servant,
Haldhar Das


Jaanvi, 21st January 2015

Dear Matajis and Prabhujis,

Thanks for sharing all your answers, very enlightening and helpful.



Sridhar Das, 22nd January 2015

Hare Krishna Mataji!
Please accept my humble obeisances!

The judging factor for whether an activity is spiritual or not, is:

dharmaḥ svanuṣṭhitaḥ puṁsāṁ
viṣvaksena-kathāsu yaḥ
notpādayed yadi ratiṁ
śrama eva hi kevalam

“The occupational activities a man performs according to his own position are only so much useless labor if they do not provoke attraction for the message of the Personality of Godhead.” (SB 1.2.8)

Social service, planting trees, feeding the poor, constructing hospitals, digging wells, etc. are great pious acts!

However, the Chaitanya Charitamrita states:

kṛṣṇa-bhakti-rasa-bhāvitā matiḥ
krīyatāṁ yadi kuto ’pi labhyate
tatra laulyam api mūlyam ekalaṁ
janma-koṭi-sukṛtair na labhyate

“Pure devotional service in Kṛṣṇa consciousness cannot be had even by pious activity in hundreds and thousands of lives. It can be attained only by paying one price — that is, intense greed to obtain it. If it is available somewhere, one must purchase it without delay.” (CC Madhya 8/70)

On Jan 20th Srila Gurudeva clarified that if one accepts Srila Prabhupada’s teachings and neglects initiation, that’s committing the third offence: Disobeying the orders of the spiritual master. Initiation is must therefore!

In fact it has repeatedly been emphasized Srila Gurudeva, The tripod of bhakti from The Nectar of Devotion:

1) Taking shelter of a bonafide spiritual master
2) Getting initiated by the spiritual master
3) Following the instructions given by the spiritual master

It is IMPOSSIBLE to attain attraction for the message of Godhead without surrender to the instructions of a spiritual master. Any tasks therefore not directed towards surrender unto the lotus feet of Lord Krishna’s beloved devotee is srama eva hi kevalam, useless labor.

In fact Srila Gurudeva has repeatedly also emphasizes every now and then from the Adi Purana:

ye me bhakta-janah partha
na me bhaktas ca te janah
mad-bhaktanam ca ye bhaktas
te me bhakta-tama matah

“Those who are My devotees are not My devotees, but those who are the devotees of My devotees are My devotees.”

Reading with Srila Gurudeva and Srimati Gurumataji on 20th, we also read (from SB 2/4/10 purport):

“Therefore, not only is a devotee of the Lord more powerful than the Lord, but also worship of the devotee is considered more effective than direct worship of the Lord (mad-bhakta-pūjābhyadhikā).”

Therefore, if one doesn’t consider it important to surrender to such a surrendered devotee of Krishna, how can he be Krishna’s devotee for he is neglecting Krishna’s most important instructions? To not surrender to bonafide guru means to surrender to maya.

“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 Kṛṣṇa. By the mercy of both Kṛṣṇa and the spiritual master, such a person receives the seed of the creeper of devotional service.” (CC Madhya 19/151)

Therefore any such person should be considered unfortunate and if favourable, must be approached and offered help, having taken residence at the lotus feet of guru ourself first.

YET, Krishna is tough to be understood. As it was once pointed by His Grace Mahabhagavat Prabhu, who knows how Krishna may promote during death. But this surely is rare.

your servant
Sridhar Das

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Fake Spiritual Masters

B.Shahvir Balaporia, 12th November 2013

Hare Krishna!

What if, in an extremely unfortunate case, an aspirant follows a spiritual master for most of his life, but who later turns out to be a fraud! How can the disciple recover from such an unfortunate situation. What would be the role or intention of God in such a case?

Kind regards,

Sudeep Manchanda, 12th November 2013

Hare Krishna!

My answer is not authoritatively bonafide, but I would call the person lucky and one who is getting special mercy from Krishna. Conditioned that the person is not making false conclusions about his Guru. It is not without Krishna’s mercy that the curtain of delusion are raised. If one is able to see the truth it is a great mercy.

But, if a person out of ignorance considers a bonafide Guru as anything less than his eternal master then he/she is of-course the most unfortunate.

your Servant,
Sudeep Manchanda

Mahabhagavat Das SDA, 12th November 2013

Thank you.

Please note Srila Gurudeva’s words below “There is never any offense in submissive inquiry”.

To know who is bona fide and who is not bona fide, one should look at the instructions of the past Acharyas and Krishna. If the person is not following as per past Acharyas and Krishna, then that person is not bona fide and must be rejected.

Here’s a Q&A from 27th Feb 2012 that explains this (from www.sda-archives.com):

Question: Accepting and Rejecting Sri Guru

Dear Gurudeva,

How does one choose/judge the correct guru who can guide him properly on the pathway of Krishna consciousness?

Also, when can we know that our guru is acting wrongly, like Maharaja Bali who rejected his guru Sukracharya when he was told not to surrender to Krishna in His form as Lord Vamanadeva?

Was Maharaja Bali wrong for acting against the wishes of his Gurudeva, or was he right for acting in the favor of Krishna?

Please forgive me if my question appears to be offending.

Answer: Accept Real Guru and Reject Bogus Guru

There is never any offense in submissive inquiry. Your questions are most important:

1. How to choose the spiritual master who can guide you properly on the pathway of Krishna consciousness.

2. How to know when a guru is acting wrongly?

3. Was Bali Maharaja wrong to reject his guru and serve Krishna instead?

The answer to your first question is that you should thoroughly study all of Srila Prabhupada’s books and then see who is purely representing Srila Prabhupada’s teachings without any adulteration, both in words and actions. This person is the bona fide spiritual master at whose lotus feet you should fully surrender yourself.

If a spiritual master ever advises you not to surrender to Krishna, he is not a bona fide spiritual master. He is a charlatan who should be immediately rejected. Bali Maharaja become glorious by rejecting his bogus guru and surrendering to Krishna. The bona fide guru is never rejected, and the bogus guru should be rejected immediately without any hesitation.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

Mahabhagavat Das

Jayakrishna, 12th November 2013

Dear Shahvir Prabhu,
Hare krishna!
Please accept my humble pranams!

Thank you for this wonderful question!

Prabhu,i wish to share what i understand on this subject.

From our common life experiences,we can understand that if we are offered any thing as cheap,there is a chance of being deceived..
To make it clear,if a ‘guru’ assure us something that dont need any pre qualification or effort from our side but need only some magical formulae or blind obedience,then,by following him we are doing fraud by cheating ourselves,because we want the duplicate,not genuine,the genuine always is costly,we dont want to pay the price for realisation because that is our life itself,ie,to dedicate whole heartedly with the strict observance of the vows the sad guru want from us.

The fact is that a true Guru dont create anything new but only upheld what he learned from his Guru and this chain ends at God,ie.,the words of God is gurus authority.

In short,
Krishna give a true guru for one who is sincere,and a fraud one will always get a fraud ‘guru’.


With love,

your servant

Haladhar Das SDA, 14th November 2013

Hare Krsna Shahvir ji !

Hope your query regarding fake spiritual master is being met now.

It’s indeed unfortunate to see people being cheated by fake gurus. The worst part is that even after being exposed, many of their followers still have full faith in them and they think it’s some false propaganda against them as they think their material opulence and material happiness, their children marriages, good education etc. is due to that Guru only that they were following. They in ignorance are not concerned about how much spiritual advancement they have made after being in contact with that guru, neither they know the regulative principles nor they want to know, so they fail to check the guru they are following as long their senses are being gratified.

A colleague of mine was following such a fake guru and when the guru was exposed he took complete U turn and said he was never following him. Another ex-colleague of mine is the example of above quoted detail, they have put bigger picture of Guru and smaller picture of God in their home altar; when their guru being exposed, they still say “we have perfect faith in our guru, it’s a political campaign against him, we are sure that he will come out honest soon”. Some years before, they used to say that we follow this guru because they get peace of mind there in his ashram. I told them it’s better to sleep for 4 hours rather than going to another city expecting for getting peace of mind while suffering botheration during travel. The desire to enjoy sense gratification is so attractive, that people even after being get cheated from one guru, approaches another cheater guru, then another, then another………………….. but they don’t try to work on themselves, they don’t want to read/follow the scriptures. They always keep following their philosophy of “more gain, less or no pain”.

Many people make guru to make a show among people or relatives of how religious they are. They generally follow the latest fashion, whichever guru is popular or whichever God is popular, accordingly they too jump in the queque. Like these days Peer Baba, Sai Baba are in the latest fashion among so called gods and I have seen not only such peoples but even many temples are making adjustment to allot some space to these gods too in their home altar or temples so that people/money can flow in. When I was a kid, I had hardly seen even Shani dev temple but with times people being fearful of losing wealth/health have started going on Saturdays and seeing the demand, now most of the hindu temples have made makeshift arrangements for Shani dev in their temples. But Shani dev at least is a demigod but what to say of others??

jihvara lalase yei iti-uti dhaya
sisnodara-parayana Krsna nahi paya

“That person who runs here and there seeking to gratify his palate and who is always attached to the desires of his stomach and genitals is unable to attain Krsna.”

Like a child has some qualification to get admission into school and the teacher too has some qualification who is supposed to teach. Similarly a disciple and guru both have requisite qualifications which are mentioned in the shastras. And those who knows the required qualifications can see there are still so many people who are following cheater gurus. But they don’t want to listen either, as they are mad after gratifying their senses and hence their knowledge is being stolen by illusion.

BG 2.44
vyavasayatmika buddhih
samadhau na vidhiyate

“In the minds of those who are too attached to sense enjoyment and material opulence, and who are bewildered by such things, the resolute determination for devotional service to the Supreme Lord does not take place.”

In short, birds of same feather flock together, impurity attracts impurity.

As already told by devotees here, we can find the qualification of a spiritual master in the books of Srila Prabhupada. A small quote from one of his lectures is given below for reference:

“The spiritual master is compared to a cloud. Just as there are torrents of rain from a cloud, so the spiritual master brings mercy from the Supreme Personality of Godhead. A cloud takes water from the sea. It doesn’t have its own water, but takes water from the sea. Similarly, the spiritual master brings mercy from the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Just see the comparison. He has no mercy of his own, but he carries the mercy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. That is the qualification of the spiritual master. The spiritual master will never say, “I am God-I can give you mercy.” No. That is not a spiritual master-that is a bogus pretender. The spiritual master will say, “I am a servant of God; I have brought His mercy. Please take it and be satisfied.” This is the spiritual master’s business. He is just like a mailman. When a mailman delivers you some large amount of money, it is not his own money. The money is sent by someone else, but he honestly delivers it-“Sir, here is your money. Take it.” So you become very much satisfied with him, although it is not his money he is giving you. When you are in need and you get money from your father or someone else-brought by the mailman-you feel very much satisfaction.”

vaco vegam manasah krodha-vegam
jihva vegam udaropastha-vegam
etan vegan yo visaheta dhirah
sarvam apimam prthivim sa sisyat

“A sober person who can tolerate the urge to speak, the mind’s demands, the actions of anger and the urges of the tongue, belly and genitals is qualified to make disciples all over the world.” (The Nectar Of Instruction, verse 1)

Regarding your other question, what would be the role or intention of God in such a case?

For this, first of all we have to understand who we are, then who God is and then what’s our relationship with Him so that we can act accordingly. Hope you are reading “Bhagvad Gita As It Is”, There are many verses on this subject. You can read verse 15.15 with purport as well as verse 18.61 with purport.

As already been answered by Mahabhagavat Prabhu, we get what we desire/deserve due to our past pious or impious deeds but intelligent person instead of repenting or rejoicing in such situations move on towards his goal i.e. serving Krsna for the devoted man and serving own or related people senses for the materialistic man. Krsna like a loving parent does not interfere with our little independence and acts as neutral, like parents they try their best always guiding their children to become good human beings but still children somehow or other cheat them on their back and turns out to be rascals. Similarly Krsna too guides everyone through the scriptures being left by Him, through His pastimes, His representatives etc. but only rare fortunate ones are able to take advantage of His mercy.

BG 9.9 – “O dhananjaya, all this work cannot bind Me. I am ever detached from all these material activities, seated as though neutral.

From the purport : “Although He has control over every minute detail of material activities, He is sitting as if neutral. The example can be given of a high-court judge sitting on his bench. By his order so many things are happening — someone is being hanged, someone is being put into jail, someone is awarded a huge amount of wealth — but still he is neutral. He has nothing to do with all that gain and loss. Similarly, the Lord is always neutral, although He has His hand in every sphere of activity. He is not situated in the dualities of this material world. He is transcendental to these dualities. Nor is He attached to the creation and annihilation of this material world. The living entities take their different forms in the various species of life according to their past deeds, and the Lord doesn’t interfere with them.

Sri Caitanya Caritamrta Madhya 19.151
brahmanda bhramite kona bhagyavan jiva
guru-krsna prasade paya bhakti lata bija

“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 Krsna. By the mercy of both Krsna and the spiritual master, such a person receives the seed of the creeper of devotional service.”

When we speak of brahmanda, we refer to the whole universe, or to the cluster of many millions of universes. In all the universes there are innumerable planets, and there are innumerable living entities upon those planets — in the air, on land and in the water. There are millions and trillions of living entities everywhere, and they are engaged by maya in suffering and enjoying the results of their fruitive activity, life after life. This is the position of the materially conditioned living entities. Out of many of these living entities, one who is actually fortunate (bhagyavan) comes in contact with a bona fide spiritual master by Krsna’s mercy.

Krsna is situated in everyone’s heart, and if one desires something, Krsna fulfills one’s desire. If the living entity by chance or fortune comes in contact with the Krsna consciousness movement and wishes to associate with that movement, Krsna, who is situated in everyone’s heart, gives him the chance to meet a bona fide spiritual master. This is called guru-Krsna prasada. Krsna is prepared to bestow His mercy upon all living entities, and as soon as a living entity desires the Lord’s mercy, the Lord immediately gives him an opportunity to meet a bona fide spiritual master. Such a fortunate person is fortified by both Krsna and the spiritual master. He is helped from within by Krsna and from without by the spiritual master. Both are prepared to help the sincere living being become free from material bondage.
How one can become this fortunate can be seen in the life of Srila Narada Muni. In his previous life he was born of a maidservant. Although he was not born into a prestigious position, his mother was fortunately engaged in rendering service to some Vaiṣṇavas. When these Vaiṣṇavas were resting during the Caturmasya period, the boy Narada took the opportunity to engage in their service. Taking compassion upon the boy, the Vaiṣṇavas offered him the remnants of their food. By serving these Vaiṣṇavas and obeying their orders, the boy became the object of their sympathy, and by the Vaiṣṇavas’ unknown mercy, he gradually became a pure devotee. In the next life he was Narada Muni, the most exalted of Vaiṣṇavas and the most important guru and acarya of Vaiṣṇavas.
Following in the footsteps of Narada Muni, this Krsna consciousness movement is rendering service to humanity by giving everyone a chance to come in contact with Krsna. If one is fortunate, he becomes intimately related with this movement. Then, by the grace of Krsna, one’s life becomes successful.
Everyone has dormant Krsna bhakti— love for Krsna— and in the association of good devotees, that love is revealed. As stated in the Caitanya-caritamrta (Madhya 22.107):

nitya-siddha-Krsna prema sadhya kabhu naya
sravanadi suddha cite karaye udaya
Dormant devotional service to Krsna is within everyone. Simply by associating with devotees, hearing their good instructions and chanting the Hare Krsna mantra, dormant love for Krsna is awakened. In this way one acquires the seed of devotional service. Guru Krsna prasade paya bhakti lata bija.

So in a nutshell, as the intention of a father is always the welfare of his children, similarly intention of Supreme loving father Krsna or His love for His lost suffering children is quite imminent and hence through the Krsna consciousness movement His representatives are rendering the best welfare service to the entire suffering humanity by giving everyone a chance to come in contact with Krsna. If one is fortunate, he becomes intimately related with this movement. Then, by the grace of Krsna, one’s life becomes successful.

Hare Krsna !

Haladhar Das

B.Shahvir Balaporia, 14th November 2013

Hare Krishna!

Dear Harishji,

Please except my gratitude for your wonderful post. I just wanted to highlight the fact that fraud people are fantastic actors. They perfectly pretend to be the servant of God (after all it is OK if it keeps the money flowing). An innocent aspirant might not be able to see through this veil. The characteristics of a bonafide guru are indeed mentioned in the Shastras, but for an innocent layman distinguishing the genuine from the fraud is very difficult as they are perfect pretenders.


Haladhar Das SDA, 16th November 2013

Dear Shahvir ji,
Hare Krsna !

Thank you for your reasonable query. The understanding that innocent people are cheated by false pretenders is not correct. Its not innocence but Ignorance actually which leads to suffering. We suffer due to our sinful life and sinful life is due to ignorance of nature laws or God laws. Like there are State laws like keeping to the left and one cannot claim innocence when fined driving on the wrong side, he has to suffer for disobeying State laws. Similarly there are God laws also and one cannot claim ignorance and avoid being punished.

Going to a fake guru is not innocence but wilful ignorance, rather a strong desire to satisfy the senses for quick name, fame, wealth etc. When we get our children admitted to school we try to find out about the school result, their reputation, see their prospectus, and visit personally also and compare with other options also. But when it comes to seeking a Guru or God also specially in India, we dont want to go through the scriptures, see the results/effects on their followers, we just see material opulence, and are just interested in quicker results, less or no austerities.Its a general saying that “No pains, no gains”. But those who feel otherwise looking for quick and favourable results got cheated. Some years before, one of my ex-colleague after understanding our regulative principles said to me these regulative principles, chanting etc. is very troublesome, but their Guru and their religous organisation is very nice and there is no conditions there, anyone can keep on doing anything, there is no restrictions.

BG 18.37 – “That which in the beginning may be just like poison but at the end is just like nectar and which awakens one to self-realization is said to be happiness in the mode of goodness. ”
“In the pursuit of self-realization, one has to follow many rules and regulations to control the mind and the senses and to concentrate the mind on the self. All these procedures are very difficult, bitter like poison, but if one is successful in following the regulations and comes to the transcendental position, he begins to drink real nectar, and he enjoys life.”

Srila Prabhupada used to say that this society is a combination of cheater and the cheated. So everyone is either a cheater or is being cheated. Those who are getting cheated they also have cheated someone.Like Srila Gurudeva says, that we should accept that we get the results of our own past deeds and the deliverer is just the courier guy, who is just delivering us our mail. But we need not have to worry for such so called innocent cheated people, as Lord Caitanya being extreme merciful has empowered the Hare Krsna’s to help them out by spreading Krsna consciousness all over the Globe. So December Bhagvad Gita Marathon month is coming and hence please join your nearest Iskcon temple in distributing Bhagvad Gita As It Is to every nook and corner and help these innocent cheated or about to be getting cheated people. Sympathy is good but empathy is far better.

thank you.

Haladhar Das

Nandapriya Devi Dasi, 16th November 2013

Hare Krishna

Please accept my humble obeisances.

In one lecture i heard that Srila Prabhupada said how to know who is bonafide and who is bogus Guru. Ask these two questions to the person whom you considering Guru.. 1.Who is God?  And 2.How to love God?. And if the answers were as follows…1. Krishna is God., and we can love God through by rendering devotional services.
if you got these answers for your those two questions then he is bonafide Guru otherwise a bogus Guru.

your servant,
NandaPriya Devi Dasi

Shahvir, 16th November 2013

Hare Krishna

It is indeed very difficult to distinguish a genuine guru from a fraud one, as a fraud guru can easily act  genuine. He may pretend to preach about God consciousness & spiritual aspects, etc., but his character would be otherwise in private. This is what i consider a dangerous situation wherein a genuine aspirant may fall prey to a fraud guru who is expert at pretending to be genuine in front of general public! There have been several such cases highlighted by the media in the recent past. Why should the innocent disciple suffer for no fault of his.


T V Sanilkumar, 16th November 2013

Hare Krishna Prabhuji
Please accept my humble obeisances
All glories to Srila Gurudeva

It is not that difficult to identify a guru, provided we know the minimum qualifications required for a bona fide guru as well as a disciple. If we know these qualifications, we can very easily identify a bonafide guru after observing and interacting with him for a few times.  For this, we need to read Srila Prabhupada’s books in detail. These qualification requirements are mentioned in many places in his books.

your servant,
Sanil kumar

Jagannatha dasa SDA, 16th November 2013

Hare Krishna,

Please accept my humble obeisances.
All glories to Srila Gurudeva!
All glories to Srila Prabhupada!

In addition to the nice points, already mentioned, I’ll add that this is why we recommend everyone should be very fixed in Srila Prabhupada’s teachings.  By taking shelter of Srila Prabhupada’s teachings, nonsense becomes evident and real Krishna consciousness becomes ever more attractive.

We are most fortunate to take shelter of Srila Gurudeva through the Ultimate Self-Realization Course, and this e-group, as he is Prabhupadanuga, following fully in the line of Srila Prabhupada.

Lecturing on this topic, Srila Prabhupada said:

“yare dekha, tare kaha ‘krishna’-upadesa
amara ajnaya guru hana tara’ ei desa
[Cc. Madhya 7.128]

He is guru. One who is strictly following the instruction of Caitanya Mahaprabhu, and after following Him, he is just delivering the instruction as Krishna has said, then you become guru. It is not difficult. Caitanya Mahaprabhu has ordered everyone. Therefore our process is to follow Caitanya Mahaprabhu, and then try to understand Krishna’s instruction.”

your servant,
Jagannatha Dasa Brahmacari

Mahabhagavat Das SDA, 16th November 2013

Dear Shahvir,

Hare Krishna!

It is a bit subtle… a person who is internally dishonest is attracted to those who are themselves dishonest… Let us take an example.

Srila Prabhupada preached so much all over the world, and before he went to the USA, he preached for decades in India, but no one took him seriously. Obviously, Srila Prabhupada is a bona fide spiritual master, but no one paid any attention to him. At the same time, people were running after charlatans, getting cheated etc., but still not listening to Srila Prabhupada.

Then, there were so many who came to Srila Prabhupada, but faced with the strictness of his discipline and the honesty of his speech and writings, many turned away and went to Sahajiyas who cheapen Krishna’s loving transcendental pastimes… in their search for “rasa” they got cheated. But if they had simply stayed and obeyed the order of Srila Prabhupada they would have tasted the real spiritual bliss. The impatience and greed to get the benefit without making the effort cost them.

But some fortunate honest souls got Srila Prabhupada’s mercy, and by following the pure-hearted among them, many more are benefiting today also…

Ultimately, since being cheated by a fraud spiritualist is not a spiritual thing, but a material thing, it boils down to karmic action and reaction. If I have cheated others in the past, even if I may be externally honest now, then if my past karmic action has fructified into a reaction, I must be cheated now. This is no different from being cheated in business deals, job, fake relationships, etc. But even being cheated is a great relief then, because at least my karmic reaction has been burned away. Now I can go after the real deal sincerely.

This is the same with children – people say children are pure, but they do bear the effect of past karmas that they have done, that is why one child is born to a low-class prostitute and another child is born to a chaste princess. But regardless, both children can become pure devotees if they follow the bona fide spiritual master, even if one comes from very humble circumstances and another comes from very privileged circumstances. And both are equally likely to cheat if they have the cheating propensity themselves…

At any given point, the reactions of past lifetimes sinful actions are hidden (apraarabdha) and then manifest as “prarabdha karma” – the karmas that will be experienced in this lifetime, and seen on three levels “kutam”, hidden, “bijam” manifested in seed form, and “phalonmukha” or in the form of fruits.

So what is the solution? Instead of lamenting over one’s loss, one should simply engage in devotional service to Sri Krishna / Vishnu or any of His plenary expansions – because “kramenaiva praliyeta vishnu bhakti rathaatmanaam” – gradually all those past reactions become burned up by the practice of devotional service.

One should qualify oneself to see who is pure and who is not by careful observance of whether the person is following an authorized Parampara strictly, whether the spiritual master is listening to their spiritual master’s instructions, etc. Please do read Srila Prabhupada’s books, you will see that a bona fide spiritual master is clearly described in his books.

Mahabhagavat Das

B.Shahvir Balaporia, 16th November 2013

Hare Krishna!

Dear Mahabhagavat Dasji,

Thank you very much for such a beautiful & resourceful explanation. I also appreciate the guidance provided by all my dear brothers & sisters who relentlessly serve Krishna & his servants through their posts.


Sulaksana devi dasi, 14th November 2013

Hare Krishna!
Please accept my humble obeisances!
All glories to Srila Gurudeva and Smti Gurumataji!
All glories to Srila Prabhupada!

Krishna is situated as Paramatma in everyone’s heart and He knows all our thoughts and all our desires so accordingly He facilitates a guru to fulfill them. As it is said in the Bhagavad-gita 15-15 that “I am seated in everyone’s heart, and from Me come remembrance, knowledge and forgetfulness.”  So one who is aspirant of real guru with no ulterior motive,  He as a caitya guru will send him accordingly to that person who is a bonafide guru or Guru will find him.

your humble servant,
Sulaksana devi dasi

Rathin Mandal, 16th November 2013

Hare Krishna,

Please accept my humble obeisances,
All glories to Srila Gurudeva and Srimati Gurumataji,
All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

I too had this question for a long time. In India we keep on coming across news like this every other day.
I got the opportunity to ask Srila Gurudeva this query.
Srila Gurudeva answered that those who want to get cheated, gets attracted to fake gurus. Those who are sincere, Krishna helps them.

Nothing to boast about me, but I must be having some desire. And that is why I am fortunate to be able to associate with so many wonderful devotees.
Even if one gets attached to someone wrong. But if he has true desire, he will come to the right place.

your Servant

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Sincerity in occupation by sincerity in devotional service

Sunil, Nov 6 2011

Please accept my humble obeisances

All glories to Srila Prabhupada

Is it true that if a person is sincere in devotional service then that person would automatically be sincere in his or her occupation too?



Jagannatha Dasa, Nov 7 2011

Hare Krishna Sunil,

Please accept my humble obeisances.

All glories to Srila Gurudeva!

All glories to Srila Prabhupada!

Thank you for participating. 

For a sincere practitioner of devotional service, all that one does is calibrated to fit into devotional service. 

One’s work, diet, recreation, relationships and aspirations are all included in the course of their devotional service.  Cf. Bhagavad-Gita 9.27

yat karosi yad asnasi

yaj juhosi dadasi yat

yat tapasyasi kaunteya

tat kurusva mad-arpanam


Whatever you do, whatever you eat, whatever you offer or give away, and whatever austerities you perform—do that, O son of Kunti, as an offering to Me.

I mention this because your question assumes a false distinction between devotional service and one’s occupation. 

Since, one’s occupation is just as much a part of devotional service as, for example, chanting or book distribution, then it follows that our sincerity should manifest there to the same degree as in our chanting etc. 

It is a common misconception that work is not part of bhakti, and Krishna takes the whole of Bhagavad-Gita to explain to Arjuna, and us, how work is in fact, perfected when performed under the guidance of the bona fide spiritual master.

Your servant,

-Jagannatha dasa

Is it necessary to live in a temple or monastery for spiritual progress?

Francisco, Aug 25 2011

All glories to Srila Prabhupada
All glories to the devotees of Krishna

Dear student group devoted to the SDA, I wish you a happy life with Krishna and took the opportunity to ask this question:

To be a good devotee of Krishna is it essential to live in a temple of Krishna?  Hare Krishna

Your servant and friend

Mahabhagavat Das SDA, Aug 25 2011
Dear Francisco Prabhu,

Hare Krishna!

In today’s environment, over 99% of the devotees of ISKCON live outside the temple, as they are householders.

Temple environment is definitely most conducive to spiritual life, but it is not a prerequisite to a Krishna Conscious life. In fact, if someone is not ready, then temple environment can scare them, because it is very austere and one has to be very surrendered to stay on in a temple for all of one’s life.

I take it that you don’t live in a temple… you may have some way of earning a livelihood, think every morning who are you working for, not for your employer, not for your family, not for yourself, but for Krishna. Chant Hare Krishna minimum 16 rounds and follow the 4 regulative principles strictly. This is 50% temple life. In your home you have walls and book shelves, saturate them with Krishna and His devotees. You have some entertainment equipment? Listen to Krishna’s devotees speaking. You have some space in a clean comfortable corner of your home? Invite Krishna to come and live there, and care for Him at least as you would care for your dearest most respected human friend. Every day you eat something. So please cook for Krishna what He likes, and take only His remnants. Krishna Prasadam. Finally, according to your capacity, help the devotees who are not working to preach Krishna Consciousness all over the world. Go to temple whenever you can.

In this way, we can strive to make our heart and home into a temple for Krishna.

Your servant,
Mahabhagavat Das
Francisco, Aug 25 2011
Loved and admired Das Mahabhagavat

Hare Krishna!

Prabhu, I will, but how to offer the food to Krishna?

Your servant,

Mahabhagavat Das SDA, Aug 25 2011

Dear Francisco Prabhu,
Hare Krishna! You are very kind Francisco Prabhu.

Here is an introduction to how you may prepare and offer food to Krishna and take His Prasada.


For all, the website http://www.ultimateselfrealization.com is a wonderful website with a lot of information about basic things and advanced things in Krishna Consciousness.

Your servant,
Mahabhagavat Das
Francisco, Aug 25 2011

Dear Mahabhagavat Das:

Please extend your comment about whether it is possible for a devotee of Krishna who does not live in a temple to achieve self-realization, that is, become a pure devotee of Krishna?  Are there examples of this?

Thanks for your time dedicated
All glories to Srila Prabhupada

Your servant and friend

Mahabhagavat Das SDA, Aug 25 2011

Dear Francisco Prabhu,

Hare Krishna!

We have to understand that “becoming a pure devotee” is not something that is dependent on something external, like living in the temple. Otherwise it would be a really simple formula!  🙂 Otherwise, the millions of people in India who live in Holy towns would all be pure devotees.

Yes, there are many examples of persons who lived in their own homes and were pure devotees. His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada is such an example. He was a pure devotee even when running a pharmacy business and maintaining his family. Bhaktivinode Thakura is also such an example.

In my personal life, I have the great benefit of observing many such persons who are exceedingly pure in their devotion, but because these persons are very humble they will never advertise themselves. But I can see that their every thought, word and deed is dedicated to serving Krishna. They have never lived in a temple except for visiting other places, etc.

Your servant,
Mahabhagavat Das

Sincere disciple of Srila Prabhupada

Francisco Valencia Berrueta,16th August 2011


Su Santidad Sankarshan Das Adhikari, in The Ultimate Self Realization Course, “Is It Essential to Have a Living Guru?” (Lesson C24); wrote:

“One does not need to be spiritually disadvantaged by the physical disappearance of a great spiritual master, such as ISKCON Founder-Acharya His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, thinking that now there is no more opportunity for spiritual progress. All one has to do is find a sincere disciple of Srila Prabhupada and fully take shelter of him.”; my question is: How to recognize the sincere disciples of Sri Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada who have the qualifications to be a spiritual master?

I thank in advance for your kind comments.

Servant of the devotees of Krishna


Mahabhagavat Das SDA,17th August 2011

Hare Krishna Prabhu,

Please accept my humble obeisances.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

Yes, this is a very important question. Thank you very much Prabhu.

You can study the books of Srila Prabhupada, especially the Nectar of Instruction, which is a translation from the Sanskrit version Bhakti Rasamrta Sindhu by Srila Rupa Goswami, and other instructions by Srila Prabhupada about the qualifications of the spiritual master, then you can assess any person you encounter who presents himself as a spiritual master, who is a personally initiated disciple of Srila Prabhupada (not this bogus so-called initiation where a so-called disciple imposes himself upon Srila Prabhupada after he has entered Samadhi).

A spiritual master is 100% dedicated to spreading Srila Prabhupada’s mission all over this planet, every single moment of their day, this is their only business.

The spiritual master never deviates from the instructions of his own spiritual master, and never asks anyone to deviate also. For example, in South America there are some so-called disciples of Srila Prabhupada who are initiating disciples and saying that chanting 4 rounds of Hare Krishna Mahamantra on the beads is alright. Such so-called spiritual masters may be sincere themselves, but by deviating, they make themselves unqualified to be spiritual masters. Some other spiritual masters, they left ISKCON and started their own organizations, such persons, even though they may be sincere devotees, are again not qualified to be spiritual masters themselves because they disobeyed the order of Srila Prabhupada to not leave ISKCON.

In other words, a spiritual master always remains a sincere disciple of his own spiritual master. But note that not every person who is eligible to bea spiritual master is actually willing to accept the responsibility of taking disciples.

In ISKCON, there is a very careful process that goes beyond emotion and sentiment, there is careful assessment and very very strong checks-and-balances, continual observation of the spiritual masters who are authorized to initiate. This process is accomplished via the ISKCON GBC which is how Srila Prabhupada instructed his disciples to manage ISKCON. In other words, no one who is not authorized by the ISKCON GBC is allowed initiate disciples within ISKCON.

Also, there is a personal component also – if you are really sincere, you can feel in your heart which spiritual master is connecting you to Krishna best. But when you meet such a person, carefully assess without wasting time, and then please do not hesitate. Don’t go by external things like name, fame, etc., as a spiritual master is a pure devotee. Do not lose the opportunity to be connected to the disciplic succession through a bona fide spiritual master.

Your servant,

Mahabhagavat Das

Tirtharaja Dasa, 18th August 2011

Yes another good source of information is the compilation of Srila

Prabhupada’s writings and sayings on this subject matter known as ‘The

Spiritual Master and The Disciple’. Thank you and happy, informed and

blessed reading.


Tirtharaja Dasa.

Mahabhagavat Das SDA, 18th August 2011

Here is a very good article:




Jagannatha dasa,18th August 2011

Hare Krishna prabhus.

Here are some quotations by Srila Gurudeva on the topic.

Question:  How to Find Guru?

Can you have more than one guru ?

How you can find guru?

How you can get faith and increase faith in guru and God?


Answer:  You Already Have

While we have only one initiating guru, we may have an unlimited number of instructing gurus.

You do not need to go looking for a guru. You have already found one.

The way to increase your faith in guru and God is to chant the Hare Krishna mantra on a regular daily basis.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari


Question: How to Find an Enlightened Guru?

Dear Swamiji,

I am really in need of your precious advice. For the last ten years I have been looking for an enlightened guru. In this regard I have met many monks, but I have found most of them fake. I want to live a spiritual life and want to know the Absolute Truth, but I have failed to meet a real guru. Kindly help me out and tell me the address of a real enlightened guru. I will very much obliged.

Thank you.


Patiala, India

Answer: You’ve Already Found One

I understand your frustration of encountering so many fake gurus because I was also disappointed in the same way when I was seeking a guru who could bless me with genuine spiritual enlightenment. By Krishna’s grace after four-and-a-half years of difficult struggle, I finally found such a bona fide spiritual master, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Prabhupada, the Founder-Acharya of ISKCON (the International Society for Krishna Consciousness). He enlightened me with perfect spiritual knowledge and saved me from the vicious cycle of birth and death. If you will read his translation of the Bhagavad-gita known as Bhagavad-gita As It Is, you will find great joy and solace.

Before his left this world in 1977 he carefully trained me and his other disciples how to become gurus so that in his physical absence we could carry on with his mission of enlightening the human society. So there is no need for you to be frustrated anymore in your search for an enlightened spiritual master because you have already found one. You may consult with me and the other devotees of ISKCON regarding how to become free from all material miseries. There are many ISKCON temples throughout India. Is there one in your area?

Sankarshan Das Adhikari


Who is the Real Guru?

Poojaneeya Swamiji,

Please accept my humble pranams.

In these days many people claim to be Gurus. And it is very difficult for an ordinary person to judge who is the real Guru

who is self-realized and can take his/her disciple to the highest truth. How one can find his/her Guru and how he/she will be sure that his chosen person is a real Guru who is self-realized?

With humble pranams


The Real Guru is Realized in the Vedic Wisdom

My Dear Devadas,

Please accept my blessings.

If someone decides to be a gold merchant they must have some preliminary knowledge of what is gold, otherwise they will be cheated by so many people who will sell them imitation gold. In a similar way if we are going to seek out a guru or spiritual master we must have some preliminary knowledge of what is a guru or we will be cheated by so many imposters. We are currently living in the Kali Yuga, the Age of Quarrel and Cheating, so we must be very careful when seeking out a guru that we do not become cheated.

Guru is not an invented concept. The idea of guru comes from India’s ancient Vedic literature. If we want some preliminary knowledge to enable us to find out the bona fide spiritual master, then we simply must carefully study the Vedic literature to learn the method of discerning who is the bona fide guru. For the example, the following injunction is given in the Srimad Bhagavatam:

tasmad gurum prapadyeta

jijnasuh sreya uttamam

sabde pare ca nisnatam

brahmany upasamasrayam

“Therefore any person who seriously desires real happiness must seek a bona fide spiritual master and take shelter of him by initiation. The qualification of the bona fide guru is that he has realized the conclusions of the scriptures by deliberation and is able to convince others of these conclusions. Such great personalities, who have taken shelter of the Supreme Godhead, leaving aside all material considerations, should be understood to be bona fide spiritual masters.”

SB 11.3.21

Note that the spiritual master must have realized the conclusion of the scriptures. Sadly, nowadays, the so-called gurus present conclusions which go against the authoritative Vedic literatures.

In this way they create societies of the cheater and the cheated. They are the cheater and their disciples are the cheated.

Therefore if you want to find out who is your actual proper guru you must become educated in the Vedic wisdom. In this way you can find out the real guru who is presenting the Vedic wisdom as it is without any distortion. There is a great need in the modern day society for real gurus and real disciples, but due to a lack of Vedic education we have a world full of cheating so-called gurus and their millions and millions of cheated disciples. This is why there is so much chaos in the world.

To try to bring relief to the suffering humanity we are trying to educate the mass of people what is the proper Vedic understanding. So my best advise to you in regards to finding out who is your guru is that first you should become learned in the Vedic wisdom. Then you will have no difficulty at all in discerning who is your guru. I am willing to give you all training and guidance to become expert in the Vedic wisdom. This why I am offering this e-course, the Ultimate Self Realization Course. Kindly take full advantage of it.

Hoping this meets you in good health and in a cheerful mood,

Your eternal well-wisher,

Sankarshan Das Adhikari


There are also so many more quotes along these lines available.

One can search http://www.sda-archives.com in the search bar for keywords or questions.  I got 10 pages of quotes on this topic by searching how to find a guru there.

I hope this is useful.

Your servant,

-Jagannatha dasa

All glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga!

All glories to Srila Prabhupada!

Your servant,

-Jagannatha dasa

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