“But ignorant and faithless persons who doubt the revealed scriptures do not attain God consciousness. For the doubting soul there is happiness neither in this world nor in the next.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 4.40)
अज्ञश् चाश्रद्दधानश् च
नायं लोको ऽस्ति न परो
न सुखं संशयात्मनः
ajñaś cāśraddadhānaś ca
nāyaṁ loko ‘sti na paro
na sukhaṁ saṁśayātmanaḥ
“Listen, I hate to be blunt here, but I am not one to believe in hocus-pocus. Magic tricks by people living beyond the clouds. Modern science has already enabled travel into outer-space. We did not find any demigods living high above. We did not find any signs of life, at all.
“Sure, we are still coming to grips with what is out there. The infinite space. The different planets. The moon itself is impossible to comprehend. This ball-shaped collection of matter just suspended in space. It does not resemble the earth, but it is vital to the way life on earth functions.
“Anyway, what I am getting at is that we require sufficient evidence before believing in God. Don’t get me wrong, I prefer your version of events, the Vedic point of view, to the fire and brimstone style of preaching found in other faiths. To me it seems like any person could anoint a savior and then threaten condemnation to those who don’t surrender to that savior.
“I appreciate the analytical nature of the Vedic tradition, where you study the difference between matter and spirit. You look at the different kinds of elements. The teachers are wise enough to realize the existence of a subtle nature, such as with mind, intelligence and ego.
“Still, I would prefer some concrete evidence. I need validation that God exists. I cannot accept everything on faith alone.”
This is a common challenge faced by those wishing to disseminate the timeless wisdom of the Vedas, which emanates from the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Shri Krishna. There must be some trust extended, since the events and personalities described predate recorded history. Anyone can put anything on a piece of paper and preserve it for the future, so there must be other ways to validate authenticity.
Fortunately, with the Vedic principles the culture itself serves as validation. In other words, try for yourself. There is not much to lose. At the very least, sit and listen attentively, as Maharaja Parikshit did. Sacrifice time for accepting the wisdom about the purpose of life and the meaning for everything that surrounds us. Use the brainpower gifted to man to accept, reject, or make counterarguments.
The authorized teacher is realized in the truth, and one of the effects of this realization is the ability to accept and deal with challenges. In the case of the person insisting on concrete evidence, one way to counter is to ask just exactly what kind of evidence they are looking for.
One response might be a personal meeting with the Almighty.
“Have God show up in front of me, identifying Himself as such, and thereby proving to me that He exists.”
The problem with this kind of evidence is that it does not prove anything. Anyone can say anything. I can walk up to a person on the street and claim to be the President of the United States, even though I am not.
The challenger might get more specific. They would like the real God to prove that He is God through some amazing display. Again, this does not prove anything. We learn from Vedic literature that it is possible to acquire mystic abilities through the process of meditational yoga. You can do pretty amazing things once you reach the stage of perfection, siddhi. Even the worst people in the world, the greatest atheists, could change their shapes at will, appear and disappear on the battlefield, and rise to great prominence in the material world. None of these displays indicate Divinity.
Another possible way to validate is to see that God the person does not die. He reveals Himself to me and then remains alive. But I already know people can live longer than I can. Even if I personally witness God’s association for one thousand years, that does not prove infinity. If I have to one day quit the body, it means that I have no way of validating through perception the issue over which I have the most doubt.
Shri Krishna reveals that the doubting soul is doomed in this regard. Neither in this world nor in the next will they find happiness. They will remain under the illusion of maya, which is so powerful and clever as to make a person believe that this amazing creation is the product of randomness and the basic collision of chemicals.
The recommendation is to follow the example of Arjuna. Ask questions. Raise doubts, but to the right source. They will be able to answer any question in a way that satisfies the doubts as to the nature of living and the proper course of action moving forward. This imperishable science of real yoga, connecting with the Almighty, is the way towards happiness for every kind of person, from true-believer to staunch atheist.
Gifted is the receiver,
From atheist to true believer.
Since to intellect the appeal,
With certainty and not just to feel.
That God the person to exist,
And for physical evidence to resist.
Since not possible infinite perception,
Only through some faith perfection.