“My dear Arjuna, a man who does not follow this prescribed Vedic system of sacrifice certainly leads a life of sin, for a person delighting only in the senses lives in vain.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 3.16)
एवं प्रवर्तितं चक्रं नानुवर्तयतीह यः ।
अघायुरिन्द्रियारामो मोघं पार्थ स जीवति ॥
evaṁ pravartitaṁ cakraṁ
moghaṁ pārtha sa jīvati
“Science and technology. I read something interesting recently. It was part of an article excoriating a particularly well-known philanthropist. I don’t know if this person is the richest man in the world or not, through a net worth calculation, but he certainly has plenty of money.
“Anyway, the criticism is over the feverish pursuit of advancements in areas human beings already have covered. Baby formula. Treatment for respiratory viruses. Growing food. Even basic companionship. The idea is that science and technology are taking over in areas that aren’t necessary. There is no urgent need.
“That was the point of view of the author, at least. They claimed that the leaders within this movement are trying to dehumanize people. They want to replace everything with science and technology. You won’t have to own anything. You won’t need babies. Artificial intelligence will take care of everything. Don’t worry about human companionship. Robots will be able to keep you company. Of course, the elites will be the ones managing everything. They will be in charge.
“The author then said something striking. They claimed that science and technology is the crudest form of religion for materialists. The accusation is that the materialists place their ultimate faith in those two areas, which are ever-changing and subject to rampant corruption, influence-purchasing, and revisions.
“I found that fascinating. It seems to me that is what is happening. Instead of God, worship these advancements. Set aside the corruption. Forget the fraudulent dealings. What other option do you have? Worship some invisible man in the sky? Visit a house of worship? For what purpose? You won’t get anything out of that.
“I don’t agree with their philosophy. It seems almost like cheating. They are utilizing gifts of nature for their own purpose. They are exploiting instead of appreciating. It reminds me of the modern-day child who thinks they don’t have to work. This is because the parents pay for everything. Those who do go to work are the fools. They should just rely on their parents, you see.”
This is the nature of the material world, after all. The gifts are provided by a higher authority. At the very least, there should be acknowledgment. My grandparents leave me a sizeable sum through inheritance. They wish that I put the money to good use, to find happiness in life.
It is only expected that I will take advantage of the gift, but failing to recognize the source is foolish. I would be ungrateful if not taking the time to acknowledge the hard work, dedication, and sacrifice that the benefactor had to make in order for me to benefit.
It is the fork in the road. It is the decision upon which the near and distant futures hinge. If I take the gifts from nature and use them in a way to forget the greatest benefactor of all, I will be stuck in a pattern of rebirth.
In the next life, I get another chance. There is the vulnerability to forgetting, to setting sights on new heights of personal comfort, achievement, fame, distinction, honor, and so forth. I might even ascend to the plateau, where I am considered the wealthiest of them all, wielding the most influence.
The other choice is to use the gifts in the service of the benefactor. This is the Vaishnava way. This is the meaning behind the Vedas and the culture they create. This is the original way of living, and it has kindly reached us through a descending chain of gatekeepers.
Shri Krishna, the origin of everything, declares without ambiguity that choosing the option of simply enjoying is like living a useless life. The other way is to live with sacrifice, which is known as yajna. Yajna is also another name for the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
Through yajna, both the origin of everything and His designated administrators of the material world receive honor. The prescribed yajna for the present day and age is the sankirtana-yajna, which is the chanting of the holy names: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
Every person is eligible to conduct this yajna. It does not matter whether they are born of a high family, whether they have a lot of money, or whether they are a man. Yajna is the way to happiness. It is the genuine religion, which brings true elevation within the auspicious human existence.
In science and technology to chase,
God’s memory to erase.
Who first materials supplying,
Upon which everyone relying.
Considered by those wiser,
That such person a miser.
Useless their life spending,
In ignorance as superior pretending.