“I am seated in everyone's heart, and from Me come remembrance, knowledge and forgetfulness. By all the Vedas am I to be known; indeed I am the compiler of Vedanta, and I am the knower of the Vedas.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 15.15)Download this episode (right click and save)
Remembrance and forgetfulness. The first is knowledge, the second is ignorance. From the authorized words of the Bhagavad-gita, we know that both are due to Shri Krishna. It is not that He turns the living entities into puppets, robots without a mind of their own. Rather, the two events are triggered by internal desire. The actor on the stage intends to deliver such a performance that we forget they are an actor who is delivering scripted lines. They do their work at the desire of the audience. Without an audience, there really is no performance.
Vedic philosophy focuses on remembrance. Become knowledgeable about important things, and then always remember them. Keep remembering until the time of death, for that is very important. Modernization brings advancement in conveniences, but there are drawbacks as well. There is increased forgetfulness of the future.
1. I think I can fulfill kama
- Just one more slice of pizza. It won’t kill me.
- Yesterday I played tennis very well, so today I expect the same. Then I will be happy.
- My current job is not cutting it. Let me quit and move on to something else.
- The spark is gone with my significant other. Let’s break up. I’ll move on to someone else.
In Sanskrit material desire is known as kama. Another translation is “lust.” The idea is that kama can never be fulfilled. It’s like scratching an itch that only gets more inflamed as a result. Modernization ties directly to kama. I should be happy that I have over five hundred television channels to watch, but if something goes wrong in the signal for a few hours, I am so frustrated. I am more unhappy than I would have been if I never had the channels to begin with.
To think that kama can be fulfilled is to be in ignorance. Man has tried for centuries, as far back as recorded history goes, to fulfill material desire. Thus far the endeavor has failed. Suffering from some sort of insanity, the attempt is still made going forward, with the hope that the outcome will be different.
2. I spend time maintaining new things
The smartphone is wonderful. I can send electronic messages to people in an instant. I no longer need a separate alarm clock. Everything I require for entertainment, to keep me busy, is on my smartphone. This is one of the great signs of advancement.
Yet there is maintenance to also consider. I have my device set to automatically update. Whenever the manufacturer puts out an update to the software, it gets installed. The problem is the latest update causes new problems. My WiFi signal sometimes drops out for no reason. Every time I create a new playlist, the music app crashes. Some issues are more severe than others. Now I have to take it in to the store to see if they can reverse the update.
In this way through modernization so much extra time is spent on maintenance. More time spent to keep something working means less time to ponder the future.
3. Modern means rejecting God
This shouldn’t happen . Man’s intelligence comes from the Almighty, after all. Modernization means becoming more efficient at using the gifts of nature. Instead of working hard all day in the fields to cultivate, just use a big machine. That saves a lot of time. Modern medicine prolongs life. No more need to pray for stuff. Just have the scientists continue making discoveries.
Of course there is still old age. Nothing can be done to stop that. Despite advancements made in curing certain diseases, there is still death. People get sick. Therefore God’s presence is always there; even if He is forgotten. The least intelligent now only see Him in His all-devouring feature known as death. Death is kala in Sanskrit, which also means “time.” Become more modern and forget that time continues to operate.
4. No time to see life passing by
The fundamental truth of the spiritual science is that I am not the body. The covering to the spirit soul continually changes, from boyhood to youth to old age. At the time of death, there is a complete change into another body. Become self-realized and then no longer be bewildered by these changes.
“As the embodied soul continually passes, in this body, from boyhood to youth to old age, the soul similarly passes into another body at death. The self-realized soul is not bewildered by such a change.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 2.13)
Unfortunately, modernization means less clarity in vision to see these changes. The changes are nothing more than events in the future guaranteed to occur. What will happen to me going forward? I know for sure that I will have a different body. The exact transformation is effected through karma, which is fruitive work.
5. It makes us think that spiritual life is a fairytale
Only a fool would consider the afterlife to be a fairytale. After all, the afterlife is nothing more than a period in time relative to the present. The present is the afterlife to some point in the past. As mentioned previously, the body continues to change. The future is just the state of the spirit-body combination at a particular point in time.
Incorporation of spiritual life, with the knowledge it brings of past, present and future, is necessary. It is like a mandatory class for the living entity attending the college of life. Only the human being can understand it. The animals get enough food, clothing and shelter through nature’s arrangement. After being satisfied in that way, they have no means of advancing further. The human being has the ability to contemplate spiritual matters. Whichever way of life best enables that contemplation to occur becomes ideal.
In this age of Kali, even with the advancements that help to increase forgetfulness, there is an easy way to stay connected to the spiritual energy and remember it at the time of death. That way is the chanting of the holy names: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
Following dawn of industrialization,
Convenience result of modernization.
Since in so many new things set,
Now easier my future to forget.
Like how in different body I’ll be,
And all from this life no longer to see.
Despite so many objects attention to distract,
Chant holy names and maintain focus exact.