Spiritual master is he who has to instruct the disciple in such a way that he may not be misled, and that is not possible because he will simply speak from authoritative sources

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"He has to instruct the disciple in such a way that he may not be misled, and that is not possible because a spiritual master is he who will simply speak from authoritative sources"

Lectures

Bhagavad-gita As It Is Lectures

One has to select a spiritual master whom he can completely surrender. That is the technique. Veda-vākya. Just like in the Vedic injunction, nobody can deny. Similarly, spiritual master is also representative of Veda. Ācāryavān puruṣo veda. So similarly, it is just like Vedic injunction. So spiritual master has also got the great duty. He has to instruct the disciple in such a way that he may not be misled, and that is not possible because a spiritual master is he who will simply speak from authoritative sources. He'll speak from Bhagavad-gītā, Bhāgavata, or what was spoken by Nārada, Vyāsa, that is his authority.
Lecture on BG 2.1-10 and Talk -- Los Angeles, November 25, 1968:

Prabhupāda: As a miser does not properly use his asset. Suppose you have got one million dollars, you keep it only, you do not use it properly or you spoil it. Then you are called miser. But if you utilize it properly and gain out of it, then you are intelligent. Similarly, Garga Upaniṣad says, he makes distinction, two classes. One class of men he says kṛpaṇa. Kṛpaṇa means miser. And another class of men he says brāhmaṇa, brāhmaṇas. So he classifies, etad viditvāsmāt ya praiti sa brāhmaṇaḥ. This self-realization process... We shall die. It is sure. Every one of us, we'll die. But we should not die like cats and dogs. That is the difference. We may die. We must die. Nobody can escape death, but before death we must know what is self and self-realization. They are brāhmaṇas. Those who are trying to understand what he is, what is his relation with God and how he should live, they are called brāhmaṇas. And those who are living like cats and dogs, simply eating, sleeping, mating and dying, so they are dying like cats and dogs. So death is inevitable. That is also advised by Prahlāda Mahārāja in his instruction to his class fellows. Kaumāra ācaret prājño dharmān bhāgavatān iha (SB 7.6.1). "My dear friends, from this beginning of life... We are now five years old. From this life we should try to understand bhāgavata-dharma." Bhāgavata-dharma means to understand our relationship with the Supreme Lord. That is called bhāgavata-dharma. Mānuṣam adhruvam. Tad apy adhruvam. Although the life is temporary, but it is very suitable for self-realization. So therefore one should begin this process from childhood. Just like modern education system, if children are given some playthings, engineering... I've seen in your country especially. He's given railway line and so many things. He can understand how railway system is working, or engineering, so that from the very beginning of his life he's getting idea and he may catch up some line of activities. Similarly this Kṛṣṇa conscious education also should be given from the very beginning of life. That is the mistake of the modern civilization. Everyone is becoming engineering, technologist, or medical man or so many. But the real problem of life is to understand the self. But there is no educational system throughout the whole world what is the self, what is his need, how it is constituted, how it is working, so many things. In Boston, there was a Massachusetts Technological...

Devotee: Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Prabhupāda: You know that? Yes. So I explained there that "Here is a nice technological institute, but where is your, this technological department, to understand?" So the students very much appreciated it. Factually, this is the defect. We know... This will be the beginning of Bhagavad-gītā, that there is something which minus, this body is useless. But nobody is trying to understand what is that something. There is no technological institute to understand what is that something. Is it not defective? And still, they are very much proud of advancement of education. The real thing is missing. You have got all departments for comforts of this body, for maintaining this body, but the thing which minus this body, the body is useless, what about that thing? That is Bhagavad-gītā. That is Bhagavad-gītā. Bhagavad-gītā is teaching that technology. You should try to understand this Bhagavad-gītā is not technology for the external body. Bhagavad-gītā is the technology of the dehī which is within the body, which is moving the body, which is keeping the body fit. This body is fit very nice, very beautiful, very attractive. How long? So long the spirit soul is there. As soon as the spirit soul is off, immediately it begins to decompose. There may be a nice, beautiful young girl, everyone is hankering after her, but as soon as the spirit soul is gone, nobody will like to accept it. Immediately it becomes useless. (laughs) Huh? So nobody is very serious what is that thing? That is Bhagavad-gītā. Yes.

Śrīmatī: Is that what age is then, as the spirit soul is leaving the body, do you become older?

Prabhupāda: No, spirit soul is not old. The body is changing, that is the process. That will be explained,

dehino 'smin yathā dehe
kaumāraṁ yauvanaṁ jarā
tathā dehāntara-prāptir
dhīras tatra na muhyati
(BG 2.13)

Spirit soul is evergreen. The body is changing. That is to be understood. Body is changing. That everyone can understand. Just like in your childhood your body was different. Just like this child, a different body. And when that child will be young girl, that will be a different body. But the spirit soul is there in this body and that body. So this is the proof that spirit soul does not change, the body changed. This is the proof. I am thinking of my childhood. That means I am the same "I" which I was existing in my childhood, and I remember in my childhood I was doing this, I did that. But that childhood body is no longer. That is gone. Therefore it is conclusion that my body has changed, but I am the same. Is it not? This is simple truth. So this body will change, still I shall remain. I may enter into another body, that doesn't matter, but I shall remain. Tathā dehāntara-prāptir dhīras tatra na muhyati (BG 2.13). As I am changing my body even in the present circumstances, similarly, the ultimate change does not mean I am dead. I enter into another... That also explained, vāsāṁsi jīrṇāni yathā (BG 2.22), that I change. Just like when I was not sannyāsī, I was dressing like any gentleman. Now I have changed my dress. That does not mean that I have died. No. I have changed my body, that's all. I have changed my dress. Go on. Not now. Yes. Kṛpaṇas, yes, you were reading there.

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: "The kṛpaṇas, or miserly persons, waste their time in being overly affectionate for family, society, country, etc., in the material conception of life. One is often attached to family life, to wife and children and other members on the basis of 'skin disease.' The kṛpaṇas think that they are able to protect their family members from death, or the kṛpaṇa thinks that his family or society can save him from death. Such family attachment can be found even in the lower animals, who also take care of children. Being intelligent, Arjuna could understand that his affection for family members and his wish to protect them from death were the causes of his perplexities. Although he could understand that his duty to fight was awaiting him, still on account of miserly weakness he could not discharge the duty. He is therefore asking Lord Kṛṣṇa, the supreme spiritual master, to make a definite solution. He offers himself to Kṛṣṇa as a disciple. He wants to stop friendly talks. Talks between a master and disciple are serious, and now Arjuna wants to talk very seriously before the recognized spiritual master. Kṛṣṇa is therefore the original..."

Prabhupāda: Here is a technique. The same Kṛṣṇa and same Arjuna, they are talking as friends. Then what was the necessity of Arjuna accepting Kṛṣṇa as spiritual master? The same Arjuna and same Kṛṣṇa, they'll talk, but what is the necessity of accepting as spiritual master? That means after accepting spiritual master he'll not argue. He'll simply accept whatever He says. That is the technique. Friendly talks, equal level, He, Kṛṣṇa was talking something and he was replying. So that argument has no end. But when he accepts Him as spiritual master, there is no more argument. One has to accept whatever He says. Therefore he's accepting as spiritual master. After this, Arjuna will never say, "This is wrong, this is, no," or "I don't agree." No. He'll accept. So acceptance of spiritual master means to accept anything, whatever he says. Therefore one has to select a spiritual master whom he can completely surrender. That is the technique. Veda-vākya. Just like in the Vedic injunction, nobody can deny. Similarly, spiritual master is also representative of Veda. Ācāryavān puruṣo veda. So similarly, it is just like Vedic injunction. So spiritual master has also got the great duty. He has to instruct the disciple in such a way that he may not be misled, and that is not possible because a spiritual master is he who will simply speak from authoritative sources. He'll speak from Bhagavad-gītā, Bhāgavata, or what was spoken by Nārada, Vyāsa, that is his authority. He does not say, "In my opinion it is..." No. Therefore it is perfect, it is coming from the disciplic succession, and if one agrees to such instruction, then he's also perfectly advancing. It is not difficult to understand. So he's accepting. "Now I accept You as my spiritual master. You teach me." Is that the statement? Yes. What is that?