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  • The Meaning of Life: Science vs. Theism

    Q: “By now, you're probably familiar with the buzzword “hygge”, the Danish lifestyle trend that Americans obsessed over last year. But if wrapping yourself up in chunky knit blankets and eating all the pastries you could lay your hands on didn't fix your woes, you might find the secret to happiness in the Japanese concept of ikigai. Ikigai is essentially about finding your purpose in life or "a reason for being" that gets you out of bed each morning, so ikigai could also be the secret to longevity. Can these concepts really bring the happiness proper into lives of human beings or are these misguiding concepts bringing us nowhere?”

    — Conditional (children, wife, country, money, etc.) and constitutional (what is ultimately meaningful and beneficial). — When we discover the original source of everything, it will help us define what the purpose of our existence is. Scientific and theistic approaches to the meaning of life and realization of reality potential. — Who am I and why am I suffering? Without knowing it, how can I know, what is good for me? — The jiva's real purpose is an eternal servant of Krishna. Forgetting it, we have a substitutional meaning of life. — Eternal servant of Krishna — that is your actual identity. — Marginal position: situated between two planes [of consciousness], having minute consciousness that can be easily diverted — that's how jiva comes to the material world. —                                                                     

    Q: In the “Lucy” poem by a British poet William Wordsworth, it is said, The stars of midnight shall be dear // To her; and she shall lean her ear // In many a secret place // Where rivulets dance their wayward round, // And beauty born of murmuring sound // Shall pass into her face. The beauty of the sound emphasizes visual beauty. Is sound always over form or it happens only in mundane reality? 

    — “Sound beauty contributed to eye beauty.” — In the spiritual plane aroma is the highest. — Aroma of Krishna and its effects. — Sound is not “over” form, but assisting, it's a catalyst (nam-rupa-guna-lila sequence).

    Q: Isn't any “original” non-conscious physical cause of origins of the Universe and life, by definition, be limited in the thinking of these so-called scientists and philosophers, to “ultimate” purposes such as natural urges for propagation and survival?

    — To defeat opposition, try to understand, why they think and believe like that. — Those who have little faith will accept a simple example — like Krishna gives in Bhagavad-gita. If one has no faith — a mountain of evidence won't help. — The original source of everything has personality, senses and sensual tendencies. — Erotic principle is the driving force in both worlds: material and spiritual. — Question to scientists: do you know the ultimate Reality is beautiful? How will you measure that? — The original source has male and female aspects.

    Chiang Mai 2017 - The Meaning of Life: Science vs. Theism

    Author: Bhakti Sudhir Goswami Cycle: Chiang Mai 2017 Uploaded by: Priyanana Created at: 3 November, 2017
    Date: 2017-11-02 Place: Gupta Govardhan Chiang Mai Downloaded: 409 Played: 1111

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    Devotee: Question from me, for my sake, for the benefit of others. And, the question is, recently I've read an article, which was saying, by now you are probably familiar with the buzzword Hygge, the Danish...
    Goswāmī Mahārāj: Oh, right.
    Goswāmī Mahārāj: Pardon me?
    Goswāmī Mahārāj: Spell it.
    Devotee: ...Hygge... I will explain.
    Devotee: H-Y-G-G-E. It is Danish word, Scandinavian word.
    Devotee: But, it becomes a trend. The Danish lifestyle trend that Americans obsessed over, last year. But, if wrapping yourself up in chunky knit blankets and eating all the pastries you could lay your hands on, didn't fix your woes. You might find the secret of happiness in the Japanese concept of Ikigai. And, Ikigai is essentially about finding your purpose in life, or a reason for being, the thing that gets you out of bed each morning. So, Ikigai could also be the secret of longevity. So, question is, do these concepts really can bring happiness proper into life of human beings or these are other misguiding concepts bringing us nowhere?
    Goswāmī Mahārāj: What comes to mind is the concept of conditional and constitutional. Because, it's easy to say, in a general way, like, we want to live a life that has meaning or purpose. But, how's that defined, it could be defined differently in terms of conditional activities, constitutional activities. So, when it's defined from a conditional point of view... you know, people will say, like, “I live for my children, that's my purpose.” That's what gets me up out of bed every morning, or husband, wife, parents, children, patriot, and country, and business man, and money. You know, there's an old joke when someone said... you know, “I wouldn't be doing this if I didn't believe in it.” And, they say. “Oh, what do you believe in?” “Making money.” [laughing] So, there's a Bhāgavatam śloka,
    nārāyaṇa-mayaṁ dhīrāḥ
    paśyanti paramārthinaḥ
    jagad dhana-mayaṁ lubdhāḥ
    kāmukāḥ kāminī-mayam
    (Śrīmad Bhāgavatam: 7.7.55, Purport)
    What is at the core of someones's vision? And by that... what is in their heart? And, then conditional heart, constitutional heart... here we're dealing with conditional, at first. So it's saying, in this śloka, a business man sees everything as an opportunity for business. Like on this road... so many people drove by on this road for so many years and the
    [Banoke] man, he thought, “Hmm, I could take that side of the road put a little something there, my coffee business.” And, he made a successful business. Then other people tried to imitate him, or whatever. But, he saw... you see that on many roads in many places... he saw trees, like jungle growth actually, and thought I could do something there, and make a business.
    So, his way of seeing things, his purpose, was driving him and just using him as an example, not him personally but, such a person. He's seeing everything that's coloring his vision, how he view everything. So, when he defines purpose... a business man saying, “My purpose is to make money. And then, what I do with that, that's another thing. But that's my... that's what gives my life meaning.” And, it says, you know, kāmukāḥ kāminī-mayam (SB: 7.7.55, Purport). And one full of kām, or lust is always searching for erotic opportunities. Seeing everyone and everything is... their potential... they're being judged from that standard.
    But, again, in the beginning, it said, nārāyaṇa-mayaṁ dhīrāḥ, paśyanti paramārthinaḥ (SB: 7.7.55, Purport). Paramārthin, that's interesting, because ārtha means meaning. But, here it says, paramārta. And, Gurudev, what did he like, something, maybe it was in Caitanya-śiksamṛtam, about paramārta... I can't recall clearly but I remember him signaling out this idea. Because, here, paramārta, now we're going over into constitutional consideration. What is ultimately meaningful, what is ultimately beneficial, that we'll define. It's, in this sense, ironic that modern day scientist thinkers, like, Stephen Hawking for example, he'll say, “When we discover the original source of everything...” I'm going to use that within our circle. “... So, when we discover that, he'll think, that will help us define what is the purpose of our existence.” So, that's interesting, because, it could be true from a material point of view, from a spiritual point of view. Some will take it... and another thing, when we understand the nature of the source of everything, it will help us more deeply understand who we are, what our purpose is, like that.
    The almost comical aspect of that, is like, you know, don't hold your breath. Here we are, however long we've been into this thing, whether you say hundreds of thousand of years, or millions and billions of years, trillions of years, on the, let's call it, 'The Human Project.' And, the implication is up to this point, nobody knows. [laughing] So, not a good record. So, up to this point, if we follow that line of thought, nobody knows why we exist, what our purpose is, what we're doing here. And, we can't wait to get, you know, a text message from Stephen Hawking the moment he figures it all out. But, he's dependent upon the Hadron Collider smashing atoms together and other things. Someone will say, “No, that's what they're doing.” Alright, OK... quartz... fill in your little tech buzzword, whatever it is. But, what I'm saying, there's a humorous aspect to this with the implication. So, up to this point, nobody knows. Because, without knowing that, how can you know. But, it's ironic in the sense... the Upaniṣads saying, yasmin vijñāte sarvam evaṁ vijñātaṁ bhavati (Mu: 1.3), try to know that one thing, upon knowing which, everything is known. Like, the... what they call, the 'unified field theory,' or the 'theory of everything,' which for the scientifically inclined, I repurpose that, I'm borrowing that and repurposing it, and saying, from a Gauḍīya ontological perspective, that,
    vadanti tat tattva-vidas
    tattvaṁ yaj jñānam advayam
    brahmeti paramātmeti
    bhagavān iti śabdyate
    (Śrīmad Bhāgavatam: 1.2.11)
    The 'unified field theory' in Gauḍīya ontology is Brahman, Paramātmām, Bhagavān. And again, paramārta, what is the ultimate meaning? We also want to know that, in that sense, the theistic inquiry and the scientific inquiry, they want to answer this question, that's the upmost importance to both. We can say their approach is different and often the conclusion, one theistic, one atheistic. Not discounting that they're are those who... scientist who hold a theistic point of view, as well. And, theists who have a deep admiration for science. But, it is how we define that purpose. [inaudible comment by devotee] This? OK. That... say... I want to do something meaningful with my life. And, ostensively to realize the self, one's potential. But, I like to use the words 'reality potential', with the implication that there's realizing one's potential as an exploiting unit, in the world of exploitation where jīvo jīvasya jīvanam (SB: 1.13.47), one living being lives at the expense of another.
    Runs in parallel, the Darwinian evolution, survival of the fittest. But, then again, there he say, “What does it mean, fittest?” The one who is intellectually superior or physically; intellectually fit, physically fit. So, survival of the fittest, again, it... all these things need defining. But, there's that idea. As an exploiting unit, I will establishing myself as an absolute center, then, I'll will try and expand the circumference of my exploiting capacity. And, in this way, realize my potential. But, potential for what?; for exploitation. We can get... call it... you know, try and give it softer, prettier names, but, that's what it comes down to.
    But, as the poet Shelley wrote in Ozymandias, “Look on my kingdom, ye Mighty, and despair!..” … I met a traveller from an ancient land, who told me something quite peculiar that he saw. In the midst of the desert was a monument to a great king; Ozymandias. But, in time, so much time had past, the statue was broken. So, that just some say... the waist down, and the leg is there with the legend or inscription... but the arms are in one place, the head is off to the side in the sand. He said... but when you look at that head in the sand... there was this arrogant sneer on the face. He said, “Ahh, I think that sculpture, he captured him well. Whoever this man was, I think he captured his essences.” We know the portrait photographer, the sculpture that... those who are extraordinary, they can capture the essence of that person. And, interestingly, in portrait photography... the great portrait photographers, as a consensuses, they say that... the person and we're talking about the great people− not that other people aren't great, but those who are famous. They say, they're always trying to hide themselves. You know, like, persona. There's a persona they adopt, as a famous person, so, they want to put that mask on and hide behind it.
    But, the great portrait photographers, they have a way of... they're dealing, talking with them, asking them to do different things. They're taking those pictures where they're maintaining the persona that they want to present to the world. But, the experts, at some point, they will get that person to take off the mask. And, they'll get a picture of them as they actually are. There's an art to that. So, the narrator in the poem, he say's, “Ahh, this sculptor, I think he captured the essence of this Ozymandias king very well.” Because he's showing this disdain for others and this arrogant sneer. And, he said, the legend says, “I am Ozymandias, king of kings, look upon my kingdom, ye Mighty, and despair!” He said, “But, when you look, all you see, are sands and sand dunes and just sand− no kingdom.” So, even if one adopts the strategy that they will find meaning and purpose as an exploiting agent, either selfishness, or extended selfishness, this is where it ends. Or, as Guru Mahārāj liked to quote the poet Gray, Gray's Elegy, Thomas Gray,
    The boast of heraldry, the pomp of pow'r,
    And all that beauty, all that wealth e'er gave,
    Awaits alike th' inevitable hour.
    The paths of glory lead but to the grave.
    (Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard)
    And the... language of the Bhāgavatam we have śreyas and preyas. Preyas means what is perceived as being immediately beneficial. And, śreyas, like śābde pare... tasmād guruṁ prapadyeta, jijñāsuḥ śreya uttamam (SB:, what is ultimately beneficial. Paramārthinaḥ; ultimate meaning, constitutional side. What is our constitution? Sanātana Goswāmī... the beginning of the so-called Sanātan-śikṣā, Mahāprabhu's instructions to Sanātan Goswāmī, begin with Sanātan Goswāmī saying, ‘ke āmi’, ‘kene āmāya jāre tāpa-traya’ (Cc: 2.20.102), who am I and why am I suffering from the three-fold miseries of material existence? If I don't know this, ihā nāhi jāni — ‘kemane hita haya’ (Cc: 2.20.102), then how can I know what is beneficial for me? So, he's adding this qualifier, if you can't answer this question, then everything that comes after that, is questionable. And, what is Mahāprabhu's answer? And first of all, we should say, for those unacquainted... three-fold miserable conditions, adhyātmik, adhibhautik, adhidaivik. Adhyātmik; self induced misery... and say unforced errors. Adhibhautik; suffering inflicted by others, can mean... you know... like, we have to deal with the mosquitos, insect... but, other people too. [laughing]
    Adhibhautik; others, and adhidaivik; means so-called natural occurrences, disasters, you know, tsunami, earthquake, hurricane, flood, whatever, it goes by different names in different places. And, I've always found it interesting that in insurance policies, the legal language in English in insurance policy, when they say, “Things we don't cover.” Because, after Hiraṇyakaśipu, they had to, like, get the language really tight. [laughing] So, they say, “Here's the things we don't cover.” And, the phrase they use, it's old style, but still is says, “Acts of God.” [laughing] Now, maybe, I don't know it they say that anymore. But, that's how they use to write it. “We... if it's an act of God, we don't cover that. Have you read the seventh canto about Prahlād and Nṛsinghadev, we don't cover that. If Nṛsinghadev is going to come out of a pillar, we don't cover that.” [laughing] So nicely, Sanātan Goswāmī Prahbhu is the bhaktisiddhānta ācārya, he's setting the table for Mahāprabhu saying, “Who am I? And, why am I suffering in this way? If I don't know this then how can I know what's hita haya?” Means, what's good for me. It's very simple, but it's on the money, as they say. And, what is Mahāprabu's answer?
    jīvera ‘svarūpa’ haya — kṛṣṇera ‘nitya-dāsa’
    kṛṣṇera ‘taṭasthā-śakti’ ‘bhedābheda-prakāśa’
    (Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta: Madhya-līlā, 20.108)
    You think, this is Kṛṣṇa Himself as Mahāprabhu answering this question. You could think it's a good answer, one answer that could be given, and all comprehensive answer, the first thing that we need to accept, embrace and deal with. How do we say... to straight... jīvera ‘svarūp, that svarūpa; the jīva, the jīva's real form and real purpose and real meaning. What is that? Nitya-kṛṣṇa-dās, is an eternal servant of Kṛṣṇa. Not a sometime servant of Kṛṣṇa, eternal servant, that is your actual identity. And, what did... further... kṛṣṇera ‘taṭasthā-śakti, jīvas are to... because He's thinking, “Well, then how did that... then... what happened? If that's my eternal position, then what is this?” Then I find myself in ayi nanda-tanuja kiṅkaraṁ, patitaṁ māṁ viṣame bhavāmbudhau (Cc: 2.20.32). I'm Kṛṣṇa-kiṅkar, the servant of Kṛṣṇa and I'm drowning in an ocean of forgetfulness of that fact. And, exploring all sorts of substitute identity, substitute purpose, substitute meaning. That I call sarvopādhi-vinirmuktaṁ, tat-paratvena nirmalam (Cc: 2.19.170). Having my senses do anything and everything, but serve Kṛṣṇa, hṛṣīkeśa... hṛṣīkeṇa hṛṣīkeśa-, sevanaṁ bhaktir ucyate (Cc: 2.19.170). So, how did this happen? Kṛṣṇera ‘taṭasthā-śakti’, because jīva is taṭasthā-śakti.
    Although, this sounds visual and GPS like, really we have to remember we're talking about consciousness. So, when he says, “The jīva... the locus... what is Bhakti... locus standing of the jīva. Where is it located? On the outskirts of the svarūp-śakti.” What he meant... was... remember, outskirts of a particular type of consciousness. That's how we navigate the spiritual domain. Even in the material world, the Oṃ bhūr bhuvaḥ svaḥ plane, is gradations going from gross misconception and illusion to subtle misconception and illusion, and then above that, so, you think, from that marginal position. What does margin mean? It's very simply expressed here by Mahāprabhu Himself, He's answering this question. That means situated between two planes. What is the taṭa? Taṭa... when He says taṭasthā-śakti. Why use that word? Taṭa means, like, the bank. Like, what is that song we sang... you know... Rādhākunḍataṭa-kuñjakuṭīra (Sa: 1.1), that's another one. But anyway, taṭa, gaṅgā-taṭa,
    navadwīpo kola dhīra jey, on the banks... what is... and why is that... because think, why did Mahāprabhu... He's answering this question that is extremely important, succinctly, then each word has some significance.
    Just think in poetry, we know, why it's the hardest thing to write. They say the novel, short-stories even harder, can't have any unnecessary information, but a poet, every... a poem, every word has to count. He's saying, “Because, jīvas are taṭasthā-śakti, on the margin between the mundane and the spiritual. Like... there's... and it's almost imaginary. Like, where water and the land meet... where is it?.. there's an almost an imaginary position where it's not land, not water, or land and water. And He's saying, “That's the position jīva; kṛṣṇera ‘taṭasthā-śakti’ ‘bhedābheda-prakāśa’ (Cc: 2.20.108), and it has some similarity and difference. Similarity; qualitative similarity, sat-cit-ānanda-vigrahaḥ. But quantitative magnitude is minute. And, on account of the minute magnitude of consciousness, can be overwhelmed by illusion and forgetfulness of it's actual position. So, yes, we seek meaning, we seek purpose, but for it to be fulfilling, in the truest sense of the word, it has to be based on constitutional identity. Which means, ātma, jīvātmā, the spiritual side of things. Otherwise, on the conditional part, as we mentioned, whether in Ozymandias and Gray's Elegy, all of this will vanish.
    As Gurudev said in the... when we're departing London... “I was happy in my village life.” And Guru Mahārāj's representative came from the Maṭh he said... saying... you know, “Your mother is nothing, your father is nothing, this world is nothing, it will all vanish.” And, Gurudev, it like ruined it for him as he thought, “I couldn't deny, that what he was saying was true. I was happily going along”... And then he's saying... and at the time with Gurudev's classic humor, he said, “He came talking this nonsense.” What is the nonsense, you know, ātmā jāna [laughing], your mother's nothing, your father's nothing, this world is nothing, it will all vanish, then what? What will be you position? So, when we're searching for meaning and purpose, we have to, as Guru Mahārāj says, “Dive deep into reality.” Into the permanent plane, permanent identity in the permanent plane.
    Goswāmī Mahārāj: Yes.
    Devotee: There is actually, another question, on-line question, but I cannot reach it on the... my browser, it just disappeared.
    Goswāmī Mahārāj: OK.
    Devotee: But, I have another one. OK, I will ask another question. As soon as we touched the subject of poetry, and the language of great poets, which is more complicated to express something in a condensed form. Uh, I want to ask the question referring to the British poet William Worsworth.
    Goswāmī Mahārāj: Wordsworth.
    Devotee: Yeah. In the Lucy poem, poems by William Wordsworth, the poet is saying, “The stars of midnight shall be dear To her; and she shall learn (lean) her ear In many a secret place Where rivulets dance their wayward round, And beauty born of murmuring sound Shall pass into her face.” So the question is, the beauty of the sun emphases visual beauty. Is sound always over form? Or it happens only mundane reality.
    Goswāmī Mahārāj: Oh, first of all, just for those who are unacquainted, Guru Mahārāj, ever the diligent, attentive student, he recalls English poetry he's studied in school. And what the Christians told about Jesus and Christianity and the bible and German philosophers and... it's extraordinary that he remembers all of those things. But, as Mādhava Mahārāj said about Guru Mahārāj, “Whether her reads the newspaper, or the Vedas, it's the same.” [laughing] So, when he reads English poetry... where they think... he... we see, he highlights the parts that he can use as a bridge to Kṛṣṇa conception. So, here he discerns from this, he's saying, “Sound-beauty contributed to eye-beauty. And, what the poet is saying there... because poetry is one of the hardest things to translate into a foreign language. But, what the poet is saying about, maybe it's Lucy Gray, or something... the girl in the poem is... he encounter's her, she's in the forrest, and she's sitting next to a stream, a brook. Means a little tiny stream. And, we know the water moves... and it makes very pleasant sound. So, he's saying, the beau... it would one... one thing to behold this beautiful girl. He's saying, but, the beautiful girl and then next to the sound of the river, he's saying, “The sound of the river makes her look even more beautiful.”
    So, he's saying, sound-beauty contributed to eye-beauty. And, with regard to the sequence, nāma, rūpa, guṇa, līlā, from sound, the enhanced beauty of the form of Kṛṣṇa. But, I would have to point out, that Śrīla Guru Mahārāj has said, interestingly, he was saying, “In this world, sound is like the subtle element.” When we're speaking of earth, water, fire, air, ether, etc... like that, sound. And, that's... the word... it's the subtlest representation of the spiritual in this plane. Whereas, he said, “It's the lowest in the spiritual world.” It's the least. And the highest there being aroma. Which is interesting, in this plane, if you study the Panchabuta, the five elements... you'll see that it's only when there's earth, the grossest element, then aroma comes. Saying, in the spiritual world, there's an inversion.
    And, this is... can be a very deep subject matter. I'm not going to go into it now, it's beyond my capacity to do so. But, it's noteworthy, that in support of what Ṣrīla Guru Mahārāj is saying here, you look the... the concluding chapters of Caitanya-caritāmṛtam, Mahāprabhu in His divine madness, enveloped by the heart of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, He's mad with the fragrance of the aroma of Kṛṣṇa. That said, no less then Kṛṣṇa Himself, says “The whole creation is maddened by my aroma and fragrance.” Of which, the fragrance of this world, puṇyo gandhaḥ pṛthivyāṁ ca, Bhagavad-gīta, when we smell the wonderful flowers and things, and we're... they have almost a hypnotic affect upon us, in a vibhūti sense. Kṛṣnā is saying, “I'm that, I'm the fragrance.” But, beyond that, tri-guṇātita, He's saying, “My fragrance, you know, drives everyone mad.” He's saying, “But, the aroma of my beloved drives me mad, meaning of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī. So... and, we hear early on in the Bhāgavatam about the Kumaras,
    tasyāravinda-nayanasya padāravinda-
    antar-gataḥ sva-vivareṇa cakāra teṣāṁ
    saṅkṣobham akṣara-juṣām api citta-tanvoḥ
    (Śrīmad Bhāgavatam: 3.15.43)
    By inhaling the aroma of tulasī mixed with the aroma of the lotus feet of the Lord, they're completely transformed. What this means, back to, hṛṣīkeṇa hṛṣīkeśa; spiritual senses and what qualifies something as being spiritual. It's not something to be demonstrated in an objective sense. Like, we might say, aroma therapy. But, we like to borrow that. As you'll say, “ This aroma will have this affect upon you.” And, we're here neither to promote or demote, but, just to observe. We will say, “This one gives this type mentality, this gives that type of mentality.” So, here we're saying, the mixture of the aroma of the lotus feet of the Lord with tulasī , His lotus feet being covered with tulasī, mañjarīs... that entered consciousness, the core consciousness, the heart's deep core, of the four Kumaras, and they were transformed. So, what was it about sound?
    Devotee: Is sound always over form?
    Goswāmī Mahārāj: Over.
    Devotee: Hmm, hmm.
    Goswāmī Mahārāj: No, its... over would not be the right word. Here we're saying it's, from one point of view, you can say, it's... it has certain primacy about it, as in nāma, rūpa, guṇa, līlā. It will precede... here we're talking... you know... eye-beau... sound-beauty contributed to eye-beauty, ear-beauty contributed to eye-beauty. But, if we want to follow that, then we're saying, nāma, rūpa, from sound the form appears. In that sense, it's almost like a catalyst, or a... it's serving. I wouldn't say over, but, assisting. Any other question?
    Devotee: Yes, from our on-line viewer, Robert Grant.
    Goswāmī Mahārāj: And, it almost tells you that because... if you consider our present situation in conditional existence... and what are we told?.. we shall focus on it first, the sound. One of the examples we always gave, we heard from Śrīla Prabupād, about, you know, when a person is sleeping. How do you arouse them, but by calling them. And, even though their deep in a dream, forgetful of their actual identity, they start hearing that sound within the dream. Then, they enter, like, half dreaming, half waking state. And then, following that sound, they come out of the dream into a fully awakened state. And the parallel is uncanny, because, it's similar to what Guru Mahārāj said. And upon that awakening, what do you know? You know who you are, what your name is, your identity, and, oh I'm late for something you have to do. They're saying, in the spiritual world, you think, how does that now help me think. Once, one is awaken to their identity, they know who they are, where they are, and, I'm late. [laughing] I added the 'I'm late' part. But, in other words, they know what they must do, all instantaneously upon that awakening. Yes.
    Devotee: Robert... Robert Grant is asking, isn't any original, non-conscious physical cause of origins of the universe and life by definition, be limited in the thinking of these so-called scientist and philosophers to ultimate purposes, such as, natural urges for propagation and survival. Your aspiring servant Ramashvara...
    Goswāmī Mahārāj: Can you read it again?
    Devotee: … Ramashvara dasa.
    Goswāmī Mahārāj: Slowly.
    Devotee: Isn't any original, non-conscious physical cause of origins of the universe and life by definition, be limited in the thinking of these so-called scientist...
    Goswāmī Mahārāj: What in their thinking?
    Devotee: Be limited in the thinking...
    Goswāmī Mahārāj: ...Wait... [Inaudible devotee from audience] delineated.
    Devotee: No, there is no word 'delineated,' so...
    Goswāmī Mahārāj: Yeah. [Devotee from audience: You want to read it Mahārāj?] I don't have my glasses on. Spell it.
    Devotee: be limited in the thinking...
    Goswāmī Mahārāj: B-E then limited?
    Devotee: Yes, B-E limited...
    Goswāmī Mahārāj: OK.
    Devotee: … in the thinking of these so-called scientist and philosophers to ultimate purposes, such as, natural urges for propagation and survival.
    Goswāmī Mahārāj: Let me see it. Maybe I can read it. I can make the text bigger.
    Devotee: You can zoom it.
    Goswāmī Mahārāj: I just want to make sure I understand before I answer. [Reading the question: Ok, isn't any original, non-conscious physical cause of origins of the universe and life by definition, be limited in the thinking... ultimate purposes... Hare Kṛṣṇa.]
    They're... they're different approaches to these type of ontological considerations. And, I just want to say first that, Śrīla Guru Mahārāj once mentioned about a Bengali lawyer, who was... like his reputation was... like that he was the best. But, he was also a notorious drunkard. And so, one day he came into court, and he started presenting this case to the judge. And like, it was just unassailable, it was so perfect, his representation. But, his assistant was like, pulling his cloth. And he was going like, “What, what!” And he said, “That's their position.” And then he went, “Oh.” And so... and he said, “So, your honor... [laughing]
    He said, “This is what they could say.” Then, he defeated that. [laughing] So, Guru Mahārāj's point was, he saying, “If you really want to defeat the opposition, first try to understand how it is they think like that and could believe that.” That will be helpful. If we approach them without, in the sense, respect, like Mahāprabhu's teachings. We see how He deals with Venkata Batha, the Buddhist, Prakashananda, others. Even Sārva... the ego of Sārvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya. Of course, there that was a little bit of a slap when after so many days Sārvabhauma says, “I know this is deep stuff, but, nod your head or... if you understand what I'm saying.” And Mahāprabhu said, “I understand Vedanta perfectly, I just don't know what your talking about.” [laughing] But still... so, I just want to... just before this. So, two things to understand, what is, we like to say, 'Our Position'... you know... [laughing] The Gauḍīya. And then, what is the position, as he says, of so-called scientist or other type of modern thinkers. Like Bhaktivinod Ṭhākur will show in Kṛṣṇa-saṁhitā, as an example, he'll say, “Whatever the Vedas say, I just accept that in total, but I understand modern thinkers, you think the Vedas were... the Bhāgavatam was written, you know, 800 years ago, or...”
    He said, “ I'm not going to argue with you about chronology and time, but I will still prove to you that what is found in the Bhāgavatam is... there's nothing superior to this.” Let's not get hung-up on dates, whether it was 5,000 years ago, 500 years ago, that's irrelevant to this discussion. I've also mentioned, that it's interesting, the universal appreciation for Bhagavad-gītā, east, west, north, south, you know, physicist, religionist, atheists, everyone finds something in there substantial. So... and, my point was that, a rational person could... and, rational thinkers, I mean, they also appreciate it. They can say, “Well, wait a minute, it says right here in the beginning, Sañjaya uvāca... Sañjay... you know... Dhṛtarāṣṭraḥ uvāca, Sañjaya uvāca. Dhṛtarāṣṭraḥ asks, Sañjaya's answering. Sañjaya by his own admission or understanding, he's not there. So, how is someone who's not there... he's saying, Kṛṣṇa said this, Arjun asked that. In the end it says, vyāsa-prasādāc chrutavān (Bg: 18.75), by the mercy of Vyāsa... he's saying, “So, by some mystical process, mystic power, he was privy to this conversation between Kṛṣṇa and Arjun.
    So, from just a purely rational point of view, we could just say like, [swishing sound] alright we don't accept that, forget it. But, they don't. Why? Because, the substance, the content of Bhagavad-gītā, the substance of Bhagavad-gītā, is so great and overwhelming, that, the method of transmission is irrelevant. That's the point. The method of transmission is irrelevant, the way it was acquired, even... who said that... Borges... one of these great writers, he said, he was praising another writer saying, “He didn't have to prove anything, or demonstrate any fact.” He said, “What makes his power is the... his authorial voice of just what he says and the authority with which he says it, therefore, we accept that.” In the literary world they go, “Ahh! What a beautiful, wonderful comment.” If we say that on the spiritual side, they'll go, “What! Don't you need to verify, to prove the factual nature of these things and so many things.” Can't... but, we see as an example in Bhagavad-gītā, just what is given there, the substance is so overwhelming that no one even bothers to consider the method of transmission. So, these are two different types of culture, subjective culture and objective approach to things. So, from an objective point of view, you're not going to convince some... something that is utterly subjective.
    Then, it would just be supplying a particular amount of information. I remember once, Śrīla Śrīdhar Mahārāj saying in response to, like, the subject of reincarnation. My dear friend suggested to him that, knowing this sort of comprehensive, convincing, answers that he gives, if he would deal with this subject, it would be a wonderful thing to publish. And Guru Mahārāj gave an interesting answer, at the time he said, “If someone has no faith, or if someone has a little faith, then hearing the simple example they accept that.” And, think about it, like, we're impressed when people, you know, as Prabhupād said, “People with bombastic language, scientific theories, they're talking about Physics, Quantam Mechanics, all these things.” Like, “But, do you think that that's like non-understandable to Kṛṣṇa.” That Kṛṣṇa will go, “Wow! That's really deep, I'll have to think about that.” [laughing] No... so, Kṛṣṇa, He could give a very complicated answer. Who... who could come... like, you're saying, “What's something that we could say that would really just convince people?” What say you Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa says, “I've been thinking about this for a long time. You know, I've expanded in the heart of every living being, so I know what everybody's thinking at every moment. I think I've got something.”
    And, so you look in the second chapter of the Bhagavad-gītā and what does He say, very simple things. You know, as a garment becomes old and worn out and you throw it away an put on a new one, so the body. You know, dehino ’smin yathā dehe (Bg: 2.13) etc... You know, embryonic to baby, toddler, child, teenager, adult... having given up... showing the souls ability to survive the birth of one type of body, the death of another body. At the time of death, dhīras tatra na muhyati (Bg: 2.13), he'll take another one. Those who are dhīra will not be disturbed by such a thing. So, anyway, my point is Kṛṣṇa is giving very simple examples, so Guru Mahārāj said, “If someone has faith, even a little bit of faith, hearing these types of examples, they'll accept it.” If someone doesn't have any faith, and now I'm paraphrasing, but he said, you can give them a mountain of evidence and they won't accept it. So, then we see the critical thing that is necessary, is faith.
    śraddhā’-śabde — viśvāsa kahe sudṛḍha niścaya
    kṛṣṇe bhakti kaile sarva-karma kṛta haya
    (Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta: Madhya-līlā, 22.62)
    That belief there's this one thing, back to the unified field theory... I believe if I just believe in this one thing, culture this one thing, then everything is done. But, now more to the point, that's the intro. But, I think the answer will be shorter. But at the... [laughing] but it reminds me of my famous flight from Beijing to New York, which I'm sure the Chinese devotees are very familiar with. [laughing] But, sitting next to me is... that's why this is important to... why I say these things. Sitting next to me is a Chinese teacher, but he's teaching advance computer science at one of the leading Universities for that subject in America. And, this isn't an exaggeration. So, he's supremely qualified. Having shared some amusement there, for the in-flight entertainment, we're having a friendly exchange. But, when I realized what his qualifications were, I said to him, can I ask you a few questions? And, I thought, this is a great opportunity. Different things I've been thinking about under the influence of Guru Mahārāj's ontological method. I can run it by him, see how he responds. So, that's when I said, and I was thinking, because coming from Thailand everyone knows my favorite flower here called the Lilawadee. In Bengal they say Goloka champak, champak variously, you know.
    So, it's very... the aroma is wonderful, the texture is wonderful, it looks beautiful, everything. So, I asked him, I said, “Can you say, or deny, with absolute certainty that the original source of all aroma, such as these, has no olfactory capacity?” In other words, cannot smell. I want to ask... in a... it's a simple question, actually. I'm thinking, can you say with absolute certainty the original source of all aroma, has no olfactory capacity, not capable of smelling that aroma. Because, people like to pose all sorts of peculiar questions about Divinity. And, he said to me immediately, his defenses were down, there's no one around, no one know what we're saying, there's no face to be saved, but he said, “As you have worded this... can I deny that with abs... or discount it with absolute certainty, no.” And, then I... you know... I wanted to jump out of my seat. [laughing] And I said, “Then I don't need to ask you anymore questions, because you've open the door for theistic culture.” And, I can reframe this question by... for each one of the senses. I can do it for the auditory sense, for tastings, all the different senses. So, in other words, you're allowing for the possibility that the original source of senses and sensuality, not limited to but, including eros, is in the original.
    The original source of everything has personality, senses, and sensual tendencies. You're opening the door for that sort of culture. So, in the first... the Bhāgavatam is the book of Kṛṣṇa. [laughing] I like to say that because, Prabupād called the tenth canto The Kṛṣṇa Book. But, we're told it's the body of Kṛṣṇa and, so it's Kṛṣṇa. And, the first three words, if it's three, janmādy asya yataḥ, like, Vedanta. The flower... floral Vedanta yielding to the fruit Bhāgavatam. What's going to come in this Bhāgavatam? The fruit, the Vedic desire tree without the fruit can be misleading, hard to identify what it's purpose is, as any tree without it's fruit. But, the flower comes in the form of Vedanta. Vedanta has janmādy asya yataḥ. The very first line of the Bhāgavatam; janmādy asya yato ’nvayād itarataś (SB: 1.1.1). So, what does Śrīla Prabhupād say, referring to Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākur's commentary, he's saying, “This janmādy...” It seems to be saying, and it is, that the... it's defining who is the... Kṛṣṇa, ultimately the supreme absolute truth, but saying, “... From which everything is coming.” Janmā means born, but emanating... it mean different things. Janma-ādi would normally mean, you know, birth, manifestation, etc...
    But, interestingly here... play... going... digging deeper, drilling deeper on that, Prabhupād said, “ Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākur says, here this is a reference to ādī-rasa.” Now ādī instead of meaning etcetera, means like, the original. So, another way of reading this, he saying, “The origins of everything is madhura-rasa.” What does that mean? That means Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa and all of these tendencies. What is there in the original, is in everything that comes from the original. Freud had, you know, that erotic principles, the driving force behind everything. And, he tapped into something there. And, we're being told in parallel in the Bhāgavatam, eros is the driving principle of spiritual existence. Ādī-rasa, madhura-rasa... Why is it called ādī? It's the original. All the other rasas are satellites or clients of madhura-rasa. And, whether it's expanding outward from the spiritual world, or being perverted reflected... pervertedly reflected into this plane, it is the driving principle. I just saw this verse today, where... it's a famous verse in the Bhāgavatam. After Kṛṣṇa separated Himself from the gopīs, and plunged their hearts into the depths of separation. Why? Because, He thought, then they will yield the superior quality of prem. That's Kṛṣṇa. [laughing] He's thinking, “Whatever it was before that, if I separate myself from them, that'll really, they'll go deep. And, I'm always hankering for that type of loving substance.”
    But, when He returns, it say's... what it says?.. tāsām āvirabhūc chauriḥ, smayamāna (SB 10.32.2), that means smiling... smayamāna-mukhāmbujaḥ (SB 10.32.2), with a smile, and now Kṛṣṇa's smiling. He returns and He's smiling... pītāmbara-dharaḥ sragvī (SB 10.32.2), wearing His beautiful golden-yellow-lightning dress and a garland. Then it says, sākṣān manmatha-manmathaḥ (SB 10.32.2), and what did He look like? Cupid's cupid. Manmatha-manmathaḥ; cupid's cupid, Madan-mohan. Only He could break the stranglehold that... that... the perverted reflection of the erotic tendency has on the jīva souls. That's why Madan-mohan is the sambandha-jñān Deity... Sanātan Goswāmī... must come first, because why? This cupid has a stranglehold on everyone and everything here, the whole animation. Kṛṣṇa as Madan-mohan, He's so beautiful that cupid is bewildered. Everyone else is bewildered by cupid, cupid is bewildered by the beauty of Kṛṣṇa. And, as Guru Mahārāj said, “And, what does that indicate to us?” Saying, “That sort of sensual possibility is there with the supreme absolute truth, reality the beautiful, Śyāmasundara Kṛṣṇa.”
    So, for those who think, or accustom to think, that the world, the objective world is more or less, infinite or unlimited. Like, the trillion, trillion, stars, and then, on the one planet amongst the trillion, trillion, is this blue planet the earth, and on that planet, there's conscious living beings. And, among the conscious living beings, the conscious elite, the humans, if they experience a drop of pleasure, they get lucky on a good day, if they experience a drop of pleasure. So, in their scenario, the objective world is more or less, limitless. Then the conscious elite is so minute in comparison. And, then... so, understand here, sat-cit-ānanda, existence... that objective plane... huge... consciousness... very... very... the conscious elite, the very few, and among the conscious, a drop of happiness is a rare achievement. What a bleak scenario. [laughing] Talking about what gets you up out of bed in the morning. That's not a whole lot to look forward to. But... the... that's the bad news. The good news is, the Vedic perspective is just the opposite of that.
    The huge, infinite, all-accommodating substance, is ānandam or happiness. The central conception of the infinite is Kṛṣṇa, in human-like proportion. But, as Brahmā is all accommodating, Paramātmā all-permeating, Kṛṣṇa is all-attractive, everyone is being drawn toward the central conception of the absolute truth. By what? Compelled by His beauty, charm, sweetness, love, affection. So, if we hear... and what scientist will accept it... we say, you know, “That love and affection is the ultimate substance.” They'll go, “Ho, ho, ho. ho.” [laughing] “You know, the ultimate reality is beautiful.” “Oh, we have elegant beauty in science.” “Oh, not like that... actually beautiful, like, compellingly beautiful, seductively charming.” “Oh, we're seduced by scientific theory.” “Not like that.” That the ultimate reality is ānandam per... ānandamúrti... ānando brāhmaṇo vidvāṁ (Tu: 2.4.1)... no... the supreme Brāhman, the supreme reality is happiness and ecstasy personified, with the full spectral range of sensual possibility. That's astonishing. So here, ānandam, that is the ultimate substance, then consciousness, then the objective world.
    What is Guru Mahārāj saying, “It is like an iceberg floating in an ocean of consciousness.” The whole objective world. And, they want to deal with that and measure that. Establishing themselves as an absolute center and trying to establish, to increase the circumference of their exploiting capacity, in this objective world, which is like, an iceberg floating in an ocean of consciousness. So, I don't know if I've answered this question. I'll have to look at it more carefully. But, these are a few things to consider. And, I think the one thing I said, does address it, by saying that, whatever tendencies you find here, we will hold that it is a perverted reflection of the original. So, but, at least, a rational type thinker should be able to understand by what they observe... observe here, to trace those things back to the original. Why should they think that the original source of all gender is gender neutral or genderless? Why not consider a male aspect, a feminine aspect, śakti and śaktimān in Sanskrit terminology. And, neutral has it's place too. But, to think that positive and negative have emanated from neutral is not necessarily sensible. Anyway, it's a vast subject. [laughing] And, we'll try and visit it in some other time, and I'll look more deeply at the question. But, I hope I gave something. Hare Kṛṣṇa.