tasmad gurum prapadyeta
jijnasuh sreya uttamam
“Any person who seriously desires to achieve real happiness must seek out a bona fide spiritual master and take shelter of him by initiation.”
The Upanisads inform us that the guru is one who has received knowledge by hearing the Vedas. Srotriyam brahma-nistham [MU 1.2.12]. The Vedas are called sruti, and the bona fide guru is in the line of hearing from the disciplic succession.
As stated in Bhagavad-gita (4.2), evam parampara-praptam. A bona fide guru does not impart some self-styled, concocted knowledge; his knowledge is standard and received from the parampara system. He is also firmly fixed in the service of the Supreme Personality of Godhead (brahma-nistham).
These are his two qualifications: he must have heard the Vedic knowledge through the disciplic succession, and he must be established in service to the Supreme Lord. He does not have to be a very learned scholar, but he must have heard from the proper authority.
God gives us the ears to hear, and simply by hearing we may become great preachers. We don’t need Ph.D.’s or academic examinations. One may even remain in his position; no changes are necessary. Full Chapter