There are many Upaniṣads, they are called Vedas. Upaniṣads are the headlines of the Vedas. Just like in a chapter there is a headline, similarly these Upaniṣads are the headlines of the Vedas. There are 108 Upaniṣads, principal. Out of that, nine Upaniṣads are very important. So out of those nine Upaniṣads, Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad, Taittireya Upaniṣad, Aitareya Upaniṣad, Īśopaniṣad, Īśa Upaniṣad, Muṇḍaka Upaniṣad, Māṇḍūkya Upaniṣad, Kaṭhopaniṣad, these Upaniṣads are very important. And whenever there is argument on some point, one has to give reference from these Upaniṣads. If one can give reference from the Upaniṣads, then his argument is very strong. Śabda-pramāṇa. Pramāṇa means evidence. Evidence... If you want to gain in your case... Just like you have to give very nice evidence in a court, similarly, according to Vedic culture, the evidence is pramāṇa. Pramāṇa means evidence. Śabda-pramāṇa. There are three kinds of evidences accepted by the learned scholars in Vedic culture. One evidence is pratyakṣa. Pratyakṣa means direct perception. Just like I am seeing you, you are seeing me. I am present, you are present. This is direct perception. And there is another evidence which is called anumāna. Suppose in that room, and I am coming just now, I do not know whether any person there is or not. But there is some sound, I can imagine, "Oh, there is somebody." This is called anumāna. In logic it is called hypothesis. That is also evidence. If by my bona fide suggestions I can give evidence, that is also accepted. So direct evidence, and, what is called, hypothesis or suggestion evidence. But the strong evidence is śabda-pramāṇa. Śabda, śabda-brahman. That means Vedas. If one can give evidence from the quotation of the Vedas, then it has to be accepted. Nobody can deny the Vedic evidence. That is the system. How it is so? Caitanya Mahāprabhu has given very nice example. That is in the Vedas. Just like we keep conchshell in the Deities' room. Conchshell is considered very pure, transcendental; otherwise, how we can keep before Deity and you blow conchshell? You offer water with conchshell. How you can offer? But what is this conchshell? The conchshell is the bone of an animal. It is nothing but bone of an animal. But the Vedic injunction is that if you touch the bone of an animal, you'll have to take bath immediately. You become impure. Now one may say, "Oh, this is contradiction. In one place it is said that if you touch the bone of an animal, then you have to purify yourself by taking bath immediately, and here, the bone of an animal is in the Deities' room. So it is contradiction, is it not? If bone of an animal is impure, how you can place it in the Deities' room? And if bone of an animal is pure, then what is the meaning of becoming impure and take bath?" You'll find similar contradiction in the Vedic injunctions. But because it is said by the Vedas that bone of an animal is impure, you have to accept. But this bone of an animal, conchshell, is pure. Just like sometimes our students are perplexed when we say that onion is not to be taken, but onion is a vegetable. So śabda-pramāṇa means the Vedic evidence should be taken in such a way that no argument. There is meaning; there is no contradiction. There is meaning. Just like several times I have told you that cow dung. Cow dung is, according to Vedic injunction, is pure. In India it is actually used as antiseptic. In villages especially, there is large quantity of cow dung, and they're, all over the house they have smeared to make the house antiseptic. And actually after smearing cow dung in your room, when it is dried, you'll find refreshed, everything antiseptic. It is practical experience. And one Dr. Ghosh, a great chemist, he examined cow dung, that why cow dung is so much important in the Vedic literature? He found that cow dung contains all the antiseptic properties. In Āyur-veda, cow dung dried and burned into ashes is used as toothpowder. It is very antiseptic toothpowder. Similarly, there are many things, many injunctions in the Vedas, which may apparently appear as contradiction, but they are not contradiction. They are on experience, on transcendental experience. Just like a father says to his child that "My dear child, you take this food. It is very nice." And the child takes it, believing the father, authority. The child knows that "My father..." He is confident that "My father will never give me anything which is poison." Therefore he accepts it blindly, without any reason, without any analysis of the food, whether it is pure or impure. You have to believe in such a way. You go to a hotel because it is licensed by the government. You have to believe when you take foodstuff there it is nice, it is pure, or it is antiseptic, or it is... But how do you know it? The authority. Because this hotel is authorized by the government, it has got license, therefore you believe. Similarly śabda-pramāṇa means as soon as there is evidence in the Vedic literature, "This is this," you have to accept. That's all. Then your knowledge is perfect because you are accepting things from the perfect source. Similarly Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa is accepted as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Whatever He says, it is all right. Accept. Arjuna said at last, sarvam etad ṛtaṁ manye (BG 10.14). "My dear Kṛṣṇa, whatever You say I accept it." That should be our principle.
If one can give evidence from the quotation of the Vedas, then it has to be accepted. Nobody can deny the Vedic evidence. That is the system
Bhagavad-gita As It Is Lectures
If by my bona fide suggestions I can give evidence, that is also accepted. So direct evidence, and, what is called, hypothesis or suggestion evidence. But the strong evidence is śabda-pramāṇa. Śabda, śabda-brahman. That means Vedas. If one can give evidence from the quotation of the Vedas, then it has to be accepted. Nobody can deny the Vedic evidence. That is the system.
... more about "If one can give evidence from the quotation of the Vedas, then it has to be accepted. Nobody can deny the Vedic evidence. That is the system"