“There are many scientists and great workers in this material world who have wonderful creative force, but they act and create only according to the direction of the Supreme Lord. A scientist may create many wonderful inventions by the direction of the Lord, but it is not possible for him to overcome the stringent laws of material nature by his intelligence, nor is it possible to acquire such intelligence from the Lord, for the Lord's supremacy would then be hampered.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Shrimad Bhagavatam, 3.20.17 Purport)Download this episode (right click and save)
The wise person doesn’t try to fight the laws that have governed man’s behavior since time immemorial. In fact, those laws are for all species and were not crafted by a blue-ribbon panel or commission of experts. The laws don’t change; they operate like clockwork. The less intelligent animals don’t try to fight them, but the supposedly more intelligent man, who has the ability to conduct experiments and thus expand his knowledge pertaining to the external, dedicates so many years to trying to skirt these laws. This pursuit only takes place when the most important knowledge is lacking.
The child finds ways to pass the time that are baffling to the adult. As an example, if no one else is around, the child may play baseball alone in the backyard. He pretends that he is the different hitters on a team, for he has memorized their lineup. He can mimic the different batting stances as well. With his left arm he generates the pitches, quickly transitioning to the bat in order to hit the pitch. Where the ball lands determines the result of the at-bat. In this way, playing pretend, an entire game completes.
The child hasn’t really played baseball. It is merely pretend, a way to pass a few hours on a sunny afternoon. For the adult, playing baseball would involve a real game, with other players around. The child hasn’t accomplished anything in this regard; they have merely found a way to survive on a day when there is nothing better to do.
In a similar manner, when an adult spends billions of dollars to create a spacesuit to be used in outer space, they haven’t really accomplished much. Surely intelligence is required in the construction. Indeed, the smartest scientists are needed to figure out how to get the spacecraft into outer space, beyond the earth’s atmosphere. This isn’t like adding two plus two or doing long division. This involves strong command of physics and mathematics. There is a reason that the rocket scientist is invoked when playfully deriding someone’s lack of intelligence.
In outer space, the astronaut subverts gravity. In the home with the air conditioner, the occupant temporarily escapes the heat of the summer. With the automobile, the driver finds a way to increase the speed of travel against what can be done by using a horse and buggy. With the television the eyes can witness events taking place thousands of miles away. With a video recording device, one can relive events that took place long ago. With the internet, one can witness events that were recorded in someone else’s home.
Despite all these accomplishments in getting around the laws of nature, there is no permanent escape. Eventually the astronaut must return back home. Eventually the heat will have to be tolerated, as well as the cold of the winter. Eventually the individual must exit the automobile and figure out something to do at their destination. The same with the person who watches television and surfs the internet.
Nature’s laws apply to all. Gravity cannot be stopped. Perhaps one can escape its influence after much effort, but that escape is only temporary. The birds are made to fly and the fish to live in the water, so for the humans to try to follow similar behavior is not very wise. The advanced intelligence in the human species exists for a reason, and it is not to figure out a way to defeat the material nature. That nature has never lost, as it has a closer which comes out of the bullpen. This closer has never blown a save and always wins the game. It is known as death, and it has yet to be defeated.
The wise souls use their intelligence to understand why the nature exists. Mere speculation alone will not solve the mystery. There is no dearth of individuals who have attempted this route. Philosophy books that line the shelves of libraries and bookstores show how much time has been spent in trying to figure out why there is life, why there is nature, and why there is death.
The wise souls accept the explanations from the Bhagavad-gita. Like anything else, this work can be discounted as mythology, mental speculation, religious sectarianism, and so forth. But from actually understanding the work through someone who knows it themselves, a new perspective comes. In this work it is said that the individuals, found in the animals and other species as well, are part of a superior energy. This is in comparison with the energy of matter, which is what nature is. Earth, water, fire, air and ether don’t have brains of their own. They have no individuality. They are dull and lifeless. They combine to subdue us through the forces of nature.
There are controllers of that nature, with an original controller who created the nature in the first place. Only He can escape its influence. Indeed, for Him there is no need to work to get away from anything, as the nature operates under His command. Not directly all the time, as He has managers handling life and death and the results to action, but if He should happen to appear in an area governed by that nature, He is not subject to its influence.
The living entities can get the same immunity, provided they take the shelter of the original controller. This is the sticking point. For one who does not know about the Supreme Controller, how will they know where to find His shelter? Others are naturally inclined towards figuring things out for themselves, trying to become the greatest controller there is. The wealthy person thinks they have reached such a point, but even they are frustrated in so many endeavors. The person who seems to always get what they want eventually reaches a point where they are denied a desire. Thus life without shelter from the Divine ultimately leads to frustration.
The wise souls seek shelter through the words of the Bhagavad-gita. These words emanate from the original controller, who is known as Krishna because of His all-attractiveness. Though Krishna discusses many different ways towards transcendence in this famous work, His final recommendation is to surrender everything. Dedicate all words, actions and thoughts to Him. Everything that one does should be dedicated to the Lord. Since He only accepts certain kinds of actions, the devotee’s behavior naturally adjusts into piety, so as to please Krishna.
Absent service to God, there is no way to control the material nature. Despite long hours in the laboratory and expedition after expedition into outer space, man is no closer to figuring out the mystery of life and death on their own. The person who accepts Krishna’s instructions and recommendations knows a little more, and with just a little knowledge they find a way to escape birth and death permanently, landing in the realm of no miseries, Vaikuntha.
In rocket ship lifting from the ground,
Into space gravity to go around.
But escape to last for how long?
After all, man to earth belongs.
Nature dull, controlled by superior,
Man to higher forces remains inferior.
Just some knowledge of supreme controller get,
And in Vaikuntha all of nature’s forces forget.