The Value of Real Knowledge

January 29, 2014 in Narasimha Dasa, Yasoda nandana Dasa by KHD


By Narasimha das

My next door neighbor came over the other day and gave me his latest National Geographic magazine. Just the day before, I had seen it on a magazine stand and resisted the urge to buy it. Normally I have no interest in this atheist rag, but this issue was about the May 31st F5 monster tornado in Oklahoma this year (2013) and the death of Discovery Channel’s famous “storm chaser,” Tim Samaras, and his crew, which included his son Paul Samaras. I was born and raised in “Tornado Alley” and as a boy was fascinated to see tornadoes at a distance.

Tim Samaras had a cult following of storm chasers and was working for National Geographic on a grant for studying tornadoes and lightning. While he and his crew were gathering data on tornadoes with equipment invented by Samaras, they got sucked into a vortex with 300 mph winds. Their car was found the next day in a crumpled ball. It had been dropped like a ball of trash half a mile away. Witnesses saw it falling out of the sky.

The story mentioned other cases illustrating the power of large tornadoes. It is often noted that these storms seem to have a mind of their own and are unpredictable. I learned that India has tornadoes but they are rare everywhere in the world except Tornado Alley, or the US Midwest and Texas. This issue of NG glorified Samaras as a great researcher, explorer, investigator and inventor who devoted his life, at great risk, to unlocking the mystery of these great storms. Yet scientists are still perplexed how they form and how they operate. As usual, this magazine–its writers and editors– glamorize the search for mundane knowledge and completely rule out any idea of God, the soul, metaphysics, or the spiritual dimension of reality.  As such, they are always bewildered and perplexed about the gross and subtle workings of Nature. As described in the Mahabharata, the great emperor and mahajana Yudhisthira Maharaja was asked by Lord Yamaraja, “What man should be regarded as learned? Who is an atheist? And who is ignorant?” Maharaja Yudhisthira succinctly replied, “A learned man is one who knows the science of the self. An atheist is he who is ignorant; and he is ignorant who is an atheist.”

Tim Samaras prided himself on being a scientist first and foremost, yet he had a superstition. He would “religiously” carry a McDonalds cheeseburger on the dash of his car whenever he was out chasing storms. He thought this would bring him good luck. At his funeral, the pastor kept a cheeseburger on the podium as a tribute to Samaras and his strange belief.

The story detailed reports illustrating the power of these storms, many of which seem to love destroying trailer parks and RV parks—easy kills. But they can also lift large barns and homes off their foundations and shread them like cardboard. A county coroner in Oklahoma described how these storms can act like giant meat grinders. Corpses are sometimes so destroyed that they are unrecognizable as former human beings. This issue of NG reported an incident that happened just moments before the demise of Samaras and his crew: A 32-foot trailer with 7 cows inside was picked up and deposited nearly half a mile away. Although trailer was destroyed, none of the cows inside were injured. The atheists reporting this story were totally perplexed how this could be possible. Apparently, the demon inhabiting the body of this tornado had better morals than Samaras, who was addicted to hamburgers.

When He was still a baby, the powerful demon Trinavarta, who took the form of great tornado, picked up baby Krishna and carried Him high into the sky. Krishna at first let the demon carry Him, but then Krishna made His body extremely heavy and grabbed the demon around the neck, causing him to fall violently to the ground. The demon was instantly killed and, of course, Lord Krishna was unhurt.

The violent death of Tim Samaras reminded me of a story Srila Prabhupada told: “The Scholar and the Boatman”. One day a scholar was crossing the wide Ganges River on a small ferry boat rowed by a simple boatman from the nearby village. The scholar was very proud of his vast learning and asked, “My dear boatman, what do you know of astrology?” The boatman replied, “I know nothing about astrology.” The scholar replied, “My dear boatman, 25 percent of your life is wasted. So, what do you know about advanced mathematics?” The boatman humbly replied, “I know nothing of advanced math. I can only calculate enough to give you the correct change.” The scholar said, “Oh, poor man, 50 percent of your life is wasted!” Suddenly the boat began to sink. The boatman asked the scholar, “Dear sir, what do you know about swimming!?” The scholar exclaimed, “I know nothing about swimming!” The boatman replied, “In that case, sir, your whole life is wasted!”

It is fascinating to hear of the enthusiasm of various researchers and scientists, particularly those who spend their lives staring stupidly into outer space while concocting modern-day mythologies about the origin and workings of the Universe. Many people are so bored, dull and devious that they think science may one day save the human race, after they ruin this planet, by transporting wealthy persons to distant plants like Mars. That scientists could interest people in such ludicrous ideas proves that people are brainwashed in such masses that politicians feel it is good policy to continuously offer extravagant funding for useless, parasitic organizations like NASA and their counterparts in the field of astrophysics.

People are so befooled and cheated today that no one knows how to grow a potato, yet every school kid knows how to use advanced computer apps and aspires to become an astronaut on a mission to Mars, which scientists believe is a lifeless desert with little or no oxygen and ultra-extreme temperatures. Many young people, even girls, want to join the Army “to be all they can be” by  getting trained to use advanced technology, but often they come back from Iraq or Afghanistan in coffins, or missing limbs and/or their sanity. Such misguided persons have no idea about the purpose of life, the existence of the soul, the transmigration of the soul, or the will of God. Such persons, even if highly successful in terms of modern-day living, generally waste their lives and descend to animal species or the dark regions of the universe to suffer perpetually. Such unlucky persons have no interest in spiritual life or Krishna consciousness, which can—even if not perfected–elevate materialists to heavenly planets, where they can become powerful demigods and live for eons.

On the other hand, serious students
of Krishna consciousness who accept Srila Prabhupada as “the real acharya for this age” can become so advanced in the science of self-realization that they become eligible to be promoted back to Godhead– to live forever in full bliss and knowledge with Lord Krishna and His eternal associates. This, indeed, is the value of real knowledge.

“Actually the most important science to know is the science of getting out of the clutches of material existence. Anyone who knows this science must be considered the greatest learned person. Anyone who knows the temporary situation of this material world and is expert in achieving  a permanent situation in the spiritual world, who knows that the Supreme Personality of Godhead is beyond the jurisdiction of our experimental knowledge, is understood to be the most learned scholar. Haridasa Thakura knew this science perfectly. Therefore he is described in this connection as parama-vidvan.” (Caitanya-caritamrta, Antya-lila, 11.105 Purport)