6. Sastric (Authoritative
Injunctions Are the Supreme Judgement
We understand that our knowledge and intelligence are extremely limited. Our brains are tiny, our senses and scientific equipment are imperfect, and our vision is limited. With all these imperfect means, how will it be possible to comprehend the knowledge (science) beyond? Attempting to understand unlimited knowledge by one's own limited means in the name of doing research is simply a waste of valuable time and energy. Srila Prabhupada very kindly explains that by the mature research work of Srila Vyasadeva, an avatara (incarnation) of the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself, Lord Sri Krsna, complete and perfect knowledge (science) is available in the Vedic literatures.
The Vedas were originally spoken by the Supreme Lord Himself to Brahma, the first living being in the material universe, from within his heart. Vedic knowledge is called sruti, indicating that it is learned by aural reception. Therefore the Vedic knowledge has to be received from higher authorities by hearing (sravanam). In previous ages people were very intelligent. Their memories were extremely sharp. Just by hearing once from a spiritual master, disciples could remember everything. Therefore, there was no necessity for keeping the Vedas in written form during those ages. However, Srila Vyasadeva could see beforehand that people in this present age of Kali, the age of quarrel and misunderstanding, situated amidst the disturbing noise of science and technology, would be much less intelligent, possessing extremely short memories. Therefore about 5,000 years ago he compiled the Vedas in written form for the benefit of all inquisitive souls of this present age.
Veda actually means knowledge, and Vedanta means the end of knowledge, which is to know the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Sri Krsna. Bhagavad-gita is the essence of all Vedic knowledge. It was spoken by the Supreme Lord, Sri Krsna Himself, to His intimate friend and disciple Arjuna. Srimad-Bhagavatam is the ripened fruit of all the Vedic literatures. It is the summum bonum of life, Lord Sri Krsna personified. It describes the unlimited transcendental qualities of the Lord. Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu explained to Sanatana Gosvami, "Srimad-Bhagavatam is the sound representation of the Supreme Lord, Krsna. So, as Krsna is unlimited, similarly, in each word and each letter of Srimad-Bhagavatam there are unlimited meanings, and one can understand them by the association of devotees."Prabhupada, Teachings of Lord Caitanya, p. 151.1 Lord Sri Krsna says: "I am situated in everyone's heart, and from Me come remembrance, knowledge and forgetfulness. By all the Vedas am I to be known; indeed I am the compiler of Vedanta, and I am the knower of the Vedas." [Bg. 15.15] Thus the words of the Vedas are the supreme authority.
One may ask, "How may one accept authority?" The answer is given by Srila Prabhupada: "The answer of the genuine mother to the question of who is one's father is authoritative." One cannot argue about or object to this point. Similarly, when a child learns that two times two is equal to four from his father and he tells the same thing to a professor of mathematics, the professor has to agree that the child is speaking perfectly. The child may not be perfect, but the knowledge that he is speaking is perfect because he has taken it from an authority. Similarly, all the Vedic knowledge is infallible. For example, it has been mentioned in the Vedas that cow dung is pure whereas other stool is impure, and modern science has found this to be true. It has been scientifically confirmed by chemical analysis that cow dung indeed contains various antiseptic properties.
There are four principal defects inherent in the conditioned soul, namely, imperfect senses, the propensity to cheat, surety of committing mistakes and surety of being illusioned. Therefore, the conditioned soul is completely unfit to make any rules and regulations. The injunctions laid down in the sastras (authoritative scriptures) are above these four defects. Therefore, all the great saints and acaryas (holy teachers) accept the scriptural injunctions completely, without adulteration. Our position is simply to accept the supreme authority without question. In this way, one can understand the Supreme Lord and supreme scientist, Lord Sri Krsna, through authority. One can perceive or detect Him through authority, one can see Him through authority, and one can associate with Him through authority. Similarly, one can also speak through authority, argue and defend through authority, and prove and demonstrate through authority. The supreme authority is the ultimate judgement, and Sri Krsna is that supreme authority.
Men who have a poor fund of understanding further ask, "How does one know that Krsna is the supreme authority?" Lord Brahma, the first living being and the engineer who creates all the living entities in the material universe, sings as follows:
isvarah paramah krsnah sac-cid-ananda-vigrahah
anadir adir govindah sarva-karana-karanam
"Krsna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He is the very form of eternal being, full of knowledge and bliss. He is the primeval Lord Govinda and the cause of all causes." [Bs. 5.1] Srimad-Bhagavatam says, krsnas tu bhagavan svayam: "Krsna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself."[S.B. 1.3.28] Arjuna, the great devotee of the Lord, also says to Lord Krsna: "You are the Supreme Brahman, the ultimate, the supreme abode and purifier, the Absolute Truth and the eternal divine person. You are the primal God, transcendental and original, and You are the unborn and all-pervading beauty. All the great sages such as Narada, Asita, Devala, and Vyasa proclaim this of You, and now You Yourself are declaring it to me." [Bg. 10.12-13] In the same way, all the mahajanas (great self-realized personalities) like Prahlada Maharaja, Sukadeva Gosvami and Bali Maharaja, the great acaryas (holy teachers) like Madhvacarya, Ramanujacarya and Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, all my predecessor gurus (spiritual masters) in disciplic succession and now my spiritual master and eternal father, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, declare the same thing--that Krsna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Therefore there should be no tinge of doubt. Our duty is just to follow the kind footsteps of these greatest of saintly personalities. In this way we can understand the science of Krsna.
In spite of this, the project to control nature continues. Rather than researching to find out the plan of the Supreme Being, rather than accepting the laws of nature as laws of God, the scientific mentality seeks to put mankind in the place of God in order to improve on nature. But when we inspect these activities closely, we can see that the two admitted goals, knowledge and pleasure, have not been achieved after so many years of trying. The materialists enjoin us to be patient, saying that very shortly the answer will be known and the pleasure will be available for all. To keep us amused in the meantime, there are technological trinkets galore. If it happens that we die waiting, still the scientist does not admit the tragedy, since for him life is only a molecular peculiarity anyway.
Thus the insensitive fritter away the valuable time of human life, time meant for discovering the answer to the most pressing of all questions--"Why am I suffering?" In fact, they won't even admit that they are suffering. Life thus wasted becomes a painful paradox, in which each minute that passes increases the misery, until finally the body collapses in agonized bewilderment.
In a jeep, in the 1940's, several scientists rode through the New Mexico desert. They were tense, trying to resolve the nerve-wracking conflict of fear and dizzy elation in their minds. The Manhattan Project had come to an end, and they were to witness the first explosion of a nuclear device, which was being considered for use as the "ultimate weapon" to win the war. In their bunker, as they confronted the terrifying, spectacular power of the bomb, Dr. Oppenheimer quoted a verse from the Bhagavad-gita, "Time I am, the destroyer of the worlds...," no doubt fearing that it would take a person as intelligent as God to be able to use atomic energy properly, and that humanity might not be equal to the task. To know that answer for certain, which evidence will be sufficient for us? The sublime words of the Gita, or the brute force of history?