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Empty sophistry may show off some mundane erudition, but it cannot help one make spiritual progress. In fact, these dry empirical debates often create big hurdles. So it is better to avoid them

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Expressions researched:
"empty sophistry may show off some mundane erudition, but it cannot help one make spiritual progress. In fact, these dry empirical debates often create big hurdles. So it is better to avoid them"

Other Books by Srila Prabhupada

Renunciation Through Wisdom

Beyond the sensual realm lie indirect, subtle perceptions, which need to be properly understood. But they can be understood properly only if one sees their relationship to the inconceivable, transcendental Absolute Truth. Without seeing this connection, one will find all discussion of these subtle perceptions to be like beating the chaff for grain—a mere exercise in futility that brings only frustration and distress. Such empty sophistry may show off some mundane erudition, but it cannot help one make spiritual progress. In fact, these dry empirical debates often create big hurdles. So it is better to avoid them.
Renunciation Through Wisdom 5.1:

There is a wide gulf between superficial dabbling in philosophy to impress people with a few stock phrases, and a sincere search for knowledge of the Absolute. Through the speculative process it is impossible to fathom the inconceivable topics concerning the Absolute Truth, for they can be understood only through the science of devotion. As Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī writes in his Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu, quoting from the Mahābhārata:

acintyāḥ khalu ye bhāvā
na tāṁs tarkeṇa yojayet
prakṛtibhyaḥ paraṁ yac ca
tad acintyasya lakṣaṇam

Anything transcendental to material nature is inconceivable and thus cannot be grasped through mundane arguments. Therefore one should not try to understand transcendental subjects in this way.

Without the mercy of the Supreme Lord, such esoteric subjects are incomprehensible, even if one spends many years researching them. Beyond the sensual realm lie indirect, subtle perceptions, which need to be properly understood. But they can be understood properly only if one sees their relationship to the inconceivable, transcendental Absolute Truth. Without seeing this connection, one will find all discussion of these subtle perceptions to be like beating the chaff for grain—a mere exercise in futility that brings only frustration and distress. Such empty sophistry may show off some mundane erudition, but it cannot help one make spiritual progress. In fact, these dry empirical debates often create big hurdles. So it is better to avoid them.

It is strongly recommended that one simply follow in the footsteps of spiritual stalwarts who act according to the scriptural injunctions and the spiritual guidelines given by saintly souls and guru. One should not raise too many doubts and questions. As the Lord states in the Bhagavad-gītā, tad viddhi praṇipātena paripraśnena sevayā: (BG 4.34) "Just try to learn the truth by approaching a spiritual master. Inquire from him submissively and render service unto him." This process, which strictly follows the Vedas, will bring us to a realization of the inconceivable truth. Once we are on this path, many realizations dawn on us, and it is imperative that we pursue them in order to progress further. The faint illumination of knowledge that appears at first is certain to lead to full enlightenment, but we have to be patient. We must carefully avoid letting pride enter our hearts because of some initial perceptions of the inconceivable Absolute; rather, we must eagerly approach the guru, or the pure devotee, and ask how to proceed. We must reject the narrow and bigoted idea that there is nothing more to know. The most important point is to always fully depend on the mercy of the supreme spiritual master residing in the heart.