Bill Sauer: I think you put it better than I did. We do not destroy matter, we transmute it to energy, that's exactly correct. And it is the..., and in fire you are again transmuting material chemical energy into light. And when our light source goes out...
And it surprising, I'm a scientist, I publish papers, now it is all coming together. It is after a long search which we are doing, the body systems, how to be coordinated. Endocrine systems and the nervous systems (indistinct) and that is coordinated through prāṇāyāma-yoga
and the chanting. Basically indirectly is a straightforward...
Bill Sauer: Well, there, fundamentally, there should not be a difference between science and religion, really should not be.
Dr. Sharma: All scientists, all big scientists are the greatest religious people. I am at Berkeley right now. All Nobel Prize winners, they always say that all of our science, we cannot create a single leaf or a single flower, we feel so helpless.
Bill Sauer: You know Calvin?
Dr. Sharma: I was professor at UCLA.
Bill Sauer: Very good. See, he got his Nobel Laureate in explaining how the chemistry of light turns into life. So I passed my manuscript by him to make sure that he didn't run me out of town. So he agreed. He said it was rather novel. But I believe there is a fundamental truth that runs through the whole system, and I've read some of your comments in the magazines, and I think you are fundamentally in agreement.
Prabhupāda, perhaps you can make commentary on this śloka,
The material civilization is the jāgrati
for the materialistic person. But those who are spiritually enlightened, they think that these persons are sleeping. They got the opportunity of understanding God, and without understanding God, they are simply busy with the material body and its comfort and working hard day and night, and missing the point. And whereas the materialistic persons, they see these Kṛṣṇa
conscious people, Hare Kṛṣṇa
people, they are wasting their time by chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa
and they are doing nothing. Just the opposite business. These people are seeing the materialistic persons, they are sleeping, not enlightened to the spiritual life; and these materialistic persons, they are seeing that these people, under some fictitious idea, they are spoiling their life without enjoying material facilities. Just the opposite.
Bill Sauer: I try to resolve these two views. I believe that materialism has a divine purpose.
Prabhupāda: Everything has got divine purpose. But if you do not understand the divine purpose, then you remain animal.
Bill Sauer: Yes, that's right.
Everything has got divine purpose. This human form of life is given to us by laws of nature to understand what is God, what we are, what is our relationship with God, what is this material world, why you have come here, these things we have to know in this human form of life, and, if we like, we can know also. But instead of knowing these different phases of life, if we simply take care of this body like the animals, then we miss the opportunity. The animal is concerned to take the care of the body, that's all. If we simply remain taking care of this body, then we are animal. Sa eva go-kharaḥ [SB
Bill Sauer: Sir, may I read you back the, my version of "Materialism Without Purpose"? May I read you "Materialism Without Purpose"? "Mankind's insatiable appetite for material things stems from instinctive desire to pursue technology, which in turn drives civilization to a frenzy of activity. However, without a cause or a purpose," or spirituality, as you say, "the rush and hurry in uncertain directions to uncertain places creates an excess of technological gimmickery. Perhaps this continuing quest for more material goods would be less anxious if the cause of this obsession of mankind were universally recognized. If we saw the ultimate use of technology as an extension of nature with a purpose for the whole life system, perhaps a new life style would evolve. We would see creative natural instinctive satisfying outlet for energies, and we might all collectively attain more peace of mind. The waste of technological gimmickery would then disappear. Hard reality, however, will extinguish our relentless desire for material things if we do not correct the situation ourselves. We will soon run out of resources and power if our technological explosions continues as blind as a raging torrent of water flowing in any direction gravity takes it."
Prabhupāda: Yes, we are carried away by the laws of nature. However you may improve your technological science, you are under the laws of material nature. That you cannot change. But if you revive your spiritual life, then you can change. Otherwise it is not possible. If you keep yourself under the laws of material nature, then you have to be carried away by the laws of material nature, however expert you may be in technological understanding. Because, after all, you are an instrument in the hands of material nature.
You are falsely thinking "I am everything. I can, by technological understanding, improve the condition." But the real problem is, as it is put forward by Bhagavad-gītā, janma-mṛtyu-jarā-vyādhi-duḥkha-doṣānudarśanam [Bg. 13.9].
We are eternal, na hanyate hanyamāne śarīre
We are put under the laws of material nature, by which we have to accept birth, death, old age and disease. This is our real problem. So unless you make a solution of these problems, there is actually no advancement of education. But the problems remains the same.
Bill Sauer: Saying that we're governed by the laws of nature, since we are a biological creature like the rest... (laughs)
Bill Sauer: In one of the cover letters that went out to some of the people in the American Institute of the Aeronautics and Astronautics, I referred to mankind as a biological phenomenon to solve one of nature's big problems. And a man wrote back, "Anyone who calls man a biological phenomenon shouldn't try and talk to me." So I don't know what he thinks we are, but...
Prabhupāda: Biological phenomenon...
Bill Sauer: It is nature, it is governed by the laws of nature, exactly.
Mr. Davis: May I just add one little note to my friend, and I'm sure my scientist friend will back me up, that the radiation from the sun is far more than just light, which is, after all, just a mere part of the electromagnetic radiation.
Bill Sauer: Physical light is what you're talking about.
Mr. Davis: Yes.
Bill Sauer: I'm talking about the whole electromagnetic spectrum.
Mr. Davis: Yes, but you said light.
Bill Sauer: I wrote, I've said it in the book, that it is far more complex than we can even imagine. Let's see...
Devotee (2): Excuse me, is your name Bill? Did you ever inquire to ask what is the source of the light? If you look at a light bulb you can examine that it has a source. You can trace it back to the electric company, and the people who are running the electric company are personalities, right? So in the same way the light of the sun and the light of the moon is coming from a person, a personality, right? And that person, we say that person is the source of all truths actually.
Bill Sauer: That's an interesting way... I said: "Radiant energy from the sun was to be the most important ingredient for our living earth. We know the content of the sun rays to be light and heat. This is what our senses tell us. We measure waves lengths and we see colors in sunlight. However the sun rays are a blend of radiant energy so complex that we may never understand their significance." And I believe, at least in our generation, I don't think we'll quite understand how complex the sun is. So I agree totally with you.
Dr. Sharma: It's not only that, by the theory of relativity, the observer is also a part of the observed...
Bill Sauer: That's correct. We will never understand...
Dr. Sharma: For that reason, it's difficult to comprehend infinity by our finite mind, and chanting gives you something, gives me something.
Bill Sauer: :That's right. Well, you find an intuitive understanding...
Dr. Sharma: I can't explain it.
Mr. Davis: It brings you to the uncertainty principle.
Dr. Sharma: Uncertainty principle, yes.
Bill Sauer: I'm glad you said that. Then this holds true, that we may never understand the significance, and being observers on the scene we probably never will. Einstein used to say he'd like to..., he used to wonder how it might be to ride a wave of light so he could see how it really was. But since we're sitting here... (laughs)
Dr. Sharma: Someday we have to have the faith, and the only thing, as Prabhupāda said, that there is a bottle of honey inside, and being outside, you can see, but unless you taste it, you can't really feel it.
Probably the most important... I quoted some people. This is Tierre De
Jardin, who was a very religious man in science, was caught right in the two, and I consider this probably the most important quote in the book. De
Jardin said "In the mutual reinforcement of these two still-opposed powers...," namely religion and science...
Dr. Sharma: No, I would never agree to that. Religion and science...
Bill Sauer: In the Western civilization it's opposed. He's saying philosophically, he said "In the mutual reinforcement of these two still-opposed powers and the conjunction of reason and mysticism, the human spirit is destined by the very nature of its development to find the uttermost degree of its penetration and the maximum of its vital force." In other words, spirituality and science already have truth.
Excuse me, one thing is you should address your questions to the authority. This discussion that you are having will get you nowhere. Unless you apply your questions to the authority, then you will never understand anything. So the authority is Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam,
and His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta is teaching on that authority. So if you have come here, then you should try to address your questions to His Divine Grace rather than arguing among yourselves, because you will not find any satisfaction in your argument. If you want information, then you must go to the authority.
Guest: Still, the argument was an aspect of the occasion, and it came out of the wisdom that he's here.
Prabhupāda: Acintyāḥ khalu ye bhāvā na tāṁs tarkeṇa yojayet.
Things which are inconceivable, do not try to understand by argument. Acintyāḥ khalu ye bhāvā na tāṁs tarkeṇayojayet.
So our process, this Kṛṣṇa
consciousness movement, is to take knowledge from the authority. Unless we take knowledge from the authority, however we may go on arguing, we cannot come to the conclusion. The modern scientists, philosophers, they are arguing, but they do not come to the conclusion. If you want to take conclusion... Just like two lawyers are arguing in the court, but the conclusion is given by the authority, the judge. That one has to accept. So we take authority, the Bhagavad-gītā
. He is accepted authority by all the ācāryas,
Rāmānujācārya, Madhvācārya, Viṣṇu Svāmī
, Caitanya Mahāprabhu
, and in the śāstra
also, Vyāsadeva, Nārada
. So our authority is confirmed. So if we take conclusion from the authority, then we benefit. Otherwise, with our limited knowledge, if we go on arguing, then we cannot understand the conclusion. That is not possible. Tarko 'pratiṣṭhaḥ śrutayo vibhinnā.
By argument we cannot come to the conclusion. I can argue, and you can argue, but you may argue more than me. Another person can argue more than you. In this way, you do not come to the conclusion. And śrutayo vibhinnā.
So far scriptures are concerned, there are also different scriptures. Nāsāv ṛṣir yasya mataṁ na bhinnam.
And a philosopher is not a philosopher if he does not agree with others, if he does not agree other philosophers. So in this way, you are perplexed. Therefore it is advised, mahājano yena gataḥ sa panthāḥ
[Cc. Madhya 17.186
We should accept the authority, and then we shall be benefited. So the authorities are mentioned in the śāstra,
who are authorities. So if we follow the authorities, then we get the conclusion. SoKṛṣṇa
is the authority accepted. At least in India, all the Vedic authorities, Vedāntists, they have accepted, Kṛṣṇa
is the authority. So we simply follow what Kṛṣṇa
says, and we get benefit out of it. Then it is all right. And without following authority, if you go on arguing, there is no end. The same example, that two lawyers, both of them are learned scholar. They are going on arguing on some point, they do not come to conclusion. But when the judge gives his conclusion, that has to be accepted. That is final. So we have to find out the judge. That is Kṛṣṇa
. So we have got many points to understand by argument, but if we take the judgment of Kṛṣṇa
, then it is conclusive. And He has His direction in every field of life, in the Bhagavad-gītā.
Even our political leaders, they also accept Bhagavad-gītā
in guidance. So if you take guidance from Bhagavad-gītā
without malinterpretation, then we are benefited. Unfortunately, we interpret our own way, which is favorable to us, and that is not required. Then the authority of the Bhagavad-gītā
is gone. We make our own conclusion, supposing on the authority of Bhagavad-gītā.
That will not help us, by malinterpretation. You take the conclusion of Bhagavad-gītā
as it is, then you will be benefited.
Eugene Thoreau: May I ask a question? Is it possible to aim at any form of personal existence after death?
Yes, you are personally existing, you are old man. When you were a child, you were person. When you were young man, you were a person. Now you are old man, you are a person. We are personalities continuing although the body is changing. You are not missing your personality. So therefore personality continues even when you change this body. That is explained in the Bhagavad-gītā,
in the Second Chapter. Kṛṣṇa
says... Find out this verse.
No, there is another verse where Kṛṣṇa
says, "My dear Arjuna
, you and Me and all these persons who are assembled here..."
Prabhupāda: Ah, that verse.
Translation, "Never was there a time when I did not exist, nor you, nor all these kings, nor in the future shall any of us cease to be."
Yes, that means in the past we existed, at present we are existing, and in future we shall continue to exist, individually. And that is our experience. I existed in the past as a child. So I existed as a person. I existed as a young man, so I existed as a person. I am an old man now, now I am existing as a person. Naturally, the conclusion is when I shall change this body, I shall remain as a person. How we can change this conclusion? I am continuing to exist as a person. I am still existing as a person. And here is the authority, He says in the future also you remain a person. So there is time factor, past, present and future, and in all these time factors I live as a person. Not only I, but also Kṛṣṇa
. He says "I also remain as person. You Arjuna
, you also person, I am also person, and all these soldiers and kings who have assembled, they are also persons." So our personality continues, past, present and future.
Mr. Davis: Then when you die and you are buried, they bury your body.
Prabhupāda: My body you bury, but I go away.
Mr. Davis: They bury my body, they bury your name, they write it on a stone maybe, but they bury your name, they bury your memory. What survives, I was going to ask, and then what survives—no memory, no body, no name—is the spirit.
Prabhupāda: That is soul.
Mr. Davis: And the spirit would not necessarily have the ability to point and say "I used to be in that body or that body or that."
No, that he forgets. Death means forgetfulness. Just like accepting that I was existing in previous life, but now I do not remember. This is death. But I am existing, that's a fact. The same example. Everyone knows that he was existing as a child, he was existing as a young man. So because it is short period, I remember, but when the body is completely changed, the atmosphere is completely changed, we forget. But actually I exist continually. Na hanyatehanyamāne śarīre
This is the authoritative statement, that I am not annihilated on account of my body being annihilated. So they bury the body or giving some name, some tomb, that is the business of my relatives, my friends, my family members. But as I am, I am aloof from this. I have accepted another body. And then begin my life in a different way. So people do not try to understand this science, how it is happening. That is all described in the Bhagavad-gītā.
If we study Bhagavad-gītā
very carefully, we can understand the philosophy of life correctly.
This gentleman here has a question, Śrīla Prabhupāda.
Eugene Thoreau: You mentioned understanding, you mentioned lawyers arguing and the judge make the decision and their higher authority resolves the question. Can you suggest how people can go beyond that to spiritual understanding—not just appealing for judgment over a controversy about facts. What suggestions or comments do you have about achieving spiritual understanding?
That is very simple. Spiritual understanding, that is, I was speaking... This is beginning of Bhagavad-gītā.
Spiritual understanding is that I am not this body. (to devotee) You move it this way. This is spiritual understanding. So long I am under this bodily concept of life, that "I am this body," "I am American," "I am Indian," "I am Hindu
," "I am Christian," "I am white," "I am black" and so on, so on, these are all bodily concept of life. So long we keep ourself on this platform, then we are on the material platform. When we understand that "I am not this body..." That is the beginning of Bhagavad-gītā. Dehino 'smin yathā dehe [Bg. 2.13]. Deha
means this body, and dehī
means the owner of the body. So unless we distinguish the owner of the body and the body, there is no spiritual knowledge. So long we identify with this body, that is material knowledge. And when we understand that "I am not this body, I am a spirit soul, I have been entrapped by this body," that is spiritual knowledge.
Mr. Davis: Is it not also true that the more you can realize "I am not this body," but there is that within my body which is spiritual, and that is there in an African's body which is spiritual, or a Chinese...
Prabhupāda: Everyone's body.
Mr. Davis: Everyone's body, therefore the thing we have in common is we are all a part of the spirit.
Yes, that is fact. We are part and parcel of the supreme spirit, God. That is explained in the Bhagavad-gītā. Mamaivāṁśo jīva-bhūtaḥ
"All these living entities, they are My part and parcel." Qualitatively, we are one. Just like a small particle of gold is also gold. It is nothing else. Similarly, we being part and parcel of God, we have got that godly qualification. God can create. We can also create. That example I have given in my last magazine, that we have created this big 747 airplane, but we cannot create a mosquito. That is also plane, with pilot. That is God's creation. So the creative power, both of us, we have got, but we are limited, and He is unlimited. That is the difference. A drop of seawater contains the same chemicals, but the quantity of Atlantic Ocean and drop of Atlantic Ocean is not the same. So we are just like drop of the Atlantic Ocean, and God is Atlantic Ocean. That is the difference. But chemically test, the whole Atlantic Ocean is salty, we are also salty. Whatever chemical composition is Atlantic Ocean, we are also of the same chemical composition. And because we are part and parcel of God, therefore we show sometimes activities very wonderful, but still, God's activities are still more wonderful. That we cannot compare. That is not possible. So we should understand what is the duty of the part and parcel. Now, just like this finger is the part and parcel of my body. So what is the duty of the finger? To serve the whole body. I order the finger "Please come here," immediately it does like this. So the finger, being part and parcel of the body, it is the duty of the finger to serve the whole body. When the finger is unable to give any service, then it is diseased. If there is some pain in the finger, I want to use this finger for some purpose, to pick up this flower, I cannot do it, that means it is diseased. Similarly, we living entities, part and parcel of God, when we are unable to give service to the Supreme, that is our diseased condition. That is not normal condition. And when we are actually able to give service to God, that is our healthy condition. So in the materialistic way of life we are diseased. Because we are diseased, therefore we have to accept birth and death. Tapo divyaṁ putrakā yena śuddhyet sattvam [SB 5.5.1
So we have to get free from this diseased condition. Śuddhyet sattvam. Yasmād brahma-saukhyaṁtv anantam.