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A bona fide spiritual master means there is no difference of instruction from the original instructor and down to this point. He's bona fide spiritual master. So therefore you have to select. If you actually want to make progress in Krsna consciousness

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"a bona fide spiritual master means there is no difference of instruction from the original instructor and down to this point. He's bona fide spiritual master. So therefore you have to select. If you actually want to make progress in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, then you have to select"

Lectures

Srimad-Bhagavatam Lectures

There will be no difference between the instruction of Kṛṣṇa and the spiritual master. The same thing. Kṛṣṇa said that "You surrender unto Me," and spiritual master will say, "You surrender unto Kṛṣṇa." Not that "Not to Kṛṣṇa, but to me." This is the point. Therefore a bona fide spiritual master means there is no difference of instruction from the original instructor and down to this point. He's bona fide spiritual master. So therefore you have to select. If you actually want to make progress in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, then you have to select.


So evaṁ param . . . Arjuna understood Kṛṣṇa in this way . . . that is a fact. You'll find in the Bhagavad-gītā. Now, if you follow the principle or the footprints of Arjuna . . . that Arjuna understood Bhagavad-gītā in this way . . . now, if you follow the principles of Arjuna, then you understand Bhagavad-gītā. It is not very difficult.

That is stated, how, what he, what Arjuna understood. That is stated in the Bhagavad-gītā in the Tenth Chapter: paraṁ brahma paraṁ dhāma pavitraṁ paramaṁ bhavān (BG 10.12). He accepted that "You are Supreme Personality of Godhead. Nobody knows about Your personality." These things are described there. So you haven't got to labor very hard. If you simply follow mahājano yena gataḥ sa panthāḥ (CC Madhya 17.186). If you follow the footprints of great personalities like Arjuna, like Nārada, like Brahmā, like Śaṅkarācārya, like Rāmānujācārya, oh, they are there. Their precepts and their injunction is there. But you have to select a person, a bona fide spiritual master. You have to see that whether he's actually in that disciplic succession. And how you can test it? You'll test it that a bona fide spiritual master will instruct you the same thing as Kṛṣṇa instructed.

How it is that? That Kṛṣṇa said that sarva-dharmān parityajya mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja (BG 18.66): "You give up all engagements and you just surrender unto Me." The spiritual master will say the same thing that, "You surrender to Kṛṣṇa." He'll not say: "Not to Kṛṣṇa, but to something else, nonsense." He's not a spiritual master. Just try to understand. This is paramparā system.

There will be no diff . . . between the instruction of Kṛṣṇa and the spiritual master. The same thing. Kṛṣṇa said that "You surrender unto Me," and spiritual master will say: "You surrender unto Kṛṣṇa." Not that, "Not to Kṛṣṇa, but to me." Just . . . this is the point.

Therefore a bona fide spiritual master means there is no difference of instruction from the original instructor and down to this point. He's bona fide spiritual master. So therefore you have to select. If you actually want to make progress in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, then you have to select.

It requires some labor, or it requires some intelligence. That's all. It is not very difficult. They are . . . there are still in this world direct disciplic succession. But you have got . . . you must have got some intelligence. Then you can understand.

So Prahlāda Mahārāja said, tatra, uh, guru-śuśrūṣayā. So you have to begin your spiritual . . . your Kṛṣṇa consciousness by accepting a bona fide spiritual master in the disciplic succession. And your first business will be guru-śuśrūṣā. Ṣuśrūṣā means to please the Supreme—this is spiritual master—by service, sevayā. In the Bhagavad-gītā also it is said, tad viddhi praṇipātena paripraśnena sevayā (BG 4.34). If you want to learn that transcendental science, then you have to adopt three process in the beginning. You have to select one, a bona fide spiritual master. Then you have to surrender. The same surrender process. You have to select such a spiritual master that you can surrender there.

If you think, "Oh, this, this svāmījī, or the spiritual master, is less intelligent than me or less educated than me or less in so many ways," then you cannot select a spiritual master. You have to select another person where you will find that, "Here is a mind, here is man where I can surrender. Yes, he is greater than me in so many respects. Therefore I can surrender."

This is called praṇipāt. So selection of spiritual master means first of all you must agree that, "Here is a personality where I can bow down my head. Yes." Everyone is proud. Why shall he bow down before a person unless he understands that "Here is a personality who is greater than me"?

So this is the first condition, praṇipāt. Praṇipāt means prakṛṣṭa-rūpeṇa nipāt. You have to become blank slate, "Now, sir, whatever I have learned, oh, I forget. It is now blank slate. Now you write whatever you like." This is the first condition. Praṇipātena, and sevayā.

Sevayā means service. So because the service is wanting, so one has to serve the spiritual master. It is indicated that even if you are the greatest personality, you have to approach and serve the spiritual master just like ordinary menial servant. Menial servant. If the spiritual master says: "My dear boy, you just cleanse my shoes," or any, I mean to say, abominable . . . oh, he'll be ready.

This is called sevā. And praṇipātena, sevana . . . sevayā. Praṇipātena . . . paripraśnena and sevayā. Paripraśna means where you cannot understand, you must place, "Sir, I cannot understand this portion." This is the process.