(Click to enlarge illustration of a blind scientist using an imperfect instrument)
Devotee: Is there a Vedic definition of science?
Prabhupāda: Vijñāna. Jñāna-vijñāna. (break) ...not this science, experimental. That is not science. Vedic knowledge is science.
Devotee: So there is no experimental science in Vedic culture.
Prabhupāda: Experimental science is condemned. What you will make, ex... You are imperfect. What is the value of your experiment? Therefore it is rejected. Whatever you'll do, that is imperfect. First of all you become perfect; then you make experiment. But you are... You remain imperfect, and you making experiment. What is the value of it? (break) ...is no experimental knowledge. All established truth. That is vijñāna, or science.
Devotee: Established truth.
Prabhupāda: Yes. The sun rises on the eastern side; that is established truth. You cannot change it. And that is vijñāna. Man dies. This is established truth. You cannot make any change by experimental knowledge. This is vijñāna. Nṛpa nirnita: "It is already settled." In the Vedic knowledge there is no such thing as laboratory or experiment, discovery, nothing.
Devotee: People blindly would accept that cow dung was purified without having to test it.
Prabhupāda: Yes. But you make experiment; you will find it all right. So we save time (break) ...no experiment... (break) ...experiment has become successful? Hm?
Devotee: Well, they've cured certain diseases by experimentation.
Prabhupāda: That is success? You stop disease. What is this, "cure disease"? Malaria, if it is not here, it is somewhere there. And if I am not suffering from malaria, I am suffering from syphilis. So what is this cure, experiment? Disease must be there. So you stop it. Then it is success.
Devotee: So it is not possible to stop disease.
Prabhupāda: No. How it is possible?
Devotee: Is it worthwhile to try to prolong life?
Prabhupāda: It is also condemned. Prolonged life... Suppose you live hundred years and a tree lives five thousand years, ten thousand years. Then what is the use of prolonging life, life like this? Is that very good life?
Prabhupāda: Standing in one place for ten thousand years? Why should you prolong your life? For suffering? You are suffering, that is your problem, so what is the use of prolonging your life? This is foolishness. What do you gain by prolonging life if you are suffering? Stop suffering. That is wanted. How you can stop suffering? With suffering, prolonging life, what is the benefit?
Devotee: Just means more, longer suffering.
Prabhupāda: Yes. And even if you prolong life, how long you'll prolong? There are trees. They are thousand times prolonging than your life. In... What is called? San Francisco, the Golden...
Devotee: Redwood trees.
Prabhupāda: Redwood trees. One redwood, already seven thousand years old, they told me. So what is the benefit, seven thousand years standing in one place, very long? Hm? What is the benefit? You are trying to prolong life. Very good idea. But what is the use of prolonging life while suffering? One side, you are trying to prolong life; the other side, for acute suffering, one is committing suicide. So why this contradictory proposal?
Devotee (2): Well, only some people commit suicide. As far as I'm concerned, I'm very happy. I have my car, my air conditioner...
Prabhupāda: That means you are fool number one. That means you are fool number one. As soon as you say, "I am happy," it is immediately proved that you are a rascal, fool number one.
Devotee: But everyone is afraid of death. They don't like the idea of dying. Put if off.
Prabhupāda: Yes. So therefore, you cure that first of all; then prolong life that there will be no death. Then you prolong life is... Make some understand. (aside: Can go this side?)
Devotee (2): So it's not possible that anyone's happy? There is no possibility of anyone being happy.
Prabhupāda: No. One who thinks he is happy, he is number one fool.
Devotee: Everyone is searching after material happiness.
Prabhupāda: Yes. But there is no happiness.
Devotee (2): What about if one is in the mode of goodness? Maybe one or two...
Prabhupāda: Mode of goodness... If he thinks that he is happy, then he is fool. The mode of goodness means one must know that we cannot be happy here. That is mode of goodness. And if he thinks, "I am happy," then he is not in mode of goodness. He's in darkness.
Devotee: So everyone at present is trying to become happy by this or that activity.
Prabhupāda: They are fools, rascals.
Devotee: So if everyone accepts that there is no happiness at all to be found in this world...
Prabhupāda: Then they are intelligent.
Devotee: Then what to do?
Prabhupāda: Yes. Tad-vijñānārtham... Therefore you go to guru. Go to Kṛṣṇa.
Devotee (3): Do I have to join your movement to be happy? Can I just take Kṛṣṇa consciousness outside your movement?
Devotee (3): So there is no possibility of me being Kṛṣṇa conscious outside your movement.
Prabhupāda: Kṛṣṇa consciousness can be developed with devotees. Alone it is difficult.
Devotee (3): If I start my own community outside the movement?
Prabhupāda: Yes. The community means many devotees.
Devotee: So you were saying, Śrīla Prabhupāda, that if there is no happiness and one recognizes it, then he goes to guru.
Prabhupāda: Then he must... Just like Arjuna submitted to Kṛṣṇa because he was disturbed. So that is the point where one must approach a guru, how to become happy. That is intelligence. Athāto brahma jijñāsā: "Now inquire about real happiness."
Devotee: So one who is looking for material happiness...
Prabhupāda: He's a fool.
Devotee: ...it is very difficult for them to approach guru.
Prabhupāda: He is a fool, rascal, blind. Where there is happiness not possible, he is trying to find out happiness. Therefore he is a fool. Which is not possible, if one tries for it, then he is fool.
Devotee (2): But I look around and I see everybody else enjoying.
Prabhupāda: Because you are fool, you are seeing like that. That is the proof that you are a fool.
Devotee (2): They all tell me what a great time...
Prabhupāda: Kṛṣṇa says, duḥkhālayam aśāśvatam (BG 8.15), and you are finding out happiness. Then how much fool you are. The best authority says that "This is a place of suffering," and you are finding out happiness. So how much fool you are, it is very difficult to estimate. (laughter) Therefore Vedic knowledge is perfect. Now just like there is signboard, "No admission." So who is the fool, create some trouble by entering into it? He's a fool. If there is signboard, "There is no admission," and if somebody enters to create some trouble, he is not a fool? So Kṛṣṇa says, "There is no happiness," and if somebody searches happiness, he is not a fool? That is... Therefore Kṛṣṇa consciousness required, that he gets perfect knowledge from Kṛṣṇa. He has no trouble. Kṛṣṇa said, "There is no happiness," and if somebody thinks, "All right, although Kṛṣṇa said, let me try for it," then he is a fool.
Devotee: Similarly, they say that they can cure disease, but it's impossible.
Prabhupāda: How it is possible? The disease is suffering, and this place is suffering, so where is the question of curing disease? Kṛṣṇa consciousness means intelligence. We are guided by Kṛṣṇa, so there is no trouble. Everything is all right. That is Kṛṣṇa conscious. And as soon as you make experiment like fools and rascal, then you are doomed.
(Srila Prabhupada Morning Walk, Johannesburg, October 20, 1975)