"Actually I am not worth of any one of the word spoken by you but all of them are due to my Spiritual Master who was so kind to me. In fact I am worthless person because my Spiritual Master ordered me to take up this work in 1922 but I did not carry His order until 1958, when I was obliged to carry out His order by His arrangement only. This means although I was not very enthusiastic to carry out His order, He forced me circumstantially to accept it.
So this is His special mercy upon me, and I always think about this with gratitude to this exalted personality coming directly from Vaikuntha World, and we had the great fortune to meet Him.
I think that is the only credit on our part that we happened to meet Him by some "ajnata sukriti" or uknown auspicious activities. He is so kind upon me that when I came to your country, where I was completely unknown, He sent to me some good souls like you unsolicited. So I accept you all as assistants or representatives of my Guru Maharaj, who is still helping me because I am so feeble and unworthy. Anyway, the business which we have taken to work together is neither your business nor my business as far we are personally concerned, but it is the business of Lord Caitanya and His bonafide servants like my Guru Maharaja. Therefore it is the duty of all of us to execute it as nicely as far as possible within our capacity. In other words, we shall just try to discharge our responsible duties faithfully and seriously, then all facilities will come to our help."
Srila Prabhupada writes to Hayagriva das from Los Angeles on 14th of January, 1970. (The letter is presented in original unedited form).
When I joined ISKCON in 1972, life was easy. There was one guru, one mission, powered mostly by direct fearless preaching in form of book production, book distribution, Holy Name distribution and prasadam. Whoever wasn´t engaged in these activities wasn´t considered to "have joined".
And so to choose a guru was easy, there was only one, His Divine Grace A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the Founder Acharya of ISKCON. There was no internet filled with information and disinformation, and in times when gossip and politically motivated individuals threatened the devotees preaching enthusiasmus, it was Srila Prabhupada who emmerged finally on the scene as supreme judge, and settled the matter.
For those, who today may ask the ever rellevant question "who is a bonafide spiritual master?", the above quoted letter may serve as the ultimate prove of validity of such a spiritual guide.
What do we learn from this very intimate demonstration of Srila Prabhupada´s amazing and deep humility?
A real spiritual master:
1/ never considers himself the creator and "owner" of his disciples, but he sees himself as a care taker of all what was given to him by his spiritual master;
2/ lives in total dependency on his spiritual master;
3/ never changes the instructions of his spiritual master, not even for the purpose of "better preaching", never becomes victimized by populism and increased number of disciples;
4/ always keeps personal contact to a disciple, regardless how many disciples he may initiate;
5/ never envies his disciple or ANYBODY else who is sincerely contributing to the mission of his spiritual master, as he considers himself a servant of such sincere soul.
Such spiritual master should be accepted without reservation, others may be rejected.