Srila Prabhupada:…”This is the business of ācārya, to spread bhakti cult. Ācāryaṁ māṁ vijānīyāt nāvamanyeta karhicit (SB 11.17.27). It is said by the Lord that “You should accept the ācārya…” Ācārya means one who transmits bhakti cult. Bhakti-śaṁsanāt, spreading, goṣṭhyānandī. One who is not spreading—he is cultivating Kṛṣṇa consciousness for his personal benefit in a secluded place, sitting and chanting—that is also nice, but he’s not ācārya. Ācārya means he must spread. Goṣṭhyānandī. Bhajanānandī, goṣṭhyānandī. So generally, goṣṭhyānandī means one who wants to increase the number of devotees. He’s called goṣṭhyānandī. And one who is self-satisfied, that “Let me do my own duty,” he is called bhajanānandī.
So my Guru Mahārāja, Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura, he was goṣṭhyānandī. He wanted to increase the number of devotees. And the more you increase the number of devotees, the more you become very much recognized by Kṛṣṇa. It is Kṛṣṇa’s business. Kṛṣṇa personally comes as He is, Kṛṣṇa, to spread this bhakti cult. Man-manā bhava mad-bhakto mad-yājī māṁ namaskuru (BG 18.65). Sarva-dharmān parityajya mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja (BG 18.66). He’s canvassing personally.
vināśāya ca duṣkṛtām
sambhavāmi yuge yuge
So same thing entrusted to another devotee, and who spreads, he’s ācārya. So Kṛṣṇa says, the ācārya… Here it is said that advaitaṁ hariṇā advaitād. So of course Advaita Ācārya is expansion of Viṣṇu-tattva, but any ācārya, he is to be considered identical with the Lord. The Lord says that, that ācāryam māṁ vijānīyāt (SB 11.17.27): “One should understand the ācārya…” Ācārya bhakti-śaṁsanāt. Ācārya means who is spreading pure bhakti cult. “That ācārya,” Kṛṣṇa says, “you should consider such ācārya as Myself.” Ācāryaṁ māṁ vijānīyāt nāvamanyeta karhicit, that… You cannot consider, “Yes, he’s ācārya, but not as good as Kṛṣṇa.” No. Na avamanyeta. Don’t deride in that way. Then there will be falldown. Ācāryaṁ māṁ vijānīyāt nāvamanyeta karhicit.
And in the Vedas also it is said, yasya deve parā bhaktir yathā deve tathā gurau: (ŚU 6.23) “Anyone who has got unflinching faith in the Supreme Personality and the similar faith in guru…” Yasya deve parā bhaktir yathā deve tathā gurau, tasyaite kathitā hy arthāḥ: “All the Vedic literature,” prakāśante, “becomes revealed simply by these two principle.” Guru-kṛṣṇa kṛpā pāya bhakti-latā-bīja. We should not jump over Kṛṣṇa without the help of guru. That is not possible. You must go through. Because Kṛṣṇa says, ācāryam māṁ vijānī… Tasmād guruṁ prapadyeta jijñāsuḥ śreya uttamam: (SB 11.3.21) “Actually one who is serious to understand higher transcendental subject matter, he must approach guru.” Tasmād gurum, prapadyeta. These are Vedic injunctions. Cakṣudāna dilo yei, janme janme pitā sei. So anyone who opens… Guru means who opens the eyes of the ignorant person. Ajñāna-timirāndhasya jñānāñjana-śalākayā. Opening the eyes by giving real knowledge… Guru-kṛṣṇa kṛpā pāya bhakti-latā-bīja. So bhakti-latā, the devotional service, the seed of devotional service, can be received by the paramparā system through bona fide spiritual master. And if we abide by the orders of spiritual master faithfully, then Kṛṣṇa becomes pleased. That is stated by Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura, yasya prasādād bhagavat-prasādaḥ **. Āra nā koriya mane āśā. Narottama dāsa… All the ācāryas, they say like that. Ācāryam māṁ vijānīyāt. Ācāryavān puruṣo veda: “One who has accepted ācārya, he knows things as they are.” Others, they do not know. It is not possible.”
(Lecture on Caitanya-caritamrta Adi-lila 1.13 — Mayapur, April 6, 1975)