His Holiness Acyutananda Svami, shown above (center) in Vrndavana, India, the site of Lord Krishna’s transcendental pastimes, is an American svami actively preaching in India since 1967. He has gained considerable recognitionin Bengal and Uttar Pradesh for his abilities in chanting and lecturingin Bengali and English. He has edited a book of songs by great Krishna conscious spiritual masters, soon to be published, and is now working on an English translationof Caitanya-bhagavata, an important Bengali epic describing the activities of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu.
IF ANYONE SAYS; “I don’t believe in God,” he’s either a madman or a number one fool. Not a single scientific advancement has lessened the existence or potency of God, and none ever will. Nor has science made man any more secure in his position or powerful in conquering the stringent laws of nature that attack him at every moment. Employing an air conditioner to cool a few square yards is not controlling the sun’s heat, and enclosing oneself in a plate-glass house is not the same as stopping the rain; nor is struggling through drought relief the same as making the rain come according to one’s will. These are simply measures to ward off the blows of material nature. Yet these feeble measures of defence are being mistaken for “man’s conquest of nature.” And, at any rate, sitting in an air-conditioned room with a television, radio and plate-glass windows but having a mind distressed by worry, envy and anger is useless.
At a meeting in Bengal, when I was invited to speak to a large group of Muslim scholars about scientific proof of God, I said, “Look at this watch. It has twelve numbers on the face. Why? Why not eleven, thirteen or fifteen? Why doesn’t it change every day? It’s because the day and night are each divided into twelve parts according to the movements of the sun, which for millions of years has been coming and going within a twenty-four hour period so predictably that scientists and watchmakers believe it will continue to do so for millions of years in the future.” Like the moon and other planets, the sun moves with such precision that science accepts it as a guide by which to tell time. Now, if manufacturing an accurate watch requires a very intelligent brain, how much more developed the brain must be that created the sun! It is definitely a brain superior to any man’s.
To paint a picture of a flower on a table, an artist must work for several hours, and to copy it takes many more hours on a printing press built and operated by many intelligent men. Still, the flower has no fragrance, nor is it as perfectly formed as a real flower. If one were to bury such a flower in the ground, it would not grow because it would have no seeds. But if I put real flowers in the earth, more flowers would grow, without help from machines or brains, and these flowers that grew would contain seeds and be able to go on producing flowers forever. “Oh, that’s just nature,” say the scientists. And we answer them, “Yes, it is nature. But nature is not working without a supreme and inconceivably vast intellect operating it.”
Actually, we don’t “create” anything. Take our houses, for example. Air conditioned or not, they are composed of many building materials, such as cement, steel, sand and bricks. The elements for these materials were found already formed in the earth, and then man changed their forms by mixing them with water, fire, etc. That is not creation; it is only the changing of forms. We can change the form of the material, but what is it that produces the basic elements we are handling? Science has no answers, but only speculations. The scientists have only theories, but they speak like authorities. A true scientist, however, will admit his inability to explain the facts of creation and the happenings of nature.
For the entire Twentieth Century our view of history has been based upon the discoveries of archaeological findings. Only recently, however, the carbon 14 dating method, the main chemical system for tracing the age of ancient finds, has been proven faulty and imperfect. This also means that all the history books are faulty and imperfect. Darwin says that early man was unintelligent, undeveloped and uncivilized. But Bhagavad-gita, spoken over five thousand years ago, reveals the supreme philosophy of life. Were Krishna, Arjuna, Vyasadeva and Valmiki cavemen? Could such a highly cultured language as Sanskrit be the creation of the grunts and groans of highly developed apes? I challenge any follower of Darwin to study the Sanskrit language with his proudly developed intellect, or even read the Vedas, aside from understanding them, to say nothing of equalling the Vedic writings.
Let us face the facts that our so-called scientific education has given quite a hazy picture of the past and nothing about the future. This has left us in a very precarious present. Why are the Vedic literatures rejected as unscientific? They were written by the most advanced super-intellects, whose laboratories were their asramas, the Himalayas and the process of regulated sense control. Material scientific experiments are performed blindly on the strength of imperfect tools, imperfect data and imperfect senses by those who have no control over the mind and its tendencies of illusion. A true scientist should make an experiment with the materials gathered from a given field and realize the results. One should not accept the conclusions of the imperfect senses
Therefore we, who are also scientists, accept the authority of the perfect, infallible authors of the Vedas. Their names should be known-Vyasadeva, Devala, Asita, Markandeya, Valmiki and the supreme authority, Lord Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself. Blind faith? No! In the beginning many doctrines may not be understandable, but it is not long before their meaning is completely revealed, if I cannot understand something now, it is not to be rejected as false until proven false. There are many; scientific doctrines we accept without full understanding; in fact, material scientists really know very little about the why’s and why not’s of most of their principles.
When a scientist does not understand a phenomenon, he simply puts his own name on it, Such as “gravity.” What is gravity? It is an inconceivable energy that attracts material objects. But what is it? What they cannot explain they hide by applying a new name. Try it! What is crystallization? It is only a name of a phenomenon we cannot understand. Actually, the scientist, utterly baffled at the transformations of the world, tries to bluff the public with a smoke screen of names. Even the most authoritative of theorems will contain terminology like “maybe,” “probably,” “it might have been” and “as far as we know,” But how far do you know?
A case in point: From my collegiate studies of Darwin’s theory of evolution (which is still just that, a theory, not a law), I clearly remember an interesting occurrence. In thetextbook of 1962 an illustration depicted the stages of development from the ape to modern man according to Darwin. First was the common ape, then a stone image of the Piltdown man, then the Neanderthal man, then the Cro-Magnon man and modern man. This was all well and good, and for the time it was fashionable to accept it. But in 1963 in the same textbook’s illustration depicting “man’s growth from the ape,” the rather dumb-looking Piltdown chap was not gloriously seated next to the ape but was absent from the “great line of evolution.” Why? The “missing link” between animal and rational man had been found to be a hoax! Mind you, all the leading paleontologists, archaeologists and “what-notists” accepted this humbug, which they considered such reliable evidence of the progress of evolution that it found a place in every textbook. Thus the clever man in Piltdown, England, who had carved a limestone image of a caveman, buried it in his backyard and cashed in had successfully pulled the wool over the eyes of the whole scientific world.
The spiritual masters who prepared the Vedic literature, and the Supreme Lord who descended to earth, were all infallible, nonenvious well-wishers to human society who were transcendental to material nature and had no intent to cheat. They did not hoard their unlimited wisdom; they distributed it to us in the Vedas, and men who have followed it have achieved the highest destination. We can certainly have faith in these Vedic masters, at least enough faith to begin their process of self-purification. Once the process begins, it is not long before the neophyte experiences the results of spiritual advancement, which are pure knowledge (jnana) and detachment from material limitations (vairagya). Then the student, his faith confirmed, continues on the path unrestricted.
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare
The path for all men, regardless of age, sex, religion, community or race, is the path of Krishna consciousness. One obtains this consciousness by chanting Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare, not by arguing or pondering over philosophical doctrines. When men’s minds are corrupt, there is no use in their programs for peace, prosperity and the pursuit of happiness. In India, for example, there is a vehement interest in politics. There are innumerable journals, even of a spiritual nature, that devote many pages to discussing the impure topics of politicians. This has only misdirected people’s attention from their real duty, self-realization or God-realization.
Do not expect anything just and right to be a product of someone who has hot controlled his senses and mind through bhakti-yoga. First purify the mind by mantra, and then you will see pure spiritual energy develop and purify the environment, if there is a boil on the skin due to impure blood, no skin ointment will help. But as soon as the blood is purified, the sore heals. Cleanse the consciousness that is the root of our existence, and you will cleanse the world thoroughly. If one speck of contamination is in the consciousness, the result will appear on the surface of society in gross form as one of the many problems we face. These problems are only symptoms of the disease of lack of Krishna consciousness. If you want peace, justice, prosperity, satisfaction, knowledge and harmony between men, you must take up the process of internal cleansing by bhakti-yoga.
There are ample resources in the world, but they are being exploited by people with neither knowledge nor detachment, selfish individuals with ulterior motives. A person must be without selfishly motivated interests if he really wants to do good in the world. One quickly achieves this purity by practical application of Krishna consciousness. The immediate fruits of bhakti-yoga, devotional service to Krishna, are knowledge and sobriety. A man who is attached to money and the enjoyments of the body cannot be a trusted leader or even a worthy associate. One must be above the influences of these temptations to achieve complete composure and equilibrium.; In such a peaceful state, one’s knowledge can be accurate and effective.
Every day our senses are bombarded by material experiences that invoke the most abominable desires. Obtaining the satisfaction of these desires is not possible, for they lead one on and on to hanker for the unattainable, if .we see a picture of a mountain and then see some gold, the uncontrolled mind will push us to want a mountain of gold. If we see sweets, we will think of eating a mountain of sweets. But a mountain of gold or sweets is never to be achieved, and the mind gets more and more agitated. In this state, one becomes enraged at his inability to serve the senses and loses memory of the true reality. There is then no hope of regaining sanity, and he is destroyed.
How does Krishna consciousness help? The nine processes of Krishna consciousness forcibly direct the mind towards Krishna. By having the slightest true experience of Krishna, the senses lose their poisonous desire for enjoyment, and their thirst is quenched. The nine processes begin, with hearing and chanting the names and glories of Krishna. When one has heard sufficiently, he can also repeat what he has heard. In so doing, his mind recalls again and again the names, qualities, forms and pastimes of Krishna, which are exciting, enchanting and sweet. Then nothing else can attract his mind.
Krishna’s pastimes and form are not maya (illusion); to meditate upon them is to absorb the mind in the Supreme in samadhi (true ecstasy)! Therefore the mind absorbed in Krishna is truly safe, detached from bombardment by matter. The safest place for the mind to dwell is in kirtana-rasa, the mellow quality of glorification of Krishna, in the ecstasy of chanting the names of Krishna and hearing attractive: descriptions of Krishna from the lips of the eloquent deliverers of hari-katha (topics of Krishna consciousness). Formless, abstract meditations are condemned in the Gita, Twelfth Chapter:
kleso ‘dhikataras tesam
avyakta hi gatir duhkham
“For those whose minds are attached to the unmanifested, impersonal feature of the Supreme, advancement is very troublesome. To make progress in that discipline is always difficult for those who are embodied.” (Bg. 12.5)
It is not possible for meditation on formlessness to satisfy anyone for very long. The mind and senses, starved of their sense enjoyment, will force the meditator to the material world, just as they conquered Visvamitra, a great yogi who meditated for thousands of years but was disturbed when a beautiful woman attracted him. A person relishing the ecstasy of Krishna’s sweet smile and form, however, will never want to look at ordinary flesh and blood again. Therefore our course of action should be to follow the words of the authorities, who say:
“Sri Krishna is a disinterested friend of the virtuous, and His praises sanctify those who listen to or sing them. He abides in the hearts of those who hear His Stories. He uproots the evil propensities of their minds.”