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Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19119
I recently met some Hare Krishna devotees in Wellington, New Zealand. Now I attend their Sunday feast program, chant the Hare Krishna maha-mantra, and read Srila Prabhupada’s books and BACK TO GODHEAD magazine, and I love it.
But I am a bit sad to hear how Srila Prabhupada and many of his disciples say that modern scientists are atheistic fools. I myself am a scientist and have studied seismology, plate tectonics, volcanism, etc., but I don’t think that this has made me atheistic. Rather, I see how God is working within His own creation. and how He is the greatest artist and engineer.
I understand that the Hare Krishna movement is a genuine movement based on the teachings of the Bhagavad-gita. But the Gita states that the intelligent and educated people—like scientists, doctors, and engineers—are the leaders of society, the brahmanas. Why do you exclude them from your movement?
Wellington, New Zealand
Our reply: It is certainly true that in his books and lectures Srila Prabhupada criticizes atheistic scientists who try to disprove the existence of God and the eternal soul. But there is good reason for this criticism. To explain the origin of the universe, these scientists put forward such ideas as the Big Bang theory, as if it were more scientific to believe that an explosion rather than a supremely powerful person has created the universe. And to explain the origin of life and complex living forms, these scientists rely on the neo-Darwinian theory of evolution, which states that life is a product of matter and that complex biological form has developed by “natural selection,” or, in other words, by chance. The theory of evolution directly opposes the teachings of the Bhagavad-gita and other Vedic literatures, which emphatically state that life, or consciousness, is not a product of matter but a symptom of the eternal soul and that all form, complex or simple, has been created by God.
Since neither the Big Bang theory nor the theory of evolution have been conclusively proved—nor can they ever be proved—the “scientists” who adhere to such theories are not scientists at all: they’re atheistic fools. Such fools misuse their intelligence to direct human society away from the path of God consciousness. Therefore, though they certainly are intelligent by mundane standards, they can’t be called brahmanas. According to the Vedic literature, a brahmana is one who knows Brahman, the Absolute Truth. And the highest conception of the Absolute Truth is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Krsna.
So rather than trying to deride God, modern scientists should use their intelligence, as you have. to understand how He is directing the phenomena of material nature. And beyond simply understanding how God is acting through nature, every scientist should glorify the Lord through his scientific specialty. This, says the Srimad-Bhagavatam is the true purpose of all learning.
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Not long ago I had an opportunity to associate with a few devotees of the Hare Krishna movement. At first, being quite apprehensive. I decided that I would he safe from the clutches of these fallen souls as long as I maintained my distance and immersed myself in love of God and asked Jesus for assistance in delivering these unfortunate followers of this new-age cult.
To accomplish this, I knew that I must first delve into the heart of this movement and embrace just what I myself resisted most before I could ever raise a single soul. And so I exposed myself to these foreign teachings, knowing all too well that I might never return. But if I followed my heart, I knew, my love for Jesus would never lead me astray.
As our association became stronger, my doubts evaporated, and my apprehension was replaced by a love of God I had never before experienced within my own teachings.