Thursday, August 2, 2012

Not The Easy Way Out

Krishna with mother Yashoda“When the immediate cause cannot be ascertained, let us simply offer our obeisances at the lotus feet of the Lord. Mother Yashoda concluded that the wonderful things she saw within the mouth of her child were due to Him, although she could not clearly ascertain the cause.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Shrimad Bhagavatam, 10.8.41 Purport)

“Oh sure, you encounter a stumbling block and you reach for your trusted excuse of the divine influence. ‘God must be responsible, for I can’t explain how such things are occurring.’ But this is how man thought long before it was learned what the sun was, what the patterns of weather were, and what influence the material elements had on the creatures living on the earth. In addition, the thunder and lightning were previously thought to be the wrath of God, the sign of doomsday destruction coming from above. But we now know that thunder and lightning can be predicted using satellite imagery. Also, there are chemical components to these aspects of nature, showing that the ‘God’ excuse can’t answer everything.”

This line of reasoning seems plausible enough. The assumption is that the concepts of a God and all of His accompanying features were only created through ignorance.

“People living in the sticks weren’t educated enough to go beyond what they saw in front of them; thus they concluded that a higher authority was in charge. How else to explain birth and death and the wondrous nature around us? If only they were educated they could have learned about material science and how man keeps discovering new things that take away God’s influence.”

But what has science really uncovered? In a remote village somewhere in the world a person believes that the sun is controlled by a presiding deity, an entity with a larger scope of power than the individual. Material science, on the other hand, has gotten closer to the sun by taking pictures from outer space. We can guess the sun’s temperature and the influence it has on others. But how about beyond that? Where did the sun come from? How does it continue to operate on its own, without requiring an external source of fuel? Moreover, how does it stay in place, without dropping to the infinite bottom? When will the sun burn out, and is that even possible? How come we can’t create our own miniature version of the sun? We have lights and heating appliances, but they require external sources of energy, which if you ascend the chain of causation high enough, you’ll see that the dependency is on the sun anyway.

With the mother of a charming boy a long time ago, there was a vision granted that couldn’t be explained. Indeed, that vision was of everything. Picture all the stuff in the universe crammed into one image. Such a vision had both the detailed and the abstract. There were higher living entities seen as well as the cosmic space itself. And of all places, the mother saw this image in her young son’s mouth. He had been accused of eating dirt by His friends, and to prove that He wasn’t lying, He asked the mother, Yashoda, to check His mouth.

Of course, this was the darling of the town’s plan all along. Why speculate on what’s out there when you can see it for yourself? By seeing this vision, the mother wouldn’t think that chemicals and elements were responsible for everything. She saw something that no modern machine can mimic, and so she had the most valuable scientific data. In the realm of material science, the more new information that is uncovered, the more the influence of God is removed. That is the hope anyway, but in reality such discoveries only further solidify the Supreme Lord’s position as the most amazing person having the most creative mind. His creative abilities are staggering to the point that man has yet to scratch the surface of the complexities and intricacies of this creation.

"Day after day countless living entities in this world go to the kingdom of death. Still, those who remain aspire for a permanent situation here. What could be more amazing than this?" (Maharaja Yudhishthira speaking to Yamaraja, Mahabharata, Vana-parva, 313.116)

Likely God’s most amazing influence is the effect He has on man relating to death. Man has seen every past generation die eventually. Everyone who lived in the past had to suffer death. Sometimes we see this happen with our own eyes, and not just to the elderly. A young child can be killed within the womb, not making it to the eyes of the world. And yet with the preponderance of available visual evidence, man still somehow thinks that he won’t die. He may acknowledge impending death, but he acts in such a way that you wouldn’t know that he was aware of his mortality.

Krishna with mother YashodaMother Yashoda saw this wonderful vision in her son’s mouth and then didn’t try to explain it with mental speculation. She just surrendered to God more fully, acknowledging His brilliance. Who can be greater than the person who can create the most complex image in the world? Who can explain the regular patterns to the collision of elements that appear to be moving randomly? The living beings are autonomous in their decision-making, so they can choose to behave however they wish. And yet higher forces of nature like the sun, which would be assumed to have the same autonomy, operate in patterns that can be predicted. Even the human being’s behavior can sometimes be guessed, for there are patterns to the journey through life.

The easy way out of the maze of doubt is to continue to deny God’s existence and rely on blunt sense perception to explain everything. This path is flawed because based only on the authority of others we know of so many experiences. We have not consciously experienced death yet, but we know that it will happen. We have not seen the universal manifestation, but we know that it exists in both theory and reality. The sum collection of all the elements of all the worlds does exist, though we have no way of seeing it. In a similar manner, the Supreme Lord is a factual person, whose influence is felt through every aspect of life. Though we don’t have the ability to fully understand Him, when there is a sincere desire to connect with Him in a mood of surrender, just enough information is revealed.

This was the case with Yashoda, who got to love God through her son. Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and that vision shown to Yashoda belongs exclusively to Him, as He is the original proprietor of everything. The route of explaining everything in life through its relation to Krishna is more difficult because it requires a check to the ego, which makes the individual falsely think that they are the sole enjoyer in this world. But when the burden of responsibility for the workings of nature is shifted to Krishna, the mind can live in peace, and who wouldn’t want peace? Everyone is searching after the absence of distress, but with each new discovery aimed at eliminating God’s influence from society, man gets further and further away from the cherished condition. Learn from Vraja’s queen that there is happiness in life and it can be found in full surrender to the divine.

In Closing:

The sun, moon, weather, loss and gain,

How all of these things I can explain?

 

Times past lacked scientific knowledge definitive,

Thus automatic turn to God tool of the primitive.

 

Scientific research new profound truths to uncover,

Eliminate heralded God with each thing discovered.

 

Oh but you still can’t explain something like the sun,

We have artificial light and heat, but still like it there is none.

 

Yashoda tried not to explain the cosmos infinite,

Of God’s supremacy over all she was definite.

 

Follow her model and love for her son hold,

From Krishna truth of countless mysteries be told.

www.krishnasmercy.org