How to conclude what is the right path?
Bhagavad-gita As It Is Lectures
Then how to conclude what is the right path? I cannot establish it by my imperfect arguments. I cannot consult even the scriptures. Neither I can take real instruction from different philosophers. Then what, what is the way of having the real thing? "We have simply to see that great personalities, as they have taken up, we have to follow. That's all."
Lecture on BG 2.12 -- New York, March 7, 1966: Now, how to understand that which is beyond our conception? The scriptures says like this, acintyaḥ khalu ye bhāvā na tāṁs tarkeṇa yojayet: "Anything which is beyond our conception, beyond our reasoning power, beyond our approach of the material senses, such things we should not try to have conception simply by arguments." So in the Vedic injunction it is said that tarkaḥ apratiṣṭha: "By... What should be the... What should be our real understanding, that we cannot establish simply by argument." Tarkaḥ apratiṣṭhaḥ smṛtayo vibhinnāḥ: [Cc. Madhya 17.186] "If we consult different scriptures, then we'll find that one scripture is speaking something, another scripture is speaking something else." Just like cow-killing. Take, take it for example. The Hindus, they say that cow-killing is irreligious. The Muhammadans say, "No, cow-killing is religious." There is some adjustment, but... Now, in the scripture I see that the cow-killing, in some scriptures it is said that cow-killing is irreligious, and another scripture says that cow-killing is religious. So which of them I shall accept? This is ni... This is all right, or that is all right? So therefore it is said that smṛtayo vibhinnāḥ. If you consult different scriptures, you'll find different contradictory statements. Your scripture may be different from my scripture. And nāsau munir yasya mataṁ na bhinnam. If you consult philosophers, you'll find one philosopher is differing from another philosopher. A big philosopher means who has cut down other philosophers and put up his own theory, "This is true." This is going on. So tarko 'pratiṣṭhaḥ smṛtayo vibhinnā nāsau munir yasya mataṁ na bhinnam. Then how to conclude what is the right path? I cannot establish it by my imperfect arguments. I cannot consult even the scriptures. Neither I can take real instruction from different philosophers. Then what, what is the way of having the real thing? So it says that dharmasya tattvaṁ nihitaṁ guhāyām: "The truth of religiosity is very confidential, very secret." So how to know it? Mahājano yena gataḥ sa panthāḥ: [Cc. Madhya 17.186] "We have simply to see that great personalities, as they have taken up, we have to follow. That's all." Just like in your Christian religion you may not understand all the Biblical injunctions or you may not have the time, but you'll simply, if you follow the ideal life of Lord Jesus Christ, then you get the same result. Similarly, the Muhammadans, if they follow the ideal life of Muhammad, Hazrat Muhammad, so they get the result. Mahājano yena gataḥ sa panthāḥ [Cc. Madhya 17.186]. Just like in a unknown path, in a village, especially when there is a field... Now, in, in the city, you can know that "I have come so far" because the streets are numbered and the, you have got the location and there are some symptoms, this house or that house. But in the country, everything, every, every place is of the same similar nature, the same jungle, the same field, the same grass. We do not know where I am going. Or in the sea. Or in the sea. I have got experience. Have you ever traveled in the sea? No. But when I was coming from India, so everywhere I see a round only, round of water. I do not know which way the ship is proceeding. You see? But they have got a chart. They have got a chart. By latitude, longitude, by time and by chart, they are calculating. Now, I was asking the Captain, "Where we have come?" He was saying, in the Mediterranean Sea, "Oh, we are so many miles from Italy. We are so many miles from..." Like this. "Tunisia. Now we are coming to Gibraltar." Like this. But I was seeing all vast of water only. I was seeing, "Just after ten miles I shall reach," but it never reaches. So then how, what are these charts? The charts are that experienced sailors, they have made the charts. The captain was also consulting that chart because it was made by experienced sailors. That is nothing. So similarly in calculating in which way we have to find out our salvation is to follow such liberated souls.