Young woman: All right. You answered my question. Thank you very much for answering my question. You said... I asked you what goodness was, Swamijī, and you said goodness was knowledge.
Young woman: Now could you explain what you meant by knowledge? What? Spiritual knowledge or...?
Prabhupāda: No. First of all what is knowledge?
Young woman: Knowledge is material.
Prabhupāda: Knowledge means that you must know what you are. This is knowledge. If you don't know what you are, then what is the meaning of your knowledge? So real knowledge means that ahaṁ brahmāsmi: "I am not matter, I am a spirit soul." That is real knowledge. On the basis of this real knowledge, whatever is done, that is done in knowledge; otherwise it is done in ignorance. That is the difference. Knowledge and difference. Knowledge is not that you have to get degrees from the university, big, big degrees. No. Real knowledge is that "I am," ahaṁ brahmāsmi, "I am spirit soul." If one has realized this one word only, then he is in knowledge. He's in knowledge. One who has not realized this thing, he's in ignorance. Yasyātma-buddhiḥ kuṇape tri-dhātuke (SB 10.84.13). Anyone who has accepted this body, which is made of three elements, sva-dhiḥ kalatrādiṣu bhauma-ijya-dhīḥ, and therefore accepted the bodily productions as his own or the place or the land where this body is produced is worshipable... There are so many other things. Naturally, at the present moment, knowledge means that "This is my country." "I am American," "I am Indian," "I am Chinese." Why? "Because my body is produced from this land." So this is ignorance. Your body... Why your body? The cow's body is also produced from this land. Why do you kill? It has got also right. But because he has no knowledge actually, therefore he is trying to protect his body, but he's not protecting the other's body produced from the land. This is want of knowledge. If he has real knowledge that "I am Brahman, I am spirit," then he can see, samaḥ sarveṣu bhūteṣu: "Oh, the spirit. The cow is also spirit soul, the dog is also spirit soul, I am also spirit soul. Otherwise how I am moving?" The cow is moving, the dog is moving. So,
- brāhmaṇe gavi hastini
- śuni caiva śva-pāke ca
- paṇḍitāḥ sama-darśinaḥ
- (BG 5.18)
This equal vision is possible for a learned man who sees a learned brāhmaṇa, a dog, an elephant, a cow, on the same basis. What is that basis? Spiritual understanding. So unless you are in the spiritual platform, the so-called knowledge has no value. That is not knowledge. That is ignorance. So real knowledge means spiritual knowledge, that "I am Brahman. I am spirit." Then,
- brahma-bhūtaḥ prasannātmā
- na śocati na kāṅkṣati
- samaḥ sarveṣu bhūteṣu
- mad-bhaktiṁ labhate parām
- (BG 18.54)
Other things will follow, and he will be very jolly. This is... A person in knowledge should be in, I mean to say, happiness. That is a sign of knowledge. So one who is in knowledge, he is not disturbed. What was my answer? Huh? (break) Yad anyat tad ajñānam iti matam. Bhagavad-gītā, Bhagavān said. He has given the definition of knowledge, eighteen items. You'll find in the Thirteenth Chapter. Ahiṁsā. What is called? There are eighteen items. You'll find in the Thirteenth Chapter. The most important point is māṁ ca vyabhicāreṇa bhakti-yogena sevate. The principal point is to become Kṛṣṇa conscious. That is knowledge. Then all knowledge will come automatically. Yasyāsti bhaktir bhagavaty akiñcana. If you take to this knowledge, that Kṛṣṇa or the Supreme Lord, Absolute Truth, He is eternal master and we are all eternal servitors, this very knowledge will elevate you to other platforms of knowledge. Yasyāsti bhaktir bhagavaty akiñcana sarvair guṇais tatra samāsate surāḥ (SB 5.18.12). Then all the symptoms of knowledge will automatically manifest in his person. Therefore this is the best process of becoming a man of knowledge or wise man. (end)