Guest: How long it will take for anyone can achieve perfection? How many stages one must go through, or how many years, how many centuries?
Prabhupāda: No. There is no such stereotype rules that you have to do it for so many years, so many... It depends on your personal energy of progress. It is very simple to understand. Suppose a man is diseased. No doctor can guarantee that "This will be cured in so many days." You see? It depends on the situation of the patient's condition and accepting the treatment. Similarly, it can be cured in one day or it may not be cured in one thousand days. That will depend on the patient.
(break) ...have got instances that one got perfection in Kṛṣṇa consciousness within a few second also. That is also possible. Because it is spiritual, it does not depend on any material rules and regulation. It depends on my seriousness. Just like in the Bhagavad-gītā you have got instruction by Lord Kṛṣṇa,
mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja
ahaṁ tvāṁ sarva-pāpebhyo
mokṣayiṣyāmi mā śucaḥ
"My dear Arjuna, you just surrender unto Me, and I take charge of you and make you free from all reaction of your past activities." So if we seriously surrender to God, or Kṛṣṇa, then immediately our desire is fulfilled. Immediately.
But we are not prepared. That is the difficulty. Māyā will instruct me, "Why? Why you shall surrender?" That's it. So it depends on me how long it will take to cure this disease. Therefore in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam it is said, sa vai puṁsāṁ paro dharmo yato bhaktir adhokṣaje (SB 1.2.6): "That type of religion is perfect by which one can surrender or can incline, can be inclined, or develop love of God." That's all.
It does not mention which religion you shall accept. You accept any religion. But test is, perfection of that religious procedure, whether you have developed ecstatic love for God. If you have achieved that, then that religious principle is first class. Sa vai puṁsāṁ paro dharmaḥ. Para means transcendental, first class; yato bhaktiḥ: "By executing which, you can have, I mean, develop, Kṛṣṇa consciousness or God consciousness." And that process is called ahaituki, "without any reason"; apratihatā, and it cannot be checked by any material condition.
If somebody thinks that "Well, I have been sinful for so many years, and even if I surrender to the God, it will take so many years," no, it is not like that. The surrendering process, if it is perfect, the result is immediately perfect. Ahaituky apratihatā yayātmā suprasīdati. And by such Kṛṣṇa consciousness, development of Kṛṣṇa consciousness, one's mind becomes fully satisfied. Yayātmā suprasīdati. Prasīdati means satisfaction, fully satisfied. Every one of us are trying to satisfy, to become satisfied. That is possible by attaining full Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, Montreal, June 14, 1968)