AUGUST 29, 2017
BY: NARASIMHA DAS
Recently I heard an odd accusation from a so-called senior devotee. He suggested that those who teach what Srila Prabhupada taught or repeat what he said about various controversial facts are trying to embarrass Srila Prabhupada because they hate Srila Prabhupada and His mission. This came up recently because some devotees in the Hare Krishna Society sent out excerpts from Bhagavatam regarding eclipses. They did this apparently in response to the recent eclipse-event mania, wherein hundreds of thousands of people drove hundreds of miles, both north and south, to bask in the darkness of a total solar eclipse.
Apparently this above-mentioned devotee is himself embarrassed by some of Srila Prabhupada’s statements and teachings, which he believes are obviously mistaken and should therefore be hidden, ignored, or totally forgotten. Those who aspire to create their own congregations worry that talk of certain subjects will scare away potential converts and thus impede their own sense gratification in the name of preaching.
Srila Prabhupada, on the other hand, was not afraid to mention things which may, in the view of some people, tend to create a backlash of contempt and doubt about Him, the Hare Krishna movement or the authority of the Vedas. Since he mentioned these things often in public lectures and in His books, it would be foolish to conclude that He wanted us to hide these facts in our own preaching.
What are the contentious issues? The structure of the universe. The size of women’s brains. The social roles of women. The relative social status and intelligence of various races and classes. The existence of hell, and so on. Srila Prabhupada didn’t harp on contentious issues but also didn’t shy away from talking about them or writing about them in them in proper context. He never agreed that the material bodies of all men and women are created equal. He saw distinctions in this world and taught us that real equality, real happiness and real knowledge free from illusion existed in the spiritual world—not in Maya’s kingdom.
We have seen several devotees leave the mission over these contentious issues, particularly the Vedic view that the moon is further away than the sun and that eclipses are due to the influences of the evil planet Rahu. For thousands of years people in India of all classes accepted the Vedic version of things because, in part, they had no other recourse.
Modern people think they know everything because they watch TV and have computers. They prefer to blindly accept the version dished out by modern science because they see that science has answered many vital questions such as, “How can we make bombs and missiles that can kill millions of people?” “How can we create technological addictions to enslave millions of people?” “How can we exploit the earth by force and enjoy lives of luxury and ease?” “How can we engage in all manner of unhealthy habits yet remain fit through taking FDA-approved drugs?” “How can we abort unwanted embryos by popping a pill?” “How can we make synthetic pain killers so we don’t need poppy fields?” and so on.
Although the answers to such inquiries are important to many, this won’t help anyone solve the actual problems of life, namely birth, old age, disease and death.
Nor should we readily accept the computer simulations that appear to show barren moon surfaces or the moon planet in relation to the Earth. All of this is contrived. Even Nasa, when pressed, will admit this. We have no real photos of the moon or outer space. These are all photo-shopped digital reproductions.
Ironically, while so-called devotees have left the mission or become critical of Srila Prabhupada over these controversies, a large percentage of the American people understand or suspect that the moon landing was a hoax. There are several books by intelligent people that practically prove the hoax.
Recently I saw a thorough documentary on mainstream media that points to many glaring inconsistencies in the claims of moon-landing promoters. In another instance, one famous show called “Myth Busters”, as the name suggests, tries to bust popular urban myths, and on one show, they decided, for some reason, to go after a myth that wasn’t very popular but propagated mostly by avid “moon-landing deniers.” The myth was this: The famous moon boot print photo could not possibly be real because such a perfect imprint would have been impossible on the moon, since, according to scientists, the moon’s dusty surface is very cold, dry and a near vacuum. They were very keen to debunk this “myth”, so they created a similar moon environment in a lab but were surprised and somewhat aghast to find out that it was in fact impossible to make a print. The boot-print they tried to create would crumble immediately and look like nothing distinguishable. Thus, in this rare episode, they frankly admitted they were unable to disprove this “myth” promoted by moon-landing deniers.
Some people claim that the scientists must know everything about the moon because they are able to predict eclipses and various moon phases. Vedic astrologers, however, can do the same, following the Vedic models and ideas. Also, just because you can predict an event doesn’t mean you understand what’s really going on.
But people in general feel great devotion to science, because it has given us cars, computers, nuclear weapons, jet planes, birth control pills, amazing drugs, TV, cell phones, hospitals, slaughter houses, big cities like Houston, and safe abortion clinics. Such people are not interested in the Vedas, which teach us how to live on the land, protect the Earth and go back to Godhead.
The real fact is that no one can go the moon or live on the moon by mechanical arrangements. The real fact is that not even the greatest scientist knows what’s going on even inside his own body, or in the next room. (Just see the atheist freak Steve Hawkins. He looks like a demon already.) The real fact is that the powerful instruments of scientists, as well as their senses, are imperfect. Instruments are meant to circumvent limitations and illusions, but, in fact, they only increase these limitations and illusions.
This material universe is called maya for a reason. It is colossal hoax, a shared dream. Nothing here is substantial, nothing is as it seems. Any magician at a cheap carnival can trick even the greatest scientists with a house of mirrors and make great men like Einstein bump into walls and get lost, even in a small space. Yet even a second-rate magician is not needed to fool great scientists. They are constantly fooled by their own minds and senses. Just because many imperfect people agree on something doesn’t make it real. Nor does the predicting or partial understanding of relative and illusory causes and effects make one a great scientist or thinker.
Srila Prabhupada didn’t want blind followers but preferred blind following to no following. He wanted intelligent and sincere disciples, not those with ulterior motives. He may have sometimes deliberately said or done things that tested our faith. Unless we carefully understand the limitations and imperfections of our minds and senses in understanding this complex and illusory world, we will be unable to stick to the path of hearing from real authorities; and thus we will take birth again and again in the darkness of ignorance. This is my prediction.
Once while trying to preach I was challenged by a listener who said, “We have faith in modern science because science is confirmed by experiments and observation. Science has given us jet travel, global communications, great medical advancements and comfortable living.”
I countered, “Yes technological sciences provide some good for those who think life is an accident with no meaning or purpose but the cost of our modern society to the planet and all living things is not yet understood. We don’t understand how our fast-paced modern life is making us weak, immoral, lazy and dependent. We don’t understand the damage we are doing to the environment or whether this can be ever reversed. Modern science has made us so stupid that we are willing to risk killing the planet we live on for sake of supporting extravagant exploitation that benefits a few at the expense of many.”