Spiritual Questions and Answers with Radhanath Swami

Radhanath Swami answers the question, “Do we really need a Guru?”

By on March 15, 2015 in Life with 82 Comments

Srila PrabhupadaQuestion to Radhanath Swami: Can’t we practice spirituality without accepting a guru? Can’t we make spiritual advancement based on knowledge from scriptures and what we have learnt from others?

Radhanath Swami Answers: We can make progress to some extent. But whether we admit or not, we do have gurus: people who inspire us, people from whom we gain knowledge.

Suppose that someone dear to us needs a bypass heart surgery. If somebody comes up and says, “I will do this surgery”, will you want to know where they studied from? Will you just say, “Ok”?

When it comes to something like a heart surgery, we want to make sure that that doctor has been properly trained, knows the right techniques and has learnt in the right tradition; we want to make sure that he or she went to a medical school and studied under medical practitioners, who in turn studied under their superiors.

Spiritual awakening isn’t a cheap thing either. According to tradition a guru is one who has actually studied the proper scriptures, lived a certain character and has been a student of others who have taught him or her. That’s required if we really want to go to the depths.



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  • biswajit

    Thank You

  • Arun Pagare

    Very nice..need of guru in one’s life is nicely explained..Thank you.

  • vivek s

    Its todays requirment to choose bonafide guru to follow spiritual path in proper knowledge and devotion to achieve krsna prem….hk

  • Aarvi

    The example given by His Holiness Radhanath Swami Maharaj is very graphical. Lord Krishna Himself explains in Bhagvad Gita that, No one can be spiritually realized by manufacturing his own process, as is the fashion of false foolish pretenders. For understanding absolute truth, we should take shelter of bonafide spiritual master, always ready to render service to him, then reciprocation of knowledge becomes perfect.

    • Piyush Singh

      Very well summarized. Thank you.

  • Ninad Kambli

    importance of Guru nicely explained by example of bypass heart surgery. Very good statement spirituality it’s not cheap thing. Hence we need a bona fide guru

  • Kalpesh Jadhav

    Thank you for the precise yet eloquent answer. The example of the heart surgeon is quite relevant with the necessity to choose the right person for our heart transformation.

    • Jasson Thompson

      i also liked this particular analogy, what to speak of spirituality for material knowledge also we need a teacher, now my question is how to find the right person “guru” because there are lots of people out there, how to understand who is the right person

    • Jasson Thompson

      i also liked this particular analogy, what to speak of spirituality for material knowledge also we need a teacher, now my question is how to find the right person “guru” because there are lots of people out there, how to understand who is the right person

  • NSP

    Very nice explanation regarding the need for a Guru!

  • anashree

    Need for a guru very nicely explained by Maharaj

  • Srivallabhi dd

    Thank you Maharaj for explaining precisely the importance of need of Guru.

  • harsh0807

    Just days before i was having a debate with my friends of why spirituality can’t be practisied without a guru & I think this would be the best answer to explain the people that why we need guru to practice spirituality under the guidance of guru . Thank you !!!

  • Anand Patil

    Very succinct and spot on answer to such an important question. People in general think that accepting a Guru means putting “blind faith” on a person. Without knowing the fact that we put our “faith” on so many things in our life that if introspected would turn out to be “blind faith”. But when it comes to spirituality, because of the various “apa-sampradayas” and fake gurus people think a Guru must be fake.

    • Piyush Singh


  • Yadati Raja Shekar

    Very simple yet very profound answer by Radhanath Swami which not dispel this doubt but also create faith in the process of learning the spirituality under bonafide spiritual master.

  • Piyush Singh

    A perfect answer to this vital topic which is often taken lightly by masses out of their sheer ignorance. Such enlightening answers are like the light house for many confused souls. Many thanks for sharing this wisdom from HH Radhanath Swami.

    • Raju K Mewada

      Wonderful comment. Yes many people have many wrong thought about this and through this questions and comments may help many of them to choose correct path..

  • biswajit

    Very profound answer by Radhanath Swami Maharaj

  • Yadati Raja Shekar

    That is the perfect answer with a beautiful analogy by Radhanath Swami. We have no identity without Guru in front of Krishna.

  • CS Sandeep S. Shinde

    Thank you very much for such a nice answer.

  • Prahalad

    Perfect answer by Radhanath Swami Maharaj regarding importance of having a bonafide spiritual master.

  • Prahalad

    Accepting Guru is not a fashion & a serious business as discussed by Radhanath Swami Maharaj.

  • Pratham Avale

    very true. Example of Heart surgery is relevant. and no doubt spirituality is as imp as heart to us.

    • Sumit Sharma

      Yes indeed Prathamji! It is very appropriate example to showcase the importance of a bona-fide school where one can get spiritual understanding.

  • Sumit Sharma

    Thanks for sharing it!

  • Vinay Malani

    Just as we need teachers in schools & colleges which impart material education, similarly we need a guru to impart spiritual education. But we need bonafide gurus such as HH Radhanath Swami who belong to a bonafide guru parampara. Otherwise people may get cheated by the ‘self-styled’ gurus.

    • Raju K Mewada

      very true. nice one. We must have to take guidance from authorized guru.

    • Sumit Sharma

      Very nicely put Vinayji! Since people take spirituality cheaply, they think that we can understand it without any guidance or mentoring. Moreover, since we cannot pretty much experience spirituality without actually following it, it becomes more critical for one to take guidance from a bona-fide spiritual teacher to understand it.

  • Raju K Mewada

    Can we expect that no one go to school and still they can learn everything. Probably this may be possible for one or two person in millions of people but not applicable to every one. We require process to learn which every school and authorized institutions provide us. Similarly if we expect that everyone has to learn spirituality in their practical life than they must have to learn through authorized person who has followed the same path under the guidance and observation of some one else. So it can be easily understood that we must have to seek guidance and support from Guru or we must have to have true Guru who can help us and guide towards development of life skills and purpose of life.

  • CS Sandeep S. Shinde

    Practicing spirituality without GURU is impossible. Thank you very much.

  • Prahalad

    Accepting Guru is not a fashion but a serious business as discussed by Radhanath Swami Maharaj.

  • Srivallabhi dd

    Guru gives us spiritual awakening.

  • Gaurav Khutade

    Without guru we can not get the proper direction in our life.Guru has so much importance in our life.

    • Sumit Sharma

      Great point Gauravji! In fact, in BG – 4.34, Lord Krishna instructs Arjuna to take shelter of a bona-fide spiritual master for understanding spirituality.

  • Ashutosh

    Guru mukha padma vakya……..Thank you maharaj for an inspiring answer

  • Saikrishna Ganta

    just like a child does not want go school. similarly conditioned soul does not want to join spiritual school

  • Rohan Ahirwar

    Guru is like a expert captain of a ship who delivers the life boat to its perfect destination, thank you for sharing

  • Jaydeep

    enlightening !

  • Sourabh Soni

    Very practical and crisp answer to clarify the concept of a need of a guru. Really a striking example because when we visualize it as happening actually when our dear one is in need of a Bypass surgery and we allow anyone with no degree to operate upon.

    • Sarah Collins

      I have been reading many self help books but I always felt a need of a guide. Here I get a good analogy to understand the same. We need experts in all fields to guide us but then why not spirituality. Thank you.

  • Rahul Gupta

    It is a great fortune to have association of saints like Radhanath Swami. We are so fortunate to have taken birth when he is present.

    • Jasson Thompson

      amazing way of putting things in right perspective. I also agree that there is no substitute for a teacher n guide in life in any matters. grateful to Swami for this wisdom.

  • shri hari pandey

    i heard somewhere that perception matters…..now i see it through this saint Radhanath Swami….thank you radhanath swami

  • Laxmikant

    Many people say that they dont want a middle man but whose role is very important

  • Sujit Jadhav

    Very true and i really understood the importance of Guru.

  • Kaushik

    Radhanath Swami has very nicely elaborated the need of a Guru. I particularly liked the example of heart surgery. It is pretty convincing.

    • Pradeep Kumar

      Yes very true & live example of need for a Guru.

  • Roopeshwari radha devi dasi

    yes to have a true guru in ones life, is actually a mercy….

  • Vishwanath

    Radhanath Swami has very nicely elaborated the need of a Guru

  • rasraj

    very nice

  • Jasson Thompson

    Amazing explanation.

  • Swapnil Gaonkar

    nice explanation by Radhanath Swami. We miss out the simple but important things in life.

  • khushal

    wonderful qualification of a guru has been highlighted by radhanath maharaj. One who knows in truth based on the scriptures. thank you maharaj for the answer

    • Jason Evans

      i have heard abt disciplic succession? whats that?can u pls tell

      • khushal

        Disciple succession is called guru shiksha parampara in sanksrit. Its a system of teacher-disciple chain in which spiritual knowledge flows from higher to lower level. This system is made by Lord to preserve the spiritual knowledge and its authencity. It starts with lord Krishna down to Brahma then to Narada.and came down to Srila Prabhupada, founder of ISKCON whose disciple is Radhanath swami

        • Jason Evans

          great.. great… thank u very much khushal..

  • rajeev

    Swami ji has simply explained the serious need for a Guru, we can easily related to it. Thank you very much.

  • Donna Nelson

    i admire sharp intelligence of radhanath swami. perfect analogy of heart surgery.. then how he gives the same weightage to the spirituality…

  • steven gonzalez

    this answer shows us urgency to have qualified teacher, means guru.

  • Jason Evans

    Made easy why to have a guru…
    Thank you Radhanath Swami for giving such a inside.

  • Rahul Gupta

    A guru is like a via media between a soul and God. Gurus like Radhanath Swami make us understand the value of spiritual life

  • amit

    Thank you sharing a wonderful article.

  • Satish Rane

    whether we admit or not, we do have gurus: people who inspire us, people from whom we gain knowledge……….. hare krishna Thank you maharaj hare krishna.

  • Donald Green

    Swami ji has given perfect analogy for why one need a gure

  • anashree

    Maharaj has nicely explained the need of a guru with a nice analogy

  • CS Sandeep S. Shinde

    Nice article on ‘GURU’. Thank you very much.

  • Deepika

    Yes how nicely explained the need of a spiritual master by maharaj.

  • CS Sandeep S. Shinde

    Thank you very much for such a nice article.

  • Keshav Kishor Das

    Short and sweet (Specific and precise) answer for most frequently asked question…..!

  • michelle roberts

    Really a true guru and genuine source is required for spiritual progress

  • Kalpana Kulkarni

    Very true! When we want to gain knowledge, we go to school and learn from a teacher, when we want to play sports, we learn from a coach and so on, so if we want to gain knowledge of the scriptures and spiritual practices, we must learn from a Guru or spiritual master.

  • Anand Patil

    Perfect answer by Maharaj. Thanks so much.

  • Shivam Saraogi

    A wonderful article explaining the importance of Guru– All glories to Maharaj! All glories to Srila Prabhupada!!

  • Damodar ashtakam Das Das

    I fully agree with Radhanath swami, one needs a bona fide guru to understand depths of knowledge. I wanted to add one more point here that one will really understand the need of guru when one is ready for it ,I mean to say if we are just asking a casual question we will never understand necessity of guru in our life ,as it is said untill one is utterly materially exhausted one cannot accept the guru very seriously and so can’t get any real benefits from guru’s association

    • Sumit Sharma

      Nice point sir! Only a bona-fide spiritual can give us real knowledge about spiritual realm.

  • Kalpana Kulkarni

    Very nice answer and explanation as to why we need a spiritual master or Guru. We should never take our spirituality cheaply so we should accept a Guru who is bonafide and in line with Parampara and is knowledgeable with the scriptures. Without a guru we cannot progress in out spiritual lives as we need guidance at every step.

  • Laxmikanth

    if we need to know the detail of the doctor who can do heart surgery , than why dont we know the detail of a real heart surgeon who not really does a heart transformation , from dirty heart which is filled with lust and hatred to love ,compassion and devotion. rightly said by Radhanath swami

    • Sumit Sharma

      Great point Laxmikanthji. We indeed need a bona-fide spiritual master for getting access to spiritual higher realms.

  • Sumit Sharma

    Wonderful answer by Radhanath Swami Maharaj. Without a bona-fide spiritual master, one can never get perfection in spiritual life. First one should find such spiritual master, serve him and then ask questions in submission.

  • Asha Kanta Sharma


  • Asha Kanta Sharma

    Guru is required for guiding us to the right path in our life…