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What is the Process of Accepting a Spiritual Master?

Here, Srila Prabhupada is giving a class on Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 1.16.36, January 30th 1974, in Tokyo, Japan.


Srila Prabhupada

So Satya-yuga means the age of truthfulness. Satya means truthfulness. And Kali-yuga means the age of disagreement. The age of disagreement. So at the present moment we are in the Kali-yuga. Everyone disagrees with the other. Even the so-called disciple also disagrees with the spiritual master. This is the influence of Kali-yuga. One becomes disciple of a spiritual master, then he whimsically disagrees. So why, if you disagree, why should you accept somebody as spiritual master? That is not very good. That is the way of not being successful. We are chanting every day that yasya prasādād bhagavat-prasādaḥ **. By satisfying the spiritual master, one can satisfy the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Yasya prasādāt, "by the satisfaction of the spiritual master." Saṁsāra-dāvānala-līḍha-loka-trāṇāya kāruṇya-ghanāghanatvam. One of the symptom is this, that spiritual master is so bona fide. Before accepting somebody as spiritual master you must know about his bona fides. That time is allowed. It is said in the śāstras that if you like to accept somebody as spiritual master, you should associate with him at least for one year, see how things are going on. If you follow, of course, others, that is also good. But personally it is advised that you just remain with the proposed spiritual master for at least one year, so that the spiritual master is also given chance to study you, whether you are acceptable. This is the process.

Later on, Srila Prabhupada explains "there may be some reason" "one leaves a spiritual master".

Kāryākāryam. If the spiritual master does not know what is actually to be done, what is actually not to be done, and he acts against the rules and regulation of the śāstra, then such spiritual master may be given up. But so long you do not find the spiritual master is doing against the principles of śāstra or guru, then if you give up the company of spiritual master, that is not good for you. That is your downfall. First of all, you must take sufficient time to study the movements of a spiritual master. Spiritual master is one—the spiritual master. Because there may be many spiritual master, but if their business is one—to satisfy Kṛṣṇa—although they're many, they're one. Although they're many, they are still one. The principle is one: to satisfy Kṛṣṇa. Such is the position of spiritual master, that yasya prasādād bhagavat-prasādaḥ: ** if you try to please your spiritual master, then God, Kṛṣṇa, becomes pleased. That is natural.

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