“The best and ultimate authority is Krishna, for He is our eternal well-wisher, and He always speaks for our benefit. Since we have to accept some authority, why not accept His? Simply by hearing of His glories from Bhagavad-gita and Shrimad-Bhagavatam and by chanting His names — Hare Krishna — we can swiftly perfect our lives.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Krishna Consciousness, The Matchless Gift)
“This new phone is going to revolutionize things. It’s going to change your way of life. We’ve found a way to put everything you could want into a single device. There’s email. There’s text. There’s web browsing. There’s music and video. And by the way, all of this fits in the palm of your hand. You can take it wherever you go. It fits snugly in your pocket. The battery life is amazing. We’re also going to open up the system to the development of software by third parties. This means that if you can think of something that we haven’t, go for it. We’ll allow you to sell your app in a centralized location, where millions of other users can download it. Once you get this device, you will wonder how you ever lived without it.”
This pitch is made with confidence not for only smartphones but for practically any discovery. It doesn’t have to be one based in technology. The idea is that whatever new is coming out is without flaws. It is the groundbreaking item, the missing piece to the puzzle known as life. The results of scientific studies are presented in the same way.
…Begin mock conversation
We’ve uncovered a secret: men and women are different.
This is a secret? Really? What tipped you off?
We’ve discovered that eating oat bran is good for you. So is eating in moderation and doing light exercise on a regular basis. Consuming foods rich in antioxidants is good for you too. Since so many foods contain antioxidants, eating a variety of items and in moderation will keep you fit.
So, you’re basically saying that I should eat food? That’s what it boils down to? I think I already had that figured out. You’re not really telling me anything new here.
…end mock conversation
While each discovery is presented as a conclusive truth, the last word on an issue, pretty soon something newer comes out. That something could totally dismantle the previous truth. Indeed, if we apply a little intelligence, we’d realize that a newer truth should not be necessary at all. If they had it right the first time, why did they have to come back to us with an update?
The latest smartphone is very popular, but as soon as a new version is released, there is the anticipation for the next version. “Will they make the screen larger? Will this app come built into the system? Will the battery life be improved? Will there be more storage?” All these hankerings indicate that the device that just came out is flawed. It is not the final word. It is not the missing piece to the puzzle.
The excitement over such discoveries is understandable. Each living being is searching after God. They know that they are not perfect themselves, but someone out there must be. They are attracted to greatness. Otherwise no one would watch sports. No one would follow the lives of celebrities. No one would be interested in what a millionaire is doing. The interest is there because of the search for an all-perfect being.
Fortunately, that search doesn’t have to continue in vain. It doesn’t have to put faith in one discovery only to then change that faith later on based on the newer testimony. God is found through authorized works. I know that what I consider to be authorized may not be by you, but everyone must accept some authority. Otherwise there is no trust in life and everyone sits in a secluded room not having faith in anyone. There is always faith; the difference is that faith in the real authority does not have to change. It brings the real Supreme Being that everyone is looking for, and with that goal achieved doubt is removed.
The followers of the Vedas say that the Vedas are the ultimate authority. The Vedas are ancient works that describe God to the best extent possible. Since God is all-pervading and all-encompassing, the descriptions of Him continue to expand. In material discoveries constant updates show an inherent flaw in the original discovery. In the case of the expanding Vedas, the flaw is not in the person being described, but rather in man’s ability to describe Him. This defect is a blessing, since it allows for an endless engagement.
From the Vedas we know that there are three features to the Absolute Truth. There is the impersonal Brahman. This is the all-pervading spiritual energy that cannot be seen with the eyes. Everyone is Brahman since everyone is spirit. Brahman is a realization more than an actual object. Then there is the Supersoul residing within the heart. This again can’t be seen; it is unmanifest. It is realized through meditational yoga.
The complete feature is Bhagavan, which means the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Bhagavan has an original form and also many non-different expansions. Bhagavan is complete with the features of beauty, wealth, strength, fame, wisdom and renunciation. He is the only perfect being. As He is perfect, He has complete knowledge. Knowing Him is knowing everything you need to know. Knowing Him allows you to know yourself, and since you are the same in spiritual quality as everyone else, knowing Him allows you to know everyone else in the world as well. You learn their tendencies, their mistakes, and their desires. If you know someone’s desires, you know why they do things. If you know Bhagavan, you also know the purpose to the creation and why birth and death take place. Therefore you know how anything material will eventually dissipate. You know the purpose to eating, sleeping, mating and defending, and so you know how to do these things properly.
Since Bhagavan is the oldest person, He was revealed a long time ago. He was not discovered by anyone. He was revealed to the first created living entity, Lord Brahma, who then passed on information of his experience to future generations. Thus for the devotee of Bhagavan there is no need to be anxious for the new discovery, as the original information they accept is authorized; it is without flaw.
More than just knowledge of Bhagavan, we also get tools and techniques on how to remain in His association. We are not perfect, but Bhagavan is, so we accept what He tells us. We also accept what those who are devoted to Him say. For the present age most rules and regulations of spiritual life are tossed aside. No one will follow them anyway. The pathway to spiritual freedom is the holy name itself, which is something basic enough for anyone to hear, recite, remember, and have an attachment to. The name Krishna is considered the best, with Rama a close second. The name Hare is also included, as this addresses the energy of God. A habit of chanting the maha-mantra, “Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare,” keeps one always with the holy name.
This chanting process was not discovered; it was revealed to us through the good grace of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. If there is any discovery involved for the devotee, it is in finding new ways to keep this chanting going so that God can be remembered and glorified more and more. These discoveries work for any person, as their foundation is the name of the only all-perfect being.
This new smartphone to come out,
Wonder how you did live without.
Since flaw with one button pressing,
Date of newest update to be guessing.
That all problems then to solve,
But why need for changes you must resolve.
Bhagavan the only perfect being,
Known from eyes of Vedas seeing.
In Kali Yuga rules of religion tossed aside,
Just chant holy names and with God reside.