1. Becoming a pure devotee

    Virabhadra:  … when you say brahmana, do you mean… I mean are they… the devotees who are not pure but…

    Prabhupada: Yes, they’re also pure devotees because they’re following my instruction. Just like a technician, he is expert, but somebody is assisting him. So the assistants, because they are following the instruction of the expert, therefore their work is also complete. So it is not necessarily that one has to become pure devotee immediately. Just like we are also following the instruction of our spiritual master. I don’t claim that I am pure devotee or perfect, but my only qualification is that I am trying to follow the instruction of the perfect. Similarly… This is called disciplic succession. Just like here it is stated that Krsna is the original spiritual master and Arjuna is the original student. So Arjuna said that sarvam etad rtam manye yad vadasi kesava [Bg. 10.14]. “My dear Krsna, whatever You are saying, I accept in toto,” in the Tenth Chapter.  Just like Dr. Radhakrishnan says, “It is not to Krsna, it is something else.” He does not accept in that way. He says that “Whatever You are saying, I accept it. You are saying that You are the Supreme, I accept it. I don’t say that You have got a separate thing within. That is Supreme, You are not Supreme, as person.” This is impersonalist. They do not know that Krsna has no such… A conditioned soul… Just like we are, I am different from my soul. “I am” means my body, or I am soul, different from the body. So Krsna has no such differentiation. He does not know that. Because he’s not following Krsna, the perfect spiritual master. He’s following some rascal spiritual master. Therefore he has this mistake. But if we follow Arjuna and Krsna, then we get the perfect knowledge. We may not be cent percent perfect, but as far as possible, if we follow the instruction as it is, that much perfect. In this way one will get perfection.

    So one has to follow. The same example, try to understand, that a perfect, expert technologist or technician or mechanic is working, and somebody is working under his instruction. So this somebody, because he is strictly working under the instruction of the expert, he’s also expert. He may not be cent percent expert, but his work is expert. Is that clear? Because he is working under the expert. Do you follow? So if you follow pure devotee, then you are also pure devotee. It may not be one is cent percent pure. Because we are trying to raise ourself from the conditional life. But if we strictly follow the pure devotee, then we are also pure devotee. So far we do, that is pure. So pure devotee does not mean one has to become immediately cent percent pure. But if he sticks to the principle that “We’ll follow a pure devotee,” then his actions are… He is as good as a pure devotee. It is not I am explaining in my own way. It is the explanation of Bhagavata. Mahajano yena gatah sa panthah [Cc. Madhya 17.186]. We have to follow the footprints of pure devotees. It is said that tarkah apratisthah. If you want to become pure by your arguments and logic, that is not possible. I may be defeated by another strong man who is stronger in argument than me, so this is not the way of becoming purified, tarka, simply arguing. Tarkah apratisthah smrtayo vibhinnah [Cc. Madhya 17.186] . Srutayah, scriptures. Suppose somebody sticks to the scriptures. So scriptures, there are different types of scripture. So they are vibhinna. Vibhinna means different types. So how we can become purified by, even by following the scriptures? Tarko ‘pratisthah smrtayo vibhinna na casav rsir yasya matam na bhinnam. Muni means thoughtful, philosophers. If we follow a particular type of philosopher, that is also not perfect because I may be under the care of a philosopher, frog philosopher. So that is also not sure. Tarko ‘pratisthah smrtayo vibhinna na casav rsir yasya matam na bhinnam, dharmasya tattvam nihitam guhayam.

    Therefore to become pure or to understand the essence of purity is very confidential. It is not to be acquired by our own efforts, by argument or by being expert in scripture or by becoming a philosopher or a similar way. It is very confidential. Then how? Mahajano yena gatah sa panthah [Cc. Madhya 17.186]. You have to follow a pure devotee, acknowledged devotee. Similarly, in the Bhagavad-gita, if we follow Arjuna, then we understand Bhagavad-gita as it is. But if we don’t follow Arjuna, if we follow somebody, Dr. Frog, or create our own interpretation, then we remain impure. So mahajano yena gatah sa panthah. We have to follow the footprints of mahajana, great soul. So here is directly you are meeting great soul, Arjuna. He is directly being taught Bhagavad-gita by the original teacher. Who can be greater authority than Arjuna? So as Arjuna accepts Bhagavad-gita, if you accept Bhagavad-gita in that way, then your study of Bhagavad-gita is perfect. It is very simple. Therefore I’m saying here that Krsna is the original teacher, and Arjuna is the original student. So you follow the original student, you understand Bhagavad-gita. Even Krsna is not present before you. He is present by His words. This is the way of following what is pure.

    Bhagavad-gita 2.1-10 and Talk — Los Angeles, November 25, 1968