In this brilliant Srimad Bhagavatam class, broadcasted live by Srila Hridyananda Das Goswami, a very delicate subject was discussed: how to properly understand the words of the guru, what to speak of the founder-acharya.
One approach is to not distinguish and simply accept every word, every statement with equal emphasis.
Another approach is to distinguish between those statements which are based on scripture and those which are not. Those which are based on scripture should be accepted as the perfect absolute truth. Those which are not, must be accepted in the proper context of other verifiable sources.
Srila Hridayananda Maharaja points out that since Srila Prabhupada emphasized that his words are important only because he is repeating shastra, we must take that seriously and thus use the second approach.
He went on to show that Prabhupada was more than willing to change his mind or his views on subjects of the material world, when given a better source of information. He explained that some subjects (not spiritual of course) are simply appropriately studied and analyzed by science, and thus, should be accepted as is and should take preference over the statements of the spiritual master. He gave a simple example: if the disciple is driving his guru to a certain destination and the guru says “turn left”, when the correct route is to turn right, it is appropriate and correct for the disciple to point this out and actually turn right.
This sober, down to earth, interpretation of Srila Prabhupada’s comments allows us to truly present a spiritual science.
Enjoy the class!