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Question: How to find the real knowledge ? Answer: Knowledge of this world, acquired from sources within it, will always be imperfect and limited. vidyāṁ cāvidyāṁ ca yas / tad vedobhayaṁ saha|| avidyayā mṛtyuṁ tīrtvā / vidyayāmṛtam aśnute|| "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." —Sri Ishopanishad, Mantra 11 People do not understand what immortality is. Because they have no knowledge of the subject, they think it is a vague idea. Nowadays people are being educated all over the world for advancement of knowledge. Knowledge is meant for the human being, not for the cats and dogs. Therefore, for human being, there are so many universities, schools, colleges, institutions, laws. To advance in knowledge is to understand "Who am I?" If I do not know who am I, then what is the meaning of my advancement of knowledge? Generally, despite so many universities all over the world, people are going on in the concept of this body, "I am this body." "I am Indian, " "I am American, " "I am Hindu, " "I am Muslim." So everyone is identifying himself with this material body. Then where is the advancement of knowledge? Bhagavad Gita 13.3 says kṣetra-kṣetra-jñayor jñānaṁ yat taj jñānaṁ mataṁ mama. The kṣetra, this body, and the owner of the body... I am not this body, I am the owner of this body. This is jñānam. There are so many things we do not know, and can never know, even by our modern experimental knowledge. If you want real knowledge, you must go to the source of knowledge: the Vedas. Veda means "knowledge." There are 108 Vedic Upanishads, out of which nine are very important. The Bhagavad-gita is also known as the Gitopanisad. It is the essence of the Vedic knowledge and one of the most important Upanisads in Vedic literature.
Question: What do you mean by Vedas? Answer: Veda means knowledge. So knowledge means knowledge of God. Any scripture that gives knowledge of God, that is Vedas. Don't think that Vedas means that only the Sama, Yajuh, Atharva or Rigveda. Those who are following the principles to give knowledge about God, that is Veda. Vetti veda vido jnane. Jnane when there is question of knowledge, these three forms are used: vetti, veda, vido, jnane. Vinte vid vicarane vidyate vid saptayam labhe vindati vindate. This is the vid-dhatu description. So vid-dhatu means to know. So ultimate knowledge is to know God. That is real knowledge. Vedais ca sarvaih. Sarvaih, all kinds of Vedas. All kinds, sarvaih. So Bible can be taken as Vedas because it is trying to give knowledge about God, may be for a certain class of men. That is another thing. But the subject matter is how to know God. So that can be taken as also, as Vedas. Because ultimate knowledge is how to know God. Bahunam janmanam ante jnanavan mam prapadyate [Bhagavad Gita 7.19]. So we accept Bible also as Vedas, but we simply say that they misinterpret the Biblical commandments. The Bible says, "Thou shalt not kill, " and the Christian people are killing, maintaining slaughterhouse. How they'll understand God if they are so much implicated in sinful activities? According to Vedas, there are four kinds of sinful activities: illicit sex, unnecessary killing of animals, intoxication and gambling. Yatra papas catur-vidhah. So God is purest. Param brahma param dhama pavitram paramam bhavan [Bhagavad Gita 10.12]. How one can approach God if he leads a sinful life? That is our propagation. You give up this sinful life. Then you'll be able to understand God. You follow Christianity or Mohammedanism or Buddhism. It doesn't matter. You give up this sinful life. Vedas are not meant for the cats and dogs. All sastras and scriptures and Vedas, they are meant for human being. So if human being remains on cats and dogs, how he can understand? If he voluntarily remains like the cats and dogs, then how he can understand the Vedas or Bible or Koran? He cannot. Naham prakasah sarvasya yoga-maya-samavrtah [Bhagavad Gita 7.25]. We have to become pure before understanding what is God. Therefore every civilized society has got a type of religion to become purified so that he can understand God. Without being purified, how it is possible? That is not possible.
Question: Is there a Difference between Human and Animal life? Answer: It is ignorance of death and life that distinguishes an animal from a man. A man, in the real sense of the term, inquires about himself and what he is. Wherefrom has he come into this life, and where is he going after death? Why is he put under the troubles of threefold miseries although he does not want them? Beginning from one’s childhood, one goes on inquiring about so many things in his life, but he never inquires about the real essence of life. This is animalism. There is no difference between a man and an animal as far as the four principles of animal life are concerned, for every living being exists by eating, sleeping, fearing, and mating. But only the human life is meant for relevant inquiries into the facts about eternal life and the Transcendence. Human life is therefore meant for research into eternal life, and the Vedanta-sutra advises one to conduct this research now or never. If one fails to inquire now into these relevant matters about life, one is sure to go back again to the animal kingdom by the laws of nature. Therefore, even if a foolish man appears advanced in material science that is, in eating, sleeping, fearing, mating, and so on… he cannot get free from the cruel hands of death by the law of nature. The law of nature works under three modes goodness, passion, and ignorance. Those who live under conditions of goodness are promoted to the higher, spiritual status of life, and those who live under conditions of passion remain stationed in the same place in the material world where they are now, but those who live under conditions of ignorance are sure to be degraded to the lower species. The modern setup of human civilization is a risky one because it offers no education about relevant inquiries into the essential principles of life. Like animals, people do not know that they are going to be slaughtered by the laws of nature. They are satisfied with a bunch of green grass, or a so-called jolly life, like the waiting goat in a slaughterhouse. Considering such a condition of human life, we are just trying to make a humble attempt to save the human being.
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