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The Proper Starting Point

Śrīla Bhakti Rakṣak Śrīdhar Dev-Goswāmī Mahārāj explains the solution to the suicidal civilisation of the modern scientists.

Śrīla Śrīdhar Mahārāj: The tendency of exploitation cannot help us. It is only borrowing from nature. Science is only borrowing from nature, but there is a reaction. Newton said, “For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.” We are extorting power from nature, that is, we are borrowing, and we will have to pay that back. So, the whole civilisation is like a loan, and when we are to repay the loan, we will be bankrupt. So, it is a wild goose chase. Also, it is unnecessary. We must begin with the real necessity:

asato mā sad gamaya
tamaso mā jyotir gamaya
mṛtyor māmṛtaṁ gamaya
(Bṛhad-āraṇyaka-upaniṣad: 1.3.28)

The beginning must be how to save ourselves and others because we are all threatened with mortality (kṣaya). At every second, we are attacked by mortality. At every second, we are dying. So many cells in our body die. Always, we are being threatened by death. So, the first principle, the starting point, must be how to save ourselves and at the same time how to save others. This should be the first problem, the starting point, not how we can increase the circumference of our exploitation, how we can lord over our environment. That is the wrong starting point. The starting point should be how to save oneselves in the fight with the environment.

asato mā sad gamaya

“We are threatened by asat, mortality, death. Please guide us towards eternal existence.”

tamaso mā jyotir gamaya

“We are ignorant. From ignorance, please guide us towards light.”

mṛtyor māmṛtaṁ gamaya

“We are threatened with misery. Guide us towards bliss.”

These three should be the guiding principles of everyone’s life. They should be normal. Extending the scope of exploitation is the wrong way. Ultimately, you will be exploited, surely. Nature won’t forgive you. It is not all a blank check. We have to pay back with interest whatever the scientists give us. That is the very basis of Indian philosophy.

We have to start in that way, to analyse what is the mind, what is the faculty of reason, and what is really our need. We must work from that point, not an anomaly. Our energy should be invested rightly, not wrongly. What is our immediate need? Self-saving. The first principle of life is to save one’s own self and next to save others.

asato mā sad gamaya
tamaso mā jyotir gamaya

We must go from ignorance to light, from nescience to science. What is science? Science does not mean to extend the jurisdiction of exploitation knowing fully well that there will be reaction. That is wrong and jñānav api, if knowingly one commits an offence, then one is charged with more punishment. So, what are they doing? They are suicidal. It has been clearly proven also as they are now threatening each other with atom bombs. This is the highest proof of the position of the scientists.

Source

Spoken 28 February 1981.