Re: The Flat Earth? - Conclusion

Madhudvisah dasa Swami (
Mon, 10 Jul 1995 19:57:25 GMT (Ian Stewart,F13,732405,) wrote:

>From article <3tlpun$>, by (Madhudvisah dasa Swami):

>> But the idea is if we can find someone who has perfect knowledge then the
>> best way to get knowledge is to hear it from Him...
>> If you want to find someone's telephone number you could develop an
>> elaborate "scientific" method to do it. [descr. of legwork cut]
>> ... That is the ascending process of gaining knowledge, the
>> scientific method. However there is a much better process, the descending
>> process, accepting the knowledge from an authority, from someone who
>> knows. You could call the operator or look in the telephone book and find
>> the number immediately...

>Nice analogy. Let's kick it a bit further. You claim that
>scientists don't like 'phone books', that we prefer to find out
>the numbers the hard way. Well, you are right, we are a bit leery
>of phone books.

But nevertheless you have to use them! The scientific method is not really
a viable method of finding the numbers. You have to accept an authority,
the telephone company...

>The reason is that there are so many of them (eg
>'Bible', 'Koran', 'Bhaguvad-gita (sp?)', even 'New age'), and the
>cockamamie things all give _different_ numbers for the same person!

Hey! I thought we were talking about telephone books here. It's the
principle of the matter I am concerned with. If you get an authorized
telephone book from the telephone company that's certainly the best source
of telephone numbers...

>So put yourself in the position of a scientist trying to find the
>number for 'Bill Smith', say. Crikey, no-one likes hard work, so
>if this guy is a bit new to the game he might be tempted to look
>in one of the 'phone books'. Unfortunately when he does so,
>nearly all the time it is clearly _not_ Bill at any of the numbers.

I think you'd better try another telephone company! Telecom Australia is
quit good at it's phone books. They have the same computer typesetting
them and operating their exchanges. It works quite nicely. But people move
and therefor some of the numbers may not be correct... But that is
obvious. If you ring the operator, however, she is even better than the
phone book because she has a computer terminal in front of her connected
to the computer that runs the exchanges. So that is a very reliable source
of telephone numbers.

>A lot of scientific guys have done this, it's a well beaten trail,
>because, you know, we are optimists at heart. But the failure rate
>with these 'books' is very high.

But the alternative is almost impossible! (I just looked at your user-id
and I see you seem to be from Australia anyhow so why are you complaining
about Telecom. Their phone books are fine!)

Anyhow, if you don't like the telephone books or the operator just because
you are adverse to accepting knowledge from an authority, from someone who
knows the answers, you can spend the rest of your life trying to find a
method of determining telephone numbers without consulting the authority,
the telephone company. But you will waste your time. Instead of spending
your life researching telephone numbers you could be asking much more
important questions and doing much more important research. "Who am I?",
"What am I hear for?", "What is the purpose of life?", "What happens to me
after death?"... But you are too busy trying to develop a system to find
telephone numbers without referring to the telephone book...

>Sure, sometimes you get someone
>who sounds like Bill, or Fred, or whoever you are looking for,
>but the supporting evidence doesn't stand up. When you send Bill
>a telegram, he denies it was him on the phone.

There are so many reasons for wrong numbers. It may have been your fault.
Perhaps you didn't dial the number correctly. It may have been an
equipment failure. Perhaps the exchange connected you to the wrong line
and of course Bill might have moved, or he may not have paid his telephone
bill and been disconnected... So many things could have happened. But
generally speaking the telephone book is a good authority and if you have
a problem with the book you just call up the operator and she will find
the correct number for you..

>So if scientists are allergic to 'phone books' as a way of
>finding out about Nature, it is not because of wrong-headedness
>but simply sad experience.

They may have misunderstood the books but without them they have no more
chance of finding the truth than I have of dialing Bills number without
first finding it out from the telephone company. Without the books they
are lost.

>In fact, a scientist will support
>the method which achieves the best results. 'Phone books'
>just do not measure up.

NONSENSE. I say it again, our Australian Telecom has very nice phone books
(but this is starting to sound like a commercial)

>Its not that he has anything against
>them, and in other arenas, such as ethics etc, he may indeed
>find that one or another of the phone books is highly useful.
>But not as a way of finding out about the physical world.

No. They are good for telephone numbers, that's all. If you want physics
and ethics you have to look in different books. But it's the same
principle though. You have to find someone who actually knows and get the
knowledge from them. That is the only practical way. Accept a bona fide

>You, on the other hand, are in the position of a person who,
>for various reasons, is totally determined to believe that
>Bill's number as given in a particular phone book is kosher,
>even though the person you get when you ring that number
>doesn't sound anything like Bill and, in fact, claims to be
>someone else entirely.

No we have to be sensible about this. Once Narada Muni, a great devotee of
Krishna who travels around the universe preaching met a great learnard
Brahmana (priest). Narada Muni was on his way to see Krishna in the
spiritual world so the Brahmana requested him to ask Krishna how long he
would have to wait before he was liberated from this material world. So
Narada said, "All right, I will ask Him and let you know the answer." As
he continued along his way Narada met a very poor cobbler and it just so
happened the cobbler asked Narada the same question, "How long will I have
to wait before I will be liberated?" So Narada agreed to ask Krishna and
continued on his way.

When Narada Muni arrived in the spiritual world and saw Krishna he dealt
with the main purpose of his visit then he mentioned the learnard Brahmana
and the cobbler to the Lord. So Krishna replied that the Brahmana would
have to wait for many, many more births before he was liberated but the
poor cobbler would return back home, back to Godhead immediately upon
leaving his present body. So Narada was astonished, "How is it so my
Lord?" he replied. So Krishna said, "You can understand it like this. When
you return to see them they will both ask you the same question, 'What was
Krishna doing when you saw Him in the spiritual world?' So when they ask
you this you tell them, 'Krishna was putting an elephant through the eye
of a needle...' and then you see their response. Then you will

So Narada came back to earth and when he met the Brahmana he immediately
asked, "What was Lord Krishna doing when you saw Him in the spiritual
world?" So Narada replied, "Krishna was putting an elephant through the
eye of a needle." So the Brahmana immediately said, "What nonsense! How is
such a thing possible! Krishna can not do this!" So Narada then went to
the poor cobbler who also asked him the same question and Narada replied
to him in a similar way, "Krishna was putting an elephant through the eye
of a needle..." And he waited for the cobblers reply. So the poor cobbler
with tears in his eyes said, "My Lord is so wonderful." Then Narada,
astonished by his reply, asked him, "How is it, my dear cobbler, that you
can believe Krishna was putting an elephant through the eye of a needle?"
and the cobbler, who was sitting underneath a banyan (fig) tree said,
"Look at this huge tree and see this small fruit here [pointing to a fig
that had fallen from the tree]. My Lord has put hundreds of such great
trees within this one small fruit so I do not think he would have any
difficulty at all in putting one elephant through the eye of a needle."

God has inconceivable powers. We can't limit Him. He has invested many
inconceivable powers in material things around us also, we don't notice
that's all. It is inconceivable to take a pile of dry grass and turn it
into milk.. No scientist could do it, yet the cows do it every day. It is
inconceivable to take to take some earth and produce the beautiful
fragrance of a rose. It is inconceivable that the sun has been giving of
so much heat and light for such a long time but it has remained constant.
It is inconceivable that a great tree can be stored within a tiny seed.

Of course scientists will talk and give their ideas but it is talk only.
Once my spiritual master, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami
Prabhupada challenged the scientists, "You say life comes from chemicals,
all right. An egg is a very simple thing. A shell, some yellow chemical
and some white chemical so I challenge you to make an egg with your
chemicals. You can use some type of plastic for the shell, and fill it
with some white and yellow chemicals. Then put it into an incubator and
hatch out a chicken..." But no scientist has been able to produce the egg.
Because life comes from life, life doesn't come from matter... Chickens
come from eggs and eggs come from chickens...

Thank you. Hare Krishna!

Madhudvisah dasa Swami

All glories to His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada!