Krsna, the original Guru, is clearly stating in Bhagavad-gita that without acceptance of (authorized) guru , spiritual guide, one cannot reach Him directly. But the process of going Back Home back to Godhead doesn't end there.
A real guru knows well that he is just a faciliator, not the creator. Even Krsna doesn't violate the minute freedom of the conditioned soul and unwillingly allows it to go to hell...or back to Him, if the individual soul sincerely desires to do so.
And so Krsna, never leaving the side of the soul, dwelling in its heart as Paramatma, the observer and permission giver, is ready to assist the soul when either it is still so covered, that it cannot act fully upon the instruction of the guru, or if the guru fails to represent Him and becomes and independant fool.
As Krsna states in Bhagavad-gita, 10/10:
„To those who are constantly devoted to serving Me with love, I give the understanding by which they can come to Me.“
Srila Prabhupada comments:
„A person may have a bona fide spiritual master and may be attached to a spiritual organization, but still, if he is not intelligent enough to make progress, then Krsna from within gives him instructions so that he may ultimately come to Him without difficulty. The qualification is that a person always engage himself in Krsna Consciousness and with love and devotion render all kinds of services. He should perform some sort of work for Krsna and that work should be with love. If a devotee is not intelligent enough to make progress on the path of self realization but is sincere and devoted in the activities of devotional service, the Lord gives him a chance to make progress and ultimately attain Him.“
Krsna confirms His readiness to assist a simple sincere soul by stating further, Bg. 10/11:
„To show special mercy, I, dwelling in their hearts, destroy with the shining lamp of knowledge the darkness born of ignorance.“
Srila Prabhupada comments:
„Sometimes philosophers criticize the devotees because they think that most of the devotees are in darkness of ignorance and are philosophically naive sentimentalists. Actually that is not the fact. There are very, very learned schollars who have put forward the philosophy of devotion. But even if a devotee does not take advantage of their literatures or of his spiritual master, if he is sincere in his devotional service he is helped by Krsna Himself within his heart. So the sincere devotee engaged in Krsna Consciousness cannot be without knowledge. The only qualification is that one carry out devotional service in full Krsna consciousness.“
These slokas make a spiritual guide or a spiritual institution to a faciliator and not to the owner of neither the spiritual process, or the indviduals who follow it. As much we all need guidance, the guidance has one purpose only: to connect us to the previous Acharyas and finally to Krsna.
The history of ISKCON is unfortunately full of examples where the leader fails to be the faciliator and due to his vanity and narcissism becomes a stumbling block on the path of the disciple. Initially being the faciliator of the mercy of his guru, he become the „owner of the mercy“ and herewith disconnected from guru parampara. This is the reason such leaders are removed by law of karma so the sincere disciple can make advancement. Srila Prabhupada said once, „you dont have to believe me, but you have to believe the Vedas". As He was the embodiment of all Vedas, it was easy to follow Him unconditionally.
Over and over it is and was demonstrated, that there are instances where disciple makes progress and the guru does not. This extreme anomaly has a reason: Krsna's guidance from within is obstructed by the vanity of the guru, and so Krsna removes Himself to a place where He doesn't block the path anymore. Even such a devotee might have been effective in the past, he becomes merely a shadow of himself, still believing his function is to lead. The leader becomes the misleader.
Of course, when a whole group of such deviants come together in name of a spiritual institution, then the whole institution is becoming simply a collection place for those who don't understand the above mentioned slokas, and indulge themselves merely in a mood of personal cult, bereft of understanding where the knowledge truly comes from.
Then there are those deviants who claim that „Krsna is everywhere“, and so they don't need spiritual guidance at all. Such self proclaimed gods can be found on any corner of the street.
And so, avoiding those who fail to fulfil their purpose, a sincere disciple can make undisturbed progress.
Recently one of my dear godbrothers remembered the days we joined together Srila Prabhupada's movement. Young, immature and passionate we whole heartily followed Srila Prabhupada who truly reflected the mercy of the Lord with absolute purity.
The result: by remembering Srila Prabhupada we automatically remembered Krsna, as every of His words was about Krsna. My godbrother then commented accurately, „today we can see many who by hearing the guru remember...only the guru“.
So self-indulgent are some of the leaders, so vain. Such charismatic dignitary can go one lecturing for hours without mentioning one word from Srila Prabhupada.
Those who conduct such personal cult worship earn only frustration and their devotion usually dies with departure of the guru. On the contrary, Srila Prabhupada raised us to the understanding where we realize that we are responsible for our return back home back to Godhead, and it is our decision to follow the process. He wanted us to become strong operating individuals in full dependency on the mercy of the Acharya and Krsna, who can oppose the mayavada propaganda and inspire others to do the same. For this He created an organization which had one purpose only: to coordinate the initiatives of inspired strong indviduals who then preach vigorously Krsna Consciousness.
For this purpose Srila Prabhupada created space and room for everybody who was willing to follow His advise, so everybody has its own field of action and can fully apply his own, both material and spiritual, nature. Along the varnasrama guidelines He finally encouraged everybody to apply themself in „some service“, as He writes above.
Such „strict broad mindedness“ (for materialists in itself contradicting expression), doesn't violate the principles given, but is teaching the individual devotees to apply their nature along them. We all are one and simultaneously different, is the policy of such movement based in spiritual principles. It is a great science how to do this, and Srila Prabhupada was a master of it.
In German language one finds a word which nicely illustrates the difference. One meaning of the word „Anhanger“ describes a man who joined some party of organization, and the other meaning is a trailer simply being attached to a hook of a car. The „Anhanger“ of the first sort is an individual who follows, preferably on account of his own decision and with his own intelligence being applied, and the other „Anhanger“ is simply a passive attached vehicle without its own engine, which blinks, brakes and follows exactly to the dictation of the leading car. They are both surrendered to the leader, but one does so consciously and the other passively.
Srila Prabhupada clearly wanted us to be followers of the first kind, operating with our own brain, our own initiative and our own knowledge about the purpose and the goal of the voyage. Most people in this world don't have this kind of self driven impetus, they rather prefer to follow blindly as it gives them idea that they are not responsible. They are mundane, lazy and not eager to wake up to reality.
All the demoniac dictators of this world are well aware of the passivity of their followers. As demonstrated today, even the puppet-like representatives of such anonymous demons look often like some badly painted figures from some deranged cartoon magazine, people simply don't care. All such demoniac personalities are faciliated by mass of fools. As Bernard Shaw, a revolutionary Irish writer, said many years ago, „The truth brings to us responsibility. Therefore everybody is so afraid of it.“
Of course, Srila Prabhupada said that if a fool follows a good example blindly it is still better than if he doesn't follow at all. As we can read above, even Krsna is ready to assist such ignorant fellow. But good examples to be followed are rare to find.
Too tempting is the power the leaders collect by dint of foolish followership.
Their power is derived not from brahminical qualification, but from vox populi of blind followers...and the money they take from them.
In the history of mankind, all revolutions are conducted in this way; some perverted ksatriya type or vaisya type of man collects by dint of false promises and his charisma millions of fools and marches on towards destruction.
I was personally present when Srila Prabhupada stated, that without cooperation of devotees of purely brahminical class and ksatriya class we will not be able to spread His movement. Vaisya type and sudra type of men ruin everything by their corrupted understanding of „money is the honey“. When the legislative force - the brahmanas, and the executive force - the ksatriyas unite, then the rest automatically follows. This was Srila Prabhupada's formula.
Krsna is ready to help any time those who help themselves by surrendering to Him.
He gives such sincere seekers the intelligence to see a real guru, and He also very liberally gives the perverts the right kind of intelligence so they can be cheated.
As conditioned souls we must follow one way or another, but we have to decide whom we do follow and whom not.
And so the responsibility is entirely on our side, the desicion is ours.