Śrīla Prabhupāda. Everyone is suffering here in the material world, and scientific improvement means that the scientists are creating a situation of further suffering. That’s all. They are not making improvements. Bhaktivinoda Thakura confirms this by saying, moha janamiyā, anitya samsāre, jīvake karaye gādha: “By so-called scientific improvements, the scientist has become an ass.” Moreover, he is becoming a better and better ass, and nothing more. Suppose that by working very hard like an ass, a person builds a skyscraper. He may engage in a lifelong labor for this, but ultimately he must die. He cannot stay; he will be kicked out of his skyscraper, because material life is impermanent. Scientists are constantly doing research, and if you ask them what they are doing, they say, “Oh, it is for the next generation, for the future.” But I say, “What about you? What about your skyscraper? If in your next life you are going to be a tree, what will you do with your next generation then?” But he is an ass. He does not know that he is going to stand before his skyscraper for ten thousand years. And what about the next generation? If there is no petrol, what will the next generation do? And how will the next generation help him if he is going to be a cat, a dog or a tree?
The scientists—and everyone else—should endeavor to achieve freedom from the repetition of birth and death. But instead, everyone is becoming more and more entangled in the cycle of birth and death. Bhave ‘smin klisyamānānām avidyā-kāma-karmabhih. This is a quotation from Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (1.8.35). Here in one line the whole material existence is explained. This is literature. This one line is worth thousands of years of research work. It explains how the living entity is taking birth in this world, where he comes from, where he is going, what his activities should be, and many other essential things. The words bhave ‘smin klisyamānānām refer to the struggle for existence. Why does this struggle exist? Because of avidyā, ignorance. And what is the nature of that ignorance? Kāma-karmabhih, being forced to work simply for the senses, or in other words, entanglement in material sense gratification.
Student. So, is it true that modern scientific research increases the demands of the body because the scientist is ultimately working to gratify his senses?
Śrīla Prabhupāda. Yes.
Word Jugglery and World Crisis
Śrīla Prabhupāda. It is said in the Vedas, yasmin vijnāte sarvam evam vijnātam bhavati (Mundaka Upanisad 1.3): “If one knows the Absolute Truth, then all other things become known.” I am not a Ph.D., yet I can challenge the scientists. Why? Because I know Krishna, the Absolute Truth. Yasmin sthito na duhkhena gurunāpi vicālyate: “If one is situated in Krishna consciousness, then even in the greatest calamities he will not be disturbed.” (Bg. 6.22) Srimad-Bhagavatam (1.5.22) declares, avicyuto ‘rthah kavibhir nirūpito yad uttamaśloka-gunānuvarnanam: “Great personalities have decided that Krishna consciousness is the perfection of life.” This kind of knowledge is required. Not that we do some research, come up with a theory, and after fifteen years say, “No, no, it is not right—it is another thing.” That is not science; that is child’s play.
Dr. Singh. That is how they discover things—by research.
Śrīla Prabhupāda. And what is the cost of the research? It is a scientific method for drawing money from others, that’s all. In other words, it is cheating. Scientists juggle words like plutonium, photons, hydrogen and oxygen, but what good will people get from this? When people hear this jugglery of words, what can they say? One scientist explains something to some extent, and then another rascal comes along and explains it again, but differently, with different words. And all the time the phenomenon has remained the same. What advancement has been made? They have simply produced volumes of books. Now there is a petrol problem. Scientists have created it. If the petrol supply dwindles away, what will these rascal scientists do? They are powerless to do anything about it.
The Billion-Dollar Dustheap
Śrīla Prabhupāda. Now there is a scarcity of water in India, but what are the scientists doing about it? There is more than enough water in the world, so why don’t the scientists bring water where it is urgently required? They should employ irrigation immediately. But instead they are going to the moon, the dusty planet, to make it fertile. Why don’t they irrigate this planet? There’s plenty of seawater, so why don’t they irrigate the Sahara or the Arabian or Rajasthani Desert? “Yes,” they say, “in the future. We are trying.” In their pride, they immediately say, “Yes, yes. We are trying.” In Bhagavad-gita it is said that when one is engaged in the business of satisfying unnecessary desires, he becomes bereft of all intelligence (kāmais tais tair hrita-jnānāh [Bg. 7.20]).
This moon project is childish. Those who aspire to go to the moon are like crying children. A child cries, “Mother, give me the moon,” so the mother gives the child a mirror and says, “Here is the moon, my dear son.” And the child takes the mirror, sees the moon in it and says, “Oh, I have the moon.” Unfortunately, this is not just a story.
Karandhara. After spending all that money to go to the moon and bring back just a few rocks, the people on the space project decided that there was nothing more to do there.
Brahmānanda Swami. Now they want to go to another planet, but they are short of money. Going to other planets costs millions and billions of dollars.
Śrīla Prabhupāda. People work very hard while the rascal government takes taxes and spends money unnecessarily. There should be no sympathy when so much hard-earned money comes from the public and is spent so foolishly. Now the leaders are presenting another bluff “Don’t worry, we are going to another planet. Now we shall bring more dust. We shall bring tons of dust. Oh, yes, now we shall have tons of dust.”
Dr. Singh. They believe there may be life on Mars.
Śrīla Prabhupāda. They may believe or not believe. What is the difference? Life exists here, but people are fighting. So suppose there is life on Mars. There is life on Mars, undoubtedly. But what will we gain from this?
Dr. Singh. People are curious to know what is going on there.
Śrīla Prabhupāda. That means that for their childish curiosity they must spend vast sums of money. Just see the fun. And when they are asked to help one of the many poverty-stricken countries, they say, “No. No money.” Do you see?
Sānkhya Philosophy and Modern Science
Dr. Singh. Śrīla Prabhupāda, may we hear a little bit about Sānkhya philosophy?
Śrīla Prabhupāda. There are actually two kinds of Sānkhya philosophy: the ancient Sānkhya philosophy originally taught by Lord Kapiladeva, and the modern Sānkhya philosophy taught more recently by the atheist Kapila. Lord Kapila’s Sānkhya explains how to become detached from matter and search out Lord Visnu within the heart. This Sānkhya is actually a process of devotional service. But the modern Sānkhya philosophy simply analyzes the material world into its various elements. In that respect, it is just like modern scientific research. Sānkhya means “to count.” We are also Sānkhya philosophers to some extent because we count the material elements: this is land, this is water, this is fire, this is air, this is ether. Furthermore, I can count my mind, my intelligence and my ego. Beyond my ego, however, I cannot count. But Krishna says that there is something beyond the ego, and that is the living force. This is what scientists do not know. They think that life is merely a combination of material elements, but Krishna denies this in the Bhagavad-gita (7.5):
“Besides this inferior nature [earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind, intelligence and false ego] there is a superior energy of Mine, which consists of all the living entities who are struggling with material nature and sustaining the universe.”
Dr. Singh. Are both the inferior and the superior energies studied in modern Sānkhya philosophy?
Śrīla Prabhupāda. No. Modern Sānkhya philosophers do not study the superior energy. They simply analyze the material elements, just as the scientists are doing. The scientists do not know that there is spirit soul, nor do the Sānkhya philosophers.
Dr. Singh. They are analyzing the creative material elements?
Śrīla Prabhupāda. The material elements are not creative! Only the soul is creative. Life cannot be created from matter, and matter cannot create itself. You, a living entity, can mix hydrogen and oxygen to create water. But matter itself has no creative potency. If you place a bottle of hydrogen near a bottle of oxygen, will they automatically combine, without your help?
Dr. Singh. No. They must be mixed.
Śrīla Prabhupāda. Of course. Oxygen and hydrogen are Krishna’s inferior energy, but when you, the superior energy, mix them, then they can become water.
The Remote Cause and the Immediate Cause
Śrīla Prabhupāda. Inferior energy has no power unless superior energy is involved. This sea [indicating the Pacific Ocean] is calm and quiet. But when the superior force, air, pushes it, it manifests high waves. The ocean has no power to move without the superior force of the air. Similarly, there is another force superior to the air, and another and another, until ultimately we arrive at Krishna. This is real research. Krishna controls nature just as an engineer controls a train. The engineer controls the locomotive, which pulls one car, and that car in turn pulls another, which pulls another, and so the whole train is moving. Similarly, with the creation, Krishna gives the first push, and then, by means of successive pushes, the entire cosmic manifestation comes into being and is maintained. This is explained in Bhagavad-gītā (9.10). Mayādhyaksena prakritih sūyate sacarācaram: “This material nature is working under My direction and is producing all moving and unmoving beings.” And in the Fourteenth Chapter [Bg. 14.4] Krishna says:
“All species of life are made possible by birth in this material nature, O son of Kuntī, and I am the seed-giving father.” For example, if we sow a banyan seed, a huge tree eventually comes up and, along with it, millions of new seeds. Each of these seeds can in turn produce another tree with millions of new seeds, and so on. This is how Krishna, the original seed-giving father, is the primary cause of everything we see.
Unfortunately, the scientists observe only the immediate cause; they cannot perceive the remote cause. Krishna is described in the Vedas as sarva-kārana-kāranam [Bs. 5.1], the cause of all causes. If one understands the cause of all causes, then he understands everything. Yasmin vijnāte sarvam evam vijnātam bhavati (Mundaka Upanisad 1.3): “If one knows the original cause, the subordinate causes are automatically known.” Although the scientists are searching after the original cause, when the Vedas, perfect knowledge, declare the original cause to be the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the scientists won’t accept it. They keep to their partial, imperfect knowledge. This is their disease.
The Cosmic Machine
Śrīla Prabhupāda. Scientists do not know that there are two types of energy—inferior and superior—although they are actually working with these two energies every day. Material energy can never work independently; it must first come in contact with spiritual energy. So how can people accept that the entire cosmic manifestation, which is nothing but matter, has come about automatically? A competent machine does not work unless a man who knows how to work it pushes a button. A Cadillac is a nice car, but if it has no driver, what is the use of it? So the material universe is also a machine.
People are amazed at seeing a big machine with many, many parts, but an intelligent person knows that however wonderful a machine may be, it does not work unless an operator comes and pushes the proper button. Therefore, who is more important—the operator or the machine? So we are concerned not with the material machine—this cosmic manifestation—but with its operator, Krishna. Now you may say, “Well, how do I know that He is the operator?” Krishna says, mayādhyaksena prakritih sūyate sacarācaram: [Bg. 9.10] “Under My direction the whole cosmic manifestation is working.” If you say, “No, Krishna is not the operator behind the cosmos,” then you have to accept another operator, and you must present him. But this you cannot do. Therefore, in the absence of your proof, you should accept mine.
This conversation was recorded on April, 29, 1973, on the shores of the Pacific Ocean near Los Angeles
[An excerpt from “LIFE COMES FROM LIFE” available at your nearest Hare Krishna Center.]