My Guru Mahārāja, my spiritual master, used to say that you have to select a spiritual master not by seeing but by your ear, but by hearing. And you don't select a spiritual master who has got a very good hair or beard or some very beautiful feature, "Oh, he is a very good, nice looking." No. You must hear. Tad viddhi praṇipātena (BG 4.34). Śruti. The whole process is śruti. The Vedas are called śruti. The ear has to aural reception.
So here also the same thing recommended by Lord Kṛṣṇa, that praṇipāta. First of all, you have to find out a bona fide spiritual master, and then you should surrender unto him. This is the first process. Praṇipātena paripraśnena. Paripraśnena means by sincere inquiries. Not only surrender, you must be intelligent enough to inquire. Not that when something is heard, and there is no question. No. There must be some question. Paripraśnena and sevayā. So surrender, inquiry, and sevā, service.
We sing this song every day,
- yasya prasādād bhagavat-prasādo
- yasyāprasādān na gatiḥ kuto 'pi
- dhyāyan stuvaṁs tasya yaśas tri-sandhyaṁ
- vande guroḥ śrī-caraṇāravindam **
Yasya, if we actually find a spiritual master, bona fide spiritual master, and if we can make him satisfied by my service, then my path for realization of God is guaranteed. This is the thing. Here it is. First of all we have to find out a bona fide spiritual master. Then by my service, by my surrender, by my questions, if we utilize, then my path for back to Godhead, back to home, is guaranteed. That is the... It is very important verse. Tad viddhi praṇipātena paripraśnena sevayā, upadekṣyanti te jñānam (BG 4.34). That knowledge by which you can go to the point of your self-interest, Viṣṇu, that knowledge you can realize.