May 14

Science and the Rise of Science Supremacists

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We have zero tolerance for supremacists of any type and the hate speech that they generate.

We remind and request all to follow the one rule of humility, tolerance and respect when addressing one another, even in the case of complete disagreements. It is what makes it possible for us all to consider a wide diversity of viewpoints urbanely without the dialog becoming acrimonious. We do not think this rule is beyond the ability of intelligent ladies and gentlemen to observe.

One may make the case that the major problem in the world today, certainly in the USA, is extremism and its consequent polarization of society. What lies at the root of that type of mentality and how did it develop? The question is often asked: why are we suffering? An answer may come from the Greek tragic play of Sophocles’ Antigone, which may be paraphrased – “We suffer because we have erred.”

Today’s scientists, mathematicians and other professionals might not be expected to recognize where that line comes from and the great significance it has maintained in human culture for millennia. Historians tell us it was composed by Sophocles almost 500 years before the historical appearance of Christ. Why has it endured and been so highly respected by scholars, the learned and other members of society for so long?

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Apr 27

Princeton Bhakti Vedanta Institute Report – April 7, 2018

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Abhiram Thakur’s Disappearanc. Sri Guru and His Grace

excerpt –

“Why is it that they say you have to approach a living guru in the sense that you just cannot read the words or hear the lectures?” Bhakta Mike asked. “Because it is not just the words or the text or the sound. We want the living experience of what we read or hear and conceive in our own subjectivity. If we can do everything on our own then why are there so many educational institutions? We accept learning from a teacher about so many practical matters, yet when it comes to religion and philosophy everyone thinks the only qualification necessary to be an expert is a birth certificate. But just because everyone has a foot does not make them automatically expert shoemakers. Of course, guru is not an ordinary teacher. Krishna says,’ know that I am the guru.’ If we are actually seeking Krishna and realize that Krishna is coming to us in the form of guru then there should be no difficulty accepting guru.”

“Why can’t that transmission go through the recordings of their voices, through their words in the books? Bhakta Mike followed-up with. “Yes, their teachings do come to us through books and recordings, but they are passive teachers. We can examine them, but they can’t examine us. Do we think ourselves so perfect that we are not capable of misconception? We may need someone more expert than ourselves or with a different viewpoint than our own to confirm, improve or correct our personal understanding. Most importantly of all, guru is there to chastise us and break the false egoism of independence that is the fundamental root that binds us to the material conception of life. This may not happen with book learning. Rather it may even help foster our false sense of independence and lead us to think we know everything simply by our own prowess without surrender that stands at the threshold of the spiritual world,” Sripad Puri Maharaja responded.

“Srila Siddantha Saraswati Thakur said that Mayavadis can’t chant the Holy Name just like you can’t taste the honey in a bottle by simply licking the bottle. They think they are tasting the Holy Name but you have to receive that connection from to be able to taste the honey in the bottle. It is a heart transaction, from the heart of the guru to the heart of the sincere seekers – the disciples,” Rasaraja das Prabhu interjected.

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Apr 25

Sri Mahanet – May 2018

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The cause of the tangible reality of surrender is expounded in the
Standard Codes of Religion (Smrti) –

“The syllable ma means ‘self-asserting ego’ (the misconception
of considering oneself to be a ‘doer’), and the syllable na indicates its
prevention. Thus, the act of offering obeisances (namah) nullifies the
offerer’s independence. The soul is naturally subordinate to the
Almighty, his intrinsic nature and innate function being servitude to
the Supreme Lord. Therefore, all actions performed thinking, ‘I am
the doer,’ should be utterly abandoned.” — Padma Purana

From Srila Sridhar Maharaja’s Prapanna Jivanamrita

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Apr 24

Why Aristotle May Not Be Considered A Materialist

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Knowledge is not a product of hyper-intellectual imagination. Knowledge is that which distinguishes reality from illusion for the benefit of all. — Bhagavat Purana 1.1.2 describes this as the highest truth.[1]

“The human understanding is no dry light, but receives an infusion from the will and affections; whence proceed sciences which may be called “sciences as one would.” For what a man had rather were true he more readily believes. Therefore he rejects difficult things from impatience of research; sober things, because they narrow hope; the deeper things of nature, from superstition; the light of experience, from arrogance and pride, lest his mind should seem to be occupied with things mean and transitory; things not commonly believed, out of deference to the opinion of the vulgar. Numberless in short are the ways, and sometimes imperceptible, in which the affections color and infect the understanding.” — Francis Bacon, Novum Organon (1620)

The following essay presents in my humble opinion why Aristotle may not be considered a materialist. He described the appearing (apparent) world or phenomenal cosmos teleologically as intrinsically a kingdom of ends, rather than mechanistically as a chaos impelled to form a cosmos by forces under laws externally acting upon its matter or content.

A teacher writes the alphabet on a blackboard to teach it to first graders, but it does not mean that the teacher is at the level of the first graders. Aristotle taught the principles of material phenomena, but one may not thereby conclude that he was a materialist.

Modern science assumes the principle of uniformity of matter throughout the universe in the form of atoms or subatomic particles, as well as universal laws and forces. This is a convenient simplification for a finite, limited intellect, especially convenient for utilizing formal mathematical interpretations of material phenomena, but Carl Sagan sagely reminds us,

“Common sense works fine for the universe we’re used to, for time scales of decades, for a space between a tenth of a millimeter and a few thousand kilometers, and for speeds much less than the speed of light. Once we leave those domains of human experience, there’s no reason to expect the laws of nature to continue to obey our expectations, since our expectations are dependent on a limited set of experiences.” [2]

Einstein also admonished us,

“Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.”

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Apr 15

Princeton Bhakti Vedanta Institute Report – March 24, 2018

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Rama Navami

<excerpt> –

Sripad Puri Maharaja began the disucssion by asking our guests if they had
ever heard of Sri Ram? “He appeared millions of years ago in Treta Yuga in
Ayodhya (Uttar Pradesh), India. Some think He appeared only 5000 years
ago, but there is scriptural support that it was much more than that. There
are four yugas (Satya, Treta, Dwarpa and Kali yuga) which are like the
eras/seasons of the universe. We are presently in Kali-yuga which is like the
winter of the universe in which everything is in decay. Today’s scientists
claim that 13.8 billion years ago the universe was created from a big bang.
They have difficulty accepting that during Rama’s era there was an
advanced human civilization in which Ram appeared as an incarnation of
Krishna,” Sripad Puri Maharaja said. “Sri Ram was a perfect king. He is
known as ‘Maryada Purushottama,’ which means a person of superlative
character. Everything in His kingdom was being conducted according to
the laws of dharma (religion).”

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