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Living in the Material World — Running Out of Gas


A Back to Godhead Analysis

Running Out of Gas

It appears that after noisily backfiring for so many years, our modern technological civilization may be running out of gas. A crisis, the newspapers call it, an energy crisis.

We may note, however, that since energy can be neither created nor destroyed, there is enough energy–but we do not know where to get it or what nature’s laws for its distribution are. And by wastefully exploiting whatever sources of energy we have found, we have technologically outfoxed ourselves, like the man who cuts off the branch of a tree, not realizing, until he hits the ground, that he was sitting on the branch.

When we speak of energy, of course, we understand that it must have a source-the sun for solar energy, atoms for nuclear energy, and so on. But there is an ultimate source for all these varied sources of energy–Krsna, or God.

Here, of course, is where our energy experts balk. They would prefer that we just chant, dance and read our scriptures and leave solving the energy crisis up to them. But the trouble is that they created the problem in the first place, and now they are incapable of solving it. The best we can hope from them is a patchwork of stopgap solutions, caulked with scientific rhetoric and officialese, to cover up the job they have botched so badly.

But to exclude God from the energy picture so they can get on with their work, the world’s energy czars must either (1) dismiss or disregard the idea of God altogether or (2) admit that God exists but say that it’s irrelevant. Neither position, however, is defensible.

If scientists want to say that there is no God, they must then come up with a better explanation of what the source of all energy is. Of course, for those who settle for superficial explanations, scientists have them down pat. Solar energy comes from the sun. Nuclear energy comes from the fission or fusion of molecular particles. Speculating cosmogonists can draw neat little graphs of how electrical, nuclear and petrochemical energy ultimately comes from the sun, which in turn was produced from swirling gasses. But these gasses, in turn, came from something that ultimately came from something such speculators know nothing about. In other words, despite all their bluffing, atheistic scientists are no closer to knowing the original source of the universe’s energy than the local grease monkey who has suddenly found he can no longer sell you any gas. Were they gentlemen, they would stop their rather pompous theorizing and admit their ignorance instead of denying something they cannot disprove.

As for the idea that God exists but is irrelevant, this is even more unreasonable. Our industrialized society is in a crunch for new sources of energy, but if God is the ultimate reservoir of everything, how can He be irrelevant? The only reason the energy experts declare God irrelevant is that they are scientists and politicians, not theologians, and they would hate to shift their own attention, or public attention (what to speak of public funds), from science and politics to something like God about which they know nothing.

On the basis of Vedic evidence and practical experience, however, the Krsna conscious devotees accept that the reservoir of all energy is Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The Isopanisad says:

isavasyam idam sarvam
yat kinca jagatyam jagat
tena tyaktena bhunjitha
ma grdhah kasya svid dhanam

“Everything within the universe is controlled and owned by the Lord. One should therefore accept those things necessary for himself, and one must not accept other things, knowing well to whom they belong.” (Isopanisad, Mantra 1)

The crux of the energy crisis, therefore, is that the leaders of the world are thieves because they are stealing energy from God for their own mundane purposes. The grains the United States dumps in the ocean, the oil the Arab nations hoard, and the rivers and skies into which industrialized nations all over the world pour waste do not belong to them. Who gave these nations the right to claim these natural assets as their own and exploit them?

Clearly, these nations do not know to whom the resources belong. But, as the so-called energy crisis indicates, ignorance is no excuse. Even if I do not know to whom something belongs, if it is not mine but I claim it as my own, I am a thief. And no matter how big and responsible a thief may be, he is still a thief. Consequently these nations are all nations of thieves. Is it surprising, then, that nature’s laws are catching up with them?

Nature is governed by strict laws, and if we violate those laws, nature will surely retaliate. Modern scientists, politicians and industrialists are ignorant of the laws of nature because they are ignorant of the Personality of Godhead who made and enforces them. And they are ignorant of the Personality of Godhead on purpose, because if they accept the existence of God they will have to give up their stolen property and illegal activities and do what He wants, not what they want.

The Personality of Godhead wants us to serve Him, not our own selfish ends; and we want to serve ourselves, not Him. In such a conflict of interests, the position of the foolish materialist is hopeless because Krsna always has the upper hand. Since He owns and controls everything. He can cut off our supplies at any moment. Now He is cutting off some of our oil, paper, fresh air and fresh water. But from Vedic literature we learn that as society becomes more godless, the laws of nature will gradually cut off the supply of milk, grains, fruit, vegetables and practically all the other basic necessities by which even such a godless civilization must maintain itself,

The solution to this problem is swift and simple: since Krsna is the reservoir of all resources, society will have all the energy it needs, provided society is connected with Krsna. Just as an electric light cannot work unless plugged in to a source of power, society cannot function properly unless connected with Krsna, the ultimate source of all power. A society that cuts itself off from Krsna also cuts itself off from all chances for peace and prosperity.

The problem, therefore, is not a lack of energy but a lack of Krsna consciousness. Krsna can supply unlimited energy, but we must learn how to use it wisely in His service. Society’s leaders must therefore learn the science of Krsna consciousness, for everyone’s benefit. And if they cannot, the duty of the intelligent and responsible citizens is to expel such leaders from power and replace them with leaders who can. Those who are not God conscious do not know what is to be done and what is not to be done. They are ignorant of the laws of nature, and therefore the havoc their technology has created is not surprising. We should expect more such havoc in the future, and to a more intense degree, as long as we continue to allow the ignorant to control the energy and the resources of the world.

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