Caitanya Mahāprabhu has recommended that everyone chant the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra just to cleanse the dust from the heart. If the dust of the heart is cleansed away, then one can actually understand the importance of the holy name. For persons who are not inclined to clean the dust from their hearts and who want to keep things as they are, it is not possible to derive the transcendental result of chanting the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra. One should, therefore, be encouraged to develop his service attitude toward the Lord, because this will help him to chant without any offense. And so, under the guidance of a spiritual master, the disciple is trained to render service and at the same time chant the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra. As soon as one develops his spontaneous service attitude, he can immediately understand the transcendental nature of the holy names of the mahā-mantra.
Collaborate with us to invoke and fully manifest Srila Prabhupada's Vani-presence
Guidance of a spiritual master
- 1 Bhagavad-gita As It Is
- 2 Srimad-Bhagavatam
- 3 Sri Caitanya-caritamrta
- 4 Other Books by Srila Prabhupada
- 5 Lectures
- 6 Conversations and Morning Walks
- 7 Correspondence
Bhagavad-gita As It Is
BG Chapters 1 - 6
The resolute purpose of a person in Kṛṣṇa consciousness is based on knowledge. Vāsudevaḥ sarvam iti sa mahātmā su-durlabhaḥ: a person in Kṛṣṇa consciousness is the rare good soul who knows perfectly that Vāsudeva, or Kṛṣṇa, is the root of all manifested causes. As by watering the root of a tree one automatically distributes water to the leaves and branches, so by acting in Kṛṣṇa consciousness one can render the highest service to everyone—namely self, family, society, country, humanity, etc. If Kṛṣṇa is satisfied by one's actions, then everyone will be satisfied.
Service in Kṛṣṇa consciousness is, however, best practiced under the able guidance of a spiritual master who is a bona fide representative of Kṛṣṇa, who knows the nature of the student and who can guide him to act in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. As such, to be well versed in Kṛṣṇa consciousness one has to act firmly and obey the representative of Kṛṣṇa, and one should accept the instruction of the bona fide spiritual master as one's mission in life.
In the beginning one must have a preliminary desire for self-realization. This will bring one to the stage of trying to associate with persons who are spiritually elevated. In the next stage one becomes initiated by an elevated spiritual master, and under his instruction the neophyte devotee begins the process of devotional service. By execution of devotional service under the guidance of the spiritual master, one becomes free from all material attachment, attains steadiness in self-realization, and acquires a taste for hearing about the Absolute Personality of Godhead, Śrī Kṛṣṇa.
BG Chapters 7 - 12
This verse is the summation of the Seventh and Eighth chapters, which particularly deal with Kṛṣṇa consciousness and devotional service. One has to study the Vedas under the guidance of the spiritual master and undergo many austerities and penances while living under his care. A brahmacārī has to live in the home of the spiritual master just like a servant, and he must beg alms from door to door and bring them to the spiritual master. He takes food only under the master's order, and if the master neglects to call the student for food that day, the student fasts. These are some of the Vedic principles for observing brahmacarya.
One who is not able even to practice the regulative principles of bhakti-yoga, under the guidance of a spiritual master, can still be drawn to this perfectional stage by working for the Supreme Lord. How to do this work has already been explained in the fifty-fifth verse of the Eleventh Chapter. One should be sympathetic to the propagation of Kṛṣṇa consciousness. There are many devotees who are engaged in the propagation of Kṛṣṇa consciousness, and they require help. So, even if one cannot directly practice the regulative principles of bhakti-yoga, he can try to help such work.
BG Chapters 13 - 18
Persons of normal mental condition must obey the scriptural injunctions. Those who are not in such a position neglect and disobey the scriptures and manufacture their own way of austerities and penances. One should always remember the ultimate end of the demoniac people, as described in the previous chapter. The Lord forces them to take birth in the wombs of demoniac persons. Consequently they will live by demoniac principles life after life without knowing their relationship with the Supreme Personality of Godhead. If, however, such persons are fortunate enough to be guided by a spiritual master who can direct them to the path of Vedic wisdom, they can get out of this entanglement and ultimately achieve the supreme goal.
SB Canto 2
The topmost transcendentalist is a liberated soul and is therefore not within the purview of the regulative principles. A neophyte, who is intended to be promoted to the spiritual plane, is guided by the spiritual master under regulative principles. He may be compared to a patient who is treated by various restrictions under medical jurisdiction. Generally, liberated souls also take pleasure in describing the transcendental activities.
A devotee should not hanker after anything, but he should be satisfied with things that may automatically come to him by the will of the Lord. That should be the principle of a devotional life. And all these principles are easily learned under the guidance of a spiritual master like Śukadeva Gosvāmī. Mahārāja Parīkṣit inquired from Śukadeva correctly, and one should follow his example.
SB Canto 3
The demigods are entrusted by the Lord to create different species of living entities according to their past deeds. They are herein asking the favor of the Lord for the intelligence and power to carry out their task. Similarly, any conditioned soul may also engage in the service of the Lord under the guidance of an expert spiritual master and thus gradually become freed from the entanglement of material existence. The spiritual master is the manifested representative of the Lord, and anyone who puts himself under the guidance of a spiritual master and acts accordingly is said to be acting in terms of buddhi-yoga, as explained in Bhagavad-gītā (2.41):
- vyavasāyātmikā buddhir
- ekeha kuru-nandana
- bahu-śākhā hy anantāś ca
- buddhayo 'vyavasāyinām
SB Canto 4
Generally, a thoroughly trained person takes to spiritual perfection at the end of his life. According to the Vedic system, therefore, life is divided into four stages. In the beginning, one becomes a brahmacārī, a student who studies Vedic knowledge under the authoritative guidance of a spiritual master. He then becomes a householder and executes household duties according to the Vedic process. Then the householder becomes a vānaprastha, and gradually, when he is mature, he renounces household life and vānaprastha life also and takes to sannyāsa, completely devoting himself to devotional service.
Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura states that one has to ascertain the right path for his activities by following in the footsteps of great saintly persons and books of knowledge under the guidance of a spiritual master (sādhu-śāstra-guru-vākya). A saintly person is one who follows the Vedic injunctions, which are the orders of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The word guru refers to one who gives proper direction under the authority of the Vedic injunctions and according to the examples of the lives of great personalities. The best way to mold one's life is to follow in the footsteps of the authorized personalities like those mentioned herein by Pṛthu Mahārāja, beginning with Svāyambhuva Manu. The safest path in life is to follow such great personalities, especially those mentioned in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. The mahājanas, or great personalities, are Brahmā, Lord Śiva, Nārada Muni, Manu, the Kumāras, Prahlāda Mahārāja, Bali Mahārāja, Yamarāja, Bhīṣma, Janaka, Śukadeva Gosvāmī and Kapila Muni.
It is clear that to perform austerities or penances, or, for that matter, any form of devotional service, one has to be guided by a spiritual master. Here it is clearly stated that the ten sons of Mahārāja Prācīnabarhi were favored by the appearance of Lord Śiva, who, out of great kindness, gave them instructions regarding the execution of austerities. Lord Śiva actually became the spiritual master of the ten sons, and in turn his disciples took his words so seriously that simply by meditating upon his instructions (dhyāyantaḥ) they became perfect. This is the secret of success. After being initiated and receiving the orders of the spiritual master, the disciple should unhesitatingly think about the instructions or orders of the spiritual master and should not allow himself to be disturbed by anything else. This is also the verdict of Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura, who, while explaining a verse of Bhagavad-gītā (vyavasāyātmikā buddhir ekeha kuru-nandana, Bg. 2.41), points out that the order of the spiritual master is the life substance of the disciple. The disciple should not consider whether he is going back home, back to Godhead; his first business should be to execute the order of his spiritual master. Thus a disciple should always meditate on the order of the spiritual master, and that is perfectional meditation. Not only should he meditate upon that order, but he should find out the means by which he can perfectly worship and execute it.
SB Canto 5
Let me offer my respectful obeisances unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Hṛṣīkeśa, the controller of all my senses and the origin of everything. As the supreme master of all bodily, mental and intellectual activities, He is the only enjoyer of their results. The five sense objects and eleven senses, including the mind, are His partial manifestations. He supplies all the necessities of life, which are His energy and thus nondifferent from Him, and He is the cause of everyone's bodily and mental prowess, which is also nondifferent from Him. Indeed, He is the husband and provider of necessities for all living entities. The purpose of all the Vedas is to worship Him. Therefore let us all offer Him our respectful obeisances. May He always be favorable toward us in this life and the next.
In this verse the word māyāmaya is further explained in regard to how the Lord expands His mercy in different ways. parāsya śaktir vividhaiva śrūyate: (Cc. Madhya 13.65, purport) the energies of the Supreme Lord are understood in different ways. In this verse He is described as the original source of everything, even our body, senses, mind, activities, prowess, bodily strength, mental strength and determination for securing the necessities of life. Indeed, the Lord's energies can be perceived in everything. As stated in Bhagavad-gītā (7.8), raso 'ham apsu kaunteya: the taste of water is also Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa is the active principle of everything we need for our maintenance.
This verse offering respectful obeisances unto the Lord was composed by Ramā, the goddess of fortune, and is full of spiritual power. Under the guidance of a spiritual master, everyone should chant this mantra and thus become a complete and perfect devotee of the Lord. One may chant this mantra for complete liberation from material bondage, and after liberation one may continue to chant it while worshiping the Supreme Lord in Vaikuṇṭhaloka.
SB Canto 6
In the transmigration of the soul through different bodies, everyone, in every form of life—be it human, animal, tree or demigod—gets a father and mother. This is not very difficult. The difficulty is to obtain a bona fide spiritual master and Kṛṣṇa. Therefore the duty of a human being is to capture the opportunity to come in touch with Kṛṣṇa's representative, the bona fide spiritual master. Under the guidance of the spiritual master, the spiritual father, one can return home, back to Godhead.
SB Canto 7
Even though situated in a material body, one who is fully aware of the paths known as pitṛ-yāna and deva-yāna, and who thus opens his eyes in terms of Vedic knowledge, is never bewildered in this material world.
Ācāryavān puruṣo veda: one who is guided by the bona fide spiritual master knows everything as stated in the Vedas, which set forth the standard of infallible knowledge. As recommended in Bhagavad-gītā, ācāryopāsanam: one must approach the ācārya for real knowledge. Tad-vijñānārthaṁ sa gurum evābhigacchet: (MU 1.2.12) one must approach the ācārya, for then one will receive perfect knowledge. When guided by the spiritual master, one attains the ultimate goal of life.
"O son of Kuntī, all that you do, all that you eat, all that you offer and give away, as well as all austerities that you may perform, should be done as an offering unto Me." If whatever we do, whatever we eat, whatever we think and whatever we plan is for the advancement of the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement, this is oneness. There is no difference between chanting for Kṛṣṇa consciousness and working for Kṛṣṇa consciousness. On the transcendental platform, they are one. But we must be guided by the spiritual master about this oneness; we should not manufacture our own oneness.
Here the use of the verb "bhavet," which is in the imperative mood, tells us that this certainly must be done. Noncompliance would be abandonment of duty.
This imperative is applicable to pure devotees. Neophytes will be able to understand these affairs only after being elevated by regulated devotional service under the expert guidance of the spiritual master. Then they too will be competent to hear of the love affairs of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa.
"To those who are constantly devoted to serving Me with love, I give the understanding by which they can come to Me." The opportunity to engage in the transcendental loving service of the Lord is open to everyone because every living entity is constitutionally a servant of the Lord. To engage in the service of the Lord is the natural function of the living entity, but because he is covered by the influence of mayā, the material energy, he thinks it to be a very difficult task. But if he places himself under the guidance of a spiritual master and does everything sincerely, immediately the Lord, who is situated within everyone's heart, dictates how to serve Him (dadāmi buddhi-yogaṁ tam). The Lord gives this direction, and thus the devotee's life becomes perfect. Whatever a pure devotee does is done by the dictation of the Supreme Lord. Thus it is confirmed by the author of Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta that whatever he wrote was written under the direction of the Śrī Madana-mohana Deity.
A spiritual master is a qualified brāhmaṇa and ācārya. If one is not a qualified brāhmaṇa, he is not expert in studying the Vedic literatures. Nānā-śāstra-vicāraṇaika-nipuṇau. Every Vaiṣṇava is a spiritual master, and a spiritual master is automatically expert in brahminical behavior. He also understands the Vedic śāstras. Similarly, a disciple's qualifications must be observed by the spiritual master before he is accepted as a disciple. In our Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement, the requirement is that one must be prepared to give up the four pillars of sinful life—illicit sex, meat-eating, intoxication and gambling. In Western countries especially, we first observe whether a potential disciple is prepared to follow the regulative principles. Then he is given the name of a Vaiṣṇava servant and initiated to chant the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra, at least sixteen rounds daily. In this way the disciple renders devotional service under the guidance of the spiritual master or his representative for at least six months to a year. He is then recommended for a second initiation, during which a sacred thread is offered and the disciple is accepted as a bona fide brāhmaṇa. Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura introduced the system of giving the sacred thread to a bona fide Vaiṣṇava, and we are following in his footsteps.
"In the beginning one must have a preliminary desire for self-realization. This will bring one to the stage of trying to associate with persons who are spiritually elevated. In the next stage, one becomes initiated by an elevated spiritual master, and under his instruction the neophyte devotee begins the process of devotional service. By execution of devotional service under the guidance of the spiritual master, one becomes freed from all material attachments, attains steadiness in self-realization and acquires a taste for hearing about the Absolute Personality of Godhead, Śrī Kṛṣṇa." (Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu 1.4.15) If one is actually executing devotional service, then anarthas, the unwanted things associated with material enjoyment, will automatically disappear.
Other Books by Srila Prabhupada
Nectar of Devotion
Although many different processes for developing love of Godhead have been explained so far, Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī now gives us a general description of how one can best achieve such a high position. The beginning of ecstatic love of Godhead is basically faith. There are many societies and associations of pure devotees, and if someone with just a little faith begins to associate with such societies, his advancement to pure devotional service is rapid. The influence of a pure devotee is such that if someone comes to associate with him with a little faith, one gets the chance of hearing about the Lord from authoritative scriptures like Bhagavad-gītā and Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. Thus, by the mercy of the Lord, who is situated in everyone's heart, one gradually develops his faith in the descriptions of such authoritative scriptures. This is the first stage of association with pure devotees. In the second stage, after one becomes a little advanced and mature, he automatically offers to follow the principles of devotional service under the guidance of the pure devotee and accepts him as the spiritual master. In the next stage, under the guidance of the spiritual master, the devotee executes regulative devotional service, and as a result of such activities, he becomes freed from all unwanted occupations. When he is freed from unwanted occupations, his faith becomes steadily fixed, and he develops a transcendental taste for devotional service, then attachment, then ecstasies, and in the last stage there is pure love of Godhead. These are the different stages of the development of pure love.
Narada-bhakti-sutra (sutras 1 to 8 only)
The expert spiritual master engages his followers in work that will gradually develop their consciousness of service to the Lord. Therefore the preliminary stage of understanding prema, love of God, is to approach a proper pure devotee, accept him as one's spiritual master, and execute regulated devotional service under his guidance.
The next stage is called anartha-nivṛtti, in which all the misgivings of material life are vanquished. A person gradually reaches this stage by regularly performing the primary principles of devotional service under the guidance of the spiritual master. There are many bad habits we acquire in the association of material contamination, chief of which are illicit sexual relationships, eating animal food, indulging in intoxication, and gambling. The first thing the expert spiritual master does when he engages his disciple in regulated devotional service is to instruct him to abstain from these four principles of sinful life.
Bhagavad-gita As It Is Lectures
If there is no family attraction, there is no regulated life. We have got very good experience of these things. So family attraction required. It is not that it is rejected. It is required for regulated life. Unregulated life cannot make any progress. Therefore, in the Vedic civilization, the gṛhastha-āśrama is recommended. Everyone should be married and everyone should live. If possible let him live—a brahmacārī. First of all the brahmacārī-āśrama is given there, austerity, under the guidance of the spiritual master. So the idea is not to be entangled. Brahmacārī has no connection with worldly affairs. He's simply interested with the order of the spiritual master. That is called brahmacārī. So one is trained up as a brahmacārī, and he is sufficiently given knowledge, that "Don't be entangled with these material affairs. Don't be entangled. Try to avoid. But if you are still unable, your sex impulse is very strong, all right, then you go and marry." This is the process.
So Kṛṣṇa is not immoral. Kṛṣṇa is not engaging Arjuna to commit such sinful activities, svajanaṁ hatvā. No. Kṛṣṇa is engaging him in His service. So one has to understand that. So when Arjuna will understand that "This war, this fighting is not for my sense gratification, it is for Kṛṣṇa's sense gratification..." Then he agreed, because he is a devotee. Kariṣye vacanaṁ tava: (BG 18.73) "Yes I shall now act." This is the proposition. So ātmendriya-tṛpti-vāñchā dhare tāra nāma kāma. Kāma means lust. What is lust? Lust means whenever you try to satisfy your senses, that is called lust. And the same, whenever you try to satisfy Kṛṣṇa's senses, that is love. Practically the same business, but personal and Kṛṣṇa. So Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement means we have to act everything for Kṛṣṇa under proper direction. We cannot manufacture that "I am doing for Kṛṣṇa." Then that is another misleading. Therefore we require the guidance of the spiritual master. Kṛṣṇa.
The higher caste means they must be twice-born. How is that? One birth is father and mother, real father and mother, and the next birth is spiritual master and the Vedas. That means when one is trained up in the matter of real knowledge—Veda means real knowledge—by the guidance of the spiritual master, he is supposed to be twice-born. So dvija-bandhu. Twice-born means cultural society.
A brahmacārī is trained that "Don't be attached. You will save so much time and save your life." That is brahmacārī life. Because this attachment is the continuation of our material life. We have got different attachment, different varieties of attachment. The central point is sex. Therefore school, college means that to train the students how to become detached. That is the school, college. That is brahmacārī system. A brahmacārī should live under the guidance of the spiritual master as menial servant, and whatever he collects, he would give to the spiritual master. If the spiritual master says, "Now you can eat," then he will eat; otherwise he will starve. He will not take the things of spiritual master by his own hand. First of all... No. This is the austerity of brahmacārī. And no meeting with young girls. Even the wife of the spiritual master is young, the brahmacārī is not allowed to go there. There are so many. These are described in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam: brahmacārī, gṛhastha, vānaprastha, sannyāsa.
You are in the hands of the laws of prakṛti, even in this life. Even in this life. If you can eat one chatta, and if you will eat little more, immediately you will become diseased. Immediately. Nature will punish you, three days' starvation. You have taken more. So this is the law of nature. You cannot violate the... There is salt is required, little in the food. If it is a little more, you cannot take. If it is a little, you cannot take. So stricture, you cannot violate even a slightest degree the laws of nature. But these rascals are thinking that "I am independent." Ahaṅkāra-vimūḍhātmā kartāham iti manyate (BG 3.27). We should take guidance of the spiritual master or the guru or Kṛṣṇa. Guidance of guru means guidance of Kṛṣṇa, because ācāryaṁ māṁ vijānīyān nāvamanyeta karhicit (SB 11.17.27). Ācāryaṁ mām, ācārya is as good as guru, as good as Kṛṣṇa. Caitanya Mahāprabhu says, guru-kṛṣṇa kṛpāya pāya bhakti-latā-bīja (CC Madhya 19.151). Not only Kṛṣṇa's mercy, but guru's mercy, both mercy required. Guru-kṛṣṇa kṛpāya pāya bhakti-latā-bīja.
Sri Caitanya-caritamrta Lectures
So in this life, while we are in the material world, so we have our material body. So this devotional service, Kṛṣṇa consciousness, doing everything in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, this is just like, what is called, apprenticeship to reach that highest stage. The same thing will be there in your liberated stage in the spiritual kingdom. But here, by the order of the śāstra, by the guidance of the spiritual master, you are being trained up as apprentice. This is called abhidheya, abhidheya, practice, practice. But even in practice you will feel that "I am making progress." It is such a thing. '
Brahmacārī, working under the guidance under strict disciplinary guidance, of a spiritual master, he is blessed, mā jīva, "You better die. Because you are so trained to enter into the kingdom of God, so why should you take so much trouble? Better you die and go back to Godhead."
Arrival Addresses and Talks
Very good. So this is the injunction of the śāstra, śrī-vigrahārādhana-nitya-nānā **. They... She should not stand before the Deity. Little back.
Hari-śauri: Ask her to stand to the left of the Deities.
Prabhupāda: Yes. (Bengali) So this is the duty of all disciples under the guidance of the spiritual master, to decorate. Śrī-vigrahārādhana-nitya-nānā-śṛṅgāra **. Śṛṅgāra means decoration. Amongst the various paraphernalia of worshiping the Lord, the śṛṅgāra is very essential, śṛṅgāra and tan-mandira-mārjanādi, and cleansing the temple. The more you cleanse the temple, the more you decorate the Deity, more your heart becomes cleansed and you become spiritually decorated. So cleanliness is next to godliness. And after cleansing, taking bath regularly, keeping the temple very neat and clean and worshiping the Deity, dressing, decorating, ornamenting... These are the general process. So if we follow the process regularly, then we gradually become advanced in spiritual consciousness, material world and spiritual world. Material world means dirty things and spiritual world means clean.
And in the Bhagavad-gītā you will find in another place, cātur-varṇyaṁ mayā sṛṣṭaṁ guṇa-karma-vibhāgaśaḥ (BG 4.13). "These four classes of classification of the society, it is made by Me." That means this classification of society in the human society, that is made by God. What is that classification? The brāhmaṇa, the kṣatriya, the vaiśya, and the śūdra. It is not the name, but it is guṇa-karma. Brāhmaṇa means quality and work. Kṣatriya means quality and work. And vaiśya means quality and work. There is no question of birthright. It is a false proposition that a brāhmaṇa's son becomes brāhmaṇa. No, not necessarily. If he properly becomes initiated under the guidance of a spiritual master, then he is brāhmaṇa. Otherwise, if he has acquired the qualities of a śūdra, then he should be considered as a śūdra. These are the śāstric injunctions. And this classification is all over the world. Don't think that it is Indian or Vedic system. No. In every country, in every place, in every planet, these four divisions are there.
Śyāmasundara: So when someone has integrity, you can see that they are one-minded.
Prabhupāda: Yes. Just like we are. Our concern is Kṛṣṇa. At ārati, we stand before Kṛṣṇa. The integrity is that Kṛṣṇa is the shelter. We are all serving, chanting Kṛṣṇa, ārati, someone is chanting, someone is dancing. The center is Kṛṣṇa. Similarly, when you go to preach, when you write books, when you go to the play, the center is Kṛṣṇa. Then all our activities are on the platform of liberation.
Śyāmasundara: The idea is there also in this philosophy, that all of us know what is the real position, but that either due to weakness or a poor fund of knowledge or defiance...
Prabhupāda: Therefore we require guidance of the spiritual master so that we may not fall down.
Śyāmasundara: Prabhupāda, if I'm engaged in devotional service...
Prabhupāda: Yes. Devotional service under the guidance of the spiritual master, that is devotional service. Not that you manufacture yourself.
Śyāmasundara: So that stage of acting under the guidance of the spiritual master, that would be pure actuality. There would be no...
Prabhupāda: Oh, yes. That is beyond this; transcendental to the three guṇas. Sa guṇān samatītyaitān brahma-bhūyāya kalpate (BG 14.26). That is actuality. Brahma-tattva, that is actuality. So anyone who is engaged in devotional service, he is above, transcendental to the three modes of material nature. Sa guṇān samatītyaitān (BG 14.26). All these material qualities, samatīta, atīta, he surpasses, and brahma-bhūyāya kalpate, he is situated in actuality.
Conversations and Morning Walks
1972 Conversations and Morning Walks
Prabhupāda: (reading:) "...Kṛṣṇa can be described, not (indistinct) Him, his mind becomes totally associated with Him. His Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda in his discourse at the (indistinct) Sunday, said there was no rigid rules and regulations for chanting the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra, nor does it require formal education. While uttering the name of Sri Kṛṣṇa one should focus the mind on the image and form of the Lord, His auspicious activities, His delightful sport, and His role as Gītā-ācārya. Lord Caitanya, during His visit to a temple in South India, found a man scanning the pages of the Bhagavad-gītā without seeming to read the verses, and inquiring, the same found that the person was illiterate and yet he was turning the pages of the Gītā at the request of his master because as he did so, he had a vision of Sri Kṛṣṇa expounding spiritual knowledge to Arjuna on the Kurukṣetra battlefield. Thereupon Caitanya embraced him in all admiration for his devotion, sincere faith, and guidance of the spiritual master as necessary for God realization."
1974 Conversations and Morning Walks
Pṛthu Putra: When he is talking about practice, he's talking about special practice, the zazen practice. And his concept in zazen, his concept of Buddha, is this disciplic succession, that to practice under the guidance of the spiritual master of this disciplic succession of zazen from Buddha. That is his practice.
Prabhupāda: No, if he says that "There is no aim; you go on practicing," so aim is there, he says, that to become desireless. (French)
Pṛthu Putra: He says zazen is in himself the satori, is the practice. We don't practice to get the satori, but the satori is going automatically with the practice.
Prabhupāda: No, no, the aim of practice is to become desireless. Is it not? (French)
Pṛthu Putra: He says the goal of the practice is to become without goal.
Prabhupāda: Oh, it is nonsense. (chuckles) What is this nonsense? Goal is without goal. Then what is this? These are vague terms.
1976 Conversations and Morning Walks
Prabhupāda: But suppose one is illiterate, how he'll read? How he'll read if one is illiterate? That means he has no chance? Because he's illiterate? Chanting is sufficient.
Devotee (3): Śrīla Prabhupāda? Is it possible for people in the most animalistic conditions of life such as the Eskimos, who need meat to survive—is it possible for these people to become purified?
Prabhupāda: Oh, yes. Kirāta-hūṇāndhra-pulinda-pulkaśā ābhīra-śumbhā yavanāḥ khasādayaḥ, śudhyanti (SB 2.4.18). By the guidance of the spiritual master.
Devotee (4): You've already proved that, Śrīla Prabhupāda.
Prabhupāda: Hare Kṛṣṇa. (laughter)
Devotee (4): We're worse than Eskimos.
Encouragement to the dead souls in the western countries is to inform them that God is not dead. He is not only alive but also we can go and live with Him face to face. The Bhagavad-gita gives us this specific information and one who goes there in the Kingdom of God would never come back to this miserable material world. There is no need of artificial talents. One has to serve Krishna sincerely with whatsoever talent one may have. Guidance of the Spiritual Master and sincere service to the Lord will give us all strength in the science of Krishna.
I am very glad that you have decided to become a Grhastha member of our Society. That is the way of civilized and upright human life. After practicing brahmacarya and training under the guidance of a Spiritual Master the Vedic system is prescribing the asrama of Grhastha for those who are still desiring to enter into married family life. The so-called institution of free love marriage is ruining the human society and it is our duty therefore to reestablish the correct procedure of human life in the matter of encouraging our disciples who wish to marry to enter into a contract of spiritual wedlock. Such contract is made on the basis of compatible service of the Lord because such mutual cooperation in serving the advancement of Krsna Consciousness minimizes the illusion of material compatibility and incompatibility. We are seeing practically that our householder couples are setting an example for all persons that the perfection of happy family life is not based on sense-gratification, but on sincere service to the Lord.
So far taking sannyasa is concerned, you are already more than Sannyasi because your life is dedicated to Krsna. Sannyas does not mean change of dress. That is stated in the fifth chapter of Bhagavad-gita: anyone who works for Krsna is a sannyasi and a yogi. Arjuna was an householder, but at the same time more than a sannyasi because he fought for Krsna. Our principle should be only to do something and everything for Krsna under the guidance of the Spiritual Master. Yes, for begetting children sex life is religion. That is stated by Krsna. But sex should not be for any other purpose. After all we are in the material existence which is a bad bargain, so we have to make the best of a bad bargain. Perfection, in our philosophy, is to act with unflinching faith in Krsna and Spiritual Master and that will save us from all opposing situations.