There are two main kinds of gurus: the instructing guru and the initiating guru. Everyone who takes up the process of bhakti-yoga as a result of coming in contact with ISKCON owes an immense debt of gratitude to Śrīla Prabhupāda. Before Śrīla Prabhupāda left India in 1965 to spread Krishna consciousness abroad, almost no one outside India knew anything about the practice of pure devotional service to Lord Krishna. Therefore, everyone who has learned of the process through his books, his Back to Godhead magazine, his tapes, or contact with his followers should offer respect to Śrīla Prabhupāda. As the founder and spiritual guide of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, he is the instructing guru of us all.
As you progress in bhakti-yoga, you may eventually want to accept initiation. Before he left this world in 1977, Śrīla Prabhupāda authorized a system in which advanced and qualified devotees would carry on his work by initiating disciples in accordance with his instructions.
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