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The Universe and faith

Dear Ray,

Thank you for your letter and your writings. I have not yet read them but I will
start tomorrow. Meanwhile I will answer this letter.

>I see that you are now talking to the physicists and astronomers.
>Best of luck!

Yes. I would like them to at least consider the possibility of God rather than
just rejecting it outright... They say it's not scientific to believe in God or
that even if God does exist He doesn't effect their science... But I would like to
challenge that.

>Thank you for your description of the past development of religion
>in India which gives me some idea of the background to your beliefs.
>My research has lead me to the conclusion that ancient people in
>both the west and east had knowledge that was often lost or only
>remembered by rote learning.  In modern times it is possible to
>rediscover some of these hidden treasures in their full glory.

Yes. The scriptures of India do contain many hidden treasures not even really
understood by the Indians. Before independence India was under British rule for
200 years and before that they were under the rule of the Muslims for more than
1000 years. Now many of them are trying to copy the American way of life. It is a
great pity.

>Some examples of this for me are recent discoveries about the
>accuracy of Babylonian (and other cultures) astronomy.  Also
>the Ancient British eclipse computer known as Stonehenge.
>Another is the details of Indian Music theory.  My cycles research
>lead me to discover the reasons for musical relationships.  It
>correctly explained the western musical relationships but also
>predicted other less important variations of notes from these.
>On checking at the library I discovered that these exactly
>matched the extra notes used in Indian music.

The Indian culture is very advanced in all areas, music and astronomy are two
examples of this. They were plotting the paths of the planets and predicting solar
and lunar eclipses well before western astronomy even existed...

>> The universe is created, it exists for some time and then it
>> is destroyed. But then the creation starts again. It's a cycle that
>> is going on eternally and in each cycle the same forms are
>> manifest. They are stored and they simply manifest again.
>I believe that such things do happen, but that because there are
>always longer cycles than the ones we consider, then each cycle is
>a little different.  I have observed such things on shorter
>time scales and this is always so.  Always a new variation
>but always much in common also.

Yes. This is the Vedic view also. The same framework is there but everything is
being done by people who are individuals. So one creation is not the same as the
next... But the same sort forms are there.

>Eastern religions are noticeably
>more sensible in this regard than the west.  Many fundamentalist
>Christians believe that the world was created in 4004 BC and even
>know(!) the date and time.

Yes. It is crazy. How can anyone believe this? I don't think they have much to go
on in the Bible anyhow -- it's a small book which only deals with these things in
a very small way... You need more details than are given in the Bible.

>>  For example Lord Buddha is accepted as an
>> incarnation of Krishna but he didn't talk about God. There is no
>> concept of God in Buddhism. But Buddha taught non-violence, he
>> stoped the animal killing and the people [who were atheists]
>> followed him. If, in that situation, he had talked about God the
>> people would not have accepted it... But there are underlying,
>> absolute principles which do not change. They are given in the
>> Bhagavad-gita and other Vedic scriptures.
>This is reasonable, but not significantly different from the idea
>that Einstein's relativity is a modernised version of Newton's
>gravitation.  For the time, Newton's theory was a wonderful
>achievement and he was almost deified for it.  He is still very
>much admired.  I still see no fundamental difference between
>science and religion in its essence of faith.

Yes. Faith is there in both. The faith is the same. But religion is faith in God.
The object is different. God is absolute. So the knowledge is different. Science
gives relative, material knowledge and real knowledge about God is absolute and
spiritual. But there are lots of cheating rascals confusing everything by
presenting material things as spiritual...

>> It's not an easy thing to explain. It is something you experience.
>> I can write so many words and scientifically present the philosophy
>> but it's about reestablishing our lost relationship with God.
>> Sounds a little out-of-place on the scientific backdrop but what
>> can I say? Everyone has faith. We have faith the drivers on the
>> road will follow the road rules, otherwise we couldn't go anywhere
>> in our cars. We have faith in so many things. So I have developed
>> faith in Krishna. It's not blind. I understand it scientifically
>> and I practically experience Krishna in my life. I can see Him. I
>> know He exists. So for me it has gone past the stage of faith, but
>> it is difficult to explain.
>I have had experiences in my scientific discoveries which could be
>described (depending on the type of person having them) as "Gee! Wow!
>So that is how it all works!" or as divine inspiration.  For me it
>can be extremely emotional and moving, and can leave me feeling
>at once very small and part of something very big.  I could easily
>interpret this in a scientific or a religious way.

There are different ways of experiencing God. One is to see the universe as God.
So, in a sense, your work in trying to understand the universe is a "religious
quest" although you may not see it in that way. You will end up understanding God.
Science is ultimately a spiritual process...

>Either way
>though, it is what it is, an experience which is moving.  These
>things move me towards greater faith that my ideas are right
>each time that I find that something else is explicable by them.
>Another part of me knows that these are feelings, and that they
>are subject to change.  It is not possible to compare my experiences
>to yours from the inside, but it would surprise me if the intensity
>was any different.  There is no point debating this endlessly so I
>will just say that I do not accept any fundamental difference in
>our basis of faith, just in its contents.  I want to move on to
>the subject of your beliefs to see how much there is in common.
>As you are aware of my interest in cycles, and there is much
>written in your scriptures about cycles, I would appreciate any
>material relating to this by email, or alternatively any references
>in your scriptures.  I think that the local library has quite a good
>section of religious works and that I can find some of the books there.

The main text is Srimad Bhagavatam. His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami
Prabhupada, the Founder-Acarya of the Hare Krishna movement has translated this
into English and it occupies many volumes (about 30). I think your library may
have a copy, if not there is a Hare Krishna restaurant in Queen Street Auckland,
I'm sure the devotees there could help you with the books.

There is also an introduction in the Bhagavad-gita (eighth chapter):

                                 TEXT 17

                          ahar yad brahmano viduh
                         ratrim yuga-sahasrantam
                          te 'ho-ratra-vido janah

By human calculation, a thousand ages taken together form the
duration of Brahma's one day. And such also is the duration of his night.


The duration of the material universe is limited. It is manifested in
cycles of kalpas. A kalpa is a day of Brahma, and one day of Brahma
consists of a thousand cycles of four yugas, or ages: Satya, Treta,
Dvapara and Kali. The cycle of Satya is characterized by virtue, wisdom and
religion, there being practically no ignorance and vice, and the yuga lasts
1,728,000 years. In the Treta-yuga vice is introduced, and this yuga lasts
1,296,000 years. In the Dvapara-yuga there is an even greater decline in virtue
and religion, vice increasing, and this yuga lasts 864,000 years. And finally in
Kali-yuga (the yuga we have now been experiencing over the past 5,000 years) there
is an abundance of strife, ignorance, irreligion and vice, true virtue being
practically nonexistent, and this yuga lasts 432,000 years. In Kali-yuga vice
increases to such a point that at the termination of the yuga the Supreme Lord
Himself appears as the Kalki avatara, vanquishes the demons, saves His devotees,
and commences another Satya-yuga. Then the process is set rolling again. These
four yugas, rotating a thousand times, comprise one day of Brahma, and the same
number comprise one night. Brahma lives one hundred of such ``years'' and then
dies. These ``hundred years'' by earth calculations total to 311 trillion and 40
billion earth years. By these calculations the life of Brahma seems fantastic and
interminable, but from the viewpoint of eternity it is as brief as a lightning
flash. In the Causal Ocean there are innumerable Brahmas rising and disappearing
like bubbles in the Atlantic. Brahma and his creation are all part of the material
universe, and therefore they are in constant flux.

In the material universe not even Brahma is free from the process of
birth, old age, disease and death. Brahma, however, is directly engaged in the
service of the Supreme Lord in the management of this
universe--therefore he at once attains liberation. Elevated sannyasis are promoted
to Brahma's particular planet, Brahmaloka, which is the highest planet in the
material universe and which survives all the heavenly planets in the upper strata
of the planetary system, but in due course Brahma and all the inhabitants of
Brahmaloka are subject to death, according to the law of material nature.

                                 TEXT 18

                        avyaktad vyaktayah sarvah
                           prabhavanty ahar-agame
                          ratry-agame praliyante

At the beginning of Brahma's day, all living entities become manifest
from the unmanifest state, and thereafter, when the night falls, they are merged
into the unmanifest again.

                                 TEXT 19

                          bhuta-gramah sa evayam
                          bhutva bhutva praliyate
                        ratry-agame 'vasah partha
                           prabhavaty ahar-agame

Again and again, when Brahma's day arrives, all living entities come
into being, and with the arrival of Brahma's night they are helplessly


The less intelligent, who try to remain within this material world,
may be elevated to higher planets and then again must come down to this planet
earth. During the daytime of Brahma they can exhibit their
activities on higher and lower planets within this material world, but at the
coming of Brahma's night they are all annihilated. In the day they receive various
bodies for material activities, and at night they no longer have bodies but remain
compact in the body of Visnu. Then again they are manifest at the arrival of
Brahma's day. Bhutva bhutva praliyate: during the day they become manifest, and at
night they are annihilated again. Ultimately, when Brahma's life is finished, they
are all annihilated and remain unmanifest for millions and millions of years. And
when Brahma is born again in another millennium they are again manifest. In this
way they are captivated by the spell of the material world. But those intelligent
persons who take to Krsna consciousness use the human life fully in the devotional
service of the Lord, chanting Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare/ Hare
Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. Thus they transfer themselves, even in this
life, to the spiritual planet of Krsna and become eternally blissful there, not
being subject to such rebirths.

>I am curious about where you are located, and your personal role in
>that.  Is "Swami" a title, and what does it mean?

I am in Hobart, Tasmania at the moment. "Swami" literally means "master of the
senses" and it is a title given to one who has entered the renounced order of
life. It means I have given up material life, family life, sex and so on and have
dedicated the rest of my life to preaching.
>I am 47 years old, and worked for many years in computers.
>Good fortune in that occupation has allowed me to devote myself
>almost full time to research, mostly to do with cycles.  I still
>am part owner of a computer software business, but spend only about
>1 day per week involved in that.  I live in Auckland, New Zealand,
>which is a city of about 1 million people.

I was also a computer systems analyst and used to run my own consulting business.
You are very fortunate that you can spend most of your time on your research work.
I imagine that is how much of the original science was done...

I have visited Auckland a number of times and it is a nice city. The people seem
very friendly there.

>Is there a translation to "Hare Krishna"?

Yes. Sanskrit words tend to have a number of meanings but "Hare" is an address, it
is a way of calling on Krishna, it also refers to Krishna's eternal consort
Srimati Radharani. "Krishna" means the all-attractive person. We find people
attractive when they have the qualities of wealth, beauty, fame, knowledge,
strength and renunciation. So Krishna is the person who has all these qualities in
full. so He is all-attractive.

Srila Prabhupada often described the Hare Krishna chant as a prayer calling out to
Krishna [God] to please engage us in His service. That's the main idea of Krishna
consciousness. Instead of serving ourselves we serve Krishna. Everyone is part and
parcel of Krishna so by serving Him we automatically serve everyone. It's like
when you supply water to the roots of a tree. Automatically the whole tree, roots,
trunk, branches, leaves. fruits and flowers; everything is satisfied... But you

can't satisfy the leaves by watering them directly... you have to supply the water
to the roots.

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Chant Hare Krishna and be happy! All glories to His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada!