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I am a Christian and have studied Indian spirituality for some time now. I have come across many Radha Soami gurus – who is the correct guru?
I cannot comment or say about other Guru’s as I dont know them personally but what I can say is that a real Guru is one who teaches someone how to know and love God. In my experience Srila Prabhupada has shown this very perfectly. Also, a real Guru is he who comes in the disciplic succession from Lord Krishna himself. In Bhagavad-gita Sri Krishna says:
imam rajarsayo viduh
sa kaleneha mahata
yogo nastah parantapa
“This supreme science was thus received through the chain of disciplic succession, and the saintly kings understood it in that way. But in course of time the succession was broken, and therefore the science as it is appears to be lost.” (Bg. 4.2).
Also, In Bhagavad-gita Sri Krishna Himself tells us the method of seeking out and approaching the guru:
tad viddhi pranipatena
upadeksyanti te jnanam
“Just try to learn the truth by approaching a spiritual master. Inquire from him submissively and render service unto him. The self-realized soul can impart knowledge unto you because he has seen the truth.” (Bg. 4.34) The first process is that of surrender. We have to find an exalted person and willingly surrender before him. The sastras enjoin that before we take a guru we study him carefully to find out whether we can surrender to him. We should not accept a guru suddenly out of fanaticism. That is very dangerous. The guru should also study the person who wants to become a disciple to see if he is fit. That is the way a relationship is established between the guru and disciple. Everything is provided, but we must take up the process seriously. Then we can be trained to become a bona fide disciple. First we must find a bona fide guru, establish our relationship with him and act accordingly. Then our life will be successful, for the guru can enlighten the sincere disciple who is in darkness.
The guru’s business is to see that no human being suffers in this material world. No one can claim that he is not suffering. That is not possible. In this material world, there are three kinds of suffering: adhyatmika, adhibhautika and adhidaivika. These are miseries arising from the material body and mind, from other living entities and from the forces of nature. We may suffer mental anguish, or we may suffer from other living entities—from ants or mosquitoes or flies—or we may suffer due to some superior power. There may be no rain or there may be flood. There may be excessive heat or excessive cold. So many types of suffering are imposed by nature. Thus there are three types of miseries within the material world, and everyone is suffering from one, two or three of them. No one can say that he is completely free from suffering.
We may then ask why the living entity is suffering. The answer is: out of ignorance. He does not think, “I am committing mistakes and am leading a sinful life; that is why I am suffering.” Therefore the guru’s first business is to rescue his disciple from this ignorance. We send our children to school to save them from suffering. If our children do not receive an education, we fear that they will suffer in the future. The guru sees that suffering is due to ignorance, which is compared to darkness. How can one in darkness be saved? By light. The guru takes the torchlight of knowledge and presents it before the living entity enveloped in darkness. That knowledge relieves him from the sufferings of the darkness of ignorance.
Please read Bhagavad Gita As It Is and Srimad Bhagavatam by Srila Prabhupada then everything will become clear to you.
Paramesvara Caitanya das
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