Srila Prabhupada explains that a real disciple does not aspire to become guru and amass followers; but he strives to perfect himself, practicing obedience to the order of the spiritual master and Lord Chaitanya and thus becomes qualified to preach. (Conversations with Srila Prabhupada, 2 May, 1976, Fiji):
SRILA PRABHUPADA: That is the difficulty. Everyone sees that "Some way or other, I become guru. Then so many persons will offer me respect. Somehow or other, create some situation. Then I become guru." This is going on. Not bona fide guru . Bona fide guru is indicated by Chaitanya-- amara ajñaya guru hana:"Become guru." Why ambition? Actually become guru . But how to become guru? Yare dekha, tare kaha 'krishna upadesha.' That's it. Otherwise goru. So they will not take this simple method. They will drink, they will hunt after woman and have some attractive singing or dancing and become guru . What is meaning of guru, they do not know. Somehow or other become popular and become guru. This is going on. So with maya you can attract these foolish rascals very easily. If you can manufacture... You cannot, but if you can show some jugglery, then you become guru . People are after all these things, material things. They are not after Krishna. They are after money and women. So if you give some mantra, then gold will be manufactured, and all women will be attracted, very first class.
GURU KRIPA: You know, Srila Prabhupada, they say that if anyone has power to induce anybody to chant Hare Krishna, therefore they must have some special power. Therefore that's their qualification.
PRABHUPADA: That special power, that is said in the shastras. But people do not want that.
GURU KRIPA: Just like, for example, in Bengal before, there was that Charan das Babaji. He induced them to chant the wrong mantra, but where is...? He's not specifically parampara .
PRABHUPADA: No. He chanted for some time and, of course, there was chanting of "Nitai-Gaura." He introduced new system of chanting: nitai-gaura radhe-shyama. So the "Nitai-Gaura" chanting will have some effect, Kali-yuga. Although he was presenting pervertedly, the beginning was "Nitai-Gaura," so it would have some effect. He did not know actually Nitai-Gaura, from his words it appears. He used to preach that Nitai is Radharani and Gaura is Krishna. That is siddhanta-viruddha . But some way or other, he was chanting "Nitai-Gaura," so some effect were there. Just like sandalwood. You do not know which way better pulp comes out, but if you rub any way, some pulp will come, because it is sandalwood. So he had some effect of chanting "Nitai-Gaura," but later on they deteriorated, because they did not know actually, neither they were taught. Siddhanta-viruddha . The siddhanta-viruddha means it will deteriorate. It will not endure.
GURU-KRIPA: Srila Prabhupada, what about, say, many of your god-brothers? They also have disciples, and they also are properly initiated by a proper spiritual master, and they give the Hare Krishna mantra?
PRABHUPADA: The thing is the spirit, real service of preaching, stopped. Formality is going on, but the real business.... Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's movement means amara ajñaya guru hana tara ei desa. That is stopped. Do you follow? The formalities are there, but the real life of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's movement is preaching. Otherwise, why Chaitanya Mahaprabhu says, amara ajñaya guru hana tara ei desa?Tara means preaching. Yare dekha, tare kaha 'krishna-upadesha.' And that is stopped. They are satisfied if they could construct one temple and beg some rice from the neighbourhood, "Sir, we have got some temple..." That's all. They are satisfied. The spirit of preaching forward--papi tapi jata chilo, hari-name uddharilo --that is stopped. So by hari-nama, by chanting, by this way, to live little peacefully in the temple and eat and sleep, that much they have got. If that is the success, that success they have got. And this was condemned by my Guru Maharaja, that "To earn some money by showing Deity in the temple and eat and sleep, better you become a sweeper in the street and earn your honest livelihood and live." This is cheating. This was condemned. To construct a temple...just like the Vrindavana Goswamis are doing. They thought that "This is our business. Some innocent people will come here and offer some... bas. That's our good income." According to the temple's popularity, they think, "This is our success." Success is his who is pushing forward the preaching method. That is his success. And if we think that "By showing a temple Deity we get some money and rice and cloth and just peacefully live here, don't bother about going to Fiji and all over..." [laughs] That much success they have got. But that is not Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Prthivite ache yata nagaradi grama, sarvatra prachara . What they are doing for that? That is point.
GURU-KRIPA:What if sometimes disciple, he may go to preach, but he's not preaching in the exact same spirit of his spiritual master?
PRABHUPADA: Therefore he is not to be preached. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu says, janma sarthaka kari' kara para-upakara: "Go to do good to others. First of all, you do good to yourself." First of all, you become really preacher. Then go to preach. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu never sent neophytes to go to preach. For neophytes, the preaching is not their business. For neophyte, one should stick to the worship of Deity in the temple. And those who have understood the philosophy, applied the philosophy in his life, he should go for preaching. Otherwise he'll preach wrongly, like...what is that? Charan das Babaji. And it will stop. He wanted to preach, but he did not know how to preach, and therefore after his life, it is finished. So Chaitanya Mahaprabhu does not say like that, that "You remain a rascal and go to preach."No. Janma sarthaka kari . "Your first business is that you make your life perfect. Then go to preach. Perfect means you learn how to obey My orders." That is perfection. Amara ajñaya. So if you are actually, perfectly carrying out the orders of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, then you are preaching. Otherwise you will do wrongly, mislead. Don't do that. Andha yathandhair upaniyamanah . If you remain blind, don't try to lead other blind men. That is misleading. First of all open your eyes. Everything is there. Nobody can do anything whimsically. If you do whimsically, concoctedly, that will be failure. It will not be effective.
GURU-KRIPA: Even though one may get many followers, that is not--
PRABHUPADA: Many? What you...? Many followers.... The philosophy you present, it must be followed by everyone. That is wanted. You have got, say, ten thousand followers. That does not mean success. Everyone has got some followers. This...what is that? Guruji Maharaja. He has got also so-called followers. The T.M....he has got also some followers. Everyone has got some followers. But what kind of followers they have? That is quality. Everything has quality. Simply quantity is not. There are many Christians. Even up to date, some Christian fair or...many millions will come. What is the quality? Quality is all meat-eaters. But Christian means he should not kill. Where is the Christian? So we have to test by the quality, followers. My Guru Maharaja used to say like that, that "If I get at least one quality disciple, then all my labour will be a success." He was saying like that: quality, not the quantity. By quantity, if one is amazed, then he is also goru. By quality: what kind of followers? That is the.... From the very beginning my strictures are there, that "You have to follow this." Quality. If I were "No, you can do like Vivekananda, yes, what you can, whatever you like," then I think quantity would have been very, very big. But I don't say. I make him promise before the fire, before the Deity, before guru . [break] That one moon is taken into account. Who takes account of the millions of stars? Ekas chandras tamo hanti na cha tara sahasrasah . Quality. So we should be quality devotee, not quantity devotee. I have taken two glasses. Just see how nice water is, tap water. Here so many dobs are available, and this rascal is manufacturing RC and he is going as to be...business. And for hearing Bhagavad-gita they have no time and they are trying to go to Vrindavan. Quantity, not quality. So civilisation. Do that. Bhedyadasana. Bhedyadasana ... [indistinct]. Bhedi, lamb. They are going, hundreds and thousands. They flock. So...and if one bhedi, lamb, is somehow or other pushed into slaughterhouse stockroom, so all the...all of them. You haven't got to take many. Some way or other, you induce one of them to go into the...what is called?...shed where stocks are kept for taking out daily and killing. So they do not mind that "We are being pushed into this room for future killing. Never mind. One has gone. Go." They'll go. So this is called in Hindi, bhedyadasana, that without any consideration... "One has entered, let us all enter." That is bhedi, means animal.