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By Kripamoya Das

Here is a brief checklist to help you with your testing of a prospective guru.

Education

  • Has he studied Vedic literature sufficiently to become a teacher?
  • Has he become an expert in any particular literature?
  • Has he passed any examinations?
  • Can he recite verses from memory?
  • Does he demonstrate his learning by references when he gives classes?
  • Is he faithful to Srila Prabhupada’s translations and commentaries in his presentations?
  • Are you sure that he does not unduly emphasize any particular portion of the philosophy but provides a balanced presentation?
  • Is he knowledgeable of Deity worship?
  • Does he perform Deity worship himself?
  • Can he conduct ceremonies and teach others how to celebrate festivals?
  • Does he know how to cook for Krishna?
  • Does he know the standard Vaishnava songs and prayers?

Personal example

  • Is he faithfully following Srila Prabhupada’s instructions regarding sadhana-bhakti, the daily practise of chanting sixteen rounds on beads, studying the Vaishnava literature and discussing it with others, engaging in worship and kirtan and so on?
  • Does he exhibit the devotional qualities you have read and heard about?
  • Is he controlled and moderated in his speech, eating and sleeping?
  • Is he free from attachment to money, power or sexualised speech?
  • Would you describe him as having the ‘spirit of service?’
  • Does he personally exemplify the qualities you’d like to have?
  • His personal example should make you aware of your own obstacles – is this happening?

Association

  • Does he have strong friendships with his peers?
  • Are there any devotees he considers to be his superiors?
  • Does he meet with them for guidance?
  • Does he deal affectionately with other Vaishnavas?
  • Is he helpful to those who are not his disciples?

Teaching

  • Does he personally teach you, or can you regularly access his teaching?
  • Does he encourage learning, and does he make it enjoyable?
  • When he answers your questions do you feel as if your doubts have been removed?
  • After a class or talk from him you feel inspired and determined?
  • Does his teaching leave you enthusiastic?
  • Apart from his guru, who were his teachers?
  • Has he been blessed by his seniors to teach officially and accept disciples?
  • What are his other disciples like?

Mission

  • Is he committed to advancing the mission of his own guru?
  • Does he personally exert himself in establishing Krishna consciousness in new places?
  • Does he advocate standard preaching activity such as street chanting, book distribution, prasadam distribution, hall festivals and home gatherings?
  • Does he answer the questions of new enquirers, correspond with them, or host a website for introducing visitors to Krishna consciousness?
  • Is he successful at attracting new people to Krishna?

Guidance

  • Does he have time to offer you guidance and encouragement in addition to teaching?
  • Is he somewhat experienced in offering help at important points in life such as times of transition, bereavement, adversity or spiritual challenge?
  • Does he have the ability to care for you in addition to his existing disciples?
  • Does he reply to correspondence or offer some other way of regular connection?
  • Does he schedule personal visits to your country, at least annually?
  • Has he successfully helped others in their spiritual lives and does he have a good number of balanced, happy and successful disciples?
  • How many of his disciples do you personally know?
  • Will you be able to take instructions from him if you choose him as your guru?
  • Can you trust his guidance?
  • Would he be pleased if you surpassed his knowledge or service?

Personal Qualities

  • Is he generally happy within himself?
  • Is he free from the tendency to criticise others?
  • In conversations and actions, does he direct attention to himself or to others?
  • Would you say that he is not overly demanding as regards personal service?
  • Is he free from distracting eccentricities of behaviour, speech, eating or dress?
  • Is he emotionally balanced or is he prone to spells of negativity, anger or depression?
  • Does he request large sums of money as ‘dakshina’ to be spent on projects situated in other countries from where you live?
  • What is his personal history? How much do you know?

Team Player

  • Does your prospective guru function well as a member of a team?
  • Does he become involved in joint projects with his peers?
  • Does he generally work in a spirit of cooperation with local leaders?
  • Is he respectful of, and responsible to, a governing body that supervises him?

Source: https://gurudisciple.wordpress.com/the-guru-a-checklist/

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