“Earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind, intelligence and false ego – altogether these eight comprise My separated material energies.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 7.4)
भूमिर् आपो ऽनलो वायुः
खं मनो बुद्धिर् एव च
अहङ्कार इतीयं मे
भिन्ना प्रकृतिर् अष्टधा
bhūmir āpo ‘nalo vāyuḥ
khaṁ mano buddhir eva ca
ahaṅkāra itīyaṁ me
bhinnā prakṛtir aṣṭadhā
1. How did the sun just emerge one day and remain where it is for seemingly all of eternity?
“Seriously, think about it. I know we take it for granted. On a cold winter’s day, the bright, shining sun is a welcome sight. Though there is ice everywhere, though the forecast for tomorrow calls for more snow, though the chill of the wind cannot be tolerated for more than a few seconds, at least the sun is out.
“We need the sun. It is vital to our existence. We rely upon it, but where did it come from? I would like a rational explanation. Anything resembling would suffice. For instance, we know that life itself is a miracle. A brand new person entering this world. I might find the explanation of childbirth irrational at first, but then I can witness something similar later on. As a woman, I might get to experience it firsthand.
“What about the sun? Can anyone produce something similar? A small, globe-like object that radiates heat and light. The space heater does not count. That requires an external source of energy. In fact, everything traces back to the sun, if you think about it.”
2. How did the plants and flowers emerge where they did?
“One of the appeals of buying your own house is the ability to garden. You can set up a specific area in the backyard or maybe even the balcony. It is not that difficult; you don’t need an elaborate setup. We are not talking about a commercial farm here.
“There is a visual cause-and-effect with a personal garden, but think about large tracts of land. Think about places that already have an abundance of plant-life, without human intervention. How did those places begin? Who planted the beautiful flowers that emerge every season? We know that the origin is a seed, but who placed those seeds in that exact location?”
3. How do the clouds know to pick up water and return it to the earth?
“Some trees live for thousands of years. They stay in the same place, tolerating the severe weather conditions. They cannot speak, so there is no other choice. Some trees lose their leaves during the fall season and blossom anew during the subsequent spring.
“The sun is the basis for life, but you also need water. There is no human intervention in many of these areas, so it is up to nature to feed the plants. The water arrives from the clouds. These miracles of nature draw water in from the oceans and then return the same to the earth at a later time. At least that is the explanation.
“But who is programming the clouds? Is there a remote control? There must be some intelligence. A cloud couldn’t very well take birth on its own. How does it know what to do? How does it measure the amount of water to consume and then later release?”
4. How does the earth stay in orbit?
“Scientists explain how earth is just the right distance away from the sun. Any further or closer and life on earth would be totally different. Certain beings wouldn’t be able to survive. The climate would be drastically altered. This explains why there is scarcity of life on other planets, at least as far as can be discerned.
“Who placed the earth in its orbit? How is the large collection of elements able to remain together and not break apart? The gravitational force makes it difficult to keep objects suspended over the ground, but why does not the same apply to the earth as a whole?”
Upon reading Vedic literature and accepting the truths based on sound reasoning and logic, a person still might be too embarrassed to share what they have learned with others. They have certain reservations, related specifically to some of the descriptions.
“Who is going to believe that there is a talking monkey who can leap over oceans and carry a mountain in his hands? Who is going to worship a blue-complexioned figure that has four hands and is wonderfully adorned? An elephant-god, someone with poison stuck in his throat, a crow teaching an eagle about all topics life and death. I think it is a tough sell.”
The truth is that so much of life is irrational and without proper explanation. No amount of sophistication has been able to reach a firm understanding of the origin of vital aspects of nature. Neither will continued research and experiment reach a satisfactory conclusion.
If we do believe in an origin to everything, a Supreme Being, then everything else makes sense. Of course He could arrange it so that the planets remain in orbit. He is the source of the material nature, after all. He explains that such a nature consists of eight elements: five gross and three subtle.
He explains everything, in fact, to the greatest extent possible based on our ability to understand. The human mind has the limitations of time and space; we cannot properly fathom infinity in these two factors.
Fortunately, a basic understanding is enough. God is a person and He is the source of the material and spiritual energies. Those He empowers can do the wonderful things described in shastra, and the most amazing of all is the continued connection to Him in consciousness, despite the conditions in an ever-changing material world.
Understanding from shastra attained,
But how to others explained?
Since mystical and beyond belief,
But acknowledged when God as chief.
If everything creating already,
Then easy earth in orbit steady.
And powers in those by Him blessed,
Krishna explained fully the rest.
Categories: the four