“One can understand the Supreme Personality as He is only by devotional service. And when one is in full consciousness of the Supreme Lord by such devotion, he can enter into the kingdom of God.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 18.55)
भक्त्या माम् अभिजानाति
यावान् यश् चास्मि तत्त्वतः
ततो मां तत्त्वतो ज्ञात्वा
bhaktyā mām abhijānāti
yāvān yaś cāsmi tattvataḥ
tato māṁ tattvato jñātvā
Friend1: Do you ever feel that the science of self-realization, sanatana-dharma, as passed down in its current form is a tough sell within the scientific community?
Friend2: What do you mean by “current form”? What else should it look like?
Friend1: As when referring to the original scriptural works. Quoting from Ramayana, Mahabharata, Bhagavata Purana, Bhagavad-gita and the like.
Friend2: What other option is there? These are the shrutis and smritis because of descending to us in a chain of teachers, unadulterated. You want to start making stuff up?
Friend1: You know what I mean. Someone might write a commentary or tightly focused book about a particular subject. Let’s say it is reincarnation. They reference different verses and the like, but there are no depictions of amazing characters, three-dimensional visions in the sky, flying monkeys, elephant writers, and so forth.
Friend2: Okay, I see where you are going. If only we could remove the “mythological” aspects, then people might take us more seriously.
Friend1: Right, exactly. I know that it is not mythology. I know that Vyasadeva and Valmiki were not wasting people’s time with fictional accounts. They were great compilers, almost true journalists, in a sense.
Friend2: You are worried that right off the bat, as soon as you mention Krishna showing the virata-rupa, the universal form, a person within the scientific community will discount everything as fairytales, faith, or beyond the realm of belief.
Friend1: Pretty much. They insist on scientific evidence. An empirical evaluation. You can show that two plus two equals four. You can mix chemicals in a laboratory and get a certain outcome. They want to follow the same process for proving God. Then they will believe.
Friend2: You know, I hear this quite often. I laugh at the thought, and I have my own views on it. But let’s indulge a little today, shall we?
Friend2: I am signing you up for the role of scientist. I will be the helpful assistant.
Friend1: Alright. I am a nonbeliever. I think religion is for the less intelligent. It is a way to cope with the unknown, for dealing with the fear of impending death and what will occur after that.
Friend2: Let’s say that I agree with you. I, too, would like to prove God through the empirical method. Can you, as the lead scientist, devise an experiment wherein that would take place?
Friend1: Okay, but I don’t believe in God, remember? I shouldn’t have to prove anything.
Friend2: You are the one insisting on empirical evidence. I am asking you to at least devise an experiment. Nothing too complicated here. If no one can satisfy the requirements of the experiment, then at least you have disproved God.
Friend1: Ahh. Now I see. Okay, let’s not make it too complicated. Take something out of a popular film. Pretend that we have someone who is immune to gunfire.
Friend2: You mean they wear a bulletproof vest all the time?
Friend1: They don’t even need the vest. Whatever law enforcement tries, it doesn’t work. This person is able to run into buildings that are on fire. They penetrate the greatest security measures. They could walk into the capital city of a nation and take over the seat of power by force.
Friend2: Alright. That certainly takes place in movies.
Friend1: Isn’t that a valid experiment to prove God?
Friend2: What do you mean? If someone is able to do those things, they are the Supreme Lord?
Friend2: Haha. You have to be joking, right?
Friend1: No. I think people would submit to such a person. They assign Divine status, almost immediately.
Friend2: Since that figure is all-powerful?
Friend1: Precisely. Might is right, or something like that.
Friend2: This is where those pesky ancient Sanskrit texts would actually do you some good, if you ever read them. They already describe such figures; many of them, in fact. None of the people at the time mistook the powerful personality to be God Himself.
Friend1: They didn’t? Why not? Anyway, that is all mythology [keeping to my role].
Friend2: You haven’t addressed time in your experiment.
Friend1: How is that?
Friend2: This person who is so powerful, do they live forever?
Friend1: I have no idea. I assume so.
Friend2: Why isn’t that part of your experiment?
Friend1: I don’t know. Let’s make it a component, then, just to satisfy you.
Friend2: Okay, so part of the experiment is proving that a person claiming to be God lives forever.
Friend2: Do you realize the flaw?
Friend2: How are you going to prove it? How will you show that someone never dies?
Friend1: Well, I will be able to witness for a certain number of years. I will jot down my observations. Then, after I pass on, someone else will continue.
Friend2: And they would have to accept your findings on faith, since they weren’t there to directly perceive.
Friend1: Yeah, I guess. Sure.
Friend2: Let me stop you right there. You are creating your own system of parampara. We don’t need a new one. We have the original, descending from the Supreme Lord Himself. Your experiment cannot succeed; it is simply not possible to perceive infinitely into the future. Therefore, the empirical method is worthless. Follow the acharyas, implement the principles they teach, and experience the truth for yourself.
Only through devotion known,
Not by empirical data alone.
Since impossible to perceive,
Where visual confirmation to receive.
Since on faith relying already,
Trust instead parampara steady.
From the one information handing down,
To get assurance of Divinity sound.