Uttama means transcendental subject matter. You cannot learn it. Just like if you purchase one pharmacology book from the bookseller's shop, and if you read, at home, do you mean that you become a medical practitioner, pharmacist

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"Uttama means transcendental subject matter. You cannot learn it. Just like if you purchase one pharmacology book from the bookseller's shop, and if you read, at home, do you mean that you become a medical practitioner, pharmacist"

Lectures

Bhagavad-gita As It Is Lectures

Uttama means transcendental subject matter. You cannot learn it. Just like if you purchase one pharmacology book from the bookseller's shop, and if you read, at home, do you mean that you become a medical practitioner, pharmacist? No. You must go to the university, you must go to the college. You must hear the experienced professor and learn it and practically experiment it. Then you can learn.
Lecture on BG 2.26 -- Hyderabad, November 30, 1972:

Evaṁ paramparā-prāptam imaṁ rājarṣayo viduḥ (BG 4.2). So that is the system. We should receive knowledge by the bona fide, paramparā system. Otherwise it may be bogus. Because without paramparā system, we cannot understand actual fact. And we have to become in the disciplic succession. We must accept a guru. Tasmād guruṁ prapadyeta jijñāsuḥ śreya uttamam (SB 11.3.21). If you are actually eager, anxious to understand the spiritual science, then you must approach a guru. Tasmād guruṁ prapadyeta jijñāsuḥ śreya uttamam. Uttama means transcendental subject matter. You cannot learn it. Just like if you purchase one pharmacology book from the bookseller's shop, and if you read, at home, do you mean that you become a medical practitioner, pharmacist? No. You must go to the university, you must go to the college. You must hear the experienced professor and learn it and practically experiment it. Then you can learn. Not that by purchasing a book you become a medical practitioner or lawyer. That is not possible. Therefore the direction is that tad-vijñānārthaṁ sa gurum eva abhigacchet: (MU 1.2.12) "Must." Here also we see, Kṛṣṇa in the beginning was talking with Arjuna just like friends. But when Arjuna understood it that "We are talking like friends. So we cannot come into conclusion." The friend, they talk, they argue, they put logic. In that way, we cannot understand. Na tāṁs tarkeṇa yojayet. Then? Tad-vijñānārthaṁ sa gurum eva abhigacchet. So therefore Arjuna surrendered himself: śiṣyas te 'haṁ śādhi māṁ prapannam (BG 2.7). Kārpaṇya-doṣopahata-svabhāvaḥ. "I, I can understand that I am a kṣatriya. It is my duty to fight. But in front of my grandfather and relatives, I am declining to fight. Therefore I am affected with kārpaṇya-doṣa. I am deviating from my duty. So why I am deviating from this duty? Therefore I am surrendering myself unto You."

So in a position of perplexity, one must approach a bona fide spiritual master. That is the process, Vedic process. Otherwise, it is not possible. And our Sanātana Gosvāmī, our predecessor, Caitanya Mahāprabhu's direct disciple, he gives his direction that avaiṣṇava-mukhodgīrṇa-pūta-hari-kathāmṛtam, śravaṇaṁ na kartavyam. He says. He says, "Do not hear from a person who is not a Vaiṣṇava." He must, one must become a Vaiṣṇava. Otherwise his so-called ideas and interpretation has no value. Has no value. Just like in your country, South India, Dr. Radhakrishnan, he has done so many works. But to tell you frankly, it is useless labor. Because he has said in one of his writings that Bhagavad-gītā is mental speculation. He is surpassing all the ācāryas who came, who appeared in South India. Rāmānujācārya appeared in South India, Madhvācārya appeared in South India. Nimbārka appeared in South India. Viṣṇu Svāmī appeared in South India. Śaṅkarācārya appeared in South India. South India is so blessed. And he also appeared in South India. He's decrying all the ācāryas. Just see the position. He says, "Bhagavad-gītā is a mental speculation." And he has interpreted in a different way. Kṛṣṇa says that man-manā bhava mad-bhakto mad-yājī māṁ namaskuru (BG 18.65). And if you have seen Dr. Radhakrishnan's translation of Bhagavad-gītā, he says, "It is not to Kṛṣṇa." Kṛṣṇa says directly that man-manā bhava mad-bhaktaḥ. He says, "Not to Kṛṣṇa." You'll see. So this defect will be there, unless one is sadācāra-sampanna-vaiṣṇava, self-realized. Therefore Sanātana Gosvāmī says, avaiṣṇava-mukhodgīrṇa-pūta-hari-kathāmṛtam. Our first guru is Kṛṣṇa. To understand Bhagavad-gītā... Arjuna is understanding that Bhagavad-gītā from Kṛṣṇa directly. So after understanding Bhagavad-gītā, Arjuna accepts Kṛṣṇa as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Paraṁ brahma paraṁ dhāma pavitraṁ paramaṁ bhavān, puruṣaṁ sāśvatam ādyam (BG 10.12). These are the words. And Arjuna also accepted "It is very, very difficult to understand Your personality."