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How do I know who is perfect?

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Expressions researched:
"How do I know who is perfect"

Conversations and Morning Walks

1975 Conversations and Morning Walks

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.
Room Conversation with Professors -- February 19, 1975, Caracas:

Prabhupāda: (translated into Spanish by Hṛdayānanda) At the present moment it is required that the leading men should understand the aims of life and introduce it in the society for the general benefit of the human society. In the present chaotic position of the society... Just like we see on the road, cars are running with great speed, this way and that way, but they do not know what is the aim of life. Ask any one of them that "What is the aim of life, and why you are running so speedily, and what is the business?" Everyone will say, "I have got business. I am going hurriedly." And if I ask, "What is that business?" "Business means to earn some money and maintain the family." that's all. So is it a fact that to earn some money and maintain the family or at night sleep or sex indulgence, is that the aim of life? So that is my submission to the heads of the cultural movement. Is that the cultural end, to sleep at night or sex indulgence and at night earn money and maintain the family? I am asking this question.

Professor: (translated into English by Hṛdayānanda) He says that he agrees that the goal of life is not that, but that from his childhood he's been trained in a certain way, and he has not been taught anything else, and how can he achieve a different way of life?

Prabhupāda: Yes, that we are teaching in this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement, how you can change it. Therefore we asking all leading men to understand this movement and join it. That is our request.

Professor: There is a question I would like to ask. I do know that it is not the aim of life just to every morning keep your family, go to bed and have sex. But it is part of life.

Prabhupāda: That I know also, everyone knows. But beyond that, there must be some aim of life.

Professor: But being so... I think that there is... There should be some kind of humbleness, the necessary humbleness.

Prabhupāda: No, humbleness is of course good qualification, but the humbleness you will find in animal also, very humble. If you cut his throat, he will not tell anything. So humbleness also, that is another thing, but what should be the aim of life? What is the actual aim of life? If we forget the aim of life and simply become humble like ass, is that very good qualification? The ass is very humble. You load upon it tons of loads. It will not protest. Very humble.

Hṛdayānanda: (Spanish) He says that the goal of life is to achieve the transcendence.

Prabhupāda: Yes, right. The goal of life is realization of transcendence. So, that they are forgetting. They have made their goal of life as sense gratification. (translated into Spanish by Hṛdayānanda)

Professor: What kind of transcendence would that be?

Prabhupāda: Transcendence means the Absolute Truth. What do you mean by transcendence?

Professor: By transcendence, I understand it, the universal consciousness. The search for God.

Prabhupāda: Yes, right you are. This life, human life, is distinguished from animal life because the animal cannot inquire about transcendence. The human life, if it is not interested in transcendence, then he is animal. If simply he is interested with the bodily demands of life, namely eating, sleeping, sex and defense, these are bodily demands of life. So if we think that "Dog is eating on the street, and we are eating very palatable dishes, nicely made, very tasteful. That is advancement of civilization," that is not advancement of civilization because it is, after all, eating. Similarly, sleeping; the animals sleep on the street and we sleep in very nice apartment. But in sleeping, we dream horrible things more than the animals. So eating, sleeping, sex life and trying for defense, these are common formulas both for the animals and for the man. Therefore a human being is distinguished from the animal when he enquires about transcendence. And that is explained in the great literature Brahma-sūtra, or the philosophy of Vedānta-sūtra, athāto brahma jijñāsā: "Now we have got this human form of life. We must enquire about the Brahman, or transcendence." So our bodily necessities of life should be simplified as much as it is required. We must save time for enquiring about transcendence. So unless we enquire about the transcendence, then we are two-legged animals. This is culture, this is the aim of life.

Professor (Hṛdayānanda): He's saying that in European history many, many people, in the name of looking for transcendence, there have been so many wars, hatred between men, and, you may know, in Spain they had what is called the Inquisition where they burned so many people. And so he's saying, psychologically, that his brain tells him that in the name of searching after transcendence there has been so much bad, so how is this different?

Prabhupāda: The difference is transcendence is beyond our mind, bodily activities, mental activities or intelligence. The European philosophers and transcendentalists, they do not know actually what is transcendence. They understand that there is something, but they do not know what it is. Therefore they speculate by their imperfect senses. Gradually it becomes craziness. Therefore you find that defect.

Professor (Hṛdayānanda): So do you mean to say that this is just a contemplative thing that doesn't really have a active influence upon the society to change the different...?

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

paripraśnena sevayā
upadekṣyanti tad jñānaṁ
jñāninaḥ tattva-darśinaḥ
(BG 4.34)

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?

MadhuGopaldas +  and Rishab +
July 9, 0011 JL +
July 4, 0012 JL +
BG: 0 +, SB: 0 +, CC: 0 +, OB: 0 +, Lec: 0 +, Conv: 1 +  and Let: 0 +