“If one does not accept the authority of the Supreme Godhead in matters of religion and morality, one must explain why two persons of the same moral standard achieve different results. It is generally found that even if two men have the same moral standards of ethics, honesty and morality, their positions are still not the same. Similarly, in economic development it is seen that if two men work very hard day and night, still the results are not the same.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Shrimad Bhagavatam, 4.21.30 Purport)Download this episode (right click and save)
It’s the basis for a diagnosis. It’s the way of ruling out alternate explanations for a particular result. Control the environment. With all things being equal, what is the influence of an independent variable? What happens when it is present, and what happens when it is absent?
An example is with medication. A patient is suffering from short term memory loss. The negative turn has happened recently. They are on a host of prescription medications, some of them prescribed recently.
One option for the doctor is to try eliminating a specific medication and noticing the effect. The key is to make sure everything else remains equal; otherwise the results to the experiment may not be accurate. If there is a positive reaction it may be due to something else besides the absence of the medication. If there is no reaction, then the proper influence of the independent variable may not be known.
The same kind of analysis can be done to negate a very prevalent theory. This one has been around since the beginning of time, and it is adopted almost by default. This is because the human being is born into ignorance. The material world envelops the otherwise knowledgeable spirit soul in nescience. But using a little intelligence passed on by authority figures, combined with experience, this theory can be debunked for good.
Some people are pious. They prefer to tell the truth. They are not willing to even pass an expired coupon at a store. They would rather not go through the trouble of lying. They have a certain standard of ethics.
Since the characteristic is the same, we can say that the conditions are somewhat controlled. Does this mean that the outcome is identical for each person in the group? Of course not. Some people of high morality run into a lot of trouble. If they speak out on this morality in a country that limits free speech, they may be imprisoned as a result. In another part of the world, the ethical person is a hero.
This is a similar category, and for this we can analyze the opposite end. Take people that are dishonest. They try to cheat a business into giving out free stuff. They have no problem walking out of stores with items that haven’t been paid for. On a larger scale they will run business ventures that promise to make money but actually only benefit themselves.
We ask the same question. Do people of the same standard in honesty end up in the same position? The answer is obvious. Some dishonest people end up in jail, prosecuted for having violated the laws of the country. Others rise to the top, sometimes to even leader of the entire country. Punishment is not a concern since they make the laws and then later decide how they should be enforced.
For this we can analyze an entire community. They are generally moral. The crime rate is very low. People leave the doors unlocked at night. They are not worried about intruders. Everyone knows everyone. There are no secrets.
In this community is everyone the same? Are they all of the same occupation? Is the level of intelligence identical? Again, we see variety in outcomes. Despite a similar characteristic, the results are not the same.
The forgotten ingredient, of course, is the influence of a higher power. On the lower level of understanding, the higher power is nature itself. Nature consists of three modes: goodness, passion and ignorance. The individual, due to the influence of false ego, mistakenly attributes outcomes to his own doing instead of nature.
“The bewildered spirit soul, under the influence of the three modes of material nature, thinks himself to be the doer of activities, which are in actuality carried out by nature.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 3.27)
Nature is amazing and accounts for the different outcomes to people of the same features. In reality, though, those people are superior. Nature is an inferior energy coming from the highest power. The living entities are actually spiritual at the core, and spirit is superior to matter.
“Besides this inferior nature, O mighty-armed Arjuna, there is a superior energy of Mine, which are all living entities who are struggling with material nature and are sustaining the universe.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 7.5)
Nature works with karma to influence outcomes. To understand karma one has to know the influence of time. There are consequences to actions. Those consequences may not manifest right away. They don’t remain indefinitely, either.
“Unseen and indefinite are the good and bad reactions of fruitive work. And without taking action, the desired fruits of such work cannot manifest.” (Lakshmana speaking to Lord Rama, Valmiki Ramayana, Aranya Kand, 66.17)
People of the same moral standard of ethics, honesty and the like see different situational outcomes because there have been so many actions in the past. Those actions combine with the modes of material nature and time to manifest results at different times. Moreover, there are so many actions continuously occurring, further influencing the future.
This complicated explanation is not necessary. The Supreme Lord is the ultimate authority figure. The thing to know is that we cannot influence everything on our own. Relatively speaking, we have very little power over the future. The one thing we can influence is residence, particularly in which land we reside. When there is consciousness of God measured at the time of death, there is residence in the spiritual realm. Otherwise, there is rebirth in the material land, a place where ignorance has a majority influence.
Spiritual life not taking a priority,
Since ignorance with influence majority.
By false ego thinking solely I do,
When forgetting nature and karma too.
People of same standards just see,
How not in identical situations to be.
Simple proof of higher authority making,
Turn to God from that knowledge taking.