Until a man has reached a certain stage of development by his own efforts it is very little use for him to seek for a Guru. Of the vast army of ‘gurus,’ a very large number are charlatans who are simply desirous of acquiring disciples for the sake of their own fame and profit.
There is a foolish notion current that any man has only got to go to some competent Guru and the latter will push him into a first-class compartment in the mukti-mail and then he will sit playing cards till he automatically reaches his destination. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The disciple must tread the Path by his own efforts, and no Guru, however great a Mahatma he may be, can do more than show him the Way.
A devotee getting attracted to a fake guru is his own fault since he has not taken the steps which should qualify him to be disciple and is utterly unfit to recognize the Guru even if he meets him. Some shastras give long lists of the qualities a disciple should possess, but the Bhagawata goes straight to the heart of the matter and lays down the essential qualifications as two, detachment from the enjoyment of the senses (vairagya) and self-control.
The Bhagavad Gita, in particular, is quite clear enough and quite definite enough that before reaching out to a Guru the aspirant has to achieve a measure of vairagya. This all-important work must be done by the aspirant for himself and then he will begin to hear his Guru speaking within him in the voice of conscience. Constantly listening for and obeying that Voice, it will grow clearer day by day and then he will be in a position, when he meets the Guru in the flesh, to recognize his voice by its identity with the Voice within.