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Comments Posted By sdmuni108

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What does the Bhaktivedanta Institute Do?

The challenge of proving anything scientifically – is that ultimately nothing can be proven scientifically! Material science is forever an open ended investigation dependent upon available evidence coupled with a hypothesis that offers that best explanatory fit. There is always more evidence to consider, and always the possibility of a finding a more powerful explanatory hypothesis. The fact of the matter is that the material energy is practically unlimited, and in contrast as tiny jivas, our perception is exceedingly limited. It can be said Krishna’s omniscience is in an eternal competition with his ever expanding creative potency – its a dynamic phenomena. In any event, Sukadeva Goswami clearly states in the 5th Canto that even Lord Brahma lacks capacity to understand the material energy perfectly. All the same, it is an important responsibility to find ways to engage human proclivities in an intelligent manner as described in this article. Exploring methods to engage a natural human impulse to better understand the material energy as a devotional art is a most important service as considered by Srila Prabhupada.

» Posted By sdmuni108 On Mar 20, 2014 @ 9:50 pm

Tulsi Gabbard: Living The Gita, Beyond The Photo Op

In a healthy, ideal social situation undoubtedly it will be comparatively easy to experience a natural balance in gender relations. But even in so-called ideal situations described in sastric literature, you still find examples of phenomenally powerful women.

Besides that point, is not clear what T Gabbard’s election to the US Congress has to do with dysfunctional marriage relations, whether past or present.

I would also question if SP’s priority was obsessing on transitory gender roles with which our current identification is only nominally “real,” as compared to facilitating the conditional souls with an opportunity to take up devotional life.

» Posted By sdmuni108 On Jan 13, 2013 @ 6:43 pm

What Does Too Much Democracy Look Like?

There’s a long tradition among American intellectuals analyzing the relevant merits of democracy in the USA. Hofstadters work is a classic example.

Having said that, it does appear that it is the western style democracies, if not the US in particular, that is making the world save for Gaudiya Vaisnavism. If only in a contemporary realpolitik way.

In the early days of the American republic, only the landed and mercantile class could be assured of having an educated vested interest in the success of a stable society. With the opening up of universal male suffrage during the Jackson era, the tenor of American democracy shifted significantly. In our times, at the very least a high school education is assured to every citizen, as well the right to cast a vote.

If Iskcon is a brahminical institution, and if the first duty of a brahman is to offer education to the public, then perhaps that is a strategic initiative to consider.

Which could then beg the question: what is most valuable part of a human education? Perhaps that part is Iskcon’s unique contribution.

» Posted By sdmuni108 On Dec 21, 2011 @ 11:03 pm

Dinosaur Reincarnation (Video with English subtitles)

“According to the Vedic teachings, the “designs” of the species were created at the same time, as the Universe. Whether these designs alter in time or remain the same?”
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“In fact, the species have not come into existence by evolution, but instead they have existed since the beginning of the Universe in the forms we know. This is also true for species living in the past and present as well.”
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I’ve asked a question in the past to the producers of this project – “How do they conceive of the idea ‘species’?”, and more importantly, “How do they understand the Puranic concept of living form?”, as in 8.4 million forms “designed” to facilitate the spiritual evolution of the jiva via transmigration.
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After all, when Srila Prabhupada discussed Darwin with Syamasundara Prabhu and other disiciples – a conversation readily available in folio – Prabhupada emphatically stated that the Puranic concept of species is not the same as concepts engaged in debates with contemporary science.
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I would like to suggest that when making sweeping critiques of modern science about species and the stability of biological form as experienced on Earth, it would be good to offer a clear idea of what we are talking about. After all, even contemporary science acknowledges it lacks the ability to offer a consistent definition on this complicated topic. Perhaps it is worth considering how the manifestation of Krishna’s material energy can appear immensely complex.
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At this point, it could sound like the producers of this entertaining and enlightening video similarly lack a consistent definition of species, what to speak of a clear idea of what the Purana’s are referring to in its own references to conditional form. Rather awkwardly, the producers never offered a reply to the Puranic question of species on a forum discussion. It was not clear if they did not understand the question, or they just plain lacked an answer. Or perhaps, their answer was to ignore the question.
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It might be worth considering that when discussing concepts involving the origin of species, what to speak of the stability of conditional form as experienced on Earth, it would be a useful to offer a clear definition of what we mean by species. And likely even more so, when claiming to speak with authority on behalf of the entire Vedic tradition.

» Posted By sdmuni108 On Jan 29, 2011 @ 8:19 am

The Great Moon Landing Hoax

“Regarding the statements … provided by Shrila Prabhupada that these scam artist “scientsts” did go to the Moon, such explanations were all issued in response to those misguided individuals who would argue in favor of the great lunar hoax. In Kali Yuga, there are many blockheads who argue against the cause of guru-vani and Krishna Consciousness incessantly.”
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Well, then, perhaps we should consider that as one of Prabhupada’s examples on how to interact with people who question radical lunar geology.
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As Patita Pavana Prabhu herewith acknowledges, Prabhupada presented the possibility of the Apollo mission failing, as an opinion, and not as a siddhantic conclusion. And he presented this opinion without calling anyone a blockhead.
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Prabhupada also presented a wide variety of alternate possibilities that would continue to uphold the integrity of the Puranic description of Chandraloka as a heavenly realm.
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He further never made any of these concerns a central point of fidelity. I know of no initiation vows where Prabhupada asked: “What are the four regulative priinciples, do you agree to chant 16 rounds, AND, what is your position on the Apollo mission?”
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It just does not appear to be an obsession for Prabhupada the way it appears here. The record shows Prabhupada was open to any number of possibilities, as long as the integrity of the sastras were upheld.
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While Sukadeva Goswami plainly states no one knows the material energy perfectly (S.B. 5.16.4), it sounds as if some of our thread posters are not inconvenienced by that shortcoming.

» Posted By sdmuni108 On Jan 12, 2011 @ 5:29 pm

“If you reprint everything that was said by Srila Prabhupada and his disciples in their entirety, in context or otherwise, you must admit that the relevant information is already given in this article. So, why do we need to go any further into what Srila Prabhupada said when we already know it? The arguments given by opponents of Patita Pavana’s article are clearly in opposition to the statements of His Divine Grace on the moon landing.”
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This is a troublesome statement, in my view. The author seems to suggest that there is nothing new to be learned from reading the volumes of material Prabhupada made available to us. I rather recall that Prabhuapda felt we needed to read more, and not less.
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My point is not that the variety of perspectives and recollections being presented here are irrelevant. Rather, their greatest relevancy is to be found in light of Prabhupada’s entire corpus. I assure you, Prabhupada spoke quite a bit about the moon landing, as it was an extremely topical event at the time.
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Not all of Prabhupada’s arguments rejected a mechanical landing. In fact, he engaged a wide variety of views all the while defending the integrity of the Puranic accounts. And he did so while training up EXTREMELY young devotees who’s faith in these accounts needed to be solidified, and quickly.
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Whatever the case, Prabhuypada’s consistent message involved upholding the integrity of the Puranic accounts, however that may be perceived by our relatively immature minds.
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The solution to our current dilemma that I would recommend: carefully study the original transcripts for these discussions, which are readily available. For a faithful follower in Prabhupada’s line, surely that is a welcome recommendation.
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A couple of short points before my character count expires: Personally, I am not a fan of censorship, especially for an entertaining quagmire such as this one. Perhaps better—all things in moderation.
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Second, I am not clear where our apparently Eastern European astrological hatred for NASA comes from. After all, numerous space agencies claim to have visited our favorite rock-”star” in the night sky. Some of them originate from the noble Slavic nations, while others involve ESA, China, South Asia, Japan & Brazil.
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Back in the 70s, there was even a humorous account of the Polish Air Force going to the Sun, though at night. Perhaps North Korea will beat them to it.

» Posted By sdmuni108 On Dec 26, 2010 @ 3:27 pm

Dear Patita Pavana Prabhu,
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As you stated:
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“Very good advice that the readers should study the diaries more thoroughly. In fact that is the purpose of the article, to get Prabhupada’s faithfuls to do just that. Shrila Prabhupada kicked the demonic scientists in the face with logic of every sort.”
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What I am rather stating is that when using material like the diaries of individual devotees; as faithful recollections they are ultimately an invitation to our fellow “Prabhupada’s faithfuls” to investigate Prabhupada’s original transcripts taken from the original audio records. These original materials are also readily available for research work. Do you have access to Prabhupada’s folio and digital tape ministry?
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Please do not get me wrong: personal recollections are an exceedingly important part of our legacy, and our shared devotional life. But personal recollections are not primary historical texts, which, I repeat, remain readily available. I would like to suggest that a comprehensive study of Prabhupada’s primary texts of these conversations reveal a body of sophisticated commentary otherwise lost in quote-fests devoted to provocative clips. Currently, that appears to be your modus operandi of research and writing.
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As a point of reference, your excerpt in folio is: Morning Walk — July 20, 1976, New York. During July of 1976, Prabhupada engaged in numerous conversations on the topic of modern science. I would like to suggest that your medley of tantalizing sound-bites hardly represent a comprehensive study of these very long transcripts.
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Unfortunately, the jiva’s referred to as “scientist” do not represent the only form of conditional cheating. As you well know, Prabhupada had many things to say about the cheating done in the name of religion, and perhaps, astrology, too. Of note, he alternatively expressed positive and encouraging aspects of these topical issues. For some reason, your presentation avoids that part of Prabhupada’s legacy.
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In conclusion, obsessing on the most provocative statements—and all too often without appropriate context—is no guarantee of sincerity. What to speak of mature scholarship and devotional realization.

» Posted By sdmuni108 On Dec 22, 2010 @ 4:32 pm

All the references to Hari Sauri Prabhu’s Transcendental Diary, in turn refer to raw transcripts from the folio database. The raw transcripts are the actual primary historical documents. Hari Sauri Prabhu’s accounts are recollections interspersed with short clip excerpts, from which here we are reading even shorter clips, still. While these accounts are extremely valuable historical recollections, they are not the original and full primary accounts.
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I think if a serious scholar wishes to study the raw transcripts, which are so readily available, they will find that Srila Prabhupada’s critique of modern science is significantly more sophisticated than what is coming through in this article. The initial Transcendental Diary reference used in this essay, appears to offer a clip from an exchange between Srila Prabhupada and a reporter in LA. As a start, I recommend reading it in full, line by line, as it not enough to repeat a few tantalizing soundbites, and then disregard the rest.
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Curiously, this article appears to be one in a series offered by devotees who are promoting, astrology? That is a rich tradition, and one shared by many of the founders of the modern scientific tradition such as Kepler, Galileo, and Newton, and many others. Rather, the problem here is that the understanding of what modern science is, tends to sound phenomenally naive.
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Or to put it another way, it is foolish to dismiss the sophistication latent in one’s chosen adversary’s position, if one is claiming to offer a comprehensive critique as an alternative. Again, I wish to strongly suggest a serious, comprehensive study of Prabhupada’s transcripts offers evidence of a different sort critique—and one, most unfortunately, that could sound absent here.
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As a last thought—I would suggest that our Euclidean perception of space; what to speak of our standard experience of time—are hardly reflective of the full experience of Krsna’s material energy, as it is. Attempting to box such subjects in with mere human terms of experience—no matter whether one is a critic, or promoter, of either the modern or traditional perspectives—is a fool’s mission. Claiming blind faith in either tradition, does not guarantee an intelligent appreciation of the dynamics involved. After all, even a child can play cheerleader.
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btw – what is the current understanding of the term: “above the rays of sunshine”

» Posted By sdmuni108 On Dec 19, 2010 @ 3:32 pm

Rethinking Darwin – New from the North European BBT!

Umm, rather awkwardly, Prabhupada never said:
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“The more we kick out Darwin’s philosophy, the more we advance in spiritual consciousness.”
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This is a somewhat creative misquotation that came to life in Life Comes From Life, but is no where to be found in the audio recordings or transcripts for the original conversation.
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Perhaps better to promote something Prabhupada said, as it is, as they say?

» Posted By sdmuni108 On Jan 9, 2011 @ 9:16 pm

Astronomical Models of Lunar Position

“As a mathematics professor with some experience in scientific preaching, I can only say that [fill in the blank] has no chance of being effective preaching.”
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This might be a pretty broad brush statement, near akin to the attitude presented by others similarly certain, if not enamored, with their points of view on the material energy, and then how to present it to intelligent people who presumably think all in one way (and perhaps in agreement with one’s own brand of material certainty?)
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Whatever route we take, it would be worthwhile presenting it with a sense of humility, and wonder. That does not mean it should be presented with a lack of confidence in the devotional paradigm. It will be a model of the descriptions found in the Srimad Bhagavatam, done to the best of our current abilities. How close, or far, it is to reality as it is, is anyone’s empirical guess.
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All of which reminds me of Sukadeva Goswami’s opening statement to his presentation on cosmology where he flatly declares no one understands the full extent of the material energy.
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“This material world is a transformation of the material qualities … yet no one could possibly explain it perfectly, even in a lifetime as long as that of Brahma…. O King, I shall nevertheless try ….” (SB 5.16.4)
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We have no way to scientifically confirm how well our current model (whatever it is) presents the fifth canto to its fullest extent. We certainly have no way to scientifically explain all the apparent discrepancies between a Puranic perspective, and that of contemporary, or even other ancient cosmological models presented outside the Puranic tradition.
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It is also good to remember there is nothing sacrosanct about modern scientific theory. They too will be overthrown in time with the addition of more sophisticated natural evidence, and more powerful explanatory hypotheses. It has happened many times in the recent past, and will continue to do so in the future—with or without our participation in this long conversation.
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However we present our ever mysterious Fifth Canto; it will be a challenge. None-the-less, Prabhupada desired we make the effort. At least about that much, there appears little to doubt.

» Posted By sdmuni108 On Dec 4, 2010 @ 6:33 pm

“Did the so-called Moon rascal astronauts see ice on the Moon?”

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Wiki excerpt describing the Indian Space Research Organization’s Chandrayaan mission that apparently confirmed ice on the moon, with additional assistance from NASA radar equipment.

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Chandrayaan-1 (Sanskrit: moon vehicle) was India’s first unmanned lunar probe. It was launched by the Indian Space Research Organisation in October 2008, and operated until August 2009. The mission included a lunar orbiter and an impactor. India launched the spacecraft with a modified version of the PSLV, PSLV C11 on 22 October 2008 from Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota, Nellore District, Andhra Pradesh, about 80 km north of Chennai, at 06:22 IST (00:52 UTC). Former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee announced the project on course in his Independence Day speech on 15 August 2003. The mission was a major boost to India’s space program, as India researched and developed its own technology in order to explore the Moon. The vehicle was successfully inserted into lunar orbit on 8 November 2008.

On 14 November 2008, the Moon Impact Probe separated from the Chandrayaan orbiter at 20:06 and struck the south pole in a controlled manner, making India the fourth country to place its flag on the Moon. The probe impacted near Shackleton Crater at 20:31 ejecting underground soil that could be analysed for the presence of lunar water ice….

» Posted By sdmuni108 On Nov 13, 2010 @ 1:22 pm

“Did the so-called Moon rascal astronauts see ice on the Moon?”
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Woops!! Sounds like a poor choice for an example, as it now appears that “the so-called Moon rascals” have seen the ice.
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http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/Mini-RF/multimedia/feature_ice_like_deposits.html
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Concerning Prabhupada’s quotation, “Why they have failed to utilize the moon planet? It is a different atmosphere. It is different atmosphere. These rascals cannot go there.”
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Of course they could not go “there” – to Candraloka, the Moon as described in the Puranas. Obviously it has a different “atmosphere.” Prabhupada engaged a similar line of reasoning with a reporter in LA – a fascinating exchange.
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We also cannot go to Goloka Vrndavana simply by visiting a geological location in Uttar Pradesh. Prabhupada often talks about the need to be qualified to enter the “atmosphere” of Vrndavana, as well. Otherwise it looks very much like an ordinary Indian village to a tourist who’s consciousness is not in order.
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We would call such pilgrims, “Mundane rascal tourists.” Perhaps we could place a sign in front of the Krsna-Balarama Mandir: “Mundane rascal tourists can not enter here.”
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If one closely studies Prabhupada’s use of the rascal moniker, Prabhupada rather focuses on an asuric abuse of material science to upend scriptural integrity and thus deny the authority of God.
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For example, Prabhuapada states at the conclusion of his first morning walk from the LCFL discussions:
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“Yes. They’re misleading. Godlessness. As soon as you say, “God created”, immediately they become arrogant. That is our protest. If they accept God, then we give them all credit. That’s all right. Otherwise zero. We don’t deprecate their intention of advancement in knowledge. But we simply protest against their defying the authority of God. That is our point.”
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>>> Ref. VedaBase => Morning Walk — April 19, 1973, Los Angeles
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Surely there is a time and place to be a “little offensive,” as Prabhupada also put it. That time and place may not at every opportunity, unless one intends to lead a pep rally.

» Posted By sdmuni108 On Nov 12, 2010 @ 12:07 am

“I appreciate SD Muni’s thoughts. Yes, we could make a “distant moon” model as a hypothesis. But Srila Prabhupada wants the model to be scientific and to explain lunar phases, seasons, eclipses, etc.
Therefore, we should take the empirical and scientific evidence into account, not ignore it.”
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It would be interesting to see Prabhupada’s thoughts on predicting the lunar phases, etc.
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My point about science, though, is they too are only dealing with hypotheses based on apparently repeating, confirmable events. I don’t think this form of perception is irrelevant, but neither can it be considered an ultimate perspective. There is no way to tell how close, or far, a scientific perspective is to perceiving a phenomenon as it is.
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I would suggest that in similar terms, there may be no way to know for sure how far our realizations at the moment perceive the full import regarding information laden within these Sanskrit slokas. And that is ok.
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Its complicated. For example, THDd brings up an issue of how to predict the phases of the moon. Well, whoever wrote down the fifth canto in its current form, what to speak of generations studying it thereafter – they all must have realized difficulties predicting phases of the moon with these SB descriptions. Basic astronomical events such as lunar phases were readily predicted well into the ancient past, and were much required for navigational and calendric purposes. In other words, using SB to predict lunar phases as we perceive them with our blunt senses wasn’t the crucial issue, for some reason.
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I do not claim to have the answer. But I do feel we can offer a model to the best of our ability as to what is written in those texts. If we present them as a model (and it is a model, and not the actual phenomena), then we can subsequently discuss the relevant issues concerning our present appreciation of the SB model in relation to current scientific models, which are themselves forever in flux. The real dynamics will found in these subsequent discussion, papers, debates, whatnot.
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We do not need to have all the answers now, nor will we ever. Rather, a credible “faithful” model, done to the best of our present ability, should suffice. But hopefully without an attitude that we know it all, which, I feel, would be disastrous. Sukadeva Goswami claims even Lord Brahma doesn’t quite get it perfectly. What to speak of us, or the material scientists.
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It is only a model, and one of the Puranic concept of space and time.

» Posted By sdmuni108 On Nov 9, 2010 @ 1:04 am

“the Moon is 800,000 miles, or 100,000 yojanas, “above the rays of sunshine” (arka-gabhastibyah uparishta)”
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I also recently noticed how Srila Prabhupada translated this Sanskrit sloka as “above the rays of the sunshine”, and then repeated the phrase in the purport.
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That left me to wonder; could there be some significance to his repeating “above the rays of sunshine,” instead of plainly saying, above the sun planet? Normally, we expect rays of light to disperse in all directions through open space, without being limited to a horizontal plane or a precise location.
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Likely others have considered this issue more thoroughly, and will hopefully share their insights.
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On a similar note involving discrepancies between the Puranic accounts and contemporary science: if a distant moon is offered as our current best attempt at faithfully modeling Puranic evidence; that would be a factual, honest presentation. After all, that is all material science is as well: an attempt to model empirical evidence with a hypothesis.
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“Only shastra can explain why the Rahu scientists see things the way they do.”
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On the other hand, if we claim “this is how it is; contrary perspectives are influenced by noxious Rahu scientists,” that might not be our most effective ploy. After all, even the ancient Greeks calculated distances between the earth and moon in accords with our modern “Rahu scientists.” Apparently, it is not hard to do with a few astronomical sightings and a little geometry.
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Promoting “Rahu scientists” as instigating discrepancies between the celestial descriptions found in the Puranas, and reams of astronomical data accumulated by hundreds of generations of empirical investigators, could be a smart move if the TOVP is meant to impress rural villagers and esoteric conspiracy buffs.
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But perhaps we might also wish to consider a more sophisticated response.

» Posted By sdmuni108 On Nov 5, 2010 @ 11:28 pm

Challenges to the Astronomical Paradigm

The author asks the reader: “What about gravity?” He seems to suggest the Puranas claim gravity does not exist.
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Upon further examination, here is how Prabhupada framed his argument utilized in this essay, but without the extra “…” :
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This verse from Brahma-samhita confirms that even the largest and most powerful planet, the sun, rotates within a fixed orbit, or kala-cakra, in obedience to the order of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This has nothing to do with gravity or any other imaginary laws created by the material scientists.
Material scientists want to avoid the ruling government of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and therefore they imagine different conditions under which they suppose the planets move. The only condition, however, is the order of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
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>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 5.23.3
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Yes, if “gravity” is used as an excuse for deny “the order of the Supreme Personality of Godhead,” then surely that is foolishness. Frankly, neither Isaac Newton, nor modern science, has any real clue what gravity actually is – on any level. Due to consistent observations of an apparently attractive force between material objects, Newton was able to calculate the effect of that force and thus more efficiently predict motion. But he never claimed to know what it was. Newton’s critics argued his description of gravity sounded like a mystical occult force – an unknown energy acting at a distance that invisibly traveled thru objects. Scientists still do not know what causes gravity, or what it is, in essence.
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Here is another interesting purport Prabhupada wrote about gravity worth considering:
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Gravitation is caused by the Supreme Lord, so He is also able to remove that law or do anything and everything at His will. If you know something like swimming, then the law of gravitation will not work, and who knows better than Krishna how to do everything, so Krishna can change anything, therefore we worship Him as the greatest Scientist.
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>>> Ref. VedaBase => Letter to: Rupanuga — Tokyo 3 May, 1972
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Apparently, according to this purport, gravity is a very real phenomenon created by Krsna, Not only that, but Prabhupada appears to be instructing his followers to worship Krsna as the greatest Scientist, since He not only created gravity, but He knows all about how to manipulate it – among His many other talents. For Krsna, there are no fixed laws.

» Posted By sdmuni108 On Oct 25, 2010 @ 11:06 pm

A Brief History of Astronomical Theory and Western Cosmology

Curiously, all of the historical personalities described in this short essay where deeply theistic—not just Copernicus. For instance, Kepler was so enraptured by thoughts of God he could be fairly described as a Protestant mystic. Descartes argued that through logic and reason he had proven both his, and His, existence. In fact, nearly every last father of modern science, such as Galileo and Newton, profoundly expressed similar sentiments.
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Another feature to consider: the scientific paradigm prior to the moderns’ was Aristotelian cosmology and physics. Though during the Middle Ages, Saint Thomas Aquinas successfully synthesized Greek natural philosophy with Catholic thought, Christian philosophy has survived quite well without it, both before and since. Suffice to say, the Aristotelians were never known for their Puranic commentaries.
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Of note: Tycho Brahe’s description is geometrically indistinguishable from a heliocentric model, when viewed from Earth. His preference was largely due to there being no known comprehensive physical science superior to Aristotle’s geocentric dependent theory, in his own time. A new physical science did not to take shape until Galileo, and then mature under Newton. Of course, the classic Newtonian model has in turn proven simplistically incomplete, as per orthodox modern science.
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It is useful to remember that Srila Prabhupada described conditional perception as a relative experience. From our relative fixed position on Earth, celestial motion does, in fact, appear as Brahe described. Even today, for practical purposes navigational and stellar maps remain geocentric. Whether using the Earth, or the Sun, as a cosmic reference, to our blunt senses celestial motion appears relatively identical from Earth.
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I would like to suggest what we have before us is a phenomena that defies neat and clean analyses—if at least on the human level. Even in the 5th Canto, Sukadeva Goswami describes how even the greatest of celestial overlords, Lord Brahma, lacks the necessary faculties for perceiving the cosmos in full. Perhaps, then, a sense of humility is desirable when approaching, what to speak of describing, such topics. While rigid quotation slinging will never place the phenomena in a nutshell; neither can dogmatic faith in modern theory (itself evolving) wholly capture the experience. Though all may be convinced, not a single blind man understood the elephant.

» Posted By sdmuni108 On Oct 24, 2010 @ 12:47 am

Darwin’s Passion for Hunting and Killing

One further irony in Dr. Bergman’s analysis is that “as a young man in the prime of his youth,” Darwin both considered himself, and was considered by others, an upstanding Christian. After all, as a young man Darwin attended Cambridge University to study theology with the aim of becoming a country parson. Later in life, when he rejected his former “Christian” concept of God, he coincidently renounced his love of guns and frivolous sport. It was during this latter period that he published Origins of Species, a book in which he still acknowledged a Creative Being. His difficulties with a personal God appear steeped in dilemmas attributable to traditional Western intellectual debates.
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I don’t think my bringing up such points conclusively proves anything other then that a balanced historical analysis invites introspective sensitivity.

» Posted By sdmuni108 On Sep 19, 2010 @ 7:44 pm

I did a quick google search and found that Dr. Bergman is VERY actively involved with creationist organizations immersed in polemical debates.
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While undoubtedly Dr. Bergman is a sincere soul wishing to defend his concept of evangelical theism, this essay may not the best example of a definitive historical analysis, however well documented it may appear to be.
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For example, Dr. Bergman refers to a Darwin biography as follows: “Darwin’s own father saw his obsession as a problem. He once said that Charles cared “for nothing but shooting, dogs, and rat-catching,” and, as a result, he “will be a disgrace” to himself and his entire family (Darwin, p. 28).”
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Rather then worrying about “rat catching,” Darwin’s father was concerned his son was becoming a ne’er-do-well. Instead of concentrating on his studies, Darwin was preoccupied with a variety of recreational activities that were the norm during the Victorian Era. Or to put in modern terms, Darwin was out partying instead of studying.
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No doubt there are many philosophical incongruities in Darwin’s personal life. Without surprise, one can find similar dilemmas in the life of every conditioned soul.
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Fairly or unfairly, Darwin’s naturalistic theory continues to hold credence as a biological analysis of natural history based on contemporary empirical evidence, and not circumstantial character assassinations by well known partisan scholars. But have no fear: every naturalistic scientific analysis is incomplete. As Prabhupada often pointed out, material science lacks access to an ultimate perspective.
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I wonder why this essay was presented without an introduction to Dr. Bergman’s scholarly background, what to speak of his well known ideological proclivities. While Dr. Bergman’s philosophical perspectives do not necessarily nullify his argument, knowing them offers context. Such concerns are very basic criteria for examining any historical analysis.
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Whatever the case may be, Dr. Bergman concludes, “Darwin evidently suffered from an inordinant desire to kill animals for most of his life, especially when he was a young man in the prime of his life.” Frankly, Darwin’s hunting proclivities were on par with the norms of his Victorian contemporaries. Perhaps they are also a norm for a majority of the moderns, who are well known for efficiently exterminating rodents and insects. While Dr. Bergman appears to mention as much in his introduction, this point sounds lost in his conclusion.

» Posted By sdmuni108 On Sep 19, 2010 @ 1:04 pm

In Answer to the Marxists

I think the selection Ranji Prabhu notes is key, and I’ll repost it here:
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“When the Vedic followers, the brahmanas, inspire rich men like kings and members of the wealthy mercantile community to give charity in the performance of great sacrifices, the distribution of such wealth is also nectarean. The four sections of human society, namely the brahmanas, the ksatriyas, the vaisyas and the sudras, are meant to live peacefully in a cooperative mood; this is possible when they are guided by expert Vedic brahmanas who perform sacrifices and distribute wealth equally.”
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This appears to suggest first you need brahmanas capable of inspiring the ruling elite – the ksyatris and wealthy vaisyas – to give in charity for the performance of sacrifice. Prabhupada notes such brahmanas are expert followers of the Vedic tradition, and subsequently expert distributors of wealth.
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It seems we can institute all sorts of material systems for securing a just society, but without actual self realized brahmanas possessing the latent ability to inspire and offer pragmatic guidance, such systems will turn into hollow shelled arrangements that eventually disappoint. Likely, the hearts of the brahmanas to whom society would look for guidance, would not be enamored by the desire to exploit the material energy.
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Until that component is secure, we might be wasting our time.

» Posted By sdmuni108 On Aug 20, 2010 @ 10:21 pm

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