The wise man becomes by knowledge, not by age. Even an old man, if he has no knowledge, what is...? He is not wise man. Wise means one who has attained knowledge. He may be young, he may be old. It doesn't matter

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"The wise man becomes by knowledge, not by age. Even an old man, if he has no knowledge, what is...? He is not wise man. Wise means one who has attained knowledge. He may be young, he may be old. It doesn't matter"

Conversations and Morning Walks

1973 Conversations and Morning Walks

The wise man becomes by knowledge, not by age. Even an old man, if he has no knowledge, what is...? He is not wise man. Wise means one who has attained knowledge. He may be young, he may be old. It doesn't matter. Vidyatvaṁ vayasā vinā. In Sanskrit word, that one becomes elderly without being advanced in age. That means he knows the knowledge. Therefore he is elderly. An elderly person means advanced in knowledge, not by age.
Room Conversation with Father Tanner and other guests -- July 11, 1973, London:

Prabhupāda: Weakness is hypocrisy. If you are weak, you cannot become priest. Because you are teacher, religious teacher. You should not take that post. That is hypocrisy.

Father Tanner: But perhaps this is the difference, or one of the differences between western and eastern civilization...

Prabhupāda: No, it is not the question of eastern or western...

Father Tanner: But in the East, your wise man is nearly always an elderly man.

Prabhupāda: Not always.

Father Tanner: Not always.

Prabhupāda: Not always.

Father Tanner: But in the West, you know, your priest is generally made a priest in his early twenties. Then he has thrust upon him the role of the wise man, which he doesn't always seek.

Prabhupāda: Just like these boys, they are very young, twenties, between twenty to thirty. So they are made here brahmacārī, and some of them are sannyāsī, but they are strictly following these principles. Because they are young men, there cannot be any concession that he can become intoxicants, he can indulge in meat-eating. No.

Father Tanner: But would you think of a young man as wise man? Isn't it normal that a young man is working his way towards wisdom?

Prabhupāda: The wise man becomes by knowledge, not by age. Even an old man, if he has no knowledge, what is...? He is not wise man. Wise means one who has attained knowledge. He may be young, he may be old. It doesn't matter. Vidyatvaṁ vayasā vinā. In Sanskrit word, that one becomes elderly without being advanced in age. That means he knows the knowledge. Therefore he is elderly. An elderly person means advanced in knowledge, not by age.

Father Tanner: Hm. But, you see, knowledge and attainment aren't the same thing. You know, I may know that it is wrong to be an alcoholic, and maybe I am not actually, physically an alcoholic, but it doesn't mean to say that interiorally I have cleansed myself of all addiction. The fact that you are not drinking for a year doesn't mean to say that you have overcome the intoxicant urge if that is in you, although you know it is wrong.

Prabhupāda: No, this argument is not very strong. Just like one foodstuff, freshly made, it is fresh. But if somebody argues that if it remains four days more, it will become bad, that is surmisation. Now it is fresh. We take it fresh. What will happen in future, that is no consideration. In future, everyone may fall and everyone may become elevated. But we have to take his present situation, what he is at present.