We are interested in spiritual subject matter. Therefore the process is adau gurv-asrayam. 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

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"we are interested in spiritual subject matter. Therefore the process is adau gurv-asrayam. 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"

Lectures

Festival Lectures

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.
His Divine Grace Srila Sac-cid-ananda Bhaktivinoda Thakura's Appearance Day, Lecture -- London, September 3, 1971:

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 members 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 yogi was planning to kill 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 yogi, 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 take 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 injunctions 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. 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 one 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 make everything 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 the 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 to 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 (CC Madhya 13.80). 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 animals 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.