Here we conclude an exchange that took place in Perth, Australia, on May 9, 1975, between His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada and Carol Cameron, then a doctoral candidate in anthropology.
Srila Prabhupada: We live for seventy or eighty years, but the followers of Darwin's theory are calculating a span of millions or even billions of years. They are calculating a span of millions, even billions, of years and yet they will live for just seventy or eighty years. So how are they making such an incredibly vast calculation? Simply mental speculation. Simply misleading the people. An honest man should not mislead others. He should understand that his knowledge is limited. How can I put forward something that is merely my theorizing? That is not very good business.
These scientists, these so-called cultural leaders they are misleading the people. Just imagine. "I have no perfect knowledge. I am merely theorizing. Actually, I have nothing to offer but my unsubstantiated theories. But that's all right. I'll mislead the people." A big bluff that is going on. An honest man should abstain from big bluffs. "But not a great scientist like me. I am theorizing and misleading the people with my big bluffs."
First of all, you must have accurate knowledge; then you bring knowledge to others. That is our proposition. First of all, make your life perfect; then you try to give knowledge. If you have no knowledge or simply vague, indefinite knowledge then why should you try to give knowledge to others?
Carol: Your Divine Grace, can you have perfect knowledge? Can knowledge be truly perfect?
Srila Prabhupada: Yes.
Carol: I mean, as far as I understand, ultimately I might be able to have perfect knowledge, but somehow it all seems a bit doubtful. How could you ever be sure your knowledge is perfect?
Srila Prabhupada: Perfect knowledge you can have immediately provided you take knowledge from the perfect. If you receive knowledge from a bogus person, then how can you have perfect knowledge?
Knowledge has to be received from some person. When I go to a school or college or to a yoga society, actually I am going to a teacher or guru. So if your teacher or guru is perfect, then you get perfect knowledge. But if your teacher is a bogus person, then you get bogus knowledge.
Carol: So, again, if your teacher is perfect, the knowledge you receive is perfect?
Srila Prabhupada: Yes.
Carol: And do you receive this perfect knowledge immediately?
Srila Prabhupada: Yes. For instance, we are giving knowledge from Bhagavad-gita. This is perfect knowledge. You take it; you become perfect.
Carol: And your actions become perfect actions?
Srila Prabhupada: Oh, yes. Have you read Bhagavad-gita?
Carol: Not as yet.
Srila Prabhupada: In Bhagavad-gita you'll find that the Lord instructs us, man-mana bhava mad-bhakto. "Always think of Me." So we are doing this. "Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna" we are thinking of Krsna. The direction is there, and we are doing that. Therefore, our actions are perfect. If my physician says, "You take this medicine in such-and-such doses, and don't do this, but dodo that," then, if I follow, I'm cured. Perfect.
Carol: Does a man, then, still have to judge and agonize over his actions?
Srila Prabhupada: No. If you know that the knowledge you are receiving is perfect because the person giving you the knowledge is perfect then there is no question of judging. You simply follow.
Carol: So it's a matter of complete faith.
Srila Prabhupada: Just like a child. A child assumes, "My father is perfect." And actually, a father should be perfect, at least for the child. In that way, whatever the father or mother presents to him as knowledge, that is perfect. For instance, the father says, "My dear child, this is called a table."
Now, the child does not know what a table is, but he understands from his father. The child says, "This is a table."
So when the child says, "This is a table," it is a fact. His knowledge is perfect. On the whole, the child may be imperfect, but because he is repeating the perfect knowledge of his father, whatever he is speaking is perfect.
Actually, the child makes all sorts of inquiries from the father. "Father, what is this?"
The father smiles. "This is called a bell. To make the bell ring, you press your finger on the button in this way."
This is how the child gets perfect knowledge. Submissively, he tries what his father has told him, and he sees, "Oh, the bell is ringing."
So perfect knowledge is available. The child may be imperfect, but the knowledge he has received that is perfect. This is ordinary knowledge. And in the same way, if you get higher knowledge from a person who is perfect, then your higher knowledge is perfect.
But if you receive your knowledge just like this anthropology business from an imperfect person like Darwin, then the whole thing is imperfect. So why should we waste our time on imperfect knowledge?
Carol: Perhaps because we seem to have low standards for what we consider a perfect person, we find scarcely anyone we could call a perfect person.
Srila Prabhupada: So then, if people want to be cheated, then I shall be a perfect cheater. [Laughter.] That is another thing. I'll take my doctorate title and be a perfect cheater.
Carol: But it is true that even if you look very sincerely for someone who is perfect, you don't find anyone.
Srila Prabhupada: Therefore, we are giving this information: "Here is Krsna. Here is the perfect person. You take this." But you don't follow Him. Or, as I said to begin with, Jesus Christ is perfect. But you don't follow him.
Srila Prabhupada: You don't like to follow him. You follow Darwin. Whose fault is it? The perfect person's fault? Or your fault? You don't like to hear from the perfect person. You want to hear from a humbug, bogus person. That is the defect.