(Click to enlarge photo of Srila Prabhupada)
"The whole material world is blazing fire. Saṁsāra dāvānala-līḍha-loka-trāṇāya kāruṇya-ghanāghanatvam (Gurv-aṣṭaka 1). Now, this dāvānala... Just like in the forest, you cannot send your fire brigade. That is not possible. Neither you can go there to help the animals for extinguishing the fire by bucketful of waters. That is also not possible. Helpless. Similarly, this saṁsāra dāvānala, you cannot extinguish it. So how it will be extinguished? Saṁsāra dāvānala-līḍha-loka-trāṇāya kāruṇya-ghanāghanatvam. You have to beg for the mercy of Kṛṣṇa; then this blazing fire can be extinguished. Not by your arrangement. That is not possible. Trāṇāya kāruṇya-ghanāghanatvam. That cloud is mercy cloud, not this ordinary cloud. Because dāvānala, the example, personal experience that on the hill of Nainital, some thousand feet high, how this fire will be extinguished? The extinguished it will be when there is cloud on the sky and there is rainfall. Otherwise it is not possible. Similarly, the mercy cloud, kāruṇya, kāruṇa ghanāghanatvam... So just like ordinary cloud is made possible by evaporating water from the sea, similarly, Kṛṣṇa has the sea of mercy, kāruṇayamaya, kāruṇa-sāgara. Kṛṣṇa's another name is Kāruṇa-sāgara. So as the air evaporate or the heat evaporate from the sea and the cloud is formed in the sky, similarly, one who has connection or the power to evaporate the mercy sea of Kṛṣṇa, he can extinguish the saṁsāra dāvānala. And that is guru. Guru is the cloud, or he is the agent of drawing water from the ocean of mercy of Kṛṣṇa and turn it into a mercy cloud and pour water on the saṁsāra dāvānala, and then it is extinguished. Saṁsāra dāvānala-līḍha-loka-trāṇāya kāruṇya-ghanāghanatvam, prāptasya kalyāṇa (Gurv-aṣṭaka 1).
Therefore guru must be authorized person, not that bhūmi-phala-guru. No. 'I am guru,' no. You cannot become guru unless you are agent to draw out the mercy water from the ocean of mercy of Kṛṣṇa. That is guru. So therefore, a guru is not an ordinary person. He is the representative, bona fide representative of Kṛṣṇa. Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura has sung, kṛṣṇa se tomāra, kṛṣṇa dite pāra: 'Vaiṣṇava Ṭhākura, Kṛṣṇa is your property. If you like, you can give.' Vedeṣu durlabhaṁ adurlabhaṁ ātma-bhaktau (Bs. 5.33). You cannot get Kṛṣṇa by studying Vedas. That is not possible. There is Kṛṣṇa in the Vedas, but you cannot pick up. It is not possible. But if you go to the Kṛṣṇa's favorite person... Kintu prabhor yaḥ priya eva tasya. Kṛṣṇa's very dear servant, confidential servant, is guru. Nobody can become guru unless he is in confidence of Kṛṣṇa. Na ca tasmān manuṣyeṣu kaścid me priya-kṛttamaḥ (BG 18.69). These things are there. Not that by magic one can become guru. No. He must be... Saṁsāra dāvānala-līḍha-loka-trāṇāya kāruṇya-ghanāghanatvam, prāptasya kalyāṇa. Everything is there in the śāstra. We have to see whether a person is actually bona fide agent of Kṛṣṇa. Then we accept him as guru. Otherwise, useless waste of time."
(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, Vrindavan, November 30, 1976)