The Bathtub Curve

[Radharani holding flower garland]“Actually, nothing comes about automatically. Everything comes about through the intelligence of Krishna, through His fine and accurate powers. If we paint a picture of a flower, we have to arrange many facets, and still the picture will not be absolutely perfect. Yet the flower created by Krishna has come out perfectly.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Teachings of Lord Kapila, Vs 25-26 Purport)

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You’ve had your current automobile for almost a decade. It’s been so long that it would hardly qualify as current anymore. You don’t know how the years passed by so quickly. Curious, you look up the value from a noted publication, only to find out that there’s no reason to even have collision insurance coverage for the car anymore. When you bring it in for servicing, the manager is surprised by how many miles you have on it. They tell other employees about your car, since no one has seen one with that many miles accumulated.

[high mileage reading]Based on the age, mileage, and lack of features in comparison to the newer models, you start to look around. You take an interest in new cars after having ignored them for so long. You’re trying to decide on which one to get, so you take one for a test drive. “I don’t like it. It’s too high off the ground.” These are your sentiments after the short test drive. For the interim, you decide to stick with what you have. “Let me ride this into the ground. This car has sentimental value, after all.”

A few weeks later, you’re hearing people discuss new cars and you learn that someone has purchased the one you just test drove. They are complaining about how many problems it has. “That’s interesting,” you think to yourself. “One of the main reasons for buying a new car is to avoid the problems. The imminent lack of reliability for the car I own right now is the whole reason I even started looking. If new cars have problems too, what is the point in buying one? Why not just keep trying to repair the one I have now?”

Coincidentally, a television set you bought less than two years prior has a major problem with it. Thankfully, the store you purchased it from offers an additional year warranty beyond the standard one year. You are able to replace the old television with a new one. You discuss these issues with a friend one day and what he says surprises you.

“Yeah, it’s actually not uncommon for new products to have problems. There’s something called the Bathtub Curve that describes failure rate charted over time. The curve is the highest at the beginning, which means you have the most failures soon after purchasing something. This only makes sense. If there was a defect in the manufacturing, you’re more likely to notice it right away. Then the curve remains relatively low for a long time. Eventually, there is wear and tear, which increases the incidences of failure again. So you see problems in both the new car and the very old one. It is for this reason that cars have a warranty period in the beginning. The same goes for televisions.”

[new tv]What this friend describes is accurate. What to speak of appliances, even the human body breaks down. Children get colds quite frequently; their bodies aren’t strong enough to fend off many diseases. Then during adulthood things tend to level off, with the frequency of diseases increasing again during old age. This is the nature of the material world, as everything that takes birth is destined to die.

jātasya hi dhruvo mṛtyur

dhruvaṁ janma mṛtasya ca

tasmād aparihārye ‘rthe

na tvaṁ śocitum arhasi

“For one who has taken his birth, death is certain; and for one who is dead, birth is certain. Therefore, in the unavoidable discharge of your duty, you should not lament.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 2.27)

The human body is made by the creator of nature. The created object can only create as much as it is capable of. As an example, a machine running off artificial intelligence can only have as much intelligence as is programmed into it. In the same way, a mortal species cannot make something immortal. This is a defect known from the beginning.

Keeping these things in mind, the handiwork of the Supreme Lord becomes more worthy of appreciation. He creates the entire universe effortlessly. Though it will be destroyed eventually, there is no defect in the sun. There is no such thing as a curve to chart failure rate. The sun has yet to fail. It provides heat and light in such a consistent manner that the intelligent human beings rely on it. They don’t worry about the sun one day going out.

Similarly, the lotus flower is an ideal symbol of beauty. No artist could ever conjure something like that up in the mind. Indeed, a painting becomes more beautiful when flowers are included. A beautiful image is that which uses objects from the nature that were already created by God.

Just as He flawlessly creates, He delivers without fail to anyone who wants His rescuing hand. Rather than rely on fallible machines and human beings riddled with the four standard defects, one should put all of their faith in God, who is a person. This means that He listens, He acts, and He comes through. The first step is approaching Him. If a person denies that God even exists, how will they accept His mercy? If they don’t know how He creates, maintains and destroys on the largest scale, why would they approach Him?

[Lord Krishna]Vedic literature is there to educate. It is there to facilitate connection with the person who is actually within every single atom. The Vedas are a science that gives vision through sound. You hear to see in the Vedas, which are also known as the shrutis. Hear about how the material nature is God’s external, inferior energy. Hear about how the spirit souls are the superior nature, meant to be in His association. Hear about how the Lord is non-different from the sound that represents Him. Finally, see Him directly through the maha-mantra: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.

In Closing:

That old car about to break down,

Defects in newer models also found.

Bathtub curve used to explain,

Faults in all material objects the same.

Of Supreme’s intelligence just consider,

Perfect beauty in lotus flower to deliver.

With that creator of all objects to see,

Connect through sound, from doubt be free.

Categories: science

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2 replies

  1. Prabhuji, please teach us the 4 standard defects of human beings in a future article or direct me to a past article where you have done so. Thank you.

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