It strikes me that the scientists and you—your people—are in many ways talking about the same thing, only using different language. But pick what words you will, both groups are striving to find the underlying source of this world, or consciousness. From personal experience I can testify as to how science can be non-material. I studied electricity. By the time I was finished, I felt I was very much in contact with a phenomenon that lacked sensible understanding. I mean, what really is a volt, an amp, an ohm? Certainly nothing you could put your hands on or see. All you know are the effects of it. Forces from an invisible world.
Our reply: You’re right about the limitations of the senses. You’re also correct to say that the material scientists and we devotees of Krsna are studying the same thing. But it’s not simply a question of different vocabularies; it’s a question of different methods also. Whereas we accept the authority of Vedic literature, material scientists accept only data gathered through their imperfect senses. What you spoke of as “the underlying source of this world, or consciousness”—or, in other words, the Absolute Truth, the prime mover, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna—being beyond the realm of our limited mind and senses, cannot be fully understood by experiment and speculation.
But the devotees’ knowledge is very practical. Like the scientist, he has knowledge of the world; but beyond that, he sees everything as the energy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna. And he utilizes everything in Krsna’s service.
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I can’t tell you how glad I am when I find BTG in my mailbox. Instant Sanity! My only complaint is that BTG isn’t long enough. I wish each issue were 300 pages in length—so I could relish it all month long instead of for a few hours.
May I just congratulate you all on your splendid achievement—this little magazine that has changed my life forever and keeps making it better and better.
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I am a Hindu boy of fifteen, and I like to read all kinds of religious books. For the past few days I have been reading the Bhagavad-gita and have come across the word “yoga” many times. Does this refer to the yoga of physical exercise? Please explain.
Our reply: The Sanskrit word yoga literally means “to link.” So any process that links us to God is yoga. In the Bhagavad-gita Lord Krsna outlines several kinds of yoga, including karma-yoga, jnana-yoga, astanga-yoga, and bhakti-yoga.
These yoga systems are like rungs on a ladder. The physical exercises you’re talking of are a small part of astanga-yoga (the yoga of meditation), which is one of the lower rungs. In the sixth chapter of the Gita, Krsna summarizes astanga-yoga, and at the end of the chapter He concludes that bhakti-yoga (the yoga of loving devotional service to God) is the highest of all yogas. In other words, Krsna consciousness is the top rung of the yoga ladder.
Unlike with other ladders, however, on the yoga ladder you don’t have to climb past the lower rungs to reach the top. You can come at once to the highest level, Krsna consciousness, simply by chanting Hare Krsna and following Krsna’s instructions in the Gita. So Krsna has made it easy for us to become perfect yogis in this difficult age—if we but have faith in Him and His holy name.
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First of all, I would like to thank you so very much for teaching me how to chant the Holy Names of our Father, the Supreme Lord Krishna—Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. After 44 years on the Planet Earth, I must say it is a blessing, by God, just to know the holy name Krishna. Thank you for your beautiful magazine, and thank you for teaching the truth about God and mankind. I have learned that it is a pleasure and a privilege to serve God, that it is a natural thing for man to serve God. Thank you.