Suppose if I say before you that "There is nobody greater than me," oh, you'll think, "Oh, Swāmījī is very proud." Yes. If a man like me, who is conditioned by so many, I mean to say, restriction, if I say that I am the greatest of all, that is a blasphemy. I cannot say that. But Kṛṣṇa can say. Because the history of life from Kṛṣṇa, we can understand that actually He was the greatest personality. At least, during His time, He was the greatest personality in every field of activities.
Now knowledge received from the greatest personality, greatest authority, is, according to Vedic system, that is accepted as perfect. There are three kinds of proofs. According to the Vedic system, they accept three kinds. For establishing truth, they, they take three kinds of proofs: pratyakṣa, anumāna, aitihya. In logic also, these three kinds of proofs are accepted. What is that? Now, direct perception. You are seeing. I am sitting here. That is direct knowledge. I am seeing that you are sitting here. That is direct knowledge, pratyakṣa.
Anumāna. Anumāna means just like the children are playing there. We are hearing their sound. So we can conjecture that there are some children. We don't see the children. But we can conjecture, we can think, we can imagine that there are some children who are playing there. This is called anumāna.
Pratyakṣa, anumāna and aitihya, or śabda-pramāṇa. Śabda-pramāṇa means to take the truth from the highest authority. That is called śabda-pramāṇa. Just like "Man is mortal." Now, this "Man is mortal," nobody knows wherefrom this sound has come first, who has experienced that man is mortal. But we are accepting this. We are accepting this.
By tradition, we know man is mortal. Now if we, if somebody says: "Who found this truth first? Who discovered that man is mortal?" that is very difficult to say. But it is coming down. The knowledge is coming down, "Man is mortal," and we accept everything. There are so many examples. So out of these three, the Vedic knowledge, they say that this aitihya, or the knowledge received from the authority, is the most perfect.
Neither, I mean to say, imagination or hypothesis nor direct. Direct perception is always imperfect, especially in the conditioned stage of life. Just like direct perception—with our eyes we see the sun just like a disc, not more than your plate on which you take your meals. But from authority, aitihya, we understand the sun is so many millions times greater than this earth. So which of them is right? By seeing your direct perception, sun just like a disc—is it right? Or you take it from authority the sun is such-and-such times bigger than the earth? Which one of them you'll accept?
But you are not going to prove it that the sun is so great. You do not know. You accept from some scientist, from some astronomers, from some authority, that sun is so great. But you have no capacity to see yourself whether the sun is so great or not. Therefore the knowledge received from authority actually we are accustomed, and we are accepting this type of knowledge in every field of our activities.
Now, what is this newspaper? Oh, you, from newspaper you understand that, "In China such-and-such things have taken place. And in India such-and-such things have taken place." Or from radio message you understand that "Such-and-such things have taken place." But you are not experiencing them directly, whether such-and-such things have actually taken place. But you accept the authority of the newspaper. You accept the authority of newspaper and you believe it, that in China such-and-such things have taken place and in India such-and-such things have taken place, which is far beyond the range of your direct perception.
Similarly, there are many instances. We have to believe the authority to take knowledge. And the more the authority is perfect, your knowledge is perfect. The more the authority is perfect, your knowledge is perfect. Direct perception in all cases, it is not possible to receive direct perception of everything.