There are three points which both believers as nonbelievers can readily agree on:
1. Primacy of consciousness
2. Language as a vehicle of thought
3. Human beings are by nature idealists
1. Primacy of Consciousness
Before being able to discuss, understand, or perceive anything, first of all consciousness has to be there. Consciousness is indeed the foundation of all our experience. Thus, regardless of what one's philosophical or religious persuasion is, one has to admit that every worldview, theory, thought, etc., has its origin in and effect on consciousness. Even if one considers consciousness as an epiphenomenon of matter, still such materialistic or mechanistic theories originate, "take place", within consciousness. Hence, the debate should center on what consciousness is, not on whether or not it exists. Thereafter thorough and rigorous research should lead to a confirmation of one side or the other (i.e., the religious or materialistic/mechanistic side).
2. Language as a vehicle of thought
To convey the contents of our consciousness we have to make use of language. These words (or signs) come automatically. It is not that we have to overly exert ourselves to fit ideas into words, the words come naturally and they express our thoughts. Thus, words are an aspect of consciousness, something which is very fundamental for our understanding and transmission of knowledge. This leads to the cognitive value
religious language (and metaphors) may have, something about which Tamala Krsna Maharaja writes:
One might ask.. . by which rules must religion play? Will scientists play by any other rules than their own? And if not, who has made the arbitrary judgment that their rules are superior to any others? Sanskrit, the language of the Vedas, has set for itself such an exhaustive system of rules that to master its grammar alone, it is said, takes twelve years. Analysis of the cognitive value of Vedic discourse is certainly possible, but one should do it according to the "rules of the game". One must prepare himself by spiritual discipline, and take great pains to ensure the purity of one's consciousness while proceeding with one's studies. (Tamala Krsna Goswami. (1997). Religious Language. In: "Reason & Belief-Problem Solving in the Philosophy of Religion". Texas: Pundits Press, p. 49.
3. Human Beings are by Nature Idealists
In the present context "Idealism" should not be understood as an antonym of Realism. "Idealism" here refers to the tendency seen in every human endeavour to attain some ideal of perfection. This tendency seems to be the distinctive trait of human beings in comparison to animals.
The notion of perfection may be manifold (political ideas of perfection, philosophical/religious ideals of perfection, etc.), but fact is that human beings are by nature not satisfied with the status quo of things in nature. Humans encounter the problems inherent to material nature, i.e., birth, death, old age, and disease, and invest much intellectual power in actually solving those problems. Hence, Idealism means that one makes an endeavour to change things for the better (the ideal of perfection). Interestingly, it is seen that Western science actually strives for spiritual goals, namely eternal life (sat) by medical science, increase of knowledge (cit) by education, and the attainment of happiness (ananda) by providing society with newer and newer inventions and comforts.
Especially point no. 3 (Human beings are by nature idealists) is relevant to the discussion on faith, for one inevitably puts one's faith in a particular ideal of perfection if one want to attain anything at all. Only until this faith exists will one have the requisite vigour and determination to pursue one's particular ideal of perfection till its attainment.
Now, this ideal of perfection may have been more or less independently acquired or may have been instilled by authority (i.e., family, friends, tradition, culture, education, etc.). I mention this to indicate how important association is for faith development and sustainment.
For devotees this means: asat-sanga-tyaga,-ei vaisnava-acara. Association with "asat persons" will first of all weaken our faith in the Krsna conscious ideals of perfection (i.e., self-realization, krsna-prema); second, it will persuade us to adopt another set of ideals (i.e., sense gratification); and third, it will stir our faith more and more to attain the newly acquired ideals. (The conversion of a materialist to a spiritualist follows the same methodology, but in the opposite way.) Conversely, for a aspiring and practicing devotee association with "sat persons" (i.e., devotees) will first of all refine or fine-tune our discrimination of what is conducive for attaining the Krsna conscious set of ideals of perfection and what our endeavours of worship should be targetted on. This refers to the development of a one-pointed intelligence (cf. Bhagavad-gita 2.41) which is able to discern the ultimate worthy Personality of Worship, Sri Krsna, and which ensures the proper placement of faith in that ultimate ideal. Secondly, it will enhance our faith in the Krsna conscious ideals-it will stir our faith more and more to ever expand our Krsna conscious efforts (i.e., service and service attitude).
The instructions of Sri Krsna in the Bhagavad-gita are first of all an appeal to the intellect of mankind to replace its set of ideals from the material to the spiritual realm, and to come to an understanding of the worthy object of love and faith. Thus, the Bhagavad-gita tries to guide us to finally come to a voluntarily surrender of heart to Sri Krsna, a surrender which manifests itself in devotional service unto Him.
Considerations of an Absolute Truth, sometimes critiqued as Fundamentalism, Dogmatism, opposed to the need for authenticity and honesty in belief in an individual's attempt to make a connection with the Supreme Lord.
The Absolute Truth
We accept the Vaisnava scriptures as divine revelations directly coming from Krsna and not as the product of man at a particular time, place and circumstance.
Srila Jiva Gosvami establishes this point in the Tattva-sandarbha, annucheda 9, 10, 11 & 12. He lists 10 different types of evidence that are traditionally accepted; philosophy, comparison, non-existence, inclusion, tradition, gesture, direct perception, inference, revealed knowledge and he points out the limitations of the first 9 and then establishes sabda or revealed knowledge i.e., the Veda as an absolute, infallible source of knowledge.
The Veda was originally revealed by the Supreme Lord to Lord Brahma, tene brahma hrda ya adi-kavaye (Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.1.1) The Veda is the source of all knowledge, gradually with time various distortions manifested itself as the different cultures and languages of the world.
Jiva Gosvami offers some quotes from Vedic literature itself
The complete explanation from Jiva Gosvami is included as an appendix.
The complete text of the Vedas is unavailable
But at present the complete text of the Vedas is unavailable and owing to a decrease in human memory, it is difficult to study the whole body of the Vedas. All in all, the Vedas consist of 1,130 Samhitas, 1,130 Brahmanas, 1,130 Aranyakas, and 1,130 Upanisads, a total of 4,520 titles. By the influence of time, however, many texts have been lost. At present only about 11 Samhitas, 18 Brahmanas, 7 Aranyakas, and 220 Upanisads are available. This is less than 6% of the original Vedas.
Srimad-Bhagavatam is the spotless Purana
Oneness of the Itihasas and Puranas with the Rg and other Vedas, with respect to their apauruseya nature, is indicated in the Madhyandina-sruti, "My dear Maitreyi, the Rg, Yajur, Sama, and Atharva Veda, Itihasas and Puranas.. .are manifest from the breath of the Supreme Lord" (Brhad-aranyaka 2.4.10). Therefore it is recommended to study the Puranas, especially Srimad-Bhagavatam.
The Vaisnava perspective versus other views
Outside observers may not be able to appreciate this point. For example mundane scholars view Krsna consciousness as a religious tradition, which in an ongoing evolution over time has developed in a particular environment.
So tradition isn't how it began but how it went on. It's more the stream than the source. Indeed that is its purpose: the source is there to form a stream. Hence the call to return to the source says less than we usually think. To return to the source involves swimming against the stream, and that's difficult, if not impossible. And it doesn't make sense to begin with the stream. Not everything that got into the stream came from the source, and -conversely-not everything that came from the source can still be found in the stream. (H.M. Kuitert, I have my doubts)
More orthodox practitioners of a particular faith may rather accept their own scriptures Christian believers may refer to the Bible, Matt. 14:6: "I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father except through me".
The Krsna conscious point of view excepts that the scriptures of the major world religions are bona fide and revealed by God, however somewhere in the process of recording the message some imperfections entered.
In a discussion mentioned in the Caitanya Caritamrta that took place between Caitanya Mahaprabhu and Chand Kazi, Lord Caitanya said,
There are many mistakes and illusions in your scriptures. Their compilers, not knowing the essence of knowledge, gave orders that were against reason and argument. Caitanya-caritamrta Adi 17.168
After hearing these statements by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, the Kazi, his arguments stunned, could not put forward any more words. Thus, after due consideration, the Kazi accepted defeat and spoke as follows, "My dear Nimai Pandita, what You have said is all true. Our scriptures have developed only recently, and they are certainly not logical and philosophical.
The sastras of the yavanas, or meat-eaters, are not eternal scriptures. They have been fashioned recently, and sometimes they contradict one another. The scriptures of the yavanas are three: the Old Testament, the New Testament and the Koran. Their compilation has a history; they are not eternal like the Vedic knowledge. Therefore although they have their arguments and reasonings, they are not very sound and transcendental. As such, modern people advanced in science and philosophy deem these scriptures unacceptable. Caitanya-caritamrta Adi 17.169
Prof. H. M. Kuitert in his book I Have My Doubts-how to become a Christian without being a fundamentalist is expressing his difficulties with the idea of divine revelation. In the introduction he states that his aim is. "To make a personal statement. Not to ask 'What must I believe?', but 'What do I really believe?'." Kuitert is looking for authenticity in his belief, he sees religion as the attempt of men to reach upwards toward God. He writes; "Of course we don't have God's standpoint. Those who present themselves to society like this damage faith in at least two ways. A church which talks about human beings and the world 'from above', as it were from God, ultimately makes church doctrine seem very alienating. Ordinary people don't look at things from God's perspective; the real way is from below upwards, from the question to the answer, from people who seek to the God who is found. If doctrine were no longer constructed from above but 'from below', it would look very different: much more human.
Kuitert also points out the difficulties for 'Interfaith dialogue', "Far less must we adopt the approach that the God of revelation and so-called natural knowledge of God are different things. That means claiming revelation for Christian truth and denying it to the other religions. And as I've just commented, it removes the basis for a dialogue, this time from a pre-existing sense of superiority."
The devotees see Krsna, as the Supreme Lord who has a heart. Who cares for all His children. In Bhagavad-gita 5.29 Krsna declares Himself to be suhrdam sarva-bhutanam, the friend of all living beings. In the Nectar of devotion it is mentioned that Krsna speaks the language of all living beings, this is further proof that Krsna is the well-wisher of all. In Srimad-Bhagavatam we find the verse:
sadhavo hrdayam mahyam
sadhunam hrdayam tv aham
mad-anyat te na jananti
naham tebhyo manag api
The pure devotee is always within the core of My heart, and I am always in the heart of the pure devotee. My devotees do not know anything else but Me, and I do not know anyone else but them.
So what is the difficulty with the concept of "divine revelation"? Can the Lord not reach out to the conditioned souls? The loving father is always thinking about his lost children and he takes initiative in trying to bring them back home. All the major traditions of the world claim to be 'divine revelations'. Why would Krsna not take some initiative? Everything that exists is going on by His will, everything is His energy, that is all His 'divine arrangement'.
That we as human beings can never perceive reality from God's perspective is true, we are limited living beings and He is the omniscient Lord. But we can learn from the Lord's teachings and get more insight, and the more we adjust our lives according to His directions the more of His teachings we will realize in our heart. In other words the devotee goes beyond 'parroting' prayers, and his faith grows by experiencing the truth of the scriptures through the satisfaction that he gains from applying the knowledge. In this way his faith is genuine and authentic from his own heart and some artificially, imposed type of fanaticism or sentimentalism.
As far as Krsna consciousness preaching from a superior platform, which would obstruct open dialogue with other types of faith, Prabhupada used to stress the point that true religious principles should lead to Love of God, which must translate in to some practical, selfless service to Him, without expecting any return.
Not this or that type of religious ritual to obtain divine blessing for a comfortable material situation. The point is that, all of us agree that life in the material world is a very temporary situation and that on the other hand the after life is eternal. Then which of the two is more important?. He whose sole interest is the pleasure of the Lord and who is fully dedicated in loving, devotional service is the eligible candidate to attain and have the direct experience of the existence of the eternal abode of Krsna, which is full of bliss and knowledge.
By dwelling again and again on controversy we may assign certain 'points' more importance than they actually have in the bigger picture of Krsna consciousness, and we may neglect the more fundamental elements of the philosophy.
Nonetheless some doubts may be raised about the very fundamental points themselves.
Mundane argument inadequate
acintyah khalu ye bhava
na tams tarkena yojayet
prakrtibhyah param yac ca
tad acintyasya laksanam
Anything transcendental to material nature is called inconceivable, whereas arguments are all mundane. Since mundane arguments cannot touch transcendental subject matters, one should not try to understand transcendental subjects through mundane arguments.
Caitanya-caritamrta Adi 17.308
Six blind men encountered an elephant for the first time in their life. One was touching a leg and said, "An elephant is like tree". Another was holding the tail and disagreed; "No an elephant is like a rope". A third on touched the trunk and thought the elephant was like a snake and so on. According to the part of the body they were in contact with, they developed a certain idea about what an elephant actually is.
Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya became dull by logic
tarka-sastre jada ami, yaiche lauha-pinda
ama dravaile tumi, pratapa pracanda'
I had become dull-headed due to reading too many books on logic. Consequently I had become like an iron bar. Nonetheless, You have melted me, and therefore Your influence is very great.
Caitanya-caritamrta Madhya 6.214
Logic applied to Lord Caitanya's mercy
sri-krsna-caitanya-daya karaha vicara
vicara karite citte pabe camatkara
SYNONYMSsri-krsna-caitanya-Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu; daya-His mercy; karaha-just put into; vicara-consideration; vicara-when such consideration; karile-will be done by you; citte-in your heart; pabe-you will get; camatkara-striking wonder.
If you are indeed interested in logic and argument, kindly apply it to the mercy of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. If you do so, you will find it to be strikingly wonderful.
Caitanya-caritamrta Adi 8.15
Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura comments in this connection that people in general, in their narrow-minded conception of life, create many different types of humanitarian activities, but the humanitarian activities inaugurated by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu are different.
Let the logicians compare all the results of other humanitarian work with the merciful activities of Lord Caitanya. If their judgment is impartial, they will understand that no other humanitarian activities can surpass those of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.
Everyone is engaged in humanitarian activities on the basis of the body, but from the Bhagavad-gita (2.18) we understand, anta-vanta ime deha nityasyoktah saririnah: "The material body is ultimately subject to destruction, whereas the spiritual soul is eternal". Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu's philanthropic activities are performed in connection with the eternal soul. However one tries to benefit the body, it will be destroyed, and one will have to accept another body according to his present activities. If one does not, therefore, understand this science of transmigration but considers the body to be all in all, his intelligence is not very advanced. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, without neglecting the necessities of the body, imparted spiritual advancement to purify the existential condition of humanity. Therefore if a logician makes his judgment impartially, he will surely find that Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu is the maha-vadanyavatara, the most magnanimous incarnation. He is even more magnanimous than Lord Krsna Himself. Lord Krsna demanded that one surrender unto Him, but He did not distribute love of Godhead as magnanimously as Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Therefore Srila Rupa Gosvami offers Lord Caitanya his respectful obeisances with the words namo maha-vadanyaya krsna-prema-pradaya te/ krsnaya krsna-caitanya-namne gaura-tvise namah.
2. The only way
harer nama harer nama
harer namaiva kevalam
kalau nasty eva nasty eva
nasty eva gatir anyatha
"For spiritual progress in this Age of Kali, there is no alternative, there is no alternative, there is no alternative to the holy name, the holy name, the holy name of the Lord."
Caitanya-caritamrta Adi 7.76
Academics and others consider such a statement dogmatic, because it establishes one truth at the exclusion of all others with no option for dialogue. Prabhupada however considers them dogmatic, because they don't know God, yet insist that religion must adhere to their definitions.
3. Sastra is a Divine Revelation
Academics will see Krsna consciousness as a particular religious belief which developed in a particular historical and cultural context.
4. No Overpopulation
We get this historical event from the Srimad-Bhagavatam, that during the time of Maharaja Prthu there was scarcity of food, so the King wanted to punish the earthly deity, because she was not supplying food. He wanted to kill her. But the earthly deity replied, that she has reduced the supply of food because she did not like to supply the demons. So there is no question of overpopulation, it is a question of demons. The number of demons has increased and therefore by nature that supply is minimized. (Letter to: Sir Alistair Hardy-Bhaktivedanta Manor 28 July, 1973)
5. They did not go to the moon
Prabhupada: But we say on the authenticity of the description in the Vedic literature. Therefore it is authentic. This proves that they did not go to the moon planet. If it is above, 1,600,000 above, then it is impossible. So this is bogus propaganda, they have gone to the moon.
Pusta Krsna: It's a very reasonable proposition because going to the moon, they simply come back with some rocks. Rocks they can get on the earth also.
Prabhupada: They are all nonsense. Some sand and some rocks, and we have to believe they have gone to. The fools may believe, but we cannot believe. We have got other information. Why shall I believe? (Durban Oct 9, 1975)
6. One solar system
This material manifestation of universes, here also there are innumerable universes. The one universe we are seeing or one solar system we are seeing, but there are innumerable solar systems. That is admitted by modern science also. (Srimad-Bhagavatam lect 7.7.30-31-Mombassa, September 12, 1971)
7. Women less intelligent
Devahuti is lamenting her position. As a woman, she had to love someone. Somehow or other, she came to love Kardama Muni, but without knowing of his spiritual advancement. Kardama Muni could understand Devahuti's heart; generally all women desire material enjoyment. They are called less intelligent because they are mostly prone to material enjoyment. (Srimad-Bhagavatam 3.23.54)
8. Sacred Cow
In India, the cow is considered sacred not because Indian people are primitive worshipers of mythological totems but because Hindus intelligently understand that the cow is a mother. As children, nearly all of us were nourished with cow's milk, and therefore the cow is one of our mothers. Certainly one's mother is sacred, and therefore we should not kill the sacred cow. (Srimad-Bhagavatam 12.3.36)
9. Life comes from life
Dr. Wolf-Rottkay: But in all humility, suppose the scientists actually succeed in artificially creating a living cell. What would you say?
Srila Prabhupada: What would be their credit? They would only be imitating what already exists in nature. People are very fond of imitations. If a man in a nightclub imitates a dog, people will go and pay money to watch him. But when they see a real dog barking they don't pay any attention to it. (Life Comes From Life, p. 82)
Gandhari was an ideal chaste lady, a life companion of her husband, and therefore when she saw her husband burning in the fire of mystic yoga along with his cottage of leaves, she despaired. She left home after losing her one hundred sons, and in the forest she saw that her most beloved husband was also burning. Now she actually felt alone, and therefore she entered the fire of her husband and followed her husband to death. This entering of a chaste lady into the fire of her dead husband is called the sati rite, and the action is considered to be most perfect for a woman. In a later age, this sati rite became an obnoxious criminal affair because the ceremony was forced upon even an unwilling woman. In this fallen age it is not possible for any lady to follow the sati rite as chastely as it was done by Gandhari and others in past ages. A chaste wife like Gandhari would feel the separation of her husband to be more burning than actual fire. Such a lady can observe the sati rite voluntarily, and there is no criminal force by anyone. When the rite became a formality only and force was applied upon a lady to follow the principle, actually it became criminal, and therefore the ceremony was to be stopped by state law. (Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.13.58)
Now, the astrologer is supposed to give some instruction to the poor man.
'ei sthane ache dhana'-yadi daksine khudibe
'bhimarula-baruli' uthibe, dhana na paibe
Now, the astrologer says, is giving him, it is figurative, that "If you want to search out the Absolute Truth by ritualistic method..." Mostly people are attached to the particular faith and its ritualistic method. They consider this is everything. Veda-vada-ratah partha nanyad astiti vadinah. They think that performing these rituals of a particular religion and faith, that is all; no more. So Lord Caitanya says, Lord Caitanya in the shape of that astrologer says, that if you follow-it is given figuratively, that he is searching after the wealth left by his father. Similarly, we have got our father, the Supreme, and He is the supreme proprietor of everything. If we try to find out our father and father's property by the ritualistic process-there are ritualistic processes in every religion and in every scripture-but if we stick to that, then the result will be they will be entrapped by the search, fanaticism, and it will be not possible to make progress. This is called daksina system. Daksina, daksina means if he is giving him instruction that "Your house is bounded by east side, west side, north side and south side. So if you go to the south..." South is translated into Sanskrit, daksina. And daksina also means giving something to the priest in respect of his service for performing rituals. So this is figuratively being used, daksina. Daksina means priesthood. If you follow the priesthood, then the result will be that 'bhimarula-baruli' uthibe, dhana na paibe. "There are some poisonous insects which will bite you, and you will not be able to dig out the wealth left by your father". So this poisonous effect is that the priesthood, they are for business. They will never give you the right thing, not it is in their power. Not it is in their power. That is going on. But if you find out, if you want to find out the Absolute Truth through this rituals and priesthood, then the result will be that you will be bitten by some poisonous insects and your attempt will be unsuccessful. Pascime, pascime khudibe. 'pascime' khudibe, taha 'yaksa' eka haya se vighna (karibe),-dhane hata na padaya. Then again, the system of ahangama-pasana, pantheism, philosophical speculation, pantheism, monism, atheism, agnosticism, so many isms there are. So if you follow these isms, there is a jata, there is another danger which you will not get any information of the Absolute Truth.
'uttare' khudile ache krsna 'ajagare'
dhana nahi pabe, khudite gilibe sabare
So uttara, uttara means uttara-mimamsa. There is a philosophy which is called karma-mimamsa. Karma-mimamsa means there is no need of making your relationship with God. God is Supreme, accepted, but He is bound to give you the result of your honest work. This is another philosophy. So you work honestly, there is more or less moral principles. If you stick to the moral principle, ethics and morals, then you will be entrapped by the prideness that "Oh, I am very moral. I do not speak lies. I do not steal. I treat with my neighbors very nicely. So I have no necessity to search out father. I am quite all right". That means, this mundane moralist, if you become mundane moralist, or if you become mundane philosopher or if you stick to the ritualistic process of your particular faith, then there is no hope of reaching to the Absolute Truth. Mundane scriptural, ritualistic way and dry speculative philosophy and mundane moralists. Just like Arjuna and his brother. His eldest brother is Maharaja Yudhisthira; he was very moralist, Dharmaraja. His name was "the king of religious principles," Dharmaraja. So Krsna Himself advised him that "You go to Dronacarya and tell him a lie, that 'Your son is dead. Your son is dead.' "Now Maharaja Yudhisthira, he was a mundane moralist, so "How can I tell lie? How can I tell lie? I have never spoken lie in my life. So there was some argument. Of course this was, fight was, some compromise was made between them in the camp. So he became a mundane moralist. He did not consider that "The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna, is asking me to tell lie". So he could not transgress his moral principles so he could not become a devotee of Krsna. He (was) considered mundane moralism, so it was not possible for him to become a Krsna conscious person. He could not take Krsna's order as the Supreme. But Arjuna, in the beginning, he was hesitating to fight and kill his kinsmen, and when he understood that "Krsna wants this fight," he decided, "Yes, I shall do." This is Krsna consciousness.
So these are the principles. If we stick to the particular type of ritualism-because I confess a particular type of faith, and my faith describes this sort of ritualism, I must follow-then you stick to that, you cannot make any progress. And if you go on simply philosophizing-this ism, that ism, that ism, nonsense-ism-then also you will not be able. And if you become mundane moralist, then also you will not be able. You have to become transcendental to all these mundane principles; then it will be possible to become perfectly Krsna conscious. So it is not transgressing, because as soon as you become really Krsna conscious, then you become all: you become a philosopher, you become a ritualistic, you become actually moralist. What is the standard of morals? Can you explain? What is the standard of morality? Can you explain? Can any one of you say? Have you got any idea what is the standard of morality? The standard of morality is to obey the Supreme. That is standard of morality. Standard of morality does not mean that you manufacture something morality out of your concoction. No. Standard of morality is to obey the Supreme. That is standard of morality. Example. Example is, just like this State, the State has law that if you commit murder, then you will be hanged. It is immoral. If you commit theft, then you will be punished. But when the State says that you go and become a spy and become a thief and bring out these documents on the enemy's camp, that is morality. If you kill a man, you will be hanged. But when the State order, if you kill an enemy, hundreds of enemy, you will be awarded gold medal. So if you stick to the principle, theft and murder, and do not follow the State order, you will be considered, what is called, tyrant, or what is that? Traitor. Traitor.
So if in our practical experience we see to obey the order of the Supreme is morality, standard of morality, don't you think to obey the supermost supreme, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, to obey Him, that is morality. That is morality. So if you stick to the mundane principle, then it will not be. Therefore the astrologer advises the poor man,
purva-dike tate mati alpa khudite
dhanera jhari padibeka tomara hatete
In other words, that if you take this process of Krsna consciousness, devotional service, a slight attempt will give you the treasury house of that wealth. A slight attempt. Sv-alpam apy asya dharmasya trayate mahato bhayat. This is the only, only path. Bhaktya mam abhijanati yavan yas casmi tattvatah [Bg. 18.55]. In the Bhagavad-gita you will find that if you actually want God, then you will have to follow this process, Krsna consciousness, and transcendental loving service to the Supreme Lord. That will make you successful. Even if you execute a little percentage of this process, then you will touch at once, at least you will know, "Oh, here is the hidden box containing the treasure." Now, gradually, you open it and then enjoy. But at once you will get information, "Here is the thing." So this is the process. Aiche sastra kahe,-karma, jnana, yoga tyaji'.
Now, Lord Caitanya is explaining this system, different system, ritualistic, philosophical, meditation, morality, all these in sastra-kahe. Real Vedic instruction... Just like, what is Veda? Veda means the words of the Lord. That is Veda. Scripture means the words of the Lord. God says, "Let there be light." God says, "Let there be creation." These words are scripture. Now one who takes out... Just like sound is transmitted from a certain place, and one who catches by the machine, he gets the information. Similarly, Veda means instruction transmitted by the Supreme Lord, and there are capable personalities, just like Brahma, that capture it, and that is distributed, either in writing or by tradition, by hearing. That is scripture. The words of God. Now, here the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna, is personally speaking Bhagavad-gita. Is it not Veda? That is Veda. That is real Veda. Sarva-upanisade. In the Gita-mahatma it is said, "This is the essence of all Veda." This is Vedanta. Simply by studying Bhagavad-gita, one becomes a learned science in the science of God. So sastra-kahe. And what is that sastra? The essence of all sastra, the essence of all scripture, asks you to do-the sastra says, the Lord says-sarva-dharman parityajya mam ekam saranam vraja: [Bg. 18.66] "Give up everything, just surrender under Me." This is the most confidential part of knowledge.
So "give up everything" means there are different processes, different processes, ritualistic process, different religious processes, philosophical processes, meditation, so many. "Give up all them. Simply surrender to Krsna." So Lord Caitanya is stressing on that point, that aiche sastra kahe,-karma, jnana, yoga tyaji'. Karma. Karma means general activities on moral principle. That is called karma. Karma means, real karma means that you have to live, so you have to work. So work in such a way that you may not be entangled. Just like honest businessman, he works, he works according to the law. He does not play any blackmailing, and he pays the proper income tax to the government and the other taxes. He does nicely. This is called work, karma. You have to live. Without working you cannot live. But you work in such a way so that you may not be entangled. That is called work, karma. Now, this work is not the solution of your human life. You can get some morsel of bread and eat and drink and sleep and just enjoy your life and die like cats and dogs, that's all. And then you will take with you the result of your good work or bad work. That is karma. That is not solution. Then the next stage is, above this karma, this ordinary, general people, there is a class, they are thinkers. They are thinkers: "Whether this is the solution of life?" So thinkers, some of them are dry thinkers, they have no knowledge, but they think only. They do not get the source of knowledge from higher authorities; they manufacture their own way. So apart from that, those who are bona fide thinkers, they are called jnani. Jnani means that this process of karma cannot make solution of life. They push some philosophical thesis that "This is the solution of life." They are called jnani. The others, yogis, they meditate. So what they meditate? Not they meditate falsely; they meditate, they concentrate the whole senses and put the focus on the soul and the Supersoul. So their endeavor is to make, reestablish with the Supersoul who is sitting in my heart. That is yoga system.
So all these systems can be adjusted only in one system, Krsna consciousness. That is the version of all the sastra, all the Vedas. Lord Caitanya also confirms that
aiche sastra kahe,-karma, jnana, yoga tyaji'
'bhaktye' krsna vasa haya, bhaktye tanre bhaji
If you want Krsna, if you want God, then you don't try to follow all these processes. You just try to follow devotional service to the Lord, bhakti, Krsna consciousness. That will please Krsna. Then by His pleasing, He will reveal to you. He will reveal to you. God being pleased with your sincere service and love, He will let you know. Just like Arjuna is being instructed by the Supreme Lord, and He says, "My dear Arjuna, I am speaking to you the most confidential part of knowledge." So if we become friends like Arjuna to Krsna, then Krsna will reveal Himself, as He is revealing Himself, "I am this, I am that, I am this, I am that." (indistinct) So if you actually want to reestablish your lost relationship with Krsna and God, then you have to adopt this Krsna consciousness and nothing more.
Thank you very much. (end) (Srila Prabhupada, lecture on Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya-lila 20.125-New York, November 27, 1966)
- Perfect Explanation of the Bhagavad Gita
By HH Sivarama Swami
The book is a response on criticism of different degrees that has been made by various academics in their writings about the Bhagavad Gita - As It Is. The Vaisnavas are claiming integrity in maintaining the actual meaning of the text by approaching the subject matter through a succession of acaryas, which is rejected by the academics.
Sivarama Maharaja writes, "Thus at the outset, we are of divergent interests. The Vaisnavas and the empiricists have different lines of approach in studying the Gita. Baird exemplifies the non-devotional venue in his essay:
Swami Bhaktivedanta and the Bhagavad-Gita As It Is. .. Hence, although from the standpoint of the devotee the scholar's approach may lack integrity, the academic is bound by a scholarly integrity of his own.
What is that integrity based on?
The historian is interested in learning precisely what the text has to say. He wants to understand everything that might be implied in the words of the text without importing anything that is not actually there. Furthermore, he is interested in understanding the slokas in their historical setting. Exoteric meaning is his only realm, for the esoteric tradition is closed to him."
Maharaja has identified five types of allegations made by scholars;
Subsequently Maharaja acknowledges the observations made by the academics, but not the conclusion that therefore the Bhagavad-gita As It Is would be a biased, inaccurate interpretation of the Gita, which does not represent the actual meaning of the text.
Sivarama Maharaja deals with each of the above-mentioned allegations in a very systematical and detailed way to establish that the meaning presented by Srila Prabhupada is indeed the meaning intended by Krsna Himself, as He explained the Gita to Arjuna.
In the second chapter entitled "the flow of logic" Maharaja lists eight points of evidence or Anumana, for which in the remainder of the book he offers extensive support:
Sivarama Maharaja continues his line of reasoning by deriving subsidiary conclusions which he refers to as codes and corollaries. The ninth chapter elaborates on one of these codes; "Code four, Karma, Jnana and Yoga are meant to achieve Bhakti."
Many arguments are presented to establish the above, one of the major points is: that bhakti-yoga is the only yoga that includes all the qualities that are given in the definitions of yoga found in the Gita.
knowledge, renunciation, meditation
knowledge, renunciation, meditation, devotion
It may not be expected that critical academics will merely accept the entire chain of proof, but maybe some of the points or when not even that, they would have to acknowledge that at least a representative of the Gaudiya-sampradaya and disciple of Srila Prabhupada has made a noteworthy attempt to address the issues in connection with Srila Prabhupada's translation and commentary.
The book is an important document, it serves a useful tool in our dialogue with the academic world and also help the Vaisnava reader to understand Srila Prabhupada's books more deeply; why for example he sometimes translates a word like Brahman as "The Supreme Personality of Godhead" or other yoga systems in the Gita as Bhakti-yoga or Krsna consciousness.
As many have observed modern science has become a religion, at least for Western man. Like other religions, it has a priesthood, roughly organized on hierarchical lines. It has temples, shrines, and rituals, and it has a body of canons, some of which we have heard pronounced at this conference. And. Like other religions, it has its own mythology. One myth in particular states that if, say, by experiment, a scientific theory is confronted in reality with a single contradiction, one piece of disconfirming evidence, then that theory is automatically set aside and a new theory that takes the contradiction in to account is adopted. This is not the way science actually works.
In fact some people have the same type of very deep faith in modern science that do in their respective religions. This faith in science, grounded in its own dogma, leads to a defense of scientific theories far beyond the time any disconfirming evidence is unearthed.
Moreover, disconfirming evidence is generally not incorporated into the body of science in an open-minded way but by an elaboration of the already existing edifice (as, for example, by adding epicycles and generally in a way in which the resulting structure of science and its procedures excludes the possibility of putting the enterprise itself in to jeopardy. In other words, modern science has made itself immune to falsification in any terms the true believer will admit into argument.
Perhaps modern science's most devastating effect is that it leads its believers to think it to be the only legitimate source of knowledge about the world. This must sound very strange here in India, as it sounds also strange to me. But being a high priest, if not a bishop, in the cathedral to modern science-my university, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology-I can testify that a great many of what we sometimes like to call "The MIT family," faculty and students, believe that there is indeed no legitimate source of knowledge about the world other than modern science. This is as mistaken a belief as the belief that one can not gain legitimate knowledge from anything other than religion. Both are equally false.
Until recently modern science, seen as a religion, lacked a deity suitable as an object of worship. The machine, which is generally pictured as something that has gears, moving parts, and so on, has existed for a long time now. To modern man the machine certainly represents power, control, mastery over nature, in other words, attributes a worshipable deity should have. But the machine lacks mystery. In fact, it often demystifies in the sense that people believe that most anything can be transformed, metaphorically at least, into the form of a machine and then understood as such. The machine has become an almost universally applicable that demystifies both itself and the thing to which it refers-this, both for intellectuals of all persuasions as well as for ordinary people, too. Perhaps most people today think a thing is not understood until it has been reduced to a mechanical process.
I think that this phenomenon has contributed to science inability to provide an idol which the faithful can worship as truly representative of their common faith. Now recently, within my lifetime the computer has appeared, and it seems to me that the computer fills that need. Modern man has seen that machines which physically destroy and reconstruct his environment-the steam-shovel, for example-are made in his own image. The steam-shovel has an arm and a hand and it digs into the ground, picks up objects and so forth. Clearly, it is a kind of imitation of a certain aspect of man. But the computer takes things a step farther. When instructing a computer to think (if I may use that term for a moment) in imitation of human thought, we cross a subtle line.
Generally speaking, before writing a computer program, one believes that one knows how to solve the presenting problem and how to instruct the computer in such a way as to cause it to do what one has in mind. This is not always an easy task. Programs often don't work properly and have to be debugged. That is, errors have to be removed; that is usually a long process. It's a process of writing, and while writing, one learns. One sits down, believing one knows just what it is one wants to write, just how to program the computer, and in the act of attempting to give instructions, one discovers that one lacks understanding. In this way, one's knowledge may be improved just by the attempt to program a computer. In any case, once the computer is properly instructed, there is certainly a feeling-and I think it has some solidity-that the computer behaves in the image of man in the sense that one has taught it 'to think' (again I use that word) like a human being and to do what a human being would do to solve that particular problem.
But, as I said, this leads to the crossing of a very subtle line, and after running over that line during programming, the first impression many people get is that the person is inferior to the computer, that the programmer is in some way a defective imitation. And in certain ways the computer is better than human beings. This is what gives rise to the feeling, not that the computer is made in the imitation of man, but, quite the other way around, that in a certain sense man is made in the image of the computer. So we may start out by thinking that the computer is modeled after the brain or human thought, but then we turn around and say instead that the brain itself is a kind of computer. For example yesterday someone pointed to his head and said, "the computer up here."
Let me emphasize that when I speak of instructing a computer in this instance, I am speaking of programming it. Actually, the distinction between program and computer hardware is a very problematic thing, which I will not cover here.
Perhaps it was intended as an amusing gesture, but at the same time, it was an almost universally recognized comment, one which is, I think, quite serious and, under the circumstance, dangerous.
Artificial intelligence is the sub-discipline of computer science that has grown up in the United States. At this stage, and I would say even mainly at my institution, it is seen as a purer from of intelligence than that within this human embodiment. The computer is considered less likely to be misled by mere judgments and other matters arising from the biological constitution of the human being. I am thinking here of some of my colleagues' views. For example, Forester, of great model-making frame, said in print that mental models are always defective, that we can think better and more reliably through a computer.
Obviously, then, the conclusion we must come to is that while sentimental people argue that God is love, the tough modern man, or at least the tough modern Western man, knows that God is really intelligence. I hope it is very clear to you that I totally disagree with this position. It is, however, the dogma of a for-the moment-victorious religion that worships intelligence and its embodiment in the computer. This "religion" pronounces an apocalyptic prophecy. According to this prophecy-which certainly has a basis in reality-the earth's people will one day destroy themselves and their gene pool.
Of course as many other speakers have remarked, the whole human race is in an extremely dangerous situation. The likelihood that we will in fact destroy ourselves is much too large to ignore. It is very real. Some of us-I hope most of us-who have struggled against it certainly don't believe that it is an inevitable or desirable end to the human story. But when one accepts, as many of my colleagues do, that intelligence is in some sense the purpose of the universe, that God is intelligence, not love, that, to put it in another way, the purpose (if one may use that term at all) of organic evolution is not the perfection and adaptation of living organisms to their changing environment but rather the perfection and growth of intelligence in the universe, then the extinction of the human race also becomes an acceptable end.
Strange as it may seem to you, I emphasize again that this view is very widely held among scientists and intellectuals in the United States. Accepting the thesis means that one accepts that the destruction of the human gene pool is not a catastrophe at all, provided, of course, that we, the human race, have assured the continuation of intelligence beyond the human level. In fact, according to some of my colleagues, we have already accomplished this. Even if the earth blows up in an atomic holocaust, we have now sent computers into space which will continue to orbit, to make their computations and so on. Soon, according to this apocalyptic vision, these computers will be able to reproduce themselves, and when they do, the human race will have accomplished its purpose.
This is a satanic vision. In that new utopia, God will have eliminated the source and power of evil from the universe, and what remains will be a mechanic kingdom in which truth with a capital "T" and righteousness, or pure intelligence, can reign undisturbed forever. This reasoning, which, as I said, is more or less explicitly gaining dominance amongst scientists, technologists, and many intellectuals, is a philosophical foundation, on the basis of which the destruction of the human species, a very realistic threat, becomes defensible. In a certain sense, it provides a philosophically tilled soil in which the idea of an absolute genocide becomes thinkable. It argues that the purpose of the universe is the evolution of ever higher forms of intelligence. At the moment we happen to be the carriers. As perhaps the most highly developed intelligence in the universe, we've now succeeded in creating our truly worth successors: computers. We have the tools of destruction in our hands, but we've sent computers into timeless, endless space, and thus, having fulfilled our destiny, we have no reason to grieve over the probable death of our species.
At precisely this time, this murderous theology invades the human mind and spirit. Those who propagate this idolatry-and that's what it is, idolatry-and who themselves venerate the machine in the sense that I have described, who themselves can't see what seems to me so perfectly obvious-that there is a difference between humans and machines, and between human thought and machine thought-risk in my view becoming full conspirators in the murder of God. (From: Synthesis of Science and Religion, Bhaktivedanta Institute, 1986)
The following article by Albert Einstein appeared in the New York Times Magazine on November 9, 1930 pp 1-4. It has been reprinted in Ideas and Opinions, Crown Publishers, Inc. 1954, pp 36-40. It also appears in Einstein's book The World as I See It, Philosophical Library, New York, 1949, pp. 24-28.
Everything that the human race has done and thought is concerned with the satisfaction of deeply felt needs and the assuagement of pain. One has to keep this constantly in mind if one wishes to understand spiritual movements and their development. Feeling and longing are the motive force behind all human endeavor and human creation, in however exalted a guise the latter may present themselves to us. Now what are the feelings and needs that have led men to religious thought and belief in the widest sense of the words?
A little consideration will suffice to show us that the most varying emotions preside over the birth of religious thought and experience. With primitive man it is above all fear that evokes religious notions-fear of hunger, wild beasts, sickness, death. Since at this stage of existence understanding of causal connections is usually poorly developed, the human mind creates illusory beings more or less analogous to itself on whose wills and actions these fearful happenings depend. Thus one tries to secure the favor of these beings by carrying out actions and offering sacrifices which, according to the tradition handed down from generation to generation, propitiate them or make them well disposed toward a mortal. In this sense I am speaking of a religion of fear. This, though not created, is in an important degree stabilized by the formation of a special priestly caste which sets itself up as a mediator between the people and the beings they fear, and erects a hegemony on this basis. In many cases a leader or ruler or a privileged class whose position rests on other factors combines priestly functions with its secular authority in order to make the latter more secure; or the political rulers and the priestly caste make common cause in their own interests.
The social impulses are another source of the crystallization of religion. Fathers and mothers and the leaders of larger human communities are mortal and fallible. The desire for guidance, love, and support prompts men to form the social or moral conception of God. This is the God of Providence, who protects, disposes, rewards, and punishes; the God who, according to the limits of the believer's outlook, loves and cherishes the life of the tribe or of the human race, or even or life itself; the comforter in sorrow and unsatisfied longing; he who preserves the souls of the dead. This is the social or moral conception of God.
The Jewish scriptures admirably illustrate the development from the religion of fear to moral religion, a development continued in the New Testament. The religions of all civilized peoples, especially the peoples of the Orient, are primarily moral religions. The development from a religion of fear to moral religion is a great step in peoples' lives. And yet, that primitive religions are based entirely on fear and the religions of civilized peoples purely on morality is a prejudice against which we must be on our guard. The truth is that all religions are a varying blend of both types, with this differentiation: that on the higher levels of social life the religion of morality predominates. Common to all these types is the anthropomorphic character of their conception of God. In general, only individuals of exceptional endowments, and exceptionally high-minded communities, rise to any considerable extent above this level. But there is a third stage of religious experience which belongs to all of them, even though it is rarely found in a pure form: I shall call it cosmic religious feeling.
It is very difficult to elucidate this feeling to anyone who is entirely without it, especially as there is no anthropomorphic conception of God corresponding to it. The individual feels the futility of human desires and aims and the sublimity and marvelous order which reveal themselves both in nature and in the world of thought. Individual existence impresses him as a sort of prison and he wants to experience the universe as a single significant whole. The beginnings of cosmic religious feeling already appear at an early stage of development, e.g., in many of the Psalms of David and in some of the Prophets. Buddhism, as we have learned especially from the wonderful writings of Schopenhauer, contains a much stronger element of this.
The religious geniuses of all ages have been distinguished by this kind of religious feeling, which knows no dogma and no God conceived in man's image; so that there can be no church whose central teachings are based on it. Hence it is precisely among the heretics of every age that we find men who were filled with this highest kind of religious feeling and were in many cases regarded by their contemporaries as atheists, sometimes also as saints. Looked at in this light, men like Democritus, Francis of Assisi, and Spinoza are closely akin to one another. How can cosmic religious feeling be communicated from one person to another, if it can give rise to no definite notion of a God and no theology? In my view, it is the most important function of art and science to awaken this feeling and keep it alive in those who are receptive to it. We thus arrive at a conception of the relation of science to religion very different from the usual one.
When one views the matter historically, one is inclined to look upon science and religion as irreconcilable antagonists, and for a very obvious reason. The man who is thoroughly convinced of the universal operation of the law of causation cannot for a moment entertain the idea of a being who interferes in the course of events-provided, of course, that he takes the hypothesis of causality really seriously. He has no use for the religion of fear and equally little for social or moral religion. A God who rewards and punishes is inconceivable to him for the simple reason that a man's actions are determined by necessity, external and internal, so that in God's eyes he cannot be responsible, any more than an inanimate object is responsible for the motions it undergoes. Science has therefore been charged with undermining morality, but the charge is unjust. A man's ethical behavior should be based effectually on sympathy, education, and social ties and needs; no religious basis is necessary. Man would indeed be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hopes of reward after death. It is therefore easy to see why the churches have always fought science and persecuted its devotees. On the other hand, I maintain that the cosmic religious feeling is the strongest and noblest motive for scientific research. Only those who realize the immense efforts and, above all, the devotion without which pioneer work in theoretical science cannot be achieved are able to grasp the strength of the emotion out of which alone such work, remote as it is from the immediate realities of life, can issue. What a deep conviction of the rationality of the universe and what a yearning to understand, were it but a feeble reflection of the mind revealed in this world, Kepler and Newton must have had to enable them to spend years of solitary labor in disentangling the principles of celestial mechanics! Those whose acquaintance with scientific research is derived chiefly from its practical results easily develop a completely false notion of the mentality of the men who, surrounded by a skeptical world, have shown the way to kindred spirits scattered wide through the world and through the centuries. Only one who has devoted his life to similar ends can have a vivid realization of what has inspired these men and given them the strength to remain true to their purpose in spite of countless failures. It is cosmic religious feeling that gives a man such strength. A contemporary has said, not unjustly, that in this materialistic age of ours the serious scientific workers are the only profoundly religious people.
This world is not arranged by the plan of the Lord
Leibnitz says that the world could have been different if God desired, but that He chose this particular arrangement, and from the standpoint of it's ingredients, this is the best possible world.
Srila Prabhupada: Yes, God can do anything He likes, but this world is not planned by God, it is given to the living entities who wanted to imitate God. So actually the plan is according to the desire of the living entities, who wanted to imitate God. (Srila Prabhupada, Collected Lectures, vol. 6, p. 558)
Theological problem of evil
An antilogism that stems from assuming three things, only two of which are compatible (sometimes called the incompatible triad):
Epiricus presented the problem in this way:
Hume presented the same problem thus:
If evil in the world is the intention of the Deity, then He is not benevolent. If evil in the world is contrary to His intention, then He is not omnipotent. But evil is either in accordance with His intention or contrary to it. Therefore, either the Deity is not benevolent, or He is not omnipotent. (The Harper Collins Dictionary of Philosophy, 2nd edition.)
Good and evil
Good and evil are both originating from God and are known as the front and the backside of the Lord. Such duality is perceived from the material point of view. On the spiritual plane there is only good. The sun causes darkness and light within this world. So it appears as if the sun has a dark side and a light side, but that is only when observed from earth, in reality the sun is always light on all sides.
Carl Jung concludes that evil can not be a force that works independent from God, but rather must be under control of God. He allows the devil to do it's evil work.
In answer to Job, Jung hold God responsible for the sufferings of Job.
Carl Jung's Answer to Job concerns itself with the origins, meaning and practice of what he calls "the continuing incarnation of God" which can be summarized as follows:
Following His encounter with Job, Yahweh realizes that he is "morally inferior" to His own creation. As Jung says, "Job stands morally higher than Yahweh. In this respect the creature has surpassed the creator.. . [Therefore] because his creature has surpassed him [Yahweh] must regenerate himself [as man]." (Paragraph 640)
Thus, the Incarnation of Christ in Jesus is not so much to save Mankind from its sins as it is to purge God of the wrongs He has committed against man. As Jung says, "Yahweh must become man precisely because he has done man [i.e., Job] a wrong." (Ibid, par. 640)
To sum up, "the immediate cause of the Incarnation [in Jesus] lies in Job's elevation, and its purpose is the differentiation of Yahweh's consciousness." (Par. 642)
Yahweh therefore determines to "become man," in Jung's words, "which resulted from his collision with Job" and is "fulfilled in Christ's life and suffering." (Par. 648)
However, once having incarnated in Jesus, Yahweh determines to continue incarnating in mankind through the Paraclete he promises to send in the Gospel of John. As Jung states, "Since he [the Paraclete] is the Third Person of the Deity [i.e., Sephirah Tiferet]. .. God will be begotten in creaturely man [which]. .. implies a tremendous change in man's status, for now he is raised to sonship [with Christ] and almost to the position of a man-god." (Par. 692)
Therefore Jung concludes, "the indwelling of the Holy Ghost, the Third Divine Person [i.e., Zeir Anpin of Kabbalah], in man, brings about a Christification of many." (Par. 758)
Nevertheless, he continues, "even the enlightened person remains what he is, and is never more than his own limited ego before the One who dwells within him, whose form has no knowable boundaries, who encompasses him on all sides, fathomless as the abysms of the earth and vast as the sky." (Ibid, Par. 758)
An attempt to communicate Vedic knowledge to the westernized world
This book was particularly written for the Bhadraloka, the Calcutta intellectuals present at that time, who under British influence were inclined to look at the Vedic literature from a western empiric perspective. And in a more general sense the book presents the Vedic knowledge in more acceptable terms for a modern, educated audience.
There is a sixty page introduction written from this modern perspective, followed by a more orthodox ten chapter presentation of Bhagavata philosophy. Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura writes in the preface, "With folded hands I request the old-fashioned readers to understand that if some conclusion is found herein that is contrary to their preconceptions, it was written with particular persons in mind. Whatever is written about religious codes, however, should be accepted by all."
In the introduction Bhaktivinoda Thakura is catering to the modern intellectuals, both Indian and British, of his time. One section deals with the Aryan invasion, the dating of the Aryan scriptures and establishing the Aryan culture as the oldest of the world. There is a reference about the Aryan culture coming from Brahmavarta, some northwest country, into India. The following footnote is included: "In the Mahabharata, Vana-parva 82.102, Devi's Tirtha near Kashmir is described as follows. Prasutir yatra vipranam sruyate bharatasabha. It is said that brahmanas first came in to existence in that place." (KS, p. 10)
Upon hearing this even the devotee reader may get a little exited-is there common ground between Vedic and modern views. However, soon that excitement will subside, when one realizes that Bhaktivinoda Thakura is referring to the era of the Daksa yajna and that the dating he is using here stems from the academic view of his time, which places Daksa and the prajapatis at 4463 BC. Somewhat of a difference one might say, with the Vedic time calculation where Daksa as one of the mental sons of Brahma appears in the beginning of Lord Brahma's life. At present about half of lord Brahma's life is supposed to have passed. One day alone amounts to 1000 x 432,000,000 years. There is also a progressive development with dates given of the Vedic literatures. Srila Bhaktivinode Thakura comments; 'According to our scriptures the calculation of the dates are not like this. We believe only the statement of the scriptures. I have presented the modern conclusions for the benefit of the concerned people.
It's clear that Bhaktivinoda Thakura is employing a preaching strategy to present the Srimad-Bhagavatam. He writes; "I had a great desire to translate Srimad-Bhagavatam in this proper swanlike way, but I have no time to translate this huge work. For this reason I am mow extracting the main purport of this great literature and presenting it in the form of this Sri Krsna Samhita."