In India there is a common saying. They say, bhajan koro pūjān koro morte janle haya. The meaning is that however you may meditate upon... You may be very great meditator, or you may be a great religionist or yogi or a very learned scholar or whatever you may be, but everything will be tested at the time of your death. How far you have made progress, that will be tested at the time of your death. That is also explained in the Bhagavad-gītā. Yaṁ yaṁ vāpi smaran loke tyajaty ante kalevaram (BG 8.6). Ante. Ante means at the end. Because this body is sure to end. Antavanta ime dehāḥ. This body is antavat; it is destined to be ended. "As sure as death." But nityasyoktāḥ śarīriṇaḥ. Śarīriṇaḥ means the spirit spark which is occupying this body. That is nitya; that is eternal.
So whole process is that the eternal has to get rid of this nonpermanent material contact. And he has to take leave for the spiritual world. So... (aside:) Come on. So the whole process is that during our present existing life we have to practice in such a way that we remain constantly on the higher nature, on the spiritual nature. Exactly in the same way: just like you put the iron rod in the fire and make it warmer, warmer, warmer, warmer, and so long it does not get red hot, so it becomes fire. This is practical. In the same way you have to put yourself in such a way that you are always in, constantly in, the higher nature, not that for one hour, two hour we make this association, we try to be in higher nature and after leaving this place we again turn to the lower nature. No. We should always, whatever we hear from here, from this place, we should try to understand clearly without any doubt.
Just like Lord Kṛṣṇa says here, tyaktvā dehaṁ punar janma naiti mām eti kaunteya (BG 4.9), that anyone who understands Kṛṣṇa's appearance, disappearance and activities, all these transcendental things, he goes back to the kingdom of Godhead after leaving this body. Now this fact should be clearly understood. So I am trying to make you understand it clearly, how it can be possible. This is possible in this way, that you have to think of Kṛṣṇa always, "How is that that Kṛṣṇa appears in His transcendental body and how He disappears?" So everything, scrutinizingly we have to understand.
In the Bhagavad-gītā you will find tad viddhi praṇipātena paripraśnena sevayā (BG 4.34). One has to learn all these things from the person who is in the knowledge of these things. It is not that simply by purchasing one Bhagavad-gītā we understand everything. No. Tad viddhi praṇipātena paripraśnena sevayā. You have to approach a person who is in the knowledge of the thing. Without this, you cannot understand. It is recommended; it is essential.
In the, I mean to say, in the Vedas also, Kaṭha Upaniṣad, this is said exclusively: Tasmād guruṁ prapadyeta jijñāsuḥ śreya uttamam (SB 11.3.21). Tasmāt. Tasmāt means "therefore." "Therefore" means something has been said before. What is that? Tasmād guruṁ prapadyeta jijñāsuḥ śreya uttamam. As soon as we begin to ask about the higher nature... That propensity should be awakened. In the lower nature we are busy in the matter of eating, sleeping, defending and sense gratification. So we should not be satisfied, simply remaining in the lower nature. The human life is meant for developing the higher nature. The Vedānta-sūtra therefore says, athāto brahma jijñāsā. Now, now we have got the developed consciousness of human body, now, this is the time for asking about the Supreme Brahman. (talking in the background) (aside:) You ask them to speak slowly. At least speak slowly. You go there.
So this higher nature has to be developed. This association, this transcendental association, is meant for developing that higher nature, higher nature. We must understand that higher nature that as it is recommended in the Vedas, that tad-vijñānārthaṁ sa gurum eva abhigacchet samit-pāṇiḥ śrotriyaṁ brahma-niṣṭham (MU 1.2.12). And again in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavata also it is said that tasmād guruṁ prapadyeta jijñāsuḥ śreya uttamam (SB 11.3.21). In all the scriptures this is said. Without approaching a person who can teach you of the higher nature, you cannot develop. It is not possible to acquire. You have got the higher nature but to invoke that higher nature it requires the assistance of a person who is in the higher nature. That is recommended.
If somebody says that "I don't require any help of any spiritual master," that is wrong. That is wrong. You will find all the great persons... And so far our Vedic culture is concerned, great learned scholars, just like Śaṅkarācārya... Perhaps you have heard the name of Śaṅkarācārya. Rāmānujācārya, Madhvācārya, Nimbārka, Lord Caitanya. In India there have been many, many great scholars. Even Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa, who is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, He had a spiritual master because He wanted to show the example. He did not require any circumstances to acquire knowledge from any other, but because He was playing just like a human being, so He set the example that He accepted a spiritual master. There are instances. So similarly, Lord Caitanya also, He accepted spiritual master. Śaṅkarācārya accepted spiritual master. That is the system. Evaṁ paramparā-prāptam imaṁ rājarṣayo viduḥ (BG 4.2). The disciplic succession must be accepted.