By Krishna-kripa Das
I just noticed that it is 70 years ago today that Sadaputa Prabhu (Dr. Richard L. Thompson), who made a special and important contribution by writing many books on science and the Vedic worldview and who I worked with 17 years, appeared in this world. To honor him, I share with you my favorite quotes from his book, Parallels, which I recently proofread, because they are fresh in my mind, and I thank you for reading them:
“The inhabitants in a virtual reality actually exist outside of the false, computer-generated world, but they experience the illusion that they are within that world. If they were to forget their actual existence, then the illusion would become complete, and they would identify themselves fully with their computer-generated virtual bodies. According to the Vedas, this is the position of conditioned souls within the material universe.
“Within the overall illusion of maya, there are many subillusions. The overall illusion causes one to forget the omnipotence of the Supreme, and the subillusions cause one to forget the cosmic managerial hierarchy set up by the Supreme within the material universe. All of these illusions allow the individual soul to act by free will, even though he is actually under higher control.
“At the same time, the illusions are not so strong that an individual who wants to seek out the truth is unable to do so. If maya were so strong as to stop any effort to find the truth, then this too would block people’s free will. According to the Vedic system, the Supreme Being arranges for teachers to descend into the material world to give transcendental knowledge to the conditioned souls. By the arrangement of maya, people will always have plentiful excuses for rejecting these teachers if they so desire. But if they desire higher knowledge, they will also be provided with adequate evidence to distinguish that knowledge from illusion.”
“There is more to Indian philosophy than just the school of Advaita Vedanta. According to Vaishnava philosophy, Brahman is the effulgence of the transcendental body of the Supreme Lord, and it forms the atmosphere of the spiritual world. Brahman realization is simply the starting point of higher spiritual experience, and the idea that it is the ultimate goal is an impediment to spiritual progress.”
“Since the soul emanates from the Supreme Being, there is a natural relationship of love between the soul and the Supreme. This natural love is obscured when the soul is in a state of material consciousness. When the soul attains to Brahman, it reaches a neutral state, and its natural loving tendency is manifest without an object. But going beyond this neutral state, this love becomes expressed in the form of service to the transcendental Supreme Lord. It is also expressed in the form of compassion towards souls in material bondage, who are all parts and parcels of the Lord but are lost in forgetfulness.
“This idea of love in relation to the Supreme Person can be compared with the ‘universal love’ mentioned in many UFO communications. These communications often define the ultimate One as an impersonal energy or force. Yet love is something having to do with persons. If the One is impersonal in nature, then how can love have a truly universal role? Note that this problem does not come up in modern scientific theories. According to modern science, love is simply a recent outgrowth of hominid evolution in Africa, and it has nothing to do with ultimate causes. But if the personal quality of love is a fundamental feature of nature, then it is natural to ask how this could be. If there is a Transcendental Person behind the universe, then the answer is that the universe was crafted according to the loving intentions of that person.”
“Perhaps the best way to overcome misunderstandings based on ethnic and religious differences is to openly discuss all aspects of the world views of different peoples. To do this effectively would require a massive cross-cultural study. My own conviction is that such a study would result in a unified picture of human cultures that attributes much greater reality to each culture’s world view than modern science allows.”