Srila Sac-Cid-Ananda Bhaktivinoda Thakur avirbhava tithi [appearance day]
Monday, September4 , 2017 [Mayapura Time, West Bengal, Bharata Bhumi time]
Srila Prabhupafa glorifies Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura
compiled by Padmapani dasa
(The Prabhupada Connection)
THE PRABHUPADA CONNECTION
Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura’s Appearance
His Divine Grace Śrīla Saccidānanda Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura
The pioneer of the program to benedict the entire world with Kṛṣṇa consciousness
So today is very auspicious day, Ṭhākura Bhaktivinoda’s birthday. Here is the picture of Ṭhākura Saccidānanda Bhaktivinoda. He was one of the ācāryas of this disciplic succession from Kṛṣṇa. We have got a succession table from Kṛṣṇa, genealogical table. There are two kinds of genealogical tables: one by the semina—father, his son, his son, like that; that is material genealogical table—and there is one spiritual genealogical table, disciplic succession.
Just like Kṛṣṇa… Kṛṣṇa, the original father, Supreme Personality of Godhead, He spoke the Vedic knowledge to Brahmā, Lord Brahmā. He spoke to Nārada. Nārada spoke to Vyāsa. Vyāsa spoke to Madhvācārya. So, in this disciplic succession, Lord Caitanya, from Lord Caitanya, the six Gosvāmīs, and similarly, coming down, down, Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura, then Gaurakiśora dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja, then my spiritual master, then we are, next generation, my disciples.
So, there is a disciplic succession, and the ācāryas, they’re authorities. Our process of knowledge is very simple: we take it from the authority. We don’t speculate. Speculation will not help us to come to the real knowledge. Just like when we are in difficulty, in legal implication, we go to some authority, lawyer.
When we are diseased we go to a physician, the authority. There is no use, speculation. Suppose I am in difficulty in some legal implication. I simply speculate, “I shall be free in this way and that way.” That will not help. We have to go to the lawyer who knows things, and he gives us instruction that “You do like this; then you’ll be free.”
Similarly, when we are diseased, if I speculate at home that “My disease will be cured in this way and that way,” no. That is useless. You go to an authorized physician, and he will give you a nice prescription, and you’ll be cured. That is the process of knowledge.
But in the modern age people think that “I am free, I am independent, and I can make my own solution.” That is rascaldom. That’s not good. So Arjuna, when he was talking with Kṛṣṇa as friend, but when he saw that there was no solution talking like this, he surrendered to Kṛṣṇa. He said, śiṣyas te ‘ham (BG 2.7). Aham: “Myself, I surrender unto You as Your disciple.” Śiṣyas te ‘haṁ śādhi māṁ prapannam. Prapannam means surrender.
So that is the Vedic injunction, that if you want to know transcendental knowledge or science… “Transcendental” means beyond the scope of your direct perception. So spiritual knowledge is beyond the scope of our sense speculation. Beyond the scope. Just like when a soul, a spiritual spark only, leaves this body, you cannot see. Therefore, atheistic class of men, they speculate, “There may be a soul; there may not be soul.” Or “The bodily function was going like this; now it stopped. The blood corpuscles now cease. It is no more red; it is white; therefore life…” These are speculation. This is not actual knowledge.
Actual knowledge you get from the authority, Kṛṣṇa. He says, tathā dehāntara-prāptir dhīras tatra na muhyati (BG 2.13). Just like the soul is passing through different stages. Dehino ‘smin yathā dehe. Deha, deha means this body. Asmin dehe, in this body, there is dehi. Dehi means who is the owner of this body. That is soul. That is passing through childhood, boyhood, babyhood, youthhood, old age. Everyone, you can perceive that you were a child, you were a baby, you were a boy. Now you are young man or old man. So, you are there.
So, as you are passing through different types of bodies, similarly, when you give up this body you accept another body. What is the difficulty? Tathā dehāntara-prāptir dhīras tatra na muhyati (BG 2.13). There is no question of becoming astonished, how transmigration of the self, soul, takes place. The vivid example is there. Simply you require little intelligence. That intelligence is developed through the instruction of ācārya.
Therefore, Vedic injunction is not to acquire knowledge by speculation. That is useless. Athāpi te deva padāmbuja-dvayaṁ jānāti tattvaṁ prasāda-leśānugṛhīta eva hi, na cānya eko ‘pi ciraṁ vicinvan (SB 10.14.29). Ciraṁ vicinvan. Ciram means for thousands of years you can speculate, you cannot understand what is God. That is not possible. But if you receive knowledge from the devotee, he can deliver you.
Therefore, Vedic injunction is that tad-vijñāna… in order to understand tad-vijñāna… Vijñāna means science. If you want to know the transcendental science, then you must approach a guru, tad-vijñānārtham, in order to… If you are at all interested to understand the spiritual science, tad-vijñānārthaṁ sa gurum eva abhigacchet (MU 1.2.12), you must approach guru. Guru means this disciplic succession, as I have explained.
So Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura is an ideal guru. He was not a sannyāsī; he was gṛhastha, householder, living with family, wife, children. Still, he was guru. So anyone can become guru. Not that a sannyāsī can become guru. A householder also can become guru, provided he knows the science. Caitanya Mahāprabhu, when He was talking with Rāmānanda Rāya…
Caitanya Mahāprabhu was a sannyāsī, very highly born in brāhmaṇa family, very learned scholar. So He was talking with Rāmānanda Rāya, a gṛhastha, governor of Madras. And He was questioning, and Rāmānanda Rāya was answering. That means he was taking the part of guru, and Caitanya Mahāprabhu was taking the part of a disciple.
So, he was hesitating, Rāmānanda Rāya. He thought himself that “I am a gṛhastha; I’m not even a brāhmaṇa. Besides that, I am dealing in material affairs. I am governor, politics. And Caitanya Mahāprabhu is a sannyāsī, born of a high-class brāhmaṇa family. So, it does not look well that I shall teach Him.” So, he was hesitating. Caitanya Mahāprabhu said, “Oh, why you are hesitating?” He said,
kibā vipra, kibā śūdra, nyāsi kene naya
yei kṛṣṇa-tattva-vetta, sei ‘guru’ haya
(CC Madhya 8.128)
He said, “Don’t hesitate. Either one may become a brāhmaṇa or one may become a śūdra…” Kibā vipra, kibā śūdra. Vipra means brāhmaṇa, and śūdra, śūdra is the fourth-grade human being. Brāhmaṇa is the first grade. So kibā vipra, kibā śūdra. He may be a first-grade human being or the lowest grade human being, or he may become a sannyāsī or a gṛhastha. It does not matter. Anyone who knows the science of Kṛṣṇa, he can become a guru. This is the verdict.
Because spiritual science does not belong to the bodily platform. It is on the spiritual platform. It is very nice. Just like when you go to a lawyer or to an engineer or to a physician, you do not inquire whether he’s a brāhmaṇa or śūdra. Simply you have to know whether he’s a lawyer. That’s all. Whether he’s a physician actually. If he knows the medical science, he may be a brāhmaṇa, he may be a śūdra, he may be a sannyāsī, he may be a householder—it doesn’t matter.
Your business is with a physician, with a lawyer. Similarly, your business is to understand Kṛṣṇa. So anyone who knows Kṛṣṇa perfectly, you have to go there. Tad-vijñānārthaṁ sa gurum evābhigacchet (MU 1.2.12). It is… Vedic injunction is not that you have to approach a sannyāsī or a gṛhastha or a Indian or American. No. Gurum. And guru means who knows the science of Kṛṣṇa.
So, this Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura was gṛhastha, very responsible officer, magistrate. And he was so exalted that he would come from his office generally at five o’clock, then take his supper and immediately go to bed. Immediately. Say at seven o’clock in the evening he goes to bed, and he wakes up at twelve o’clock. So suppose he goes to bed at seven o’clock in the evening and wakes up at twelve o’clock at night; it is sufficient sleep, five hours. One should not sleep more than five to six hours. Minimize as far as possible.
The Gosvāmīs used to sleep not more than one and a half hour, or two hours. Sleeping is not very important thing. Even big politicians, they used to sleep for two hours. So especially in spiritual line, they should minimize as far as possible eating, sleeping, mating, defending. Minimize. Gradually it come to nil. Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī, he was eating only a little piece of butter every alternate days, not daily.
So, this Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura, regularly he was coming from his office, and after taking his supper immediately he goes to bed, and wake up at twelve o’clock, and he used to write books. He wrote…, he left behind him about one hundred books.
And he excavated the birthplace of Lord Caitanya, organized how to develop that birth site, Māyāpur. He had so many business. He used to go to preach about Caitanya’s philosophy. He used to sell books to foreign countries. In 1896, he attempted to sell Life and Precepts of Lord Caitanya in the MacGill University in Montreal. So, he was busy, ācārya. One has to adjust things. Not that “Because I am gṛhastha, householder, I cannot become a preacher.
“It is the business of the sannyāsī or brahmacārī.” No. It is the business of everyone. The whole world is suffering for want of knowledge. The present civilization is animal civilization. They do not know anything beyond eating, sleeping, mating and defending. That’s all. This is animal civilization.
Animal does not know beyond these four principles of life: eating, sleeping, mating and defending. That’s all. No. Human life is meant for something else: “What I am? What is God? What is my relation with God? What is this material world? Why I am here? Where I have to go next?” So many things one has to learn. Athāto brahma jijñāsā. This is human life. Not that eat and sleep and have sex life and die someday like cats and dogs.
Therefore, there is need of ācāryas, teachers, for propagating spiritual knowledge, Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura was… Although he was a gṛhastha, householder, a government officer, magistrate, but he was ācārya. So, from his dealings, from his life, we should learn how one can become a preacher in any stage of life. It doesn’t matter what he is.
There was one incidence, very interesting. When he was magistrate in Jagannātha Purī… The system is… Jagannātha temple is a very big establishment. In the temple, fifty-six times daily bhoga is offered. And you’ll find in the temple always at least five hundred to one thousand people gathered. And they come from outside, and prasāda is ready. If you go and ask in the Jagannātha temple that “We are one hundred men come from outside. We want prasāda,” yes, immediately ready. So it is a huge temple.
This is one temple, but there are many other thousands of temple in India where prasāda is distributed. Now it is minimized by our present government. They think that it is unnecessary expenditure. They are minimizing. But not unnecessary expenditure. They do not understand. Formerly, in India there was no necessity of hotel. Anyone goes anywhere, even in a village, he goes to a temple—prasāda is ready.
There is no need of going to a hotel. You pay or don’t pay. If you say that “I want little prasāda,” “Yes, take it.” That is the system still. There is the Nāthadvārā temple in Rajasthan. You pay two annas only. Two annas means one cent. You get sumptuous prasāda for two annas, all very nice prasāda, still. So prasāda distribution in temple is longstanding usage.
So Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura… The Jagannātha temple is managed by a body, and it is the custom that the local magistrate of the district, he becomes the president, or manager. So Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura was manager in that sense, because he was magistrate. The managing committee was being presided by him. So there was a complaint in Orissa. This Jagannātha temple is situated in Orissa. Utkāla. Utkāla, this state, was originally belonging to Dhruva Mahārāja. His son’s name was Utkāla, Mahārāja Utkāla.
Anyway, so this Utkāla, there was a pseudo yogī. He declared himself that… Just like you’ll find nowadays also, there are so many rascals declaring that “I am incarnation of God.” And they know some mystic power, play some jugglery, and foolish people take them: “Oh, he’s God.”
So there appeared one like such pseudo God, Viṣṇu, in a village of Orissa. And he was dancing rāsa dance, and foolish people were sending their daughters and wife to dance with him. You see? There were so many; not only that. People are so foolish, they do not know… They want to be cheated, and these cheaters come. He declared that “I am God. I am Viṣṇu.”
So, there were sane men also. They took objection, “What is this nonsense? This man is dancing with ladies and gentlemen, er, girls.” So, they filed a complaint. At that time, it was British rule. They complained to the governor or the commissioner, very high officer. The commissioner knew that Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura…
His name was Kedāranātha Datta. Datta. Kedāranātha Datta, his household name. So the commissioner of the division, he knew that Kedāranātha Datta is a religious man, and he’s magistrate in charge. So he handed over the case for inquiry, “What is this complaint? You please inquire and do the needful.”
So he was a pure devotee, and he understood that “This rascal is a bogus man, cheating people. I must inquire.” So he went to the village in plain dress with some constables, police constables. They were also in plain dress. And as soon as he approached that rascal yogī, he said, “Oh, you are Kedāranātha Datta. So, very nice. You are… I shall make you king of India. Please don’t try to bother me.” Because he could know that “He has come to inquire about my rāsa-līlā.”
So Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura first of all said, “Sir, you are such a great yogī. Why you are in the village? Why don’t you go to Jagannātha Purī? There is temple, and Lord Jagannātha is there. Better you go there and see the Lord and be happy. Why you are in this village?” “Oh, Jagannātha? Ah, that is made of wood. I am personally the Supreme Lord. That is made of wood.” Oh, then Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura—he was a devotee—he became fire. (laughter) He was insulting. Arcye śilā-dhīr guruṣu nara-matiḥ (Padma Purāṇa, Brahma Khaṇḍa 25.15-18).
According to śāstra, if somebody thinks… Just like here is Deity. If somebody thinks, “Oh, it is made of stone…” It is stone to the eyes of the nondevotee, but it is personally Supreme Personality of Godhead to the devotees. It requires the eyes to see. So, devotee sees in a different angle of vision.
Just like Caitanya Mahāprabhu, when He entered Jagannātha temple, immediately He fainted: “Oh, here is My Lord.” And the nondevotee is seeing, “It is wood, a lump of wood.” Therefore, to the nondevotee, He remains always as wood, but to the devotee He speaks. That is the difference. Premāñjana-cchurita-bhakti-vilocanena (Bs. 5.38).
If God is everything, why wood, through wood and stone, God cannot manifest? If God is everything, according to Māyāvāda philosophy… That’s a fact. God, omnipotent. He can express Himself even through wood and stone. That is God’s omnipotency. That is called omnipotency. Not that God is unable to express Himself through wood and stone. Then how He’s omnipotent? Omnipotent means His potency can be expressed through anything.
Because anything, everything is the expansion of God’s energy. Parasya brahmaṇaḥ śaktis tathedam akhilaṁ jagat (Viṣṇu Purāṇa 1.22.52). The whole world is manifestation of different energies of God. Therefore… Just like through the energy of electricity the electric powerhouse, although far, far away from this place, was expressing: there is electricity. Through this glass, through these wires, the power can be expressed. There is a process.
So Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura became very much… Because a devotee cannot tolerate blaspheming another devotee or God. So as soon as he said that “Why shall I go to Jagannātha Purī to see the wooden Jagannātha? I am personally Viṣṇu,” Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura immediately ordered his constables, “Arrest him. Arrest this rascal.” So he was arrested.
And when he was arrested—he had some yogic mystic power—all the constables, Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura and his family member became affected with high fever, 105 degrees fever. So, when he came back, his wife became very much disturbed that “You arrested Viṣṇu, and we are all going to die. We have got now high fever.” Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura replied, “Yes, let us all die, but this rascal must be punished.” This is the view of pure devotee.
So, he was put into the custody. And there was a date fixed for his trial, and all these days Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura himself and his family especially, they were suffering from high fever. Maybe that yogī was planning to kill all the whole family. But it was going on as fever. So, on the trial day, Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura, Kedāranātha Datta, when he came to the bench the man was presented, the so-called yogī, and he had big, big hairs.
So Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura ordered that “Bring one barber and cut his hair.” So no barber dared. The barbers thought, “Oh, he’s a Lord Viṣṇu. If I offend, as he’s suffering from fever, so I shall also die.” So Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura ordered that “Give me the scissor. I’ll cut.” So he cut his hairs and ordered him to be put into jail for six months, and in the jail that Viṣṇu incarnation managed to took some poison, and he died.
So this is one of the incidents. There are many incidences. He was very strong man. He punished many paṇḍas in the tīrthas who exploit visitors. So this is the position of devotee. In spite of his becoming a responsible magistrate, a householder, still, he was ācārya. So we have to follow the ācāryas.
If we at all…, if we are at all interested in spiritual science, then we must follow the Vedic instruction, tad-vijñānārthaṁ sa gurum evābhigacchet (MU 1.2.12). We must approach. You cannot have spiritual knowledge simply by speculating. Impossible. Simply waste of time. Śrama eva hi kevalam (SB 1.2.8). You must go to the… In the Bhagavad-gītā, therefore, it is recommended ācāryopāsanam. Ācārya-upāsanā. Not only worshiping the Lord, but also the ācārya. Caitanya Mahāprabhu said, guru-kṛṣṇa-kṛpayā pāya bhakti-latā-bīja (CC Madhya 19.151). Guru, ācārya and Kṛṣṇa. One should seek favor of both of them. Not that “I am now seeking favor of Kṛṣṇa.
What is the use of guru or ācārya?” No. You cannot overlap ācārya and go to Kṛṣṇa. That is not possible. Kṛṣṇa will not accept you. Just like if you want to see a big man you should go through his secretary, through his orderly, doorkeeper; similarly, our process is ācāryopāsanam, go through the ācārya. That is the injunction of the Vedas. Tarko ‘pratiṣṭhaḥ.
If you want to enter into the spiritual world, you cannot get through simply by arguments. Because there is no limit of argument. I place my argument in one way; another man, who is better arguer, he places his argument in a different way. So if you simply go on arguing, it is not possible. Tarko ‘pratiṣṭhaḥ. It will never help you, argument.
Śrutayo vibhinnāḥ. If you think that “I shall read scriptures and I shall understand God,” no, that is also not possible. Śrutayo vibhinnāḥ. Scriptures are also different, because scriptures are made according to time, circumstances, people. Just like Bible. Bible, Lord Jesus Christ preached in the desert, Jerusalem.
Or where it is? People who were not so advanced. Therefore, his first instruction is, “Thou shall not kill.” That means they were very much engaged in killing affairs; otherwise, why is this instruction? And actually, it so happened that they killed Jesus Christ. So that society was not very enlightened society.
So, a scripture for a society which is not very enlightened and a scripture for a society which is very enlightened must be different. Just like a dictionary. For the schoolboy, a pocket dictionary, and for a college student, international big dictionary. Both of them are dictionaries, but the small pocket dictionary is not equal to the big dictionary—because it is different made for different classes of men.
So, scriptures are made according to different classes of men. There are three classes of men: first class, second class and third class. The third-class man cannot understand the philosophy and scriptural injunction of the first-class man. That is not possible.
Higher mathematics cannot be understood by the small schoolboys who are simply trying to understand “Two plus two equal to four.” But “Two plus two equal to four” is equally good to the higher mathematics student. But still, higher mathematics and lower math is different. Therefore, it is said, śrutayo vibhinnāḥ: the scriptures are different.
So, if you simply try to understand what is God by reading scriptures, you cannot achieve. You must approach a guru. Just like a medical book: it can be available in the market. If you purchase one medical book and study and you become doctor, that is not possible. You must hear the medical book from a medical man in the college, medical college. Then you will be qualified. And if you say, “Sir, I have read all the medical books. Recognize me as a medical practitioner,” no, that will be not.
So śrutayo vibhinnāḥ. Scriptures are different. Arguments, that is also not helpful. One man may argue better than me. Then philosophy: The philosophy, it is said, nāsau munir yasya mataṁ na bhinnam (CC Madhya 17.186). One philosopher is differing from another philosopher. Just now today Śyāmasundara has purchased one book about different philosophers. So that, you also cannot ascertain what is truth. Therefore śāstra says, dharmasya tattvaṁ nihitaṁ guhāyām. The truth is very confidential. So if you want to know that truth, mahājano yena gataḥ sa panthāḥ (CC Madhya 17.186), you should have to follow the great ācāryas. Then you will understand.
Therefore ācārya-upāsanā is essential. Ācārya-upāsanā is very essential. In all the Vedic śāstras the injunction is that. Tad-vijñānārthaṁ sa gurum evābhigacchet, śrotriyaṁ brahma-niṣṭham (MU 1.2.12). Tasmād gurum prapadyeta jijñāsuḥ śreya uttamam (SB 11.3.21). Anyone who is inquisitive to understand higher truths, he must surrender to guru. Tasmād guruṁ prapadyeta, jijñāsuḥ śreya uttamam. One who is inquisitive, who is now inquiring about transcendental subject matter, tad viddhi praṇipātena paripraśnena sevayā (BG 4.34). So all the śāstras says, in our Vaiṣṇava śāstra also Rūpa Gosvāmī says, ādau gurv-āśrayam: “In the first beginning, you must take shelter of a bona fide guru.”
So, this Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura’s birthday, we should adore, we should worship, because in the modern age he reintroduced the disciplic succession. From Caitanya Mahāprabhu… Five hundred years ago, Caitanya Mahāprabhu taught this philosophy, but within two hundred years… Because this material world is so made that whatever you introduce, in due course of time it will deteriorate.
You make a nice house, but after hundred years, two hundred years, or nowadays, even after fifty years, it becomes dilapidated. That is the nature’s law, kāla. Time will destroy everything. Now, British empire, such a big, vast empire, now it is finished. The kāla, the time, will everything make finished. That is material. Anything material, it has birth, it has growth, it has got some opulence, then dwindling, then finished. That is the way of material…
So, we are interested in spiritual subject matter. Therefore, the process is ādau gurv-āśrayam: one has to accept a bona fide spiritual master. That is our process. Without accepting a bona fide spiritual master, we cannot make any progress. It is impossible. So Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura happens to be ācāryas, one of the ācāryas. And he has left behind him many books: Caitanya-śikṣāmṛta, Jaiva Dharma.
These are very important books. They’re in Bengali, in Sanskrit. And many songs. He has prepared many books of song. The song, Ei nām gāya gauracānd madhura svare, that is Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura’s song. So we are trying to present Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura’s books also in English translation. Gradually you will get it.
So, our adoration, our worship to Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura today, because he may bless us to make peacefully progress in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Ācārya-upāsanā: simply by the blessings of ācāryas we can make very rapid progress. Vedeṣu durlabham adurlabham ātma-bhaktau (Bs. 5.33). If we… Yasya prasādād bhagavat-prasādaḥ….
We sing every day. By the mercy of the spiritual master, ācārya, we immediately get the blessings of Lord. Immediately. Yasya prasādāt. Yasya means “whose”; prasādāt, “benediction.” By the benediction of the spiritual master. Yasya prasādād bhagavat-prasādaḥ. If spiritual master, ācārya, is pleased, then you should know that Kṛṣṇa is also pleased. You should know through.
This is not very difficult. Just like you are working in office. If your immediate officer, boss, is pleased, that means the proprietor of the firm, he’s also pleased, although you do not see him. This is fact. Your immediate boss, if he’s pleased. So similarly, we, our business, this spiritual line, is guru-kṛṣṇa-kṛpā.
We have to first receive the merciful benediction from the ācārya, and then Kṛṣṇa will be pleased and He’ll also give His blessings. Mad-bhakta. There is a version in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, mad-bhakta pūjyābhyadhikā. He says, Kṛṣṇa says, that “If anyone worships Me directly and if anyone worships Me through the ācārya, he’s better devotee who is coming to Me through ācārya.” Mad-bhakta pūjyābhyadhikā.
So our this Vaiṣṇava philosophy, process, is go through the ācārya. Servant of the servant of the servant. We should try to become servant of the servant. Gopī-bhartuḥ pada-kamalayor dāsa-dāsānudāsaḥ (CC Madhya 13.80). Dāsa-dāsānudāsaḥ. We should not approach the Supreme Personality of Godhead directly. That is not good.
That will not be… In the Vedic injunction also it is said, yasya deve parā bhaktir yathā deve tathā gurau (ŚU 6.23): if one has got unflinching faith in the Supreme Personality of Godhead, yathā deve, and similar faith in guru…
Of course, we must make guru bona fide. Then it is disciplic succession. And that is also not very difficult to select, who is bona fide guru. Bona fide guru means he presents himself as servant of God. He does not pose himself falsely that “I am God.” This is bona fide. It is not difficult to find out bona fide. But this is the test.
If anyone says that “I am guru…,” er, “I am God,” then he cannot be guru, because he has no knowledge. How he is God? But he can cheat some people. That is different thing. You can cheat all people for some time and some people for all time, but not all people for all time. That is not possible.
So these kinds of guru, who poses themself that “I am God,” he’s a false guru. The bona fide guru will say that “I am servant of the servant of the servant of Kṛṣṇa,” or God. Servant of. That is the business of guru. He serves Kṛṣṇa as Kṛṣṇa desires; that is his business. That is also not very difficult.
Kṛṣṇa says, Kṛṣṇa desires, sarva-dharmān parityajya mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja (BG 18.66), that “You give up all other engagement; just surrender unto Me, and I’ll give you protection.” Kṛṣṇa says. So guru’s business is that “You simply surrender to Kṛṣṇa.” What is the difficulty? Simply repeat the same thing. Not for himself, but for Kṛṣṇa. He’s bona fide guru.
So our this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is very bona fide because we say the same thing as Kṛṣṇa says. We don’t make any addition, alteration. Not like big scholars, like “It is not to Kṛṣṇa…” Kṛṣṇa says, man-manā bhava mad-bhakto mad-yājī māṁ namaskuru (BG 18.65), and the scholar interprets, “It is not to Kṛṣṇa.” Just see (the) foolishness. Kṛṣṇa directly says, “unto Me.” He says, “Not to Kṛṣṇa.” Misleading. Such misleading guru will not help you.
So therefore, to find out a bona fide guru means that he does not change the words of Kṛṣṇa. That is his position. He places everything as it is, and he has understood thoroughly the science. Jijñāsuḥ śreya uttamam. Guru…, what is the symptom of guru? Tasmād guruṁ prapadyeta jijñāsuḥ śreya uttamam (SB 11.3.21).
Those who are inquisitive to understand higher scientific knowledge, uttamam. Uttama means higher. Uttama, madhyama, adhama. There are three words: first class, second class, third class. So spiritual knowledge is uttamam. Anyone who is inquisitive to understand first-class knowledge, he requires to go to a guru. Those who are interested in third-class knowledge, they do not require any guru.
Third-class knowledge means animal knowledge: how to eat, how to sleep. How to make arrangement for eating, how to make arrangement for sleeping, that is third-class knowledge. Because the animal also try for this kind of knowledge, how to eat, how to sleep. Therefore, this kind of knowledge is third-class knowledge.
And second-class knowledge is “What I am?” Athāto brahma jijñāsā. The Vedānta. That is second-class knowledge. And first-class knowledge, when he actually understands what he is—he is eternal servant of Kṛṣṇa—and engages himself in the service of the Lord, that is first-class knowledge. And therefore, as soon as he comes to the first-class knowledge platform, he becomes happy.
na śocati na kāṅkṣati
samaḥ sarveṣu bhūteṣu
mad-bhaktiṁ labhate parām
So, after being liberated from the material concept of life by the blessings of Kṛṣṇa and guru, one comes to the platform of first-class knowledge, where he engages himself directly in the service of the Lord, that is first-class knowledge. First-class knowledge means beyond liberation. Second-class knowledge is trying for liberation. Third-class knowledge means in bondage, like animal. The animal, they are bound up by the particular type of body and has no, I mean to say, possibility of becoming liberated. That is animal life.
But human life is better than animal life because he, if he likes, he can make himself liberated from this bondage of material body. That is the facility. He can understand himself what he is. He can understand what is God. He can understand the relationship between God and himself. He can understand what is this material world. Because there are thousands of books of knowledge. Take it for Bhagavad-gītā; everything is there. And it is meant for human being, not for the cats and dogs. Cats and dogs cannot understand, but a human being can understand.
So, our this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is to enlighten people to utilize his very nice life, human form of life, utilize it properly. To utilize it properly means to revive his dormant Kṛṣṇa consciousness. The Kṛṣṇa consciousness, or God consciousness, is there already. It is developed in human form of life. But it is now covered because due to our association with this material world for unlimited years background.
We are coming through different species of life. Millions and millions of years passed away. Suppose I was a tree sometimes. I was standing up for ten thousand years in one place. We have passed through. That’s a fact. That is evolution. Now we have got the opportunity of light. If you don’t use this opportune moment and again go back to the cycle of evolutionary process, jalajā nava-lakśaṇi sthāvarā…
So, these are great science. Unfortunately, there is no opportunity for the people to study this science in school, colleges or universities. They are simply teaching people that “You work hard and gratify your senses.” That’s all. Therefore, a section, younger section, they have been disgusted. They have refused to cooperate with this society on account of this disappointing education.
And it will increase. Because this sort of education cannot give peace or prosperity to the people. Problems are increasing. Therefore, our request is that if you want to decrease or completely finish all the problems of life, take to Kṛṣṇa consciousness in the process of disciplic succession and you’ll be all happy.
(Śrīla Prabhupāda Lecture, London, September 23, 1969)