How to understand WHO to approach for Transcendence-SP

April 12, 2022 in Articles by Damaghosa dasa

Feb 19 1975 Caracas
Prabhupāda: No, we must first of all understand that our senses are imperfect. Just like we are sitting in this room. We have got our eyes, but we cannot see what is there, going on, beyond this wall. The sun is fourteen hundred thousand times bigger than this earth, and we are seeing just like a disc. So the eyelid is just near the eyes, but we cannot see what is the eyelids. If the light is off, we cannot see. So we can see under certain condition. Then what is the value of our seeing? If we, even if we manufacture telescope, that is also manufactured by the imperfect senses, so it is also not perfect. So anything understood by manipulating our imperfect senses, that is not real knowledge. So our process of understanding real knowledge is to take it from the person who has the real knowledge. Just like if we contemplate or speculate who is my father, it is never possible to understand who is my father. But if we receive the words from mother that “Here is your father,” that is perfect. Therefore the process of knowledge should be not to speculate but to receive it from the perfect person. If we receive knowledge from a mental speculator, that is not perfect knowledge.
Professor (Hṛdayānanda): What would be the mechanism or process to get this perfect knowledge and to purify our senses?
Prabhupāda: First of all we have to accept this truth, that perfect knowledge can be received from the perfect person. Just like I have given the example, who is my father. You can understand it from the perfect person, mother. If somebody speculates, “This gentleman may be your father, this gentleman may be your father,” that is not perfect knowledge. The perfect knowledge is with the mother. Mother says, “Here is your father.” That is perfect knowledge. Just like, therefore, in the Bhagavad-gītā it is said,
tad viddhi praṇipātena (aside:) Find out
Now, what is the meaning of tattva-darśinaḥ?
Hṛdayānanda: “The seers of the truth.”
Prabhupāda: Yes. You have to… Just like mother has seen the father. So her knowledge is perfect. But I have not seen my father. Because before my birth there was father, I do not know who is my father. The mother has seen the father. So you have to approach such a person who has seen the truth. That is the way of… Now you have to find out a person who has seen the transcendence and receive knowledge of transcendence from him. Then it is perfect.
Professor: (Spanish) What I mean is that, you know. We are all imperfect because we are imperfect. Right? So how can a master, a person who really understands or who claims to really understand be able to know perfection, to see the truth, how can he with his imperfect senses…
Prabhupāda: You are right, you are right.
Professor: …know the real truth.
Prabhupāda: Yes, therefore I say…
Professor: How can I get with my imperfect senses the perfection brought by the master?
Prabhupāda: The same example. Just like the mother has seen the father, and the mother says not only to her son but other gentleman that “Here is the father of the son.” So the other gentleman who has not seen the father but on the verification by the mother, he accepts the real thing. Hearing from the perfect is also perfect. If I get the chance of hearing from the perfect, then I may not be perfect, but because I have heard from the perfect, what I say, that is perfect.
Professor (Hṛdayānanda): He’s saying that he accepts that we can receive perfect knowledge, but then because I am imperfect I make an imperfect interpretation.
Prabhupāda: No, you are not allowed interpretation. As soon as you interpret, you become imperfect. Therefore we are presenting Bhagavad-gītā As It Is. Don’t interpret. Before this, all these rascals were simply interpreting and spoiling the whole thing. So this is the fact.
Professor: So what you really are asking for is blind faith.
Prabhupāda: Not blind faith. Perfect man is perfect. Unless you understand that he is perfect, don’t hear from him. That is blind. Without knowing that he is perfect, if you hear, that is your imperfectness. Why should you try to hear from a person whom you do not know perfectly well that he is perfect?
Hṛdayānanda: Can I translate that?
Prabhupāda: Yes. If you hear blindly, that is your imperfectness. You must be first of all convinced that. “The person from whom I am hearing, he is perfect.” Then your knowledge is perfect.
Professor: That conviction is not the product of reasoning.
Prabhupāda: It is not convention. It is not convention. It is actually knowing that “I have approached this perfect man.” Just like the same example: if you approach the mother of the son, she is the perfect to know the father, and if you have known from the mother that “This boy’s father is this gentleman,” that knowledge is perfect. Even though you have not seen while the father was begotten, giving birth, it doesn’t matter. But because you have heard from the mother—she is perfect—therefore your knowledge received from her is perfect. Therefore it is written, tattva-darśibhiḥ, “who has seen the truth.” So you have to approach such person who has seen the truth.
Professor: Well, that brings that to my original question again. How do I know who is perfect?
Prabhupāda: That is another thing, that you have to search out such person. Otherwise your knowledge is imperfect. Now that question will be: “How to find out such person?” The next question will be. But unless you approach such perfect person, you cannot have perfect knowledge. That is a fact. Therefore the conclusion is that we should not speculate about perfect knowledge, but we should try to approach the perfect person and receive knowledge from him. This is the conclusion.

Professor (Hṛdayānanda): He’s more or less saying that in the Catholic church how they also demand the same type of faith. He said they all have a bad experience with that. And then he more or less…
Prabhupāda: No, no, I can understand. The thing is that everyone can take advantage of this statement that “I am perfect.” Just like so many rogues and bogus persons come. But it is your duty to know whether he is perfect. It is your duty to test whether he is perfect. That requires intelligence. If you unintelligently accept some bogus person as perfect, that is your fault. You must be assured that “The person from whom I am asking, he is perfect.” Then you take it. Otherwise don’t take.
Professor: Can I put a question? Why do you always say, “From a perfect person”?
Prabhupāda: Because the knowledge must be perfect; otherwise imperfect knowledge.
Professor (Hṛdayānanda): He’s saying why do you say a perfect person instead of saying a perfect philosophy?
Prabhupāda: No, unless the philosophy is given by a perfect person how the philosophy can be perfect? Philosophy means searching after the truth. So if he does not know how to find out the truth, what is the meaning of his philosophy? I was a student of philosophy. My professor was Dr. Urquhart. He used to say that “Philosophy is the science of science.” So unless he is a perfect scientist, how he can give science?
Professor: I have other question. Why do we want to transcend?
Prabhupāda: I am not wanting. I am simply distributing the transcendental knowledge.
Professor: Will not transcendence be an illusion too?
Prabhupāda: No, no, there is proof. It is not emotion. What you say, you have no proof, but what I say I have got proof. What you say, you become your own authority. But what I say, I have got greater authority. Just like two lawyers speaking before the court—the lawyer who gives quotation from the authority, he gains the case.
Professor: Do you have any evidence?
Prabhupāda: Oh, yes.
Professor: Would you tell us your experiences in that field?
Prabhupāda: Yes, that, of course, it will take time for you to understand. Because unless you are lawyer, you cannot understand while the other lawyer is giving quotation. But the court will accept.
Professor (Hṛdayānanda): He still wants to go on with the same question he asked before: If we are content just to purify ourselves or if we also want to help the society.
Prabhupāda: No, you do not know what is self. How you will purify? You do not know what is self. Can you say what is self?
Professor (Hṛdayānanda): Is it possible that he could spend his whole life trying to find himself and at the end of his life not find himself and meanwhile he didn’t help the society?
Prabhupāda: Not only one life, but millions of life, you will not be able to know—unless you change your policy.
Professor (Hṛdayānanda): What is the value of the transcendence?
Prabhupāda: Because you are transcendence. You are actually seeking transcendence because you are transcendence.
Professor (Hṛdayānanda): He says that because he doesn’t know what the transcendence is, there’s no value for him. It’s only a name. He doesn’t know why to look for it.
Prabhupāda: Yes. So first of all, as I say, that you are also transcendence, you just try to know yourself first. Then you will know what is transcendence. You are the sample of transcendence, and if you see the sample, you can know the whole thing. Just like if you taste one drop of sea water, then you can understand what is the chemical composition of the sea water. Therefore your first business is to know yourself, that you are not this body. In this way, when you know yourself, then you know the original transcendence.
Professor: Why do you make so much emphasis on (indistinct).
Prabhupāda: Because without this, you are animal.
Professor: What’s wrong with being an animal?
Prabhupāda: Animal means you are living a very risky life.
Professor: A very…?
Prabhupāda: Risky life. The animal is always in danger. A dog is running, but at any moment he can be in danger. I have seen in my own eyes in New York. It is little in the off from New York. In I think in the month of December or January, a dog was jumping and he fell in the water pool and immediately died. It was so cold it collapsed immediately. So what is the use of this dog-like jumping? Besides that, in the animal society there is no question of culture, religion, philosophy, science. Animal, they do not require it. And why man requires it? That means human society is searching after the transcendence. But without knowing the way, how to understand, they are now engaged in different way. You find out this verse from Bhāgavatam, jīvasya tattva-jijñāsā na yaś ceha karmabhiḥ. Find out. Kamasya nendriya-pritiḥ.
Hṛdayānanda: It’s in the first volume.
Prabhupāda: Yes. You know that? Find out this verse. kāmasya nendriya-prītir
(lābho) jīveta yāvatā jīvasya tattva-jijñāsā (artho) yaś ceha na karmabhiḥ
[SB 1.2.10]
Find out this. Read it. (Hṛdayānanda translates into Spanish)
Hṛdayānanda: They still have doubts on this point that how can we know that it’s worth our trouble, that if we dedicate our lives to this searching for the transcendence, how can we be sure that at the end of it we won’t have wasted our lives? How can we be sure that the transcendence is actually worth searching for?
Prabhupāda: No, first of all you must understand the importance of the business. Then we can do it. If you do not understand the importance of the business, then you cannot do it.
Professor (Hṛdayānanda): He says that he feels that you’ve already answered this question, but that they didn’t catch it, that he thinks the key is that you said that the truth is not outside, but it’s actually within us. We have to find it within us.
Prabhupāda: Yes. Yes.
Professor (Hṛdayānanda): He says why do you put so much emphasis on the personalism after liberation because it seems like to him that the ideal perfect thing would be the unity rather than having something separate.
Prabhupāda: That is your ideal, imperfect ideal. Because you are imperfect.
Professor: Are you perfect master?
Prabhupāda: Oh, yes, because I am heard from the perfect. I am not perfect, but what I say, that is perfect. Just like a child does not know what is this dictaphone, but he has learned from the father, “This is dictaphone,” so when he says, “This is dictaphone,” it is perfect. The child is not perfect, but because he has heard from his father perfect, so the knowledge is perfect.
Professor (Hṛdayānanda): That if you are not perfect, how can you interpret the truth?
Prabhupāda: Because I am giving the perfect truth. Anyone who will accept, it will act. Just like a child says that “This is dictaphone. If you use it like this, you’ll get this result.” That is perfect.
Professor (Hṛdayānanda): He says that not all knowledge is so objective. For example, in the matter of understanding society, the communists have their theory, the capitalists have their theory, and there’s millions of theories and so…
Prabhupāda: That is not knowledge; that is art. Just like electrician. He knows how to mix the two wires and bring the current. That is not knowledge; that is a business or art for temporary recreation. And because he knows the art how to bring the current, it does not mean that he knows the Absolute Truth. So people are taking at the present moment electrician as the knower of the Absolute Truth.
Professor (Hṛdayānanda): He’s saying that he thinks that the knowledge that you’re giving is perfect because it is perfect knowledge and not because you are giving it. Because it is revealed knowledge, perfect because it is revealed.
Prabhupāda: Yes. Anyone can take it. Just like we are giving knowledge of the Bhagavad-gītā. So the Bhagavad-gītā is open for everyone; it is not for me only. It is for you also. That is our movement, that you take the perfect knowledge and be happy and make your life successful.
Professor (Hṛdayānanda): So he said one thing is to understand theoretically the knowledge, and the other is to practice it. What is the method for…?
Prabhupāda: Everything is there. All questions solved, economic, social, religious, politics, whatever you are-plus transcendental knowledge.
 
Some Conclusions–This idea of why we should approach a bona fide guru  and how to recognize such a person is also presented in the Introduction to Isopanishad during a lecture given by His Divine Grace at Conway hall London 1968–a very important  piece to help us understand what  Prabhupada is talking about in the above conversation.
If we understand these ideas we will never get cheated in this kali yuga.
Hare Krsna
damaghosa das
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“Even though somebody by mistake has gone to a rascal, the book is there. As soon as you find out, ‘Here is a rascal who does not know anything about Kṛṣṇa, and I have come to him,’ reject him. That is stated in the śāstra. Gurur apy avaliptasya kāryākāryam ajānantaḥ parityāgo vidhīyateEven by mistake you have come to a rascal who does not know how to become guru, you can reject him. Why should you stick to him? Reject him. And by mistake I have come to rascal. Why shall I continue to accept him as guru? Cāṇakya Paṇḍita said, tyaja durjana-saṁsargaṁ bhaja sādhu-samāgamam: ‘Give up all rascals. Associate with sādhus.’ If you do not do that, that is your fault. Tyaja durjana-saṁsargaṁ bhaja sādhu-samāgamam. We have to mix with sādhu. Sādhu means who are twenty-four-hours engaged in Kṛṣṇa’s service. Things are there. Why should you mix with asādhu? Then how can you understand? Ādau śraddhā tataḥ sādhu-saṅgaḥ (CC Madhya 23.14-15). If you have got little faith, then next business is to associate with sadhus.”
(Srila Prabhupada Conversation, Bhuvanesvara, January 31, 1977)
SB 6.7.14–Leaders who have fallen into ignorance and who mislead people by directing them to the path of destruction [as described in the previous verse] are, in effect, boarding a stone boat, and so too are those who blindly follow them. A stone boat would be unable to float and would sink in the water with its passengers. Similarly, those who mislead people go to hell, and their followers go with them.
PURPORT-As stated in the Vedic literature (Bhāg. 11.20.17):nṛ-deham ādyaṁ sulabhaṁ sudurlabhaṁ plavaṁ sukalpaṁ guru-karṇa-dhāram
One who boards a boat made of stone is doomed. To be elevated to the stage of perfection, humanity must first give up false leaders who present boats of stone. All of human society is in such a dangerous position that to be rescued it must abide by the standard instructions of the Vedas. The cream of these instructions appears in the form of Bhagavad-gītā. One should not take shelter of any other instructions, for Bhagavad-gītā gives direct instructions on how to fulfill the aim of human life. Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa therefore says, sarva-dharmān parityajya mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja: [Bg. 18.66] “Give up all other processes of religion and simply surrender to Me.” Even if one does not accept Lord Kṛṣṇa as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, His instructions are so exalted and beneficial for humanity that if one follows His instructions one will be saved. Otherwise one will be cheated by unauthorized meditation and gymnastic methods of yoga. Thus one will board a boat of stone. which will sink and drown all its passengers. ….
 
Madhya 9.361–Please hear the transcendental pastimes of Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu with faith and devotion. Giving up envy of the Lord, everyone chant the Lord’s holy name, Hari.
 
Madhya 9.362–In this Age of Kali there are no genuine religious principles other than those established by Vaiṣṇava devotees and Vaiṣṇava scriptures. This is the sum and substance of everything.
PURPORT
One must have firm faith in the process of devotional service and the scriptures that support it. If one hears the activities of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu with this faith, he can be freed from his envious position. Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is meant for such nonenvious persons (nirmatsarāṇāṁ satām). In this age a person should not envy Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s movement but should chant the holy names of Hari and Kṛṣṇa, the mahā-mantra. That is the sum and substance of the eternal religion, known as sanātana-dharma. In this verse the word vaiṣṇava refers to a pure devotee and fully realized soul, and the word vaiṣṇava-śāstra refers to śruti, or the Vedas, which are called śabda-pramāṇa, the evidence of transcendental sound. One who strictly follows the Vedic literature and chants the holy name of the Supreme Personality of Godhead will actually be situated in the transcendental disciplic succession. Those who want to attain life’s ultimate goal must follow this principle. In Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (11.19.17), it is said:
śrutiḥ pratyakṣam aitihyam anumānaṁ catuṣṭayam pramāṇeṣv anavasthānād
vikalpāt sa virajyate “Vedic literature, direct perception, history and hypothesis are the four kinds of evidential proofs. Everyone should stick to these principles for the realization of the Absolute Truth.”
 
Madhya 9.363–The pastimes of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu are just like an unfathomable ocean. It is not possible for me to enter into them. Simply standing on the shore, I am but touching the water.
Madhya 9.364-The more one hears the pastimes of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu with faith, analytically studying them, the more one attains the ecstatic riches of love of Godhead.
Madhya 10.189–Thus I have described the meeting of all the Vaiṣṇavas with Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. Whoever hears this description ultimately attains His shelter.
Madhya 11.242-In this way I have explained the Lord’s pastime of saṅkīrtana, and I bless everyone with this benediction: By listening to this description, one will surely become a servant of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu