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Bona fide spiritual master means

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Srimad-Bhagavatam

SB Canto 1

The conclusion is that to get the assistance and help of a bona fide spiritual master means to receive the direct help of the Lord Himself.
SB 1.19.36, Purport:

The Lord is seated in the heart of all living beings, and thus he knows very well the movements of all individual persons. As soon as the Lord finds that a particular soul is very eager to go back to Godhead, the Lord at once sends His bona fide representative. The sincere devotee is thus assured by the Lord of going back to Godhead. The conclusion is that to get the assistance and help of a bona fide spiritual master means to receive the direct help of the Lord Himself.

SB Canto 4

According to the words mentioned here (gurur hariḥ), consulting a bona fide spiritual master means consulting the Supreme Personality of Godhead personally.
SB 4.29.51, Purport:

The conclusion is that one cannot become a spiritual master unless he is a pure devotee of the Lord. One who is a spiritual master in accordance with the above descriptions of devotional service is to be understood as the Supreme Personality of Godhead personally present. According to the words mentioned here (gurur hariḥ), consulting a bona fide spiritual master means consulting the Supreme Personality of Godhead personally. One should therefore take shelter of such a bona fide spiritual master.

Lectures

Srimad-Bhagavatam Lectures

Therefore a bona fide spiritual master means there is no difference of instruction from the original instructor and down to this point.
Lecture on SB 7.7.29-31 -- San Francisco, March 15, 1967, (incomplete lecture):

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. There are, there are still in this world direct disciplic succession. But you have got..., you must have got some intelligence. Then you can understand.

Nectar of Devotion Lectures

Bona fide spiritual master means who is representing Kṛṣṇa. Who can deny it?
The Nectar of Devotion -- Vrndavana, October 31, 1972:

Therefore, by sastric conclusion, Kṛṣṇa is the original guru. Who can deny it? Kṛṣṇa is jagat-guru. He's guru of everyone, because everyone (is) accepting this authority of Kṛṣṇa. Anyone is accepting the authority of Bhagavad-gītā, he's accepting, imperceptibly, Kṛṣṇa as guru. Therefore, bona fide spiritual master means who is representing Kṛṣṇa. Who can deny it?

So to find out a bona fide spiritual master is not a very difficult job, because if one is representing guru, Kṛṣṇa, then he must speak of Kṛṣṇa, canvass for Kṛṣṇa.

Sri Caitanya-caritamrta Lectures

A bona fide spiritual master means he is following the footprints of the previous ācāryas. Therefore he is bona fide.
Lecture on CC Madhya-lila 22.14-20 -- New York, January 10, 1967:

In this way we are being kicked up by māyā. But if by chance we get the shelter of a good physician... Good physician means a bona fide spiritual master. Then, by his advice, just like a patient is cured by following the instruction of a bona fide physician, similarly, this disease of being kicked up from one body to another, this could be stopped by the instruction of a bona fide sādhu, saintly person, or spiritual master or śāstra, scripture. So the scriptures and the saintly persons and the spiritual master, they are on the same level. Because a sādhu who is a saintly person, he would not place anything which is not sanctioned by the scripture. Similarly, a bona fide spiritual master means he is following the footprints of the previous ācāryas. Therefore he is bona fide. So scripture is the medium through which we have to get our experience and knowledge through the explanation of sādhu, saintly persons and spiritual master.

Festival Lectures

Bona fide spiritual means he must get knowledge. He must get knowledge.
His Divine Grace Srila Sac-cid-ananda Bhaktivinoda Thakura's Appearance Day, Lecture -- London, September 3, 1971:

Indian man: If one has accepted a bona fide spiritual master and he did not receive much knowledge from him, can he change his spiritual master at later...

Prabhupāda: A bona fide spiritual master, where is the necessity of changing?

Indian man: No, he has not got the knowledge from him, but can I change...?

Prabhupāda: No, no. Bona fide spiritual means he must get knowledge. He must get knowledge. He must inquire from the... The student must inquire from the spiritual master. If he remains dumb, then what bona fide spiritual master can do? Ādau gurv-āśrayaṁ sad-dharma-pṛcchat, jijñāsuḥ. He must be jijñāsuḥ. He must be jijñāsuḥ. We get so many letters daily. So many inquiries. The student must be very inquisitive. Otherwise how he shall make progress? If he remains dumb, then what the bona fide spiritual master can do? If you go to a very nice school but if you do not study, if you do not inquire, then what is the use of going to the nice school? You must be also very alert to inquire, to understand, to make progress. Then it will be all right. If you do not utilize the benefit of having a bona fide spiritual master, then that is your fault. You must utilize the opportunity. We are publishing so many books, so many literatures, magazines. Why? Just to enlighten more and more. But if you don't take advantage of this, then how can you make progress? Change of spiritual master requires when the spiritual master is not bona fide. Otherwise there is no necessity of changing.

Purports to Songs

The spiritual master, bona fide spiritual, means he has to receive the power from authority.
Purport to Sri-Sri-Gurv-astakam -- Los Angeles, January 2, 1969:

They are planning to be very comfortable in this material existence, but they are still more being confused and failure. That peace movement, that United Nation movement, everything is failure. Why? These miseries of this material existence cannot be stopped by any material means. One has to take shelter of spiritual means. Just like the blazing fire in the forest has to wait for the cloud in the sky, similarly, one has to wait for the merciful cloud as the spiritual master. That is described. Trāṇāya kāruṇya-ghanāghanatvam, prāptasya kalyāṇa-guṇārṇavasya **. So the spiritual master is not self-made. It is not that if anyone comes before you and bluffs you that "I have attained spiritual perfection, and I have realized something by some method." No. The spiritual master, bona fide spiritual, means he has to receive the power from authority. Otherwise it is useless. No It is not that one can become spiritual master overnight. He has to take the power from his spiritual master. Therefore it is called prāptasya. Prāptasya means one who has obtained, one who has got the merciful blessings of his spiritual master.

Conversations and Morning Walks

1971 Conversations and Morning Walks

Bona fide spiritual master means who carries out the order of higher authorities. Otherwise he is not spiritual master.
Discussion with Indians -- January 18, 1971, Allahabad:

Prabhupāda: ...a bona fide spiritual master. Bona fide spiritual master means who carries out the order of higher authorities. Otherwise he is not spiritual master. Anyone who manufactures his own process of religion, that is rascaldom. dharmāṁ tu sakṣād bhagavat-praṇitam (SB 6.3.19). Just like lawyer, representative of the law, means who carries the order of the supreme executive. He is lawyer. Similarly, a spiritual master means who carries the order of superior authority. We are carrying the order of Caitanya Mahāprabhu or Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa taught this Bhagavad-gītā, and He has said that "Anyone who will preach this confidential message of Bhagavad-gītā, he is very dear to Me."

1974 Conversations and Morning Walks

Bona fide spiritual master means who is in the line of successive spiritual master. The original spiritual master is God.
Room Conversation with Irish Poet, Desmond O'Grady -- May 23, 1974, Rome:

Prabhupāda: No, we have got standard. Who is bona fide spiritual master? Just like... The one line, you have heard only one line, that bona fide spiritual master, "You must approach the bona fide spiritual master." But who is bona fide spiritual master? Then that next question. That is also answered, that bona fide spiritual master means tad-vijñānārtham sa gurum eva abhigacchet, śrotriyaṁ brahma-niṣṭham (MU 1.2.12). This is the qualification of bona fide spiritual master. What is that? Śrotriyam. Śrotriyam means who has heard from the bona fide spiritual master. A bona fide spiritual master is he who has taken the message from bona fide spiritual master. This is the... Just like a medical man is he who has taken the knowledge of medical science from another medical man.

O'Grady: Just like Christ took this knowledge from the Holy Ghost.

Prabhupāda: Yes. And anyone. Yes. Similarly, bona fide spiritual master means who is in the line of successive spiritual master. The original spiritual master is God. So then one who has heard from God and he has explained the same message to his disciple, then the disciple is bona fide spiritual master—if he does not change. That is our process. We take lessons. We hear from Kṛṣṇa who is the perfect, God. And that is explained in the Bhagavad-gita. Evaṁ paramparā-prāptam imaṁ rājarṣayo viduḥ (BG 4.2).

Jamuna Priya +, Laksmipriya +  and Visnu Murti +
November 27, 0008 JL +
November 8, 0012 JL +
BG: 0 +, SB: 2 +, CC: 0 +, OB: 0 +, Lec: 5 +, Conv: 2 +  and Let: 0 +