What Does It Mean To Quote Authority

[Krishna and Arjuna]“O Krishna, maintainer of the people, I have heard by disciplic succession that those who destroy family traditions dwell always in hell.” (Arjuna, Bhagavad-gita, 1.43)

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मनुष्याणां जनार्दन
नरके नियतं वासो
भवतीत्य् अनुशुश्रुम

manuṣyāṇāṁ janārdana
narake niyataṁ vāso
bhavatīty anuśuśruma

Friend1: I have heard that it is not wise to mentally speculate. Better to take lessons on the highest subject matter from the descending process. Something like a waterfall bringing down the information from up top.

Friend2: The idea is that there is a limitation in terms of mental capacity. My speculation can only take me so far. I can’t go beyond infinity, which is an integral aspect to the concept of God.

Friend1: You mean like traveling to the beginning of the creation and prior to that?

Friend2: I have referenced this scenario before. Suppose someone comes to you with proof of what took place at the time of creation.

Friend1: What kind of proof?

Friend2: Visual evidence. A camera recording.

Friend1: But that technology wasn’t around then.

Friend2: Suppose that it was. There is this recording of the creation taking place.

Friend1: Alright. Cool. It shows the planets, the stars, and the different chemical reactions? Are we confirming the information presented in Shrimad Bhagavatam?

[Vishnu creating]Friend2: Sure. You get the visual evidence. The problem is that there is no way to prove that the time period being shown is actually the beginning. There had to be something prior. That is the meaning to infinity in respect to time.

Friend1: What about moving forward?

Friend2: Take the situation of meeting God. He shows Himself to you. Visual evidence. No more doubt.

Friend1: Nice.

Friend2: The issue is that for a person to be God, they have to be beyond birth and death. So this individual in front of me has to prove that they will never die.

Friend1: Shouldn’t be a problem.

Friend2: Actually, it is.

Friend1: Oh?

Friend2: If I have to eventually pass on, I will not know what takes place after my departure. Meanwhile, there is no amount of time sufficient for establishing an infinite existence. The purported God could be standing in front of me for a thousand years. That is quite remarkable, but it alone doesn’t prove deathlessness.

Friend1: I see. So it’s kind of impossible.

Friend2: Which is why the descending process is the only way. Take the information from authority. This does not apply only to the information accepted.

Friend1: What do you mean?

Friend2: Proper etiquette is to reference authority when making inquiries. Arjuna followed this model in his famous conversation with Shri Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

Friend1: But wasn’t he acting on a whim in dropping the weapons prior to the war at Kurukshetra?

Friend2: He used references to shastra and Vedic authorities to support his position. One claim was that people who destroy family traditions suffer in hell in the future. By killing so many leaders on the other side, the rival party known as the Kauravas, Arjuna would be indirectly responsible for ending traditions within the family.

Friend1: That is a clever way to justify your position. Because there is a hint of truth.

Friend2: The Sanskrit word is sushruma. He heard from others. He wanted to give support to his claim, to let Krishna know that these weren’t just wild thoughts.

Friend1: Interesting. It’s almost like a philosophical debate where both sides have the same reference material.

[Krishna and Arjuna]Friend2: There you go. In your challenges you should use the best arguments that you can come up with. That’s what makes the resolution even more special. Arjuna asked the most appropriate questions to Krishna, but in a friendly spirit. The Supreme Lord settled the doubts by also quoting from authority, even though He is the origin of the Vedas.

In Closing:

Beginning of time and prior,

But infinity before that to transpire.

And future going the same way,

Who definitely the end can say?

For when on God and higher topics to land,

Needing more than speculation to understand.

Authority consult and in questions apply,

Teacher even God on same source to rely.

Categories: conversations

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