How can I accept a guru without ascertaining his eligibility?
A Girl devotee (Name hidden) asked like this:
Hare Krishna prabhuji. I need your help. One year back , coincidentally I came across one iskcon video about gajendra moksha and that one class of one Prabhu, changed my whole life. I started chanting, following regulative principles and all. There is no iskcon temple in my place, so what ever I learn I learn through videos. This one year, I have drastically changed following disciplined life and I have fixed my mind to dedicate my life to Krishna and accept guru. Can’t imagine life without this.
One day I came across some videos and even some comments badly against ISKCON. I am getting scared about accepting guru , how can we know who is real in such a big society of iskcon, everyone seems like giving good luctures, look simple, quoting shastras, but we can’t know what’s their real identity as we can’t read their thoughts. And I can’t just waste my human life without surrendering to a real guru. I am really sorry, if my question is wrong , I am also committing aparad thinking bad about vaishnavas. Prabhuji, if you feel it’s a valid question , please help me to calm my mind.
Actually, in any successful organization, where there are thousands of servants, such negative opinions will always exist.
See, everyone has different views about a single person or product.
I use Mysore Sandal Soap manufactured by the Govt of Karnataka, because I like that divine aroma of ORIGINAL sandalwood Oil (not the oils with similar aroma) and whooping 80% TFM (Total Fatty matter that nourishes the skin). They sell such a wonderful soap in India for just Rs.35-37. It is the pride of India that a Top Quality Sandal Soap is manufactured by a state government.
But, do you know there are still many people who do not like that aroma of original sandalwood? There are many people who use only the soaps advertised by any actress or cricket player. They do not think of what is inside and how alkaline it is, how oily it is, what is their pH level, etc. Many popular soaps have the TFM of only 60+ that may dry your skin.
Thus, even the best products have different opinions from the people.
There are people who blame even the policies of Gandhiji who was openly trying throughout his life to reform himself.
Another good example: I am not intended in speaking politics, but, I just give this as an example to understand the mindset of the big group of people:
If you take the recent Indian Lok sabha elections, the south India, except Karnataka voted totally against Mr.Modi. Whereas, all the other parts of India gave him a thumping victory.
Same Prime Minister was warmly supported in 80% of Indian states and was rejected in 20% of states.
Simple. The views are created by the media. The created views may either be true or not.
South Indian media flashed the views of those politicians who were highlighting only the negatives of Mr.Modi administration. In Other parts, the people forgave some flaws in his administration and supported for his good intentions and schemes.
So, how do the people decide about a prime minister? Seeing his intentions and the way of functioning.
Thus, we should see only the intentions in every project/ service.
Just compare this with spiritual sathsanghas.
I do not totally deny that there are flaws in many of the spiritual organizations. There are so many bogus gurus, bogus spiritual organizations that are coming in news now and then.
No bogus guy can survive with good image in this ‘media dominated world’ now a days. They will be exposed in a few months or years.
One can’t keep on committing a serious crime in the name of God for long period.
When a group or forum selects 100 persons, 2 or 3 may violate the rules.
This is natural in any form like political parties, NGOs, even within families, etc.
In every political party, there are a few persons who switch their loyalty to another political party if his existing political party loses in elections or if he is not given a seat to contest. Because of these defections, no political party stops functioning.
Take a small village. Out of 1000 persons living there, atleast 10 persons may go against the system or become anti social.
In a company where 100 employees work, 90% of employees may be very sincere in their duties, but, 10% will be unproductive.
Similarly, As far as ISKCON is concerned, there may be some issues or politics in some centers in administration. A few gurus might have fallen in the past during the initial stage of the development of sathsangha. As a balanced thinker, I do not deny them. But, as a matured thinker, I see these things as a stage of evolution and experience for the future generation.
When Srila Prabhupada left, ISKCON was still a child, and all the admins were young people with less experience. So, there were some issues here and there. Some violations were also there that they themselves agreed and later corrected.
During the growth phase, such issues are natural. If you run a set up, you too will feel that.
The people are prone to commit offenses as said by the scriptures. ISKCON is not managed by Krishna but the people. So, some people may err.
A devotee should be wise to filter only good from a group and make use of it. Take what you need for your spiritual advancement and reject unwanted things. For example, We need a group of devotees to get association, good learning opportunity, good kirtans, good opportunities to follow guru-disciple succession, etc. They are trying their best to give the same. take them and do not go into administrative issues that is not our requirement.
For example, we need a guru to increase our dedication in devotion. We can get many siksha gurus to teach us about Krishna. But, all of them will not dare to become diksha gurus because, giving diksha means taking the responsibility for the elevation of that disciple. And, the guru is expected to purify his disciples by bearing the heat of their karma. Unless they do this purification, the disciples will face many hurdles through their past sanskars. So, a diksha guru gives his disciples suspension from the karma until they are following the disciplinary rules.
Because of this karma factor, the guru faces pains. So, we can’t blame the guru as if he is accepting hundreds of disciples. He is taking the responsibility of purifying them.
While purifying others, he gets affected. To insulate from this karma barrier, he has to follow the devotional rules meant for the gurus seriously.
Here, as mentioned by you, though a guru happens to be not up to the standard, the disciples are protected because that guru can still purify him by accepting his karma.
So, a disciple is always protected.
So, just go with the system. If you find a guru good, accept him and follow the devotional rules recommended for the disciples.
Do not care some issues existing here and there. Your purpose is to get a proper system to follow devotion.
Though you accept a guru, unless you do not chant and follow regulative principles and develop material detachment, you can’t go back to Krishna.
So, accepting a guru is the formal as well as first stage. It is not the last stage. And, just because of accepting a guru, you can’t go back to Krishna because further processes are also very important.
You can’t get out of this material world if you have some trace of attachments with anyone or anything here.
So, going back to Krishna is conditional. Not like getting a ticket and going from Mumbai to Delhi with train.
When we travel in a plane, we get detached from the soil and fly on air.
Similarly, if you like to travel in the plane of Vishnu to Vaikunta/ Goloka, you will be expected to detach not only from this soil, but from the whole material nature.
So, do not waste time in analyzing deeply about the formal system of diksha. Just take it and proceed seriously with devotional practices. Your devotional practices are very important after taking a guru.
Hope this has cleared your mind.