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Unless one becomes under the control of acarya, he has no perfect knowledge

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Expressions researched:
"Unless one becomes under the control of acarya, he has no perfect knowledge"

Lectures

Bhagavad-gita As It Is Lectures

One has to learn by surrendering, praṇipāta. So first of all there must be a strong impulse to inquire about the transcendental subject matter. Then one requires a guru. Not that, to follow a fashion, that one has guru. Ācāryavān puruṣo veda. Unless one becomes under the control of ācārya, he has no perfect knowledge. Therefore the Vedas says, tad-vijñānārthaṁ sa gurum evābhigacchet: (MU 1.2.12) "For understanding that transcendental science, one must approach a guru." And what is the symptom of guru? Samit-pāṇiḥ śrotriyaṁ brahma-niṣṭham: Guru means one who has complete knowledge of Vedic version, and not only that, he is a staunch or fixed-up devotee of the Supreme Lord. These are the qualification. The guru strictly follows the Vedic injunction and teaches the same thing to his disciple. That is guru.
Lecture on BG 2.11 (with Spanish translator) -- Mexico, February 11, 1975:

Prabhupāda: So here Kṛṣṇa says to Arjuna that... Because he has accepted the leadership of Kṛṣṇa, therefore Kṛṣṇa is chastising him in this way. He is chastising in this way, that Arjuna was talking with Kṛṣṇa as friends. So friends means equal status, but he gave up that status. He took the status of a disciple. A disciple means who voluntarily agrees to be disciplined by the spiritual master. When one becomes disciple, he cannot disobey the order of the spiritual master. Śiṣya. Śiṣya, this word, comes from the root śās-dhātu, means "I accept your ruling." So previously Arjuna has accepted, śiṣyas te 'haṁ śādhi māṁ prapannam: (BG 2.7) "I am now surrendered to You, and I agree voluntarily to accept Your ruling." This is the relationship between the spiritual master and the disciple. So we have got ten kinds of offenses in chanting the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra. So the first offense is guror avajñā, means to disobey the orders of guru, spiritual master. One cannot disobey the orders of guru. Caitanya Mahāprabhu, although He is Kṛṣṇa Himself, he also says, guru more mūrkha dekhi' karila śāsana: (CC Adi 7.71) "My guru, My spiritual master, saw Me a fool, and therefore he has chastised Me." So therefore Kṛṣṇa... Because Arjuna has accepted Kṛṣṇa as guru, therefore He is chastising him that "You are lamenting on a subject matter which is not done by any learned man." That means "You are not a learned man. You are fool." "The learned man does not do like this"—that means "You are not learned man because you are doing this." So Kṛṣṇa said that "You... Practically you are not in the knowledge of things. Still, you are lamenting on the bodily concept of life." Anyone who accepts this body as self, he is not only unlearned, but he is compared with the animal. That is the statement in the Vedic literature,

yasyātma-buddhiḥ kuṇape tri-dhātuke
sva-dhīḥ kalatrādiṣu bhauma ijya-dhīḥ
yat-tīrtha-buddhiḥ salile na karhicij
janeṣv abhijñeṣu sa eva go-kharaḥ
(SB 10.84.13)

Go means cow, and khara means ass. So anyone who accepts this body as self, he is animal, he is not human being. That is the beginning of knowledge. People are accepting knowledge from a school, college, university, but at the present moment at least, how many people know that he is not body? Unless we understand this first principle of knowledge, there is no question of spiritual advancement of life. So the beginning of Bhagavad-gītā is to give lesson that we are not this body. It will be later on explained that the spirit soul, or the real person, is within this body. Just like we are here. We are within this shirt and coat, but we are not the shirt and coat. So if the shirt and coat is stolen and if somebody becomes mad after it and lamenting, that is not very good sense. Therefore He is saying that aśocyān anvaśocas tvam: (BG 2.11) "You are lamenting on the subject matter which is never done by any learned man." So we shall go further on? Yes? Read, you, purport in Spanish. (break)

Hṛdayānanda: (translating question from Spanish) ...one does not follow the instructions of guru.

Prabhupāda: Then he's misguided. A ship without rudder, or without captain. A ship without captain.

Hṛdayānanda: (translating) He wants to know why Lord Caitanya is not mentioned in the Bhāgavatam with the other incarnations.

Prabhupāda: He has not mentioned, but Bhāgavata has mentioned. No, you don't bring any other question. You talk about this, which we have lectured. In this way, if you bring other question, that is not... We are discussing one verse. You can put question on this, not irrelevant question. Of course, that is not irrelevant, but not in connection with these verses. So question means in connection with this verse.

Hṛdayānanda: (translating) How can we understand the guru?

Prabhupāda: How do you understand? When you go for treatment to a physician, how do you understand that here is a physician? How do you understand? Tell me?

Hṛdayānanda: He says by the title and reputation.

Prabhupāda: Yes. Some way or other, you know that he is a physician. So similarly, you have to find out guru. Guru... First of all, who requires a guru? That is the question. Because guru is not a fashion... The... It is said in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, tasmād guruṁ prapadyeta: (SB 11.3.21) "On account of this, you should go to a guru." What is that account? Tasmād guruṁ prapadyeta jijñāsuḥ śreya uttamam: "One who is very much inquisitive to know about spiritual affair, he requires a guru." Spiritual affair means that... We are in this material world. We are suffering. When the question will come in one's mind, "Why I am suffering?" that is spiritual. Just like an animal is being taken to the slaughterhouse. He cannot inquire, "Why I am being taken to the slaughterhouse?" But if a man is being taken forcibly, he'll protest; he will cry; he'll call crowd. Therefore human being can inquire about spiritual affair. So when there is spiritual inquiry, then one requires a guru. And by going to guru, as it is stated, tad viddhi praṇipātena paripraśnena sevayā (BG 4.34). One has to learn by surrendering, praṇipāta. So first of all there must be a strong impulse to inquire about the transcendental subject matter. Then one requires a guru. Not that, to follow a fashion, that one has guru. Ācāryavān puruṣo veda. Unless one becomes under the control of ācārya, he has no perfect knowledge. Therefore the Vedas says, tad-vijñānārthaṁ sa gurum evābhigacchet: (MU 1.2.12) "For understanding that transcendental science, one must approach a guru." And what is the symptom of guru? Samit-pāṇiḥ śrotriyaṁ brahma-niṣṭham: Guru means one who has complete knowledge of Vedic version, and not only that, he is a staunch or fixed-up devotee of the Supreme Lord. These are the qualification. The guru strictly follows the Vedic injunction and teaches the same thing to his disciple. That is guru. So first thing is: one must be inquisitive to understand about the spiritual subject matter. Just like you have come here in this temple. You know that here nothing like political meeting is going on. Here something spiritual matter is being discussed. Therefore you have come. This inclination is the beginning of spiritual life. This is called śraddhā. Śraddhā means faith.

So this śraddhā has to be developed further, and to develop this śraddhā, or faith, one has to associate with persons who are keeping with this faith. Therefore it is said, ādau śraddhā tataḥ sādhu-saṅgaḥ: (Cc. Madhya 23.14-15) "First of all faith, then to associate with persons who are devotees and faithful..." In this way, when further development is done, then atha bhajana-kriyā, means the learning the process of devotional service. (break) ...gambling, no meat-eating. These are not wanted. In the beginning of life nobody smokes or nobody becomes intoxicated. It is learned by bad association. Similarly, it can be given up by good association. They are called anarthas. Anartha means unwanted bad habits. So when we are children, innocent, we have no bad habits, but as we grow and associate with bad company, we also acquire all these bad habits. So to give up all these bad habits means we have to associate with sādhus or devotees, saintly persons. Then we can give it up. This is called anartha-nivṛtti, means giving up all unwanted bad habits. These things are not wanted. Nobody dies if he does not smoke or drink. Nobody dies. So artificially we learn it, so by good association we can give it up. So when we are purified out of all the bad habits, then we become fixed up in spiritual knowledge. So in this way we make advance in spiritual life, and at the last stage we become lover of God. This is the process, and one who teaches this process, he is guru. This is the definition of guru.

Visnu Murti +
December 18, 0011 JL +
December 18, 0011 JL +
BG: 0 +, SB: 0 +, CC: 0 +, OB: 0 +, Lec: 1 +, Conv: 0 +  and Let: 0 +