By His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda
Scriptures are also different. Because scriptures are made according to time, circumstances, people. Just like Bible. Lord Jesus Christ preached in the desert, Jerusalem. Or where it is? People who were not so advanced. Therefore his first instruction is “Thou shall not kill.” That means they were very much engaged in killing affairs; otherwise, why is this instruction? And actually, it so happened that they killed Jesus Christ. So that society was not very enlightened society.
So a scripture for a society which is not very enlightened and a scripture for a society which is very enlightened must be different. Just like a dictionary. For the schoolboy – a pocket dictionary; and for a college student – international, big dictionary. Both of them are dictionaries. But the small pocket dictionary is not equal to the big dictionary because it is made for different classes of men. So scriptures are made according to different classes of men.
There are three classes of men: first-class, second-class, and third-class. The third-class man cannot understand the philosophy and scriptural injunctions of the first-class man. That is not possible. Higher mathematics cannot be understood by the small schoolboys who are simply trying to understand “Two plus two equal to four.” But “Two plus two equal to four” is equally good to the higher mathematics student. But still, higher mathematics and lower math is different.”
Therefore it is said, śrutayo vibhinnāh: the scriptures are different. So if you simply try to understand what is God by reading scriptures, you cannot achieve. You must approach a guru. Just like a medical book. It may be available in the market. If you purchase one medical book and study and you become doctor – that is not possible. You must hear the medical book from a medical man in the medical college. Then you will be qualified. And if you say, “Sir, I have read all the medical books. Recognize me as a medical practitioner,” no, that won’t be.
[An excerpt from lecture delivered in London on the appearance day of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, on September 3, 1971]