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If you want to become pure by your arguments and logic, that is not possible. I may be defeated by another strong man who is stronger in argument than me, so this is not the way of becoming purified

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"If you want to become pure by your arguments and logic, that is not possible. I may be defeated by another strong man who is stronger in argument than me, so this is not the way of becoming purified"

Lectures

Bhagavad-gita As It Is Lectures

We have to follow the footprints of pure devotees. It is said that tarkaḥ apratiṣṭhaḥ. If you want to become pure by your arguments and logic, that is not possible. I may be defeated by another strong man who is stronger in argument than me, so this is not the way of becoming purified, tarka, simply arguing.
Lecture on BG 2.1-10 and Talk -- Los Angeles, November 25, 1968:

Vīrabhadra: In the āśrama, and before that when you said that a brāhmaṇa is... Do you mean, when you say brāhmaṇa, do you mean... I mean are they... the devotees who are not pure but...

Prabhupāda: Yes, they're also pure devotees because they're following my instruction. Just like a technician, he is expert, but somebody is assisting him. So the assistants, because they are following the instruction of the expert, therefore their work is also complete. So it is not necessarily that one has to become pure devotee immediately. Just like we are also following the instruction of our spiritual master. I don't claim that I am pure devotee or perfect, but my only qualification is that I am trying to follow the instruction of the perfect. Similarly... This is called disciplic succession. Just like here it is stated that Kṛṣṇa is the original spiritual master and Arjuna is the original student. So Arjuna said that sarvam etad ṛtaṁ manye yad vadasi keśava (BG 10.14). "My dear Kṛṣṇa, whatever You are saying, I accept in toto," in the Tenth Chapter. Just like Dr. Radhakrishnan says, "It is not to Kṛṣṇa, it is something else." He does not accept in that way. He says that "Whatever You are saying, I accept it. You are saying that You are the Supreme, I accept it. I don't say that You have got a separate thing within. That is Supreme, You are not Supreme, as person." This is impersonalist. They do not know that Kṛṣṇa has no such... A conditioned soul... Just like we are, I am different from my soul. "I am" means my body, or I am soul, different from the body. So Kṛṣṇa has no such differentiation. He does not know that. Because he's not following Kṛṣṇa, the perfect spiritual master. He's following some rascal spiritual master. Therefore he has this mistake. But if we follow Arjuna and Kṛṣṇa, then we get the perfect knowledge. We may not be cent percent perfect, but as far as possible, if we follow the instruction as it is, that much perfect. In this way one will get perfection.

So one has to follow. The same example, try to understand, that a perfect, expert technologist or technician or mechanic is working, and somebody is working under his instruction. So this somebody, because he is strictly working under the instruction of the expert, he's also expert. He may not be cent percent expert, but his work is expert. Is that clear? Because he is working under the expert. Do you follow? So if you follow pure devotee, then you are also pure devotee. It may not be one is cent percent pure. Because we are trying to raise ourself from the conditional life. But if we strictly follow the pure devotee, then we are also pure devotee. So far we do, that is pure. So pure devotee does not mean one has to become immediately cent percent pure. But if he sticks to the principle that "We'll follow a pure devotee," then his actions are... He is as good as a pure devotee. It is not I am explaining in my own way. It is the explanation of Bhāgavata. Mahājano yena gataḥ sa panthāḥ (CC Madhya 17.186). We have to follow the footprints of pure devotees. It is said that tarkaḥ apratiṣṭhaḥ. If you want to become pure by your arguments and logic, that is not possible. I may be defeated by another strong man who is stronger in argument than me, so this is not the way of becoming purified, tarka, simply arguing. Tarkaḥ apratiṣṭhaḥ smṛtayo vibhinnāḥ (CC Madhya 17.186) . Śrutayaḥ, scriptures. Suppose somebody sticks to the scriptures. So scriptures, there are different types of scripture. So they are vibhinna. Vibhinna means different types. So how we can become purified by, even by following the scriptures? Tarko 'pratiṣṭhaḥ smṛtayo vibhinnā na cāsāv ṛṣir yasya mataṁ na bhinnam. Muni means thoughtful, philosophers. If we follow a particular type of philosopher, that is also not perfect because I may be under the care of a philosopher, frog philosopher. So that is also not sure. Tarko 'pratiṣṭhaḥ smṛtayo vibhinnā na cāsāv ṛṣir yasya mataṁ na bhinnam, dharmasya tattvaṁ nihitaṁ guhāyām.

Therefore to become pure or to understand the essence of purity is very confidential. It is not to be acquired by our own efforts, by argument or by being expert in scripture or by becoming a philosopher or a similar way. It is very confidential. Then how? Mahājano yena gataḥ sa panthāḥ (CC Madhya 17.186). You have to follow a pure devotee, acknowledged devotee. Similarly, in the Bhagavad-gītā, if we follow Arjuna, then we understand Bhagavad-gītā as it is. But if we don't follow Arjuna, if we follow somebody, Dr. Frog, or create our own interpretation, then we remain impure. So mahājano yena gataḥ sa panthāḥ. We have to follow the footprints of mahājana, great soul. So here is directly you are meeting great soul, Arjuna. He is directly being taught Bhagavad-gītā by the original teacher. Who can be greater authority than Arjuna? So as Arjuna accepts Bhagavad-gīta, if you accept Bhagavad-gītā in that way, then your study of Bhagavad-gītā is perfect. It is very simple. Therefore I'm saying here that Kṛṣṇa is the original teacher, and Arjuna is the original student. So you follow the original student, you understand Bhagavad-gītā. Even Kṛṣṇa is not present before you. He is present by His words. This is the way of following what is pure. Yes?

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: Can Kṛṣṇa give us the ability to someday remember every word that you are saying to us now? Because I myself, I forget so much. I want to hear just how you are talking and I can't.

Prabhupāda: What is that? I don't follow.

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: I want to be able to hear you saying exactly what you're saying now. I want to always be able to hear it, but I forget. My memory is very poor.

Prabhupāda: Why? No. If we try... Memory may be poor. Everything depends on cultivation. If you cultivate something, your memory increases. Everyone becomes expert not in one day but by cultivation. Similarly, if you try to remember, then your memory will help you to remember. It is not difficult. That is stated in the Bhagavad-gītā, that we have to try to remember Kṛṣṇa. He's so beautiful, His instructions are so nice. If we simply remember Kṛṣṇa... That was the perfection approved by Lord Caitanya. I think I have narrated the story. When Lord Caitanya was traveling in South India in a big temple, Raṅganātha temple, He went to see the Deity, and He saw one brāhmaṇa was reading Bhagavad-gītā. And people were joking him, "Oh, Mr. brāhmaṇa, how you are reading Bhagavad-gītā?" Because they were the neighbors, they knew that this brāhmaṇa was illiterate and he was studying Bhagavad-gītā. So they were joking. But the brāhmaṇa did not care them. He was taking the book and in his own way he was reading. Caitanya Mahāprabhu saw this incident, He came to the brāhmaṇa. So He asked the brāhmaṇa, "My dear brāhmaṇa, what you are reading?" So he could understand "This persons is not joking with me; He is serious." So he explained, "My dear sir, I am reading Bhagavad-gītā. Unfortunately, I am illiterate. I do not know even the alphabets." "Why you are reading Bhagavad-gītā?" So he said that, "My spiritual master knows that I am illiterate, but still, he has asked me to read Bhagavad-gītā. What can I do? Therefore I have taken this book. I am seeing simply. I do not know how to read." "Oh, that's all right. You cannot read. But I see that you are crying. How you are crying if you are not reading?" "Yes, I am crying. Of course, there is cause." "What is that?" "As soon as I take this Bhagavad-gītā, I remember Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa is sitting as driver and Arjuna is hearing. I have heard the story. I know something of the instruction but cannot read. So as soon as I take this book, this picture comes before me and I simply think, 'Oh, how Kṛṣṇa is nice that He has become a charioteer of His devotee. He is so great. Still, He has accepted a menial service of His devotee.' This gives me so much pleasure that I cry." Caitanya Mahāprabhu embraced him, "Your Bhagavad-gītā reading is perfect. You have taken the essence." So this is the thing. If you simply remember Kṛṣṇa is teaching Arjuna and Arjuna is hearing, if you simply remember the picture, that is sufficient. Even if you think that you cannot read. Because after all we have to become Kṛṣṇa conscious. We haven't got to become a learned man to argue with another learned man. If it is possible we can do that, but that does not make any difference if I cannot argue with others or if I cannot teach very nicely Bhagavad-gītā to others. Simply if I remember this picture, that is perfection. Because we have to become Kṛṣṇa conscious. We have to simply think of Kṛṣṇa. You think in any way. That is your perfection. Smartavyaḥ satataṁ viṣṇuḥ. This is the injunction. You have to think of Viṣṇu always. This is samādhi; this is meditation; this is yoga siddhi, perfection of yoga.