Religion and Science
BTG magazine is meant to enlighten its readers about their spiritual identity, about God, and about the spiritual world. It is also meant to give information about the revealed scripture to first-time readers. It is not meant to confuse or put doubts in the minds of the innocent or doubtful readers with useless polemics. There is a flood of those in all the public media.
Sadaputa Dasa's article "Challenges Facing Science and Religion" in the March/April issue was one of such polemics. It is absurd to try to compare the revealed sastras [scriptures] with mundane science. Vedic sastras, being revealed by the Supreme Person, Lord Sri Krsna Himself, are perfect. They are superior to earthly religions. Thus it automatically follows that they are far superior to the mental speculation of philosophers and the observations and experiments of mundane scientists, both of whom deal with this material creation only. To try to compare these is foolish, and the danger of such an attempt lies in its false, seeming objectivity. That is the intellectual plane only. The sastras deal with the Absolute, and thus the incompatibility.
The suggestion that there is still much that religion does not know contradicts statements of sastra and of the Lord Himself. He reveals to us in His Bhagavad-gita (7.2): "I shall now declare unto you in full this knowledge, both phenomenal and numinous. This being known. nothing further shall remain for you [misguided humanity] to know." Yes, Vedic sastra does know everything.
Vancouver, B.C., Canada
Sadaputa Dasa replies: The original source of the Vedic sastras knows everything, but the Vedic texts available in human society do not contain all knowledge. Brahma has editions of the sastras that are much more extensive than the texts we have, and these editions certainly contain more knowledge than is available to us. Srila Prabhupada said of Srila Vyasadeva, "He composed many millions of Sanskrit verses, and we are just trying to receive a fragmental knowledge out of them by our tiny efforts only."
Note that the Bhagavatam in human society contains 18,000 verses, while the Bhagavatam on the heavenly planets is much longer. It may be that there is nothing that religion does not know, but this is only true of religion as understood in the spiritual world. Human followers of religion should hesitate before claiming that they know everything by virtue of their religion. For this reason, religious preachers should take a humble position when discussing matters of knowledge.
One of the missions of Back to Godhead is to convey spiritual knowledge to people who regard modern science as their primary source of knowledge. Srila Prabhupada wanted us to preach to these people, and he created the Bhaktivedanta Institute for this purpose. To reach scientifically inclined people, it is necessary to address questions that arise from apparent conflicts between scientific and religious teachings. If a person with limited religious knowledge claims to know everything and dismisses scientific knowledge out of hand, this will not create a good impression or result in successful preaching. It is better to take a humble attitude, realizing that there is much that one does not know about both religion and science.
I have always been in appreciation of the success of BTG right from Srila Prabhupada's time. As a reader of BTG for several years now, I would like to express my heartfelt good wishes for this magazine to continue for many years more and benefit humanity as ever.
I was especially thankful to BTG when I was able to narrate the story of Madhu and Lord Alarnath (May/June 2000) to our relatives when we went to India. They loved to hear the story and have promised to express their love for the Lord as did little Madhu.
As a resident in the restricted countries of the Middle East, where getting BTG (or any other books for that matter) is not possible through mail, we receive the issues a little late when people from India bring them. We all look forward to receiving them as early as possible to derive their nectarean benefits. Thanks for the wonderful articles.
Radha Rati Devi Dasi
Via the Internet
Pebbles of Service
I just wanted to thank you for another excellent issue (May/June 2001). I always look forward to receiving my issues (through BBT membership). I was particularly touched by the article on Jayananda Dasa and his engaging drunks in Krsna's service. Such honest and simple preaching is an inspiration.
As a new devotee, and shy as well, preaching and even really talking about Krsna is intimidating to me. I hope that someday I can begin to follow in Jayananda Dasa's footsteps and learn how to engage people in such a sweet and sincere way, on their own level. People may not be able to lift giant boulders as Hanuman did, but perhaps they can be like the spider and bring pebbles of devotional service to Krsna's lotus feet.
Ignoring the Lure
The article "A Modern Saint" was excellent reading. It is truly unbelievable that even in this Kali-yuga there are people from common walks of life who are strong enough to ignore the lure of materialistic desires and spend their life in the service of Krsna. Sriman Jayananda Dasa is truly a modern saint and an inspirational role model for us. Thank you, and especially Bhayahari Dasa, for enlightening us on this modern saint.
Krsna's Gentle Nudge
Your article on Jayananda Prabhu was such a wonderful dose of inspiration for me, especially at a time when, admittedly, my faith in ISKCON has been slipping. I have been paying too much attention to the bad publicity lately and have let it affect my better judgment and have not listened to what my heart has been telling me all along. Thank the Lord for my BTG subscription!
When I read about Jayananda, I could feel the gentle hand of Krsna nudging me back. What a wonderful example of the simple devotion ISKCON can teach us to have. I finished the article in tears and have begun chanting my rounds again. Keep up the wonderful service.
Deep Philosophy Made Easy
I really enjoyed the July/August issue. The article "Radharani, The Feminine Side of God" by Satyaraja Prabhu was one of the best articles I have ever read in BTG. I am always a fan of Satyaraja's writing, but this article truly blew me away. What is typically pretty deep philosophy, sometimes a bit difficult to follow and digest, was easily read and understood having been written in a clever and personal way. Thanks!
Nitai Priya Devi Dasi
Via the Internet