Perfect Questions / Answers
“Just try to learn the truth by approaching a spiritual master. Inquire from him submissively and render service unto him. The self-realized souls can impart knowledge unto you because they have seen the truth.” (Bhagavad-gita 4.34)
According to this instruction there are three qualifications for the novice:
1. Visit the guru.
2. Inquire without challenging.
3. Assist the guru in some way.
The Gita suggests that the guru can “impart knowledge” when these three conditions are met.
My intention in visiting Srila Prabhupada was to explore rather than contend. After meeting and studying many self-proclaimed instructors, I was extremely skeptical, yet Srila Prabhupadada’s followers intrigued me.
Once I got past their zealousness, I found a genuine blend of mysticism and renunciation along with convincing explications. I resolved to spend my time with Srila Prabhupada learning rather than challenging. Later on I could always decide to accept or reject what I had heard.
In this way I met the first and second of the Gita’s three credentials. The famine relief program of the Krishna movement also occupied my day, so I was able to meet number three as well.
From Srila Prabhupada’s point of view I was following the Gita’s edicts: hence Perfect Questions. Meanwhile, Srila Prabhupada answered my questions based on the prescription from the Gita (4.2): “This supreme science was thus received through the chain of disciplic succession, and the saintly kings understood it in that way.”
Srila Prabhupada answered my questions based on the ancient system of disciplic succession–repeating what he had heard from previous authorities, and not making anything up. Thus I had Perfect Answers for my respectful questions, presented by a humble messenger of his predecessors.
... May reading my conversation with Srila Prabhupada lead you to your own perfection.
– Excerpt from the Introduction by Bob Cohen