“In the cycle of evolution, the living entity changes bodies one after another. When the world was full of water, the living entity took an aquatic form. Then he passed to vegetable life, from vegetable life to worm life, from worm life to bird life, from bird life to animal life, and from animal life to the human form. The highest developed form is this human form when it is possessed of a full sense of spiritual knowledge.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Shri Ishopanishad, 17 Purport)
“Men are from Mars, women are from Venus. Men and women are different. We’ve reached this conclusion after extensive research. The equality angle we’ve been pushing on you for so long has been bogus. There are inherent differences between the two sexes that go beyond just the physical. There are differences in emotional reactions, behavior, and mechanisms for logical thought as well. You should read more about what we’ve discovered, as this could help not only you but the whole society. We think that this evolution in research of human behavior will finally solve the problems like divorce, unrequited love, and discrimination in the workplace.”
Such stories are found in the news all the time, as media organizations need stories to fill their periodicals. If a newspaper is printed daily, it means that so many stories are required to get the attention of the readers. There is typically a “Science and Health” section, and things such as the difference or equality between the genders will be discussed there. Research is done into more than just the genders. All aspects of material life are focused on, and the idea is that with the stamp of approval of scientists, one should take the conclusions as authoritative; i.e. they should believe what they hear. A certain group of practical scientists, however, who accept the authority of ancient texts, already came up with the same conclusions, sometimes millions of years before. As such, their authority should be considered much more valuable.
Discussing the different viewpoints is important because each side has a corresponding angle of vision with respect to the ultimate aim of life. Though it may not be immediately obvious, the scientific researcher is essentially telling us to worship matter. The worship in this case involves manipulation for personal enjoyment. Think of the Lego blocks that are sold to children. The box purchased from the store is a collection of differently shaped individual pieces. You can do with these pieces what you wish, but ultimately the aim is the same: create something enjoyable. The studies into the differences between the genders and species is done for the same purpose:
“Evolve to the point that you can live a long life, with plenty of material enjoyment. Learn how to manipulate all the elements around you to find the position of utmost comfort. People of the past were primitive in thought; they didn’t have this research available to them. Lacking evolved knowledge, they took to a simpler way of life. We don’t have to follow them. We can rely on advancements in science to find a better way of life.”
There are actually many valuable lessons one can take away from times past, especially from a certain set of information passed on since time immemorial. This information, which is representative of a school of thought, says that the material elements exist to bewilder the otherwise sober individual. The elements are sort of an illusion in this sense; like the bottle of whiskey obstructing our view. If we have other things to get done during the day, drinking the whiskey will not help us. But the alcoholic has grown so attached to the intoxication afforded by the whiskey that they can’t think of anything else. In this way they fall into despair, sinking in quicksand without any rescuing hand around.
This particular school of thought from ancient times says that material enjoyment is not everything. If you had everything in the world you could think of, you actually wouldn’t be satisfied. Think about it for a minute. Imagine if you won the lottery, married the person of your dreams, and had beautiful children and a sufficient number of friends. What would you do then? You’d still need to act. You’d still need to eat. You’d still need to sleep. You would have to find something to do to make your life fulfilling. And once you start acting, you would realize that the person who doesn’t win the lottery is pretty much in the same boat as you. Though they aren’t super wealthy, they have enough food to eat through the honest labor they apply. They have a spouse and children as well, so where did immense wealth really get you?
This school of thought says that the material elements should be used as little as possible with respect to personal enjoyment. The elements do exist for a purpose, though, a reformatory one at that. Instead of refining your way of manipulation, refine your way of thinking. Attach your consciousness to the origin of all life. This is the true definition of love. Offer unadulterated and unending affection to the one person who can accept it.
In evaluating the two schools of thought, the one from ancient times seems to be based on faith. It’s essentially religion, which we can’t really assess. It speaks of an original controller, or God, but we can’t see this person. The material elements are visible in front of us, so why not just take the route of material manipulation instead?
This mentality is defective because of the illusion of the material elements. A better way to assess the two schools of thought is to see how they derive their conclusions and whether those conclusions are valid. The difference between the genders mentioned previously was actually discovered by the ancient school of thought centuries ago. And it wasn’t even discovered; the information was passed on since the beginning of time, by the original person. He put forth a system of activity that would ideally bring everyone to the position of God consciousness, where they would love the Supreme Lord without end. In that discipline, the truths of the creation are accounted for, including the difference in tendencies between the species.
Since the aim of the spiritual school is different, the relevant facts are ignored by the materialists today. Yet the ultimate aim should have no bearing on the assessment. If someone tells us something that is groundbreaking today, but we know that someone else presented the same truth millions of years ago, the person making the discovery today isn’t so wise. They could have consulted the same truths and thus avoided all that research.
The ancient school of thought mentioned here comes from the Vedas, the original scriptural tradition of India. They delve into a lot more than just study of the genders. They give insight into all human behavior. They say that all human beings are born with four defects. Everyone has the propensity to cheat, to commit mistakes and to become illusioned. And everyone also has imperfect senses, which means that what you see isn’t always what you get. All living entities also eat, sleep, mate and defend. The material body is just a temporary covering that is completely discarded at the time of death. When the subsequent birth starts, a new body is provided.
The force that remains the same throughout, the essence of identity, is the soul. The soul is the same in both the man and the woman. The soul is ignored by the material scientist, as for them what is the fun in describing something that is eternal, full of bliss and knowledge, and the same in everyone, including the animals? Yet to ignore the soul is to ignore the essence of life, and thereby miss the mark with your conclusions. The Vedas don’t make this mistake, and therefore works like the Bhagavad-gita and Shrimad Bhagavatam, which were put to written word many thousands of years ago, are still as valuable today as they were in times past.
Men and women different to conclusion you’ve come,
Known to ancient Vedas, to party finally welcome.
Bhagavad-gita and Shrimad Bhagavatam say,
Material world a field full of illusory play.
Difference in tendencies you might now uncover,
But from Krishna’s works no need for truths to discover.
The spirit soul is what really counts know,
To learn of it to Vedic literature go.