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What is the matter with the world

Saturday, 15 February 2020 / Published in A.C.B. Swami Prabhupada, Articles / 6,322 views

By A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

On the 16th of February 1957 a meeting was held at the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan to discuss the above subject matter. Distinguished gentlemen from different categories spoke on the subject, but practically nobody could give us a definite direction as to what actually the matter was that was troubling the whole situation. This feeling of pinching in the existence of our life is a good sign for progress. It is an urge for enquiry what is the wrong in the world that gives us trouble?

This trouble is not a new thing but it is a matter of permanent settlement in all the days of life, but it may be felt at different times in different colour. The troubles are in varieties in relation with our mind and body, in relation with our dealings with other living beings and in relation with natural phenomenons.

The present pinching trouble of our political leaders in the matter of Kashmir affairs is a trouble in relation with our other friendly nations. Kashmir is a part of India, not only at present but it is so from a time immemorial but the Kashmir problem has arisen as a matter of course because the world is so created that must there exist some sort of trouble, may be it is in relation with the body or other living beings or the natural phenomenon. These troubles are like the forest fire. Fire takes place in the dense forest without any attempt by any living being. Nobody in the forest do want such fire, but it takes place without any demand.

When there is fire, the living beings in the forest are put into trouble and sometimes it so happens that most of the forest creatures die in that havoc. There is no fire brigade in the forest or on the top of a forest mountain and there is no hope for of extinguishing the fire by any human attempt. It takes by the natural laws, and it is extinguished by natural laws also, that is, when there is torrent of rains in the forest. That is the natural law and these laws are so rigid and stern that no human brain, however it may be powerful, can solve these problems of natural laws.

An intelligent person, who has actually developed some finer qualities of human consciousness, can understand that every law is made by an intelligent brain and behind every law there is the lawmaker who makes the law. So for all these natural laws, there is the Supreme Lawmaker, who is the Absolute Personality of Godhead. In the Bhagavad-g…t€ we have, therefore, information that natural laws are so stringent that they cannot be overcome by anybody. But whoever surrenders unto the Supreme Lord can overcome them. The king is the lawmaker and if he likes he can forgive a law-breaker by special prerogative of the king—by the ‘king’s mercy,’ but the king can do no wrong even if he sometimes breaks the law.

That is, an experience of a common man in the phenomenal world and the same thing is applicable in the matter of Supreme laws also. The natural laws are like police actions by the agents of Godhead. Men, who are too much captivated by the glamour of material beauty and tries to enjoy it falsely without acknowledgement of its Creator, are called demons. The stringent natural laws are meant for the criminals but not for the law-abiders. Therefore, the perfect answer to the question “What is the matter with the world?” is that men have become demons by breaking laws of God, and therefore they are being punished by the police action of material nature. That is the verdict of all scriptures and that is our day-to-day life’s experience. In the Bhagavad-gita a vivid description of the law-breaker demoniac men are given in the 16th chapter and such men are punished by the laws of God—are also maintained. Human civilizations are conducted in two ways.

One type of civilization can make every human being as much qualified as God is. And the other type of civilization can make every man no less than a jungle beast and thereby making this world unfit for human habitation. A human being is called a rational animal. When rationality is destroyed, the human being is left an ordinary animal. The difference between a human being and an animal is based on the strength of human being’s being above the animal propensities.

The animal part of a human being necessarily require food to eat, shelter to live in, protection from fear and gratification of senses. These four principles of life are common both to the man and the animals. But there is another thing which is specially meant for the human being. This is God-consciousness. This God-consciousness is conspicuous by absence in the animal life, while in the human life this God-consciousness is in dormant stage even in the society of the aborigines. This God-consciousness develops in different grades of human civilization in terms of particular place, time and persons. This God-consciousness is called Religion or Culture of Life without which no civilization can stand. The present day civilization is trying to avoid this God-consciousness of human life by artificial method of material science and forcible atheism. It is learnt from reliable sources that in an atheistic state, the village people were called in a meeting and were asked to pray in the church for daily bread.

The innocent villagers prayed in the church for daily bread, and when the prayer was over the state officers asked them whether breads were supplied. The village men replied that there was no bread. The atheist politicians asked them again to pray for bread from them (the statesmen) and bread was at once supplied. And by this method the innocent villagers were made victims of propaganda by atheistic politicians with the result that all the villagers became gradually faithless in God, because wrongly they accepted that the bread was supplied by the politicians and not by God.

The poor victims of such propaganda did not understand that the breads supplied by the politicians were not made by the father of the politicians but actually they were sent by God. No politician can manufacture bread without wheat. No wheat is produced without sun rays or rains from the sky. No rains are possible without obedience to God. No atheist can live and decry God without eating bread. And therefore whoever eats bread without acknowledging in gratitude of his indebtedness to God is certainly a demon and for such demons the stringent natural laws are meant for punishment.

A time is nearing when there will be no wheat paddy in the field and no politician will be able to make a quick supply of bread. The food problem is already acute. The atheistic civilization is to be troubled more and more with the progress of materialism. We have such foretellings in the pages of Srimad-Bhagavatam. The more the people are turning to the atheistic, the more things of disturbing elements do appear before us. And that is the thing which matters at present. This is a wrong type of civilization.

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5 Responses to “What is the matter with the world”

  1. The fact that we are now experiencing the effects of high oil and food prices, make the scriptural predictions appear more ominous than ever. The shortages of certain staple foods that cause rioting in vulnerable parts of the world can easily engulf the G8 nations too.

    This also makes Srila Prabhupada’s analysis more poignant for us, who are wondering how the economic downturn will affect us. Thinking whether we should be worried or not, is not really an option. Devotees understand that every situation in this age is fraught with risks of danger at every step, in times of war, or no war.

    He also indicates that enforced atheism, which we have all experienced during science classes at school, is not a good formula for progress, but a demonic attempt to enslave gullible people. A lot of humanists and communists appear to be very caring and loving people with a passionate concern for humanity, but the omission of God from their plans, makes them obedient to sub-human, or beastly deeds. Is there such a thing as a nice demon?

    We have had oil crises before, and have survived them. Is this present crisis unique? Time will tell. When, as many people say, that the Mayan calendar predicts something truly global in 2012, and Nostradamus portends difficult times from 2008 to 2012, this adds to the fear.

    Of course, Kali-yuga is bedevilled with ‘beastly’ behaviour daily. But what about the 10,000 year golden age? It seems this special time is not going to be without some form of cleansing process. Are these the times for war in the gulf, and Kashmir? It is anybody’s guess.

    A bewildering set of world scenarios make us wonder what if, and but, but as followers of Srila Prabhupada, and the disciplic succession, we can only depend on the power of the Lord’s holy names. Krishna knows we do not have real political clout in world affairs, so He allows the beastly chess game to quicken or delay matters. We can either hold tight, or breathe a sigh of relief if this crisis passes as before.

    Ys, Kesava Krsna dasa.

  2. One thing about the devotees is, they are not surprised by upheavals in the world. They remain steadily and calmly broadcasting the same message: As long as we are persisting in Goldlessness we will suffer the threefold miseries. This world is a place of periodic cataclysms, but there is another, self-luminatedworld that remains as it is when all creatures here are destroyed.

    Materialistic people are always in anxiety, thinking: Will my empire be destroyed soon? What do I have to do to shore it up? I will go to economists or fortune tellers and get some advice on how to beat my opponents and how to protect and increase my power and wealth. Maybe I can let the good times roll another few years. Or maybe I can learn (as promised perennially in best-selling financial books) how to profit in the upcoming days of doom and gloom.

    Devotees know better than the best fortune tellers that the fate of all materialistic endeavors is disaster and destruction, whereas the fate of all devotional service is eternal and full of knowledge and bliss.

    Makhanlal Prabhu gave a class on the day after Gaura Purnima in Mayapur, 2006, where he recounted how he had asked Srila Prabhupada about how modern sinful civilization seemed to be economically flourishing, and Srila Prabhupada said, “Soon it will all be finished.”

    Makhanlal went on to say he regretted not having had the presence of mind to ask exactly when it would be finished, but actually I think he has nothing to regret. The essential knowledge, for the devotee, is that anything opposed to devotional service may flourish for some time, but it is doomed.

    The materialists all want to know, “When will it be destroyed? How will it be destroyed? How can I profit in the mean time?”

    But the devotees are saying: “Why do you care? Why waste time inquiring how far we can go down the road that leads to destruction, and what sights we may see on the way? There is another road right here that leads to sac cid ananda. Take this one.”

    Prabhupada told us there would be nuclear war. My regret is *not* that we did not sufficiently ask him about the details. I regret that we pestered him too much about the details, in the manner of materialistic people pestering astrologers. Great devotees may know past, present and future perfectly, but they have something more important to tell us than how history is about to unfold. They can tell us how to please and go to Krishna.

  3. In regards to the dire times when food will be scarce, and unable to grow in the fields due to unstable weather and other factors, as also predicted in the Srimad Bhagavatam, this may cause many of us to think that these times are now upon us. There are shortages of certain foodstuffs now.

    The strange thing is, it has been reported that countries like India, the US, and others, have this year, had bumper record harvests of rice, maize and other staples. So there isn’t exactly a shortage. The shortages we now experience are the hoarding of certain foods unavailable for export, and of course, the diversion of this produce towards fattening animals for slaughter, and alternative bio-fuels.

    These diversions are symptoms of demonic behaviour gone awry. To not know what is to be done, is written all over the behaviour of ungodly leaders and academician attempts to put right the big wrong of exploiting the earth’s resources, at the cost of millions of hungry bellies. The food is there, but it is not getting out. Meanwhile, all the show of bravado between the Iranians and the US/Israeli alliance continue to push the oil prices up, thus adding to food prices.

    If anyone were to exclaim, “this is a crazy situation”, we can forgive the very mild rebuke. The fact is, these ridiculous affairs are beyond our control. We can plead to Krishna to help solve these problems, but perhaps we are not aware of Krishna’s bigger plan.

    If Krishna consciousness is allowed to flourish in democratic countries and the US and its allies are trying to introduce democracy into undemocratic countries, it bodes well for us. Once democracy is installed, it means the devotees can preach in those countries. We cannot discount the fact that, however brutal and traumatising war is, this spreading of democracy could indirectly be helping to spread the sankirtana mission. The battle at Kuruksetra was also a bloody affair, but the cleansing restored a Krishna conscious dispensation with Maharaja Yudhisthira at the helm.

    Despite the pitfalls of democracy, we should be thankful we can practice our faith. It seems, the more democratic countries there are, the more Krishna consciousness can spread, and there are still places of resistance to Lord Chaitanya’s message. So while we devote our lives to Krishna, an awesome dirty game is being played out on the world stage, which will help usher in the much anticipated ‘Golden Age’.

    Ys, Kesava Krsna dasa.

  4. cidanandas says :

    Democracy as it is nowadays is the cause of much trouble in society,as demonic individuals find ways to completely control the leaders of the world,by different ways:corruption/blackmail etc,and we are witnessing how whole populations in under-developed countries are experiencing extreme poverty,due to the actions of the World Monetery Fund,that dictates how these countries should behave. They protect mainly the big businesses, and are not interested in self-sufficienct communitities,even less in vegetarians! They are more interested in protecting the weapons businesses,so profitable,the automotive business,tourism -so as to satisfy their sex desires,and peace/morality/environmental issues/ are not on their agenda!With the help of fake “religions”,they invade other countries,and so,gradually teach the population about the glories of “freedom” to live near-naked,alcool- taking as well as cigarettes,tea or coffee…,animal protein diets, soda drinks etc…whereas such countries have not experienced such way of living in the past.The result of such promotion of western living is a growth in slaughterhouse products,delivered in “hygienic” packs!China is opening a new McDonald every week!And India is now the no.2 supplier of beef in the world!No 1 is USA,with contaminated beef!

    So, it will be not surprising to watch,in the near future, a global conflict,due to such increase in sinful activities,so well organized by leading “demon-cracies”!

    Even people of western countries are now affected,as most do not agree with invasions of other countries,costing trillions of dollars, with the monopolizing agri business,and impoverishment of people.There are now many people living on the streets in the West,due to lesser economic activities or increase in drug taking.

    In case of general conflict,Srila Prabhupada said we should carry on chanting the Holy Names,as destruction is sometimes necessary in order to construct a new society,based on vedic principles.

  5. Yes, Cidanandas points out that the atheistic powers that be are able to manipulate so-called democratic governments (“government by the people”) and thereby guide the whole situation to hellish, impure and unbeneficial acts meant for destruction of the world.

    We should remember though, that there can be atheistic dictatorships, too. Not every anti-democratic ruler is promoting God consciousness, obviously.

    The world is full of little demons in Kali yuga. [In Satya yuga the devas and asuras are on separate planets, in Treta yuga in separate families or countries on the same planet, in Dvapara yuga within the same families or dynasties (such as in the Kuru dynasty with the war between the Pandavas and their cousins), and in Kali yuga there are devas and asuras within the same individuals!] Whether they are in democracies or authoritarian governments, as long as they are full of asura sampat, the result is not godliness.

    It might be too much to expect real, qualified rajarsis to take the reins of government any time soon. (We can always hope).

    One of the impetuses that has caused people to seek democracy in recent history has been to fight back against demonic and selfish rulers who oppressed them. When we badmouth democracy, we should be careful to distinguish rule by godly kings from rule by despotic and demonic kings, dictators and oligarchs (like cruel Vena).

    Another thing to recognize is that, while rule by ideal saintly kings does not involve election of rulers by the people in general (one of the main hallmarks of “democracy”), a lot of the qualities we *do* associate with “democracy”, such as rights to petition the ruler for redress of grievances, are present.

    We should not think that ideal Vedic government is something like a modern police state where honest people are afraid of being “denounced” and punished unjustly by demonic and paranoid rulers, who breach no disagreement and who enforce their own cults of personality through reigns of terror. Only the criminals fear rajarsis.

    The uttara khanda of Ramayana, in which Lord Rama banishes His beloved Sita because the public falsely gossips against Her, seems strange to many. One thing it illustrates is how the ideal Vedic king does, in fact, care about the opinions of his subjects. He even travels in disguise to see what they are saying and how they are feeling. He makes sure they are governed with justice, and are satisfied in pious life.

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