(Click to enlarge photo of Srila Prabhupada and disciples)
"One who knows past, present, and future perfectly, we should take knowledge from him. That is our Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement, that we don't accept any knowledge from a person who is defective in so many ways. And what is the value of such knowledge? He is defective. 'Physician heal thyself.' A physician suffering from fever, and if I go there, 'Sir, I am also feverish. Treat,' what is the use of such treatment? His brain is already puzzled. What he can treat? The doctors also, when he become sick, he does not treat himself. He calls another doctor friend to treat him. That is the fashion.
So similarly, one who is imperfect, one who is subjected to so many defects of life, we cannot accept knowledge from them. This is our Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. We don't accept. We accept knowledge from the Vedas, which is perfect. As I have several times explained, the Veda says that stool of animal is impure. Again Veda says that the stool of cow is pure. Now, you will say, 'Oh, this is contradictory. Sometimes it is said pure, and sometimes... This cow is also animal. First of all, you said that the stool of any animal is impure, and again you say the cow dung, the stool of another animal, is pure.' It is fact. It is pure. So if we accept the standard perfect knowledge from the Vedas, or one who knows the Vedas, then our knowledge is perfect. Therefore in the Bhagavad-gītā Kṛṣṇa says,
tad viddhi praṇipātena
upadekṣyanti te jñānaṁ
One who has seen the Absolute Truth, or one who has known the Absolute Truth, go there and take knowledge by surrendering. Praṇipātena. Praṇipāta means surrendering. Paripraśnena. Don't make question, waste his time. After you surrender, after you render service, then make question. Otherwise, there is no need of question. Don't waste your time, don't waste his time. An outsider has no right to put any question because he is not surrendered. And a spiritual master is not obliged to answer anyone except to his disciple. This is the Vedic way. Don't waste time for unnecessary questions and answers. But we have to do something sometimes. But that is not the way, unless one surrenders fully, praṇipātena, and renders service. Service means whatever the spiritual master wants, 'You do this,' you must do it, just like a menial servant. Nīcavat. Nīcavat.
Of course here, in your country, there is no... In India there is a śūdra class. They are..., generally they are servant class. That is called nīcavat. So servant class... A brahmacārī living at the care of spiritual master, he is advised that 'You shall carry out the orders of your spiritual master nīcavat, just like the śūdra class.' Because a person coming to spiritual master, they are coming from brāhmaṇa family or kṣatriya family or high caste family. But he may say, 'Oh, I am coming from a brāhmaṇa family, and my spiritual master is ordering to brush his shoes? Oh, how can I do?' Therefore it is advised, nīcavat. When you are serving spiritual master, you should always think that 'I am lowest of the animals.' Nīcavat. In that condition you can simply inquire. Otherwise, you have no capacity. There is no need of wasting time, because he will not understand. He will unnecessarily... Praṇipāta.
Praṇipāta means surrender. So nobody wants to surrender, especially in this material world. Everyone thinks, 'Oh, I am the lord. I am the monarch of all I survey. Why shall I surrender?' Independent. Especially in the Western countries. They are refusing to surrender to the social laws, to the king's law, everything. But here is the process: surrender. Surrender means everyone is puffed up with some so-called knowledge, and he thinks that 'I am perfectly all right. My knowledge is perfect. Why shall I surrender?' But if you want to receive knowledge actually from the person who has actually knowledge, then you must surrender there. This is the process. Just like Vyāsadeva first of all: paraṁ satyaṁ dhīmahi. This is surrender. Surrender. Without surrender, we cannot get knowledge. And in another... There are many places. Jñāne prayāsam udapāsya namanta eva. To understand God, Brahmā says, jñāne prayāsam udapāsya. Leaving, giving up this nonsense habit of speculation, 'God is like this, God is like that,' prayāsam, jñāne prayāsam... The jñānīs, they are discriminating, 'No, this is not God.' The scientists, they will say, 'This is the fact.' And then, one year after, 'No, this is not fact. Now we have improved, another.' And again, three years after, they will say another. There is no standard knowledge. What is the final knowledge, they do not know. Therefore these kind of speculative habits or scientific research is simply waste of time. They cannot understand what is the ultimate truth.
Then Vedic injunction is: jñāne prayāsam udapāsya. 'Give up this nonsense habit, speculation.' Namanta eva: 'Be submissive. Admit that you do not know anything. You have to learn from the person who knows.' Jñāne prayāsam udapāsya namanta san-mukharitāṁ bhavadīya-vārtām: 'Then what shall I...? All right. I shall not speculate. I have become humble now. Now what to do?' San-mukharitāṁ bhavadīya...: 'Just try to learn about God from the devotee, pure devotee.' San-mukharitāṁ bhavadīya-vārtām. So in this way we can understand God. That is the process. Arjuna, when he was hearing from Kṛṣṇa, he also surrendered, although he was His friend, very intimate friend, always sitting together, eating together, lying together, talking together. He also accepted Kṛṣṇa, śiṣyas te 'haṁ śādhi māṁ prapannam: (BG 2.7) 'I am surrendered unto You, my dear Kṛṣṇa. I have become Your disciple. Please teach me.' So this is the Vedic process. This is the Vedic process."
(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, London, August 16, 1971)