Imperfect Senses Cannot Perceive Perfectly

Student: For the last one hundred fifty years, one of the major problems of Western theologians has been the relationship between reason and faith. They have been seeking to understand faith through reason, but they have been unable to find the relationship between the reasoning abilities and faith. Some of them have faith in God, but their reason tells them there is no God. For instance, they would say that when we offer prasāda to the Lord, it is only faith to think that He accepts it, because we cannot see Him.

Śrīla Prabhupāda: They cannot see Him, but I can see Him. I see God, and therefore I offer prasāda to Him. Because they cannot see Him, they must come to me so I can open their eyes. They are blind—suffering from cataracts—so I shall operate, and they will see. That is our program.

Student: Scientists say that their common ground of objectivity is what they can perceive with their senses.

Śrīla Prabhupāda: Yes, they can perceive things with their senses, but very imperfectly. They perceive the sand with their senses, but can they see who has made the sand? Here is the sand, and here is the sea; they can be seen by direct perception. But how can one directly perceive the origin of the sand and the sea?

Student: The scientists say that if the sand and the sea were made by God, we would be able to see Him, just as we can see the sand and the sea themselves.

Śrīla Prabhupāda: Yes, they can see God, but they must get the eyes to see Him. They are blind. Therefore they must first come to me for treatment. The śāstras say that one must go to a guru to be treated so that one can understand God. How can they see God with blind eyes?

Student: But seeing God is supramundane. Scientists only consider mundane vision.

Śrīla Prabhupāda: Everything is supramundane. For instance, you may think there is nothing in the clear sky—that it is vacant—but your eyes are deficient. In the sky there are innumerable planets you cannot see because your eyes are limited. Therefore, because it is not in your power to perceive, you have to accept my word: “Yes, there are millions of stars out there.” Is space vacant because you cannot see the stars? No. Only the deficiency of your senses leads you to think so.

Student: The scientists will admit their ignorance of some things, but they say they cannot accept what they cannot see.

Śrīla Prabhupāda: If they’re ignorant, they have to accept knowledge from someone who knows the truth.

Student: But they say, “What if what we are told is wrong?”

Śrīla Prabhupāda: Then that is their misfortune. Because their imperfect senses cannot perceive God, they have to hear it from an authority. That is the process. If they don’t approach the authority and instead approach a cheater, then that is their misfortune. But the process is that wherever your senses cannot act, you must approach an authority to learn the facts.

The Frustration of the Atheists

Dr. Singh: The difficulty is that in a group of atheists, you can’t prove the existence of God.

Śrīla Prabhupāda: The atheists are rascals. Let us teach the others—those who are reasonable. Everything has been made by someone: the sand has been made by someone, the water has been made by someone, and the sky has been made by someone. Krishna consciousness means learning who that someone is.

Dr. Singh: The scientists will say, “Present that someone to me so I can see Him.”

Śrīla Prabhupāda: And I answer them, “I am presenting that someone to you, but you have to take the training as well.” You have to qualify your eyes to see that someone. If you are blind, but you do not want to go to the physician, how will you be cured of your blindness and see? You have to be treated; that is the injunction.

Student: That step requires faith.

Śrīla Prabhupāda: Yes, but not blind faith—practical faith. If you want to learn anything, you must go to an expert. That is not blind faith; it is practical faith. You cannot learn anything by yourself.

Student: If somebody is actually sincere, will he always meet a bona fide guru?

Śrīla Prabhupāda: Yes. Guru-Krishna-prasāde pāya bhakti-latā-bīja [Cc. Madhya 19.151]. Krishna is within you, and as soon as He sees that you are sincere, He will send you to the right person.

Student: And if you are not completely sincere, you will get a cheater for a teacher?

Śrīla Prabhupāda: Yes. If you want to be cheated, Krishna will send you to a cheater. Krishna is superintelligent. If you are a cheater, He will cheat you perfectly. But if you are actually sincere, then He will give you the right guidance. In Bhagavad-gītā (15.15) Krishna says, sarvasya cāham hrdi sannivisto mattah smrtir jïānam apohanam ca: “I am seated in everyone’s heart, and from Me come remembrance, knowledge and forgetfulness.” Krishna speaks of both remembrance and forgetfulness. If you are a cheater, Krishna will give you the intelligence to forget Him forever.

Student: But the atheists are in control. They have the dominance.

Śrīla Prabhupāda: One kick of māyā and all their dominance is finished in one second. That is the nature of māyā. The atheists are under control, but due to māyā, or illusion, they think they’re free.

moghāśā mogha-karmāno mogha jïānā vicetasah
rāksasīm āsurīm caiva prakrtim mohinīm śritāh

“Those who are bewildered are attracted by demoniac and atheistic views. In that deluded condition, their hopes for liberation, their fruitive activities and their culture of knowledge are all defeated.” (Bg. 9.12) Because they are bewildered, all their hopes are frustrated. That is stated here in Bhagavad-gītā, and that is actually happening. So many of their big plans, like this moon project, are frustrated, but they still claim that they can dominate nature.

Dr. Singh: They do not want to come to their senses.

Śrīla Prabhupāda: Therefore they are rascals.

[This conversation was recorded on December 7, 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.]

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