Unauthorized Gurus and Spiritual Advancement

By editor - 20.6 2022

nama om visnu padaya krsna presthaya bhutale
srimate bhaktivedanta swamin iti namine

namaste sarasvate deve gauravani pracarine
nirvisesa sunyavadi pascatya desa tarine

” I offer my respectful obeisances unto His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, who is very dear to Lord Krsna, having taken shelter at His lotus feet.”

“Our respectful obeisances are unto you, 0 spiritual master, servant of Sarasvati Goswami. You are kindly preaching the message of Lord Caitanya-deva and delivering the Western countries, which are filled with impersonalism and voidism.”

Unauthorized Gurus and Spiritual AdvancementBy the Prabhupada Anugas
September 18, 2017
Srila Prabhupada: Well, first of all, thing is if the spiritual master is not bona fide, how his mantra can be bona fide? Srila Prabhupada lecture, Surat, Gujarat, India, December 23, 1970

There are two basic issues which must be discussed and analyzed.

1) Anyone benefiting from the chanting of Hari nama. and

2) Making advancement under an unauthorized guru.

Srila Prabhupāda: A wild boar. So, when the boar attacked him the Musselmans, when they do not like they say, “Haram. Haram.” Condemn means haram. So, when the boar attacked him he said haram. “Haram!” But it acted, ha rāma, and he got salvation. Do you follow what I say? A Mussulman said, ‘ha ram. Ha ram He condemned. It is abominable. That is the meaning of Urdu, haram. But at the time of death, when the boar attacked him, he said, “Haram.” So, it acted ha rāma. Ha, he rāma. It acted, chanting the name of Rāma, Hare Rāma. He meant something else, but it acted as beneficial as chanting He rāma. So therefore, this Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra, either you chant seriously, or those who are criticizing us, jokingly, the effect will be same. So anyway, let them chant Hare Kṛṣṇa. Do you follow? Even they do not take it seriously, if they imitate, joke, still they’ll be benefited.    [06. Audio Transcripts, 1966—1977, In Chronological Order / 1971 / August / Room Conversation — August 15, 1971, London / 710815RC.LON]

Does this quote actually show how it relates to point Number 2, making advancement under an unauthorizedguru?

Rāmeśvara: ‘Cause sometimes when we interview these people who are chanting, they speak from their own realization, and it is not exactly the version of Śukadeva Gosvāmī, it is not…, but it is their own realization, whatever little bit they have realized.

Srila Prabhupāda: No, no. They may chant, but they must understand that the chanting process, that will be more effective. That they must know. Chanting is open. Anyone can chant, but they must know it, that “If I chant in the proper process, then it will be effective.”

…Rāmeśvara: Just like this Alice Coltrane. She has done her small part. She made this record album with Govinda Jaya Jaya and Hare Kṛṣṇa.

Srila Prabhupāda: That is… That will be a good thing. But when he (she) does it properly it will be more effective, because there is… If one does not chant in the process, then gradually it degrades. The offense will increase. There is chance.  Feb 25 19787 Mayapur

   One must receive all kinds of mantras from a bona fide spiritual master; otherwise the mantras will not be fruitful. This is also indicated in Bhagavad-gita (4.34):

tad viddhi pranipatena

pariprasnena sevaya

upadeksyanti te jnanam

jnaninas tattva-darsinah

   “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.” All mantras should be received through the authorized guru, and the disciple must satisfy the guru in all respects, after surrendering at his lotus feet. In the Padma Purana it is also said, sampradaya-vihina ye mantras te nisphala matah. There are four sampradayas, or disciplic successions, namely the Brahma-sampradaya, the Rudra-sampradaya, the Sri sampradaya and the Kumara-sampradaya. If one wants to advance in spiritual power, one must receive his mantras from one of these bona fide sampradayas; otherwise he will never successfully advance in spiritual life. SB 6.8.42 P         The Narayana-kavaca Shield

Note: So, if one has an unauthorized bogus guru, how is (they) he (are) chanting “in the process”?

EA 29-4 Fourth octet The essential purport neglected

Those disciples who were irresolute in performing devotional service according to your instructions have now divided your mission in many factions. It appears that the tigress of ambition for material names and fame has appeared and personally provoked this upheaval.

Note: But if you have an anti-ritvik so-called guru, and without any knowledge of the śāstra, then your life will be spoiled

Srila Prabhupada; We have Daily we understand what is guru. Guru-mukha-padma-vākya, citette kariyā aikya, āra nā kariya mane āśā **. This is that. This is wanted. If you have got real guru and if you follow him, then your life is successful. There is no doubt. April 13 1976 Bombay lecture

The Hari-bhakti-vilāsa (2.6) quotes the following injunction from the Viṣṇu-yāmala:

adīkṣitasya vāmoru

kṛtaṁ sarvaṁ nirarthakam

paśu-yonim avāpnoti

dīkṣā-virahito janaḥ

“Unless one is initiated by a bona fide spiritual master, all his devotional activities are useless. A person who is not properly initiated can descend again into the animal species.” Madhya 15.108 purport

Note:  We know these people in iskcon are not authorized as spiritual masters so all activities under their so-called authority, are according to this mantra–” useless”. And worse still they can descend into the animal species. This is a very important verse.

Sisyas te ‘ham sadhi mam prapannam: “Now, Krsna, I accept You as my guru. Not as friend.” Because friendly talking is useless waste of time. He accepted Him as guru. When guru speaks, you cannot argue. That is not the process. You should accept a guru who is infallible. Otherwise it is useless. He accepted guru Krsna because Krsna is infallible. If we accept guru, a bogus guru, then it is no benefit. Guru means Krsna’s representative. Not that everyone can be guru. Srila Prabhupada lecture, Vrindavana, Uttara Pradesh, India, October 3, 1976

Srila Prabhupada; This is religion. Adau gurvasrayam. If you do not get a qualified guru, then everything is bogus. If you, by good fortune, if you get the association of a guru, qualified hamsa, paramahamsa…  Paramahamsa guru means sannyasi’s last stage is paramahamsa. Kuticaka, bahudaka, parivrajakacarya, and paramahamsa, these are the different stages. …The Gosvamis practiced this madhupuri in Vrndavana. They lived, but they would take little only from the house. This is called bahudaka. Then when he has practiced more, he travels all over the world, parivrajakacarya.  And when he is fully experienced, then, in spiritual life and everything, then he is paramahamsa. So, one must find out a guru who is paramahamsa. Neither kuticaka, nor bahudaka, nor parivrajakacarya. Paramahamsa. …. Then our strong desire to enjoy this material world in different way, that will be slackened. That is wanted. Thank you very much. Srila Prabhupada lecture, Vrindavana, Uttara Pradesh, India, November 1, 1976

Devotee (3): In regard to worshiping arca-vigraha form, you have explained that if one receives a mantra from a spiritual master who is not bona fide, that mantra has no effect. So, I would like to ask if one is worshiping a Deity and his spiritual master is not bona fide, so that Deity cannot be considered the Supreme Lord?

Srila Prabhupada: Well, first of all, thing is if the spiritual master is not bona fide, how his mantra can be bona fide? Your statement is contradictory. If you say the spiritual master is not bona fide, then how his mantra becomes bona fide? If he is bona fide, then his mantra is bona fide.

Devotee (3): Then why is he giving instruction to worship the Deity? If the spiritual master is not bona fide, then is the Deity also not bona fide?

Srila Prabhupada: I do not follow. What does he say?

Tamala Krsna: His idea is that if one receives a mantra from a spiritual master, if the spiritual master is not bona fide…

Srila Prabhupada: Then there is no question of mantra. There is no question of worshiping Deity. These are all bogus things. If you are not…

Srila Prabhupada lecture, Surat, Gujarat, India, December 13, 1970

“If you become disobedient to guru, then your business is finished.” (Lecture 10/8/74)

“If one is disobeying the spiritual master, he cannot remain in the pure status of life. He cannot be a siksa-guru or anything else. He is finished, immediately.” 

A siksa-guru who instructs against the instructions of spiritual, he is not a siksa-guru. He is a demon. Siksa guru does not mean he is speaking something against the teachings of the diksa-guru. He is not a siksa-guru. He is rascal.” “Because that is offense. Guror avajna. First offense is guror avajna, defying the authority of guru. This is the first offense. So, one who is offensive, how he can make advance in chanting? He cannot make. Then everything is finished in the beginning.”   Srila Prabhupada lecture, April 7, 1974 

“The pseudo-spiritual master flatters the so-called disciple, and thereby both the master and his ward go to hell without a doubt.” Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.19.37

1) Another point is—–if one is claiming that he is making progress and advancement in the process of devotional service under an unauthorized self-appointed [bogus] guru. Why give up that so-called progress? Where is the logic?  How can you give-up on a Guru if you factually make progress in devotional service with? 

2) How can one make progress if he disobeys the spiritual master? this is the third offence in chanting the holy name.

The GBC should all be the instructor gurus. I am the initiator, and you should be the instructor guru by teaching what I am teaching and doing what I am doing. This is not a title, but you must actually come to this platform. This I want. Srila Prabhupada letter, August 4, 1975

“I am the spiritual master of this institution, and all the members of the society, they’re supposed to be my disciples. They follow the rules and regulations which I ask them to follow, and they are initiated by me spiritually.” Srila Prabhupada Radio Interview, December 3, 1968

“Guru-mukha-padma-vakya, cittete koriya aikya, ara na koriho mane asa. Don’t think of any nonsense. Simply execute what your guru has said. That is success.” Srila Prabhupada Room conversation, January 28, 1977


brahmano vai gurur nrnam

sarvesam eva lokanam

asau pujyo yatha harih


maha-kula-prasuto ‘pi

sarva-yajnesu diksittah

sahasra-sakhadhyayi ca

na guruh syad avaisnavah

   ((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. ….When one has attained the topmost position of Maha-Bhagavata, he is to be accepted as a guru and worshiped exactly like Hari, the Personality of Godhead. Only such a person is eligible to occupy the post of a guru.)) Sri Caitanya-Caritamrta Madhya-Lila 24.330

The seriously inquisitive student or sage, well equipped with knowledge and detachment, realizes that Absolute Truth by rendering devotional service in terms of what he has heard from the Vedānta-śruti.


…Devotional service, which is based on the foreground of full knowledge combined with detachment from material association and which is fixed by the aural reception of the Vedānta-śruti, is the only perfect method by which the seriously inquisitive student can realize the Absolute Truth. Devotional service is not, therefore, meant for the less intelligent class of transcendentalist. There are three classes of devotees, namely first, second, and third class. The third-class devotees, or the neophytes, who have no knowledge and are not detached from material association, but who are simply attracted by the preliminary process of worshiping the Deity in the temple, are called material devotees. Material devotees are more attached to material benefit than transcendental profit. Therefore, one has to make definite progress from the position of material devotional service to the second-class devotional position. In the second-class position, the devotee can see four principles in the devotional line, namely the Personality of Godhead, His devotees, the ignorant and the envious. One has to raise himself at least to the stage of a second-class devotee and thus become eligible to know the Absolute Truth.

A third-class devotee, therefore, has to receive the instructions of devotional service from the authoritative sources of Bhāgavata. The number one Bhāgavata is the established personality of devotee, and the other Bhāgavatam is the message of Godhead. The third-class devotee therefore has to go to the personality of devotee in order to learn the instructions of devotional service. Such a personality of devotee is not a professional man who earns his livelihood by the business of Bhāgavatam. Such a devotee must be a representative of Śukadeva Gosvāmī, like Sūta Gosvāmī, and must preach the cult of devotional service for the all-around benefit of all people. A neophyte devotee has very little taste for hearing from the authorities.

A sincere devotee must, therefore, be prepared to hear the Vedic literature like the Upaniṣads, Vedānta and other literatures left by the previous authorities or Gosvāmīs, for the benefit of his progress. Without hearing such literatures, one cannot make actual progress. And without hearing and following the instructions, the show of devotional service becomes worthless and therefore a sort of disturbance in the path of devotional service. Unless, therefore, devotional service is established on the principles of śruti, smṛti, purāṇa or pañcarātra authorities, the make-show of devotional service should at once be rejected. An unauthorized devotee should never be recognized as a pure devotee. By assimilation of such messages from the Vedic literatures, one can see the all-pervading localized aspect of the Personality of Godhead within his own self constantly. This is called samādhi.   Srimad Bhagavatam 1.2.12:

Just like Caitanya Mahāprabhu said, āmāra ājñāya guru hañā [Cc. Madhya 7.128], “You become a spiritual master under My order.” So if you carry out the order of Caitanya Mahāprabhu, Kṛṣṇa, then you become guru.Āmāra ājñāya guru hañā. Unfortunately, we do not wish to carry out order of the ācāryas. We manufacture our own ways. We have got practical experience how a great institution was lost by whimsical ways. Without carrying out the order of the spiritual master, they manufactured something and the whole thing was lost. Therefore Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura stresses very much on the words of the spiritual master. Vyavasāyātmikā buddhir ekeha kuru–nandana [Bg. 2.41]. If you stick to the order of spiritual master, then, without caring for your own convenience or inconvenience, then you become perfect.

yasya deve parā bhaktir
yathā deve tathā gurau
tasyaite kathitā hy arthāḥ
prakāśante mahātmanaḥ
[ŚU 6.23]

This is the confirmation of all authorities. We have to carry out very faithfully the order of the bona fide representative of Kṛṣṇa. Then our life is successful. Then we can understand Kṛṣṇa in truth. Vadanti tat tattva-vidas tattvam [SB 1.2.11]. We have to hear from the tattva–vit, not from the so-called scholars and politicians. No. One who knows the truth, you have to hear from him. And if you stick to that principle, then you understand everything very clearly. Srila Prabhupada Srimad-Bhagavatam lecture, SB 1.2.11, Vrindavana, Uttara Pradesh, India, October 22, 1972

Srila Prabhupada: “…You have learned something about Kṛṣṇa consciousness, now you rightly distribute them, then you will increase your group. But if you want to manufacture something of your own concoction, that will not act. That will not… That will be gramophone. No. Thank you very much. (end) Srila Prabhupada Srimad-Bhagavatam class, SB 1.5.28, Los Angeles, California, USA, December 6, 1973

Srila Prabhupāda: So, this is the process. That is the… You sing every day. Guru-mukha-padma-vākya, cittete koriyā aikya **. That is the process. Wherever you live, if you follow strictly the instruction of guru, then you remain perfect. But if we create, concoct ideas against the instruction of guru, then we are doomed, hell. Yasya prasādād bhagavat-prasādo yasyāprasādān na gatiḥ kuto ‘pi **. There is no more shelter, finished. Yasya prasādāt. If guru thinks that “This person, I wanted to take him back to home, back to Godhead. Now he is going against me. He is not following,” aprasādāt, he is displeased, then everything is finished.

Bali Mardana: Vaiṣṇavāparādha.

Srila Prabhupāda: Yes.

Devotee (1): Śrīla Prabhupāda, where does someone derive his authority…

Srila Prabhupāda: The guru is authority.

Devotee (1): No, I know, but for his actions other than just following the four regulative principles and chanting sixteen rounds. He does so many other things during the day. Where does he derive his authority if he’s not, let’s say, living in the temple?

Srila Prabhupāda: I do not follow. The authority is guru. You have accepted.

Bali Mardana: For everything.

Jayatīrtha: Say I have some outside job, I’m living outside, but I’m not giving 50% of my income. So then that work that I’m doing, is it actually under the authority of the guru?

Srila Prabhupāda: Then you are not following the instruction of guru. That is plain fact.

Jayatīrtha: So that means that whole activity during the day, working, that means I am not following the instruction of the guru. It’s unauthorized activity.

Srila Prabhupāda: Yes. If you don’t follow the instruction of guru, then you are fallen down immediately. That is the way. Otherwise why you sing, yasya prasādād bhagavat-prasādo **. It is my duty to satisfy guru. Otherwise I am nowhere. So if you prefer to be nowhere, then you disobey as you like. But if you want to be steady in your position, then you have to follow strictly the instruction of guru.

Devotee (1): We can understand all of your instructions simply by reading your books.

Srila Prabhupāda: Yes. Anyway, follow the instruction. That is required. Follow the instruction. Wherever you remain, it doesn’t matter. You are secure. Follow the instruction. Then you are secure anywhere. It doesn’t matter. Just like I told you that I saw my Guru Mahārāja not more than ten days in my life, but I followed his instruction. I was a gṛhastha, I never lived with the Maṭha, in the temple. It is practical. So many Godbrothers recommended that “He should be in charge in this Bombay temple, this, that, that…” Guru Mahārāja said, “Yes, better he lives outside. That is good, and he will do what is needed in due course of time.”

Devotees: Jaya! Haribol!

Srila Prabhupāda: He said like that. I could not understand at that time what does he expect. Of course, I knew that he wanted me to preach.

Yaśodānandana: I think you have done this in grand style.

Devotees: Jaya, Prabhupāda! Haribol!

Srila Prabhupāda: Yes, done grand style because I strictly follow the instruction of my Guru Mahārāja, that’s all. Otherwise I have no strength. I have not played any magic. Did I? Any gold manufacturing? (laughter) Still, I have got better disciples than the gold-manufacturing guru.

Yaśodānandana: Before you came, many gurus came, but they did not make any pure devotee of Kṛṣṇa.

Srila Prabhupāda: How they can? He is not pure devotee of Kṛṣṇa. How he can do? Kṛṣṇa-śakti vinā nāhe nāma pracāra: “Without being empowered by Kṛṣṇa nobody can turn a person to become devotee of Kṛṣṇa.” It is not… Artificially, you cannot make. He may make show of gold manufacturing, but he cannot make a devotee of Kṛṣṇa. That is not possible.

Jayatīrtha: So, the purpose of having the Society is to show the devotees how they can always be twenty-four hours engaged according to your instruction.

Srila Prabhupāda: Yes, that is helping one another. If I am deficient, by seeing your example I shall correct myself. This is the idea, not that a fool’s paradise: all fools and join together. Not like that. There should be ideal life, at least the leaders, the president, the GBC. They will show the example, and they will follow. Then it is beneficial. And all of them are fools? Then it is fool’s paradise. At least, in the blind association, at least if one-man has got eyes, then he can lead all the blind men. But if all of them are blind, then it is fool’s paradise. So somehow or other, we have got now a position. People likes us. So we should not spoil by personal sense gratification. That is my request. If we can maintain this institution rigidly according to the order, then many people will be benefited. By seeing our behavior, by character, they will become. Apani ācāri prabhu jīveri śikṣāya. The leader should be ideal.

Devotee (1): We should dedicate our lives to preaching this message of Lord Caitanya.

Srila Prabhupāda: Yes, preaching, preaching, you will become perfect preacher. Preach only what you have heard from Kṛṣṇa and guru, that’s all. Don’t add and subtract. Then you are secure. And if you add some concoction just like somebody says that “I may do whatever I like independently. If I chant, then everything is all right,” this is nonsense addition. It is not the fact. That is the danger. Some inexperienced man, he introduces some concoction. Sometimes they say, “Prabhupāda said it.” More misleading. Yes. (end) 

Morning Walk — February 3, 1975, Hawaii

Note: If one does a comparative analysis, the bogus Anti Ritvik gurus and their followers are -certain- to go to hell, whereas, if an ordinary person who chants Hare Krishna -even- if he be a Musselman (Muslim) has a far superior chance of salvation as these quotes prove:  

Srila Prabhupāda: A wild boar. So, when the boar attacked him the Musselmans, when they do not like they say, “Haram. Haram.” Condemn means haram. So, when the boar attacked him he said haram. “Haram!” But it acted, ha rāma, and he got salvation. Do you follow what I say? A Mussulman said, ‘ha ram. Ha ram He condemned. It is abominable. That is the meaning of Urdu, haram. But at the time of death, when the boar attacked him, he said, “Haram.” So, it acted ha rāma. Ha, he rāma. It acted, chanting the name of Rāma, Hare Rāma. He meant something else, but it acted as beneficial as chanting He rāma. So therefore, this Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra, either you chant seriously, or those who are criticizing us, jokingly, the effect will be same. So anyway, let them chant Hare Kṛṣṇa. Do you follow? Even they do not take it seriously, if they imitate, joke, still they’ll be benefited. [06. Audio Transcripts, 1966—1977, In Chronological Order / 1971 / August / Room Conversation — August 15, 1971, London / 710815RC.LON]

Note: Bogus Anti Ritvik guru’s mantra has no potency because they are unauthorized:  

namera aksara-sabera ei ta’ svabhava
vyavahta haile na chade apana-prabhava


namera–of the holy name; aksara–letters; sabera–of all; ei–this; ta’–certainly; sva-bhava–the characteristic; vyavahita haile–even when improperly uttered; na–do not; chade–give up; apana-prabhava–their own spiritual influence.


“The letters of the holy name have so much spiritual potency that they act even when uttered improperly.


Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura states that the word vyavahita (“improperly uttered”)  is not used here to refer to the mundane vibration of the letters of alphabet. Such negligent utterance for the sense gratification of materialistic person is not a vibration of transcendental sound. Utterance of the holy name while one engages in sense gratification is an impediment on the path toward achieving ecstatic love for Krsna. On the other hand, if one who is eager for devotional service utters the holy name even partially or improperly, the holy name, who is identical with the Supreme Personality of Godhead, exhibits its spiritual potency because of that person’s offenseless utterance. Thus, one is relieved from all unwanted practices, and one gradually awakens his dormant love for Krsna.  Sri Caitanya-Caritamrta Antya-Lila 3.59 The Glories of Srila Haridasa Thakura

One has to receive the transcendental sound from the right source, accept it as a reality and prosecute the direction without hesitation. The secret of success is to receive the sound from the right source of a bona fide spiritual master. Mundane manufactured sound has no potency and as such seemingly transcendental sound received from an unauthorized person also has no potency. One should be qualified enough to discern such transcendental potency, and either by discriminating or by fortunate chance if one is able to receive the transcendental sound from the bona fide spiritual master, his path of liberation is guaranteed. The disciple, however, must be ready to execute the order of the bona fide spiritual master as Lord Brahma executed the instruction of his spiritual master, the Lord Himself. Following the order of the bona fide spiritual master is the only duty of the disciple, and this completely faithful execution of the order of the bona fide spiritual master is the secret of success. SB 2.9.8 P Answers by Citing the Lord’s Version

Final Conclusion: Anti Ritvik bogus gurus that gave poison to Srila Prabhupada are severe offenders to the holy name and those who are followers of such sub-humans are making a definite advancement ———-to hell as per

“Similarly, those who mislead people go to hell, and their followers go with them.”” SB 6.7.14 

harer nāma harer nāma
harer nāmaiva kevalam
kalau nāsty eva nāsty eva
nāsty eva gatir anyathā

In this age of Kali there is no other means, no other means, no other means for self-realization than chanting the holy name, chanting the holy name, chanting the holy name of Lord Hari.