(Click to enlarge photo of Jagad-Guru Srila Prabhupada)
"The acaryadeva to whom we have assembled tonight to offer our humble homage is not the guru of a sectarian institution or one out of many differing exponents of the truth. On the contrary, he is the jagad-guru, or the guru of all of us, the only difference is that some obey him wholeheartedly, while others do not obey him directly."
(Srila Prabhupada Vyasa-Puja Speech, Bombay, 1935)
"Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura explains that unless one is directly empowered by the causeless mercy of Kṛṣṇa, one cannot become the spiritual master of the entire world (jagad-guru). One cannot become an ācārya simply by mental speculation. The true ācārya presents Kṛṣṇa to everyone by preaching the holy name of the Lord throughout the world. Thus the conditioned souls, purified by chanting the holy name, are liberated from the blazing fire of material existence. In this way, spiritual benefit grows increasingly full, like the waxing moon in the sky. The true ācārya, the spiritual master of the entire world, must be considered an incarnation of Kṛṣṇa's mercy. Indeed, he is personally embracing Kṛṣṇa. He is therefore the spiritual master of all the varṇas (brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya, vaiśya and śūdra) and all the āśramas (brahmacarya, gṛhastha, vānaprastha and sannyāsa). Since he is understood to be the most advanced devotee, he is called paramahaṁsa-ṭhākura. Ṭhākura is a title of honor offered to the paramahaṁsa. Therefore one who acts as an ācārya, directly presenting Lord Kṛṣṇa by spreading His name and fame, is also to be called paramahaṁsa-ṭhākura."
(Caitanya-caritāmṛta Antya 7.12, Purport)
"The guru must be situated on the topmost platform of devotional service. There are three classes of devotees, and the guru must be accepted from the topmost class. The first-class devotee is the spiritual master for all kinds of people. It is said, gurur nṛṇām. The word nṛṇām means 'of all human beings.' The guru is not limited to a particular group. It is stated in the Upadeśāmṛta of Rūpa Gosvāmī that a guru is a gosvāmī, a controller of the senses and the mind. Such a guru can accept disciples from all over the world. Pṛthivīṁ sa śiṣyāt. This is the test of the guru.
In India there are many so-called gurus, and they are limited to a certain district or a province. They do not even travel about India, yet they declare themselves to be jagad-guru, the guru of the whole world. Such cheating gurus should not be accepted. Anyone can see how the bona fide spiritual master accepts disciples from all over the world. The guru is a qualified brāhmaṇa; therefore he knows Brahman and Parabrahman. He thus devotes his life for the service of Parabrahman. The bona fide spiritual master who accepts disciples from all over the world is also worshiped all over the world because of his qualities. Lokānām asau pūjyo yathā hariḥ: the people of the world worship him just as they worship the Supreme Personality of Godhead. All these honors are offered to him because he strictly follows the brahminical principles and teaches these principles to his disciples. Such a person is called an ācārya because he knows the principles of devotional service, he behaves in that way himself, and he teaches his disciples to follow in his footsteps. Thus he is an ācārya or jagad-guru."
(Caitanya-caritāmṛta Madhya 24.330, Purport)
"A person who knows what is spiritual and what is material and who is firmly fixed in the spiritual position can be jagad-guru, the spiritual master of the entire world. One cannot become jagad-guru simply by advertising oneself as jagad-guru without knowing the essential principles for becoming jagad-guru. Even people who never see what a jagad-guru is and never talk with other people become puffed-up sannyāsīs and declare themselves jagad-gurus. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu did not like this. Any person who knows the science of Kṛṣṇa and who is fully qualified in spiritual life can become jagad-guru."
(Caitanya-caritāmṛta Antya 5.85, Purport)
"Actually, Vāsudeva is jagad-guru, as clearly stated here (vāsudevaṁ jagad-gurum). One who teaches the instructions of Vāsudeva, Bhagavad-gītā, is as good as vāsudevaṁ jagad-gurum. But when one who does not teach this instruction—as it is—declares himself jagad-guru, he simply cheats the public. Kṛṣṇa is jagad-guru, and one who teaches the instruction of Kṛṣṇa as it is, on behalf of Kṛṣṇa, may be accepted as jagad-guru. One who manufactures his own theories cannot be accepted; he becomes jagad-guru falsely."
(Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 8.16.20, Purport)
"We are taking information from whom? Kṛṣṇa, jagad-guru, the supreme guru, the original guru. Guru means Kṛṣṇa's representative. A guru cannot be manufactured. Guru means... Kṛṣṇa is jagad-guru, and one who speaks on behalf of Kṛṣṇa or one who speaks as Kṛṣṇa says, he is guru. Caitanya Mahāprabhu says, āmāra ājñāya guru hañā (CC Madhya 7.128): 'You just become guru on My order.' You cannot become guru automatically, without following the order of jagad-guru. The government servant... Who is government servant? Who is strictly following the government order, that is government servant. Anyone can say, 'I am government servant.' No. How you can be? Similarly, guru means who is following the principles given by the jagad-guru. The... He's guru.
So the principle... What is that principle? Sarva-dharmān parityajya mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja (BG 18.66). This is principle. 'You give up all these nonsense activities. Simply surrender.' So one who has surrendered to Kṛṣṇa fully, no other business, he is guru. This is the definition of guru. There is no difficult to understand who is guru. One who follows strictly the principles laid down by jagad-guru, he is guru. So the jagad-guru says... Because we have to learn everything, especially spiritual subject matter, from guru. Tad-vijñānārthaṁ sa gurum eva abhigacchet (MU 1.2.12). This is the injunction of the Vedas."
(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, Mayapur, October 5, 1974)
"You are a big sādhu, very learned sādhu, and if you sit down, 'No, no. I shall not go out of India. As soon as I cross the sea, immediately I'll become fallen,' then who will do this business? Kṛṣṇa wants that te 'pi yānti parāṁ gatim, ye 'pi syuḥ pāpa-yonayaḥ. Then who will deliver these pāpa-yoni? If 'I am a big sannyāsī and big devotee, I do not go outside Vṛndāvana, I do not go outside India. I am jagat-guru...' 'Have you seen jagat?' 'No. I'm self-made jagat-guru.' This is going on. Cheating. This cheating is going on. What is mahātmā they do not know; still, they are posing themselves mahātmā. Mahātmāji aaya roti khan eke liye.' (Mahatma has come to eat roti).
So they are not mahātmā. Mahat, the first qualification is sama-cittāḥ. Everyone must be delivered. Not 'I am... I am undergoing severe austerities. I shall become brahma-līna and my business is finished.' No. Others finished. That is sama-cittāḥ. Others. Just as Prahlāda Mahārāja said, 'I do not wish to go alone to Vaikuṇṭha unless I take all these rascals with me.' That is Vaiṣṇava. Māya sukhāya bharam udvahato vimūḍhān (SB 7.9.43). 'These vimūḍhān who are so much entangled in this material world and trying to adjust things for peace and happiness, unnecessarily they do not know. So I want to take them.' That is Vaiṣṇava. 'Alone I don't want to go.' Just like Nārada Muni. Nārada Muni is traveling all over the universe. He's going to hell, heaven, everywhere, and trying to make disciples who can become Kṛṣṇa's devotee. He does not stay anywhere for more than three minutes, like that. He's traveling always. This is sama-cittāḥ, always going everywhere: 'You become devotee, you become Kṛṣṇa conscious so that your life will be successful.' Preaching, that is wanted. Sama-cittāḥ. As soon as there is some facility, one should approach the fallen souls. People are suffering. Mandāḥ sumanda-matayo manda-bhāgyā (SB 1.1.10). They are so unfortunate, they are suffering in this material world. Give them the information at least that 'Why you are suffering? You take to Kṛṣṇa consciousness and be happy.' That is wanted."
(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, Vrindavan, October 25, 1976)
Prabhupada: Actually, at the present age, nobody is interested in spiritual subject matter. Nobody is interested. So nobody is coming to surrender to you. Therefore you have to canvass, "Please surrender. Please surrender." This is our position. Otherwise, the... Tad-vijñānārthaṁ sa gurum evābhigacchet (MU 1.2.12). One should come to the guru. But nobody comes to the guru, therefore guru has to come to USA to canvass. This is the position. Nobody went to me in India, but I had to come here to canvass you. Because it is Kali-yuga.
Real process is one should go to the guru. But intelligent man goes: "My life is meant for spiritual realization. So I must find out a guru." That is his business. But people are so fallen in this age that nobody's interested in that subject matter, that he has got spiritual value and he has to achieve this knowledge and make his life perfect. Nobody knows it. Therefore Caitanya Mahāprabhu taught preaching. These rascals, they are so fallen, they'll never search out guru. So guru should go and canvass.
Devotee: Therefore you are jagad-guru.
Prabhupada: I may be whatever it is, but that is the business.
Devotee (2): You are so kind that your books are attracting so many. They have the same potency as yourself. Your canvassing is so effective, Srila Prabhupada.
Prabhupada: Caitanya Mahāprabhu taught us... Even Nityānanda Prabhu, Haridāsa Ṭhākura, they were sent: 'Go and preach. Go door to door, teach them Hare Kṛṣṇa.' And Caitanya Mahāprabhu personally did it. So our mission is like that. People are so rascal that they'll never come to guru and surrender. Manda. Mandāḥ sumanda-matayo manda-bhāgyā hy upadrutāḥ (SB 1.1.10). They are so much embarrassed with these material calamities. Upadrutāḥ. Upadrava means disturbances. And manda: by nature very rascal. And sumanda. If there is, if there is little intention, they goes to this, what is called, this boy?
Devotees: Guru Maharaj-ji?
Prabhupada: Guru Maharaja, Dr. Mishra, and this and that, they'll go. They'll not go to the real person. The real person is strict. Suppose somebody comes here, if he comes to me, I shall immediately order, "You have to do this." But these rascals, they do not say that. They, "You pay me, and you become perfect." That is their proposal. So your money is very cheap. They pay and flock together. That is going on. That is called sumanda-mataya, misled. Manda, by nature they are rascals, and if they take some path, that is sumanda-mataya, again rascaldom. Why?
Manda-bhāgyā, unfortunate, disturbed. They cannot find out. Therefore real guru has to canvass. This is the position. Short age, alpāyus; they are not going to live for many years, and most of them are unfortunate rascals, and if they are eager to accept a guru, they accept a false guru, and they are materially disturbed. This is the position of the people of this age. So against so many disturbances and counter-facts, we have to preach.
Devotee (3): Is it, is it also not the mercy of Kṛṣṇa that He has descended to implicate(?) and...
Prabhupada: Yes, therefore guru is called the Kṛṣṇa's mercy-incarnation. Kṛṣṇa's mercy-incarnation is guru. Guru-kṛṣṇa-prasāde pāya bhakti-latā-bīja (CC Madhya 19.151). Kṛṣṇa is so merciful, He's trying to educate from within, and outside He sends His representative to teach. So He's trying to bring all these living entities back to home, back to Godhead. Two ways: from inside and outside. His propaganda is going on. His propaganda is going on.
Devotee (2): You are just like the reservoir of mercy, Śrīla Prabhupada.
Prabhupada: No, mercy reservoir is Kṛṣṇa. But we are servant of Kṛṣṇa. We have to abide by His orders. That's all. Real mercy is Kṛṣṇa's.
(Srila Prabhupada Morning Walk, Los Angeles, December 10, 1973)
Devotee: Guru is there. Why don't they come?
Prabhupada: Yes. Guru is there, but they won't come. They won't come.
Dr. Patel: That jagat guru is, you are, sir.
Prabhupada: It is injunction of the śāstra, tad-vijñānārtham sa gurum evābhigacchet (MU 1.2.12). But who is coming to guru? Guru is canvassing whole world, "Please come to me."
Dr. Patel: (Hindi) (break)
Prabhupada: ...I am in Bombay, but how many Gujaratis are my chela? There is only one Gujarati.
Dr. Patel: One is sufficient. He represents the whole Gujaratis.
Prabhupada: That's all right. (laughter)
Devotee (2): And Prabhupāda had to rescue him from America. (laughter)
Prabhupada: That is the difficulty. I will have to preach, bringing men from America and Europe. Nobody is coming here. Everyone is talking big, big.
(Srila Prabhupada Morning Walk, Bombay, November 8, 1975)
Prabhupada: Nowadays, some of the rascals, they are preaching openly that you haven't got to go to a guru. Huh? Is it not?
Indian man: Krishnamurti is...
Prabhupada: Yes, this rascal was speaking like that.
Devotee: He has thousands of disciples.
Prabhupada: Such kind of..., as he is.
Dr. Patel: Nehi, kṛṣṇaṁ vande jagat-gurum. He is a jagat-guru, if you approach Him also, there is no, I mean physical guru nearby. Kṛṣṇaṁ jagat-gurum, kṛṣṇaṁ vande jagat-gurum.
Dr. Patel: He is jagat-guru...
Prabhupada: ...you have to go to Kṛṣṇa not directly: yasya prasādād bhagavat-prasādaḥ. You have to go through the devotee of Kṛṣṇa.
Dr. Patel: Prasaṅgam ajaraṁ pāśam ātmanaḥ kavayo viduḥ sa eva sādhuṣu kṛto mokṣa-dvāram apāvṛtam (SB 3.25.20).
Prabhupada: That is ādau śraddhā (CC Madhya 23.14-15). If you have got faith in Kṛṣṇa, then next stage is tato sādhu-saṇgaḥ. And who is sādhu? Bhajate mām ananya-bhāk sādhur eva sa mantavyaḥ (BG 9.30). So if you want to see Kṛṣṇa, you have to see first of all His devotee. Mād bhaktyā pūjā bhudhikaḥ. This is also.... "If you worship My devotee, that is better worship than worshiping Me directly." Caitanya Mahāprabhu says, guru-kṛṣṇa-kṛpāya pāya bhakti-latā-bīja (CC Madhya 19.151). He doesn't say by kṛṣṇa-kṛpā; He says guru-krpā first. Guru-kṛṣṇa-kṛpāya pāya bhakti-latā-bīja.
(Srila Prabhupada Morning Walk, Bombay, December 20, 1975)