Did past people believe in miracles like Govardhana lila because they were unscientific and gullible?

by Chaitanya CharanJune 14, 2014

Transcribed by: Geetanjali Nath Mataji

Question:  Is it true that in the past because people were unscientific and sentimental, that’s why they believed miracles like, say Krishna lifting Govardhana hill, but now because we are more objective, more scientific, we should not believe such things?

Answer:  That people accepted such things in the past, was not because they were sentimental or irrational, or rather they were open to another kind of rationality, for example, when Krishna lifts the Govardhana hill. Now we may feel that this is impossible because, we have never seen anyone lift a mountain, and it may seem impossible for a small child to lift a mountain. So now we see whether Brajvasis were just sentimental gullible naive people? No. After the whole event happened, although they had eye witnessed testimony, they did not have to depend on other persons , they had themselves seen it, but still that did not just shut out all their questions, they still went after that to Nanda Maharaja and asked him, how is it possible that one small boy can lift a mountain? The very fact that they asked this question indicates that, they knew that things don’t happen this way, and that this was extraordinary and even after seeing what is happening, they themselves found it difficult to believe it, and that’s why they sought an explanation. So their asking this question itself indicates three different points, first is that they were not so naive, that anything happening just here and there, everything chaotically, and they will believe it. They expected things to happen in an orderly way and when things did not seem to happen in an orderly way, orderly way means, we can’t expect a small child to lift up a mountain, so that is not the way things happen normally, so when things did not happen orderly, they sought an explanation. So now, what is the explanation that they got, after they sought it, that was actually that Krishna is blessed with higher powers. Now the point is that they understood that the universe is not just governed by laws, normally a small child cannot lift up a mountain. but beyond that, beyond what we can do normally, beyond our capacities, there are higher beings in the universe, and those higher beings ultimately culminating in the Supreme Being, have power which we do not have, just as if there is a big glass in front of an ant which is moving, for the ant that glass is immovable, but for us it is easily movable. It is just question of scale and magnitude. So similarly the Brajvasis knew that there are higher beings, so where the materialistic eyes see only the actions of material forces acting
accordingly on material things, acting according to material laws; the Vedic eyes see over there, the actions of higher beings also,  so they recognize the orderliness of nature but they also recognize that the orderliness of nature could be suspended or circumvented by some extraordinary intervention of higher beings, and that’s how they were satisfied with the explanation. So now when we say we have observed and we have come to a scientific conclusion, that is true, the scientific orderly way of looking of things, that is good, but we shouldn’t let ourselves be boxed in by our scientific knowledge. now scientific knowledge should lead to expanding our understanding, not imprisoning our understanding. That means that, if a worker is working in a factory and a worker always sees a giant machine working in a particular way – you put particular raw materials from here, and move it from here to here and here to here, and this will move for about so many minutes, this will move after so many seconds, and by this time this will shape and this product will come out – and suppose that persons has been working for twenty five years and that’s the way the machine has always worked,  the machines which we have made may not work that well, but the machines the God has made in nature which will work that way; so then the  worker will think that this is the only way that the machine can work. But above the machine there is a higher person and the person has set a program for the working of the machine, and if the person decides to change the program then the machine will start working in a different way. So the product which came earlier out in ten minutes, may now come out in five minutes, so we say how is it possible? It is possible because behind the mechanism there is a higher being, and  being open to that higher, to such an explanation, is what is required if we are to have a holistic growth in our knowledge . So it’s not because they were unscientific and sentimental that they accepted the miracles, it is because they were rational and they were rational not just in the sense of ascribing material explanation for material causes, but they were also open to non- material explanation. That’s how they accepted Krishna’s miracles, not because of gullibility, but because of higher level of rationality according to which they were operating. So modern science is also recognizing more and more the pivotal role of consciousness, quantum physics has recognized now that consciousness has to play a vital role and without consciousness nothing can work – we cannot take observations – because the very act of observing changes the observations. So in that way quantum physics is also pointing towards vitality of consciousness. And of course it is true that without consciousness no science is possible, because who will be there to observe science, so therefore to observe and infer and act rationally. So therefore, we can see that the miracles that Krishna performed were because of His supreme position, and Brajvasis accepted those miracles not because of gullibility but because of having a broader sense of rationality.
Thank You
Hare Krishna

Hare Krishna

About The Author
Chaitanya Charan
  • mukund
    June 15, 2014 at 11:14 am

    If believing in miracles like Govardhana lila makes people eligible to be termed as unscientific and gullible then what about so called modern science educated people who believe in unscientific claims like – life comes from chemicals, universe is created from big bang or humans came from monkeys?

  • June 17, 2014 at 9:17 pm

    Key Points

    1- The Brajvasis believed in Govardhan lila miracle not because of their gullibility but because of their belief in broad or higher level of rationality.

    2- After the Govardhan lila happened, in spite of witnessing it personally the Brajvasis still went to Nanda Maharaj and questioned him “How is it possible that Krishna could lift the hill?”. The fact that they asked this question shows that they were rational people who expect things to work in an orderly way and when they don’t work in an orderly way they inquire about it. If they were gullible, they would just accept it without questioning.

    3- When Nanda Maharaj told the Brjavasis that Krishna could lift the Govardhan due to his extra ordinary powers, they believed him; Because they rationally understood that there are higher beings in this universe (culminating with Supreme God) with higher powers. With their higher powers they can easily circumvent or defy the laws of Material Nature. For an ant, a big glass of water is impossible to move but for a human it is easy.

    4- Scientific knowledge must not “box us in” but it should help us expand our understanding. Only when we are open to a higher level of understanding, we can truly grow.

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