08 Mar

Absolute and Relative Space

Hierarchical space brings a problem of having to reconcile a fixed hierarchy of material elements in an observer with the fixed hierarchy of the different planetary systems in the universe. The problem is that every living being in the universe has a morality, ego, intelligence, mind, senses, properties, and sense objects, but these living entities are also situated at different levels of a universal conceptual hierarchy. This means that the word “eye” denotes abstract ideas in a higher planets and contingent ideas in the lower planets. How can “eye” mean two radically different things? Isn’t there a universal definition of “seeing” as the process by which we absorb light and gather color and form? The answer is that the person in a higher planet can “see” what the person in the lower planet can only “think”. For example, the person on a higher planet can “see” our mind, just like we see tables and chairs. And for them our thoughts have color, shape, and size. However, the higher living entities cannot see what we see—i.e. they don’t see our tables and chairs. This post discusses how different living entities are situated on different parts of the universal space, creating their own personal relative spaces. Each person’s mind, intellect, senses, make a relative space, in which they experience completely different things.  

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07 Mar

Why God is a Scientific Construct

Vaishnava literature describes four forms of God—Vasudeva, Saṅkarṣaṇa, Pradyumna, and Aniruddha. These four forms are also said to be the masters of mind (Aniruddha), intelligence (Pradyumna), ego (Saṅkarṣaṇa) and mahattattva (Vasudeva), which are material elements in Sāńkhya. This leads us to ask: how is God the “master” of a material element, and how is the relation between God and the material element established? This post delves into the relation between God and matter, and how a complete understanding of any material element involves an understanding of God. In a very specific sense, therefore, science (as the study of matter) is incomplete without knowledge of God.

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05 Mar

The Inception of Bhaktivedānta Institute

In late 1997, H.H. Bhaktisvarūpa Dāmodara Maharaja told me that he wanted to compile Śrīla Prabhupāda’s instructions on Bhaktivedānta Institute into a book. With that intent, he and I made some recordings, where Maharaja narrated the early history of Institute and I transcribed the tapes. Following this, I searched for quotes, letters, conversations, etc. from the published material and inserted in into the transcribed text. I believe Maharaja had bigger plans for this book, which included Śrīla Prabhupāda’s cultural approach to religion (“Srimad-Bhagavatam is a cultural presentation for the re-spiritualization of the entire human society.”). While I did not get a chance to work on it, I have had the transcribed copy of the recordings that we made in 1997. Over the years, I have read through this now and then, and it chokes me up every time. This isn’t my work, and these are (for the most part) not my words (except when I lightly edited the recordings). I have thought of making it public many times, but every time I asked myself: Why now? I have now changed the question: Why not? And since I don’t have a good answer, I’m taking the liberty of making this public. It isn’t in the form that Bhaktisvarūpa Dāmodara Maharaja had planned and envisioned. But it is what we had done twenty years ago.

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