Extract from a lecture given by Srila Hridayananda Das Goswami, in Atlanta, 2003:
A bonafide spiritual master doesn’t create a new way of Krishna Consciousness – that is done by the great Acharyas. There is Acharya (with a capital “A”) and acharya (with a small “a”). We all should be acharya, but the great Acharyas are the ones who are guiding the whole direction of Vedic civilization. The Acharya is the one who establishes the way to serve Krishna in a particular age, in a particular circumstance. A bonafide guru is helping the disciples to do what the guru is doing: to follow the Acharya. So everyone is following the great Acharyas and those who are more experienced help those who are less experienced. That’s it, that’s my simple understanding. As I sometimes say, “I just work here.”
All of us, everyone here, helps other devotees, who may be not as experienced as you in certain areas, to understand Krishna Consciousness better. So everyone is acting as a guru. Prabhupada referred about 200 times to the verse: yare dekha, tare kaha ‘krishna’-upadesa (Cc. Madhya 7.128). “Whomever you meet, tell them Krishna’s instruction and by My order become a guru”.
Prabhupada really insisted that every man and woman – even children – should be guru. What kind of guru, shiksha- or diksha or vartmapradarshaka-guru, that just depends upon your situation and the circumstances, but everyone should be a guru. Prabhupada considered that if you don’t become a guru you are being selfish. In other words, being a guru is not a trophy, it is not a status symbol. It is about being willing to sacrifice a little bit of my selfish time when I do what I want to do and help other people. So it is an act of giving. Prabhupada concluded that if you are a good person then you should help other people. And if you do that, you are a guru.
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