“I am the source of all spiritual and material worlds. Everything emanates from Me. The wise who know this perfectly engage in My devotional service and worship Me with all their hearts.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 10.8)
ahaṁ sarvasya prabhavo
mattaḥ sarvaṁ pravartate
iti matvā bhajante māṁ
One indication of the superiority of the human species is the scientist. The bears do not feature such an occupation. Neither do the birds nor the dogs. Not every human being becomes an expert in the field of physics, chemistry, or biology, but that deficiency doesn’t make a huge difference. It takes only one sun to light up the entire world. It takes only one moon to brighten the night sky.
In the same way, with just a few highly intelligent people advancements can be made in important areas. But are these advancements really worthwhile? Is it a good use of time to study how the automobile works? Should the advanced intelligence of the scientist be dedicated to figuring out how to make the automobile faster? What good comes from constructing a ship that can travel in the air, all the way to outer space?
In the past the government put the most respected scientists to work on projects relating to national defense. The big brain of the big scientist helped to create a weapon that could kill many people in one shot. Upon studying nature, we see that the tiger already kills. The cheetah already travels at a swift pace, and the bird flies through the air with ease.
It would make sense to use the big brain to tackle the most difficult and meaningful problems, would it not? If you purchase a laptop computer and use it only as a paperweight, you’re not taking advantage of what you have. Any plain object could be used to hold down paper against the wind. The laptop is capable of much more than that.
Why not study the problem of death? The problem is that everyone is forced to die. There is no way around it. As soon as there is birth, death must follow. The exact moment is impossible to predict, but thus far no one has escaped.
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)
If the question of death seems too difficult to answer, then what about old age? Why does my body deteriorate with the passage of time? A person can try to stay young through artificial means, but altering the skin doesn’t change anything on the inside. Also, there is no way to go back to a smaller body. I was once small enough to fit inside of my mother’s womb. Why can’t I return to that size?
The retort will be that these questions are impossible to answer. Therefore the big brain of the scientist is used for other things. But in fact, those other things provide merely temporary solutions. The tiger doesn’t know anything about quantum physics, and its survival is just as permanent as the human being’s. The bird knows how to fly without studying science.
The teachers in the Vedic tradition say that real intelligence should be used for the most important questions. Life and death, and everything in between – why do these things occur? A person who studies these subjects is really intelligent. They have taken advantage of the advanced intelligence gifted to the human being.
Fortunately, lengthy scientific study and research are not required. Everything that is needed to be known comes down from disciplic succession, a tradition of instruction. The origin of that instruction is the origin of the species. He is the source of both material and spiritual worlds.
Matter is the sole focus of the scientists devoid of knowledge of spirit. Spirit is what animates matter. Spirit is as much a candidate for scientific study as matter. The wise person studies both, since they are interrelated. In the Bhagavad-gita, Shri Krishna says that He is the source of both material and spiritual worlds. Invoking the plural means that our realm is not the only one. And neither is every realm exclusively material, where there is a difference between the identity and the identifying objects.
In the spiritual world there is no difference. The hands and legs identify the individual. The body is not matter. That oneness can be regained very easily, but one needs to point their intelligence in the right direction. Just as only a few scientists and engineers are needed to allow the entire population to drive cars, just a few bright individuals following and spreading the spiritual science are needed to guide the human being back to their original state.
Krishna spoke the Bhagavad-gita to a family man who was in the military by occupation. Arjuna was not a world-renowned scientist. He was not the winner of the Nobel prize. Arjuna lacked envy of Krishna, and so he was the ideal candidate to reinstate the chain of disciplic succession. The wise use their time and energy to study the conversation held between the two on the battlefield of Kurukshetra. Krishna only gives a summary of the spiritual science, but the information is enough to make a lifetime’s worth of study. It is enough to keep the sharpest minds occupied and focused on the real goal of life: stopping reincarnation.
Scientists of world renown,
With big brain endowed.
Study of material nature making,
Interest in spirit not taking.
But animals already surviving,
Intelligence not needed for thriving.
For a reason the boon to humans gifted,
Meant for from birth and death to be lifted.