Tuesday, July 31, 2012

God particle discovery: debate over science and scriptures

Lecture by Sri Amitasana Dasa,
ISKCON Bangalore
 Srimad Bhagavatam – 2.8.15

sambhavas caitad-okasam

O best of the brahmanas, please also describe how the creation of the globes throughout the universe, the four directions of the heavens, the sky, the planets, the stars, the mountains, the rivers, the seas and the islands, as well as their different kinds of inhabitants, takes place.

The inhabitants of different varieties of land, etc., are differently situated, and not all of them are equal in all respects. The inhabitants of the land are different from the inhabitants of the water or the sky, and similarly the inhabitants of the different planets and stars in the sky are also different from one another. By the laws of the Lord, no place is vacant, but the creatures of one particular place are different from those of other places. Even in human society the inhabitants of the jungles or the deserts are different from those of the cities and villages. They are so made according to different qualities of the modes of nature. Such adjustment by the laws of nature is not blind. There is a great plan behind the arrangement. Maharaja Parikshit requests the great sage Sukadeva Gosvami to explain all these authoritatively, in accordance with proper understanding.


Srila Prabhupada in the purport mentions - by the laws of the Lord no place is vacant in this universe. Now this is a little contradictory compared to what we understand today from modern science. Our current understanding is that the planet Earth has conditions which are conducive for life to exist and whatever little we know of other planets like Moon, Mars, etc. Because the conditions are - temperature, pressure, availability of oxygen, water, etc. You would have come across articles where it says in recent times they have found some water bodies near the poles of moon and now they believe that because water is there, there is a possibility of life on Moon. But here Prabhupada is very confidently saying - by the laws of the Lord no place is vacant. Another verse says living entities the jivas are sarva gatah, means are present everywhere - in the air, in the sky, in the water and on top of that we hear that Krishna says, I spoke this knowledge to Sun god Vivasvan, who lives in the Sun planet.
So for a common man who is convinced that life does not exist this is all fiction. How can anyone live on the Sun? In one sense we cannot blame the scientists because in right earnest they are seeking to know the truth. But how does science work? Fundamentally we gather data and then what ever we can comprehend with our senses, may be through telescopes and electronic microscopes. We try to give a best possible explanation or a theory and say that this is what the truth is. For example in 1905 when Dalton came across a particle called atom,  he proposed a theory called Dalton Atomic Theory. At that time it was believed that atoms are the smallest particles. Later more research went on, and they came across sub atomic particles, which are within the atom - electrons, protons, neutrons and then to explain those particles, we had quantum theory and Dalton theory became outdated.
 Just like the recent God particle. They want to know how this universe came into being, also man by nature is inquisitive - athato brahma jijnasa. This experiment which was being done on God particle; there were two teams of scientists – one team of three thousand scientists working for many years, another team of two thousand one hundred scientists and these are all PhDs - just to find that particle. You see the earnest desire to know, but some fundamental mistake is that the data which is being gathered by our senses which are limited are prone to mistake. There are a lot of truths which are beyond our sense perception.
So going by the data available to us, we can confidently say that life cannot exist in other planets but Prabhupada here is saying that life exists everywhere. Many years back there was an experiment done, the submarines which go under water they encountered a place many miles deep in the ocean, and they collected the water sample which was so hot and they came up and found that in that water sample there were micro organisms surviving. Now this is contradictory to what we have believed so far that at a particular temperature no organisms can exist.
Even in this life we cannot survive in water for long, that is why even divers those who go under water for exploration or scuba diving they take oxygen cylinders and may be for a few hours they can live. But we have fish and so many aquatics that are comfortably surviving under water perennially. So they have a body which is appropriate for living in those conditions. Prabhupada says in earthly planets we have body - panca bhuta – earth, air, water, fire and ether, which is predominantly made of earth element and on the Sun how do we understand that there are living entities who are surviving. Now our understanding says that if there are people like us they cannot survive that temperature because everything will be burnt to ashes. But think of a body which is predominantly made of an element called fire. Just like it is difficult for us to comprehend how can anyone survive in oceans? But there are living entities who can survive comfortably because they have a body appropriate for that condition.
So likewise living entities shastra says are sarva gatah. Another example why we can confidently believe because Krishna also says in the Bhagavat gita the soul cannot be cut into pieces, cannot be burnt by fire. We don’t subscribe to the idea that there is no life on Moon, on Mars, on Sun. Life exists but may not have a body like us. By the laws of God no place is vacant but the creatures of one particular place are different from those of other places. Then Prabhupada says for us to understand this even in human society the inhabitants of the jungles or the deserts are different from those of the cities and villages. When people from some very developed countries like Europe or America come here they cannot drink normal water which we all take, they need mineral Bisleri water because their body cannot tolerate whatever microbes are there. And you would have also seen children playing in ponds in villages, they drink the same water and they are comfortable with that, because the body has adapted to that.
Many years back we used to go to APMC yard, I was always surprised that how is it that, those who load the trucks with gunny bags of rice, wheat and other grains, hundreds of bags, in a few hours they will empty the whole truck. Each bag weighing up to 100 kgs.  One 60 kg bag if you were to lift from here to there whole day you have to take rest. Now you might be thinking that their body is well built, they must be eating some high protein diet,  paneer, etc. What do they eat? I think one of the reasons why they are healthy is because they eat simple food. The food is rice and rasam, I would see them having lunch sitting in one place or from a roadside hawker. So they have a plate system, 10 rupees one plate, so rice and rasam. I think in a day may be a person would empty out five truck loads. So where are they getting that energy, we cannot even load, unload may be one bag, two bags, five bags. Their body is like that, here it says - we are so made according to the different qualities of modes of nature, such adjustments by the laws of nature is not blind, they have got that body according to their karma, they are supposed to do this hard work and they have got an appropriate body. Why different bodies, why different species, different living conditions, karmana daiva netrena jantur dehopapattaye, why a pig gets a pig’s body because the soul has done such activities, has expressed such desires, no discrimination in eating habits, here is the body suitable for your desires.
Different bodies, in different conditions, in different planets, it is not happening by chance, there is a perfect arrangement by the Lord. I was reading this story of Jada Bharatha, how Bharath Maharaj, such an elevated king is son of Rishaba dev. Bharath Maharaj is very fond of deer, thinking of the deer, because of such desires yam yam vapi smaran bhavam tyajaty ante kalevaram - he gets body of a deer. So likewise each one of us different circumstances, different bodies, what we have attracted in our lives is because of somewhere we have desire. There is a great plan behind the arrangement - Maharaj Parikshit requests the great sage Sukadev Goswami to explain all this authoritatively in accordance with proper understanding.
Now there was a lot of talk as I mentioned about the God particle. Again let’s give due credit to those scientists who are inquisitive, but how in their attempts they will be baffled. We can very easily understand if we have sastra caksusah - if we see from the eyes of knowledge. For some of you who may not be fully aware what they talked about this God particle. As you all know scientists believe that this whole universe came because of a big bang. An explosion happened, huge energy came into being and according to their understanding, there has to be a particle with such a big charge, they say that billionth of a second after that big bang, there is a particle with a charge and because of that charge gets converted into mass.
So according to that theoretical understanding there has to be some charge because of which this energy was created because of big bang gets converted to mass, that is how this universe came into being. So they were finding out that particle. So I met somebody who said that now that they have found this particle, using that Hadron Collider will they create the universe also? So let’s understand thoroughly - the point is even assuming that such a particle was there, who made that particle - point one, point two – who made that big bang happen? It is something like finding out it is raining because of clouds and we all are euphoric that we have found how it rains. But who made the clouds? Who made the Sun which formed the clouds?
I am repeating we are not against science but the shortcoming is being pointed out. What happens is we see an effect because of which we try to find what is the cause of that effect and we go further and try to find what is the cause of that cause and in science we can go one step back, two steps back max three steps back. For example why it rains? It rains because of clouds, how the clouds are formed, what is the cause of the cloud? It is because of water evaporation, because of Sun. And then what caused the Sun? Again no clear answers.
Whereas we are getting knowledge from the descending process aham sarvasya prabhavo mattah sarvam pravartate – I am the source of everything, from Me everything is coming, sarva karana karanam – cause of all causes  aham adir hi devanam – I am the source of all living beings. We start from the cause of all causes. And He created the universe, He created the demi gods, He created different living entities, aham bija pradah pita mayadhyaksena prakrtih suyate sa caracaram. That is where the shortcoming lies. The inquisitiveness, which the shastra is saying that athato love that you have got human form of life to enquire, try to enquire into the truth. Frankly speaking much more desirous are the scientists; you see the amount of money, time, the amount of tapasya. But fundamentally not resorting to the descending process of acquiring knowledge, that is the mistake.
We living entities are so small, for example there is an ant in this room, in one corner ant hole. The ant is so small, what does that ant know about what is happening in Delhi, it also has feelings, comprehension power. When an ant is passing by, you put a finger in front of it, it turns. It can sense there is a danger, it can sense that it is a rainy season, they store food, so they also have understanding of the world. A villager has an understanding of world, when he comes to the city his understanding broadens because all along he has stayed in a village.
Yesterday some bomb blast happened in some place, what does this ant know, if it has to rely only on its observation - what it can comprehend through its senses. If it has to rely on experimentation then how can this ant ever know about what is happening in America, but it is happening. Things are happening but it can never know through its experimentation or observation because it is too small. But the same ant can know about what is happening in America if there is an authoritative source and it comes and tells the ant.
 So our way of acquiring knowledge again it is not blind faith, it is from authoritative source. The scriptures are not manmade, they are – apauruseya, sri bhagavn uvaca - the same Supreme Personality of Godhead who created this world He is speaking. Even for most of us what do we know about what is happening in the world, it is through the news papers, TV channels, it is actually in one sense through a descending process. If there is a bomb blast in Iraq, it is not that we have gone and seen it happening, it was reported in the newspaper and we believe what they are reporting.
So likewise there is source of authoritative knowledge, the disciplic succession coming down directly from the Lord Himself - tene brahma hrda ya adikavaye –  Krishna, Brahma, Narada, Vyasa like that a bona fide disciplic succession, the knowledge about this world is coming down from the Lord Himself. Actually all of us are talking about the same thing trying to know about the same thing how the different planets came into being, how the living entities came into being. But because we have taken shelter of the descending process, hearing from the Lord and authoritative sources we get proper understanding. We don’t have to waste our valuable time and energy in just understanding these things, rather we utilize our time in purifying our existence, not in proving that God exists or not exists, not in understanding how the creation came into being, knowing that yes we are part of this creation which is dukhalayam asasvatam - how do we purify our self - tapo divyam putraka yena sattvam suddhyed yasmad brahma saukhyam tv anantam – how we can do tapasya by practicing austerity tapasya suddhyed purify our existence so that we can experience Brahma saukhyam tv anantam.
Actually they are also performing tapasya but it is in one sense misdirected, they will be bewildered by that tapasya. If we don’t follow the descending process we will go in circles and waste our valuable time and energy. It is our good fortune that we are blessed with that understanding. Now it is left to us what do we do with that wonderful understating. Should we just have that understanding and take it for granted and lead a life recklessly or based on what the acharyas have said, what the scriptures are saying - the purpose of life, do justice to that and practice the required principles as they have been suggesting and make our life successful.   

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