Prabhupäda: "Only one who can learn the process of nescience and that of transcendental knowledge side by side can transcend the influence of repeated birth and death and enjoy the full blessings of immortality." [Éço 11]
So people do not understand what is immortality. They think that it is a vague idea, because no knowledge... So many things... We are very proud of our advancement of knowledge. So many things we do not know, and it is not possible to know even, by our modern experimental knowledge. It is not possible. Therefore, if you want real knowledge, then you go to knowledge. Vedas means knowledge. These Vedas means knowledge. Vetti veda vido jïäne. Veda, Veda means knowledge. So if you want real knowledge, then you have to take shelter of these Vedas, Vedic literature, just like Éçopaniñad. There are 108 Upaniñads, out of which, nine are very important. Out of that nine, this Éçopaniñad stands first, then Taittiréya Upaniñad, Mäëòükya Upaniñad, Muëòaka Upaniñad. So the Upaniñad... Upa, upa means nearing. So this knowledge will take you nearer to Kåñëa. And amongst the learned society, äcäryas, the çruti-pramäëa... Evidence is çruti. Çruti means these Vedas. They are not experimental knowledge. They are not knowledge established by the research work of contaminated, conditioned soul. Contaminated, conditioned soul, their senses are imperfect. They cannot see things as they are. Simply they theorize, "It may be like that." So much they can say. So "It may be like that," that is no knowledge. Knowledge definite. There is no mistake. Conditioned souls, they commit mistake, they are illusioned, they cheat... Cheating means one who does not understand what is Bhagavad-gétä but he is writing commentary on Bhagavad-gétä. This is cheating, cheating the public. Somebody has got some name, a scholar, and he takes advantage of the popularity of Bhagavad-gétä, and he writes some comment. And they claim that anyone can give his own opinion. But that is not the process. You cannot give any opinion. Suppose I am a preacher of Kåñëa consciousness. How I can give opinion on medical science? That is ludicrous. I can give opinion in my jurisdiction—that's all right—but if somebody asks me opinion about some medical treatment or some legal implication, so what can I do? Similarly, tad-vijïänärthaà sa gurum eväbhigacchet [MU 1.2.12].
tad viddhi praëipätena
upadekñyanti tad jïänam
Tattva-darçinaù means one who has seen, one who has realized the Absolute Truth. So you have to go there.
So avidyä måtyum. If you do not go, then you remain in darkness. It is... Vedic injunction is gacchet. This is a verb, form of verb, which says "must." It is not that "Oh, I may accept a spiritual master; I may not. There are books. I shall learn it." No. Therefore the injunction is gacchet. Gacchet means "must go," not that alternative, may go or may not go. No. "Must go." Tad-vijïänärtham, in order to understand that knowledge, that science, you must go. Samit-päëiù çrotriyaà brahma-niñöham [MU 1.2.12]. Otherwise you remain in avidyä. Vidyäm avidyäm ca: two sides, darkness and light. So you must know two things: what is mäyä and what is Kåñëa. Then your knowledge is perfect. Of course, Kåñëa is so nice that somehow or other, if you surrender to Kåñëa, then your all business finished. You automatically will learn what is mäyä if you have got full surrender to Kåñëa. Kåñëa will give you intelligence from within. Guru-kåñëa-kåpäya päya bhakti-latä-béja [Cc. Madhya 19.151], Caitanya-caritämåta. "By the mercy of spiritual master and by the mercy of Kåñëa, one enters into this devotional service." How is that? The mercy is parallel line. If you have not found out a spiritual master, but if you are sincere, then Kåñëa will take you to a bona fide spiritual master. And if you get a bona fide spiritual master, then he will take you to Kåñëa. So both things parallel. If you are sincere... Kåñëa is always sitting within your heart, caitya-guru, the spiritual master within the heart. That spiritual master within the heart manifests himself externally as spiritual master. Säkñäd-dharitvena samasta-çästrair uktas tathä bhävyata eva sadbhiù **. Säkñät, directly, directly representative of Kåñëa. This is the verdict of all çästras. Samasta. Samasta means all çästra. Säkñäd-dharitvena samasta-çästrair uktas tathä bhävyata eva **. And it is not only stated, but it is accepted as such by all great sadbhiù, devotees.
So vidyä and avidyä. We should learn what is vidyä and avidyä. Avidyä means this materialistic knowledge. That is avidyä. Bhaktivinoda Öhäkura has sung, jaòa vidyä sab mäyära vaibhava: "Advancement of material knowledge means advancement of mäyä's jurisdiction." The more you become implicated in material knowledge, entangled, you..., less you can understand Kåñëa consciousness. People, those who are supposed to be very advanced in material knowledge, they think, "Eh, what is this Kåñëa consciousness movement?" They have no attraction. Just like some of our Indian boys sometimes come. They have come here to learn technology. So sometimes they question. They are surprised that... They have rejected these things, and they have come here to learn technology. So when they see that Swamijé introduced the things which they have rejected in India, so they are surprised.
So I also came for that purpose, because our modern India has rejected spiritual knowledge. They are thinking that if they can imitate Westernized technology, then they will be happy. This is mäyä. They do not see that those who are advanced three hundred times more than us in technology, what they have got? They do not see that. India cannot advance in technology like America or Europe at least for three hundred years more, because in these Western countries they have taken this business since a very long time, but Indian culture, beginning from the creation, is spiritual culture. Vyäsadeva... Just see Vyäsadeva. He is the original guru, spiritual master, of Vedic knowledge. How he was living? In a cottage in Badarikäçrama. But just see his knowledge. He has written so many Puräëas, and Bhägavata-Puräëa is one of them. The Vedänta philosophy, Mahäbhärata, each and every verse if you study, you can study for the whole life. Similarly, in some book he has written 100,000's of verses, not less than 20,000, 25,000 verses. And each verse is so full of meaning that one has to learn it throughout his whole life. This is Vedic culture. There is no comparison of knowledge, not only in spiritual knowledge, in other department also—in astronomy, in mathematics. It is not that in the olden age there were no aeroplanes. We get so many information from Puräëas. Their aeroplane was so strong and so, I mean to say, speedy, they could easily reach other planets. Arjuna went to the heavenly planet. So material knowledge, advancement, is not that there was no advancement of material knowledge in the Vedic age. It was there, but they did not take much care of it. They were interested for spiritual knowledge. It is not that material knowledge was not there. It was there. The opulence... That opulence you cannot compare now. Gold, jewels, full—every city, every individual person, and what to speak of kings and rich men. So avidyä and vidyä. So one should know side by side what is vidyä and what is avidyä.
So avidyäya, if we advance in avidyä, or material science, then we have to repeat this birth and death, birth and... And there is no guarantee where I shall get my next birth. That is not in your hand. You cannot dictate. Now you are happy American, but after quitting this body you cannot dictate, "Please give me again an American body." No. That is not possible. You may get an American body, but you may get the American animal's body. Then you are meant for slaughterhouse. So this material knowledge, this nationalism, this socialism, they are simply spoiling time. Real knowledge is the Vedic knowledge and the knowledge of Kåñëa. That is real knowledge. Bahünäà janmanäm ante jïänavän mäà prapadyante [Bg. 7.19]. Therefore one who is in real knowledge, after many, many births, he comes to Kåñëa and surrenders unto Him, väsudevaù sarvam iti: [Bg. 7.19] "Vasudeva, Kåñëa, You are everything."
So that knowledge we are trying to distribute freely, without any charges. So our mission is very great. You should be conscious of this responsibility. We are giving this supermost thing to the human society. So you try yourself to understand thoroughly and distribute. That will make you very much, I mean to say, dear to Kåñëa. Kåñëa says in the Bhagavad-gétä, na ca tasmäd manuñyeñu kaçcid me priya-kåttamaù: "Anyone who is preaching this Kåñëa consciousness knowledge, oh, nobody is dearer than him to Me." So if you want to be very dear to Kåñëa quickly, so you preach this Kåñëa consciousness movement very nicely.