Bhāgavatam and “Modern Science”

We have to sort out the negotiable differences from the non-negotiable differences. Otherwise we will spend all our energy debating and arguing debates and arguments that don’t really need to be debated and argued.

For example, we can waste days, months and years trying to prove the earth is flat, thinking that we are championing the Bhāgavata conception, but if we looked more carefully we might see that the Bhāgavatam describes the earth in many ways: sometimes flat, sometimes round, sometimes globular, sometimes personified as a cow or a goddess.

We can argue against evolution, or we can read Kapila’s description of the origin of the universe and see how it is devoid of life for hundreds of trillions of years while elemental evolution gradually, very gradually, unfolds without any direct intelligent intervention except the remote dormant karmas of the jīvas suspended within paramātmā. And that the creator (Brahmā) designed the various species in four consecutive phases.

We can spill blood trying to prove that humans existed since the dawn of time, or we can read Bhāgavatam more carefully and see that they just didn’t exist at all for quite a long time, until Brahmā figured out how to make sexual reproduction work with a limited genetic pool. And we can also read more carefully and see how the definition of units of time are completely mind-boggling and can come up with vastly different sums depending on how they are calculated.

We can, for example, claim the universe is only the size of the solar system, or we can accept that a “universe” is a solar system and then move on.

We can claim that Bhāgavatam is unscientific because it doesn’t mention electrons, and we can claim that modern science is heretical because it doesn’t mention Prajāpati Dakṣa or a universal lotus — or we can realize that these are just DETAILS, and we can’t expect two very different specialties to describe exactly the same fine details in one anothers specialized fields.

We can realize that Bhāgavatam and moden Pratyakṣa (observation) are broadly but thoroughly reconcilable, or we can stick to conspiracy-theory-esque crusade to prove that what we see with our eyes simply doesn’t exist at all – a doomed crusade for all but the most insane.

We have to sort out the negotiable from the non-negotiable, and focus our argumentation on the non-negotiable.

What is non-negotiable is the mechanistic presumption that the universe has no purpose; that meaning and consciousness are just strange byproducts of something which isn’t event meant to exist or have any purpose at all. This is the truly absurd proposition of modern philosophy and science, which lovers of Śrīmad Bhāgavatam should set their intellectual weapons against.

The rest can be negotiated. Indeed it SHOULD be negotiated, since the entire purpose of approaching śāstra is to cause our own pratyakṣa (direct experience) to become one with it.

Vraja Kishor

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  1. Isn’t the root cause of the problem however the translation of ACBVS & those “Bhaktivedanta purports” that pontificate on everything from astrophysics to the size of the female brain. The problem is, we simply don’t have a complete English translation/commentary that a Trad Gaudiya Vaishnava can use. Is there any hope in the horizon for one? I suspect that Srila Satyanarayana Dasa Babaji is too busy with the sandarbha project to turn his attention to this problem. I’d anyone else attempting such a project?


    1. I am contemplating it. I would like to present it in English without commentary. I have done the first three cantos in an intial form. After finishing all twelve I would like to revise them all and publish them together, probably in two or three volumes.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Well, that would certainly be a very good start. I’m certainly delighted to hear this & am waiting for your Translation to be out. The Bhagavatam is simply too central to GV to not have an English version of our own & constantly having to dip into the other one. Best of luck on your project.


  3. Vraja kisora prabhu…shouldnt aryan paladin be challenged on this highly debatable and questionable point that he made “Isn’t the root cause of the problem however the translation of ACBVS & those “Bhaktivedanta purports”…….”???
    Thank you


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