“The Supreme Lord is situated in everyone’s heart, O Arjuna, and is directing the wanderings of all living entities, who are seated as on a machine, made of the material energy.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 18.61)
Friend1: Do you like machines?
Friend2: What kind of question is that? You might as well ask me if I like the sun and the rain.
Friend1: Those are aspects of nature. Machines are invented by man.
Friend2: So you’re talking about technology specifically or anything created that involves mechanics?
Friend1: You have to get so technical every time.
Friend2: It’s called precision. If we’re going to answer questions, at least refine down to the essence. This way there are no doubts at the conclusion.
Friend1: Okay, let’s take a modern-day invention. Something like an automobile, plane, or train. You could even take one of those kitchen helper thingies.
Friend2: The ones that mix the dough for you?
Friend2: People love that machine in particular. It is expensive and a little complex to operate, but once you get the hang of it you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it.
Friend1: You have one, I presume.
Friend2: Not only do I not have one, I have never personally witnessed it in action. The opinion is based solely on the testimony of others.
Friend1: I see. Do you like machines like that? Are they worthwhile?
Friend2: Why not? They save time.
Friend1: Okay, but they also make people lazy. If for some reason the electricity goes out, how will dinner be prepared? In some places in the world there is an abundance of food cooked, offered and distributed without a single use of electricity.
Friend2: The Jagannatha Temple in Puri is a great example. The devotees offer so much to the Lord of the universe. They don’t need to worry about power disruptions. You can transfer the setting to thousands of years ago and the same process would work.
Friend1: Right, so have machines made people less spiritual?
Friend2: I’d probably say it’s the other way around. That is the lack of spirituality has made people more interested in machines and using them.
Friend1: Then it’s a symptom rather than a cause.
Friend2: I don’t think there is anything wrong with these machines. The idea is to use the component parts for the proper purpose. You can take the body as an example.
Friend1: It is something like nature’s machine.
Friend2: For the atma, the spirit soul inside. The individual is identified through this atma, which is like the driver of the car. You have different components to the machine. The arms, the legs, the stomach.
Friend1: The brain.
Friend2: Eyes, ears and so forth. A fully functioning machine means that the individual parts are present and working properly. When everything is right, the objectives can be met. Something like the car starting properly and taking you to the desired destination.
Friend1: Is the body-machine a bad thing? Doesn’t it help someone forget God?
Friend2: That is a possibility, a result of the free will with which every person is endowed.
Friend1: The machine can be used properly, though?
Friend2: Of course. Not only does the individual benefit, but so do the individual parts. That is to say the hands take on their true meaning when the entire body is used for devotional service, bhakti-yoga. Otherwise the illusion of maya continues to have majority influence. It is like remaining asleep, staying ignorant as to your true nature and the purpose of life.
Friend1: Isn’t there another soul guiding everything, though? I’m referring to Paramatma.
Friend2: Yes. This is God’s expansion.
Friend1: If He is the true driver, why does He not interfere? Why does He not override the system and manage the operation of the machine Himself?
Friend2: Then the individual becomes helpless. They are mere pawns.
Friend1: But that is already the case. They get thrown around the clothes dryer that is the cycle of birth and death.
Friend2: When in maya there is the helpless feeling. When connected to God, when in yoga, the individual actually becomes superior to the material nature. They get full control over the car, helped along by Paramatma. Otherwise God in that feature remains neutral. He does not interfere with decisions. Yet without His sanction nothing would occur. Upon learning this the wise person chooses to have the Supreme Lord intervene on their behalf instead of trying to go it alone. They would rather the parts of the body take on the highest value instead of puttering along in fruitless endeavors.
The car-like body I’m driving,
Chance of failing or thriving.
But actually first the sanction to need,
Not just from fuel to feed.
Rather than on helpless path to stay,
The wise taking the spiritual way.
Where on Supreme Lord’s power leaning,
Who on their behalf intervening.