Munchies for the Mind

• The Control of Nature

Shrila Prabhupada:

Can a living entity who claims to be as good as the Supreme Being control the material nature? The foolish “I” would reply that he will do so in the future. Even accepting that in the future one will be as good a controller of material nature as the Supreme Being, then why is one now under the control of material nature? The Bhagavad-gita says that one can be freed from the control of the material nature by surrendering unto the Supreme Lord, but if there is no surrender, then the living entity will never be able to control the material nature. (Shrimad Bhagavatam 2.9.3, purport)

In support of this statement, let me recommend some well written, engrossing investigations in The Control of Nature, by John McPhee. Particularly relevant for those of us in these disUnited States are McPhee’s accounts of the doomed war of the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers against the Mississippi River (the lower river has long wanted to shift its main course westward, saying goodbye to New Orleans) and of the losing battle by Los Angeles county to stop the San Gabriel mountains from burying the expanding eastern suburbs under “mudslides.”

• Progress

Before:

After:


• Is There An American Karma?

In an article in the Washington Independent, “The Other Subprime Loans: The Same Team that Cooked Up Subprime Mortgages Also Thought of Auto Loans,”
Charles R. Morris lets us know just how far American greed and gluttony have taken us. He writes:

Now the whole consumer-driven, debt-fueled sprint for growth has smashed into a brick wall, leaving a mountainous tangle of bad loans and big trade deficits.

A lot else is going wrong at the same time. The baby-boomers are turning into senior citizens; the dollar is in collapse; critical input costs, like energy, are rising sharply, and military spending has jumped to new levels, even as U.S. forces are under severe strain. If there is such a thing as an American karma, it has taken a decidedly wrong turn.

Indeed.

• Why Are We Suffering?

A Robin Red breast in a Cage
Puts all Heaven in a Rage.

A dog starvd at his Masters Gate
Predicts the ruin of the State

A Horse misued upon the Road
Calls to Heaven for Human blood

Each outcry of the hunted Hare
A fibre from the Brain does tear

The wanton Boy that kills the Fly
Shall feel the Spiders enmity

-excerpted from “Auguries of Innocence” by William Blake

• Theology

To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And Heaven in a Wild Flower
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour

God Appears & God is Light
To those poor Souls who dwell in Night
But does a Human Form Display
To those who Dwell in Realms of day

-beginning and ending lines of “Auguries of Innocence”

• The Mysteries of Shankarshana

Dark, Perhaps Forever,” a long article by Dennis Overbye in the weekly science section of The New York Times, explores the bafflement, bewilderment, and frustration of cosmologists arising from the discovery of “dark energy.” This mysterious force (detected a decade ago) drives apart; it is thus diametric opposite of gravity, which draws together. Overbye reports:

Although cosmologists have adopted a cute name, dark energy, for whatever is driving this apparently antigravitational behavior on the part of the universe, nobody claims to understand why it is happening, or its implications for the future of the universe and of the life within it, despite thousands of learned papers, scores of conferences and millions of dollars’ worth of telescope time. It has led some cosmologists to the verge of abandoning their fondest dream: a theory that can account for the universe and everything about it in a single breath.

“The discovery of dark energy has greatly changed how we think about the laws of nature,” said Edward Witten, a theorist at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, N.J.

Discussing proposals for billion-dollar-plus “dark energy satellite,” Overbye says that the data it will gather “is likely to transform astronomy in unpredictable ways, but there is no guarantee that it will nail the mystery of dark energy.”

Although the powerful disintegrative, antigravitational dark energy was only recently detected by empirical researchers, it was known long, long ago to spiritual researchers. We discover this in the Shrimad Bhagavatam in the words used by Lord Shiva to offer obeisance to his worshipful master Lord Shankarshana (SB 4.24.35).

First there is the name “Shankarshana” itself. It means “one who draws together.” Prabhupada translates the name as “the master of all integration.” Shankarshana is thus the source of the power of gravity. But the same Lord is also addressed as “Antaka,” which indicates “the master of all disintegration.” Just as “gravity” denotes the universal integrating power, “dark energy” denotes the corresponding universal disintegrating power. These two opposing forces come from one and the same source.

Another name used to address Shankarshana, “Shuksma,” means “subtle.” The energies or potencies of Shankarshana are extremely difficult to perceive and to understand. The term “dark energy” is, in effect, an acknowledgment of this feature of Shankarshana. Gravity, by the way, is just as mysterious as “dark energy.” All of us automatically understand that when a ball falls to earth the “force of gravity” is at work. But think about it: How does one body in space reach out invisibly to grasp another and draw it close? Measurable movements take place, but invoking the name “gravity” explains nothing. How this force works remains occult and mysterious. Therefore “Shuksma.”

Empirical science has its uses, of course, but penetrating into the mysteries of creation is not one of them. As more and more data is collected, the more the mysteries deepen.

Is there any other science that can take us deep into the mysteries of existence? More to come on this topic . . . .

• Where did this come from? Why is it here? Where is it going?

temple

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4 Comments

Filed under Munchies for the Mind

4 responses to “Munchies for the Mind

  1. To borrow a phrase from Emerson, “The invariable mark of wisdom is to see the miraculous in the common.” Never thought of gravity that way before. It really is mysterious. It seems that the moment one gives close attention to any thing, even a blade of grass, it becomes an awesome world in itself.

  2. Carana Renu dasi

    Interesting stuff! Looking forward to the next installment already.

    Just one correction: I think the link should be for verse 4.24.35 and not 4.24.36 as it is right now. Here’s the link: http://vedabase.net/sb/4/24/35/en

  3. rsdasa

    Got it. Thanks!

  4. I consider myself a religious naturalist who sees mystery and beauty in nature and the cosmos. I’ve written a book on dark energy that I hope suggests the more transcendent aspects of it, without sacrificing scientific accuracy. The above link will take you to a spoof I wrote because I was starting to take myself too seriously. :-)

    Ellen Jackson, author
    THE MYSTERIOUS UNIVERSE

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