(Click to enlarge photo of Srila Prabhupada)
Interviewer: Can you briefly tell us what the difference, how your approach is different from the approaches of the other gurus who have come? You seem to have rather a unique place in...
Prabhupāda: First of all, we do not accept anyone as guru if he's not competent to understand Bhagavad-gītā and preach it also. He's not a guru. The guru's definition given in the Bhagavad-gītā, imaṁ vivasvate yogaṁ proktavān aham avyayam (BG 4.1), in the Fourth Chapter you'll find, vivasvān manave prāha manur ikṣvākave 'bravīt.
imaṁ rājarṣayo viduḥ
sa kāleneha mahatā
yogo naṣṭaḥ parantapa
Kṛṣṇa said to Arjuna, "My dear Arjuna, this Bhagavad-gītā philosophy or yoga system, first of all I spoke to the sun-god. And then he spoke to his son, Manu. Then Manu spoke to his son Ikṣvāku." In this way the knowledge comes down from the spiritual master to the disciple or from the father to the son. So unless one comes in this disciplic succession, he cannot become guru. Therefore I do not know all of them. All the swamis and yogis who came here, they do not belong to this paramparā system, so therefore they are not bona fide guru. They are presenting themselves as guru, but they are not guru. Therefore people are misled. People are misled, and this is the first time that we presented India's traditional philosophy and life as it is understood by the paramparā system. Therefore it is being so well received.
(Srila Prabhupada Interview with Trans-India Magazine, July 17, 1976, New York)