(Srila Prabhupada's original editions of Bhagavad-gita As It Is)
Devotee: Is there any way for a Christian to, without the help of a spiritual master, to reach the spiritual sky through believing in the words of Jesus Christ and trying to follow his teachings?
Prabhupāda: I don't follow.
Devotee (2): Can a Christian in this age, without a spiritual master, but by reading the Bible and following Jesus's words, reach the...
Prabhupāda: When you read Bible, you follow spiritual master. How can you say without? As soon as you read Bible, that means you are following the instruction of Lord Jesus Christ, that means you are following spiritual master. So where is the opportunity of being without spiritual master?
Devotee: I was referring to a living spiritual master.
Prabhupāda: Spiritual master is not the question of... Spiritual master is eternal. Spiritual master is eternal. So your question is without spiritual master. Without spiritual master you cannot be, at any stage of your life. You may accept this spiritual master or that spiritual master. That is a different thing. But you have to accept. As you say that "by reading Bible," when you read Bible that means you are following the spiritual master represented by some priest or some clergyman in the line of Lord Jesus Christ. So any case, you have to follow a spiritual master. There cannot be the question without spiritual master. Is that clear?
Devotee: I mean like we couldn't understand the teachings of the Bhagavad-gītā without your help, without your presentation.
Prabhupāda: Similarly, you have to understand Bible with the help of the priest in the church.
Devotee: Yes. But is he receiving a good interpretation from his disciplic succession or his bishop? Because there seems to be some kind of a discrepancy in the interpretation of the Bible. There's many different sects of Christianity that interpret the Bible in different ways.
Prabhupāda: Of course, there cannot be any interpretation in the Bible. Then there is no authority of Bible. If you interpret something... Just like "Call a spade a spade." So if you call something else, that is a different thing. He's not spiritual master. Just like this is watch. Everybody has called it watch, and if I call it spectacle, then what is the value of my being spiritual master? I'm misleading. (laughter) It is watch, that I must say. So when there is misinterpretation, he's not a bona fide spiritual master. He's not spiritual master, what is called a bona fide. If I want to teach you how to see this watch, I can say that "This is called watch and this is called hand and this is called time indication; this is, this called...," so that is nice. And if I say that "Everybody says it is watch. I say it is spectacle," then what kind of a spiritual master I am? Reject him immediately. That intelligence you must have, who is a pseudo spiritual master or real spiritual master. Otherwise you'll be cheated. And that is being done. Everyone is interpreting in his own way. The Bhagavad-gītā, there are thousands of editions, and they have tried to interpret in their own way, all nonsense. They should be all thrown away. Simply you have to read Bhagavad-gītā as it is. Then you'll understand. There is no question of interpretation. Then the authority is gone. As soon as you interpret, then there is no authority. Lawbook. Do you mean to say in the court if you say before the judge, "My dear lord, I interpret this passage in this way," will it be accepted? The judge will at once say, "Who are you to interpret? You have no right." Then what is the authority of this lawbook if everyone comes, "I interpret in this way"? And interpretation when required? When a thing is not understood. If I say, "It is watch," and everyone understands that "This is watch, yes," then where is the opportunity of interpreting that this is spectacle? If anyone can understand the clear passage...
Just like in the Bible, "God said, 'Let there be creation,' and there was creation." Where is the question of interpretation? Yes, God created. You cannot create. Where is the opportunity of interpretation? So unnecessary interpretation is not required and that is not bona fide, and those who are interpreting unnecessarily, they should be rejected immediately. Immediately, without any consideration. God said, "Let there be creation." So there was creation. Simple thing. Where is the question of interpretation? What can be the interpretation here? Suggest that this can be interpretation. Am I right? In the beginning of the Bible it is said like that? "God said, 'Let there be creation,' and there was creation." So what is your interpretation? Tell me what is your interpretation. Is there any possibility of interpretation? Can any one of you suggest? Then where is the opportunity of interpretation? One can explain. That is different thing, but the fact that God created, that will remain. That you cannot change. Now, how that creative process took place, that is explained in Bhāgavatam: First of all, there was sky, then there was sound, then there was this, that. This is the process of creation, that is another thing. But the fact, the primary fact that God created, that will remain at any circumstances. Not the rascal scientist says, "Oh, there was a chunk and it is split up, and there was these planets. Perhaps this and likely this," all this nonsense. They'll simply interpret, "likely," "perhaps." That is not science—"likely," "perhaps." Why perhaps? Here is clear statement, "God created." That's all. Finish. Yes.
(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, Seattle, October 2, 1968)