04.09 – Might we be worshiping a false god?
“Isn’t that mythology?” This doubt may trouble us whenever we hear about the super-human pastimes of Krishna. Such pastimes may not make sense when seen through the spectacles of reason.
Reason has helped us to make sense of much of the natural world. Reason has helped us discover the laws of nature that are foundational to all technology. Naturally, therefore, we value reason.
Gita wisdom acknowledges the potency of reason. At the same time, it cautions us against ascribing omnipotence to reason by using it to judge the omnipotent God. Why? Because thereby we commit the unreasoning fallacy, the logical blunder of denying God his defining attribute of omnipotence. If God cannot do anything beyond what nature allows, he is subordinate to nature. If he cannot do anything beyond what reason fathoms, he is subordinate to reason. Either way, he is no longer supreme, no longer omnipotent. A non-omnipotent god is not God, but a cartoon of God.
By transferring omnipotence from God to reason, we install reason as a surrogate god.
But reason is a false god.
Reason cannot satisfy our heart’s hankering for love. Reason cannot provide the emotional warmth necessary to face life’s adversities with dignity. Reason can neither simulate nor replicate the richness of fulfillment that a life of feelings begets.
Only Krishna – and a life devoted to him – can.
What this analysis implies is not that we abandon reason altogether, but that we adopt a different kind of reason, a proper philosophical reasoning (tattvatah) as indicated in the Bhagavad-gita (4.9). This reasoning is not extrapolated unwarrantedly from our finite experience with nature, but is derived naturally from recognition of Krishna’s omnipotence. When seen in this light, the very pastimes that had earlier seemed mythological become revealed as demonstrations and vindications of Krishna’s divinity.