Sunday, December 11, 2011

See No Knowledge

Lord Krishna speaking“Experience is gathered by hearing and seeing. One who is less intelligent gathers experience by seeing, and one who is more intelligent gathers experience by hearing.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Nectar of Instruction, 1 Purport)

“Should I take information from authority, accepting it to be true without testing the theories myself, or should I insist on visual evidence for all the postulates and foremost truths of life?” This is the question facing those curious about the origin of life and what to make of their time spent within a particular form of body. The option where all truths must be experienced and seen firsthand seems like a safer bet, as there is less vulnerability for being cheated. In reality, however, seeing is very limited, and even under this method much information has to be accepted that isn’t seen. Everyone must be taught something and extend faith in the instruction presented to them at some point. Therefore if we’re already trusting someone, we might as well approach the right source of information to ascertain the proper path of action.

Seeing involves knowledge gathered from experience and tests for validity. For instance, with respect to the origin of life, the people who believe in the theory of evolution follow what they see, namely the evidence of fossils of creatures who inhabited the earth a long time ago. The monkeys have similar fossil structures to human beings, so perhaps the human eventually evolved from the monkey. The conclusion is based simply on theory and some visual evidence. The same visual evidence leads to the theory that all creatures evolved from one another, with the fittest sections within each group mating to form a gradually more dominant species.

the sunSo this seems plausible, no? But has anyone actually seen two monkeys produce a human being? Have we ever, in any scenario, seen a bunch of chemicals collide to produce life? Moreover, how does the evidence gathered from basic perception explain the phenomenon that is the sun? The sun has been burning since the beginning of time and it shows no signs of letting up. There aren’t fuel tankers driving to the sun nor is it even possible for human beings to come close to approaching the giant solar body, so intense is its heat. Rather than give the monkey the credit for creating the human being, why not worship the sun, who provides the light to maintain life on earth?

We see that the greatest limiting factor in acquiring evidence from visual perception is the short amount of time spent on earth by the living entity. In the human species, which is considered the most advanced and which is purportedly evolved from inferior life forms, there is still the knowledge gathering process. Even a superior species like the human being is born ignorant and no more intelligent than many animals. Only through protection from caretakers can we remain alive and eventually receive an education. When initially accepting instruction from teachers and parents, there are no tests made for validity. For instance, we know of the date we were born based on the information provided by our parents. There is no way for us to go back in time and witness the event for ourselves. On a larger scale of information transfer, the history of the earth as a whole is accepted through hearing rather than seeing.

The human being, in the absence of a spiritual awareness, takes sense gratification - meeting the demands of the tongue, genitals, stomach, eyes and ears - as the most important pursuit in life. Therefore through visual evidence, studying fossils and coming up with a test for fitness, there is the deduction that the human life is the most superior and that it descended from nature, with there being no such thing as a God or almighty creator. But if we apply a little intelligence using knowledge acquired through the hearing process, we’ll see that all of these theories can be debunked fairly quickly, including the superiority of the method used to acquire the information that led to the invalid conclusions.

Lord KrishnaThe Vedas, the oldest scriptural tradition in the world, are passed down solely through a chain of disciplic succession. One person, a spiritual master, or guru, teaches their disciples about the meaning of life, the differences between spirit and matter, and the properties of the original person. The disciple then passes on the same information to others. The origin of the chain is, not surprisingly, God, who is known by thousands of names in the Vedic tradition. He is described as Krishna in His original feature because He is all-attractive. Wearing a peacock feather in His hair, holding a flute in His hands, garlanded with a string of beautiful flowers on His neck, and wearing the finest jewelry, Krishna’s image is the most beautiful. The Supreme Person is also known as Rama for His ability to give transcendental pleasure to others. Transcendental refers to those things that transcend the temporary nature of the world, including the various bodies that are assumed.

From the instruction passed on by the spiritual masters, we understand that the creator, who is the original person, is responsible for generating this and many other universes. The residents here did not evolve from other species; they instead physically descended from a more pure land. The material realm is a shadow copy, a generated version of an original home that is pure and eternal. The differences in species are even accounted for in the information presented through the hearing process. The spirit soul is the essence of life, but depending on its desires it can assume different dresses. The number of different forms is capped at 8,400,000, with each species having unique features. The bodies themselves don’t evolve, as they are nothing but combinations of material elements. For instance, the body of a bird has a high concentration of the material element of air, while the human being has a higher concentration of fire. This explains why the body temperature of a living human being is steady at 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. The body of a lizard is lacking fire; hence it is cold-blooded.

The material elements always exist, for they come from the origin of matter and spirit, Shri Krishna. Just as we can create different compounds in a laboratory using varying combinations of elements, the material bodies can be crafted and shaped based on different combinations of material elements. Just because we see a strange or new body type doesn’t mean that the elements themselves didn’t exist before. The bodies don’t evolve, but the type of dwelling the soul occupies can. At the beginning of its descent from the spiritual land, the individual soul can take the form of a fish and then gradually work its way through the different species, eventually reaching the human form. This transmigration is known as reincarnation, and it operates under scientific rules. The Hindus didn’t create reincarnation; it is a subtle aspect of science that continually operates irrespective of the individual’s belief in it.

All of this information is gathered through the hearing process. No visual tests are required, as the information can be accepted and then acted upon. The latter is the more important, for information is useless unless one can gain a better situation as a result of knowing it. Because of the failure to achieve a better position, the theories crafted by the evolutionists and those who don’t believe in God can be cast aside without hesitation. Starting with the issue of fitness, we see that in the absence of God consciousness the human being, considered the most advanced species, is actually inferior to the animals and lower species. How do we know this? At its core, animal life consists of eating, sleeping, mating and defending. A dog wants to eat something to satisfy its hunger, sleep when it is tired, have sex when it so desires, and defend its life and territory. Since the dog is not very capable or intelligent, the nature of these activities is considered substandard or inferior from the angle of vision of the human being.

But when the human takes to the same activities as its primary mission in life, they actually become inferior to the dog. The dog can eat pretty much anything thrown its way and sleep on the bare ground if required. The human being, on the other hand, must eat nice food and find a comfortable mattress to sleep on. Therefore much mental effort is spent finding just the right place to eat and the most comfortable and affordable bed. The same dichotomies exist in sex life. The dog has no trouble finding sexual partners, while the human being is so troubled by sex life that if a person is single into their thirties, there is cause for concern. “What if I never find the right person? What if I die alone?” Meanwhile, the person who is married is so frustrated by having to deal with their spouse all the time that they envy the position of the single person. “Boy, life was so great before I got married; I had so much freedom.”

laptop batteryAccording to the evolution theory, the human species is the product of the fittest members of previous species mating. When operating under the mindset of following base instincts, however, where God consciousness is absent, the lower animals are actually superior. Say, for example, we have two laptop computers. Both machines have the exact same configuration, all the way down to the processors used and the operating system being run. The only difference is in the batteries. One machine has a battery life of five hours, while another machine’s has a life of one hour. The machine with the longer battery life is more efficient and thus superior. It can perform all of the same operations and do it without requiring a recharge of the battery every hour.

In a similar manner, the animal species, when following the life of eating, sleeping, mating and defending, is far more efficient than the spiritually unconscious human being. The dog doesn’t have to worry about a mortgage payment, contraceptives, the next election, unemployment, health insurance, having the in-laws over for Thanksgiving, or any other regularly occurring problem. The dog is not the only species that lives efficiently in this way. The tiger, which lives off of eating other animals, also doesn’t have to worry. It won’t even eat fruit or vegetables; it takes only the flesh of animals that it kills. But nature works in such a benevolent way that even the tiger’s needs are taken care of without a problem.

The Vedic seers, those following authorized information acquired through hearing, do concur that the human species is superior, but only when the full potential for intelligence is reached. Scientific research in how to travel to other realms outside of earth doesn’t represent enhanced intelligence. Using the same definition for efficiency, if we have one human being who is fully satisfied remaining at home and following activity that is in line with his original disposition, we’d have to say that they are more efficient than the person who requires constant travel and new engagements. From this we see that the true benefit of the human life is consciousness and the ability to purify it. Real fitness comes when there is no more hankering and lamenting and when the consciousness is fixed on the service of that one person who keeps the mind and soul actively engaged and fully satisfied.

Not surprisingly, that person is Krishna, or God. The human being has the chance to understand God and the need for serving Him. The best way to connect with the Lord is to chant the holy names found in the maha-mantra, “Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare”. A sequence of sound vibrations that transcends all sectarian boundaries, this mantra is the key that unlocks the door to spiritual freedom. The effects of connecting with God cannot be personally validated through logical proofs or visual evidence. The hearing process is superior in gathering the highest knowledge, the system of information passed down since the beginning of time. With any hypothesis, the proof is in the pudding; the validity of the prescriptions is found through the results. We know that the theory of evolution keeps man in the dark about its true nature, and it actually leads him to follow a life inferior to that of an animal. On the other hand, by adopting the ancient art of bhakti, the religion of love, man makes the most use of his unique opportunity, one gained through much time and effort spent  in so many other species of life.

“And whoever, at the time of death, quits his body, remembering Me alone, at once attains My nature. Of this there is no doubt.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 8.5)

Lord KrishnaWhy not give chanting a try and assess whether or not reciting and hearing God’s names make a significant difference? If we follow the simple formula of chanting the maha-mantra for sixteen rounds a day on a set of japa beads, all the while refraining from sinful activities like meat eating, gambling, intoxication and illicit sex, we’ll see that the consciousness will slowly but surely be energized and surcharged with feelings of transcendental affection. When we hear God, we will be able to see everything more clearly and realize that our mission in life is to always remember Him; an ability which will bring us back to the spiritual land after our life is over.

In Closing:

In order for claim to believe,

Evidence with eyes we must see.

Hearing leaves us open to cheating,

For disastrous future condition meeting.

But wrong theories come from only sight,

Like evolution, chemicals source of life?

Hearing from Vedas only way to understand,

That knowing God our purpose in this land.

Follow chanting and for yourself know,

If from loving Krishna happiness will grow.