}

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How to Find a Guru
By Bhakta Peter
Hare Krishna 
Hare Krishna 
Krishna Krishna 
Hare Hare 
Hare Rama 
Hare Rama 
Rama Rama 
Hare Hare

The other day I was approached by a disciple of Srila Narayana Maharaja in the street. The meeting was brief, as I had my wife and child waiting in the car, but I told him I was in ISKCON, and he futilely attempted to proselytize. I didn't really know what to say, as I had never given this issue much thought before, so I accepted a cake and book and gave him a pleasant "Hari bol, goodbye."

The meeting made me think, and I have come to some realizations. The Narayana Maharaja disciples seem to place a lot of emphasis on diksa (initiation) at the expense of siksa (instruction). Now I am not saying that Nayarana Maharaja is wrong by any means. His siksa just differs (even if slightly) from Srila Prabhupada's. Whether he is a pure devotee or not is totally irrelevant. I lived in Vrndavan for over a year and saw so many great souls from many different sampradayas who I'm sure were pure devotees. So why not take initiation from them? Well there are two reasons.

The first reason is just because I am a loyal fellow and it was Srila Prabhupada's disciples and the devotees of ISKCON who brought me to Krishna Consciousness, and for that I am eternally in debt and at their service.

"But all ISKCON Guru's are fallen." It wouldn't matter if ISKCON were full of demons. I would still be a part of it. ISKCON is non-different from Srila Prabhupada, and if it needs changes here and there, then be a part of it in a positive way instead of running off. Didn't Krishna tell Arjuna on the battlefield to stand and fight?

The second most important reason is that in my fallen state I can not discern who is a pure devotee or not but I know that Gaudiya Vaisnavas the world over all agree that Srila Prabhupada was a Saktyavesa Avatar and following his siksa is a pretty safe bet.

So how to find a guru? There is one golden rule for me: The guru strictly adheres to the siksa of Srila Prabhupada.

Now I don't have any hard feelings towards the Narayana Maharaja camp or any other non-ISKCON Vaisnavas around the world. They are all serving Krishna in their way. As for me, I will take initiation from a guru who follows Srila Prabhupada and his life's work, the International Society for Krishna Consciousness. ISKCON forever!

Your servant,
Bhakta Peter
New Govardhana, Australia

© CHAKRA 5 June 2002

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