(Click to enlarge photo of Srila Prabhupada)
Prabhupāda: Tad-vijñānārthaṁ gurum eva abhigacchet (MU 1.2.12). This is Vedic injunction. If you want to know perfectly everything, then you must go to the proper teacher. Then you will learn. But how you can imagine from here? A dwarf is trying to touch the moon. How it is possible? That is not possible. The Vedic injunction is, in order to... Tad-vijñānārtham. Higher science. Vijñāna means science. If you want to know higher science—not this science, simply filling of the belly; not this science—higher science, which is above the fulfilling the belly, that, for that purpose, you have to go to guru. Guru means who knows more than you. That is guru. So who can know more than Kṛṣṇa? Therefore we have to accept Kṛṣṇa as guru and learn from Him. Then you'll get perfect knowledge. And Kṛṣṇa also says that tad viddhi. Here Veda says, tad-vijñā... Tat, tat, sat, the real knowledge, transcendental knowledge, tat sat, which is eternal. So here Vedas says that tad viddhi, tad-vijñānārtham, and Kṛṣṇa also says tad viddhi: "You try to understand this transcendental knowledge." Tad viddhi praṇipātena (BG 4.34). Don't go to a guru to challenge him: "I shall see how much my guru knows." Then it will be useless. Praṇipātena.
Rūpa Gosvāmī, when he was in Vṛndāvana, he was known, the most learned scholar. So one mundane scholar came, and he approached Rūpa Gosvāmī and said, "Sir, I want to talk with you on śāstras." So Rūpa Gosvāmī said, "Why talking with me about śāstras?" "Now, you are well known, so well known about śāstra, Vedic literatures. So I want to test you." "So what is the purpose?" "Now, if I can defeat you, then I will be renowned." "All right. I am defeated." So there is no question of talking, because Rūpa Gosvāmī saw, "What is the use of talking with this rascal? He is for material name and fame." "So what do you want?" "Now, if you think that you are less intelligent, then give me in writing." "All right, I am giving in writing that 'This scholar has defeated me.' " So he gave him. (laughs) But Jīva Gosvāmī, his nephew, at the same time disciple, he was standing outside, that... He said, "What is that?" "Now your uncle has already given me in writing that he is defeated." "Let me see." So he took the paper. So he said, "All right, let us talk now." So when he talked with Jīva Gosvāmī, what is his learning? He became defeated. So sometimes, if somebody goes to challenge the guru, the real guru will say, "What is the use of talking with this nonsense? Better say that 'You know better than me.' That's all. 'Go away.' " Upekṣa. Upekṣa. Neglect him, because he has no intention to learn. He has come to simply waste time.
So a person like Rūpa Gosvāmī, why he will waste time talking with a nonsense? No. Actually, teaching is for the student, not for outsiders. All these talks should be between... The student means who has surrendered. That... he is student. Otherwise, what is the use of wasting time? There is no use. Therefore Kṛṣṇa said that tad viddhi praṇipātena (BG 4.34). Praṇipātena means fully surrendering. If you have still doubts to surrender, then don't waste time. Don't waste time. That is not the way. Tad viddhi praṇipātena paripraśnena sevayā. Guru has to be given service, that nīcavat. That nīcavat. Nīcavat means menial servant. Whatever guru will say... Guru says, "Just brush my shoes." "Yes, sir." You cannot think, "Oh, I am coming from such a respectable person, I am so much learned, and my guru is asking me to 'Brush my shoe'? No, I am not doing it." No, then you are not disciple. Nīcavat. That is the training.
So praṇipāta, if you find out somebody where you can fully surrender, then accept guru. Don't make guru a fashion, just like you keep a dog, fashion, pet dog. People, they generally do that, that "Everyone has a guru. Let me collect. Let me pick up some guru who will be dancing dog." That kind of guru will not help you. You must be convinced that "Here is a guru where I can surrender." So then you can make praśna, or question. Then the question will be answered. Otherwise it is waste of time. That is not the Vedic system, simply waste of time.
(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, Honolulu, May 22, 1976)