(Note: The opinions expressed in this article are my own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of any organization or any other person.)
“Krishna’s masterful artistic sense”: a peacock at Nova Gokula, a Hare Krishna rural community in Brazil. photo: Umapati Swami
One night last month, the hour was getting late and sleepy, so I decided, in spite of my roommates’ urging me to get to bed, that I would play with my computer for a few more minutes. Maybe I would find some sense gratification.
Indeed, I soon came across a photo series of brightly colored birds. As I feasted my eyes on the beauty of the macaws and toucans and some whose names I had never heard before, I remembered the scriptures:
“Varieties of birds are indications of [Krishna’s] masterful artistic sense.” ⁓Srimad Bhagavatam
What Disturbs Me about Hawking
I wanted to play some more, so in spite of my heavy eyelids, I started browsing again, but this time I came onto something that pushed me down into the mud: an article praising the late physicist Stephen Hawking.
Now what disturbs me about Hawking is not his death (that happens to everyone) but the life he devoted to driving God out of our universe.
The next day I looked up Hawking on the internet. Here is what I found :
“Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing. Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist.” (from The Grand design)
Now wait a minute. If the law of gravity is the cause of creation, it must have existed beforehand.
But if the universe created itself out of nothing, there could not have been a law of gravity to start the process.
The law of gravity would have been created along with the universe if not afterward. How, then, could it be the cause unless we say the universe contains its own cause?
In that case, the universe must have existed before it existed, which could only apply if the universe were the same as the nothingness it came from.
Hawking thought he had explained the universe more profoundly that Krishna or Buddha or Jesus. But when you take the above statement to its logical conclusion, he sounds more like the Mad Hatter from Alice in Wonderland.
I Know Someone Greater
Now some may call me audacious for thumbing my nose at the renowned physicist, but I don’t care. I know a physicist even greater and more renowned.
Let us turn to the Bhagavad Gita, spoken by the greatest of them all—the one who created the universe plus the law of gravity:
“O chief of the Bharatas [Arjuna], know that whatever you see in existence, both the moving and the nonmoving, is only a combination of the field of activities and the knower of the field.”
“The knower of the field”? What does that mean? It is the fallen soul, like me, like you, who has left his original spiritual home to come into this internment camp we call the material world. The field is the material body and the world itself.
Why Does the Universe Exist?
The universe has a dual purpose:
- primary: to give the fallen souls a field of activities for performing sacrifices and returning to their home in the joyful spiritual world;
- secondary: to give them a field for indulging in their material desires while they keep on transmigrating from body to body, suffering in this world for as long as they want.
Just look around. Everything happening is indeed the soul working in its field of activities. What else is there? True, we cannot see what is happening on distant stars, but then, neither could Hawking.
What we do see, though, fits Krishna’s words. And the knowers of the field are even on distant stars:
“This individual soul is unbreakable and insoluble, and can be neither burned nor dried. He is everlasting, present everywhere, unchangeable, immovable and eternally the same.” ⁓Bhagavad Gita (underline added)
What Makes a Bird Sexy?
And the beautiful parrots and hummingbirds and kingfishers and puffins that I saw on the internet that night? How did they come about? I don’t know what Hawking But first of all, they too are knowers of the field like you and me, not self-manifested by the law of gravity.
The general theory is that their colors are random genetic mutations. But how could so many species of birds suddenly mutate into bright colors, each having its own variety? An unlikely coincidence.
What’s more, goes the theory, the brightly colored mutations looked sexier and therefore reproduced more. But do we really know what makes a bird sexy? I don’t. Only another bird would know.
None of it make sense until we understand that the most brilliant physicist of all is also the most talented artist:
“Varieties of birds are indications of [Krishna’s] masterful artistic sense.”
Do You Know Your Greatest Enemy?
Some years ago, I read an article that glorified Hawking’s “unfettered mind.” But an unfettered mind is dangerous:
“This uncontrolled mind is the greatest enemy of the living entity. If one neglects it or gives it a chance, it will grow more and more powerful and will become victorious. Although it is not factual, it is very strong.
It covers the constitutional position of the soul.” ⁓Srimad Bhagavatam (Jada Bharata to King Rahugana)
Finally, as Krishna says, “Those who are not situated in self-realization cannot see what is taking place, though they may try.”:
The foolish cannot understand how a living entity can quit his body, nor can they understand what sort of body he enjoys under the spell of the modes of nature. But one whose eyes are trained in knowledge can see all this.
The endeavoring transcendentalists who are situated in self-realization can see all this clearly. But those whose minds are not developed and who are not situated in self-realization cannot see what is taking place, though they may try. ⁓Bhagavad Gita
This includes Hawking and all the others who want to push Krishna out of the picture. (See my post “The Sun, the Soul, and Darwin.”
The situation is summed up by some graffiti I once saw on a wall in New York about the atheist philosopher Nietzsche:
“God is dead.”—Nietzsche
“Nietzsche is dead.”—God
Eternally touching my head to the lotus feet of my spiritual master, Srila Prabhupada,
⁓Umapati Swami, December 24, 2018
Write to me: email@example.com
© 2018 Umapati Swami
Scriptural passages © Bhaktivedanta Book Trust International Inc.
His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada is the teacher who brought Krishna Consciousness from India to the West and then to the rest of the world. He is the founder of the worldwide Hare Krishna Movement as well as the author and compiler of many works of Vedic knowledge. He left this world in 1977.
One of the first American devotees of the Hare Krishna Movement, he became Srila Prabhupada’s disciple in 1966. Since then, he has preached Krishna Consciousness in many countries and is the author of “My Days with Prabhupada,” available from Amazon. Now 84 years old, he has started this blog to share what he has learned.