Prabhupāda: Kṛṣṇa says, "After many, many births' cultivation of knowledge, when one is actually wise, jñānavān..." Jñānavān means has attained wisdom. Bahūnāṁ janmanām ante jñānavān māṁ prapadyate: (BG 7.19) "He surrenders unto Me." Why? Vāsudevaḥ sarvam iti: (BG 7.19) "He understands, 'Oh, Vāsudeva, Kṛṣṇa is everything.' " Sa mahātmā sudurlabhaḥ: "Such great soul is very rare." And in the tenth chapter,
- ahaṁ sarvasya prabhavo
- mattaḥ sarvaṁ pravartate
- iti matvā bhajante māṁ
- budhā bhavā-samanvitāḥ
- (BG 10.8)
"I am the origin. I am the source of everything. Everything emanates from Me. One who knows this science perfectly, he is budhā, he is intelligent, and he becomes engaged in Kṛṣṇa consciousness." And the Vedānta-sūtra also, the first aphorism is athāto brahma jijñāsā: "Now it is the time for inquiry about the Absolute, Brahman." So what is Brahman? The next aphorism is janmādy asya yataḥ: (SB 1.1.1) "Brahman, the Absolute, is that from whom everything is coming, emanating." That Absolute is personally saying, mattaḥ sarvaṁ pravartate: "Everything is emanating from Me." So if you study Vedic literature very scrutinizingly, then you come to this conclusion, that Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme. Therefore Kṛṣṇa consciousness will include all other knowledge. Just like if you have got million dollar, ten dollar is included, five hundred dollar is included, thousand dollar is included. But one who has got ten dollar or five hundred dollar, he cannot claim that he has got million dollar. Similarly, Kṛṣṇa science means full spiritual knowledge. That is accepted by the ācāryas. And even you are speaking of Maharsi. He has written some book on Bhagavad-gītā?
John Lennon: Yes. That's the one we've read.
Prabhupāda: So why he's taking Kṛṣṇa's book as authority? Bhagavad-gītā is Kṛṣṇa's book. Everyone knows. Why he's taking Kṛṣṇa's book?
George Harrison: Well, he didn't. He just translated it into English.
Prabhupāda: Why? Unless he has got some respect for that book?
John Lennon: But I've also read another, part of another translation by Yogananda, Paramahamsa Yogananda.
Prabhupāda: Everyone will have to take Kṛṣṇa's book first to prove their authority.
Yoko Ono: But, er... What...
Prabhupāda: Vivekananda has taken, Aurobindo has taken, Dr. Radhakrishnan has taken, Mahatma Gandhi... There are thousands and thousands. So why do they take Bhagavad-gītā?
George Harrison: So that we can read it in English.
Prabhupāda: No, no. It is not the question of English. It is the question of the thoughts. English it may be or Parsee it may be. That doesn't matter. Why do they take shelter of the thoughts of Bhagavad-gītā unless they accept Bhagavad-gītā as authority? Why they quote from Bhagavad-gītā? So why not directly Bhagavad-gītā? If Bhagavad-gītā is the authority for everyone, why not Bhagavad-gita as it is? That is our proposition.
George Harrison: But Bhagavad-gītā as it is is Sanskrit.
Prabhupāda: No, we have made English.
George Harrison: Yes, but they all make it English.
John Lennon: But that must be also a translation, mustn't it? Whoever puts it into English. I mean...
Prabhupāda: So you also read any Bhagavad-gītā translation only. You don't read the original.
George Harrison: Well, which is the original? It's the same as the Bible.
Prabhupāda: Original is there. Origin is Sanskrit.
Yoko Ono: It's in Sanskrit, but we don't read Sanskrit.
John Lennon: Yes, but it's pointless, me reading Sanskrit, because I don't understand Sanskrit.
Prabhupāda: Therefore you have to take translation.
George Harrison: So then there's all, a hundred translations.
John Lennon: And interpretations.
George Harrison: Which is again like all the roses and all the different flowers. It's a matter of taste as to which one. Because everybody claims their version is the best. All the versions I've read, they all say... And sometimes I get something from one which I don't get from something else.
Devotee: Did you ever read any without any commentary at all? Just straight?
George Harrison: Just straight translation?
Devotee: Without any commentary.
George Harrison: Just the Sanskrit, you mean?
Devotee: No. Just the translation.
George Harrison: Well, that's really what they are, you know. They all have a translation. Some of them have a commentary as well, on top of that. But just again the translations, you know, it depends on who's translating as to what the translation is.
Devotee: That's all right. So you have to go through an authority. Someone who's...
John Lennon: But how do you know one authority from the other?
George Harrison: The world is full of authorities, really, you know. (Prabhupāda chuckling)
Yoko Ono: There's five hundred authorities, you know, who...
John Lennon: I found that the best thing for myself is to take a little bit from here and a little bit from there and a little bit from there. (Prabhupāda chuckles)
Yoko Ono: I mean, we're not just saying that. We want to ask your advice on that. In other words, what is your answer to that. Your saying there's five hundred versions.
Prabhupāda: Bhagavad-gītā is seven hundred verses.
Yoko Ono: All right, so seven hundred. I don't know. But what I mean is you use the word authority, saying why would he translate that into English without authority? Now, what is the authority and who has the authority?
Prabhupāda: Authority is the original text.
Yoko Ono: Yes, but everybody's translating from the original text, I'm sure you know.
Yoko Ono: So what's the difference between one and the other?
Prabhupāda: Therefore we say that sampradāya-vihīnā ye mantrās te viphala mataḥ. If we then don't take from the disciplic succession of the authority... Just like Kṛṣṇa. Now, take for example. We have explained this in our introduction, that nobody is authority. Don't care. Kṛṣṇa is authority because Bhagavad-gītā is spoken by Kṛṣṇa. That you cannot deny. Can you deny that?
Yoko Ono: Is Kṛṣṇa translated...
Prabhupāda: Kṛṣṇa is authority. Kṛṣṇa is authority.
Yoko Ono: Yes, all right. Did He translate it into English?
Prabhupāda: Just hear me.
Yoko Ono: Yes.
Prabhupāda: Kṛṣṇa is authority, you accept?
Yoko Ono: Yes.
Prabhupāda: Is that all right?
John Lennon: Yes.
Prabhupāda: Then you see what Kṛṣṇa says. That is authority. Why should you hear anyone else? Now, what Kṛṣṇa has said, to understand that, that you have to search out if you are serious student.
John Lennon: How do we know if somebody else, Yogananda, Maharsi, and all these different people that have translated it, how are we to tell that their version isn't Kṛṣṇa's word from your version?
Prabhupāda: Therefore I say if you are serious student, then you study Sanskrit, original.
John Lennon: Study Sanskrit? Oh, now you're talking.
George Harrison: But Vivekananda said that books and rituals and dogmas and temples are secondary details, anyway. He said they're not the most important thing, anyway. You don't have to read the book in order to have the perception.