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Authoritative knowledge

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Lectures

Bhagavad-gita As It Is Lectures

We request simply people that you accept this authoritative knowledge and try to assimilate it by your intelligence.
Lecture on BG 2.13 -- Pittsburgh, September 8, 1972: So we request simply people that you accept this authoritative knowledge and try to assimilate it by your intelligence. It is not that you stop your argument and intelligence, simply blindly accept something. No. We are human beings, we have got intelligence. We are not animals that we shall be forced to accept something. No. Tad viddhi praṇipātena paripraśnena sevayā [Bg. 4.34]. In this Bhagavad-gītā you'll find. You try to understand, tad viddhi. Viddhi means try to understand. Praṇipāta. Praṇipātena means surrendering, not by challenge. A student should be very submissive to the spiritual master. Otherwise, he will be, I mean to say, bewildered. Submissive reception.

Srimad-Bhagavatam Lectures

Āstikyam means to have faith in the authoritative Vedic knowledge. That is called āstikyam.
Lecture on BG 1322 -- Hyderabad, August 17, 1976: This Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is a humble attempt to awaken the whole human society to this spiritual knowledge and act according to the instruction of spiritual life and be happy and be prepared for the next life. The perfection of next life is to become free from the laws of material nature. That is the highest perfection. Saṁsiddhiṁ paramaṁ gataḥ. That can be possible when you go back home back to Godhead. That is not very difficult at the same time. Janma karma ca divyaṁ me jānāti tattvataḥ tyaktvā dehaṁ punar janma naiti mām eti [Bg. 4.9]. Very simple thing. You simply try to understand Kṛṣṇa. Why Kṛṣṇa comes. Yadā yadā hi dharmasya glānir bhavati bhārata [Bg. 4.7]. What is dharmasya glāniḥ? What is dharma? Why does He come? Paritrāṇāya sādhūnāṁ vināśāya ca duṣkṛtām [Bg. 4.8]. Who is sādhu, who is duṣkṛta? These things are to be studied. If you neglect, if you remain like animal without studying all these what is the value of your life? So this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is trying to awaken people. "Wake up!" Uttiṣṭhata jāgrata prāpya varān nibodhata. You have got this opportunity. Try to understand yourself. Why you should go on like animals and imperceptibly change your body from one to another, one to another. This is bhava-roga. This is not very good position. we shall request you to take advantage of this movement, join it, study, and inquire, and be actually in knowledge. Jñānaṁ vijñānam āstikyaṁ brahma-karma svabhāva-jam [Bg. 18.42]. This is the business of brāhmaṇa. One who knows Brahman. Jñānaṁ vijñānam āstikyam. Āstikyam means to have faith in the authoritative Vedic knowledge. That is called āstikyam.
The conclusion should be to take authoritative knowledge from authorities—one who is beyond the four defects of common man; one who does not make any mistake. One who is not illusioned, one who does not cheat, and one whose senses are perfect.
Lecture on SB 1.2.9 -- New Vrindaban, September 7, 1972: So I have talked with so many big professors in Russia, and their theory is that "After finishing this body, everything is finished." But (if) everything is finished, then why you are working so hard, if everything will be finished? They... Their, their theory is different. That is asuric theory, asuric theory. They do not believe in the self, they do not believe in God, they do not believe in the next birth, although these are facts. Simply a sober brain with cool head, one can understand. But these are facts. They're taking risk only. Now, by ordinary common sense knowledge, if I say, "There is no next birth," that is not authoritative. Because authoritative knowledge is... Suppose from Bhagavad-gītā, next life is accepted. Tathā dehāntara-prāptir dhīras tatra na muhyati [Bg. 2.13]. The beginning of Bhagavad-gītā is to teach that soul is eternal, it is migrating from one body to another, so there is next life. That is also authoritative knowledge. But if somebody says that "There is no birth," that is not authoritative. That is a layman's statement. So a layman can put up his own theory in so many ways. Then what shall be the conclusion? The conclusion should be to take authoritative knowledge from authorities—one who is beyond the four defects of common man; one who does not make any mistake. One who is not illusioned, one who does not cheat, and one whose senses are perfect. We are devoid of all these qualifications. We commit mistakes; we are illusioned; we cheat; and at the same time, our senses are imperfect. So how we can give by speculation perfect knowledge? That is not possible. Therefore, our principle, Vedic principle, is to receive knowledge from the perfect. So-called scientists, so-called philosophers... Because basically they're imperfect, how they can give you perfect? They can speak something, "Perhaps it it like that," "Maybe like that," "Perhaps it was like that." All their theories are like that. But actual fact is different. Actual fact we get from the Supreme Person, Kṛṣṇa, that dehāntara-prāptiḥ, tathā dehāntara-prāptir dhīras tatra na muhyati [Bg. 2.13].
Actually we are understanding about the sun not by our direct eyes but through the authoritative knowledge, through the śāstra, through the books.
Lecture on SB 2.9.4-8 -- Tokyo, April 23, 1972: But we have to know actually from authentic śāstra what is the actual thing. Śāstra-cakṣusā. You don't see with your, these blunt eyes, rascal eyes We see through the śāstras. That should be. That is real knowledge. What is our capacity of these eyes, these senses? They are all imperfect. So whatever knowledge you gather, the so-called scientists, they are all imperfect. Real perfect knowledge is here, Veda. Vedaiś ca sarvaiḥ. Therefore you should see through the Vedic version what is actually the fact. So the living entities, sarva-ga. Sarva-ga means a living entity can enter anywhere, and the material function is there. Just like we say "The point has no length, no breadth." Why? But I can see point. Why length and...? "I have no instrument to measure it." That you say. You cannot say there is no length and breadth. You have no instrument to measure what is the length and breadth of the point. You say... Similarly you cannot understand what is the form of God. You say, "Oh, God is false." But from the śāstra we can understand. Here it is said that rūpaṁ sa ādi-devo jagatāṁ paro guruḥ. Brahmaṇe darśayan rūpam. So if God has no form, how He showed His form to Brahmā? He has form. Brahmā has attained the perfection to see the form of God, and the rascals who have no such perfection, they say "No form." That is the position. They, with their imperfect senses, all rascal theories, they are thinking that they have become perfect. But they are not perfect. First thing is that the senses with which you are studying, they are imperfect. What is the value of our eyes? Unless there is sunlight, you cannot see. So how can you say that "Our seeing is absolute"? It is relative. So whatever knowledge we are getting, they're all relative knowledge. Relative means according to my power I am studying, "This is this. This is this." But they are all wrong. You do not know what is actually the position. Therefore the conclusion is that we have to take knowledge from the perfect. Śāstra-cakṣusā. Your eyes should be... Actually we are doing that. Now, directly we are seeing the sun. We see just like the disk. But when you go through scientific books, geographic and other authorit..., astronomy, they, "No, the sun is fourteen hundred thousand times bigger than this planet." So actually we are understanding about the sun not by our direct eyes but through the authoritative knowledge, through the śāstra, through the books.
Vedic literature means to receive knowledge. There is difference between false knowledge and authoritative knowledge.
Lecture on SB 7.6.1-2 -- Stockholm, September 6, 1973: Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is the essence of Vedic literature. It is said nigama-kalpa-taror galitaṁ phalam idam [SB 1.1.3]. Just like a big tree. What is the essential thing in the big tree? That is the fruit. Suppose a mango tree. Big mango tree. But what we want from the mango tree? The mango. And if the mango is ripened, still, it is very nice. So it is compared, nigama-kalpa-taror galitaṁ phalam [SB 1.1.3]. Nigama means Vedic literature. Veda, Veda means knowledge. Vetti veda vidoḥ vinte vid vicaraṇe. So vid-dhātu, those who are Sanskrit scholars here, they'll understand. Vid means to know, knowledge. So Vedic literature means to receive knowledge, authoritative knowledge. Not false knowledge. False knowledge, there is difference between false knowledge and authoritative knowledge. So far we are concerned at the present moment, whatever knowledge we are giving or accepting, they are more or less false knowledge. Not authoritative knowledge. Just like we are studying the outer space, so many scientists are studying. But still they cannot give any perfect information of all the planets. Although we see, actually, we are seeing daily. Take for example the sun planet. We see every morning the sun is there. But actually we do not know what is the sun planet. There are, may be so many theories, but actually, we do not know what is the sun planet. But we can understand from the Vedic literature. The sun planet is as good as this planet. There are also cities, towns, houses, and population, and it is very big. This information we get from the Vedic knowledge. Just like in the Bhagavad-gītā it is said, Kṛṣṇa says that, imaṁ vivasvate yogaṁ proktavān aham avyayam [Bg. 4.1]. "This knowledge of Bhagavad-gītā, I spoke first to the sun-god. His name is Vivasvān." Vivasvān manave prāha. "And that Vivasvān explained this knowledge to his son Manu." Manur ikṣvākave 'bravīt. "And Manu also explained the same knowledge to his son, Mahārāja Ikṣvāku, King Ikṣvāku." He's the forefather of the kṣatriya dynasty in which Lord Rāmacandra appeared. So we get this knowledge from the Vedas, perfectly.
Kṛṣṇa says, the authoritative knowledge.
Lecture on SB 7.6.1-2 -- Stockholm, September 6, 1973: As I have explained, that, there are 8,400,000 species of life. But unfortunately, there is no proper education how the living entity, what is that living entity and how it is transmigrating from one body to another? Tathā dehāntara-prāptir. In the Bhagavad-gītā you'll find, dehino 'smin yathā dehe kaumāraṁ yauvanaṁ jarā tathā dehāntara-prāptir [Bg. 2.13]. Kṛṣṇa says, the authoritative knowledge, that, as the soul, dehi, the proprietor of the body. We do not know whether I am this body or I am the proprietor of this body. That knowledge is also lacking. Big, big professors, they do not know.

Lectures

Philosophy Discussions

Authoritative knowledge, that is real seeing.
Philosophy Discussion on Ludwig Wittgenstein:

Śyāmasundara: So our ultimate verification does not rest with our senses but with the authoritative...

Prabhupāda: Yes. Authoritative knowledge, that is real seeing. That is real seeing. Just like we have not seen Kṛṣṇa, take for example. Then all we are fools and rascals, that we are after Kṛṣṇa? People may say that "You have not seen Kṛṣṇa. Why you are after so much, Kṛṣṇa?" They can say. But then you are all set of fools. Does it mean that we are all set of fools? Then how we have seen Kṛṣṇa?

Śyāmasundara: Wittgenstein, in that respect he answers that these metaphysical or mystical ideas, even though they are not expressed in words, can be felt or appreciated without knowing whether it is true.

Prabhupāda: No. That is knowing. To know through authorities, that is knowing. That is real knowing. That is the process of Vedic knowledge: to know through the authorities. The same example: if somebody is asking, "Who is my father?" then he has to know through the authority of mother; otherwise there is no other way. So therefore to know through authority is perfect knowledge.

Conversations and Morning Walks

1968 Conversations and Morning Walks

We are talking on the basis of authoritative knowledge contained in the Vedas.
Interview with LA Times Reporter About Moon Trip -- December 26, 1968, Los Angeles:

Prabhupāda: It is not religious belief. It is not religious belief. It is fact.

Reporter: Well, I mean not...

Prabhupāda: Knowledge received from Vedic sources. You are talking on the source of knowledge from the modern scientific books, similarly, we are talking also on the source of knowledge received from Vedas. It is not a religious belief or faith, blind faith. We are not inventing anything. We are talking on the basis of authoritative knowledge contained in the Vedas.

1976 Conversations and Morning Walks

Who cares for these rascals? Nobody cares. Only some sentiment. There is no science; there is no knowledge. Here it is authoritative knowledge based on Vedic culture.
Press Conference -- April 27, 1976, Auckland, New Zealand:

Interviewer: Oh, bogus. Do you believe that Hare Kṛṣṇa is the only true faith?

Prabhupāda: Yes. This is real knowledge. We have got, I have already told you, only on this Hare Kṛṣṇa movement, there is one book by Professor Judah. Have you got that book?

Devotee: No.

Prabhupāda: He has written one book very authorized, Hare Kṛṣṇa and Counterculture. So we are being accepted by learned circle, and who cares for these rascals? Nobody cares. Only some sentiment. There is no science; there is no knowledge. Here it is authoritative knowledge based on Vedic culture.

Interviewer: But if you consider your religion to be the only religion...

Prabhupāda: It is not my—everyone's. You are in ignorance; you do not know; therefore we are trying to educate you. It is yours also. It is not a personal thing. It is meant for the living entities. That you people, you do not know, that we are all living entities.