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Le blog de Maroudiji

Les grands enjeux de société et les idées qui en font la trame, avec humour, passion et gravité.

Varnashrama brainstorming

Haribol dear prabhus. If the concept of varnashrama-dharma has any kind of interest to you, here are some thoughts inspired by our vaishnava literature, one of them is Shyamasundar’s book, “In Chasing the Rhinos with the Swami”. I hope you will appreciate my efforts to share them with you despite the unusual form of analyses.

 Shyamasundar Prabhu makes the point that Srila Prabhupada liked to talk about the philosophers' ideas: "daily conversations on very high subjects kept him enlivened." "He especially enjoyed the often heated philosophical discussions he was having with the Mensa guy, Pat Fitzgergald: British rationalism vs. the Vedas."  

Criticism does not always mean that we are opposed to the objects that are questioned. It can help to highlight the apparent difficulties that prevent their development.

Srila Prabhupada focused on science while preaching. Varnashrama-dharma is a scientific understanding of the virat rupa of the Lord. Varnashrama does not mean only farming and keeping cows. These are functions of the vaishya class. He wanted brahmanas. The head of the society teaches to other varnas the virat rupa. The western philosophers call this conception of God -pantheism, pan meaning everywhere. God is everywhere.

Pantheism is a modern word from the Renaissance, the Vedic correspondence is Paramatma, the other name for Kṣīrodakaśāyī-Viṣṇu.

Understanding and establishing varnashrama-dharma is very much related to Srila Prabhupada's appeal to science. When explaining Bhagavad-gita or Srimad Bhagavatam, he kept saying that KC is the science of God. It may be noted that he used the word 'science' in the classical or Vedic way: the truth is an a priori to experience; the Vedas being the ultimate pramana and the bright light of civilization, that is varnashrama-dharma. Unfortunately, apart from a few sects in India, this approach of science is nowadays only found in Srila Prabhupada's books. It is of great value for the philosophy and history of science. It is like in literature knowing Greek and Latin when your interlocutor knows only English. The advantage of Vedic pramanas is that knowledge is not rectified every ten years, like modern science does. However, what is the benefit of an advantage when no one is aware of it? “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?" George Berkeley.

The Western concept of science, actually adopted all over the world, is only speculation. It starts with tabula rasa, full ignorance of the cosmic manifestation and the nature of consciousness. Unlike Vedic culture, absolute knowledge is not available. Trying to know God or the soul is a waste of time, we cannot say anything significant about them with our limited brain. In “Critique of pure reason” Immanuel Kant made it clear for anyone who wants to be a rational philosopher that science cannot prove their objective realities. He made his conclusion in the 18th century and since universities have adopted that stand, we need no God and no soul to understand the universal laws. The late and famous cosmologist Stephen Hawking wrote in this traditional line: “I have no desire to offend anyone’s faith, but I think science has a more compelling explanation than a divine creator.” Our modern teachers in schools and atheists have this pattern of belief. They are not aware of what consciousness and civilization are, vs. the difference between animals and human beings.

The Vegan movement is a product of this mentality, we are all animals and equal. Trai-guṇya-viṣayā vedā, the Bhagavad-gita resumes the scientific influence of the modes of material nature as propounded by the Vedas billion of years ago and their adepts prefer ignoring it. Sad to say, in their most advanced knowledge of animal welfare while the 21 century has started, the Vegans see no advantage in favoring the virtuous character of the person. God consciousness or dog consciousness, cow protection or no cow at all makes no difference in their mind and in the progress of civilization. 

Srila Prabhupada: "More and more in the future Swarupa Damodar and others like him will be working to force the educated public to accept that there is God. Whatever cooperation you can give in this connection will help your own spiritual life and will give the greatest benefit to others." 

Yes, we can do it if we understand the crucial need of varnashrama-dharma, which means a civilized and scientific society based on the laws of God. Pantheism or the Virat rupa, the universal form of the Lord, as described in Srimad-Bhagavatam, is very easy to grasp intellectually, sentimentality or by devotion. The world is in a big crisis like never before. There is so much false propaganda and people are getting more and more confused. It seems there is no end to the tunnel and demonic hegemony. People need to know what real science is, real society and real leaders. Apart from Srila Prabhupada's teachings -a treasure of Vedic knowledge as found in Srimad-Bhagavatam, the cream of Vedanta- there is no other alternative to this world of wild technology and demonic plans.

Varnashrama-dharma brainstorming

Here is a reminder of the expression chosen by Shyamasundar as the title for his book, my brainstorming arose from it: “One should always be enthusiastic to try capturing the rhinoceros. That way, if we fail, everyone will say, “Never mind, nobody can catch a rhinoceros anyway,” and if we succeed, then everyone will say, “Just see what a wonderful thing they have done!” Dixit Srila Prabhupada. 

"So our Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is to give some benediction to the whole human society. It is not a sectarian so-called religion, or sentiment. No. It is a scientific movement. If you say, 'Why you are interested to save the human society?' That is Kṛṣṇa's business. Kṛṣṇa wants, God wants, that "All these living entities, they should come back home, back to Godhead. Why they are suffering?" Therefore Kṛṣṇa comes personally." 

May I add -and his devotee. His devotee comes personally. 

I wrote a few days ago that planifying a varnashrama as a substitute for the current societal and demonic structure requires a great deal of knowledge and 'willpower'. It's no easy thing and I'm fully aware of that, but Prabhupada believed in it. And, like you, I love his original ideas for which he fully invested himself. I spend my life meditating on them. 

By willpower, I mean a second principle that Prabhupada was appealing to. It seems rather curious, since its application is difficult to comprehend; in order to confront and correct intellectuals and leaders of this world, kshatriyas are needed. He says: "Otherwise, this present human civilization is dead. There must be these two classes of men: brāhmaṇa and kṣatriya."

Implementing varnashrama seems so gigantic and unreal, I questioned therefore devotees in Mayapur to get their opinion; they knew more than me about the activities in the movement. It surprised me to learn that they did not believe possible the utopia of varnashrama-dharma. The project could be reconsidered in 40 years, they say, but not now. Ok, 60 years passed already since Prabhupada told us of his wish! 100 years in all. We still don’t have any long-term plans... I read nothing going in that direction we can speak of research. A monumental project is under construction in Mayapur, to reconstitute the universe according to the Vedic version. And farms around the world that survive as best they can, but serious studies to introduce the varnashrama-dharma in the world, I did not see. 

Every day, when I get up in the morning or during my activities, even during japa, I hear Prabhupada’s voice: “Therefore, because we are Kṛṣṇa conscious, we are servants of God, it is our duty to save this human civilization. You see? Kṛṣṇa wants it. And to save this human civilization, these two classes are required urgently. So you American boys and girls, you are intelligent, you have got all the facilities. At least in your country create these two classes, brāhmaṇa and kṣatriya.”  

Tell me, seriously, is this an unreasonable dream, we better stop thinking about it? Do you still believe in it? I find these ideas, for example kshatriyas are to protect citizens from savage capitalism and evil, a golden opportunity for preaching. They are essential and unavoidable in the 21st century in philosophical debates on history, science, politics and religion. I believe in this. So, I want to prove the relevance of appealing to the qualities of brahmanas and kshatriyas for resolving the world's problems.

Akileswar das.

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