Devotee: How does one recognize a sādhu?
Śrīla Gaura Govinda Svāmī Mahārāja: Cry before Kṛṣṇa. Only He can help you to find a sādhu. You can’t recognize a sādhu. You have no vision to see the sādhu. If you try by yourself to recognize sādhu, then you will be cheated. If you are serious, then cry before Him. “O Kṛṣṇa! I am your servant!”
ayi nanda-tanuja kiṅkaraṁ
patitaṁ māṁ viṣame bhavāmbudhau
kṛpayā tava pāda-paṅkaja-
Mahāprabhu has taught us this. This is crying before Kṛṣṇa. “O nanda-tanuja, son of Nanda Mahārāja, I am your kiṅkara, your servant. Somehow or other I am fallen here in this dreadful ocean of material existence and I have been drowning from time immemorial. But I want to serve you. How can I serve you? How can I become a speck of dust at Your lotus feet? Please help me.” Just cry. Without the help of sādhu you cannot approach Kṛṣṇa. You can’t utter Kṛṣṇa’s name. When you cry like that, Kṛṣṇa is there in your heart as Paramātmā. He will say, “Oh now he is crying for Me.” Then he makes an arrangement.
This is the proper way. If by your own effort you try to recognize a sādhu, you will be cheated. You can’t see a sādhu. You have no vision at all. You see only all outward, external things. You can’t see the real thing. There are many persons who are only outwardly sādhus. You will be enchanted by their external activities: “Oh, he is a great sādhu! Yes, he is producing gold!” You will be cheated.
You can’t get a real sādhu [in this way]. A real sādhu is one who is competely absorbed in Kṛṣṇa, day and night, twenty-four hours. He has gotten Kṛṣṇa. He is with Kṛṣṇa. He can give you Kṛṣṇa. You can’t see him. You have no vision. Only you can cry for Kṛṣṇa from the core of your heart. This is not an external cry. It is internal. Then Kṛṣṇa, who is in your heart, will see that you are crying and he will help you. He will make arrangement for you to meet such a sādhu. That is the arrangement of Kṛṣṇa. When you meet such a person you will feel some spontaneous attraction from the core of your heart. That attraction is the proof.
Devotee: To meet a sādhu is so rare. How can one get the opportunity?
Śrīla Gaura Govinda Svāmī Mahārāja: It’s a fact that it is rare, but if you are really crying for it then Kṛṣṇa can make an arrangement. It is impossible for you, but nothing is impossible for Kṛṣṇa.
Questions and Answers with Śrī Śrīmad Gaura Govinda Svāmī Mahārāja
Home program in Vancouver, Canada (May 1993)