Descartes did not understand Consciousness

Many believe that animals and other species in other bodies outside of humans are not souls, that they are mere automations. The misunderstanding can be traced back at least to Descartes’ “cogito ergo sum”, where he sadly misunderstood something very important…

René Descartes was a great thinker, an eminent Christian scholar, and his thoughts have arguably shaped the foundations of Christianity.

Unfortunately, he got at least one basic thing wrong, “cogito ergo sum” – translated as “I think, therefore I am”. This statement shows Descartes’ ignorance. Consciousness is not dependent on “thinking”.

Consciousness is the fundamental symptom of life – all living entities have lower or higher consciousness, some can think at a more advanced level based on how evolved their consciousness is, and some at a less advanced level.

Who am I to be criticizing the great Descartes? Yes. I must admit that I am not even a tiny fraction of that mighty thinker. I am just a little recovering atheist. But my knowledge, that is not mine, it is not original. I am not speaking on anything that I have come up with myself, but relying on the words of God Himself. The Bhagavad Gita is quite literally “The Song of God”. I rely on the Bhagavad Gita. But there are way too many mis-translations and misinterpretations of this Divine Book unfortunately, which have been written by speculators with a poor fund of knowledge.

So I rely on the great Acharyas, teachers who received this knowledge in disciplic succession from God. If I threw a mango from the top of a tree to the ground, it would smash, and become unfit to consume, but if I organized a chain of people from the topmost branch of the mango tree to the ground, with ladders and so on, as needed, then the mango could make it safely into my hands.

In the disciplic succession, Parampara, each person in the chain acts as an honest messenger – they repeat everything exactly in line with what their predecessor did, without any addition or subtraction – and you can verify what they said by checking up on what their spiritual master said. So, even if a particular link in the chain may be accepted as ordinary (though none of them can actually be ordinary, that is a matter for another day), still, the message is pristine and perfect.

So I rely on the Bhagavad Gita As It Is, by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, who is 32nd (from Krishna, or the Supreme Personality of Godhead), 28th(from Krishna Dvaipayana Vyasa, the Literary Incarnation of Krishna), or 11th(Sri Krishna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Krishna Himself, appearing as His devotee to show us how to be one) link in the chain originating from God Himself. And even though I have not met Srila Prabhupada personally, I am a disciple of His Grace Sriman Sankarshan Das Adhikari, who is a direct disciple of Srila Prabhupada, which makes my spiritual master 33rd, 29th, or 12th in line from God Himself. Not only my own spiritual master, but I have benefited from the thousands of disciples of Srila Prabhupada, and I have benefited from many other souls who are in other branches of the same tree of disciplic succession, going back at least 5,000 and 500 years. However, the knowledge of the Bhagavad Gita has been extant in civilized society in our Universe for at least 40 Million years. However, as the Universe is 114 Trillion years old, this knowledge is that ancient in this Universe.

However, as this Universe is just like a flash in the pan, a proverbial flash of lightning in the fabric of eternity, this knowledge is actually eternal.

The fact that my knowledge is not “original” but is coming from a long line of teachers originating from God Himself, that is my only strength. On the purity, strength, and intelligence of these great souls, I dare say Descartes is wrong.

A crude example is that a small child may say 2+2=4, not know how that is so, but it does not change the fact that the child is right. The child heard this from someone who does understand numbers and addition, so on the strength of that person’s knowledge, the child is right.

Or let’s take the example of a normal person, perfectly capable when sober, but when they are intoxicated, they are no better than an animal, at least temporarily. If another man were to kill the drunken person, would that not count as murder? So even a short-term mental disability is not grounds for ny mistreatment.

Now take for example two sons of the same father. One, the elder, is strong, intelligent, and capable… the other, younger, let’s say, for the purpose of this example, a whimpering idiot, cannot learn anything, cannot do much, and cannot, for the life of him, stand up to his brother. Comparing

If the capable boy were to propose to the father that they kill the retarded younger son, because, he might say, let’s face it, he’s no better than an animal, would the father agree? Even if the father agreed with the elder son’s assessment of the younger brother, still, he would not allow the younger son to be killed, even with his long-term disability.

On the streets of various cities in the world, I have personally met many drunk or drugged humans, and to be honest, they are actually lower than some animals!

Animals are no less than the mentally challenged human, whether long-term or short-term. They are spirit souls encaged in a body and mind that don’t permit higher consciousness, not very difficult from a drunk or drugged human. But this conflation of thinking with the presence or absence of a soul has caused a grave injustice in this world.

If only Descartes was fortunate enough to receive instruction from the Song of God!

सर्वयोनिषु कौन्तेय मूर्तय: सम्भवन्ति या: ।
तासां ब्रह्म महद्योनिरहं बीजप्रद: पिता ॥ ४ ॥

sarva-yoniṣu kaunteya
mūrtayaḥ sambhavanti yāḥ
tāsāṁ brahma mahad yonir
ahaṁ bīja-pradaḥ pitā

It should be understood that all species of life, O son of Kuntī, are made possible by birth in this material nature, and that I am the seed-giving father.

https://vedabase.io/en/library/bg/14/4/

Descartes’ grave error has encouraged the Christians around the world to commit murder with impunity. They interpret the commandment “Thou Shalt Not Kill” as “Thou shalt not kill another human unnecessarily”. This is leading hosts of Christians into endless lifetimes of suffering birth, death, old age, and disease, being born as animals repeatedly, only to be mercilessly slaughtered.

In modern times there is really no excuse for eating meat. Fruits, Roots, Nuts, Vegetables, Grains are abundantly available and milk products obtained from Ahimsa farms can be made available too.

Christians and others who follow any kind of spiritual tradition need to rise above the sad ignorance of Descartes and stop eating meat unless it were a matter of life and death, because Meat is not for spiritualists, meat is for animals, even if the animals happen to be in human form.

Read the Bhagavad Gita As It Is today, and be a better Christian, Jew, Muslim, Sikh, Buddhist, or Jain or any other type of spiritualist. Do you need a copy?

Jiva Soul – A poem from 1874

Back in in 1874, Bhaktivinode Thakura wrote this sublime poem that gives us the formula for Supreme Spiritual Success! Jiva Soul, from Saragrahi Vaishnava

This is a poem by the great saint Bhaktivinode Thakura… from his 1874 work, “Saragrahi Vaishnava”

The Jiva Soul:

Alas for those who spend their days
In festive mirth and joy.
The dazzling, deadly liquid forms
Their hearts fore’er employ.

The shining bottles charm their eyes
And draw their heart’s embrace;
The slaves of wine can never rise
From what we call disgrace.

Was man intended to be
A brute in work and heart?
Should man, the Lord of all around,
From common sense depart?

Man’s glory is in common sense
Dictating us the grace,
That man is made to live and love
The beauteous Heaven’s embrace.

The flesh is not our own alas;
The mortal frame a chain;
The soul confined for former wrongs
Should try to rise again.

Why then this childish play in that
Which cannot be our own;
Which falls within a hundred years
As if a rose ablown.

Our life is but a rosy hue
To go ere long for naught;
The soul alone would last fore’er
With good or evil fraught.

How deep the thought of times to be!
How grave the aspect looks!
And wrapt in awe become, O, we,
When reading Nature’s books.

Man’s life to him a problem dark–
A screen both left and right;
No soul hath come to tell us what
Exists beyond our sight.

But then a voice, how deep and soft,
Within ourselves is left;
Man! Man! Thou art immortal soul!
Thee Death can never melt.

For thee thy Sire on High has kept
A store of bliss above,
To end of time, thou art O! His–
Who wants but purest love.

O Love! Thy power and spell benign
Now melt my soul to God;
How can my earthly words describe
That feeling soft and broad.

Enjoyment, sorrow — what but lots
To which the flesh is heir?
The soul that sleeps alone concludes
In them it hath a share.

And then, my friends, no more enjoy
Nor weep for all below;
The women, wine, and flesh of beasts
No love on thee bestow.

But thine to love thy brother man
And give thyself to God.
And God doth know your wages fair–
This fact is true and broad.

Forget the past that sleeps and ne’er
The future dream at all,
But act in time that are with thee
And progress thee shall call.

But tell me not in reasoning cold,
The soul is made alone
By Earth’s mechanic lifeless rules
And to destruction prone.

My God who gave us life and all
Alone the soul can kill
Or give it all the joys above
His promise to fulfill.

So push thy onward march, O soul,
Against an evil deed
That stands with soldiers Hate and Lust–
A hero be indeed.

Maintain thy post in spirit world
As firmly as you can,
Let never matter push thee down–
O stand heroic man!

O Sharagrahi Vaishnava soul,
Thou art an angel fair;
Lead, lead me on to Vrindavan
And spirit’s power declare.

There rests my soul from matter free
Upon my Lover’s arms–
Eternal peace and spirits love
Are all my chanting charms.

Poor St. Patrick

St. Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland, he brought Christianity to Ireland. Why then is he associated with excessive alcohol consumption? Poor St. Patrick.

As I write this, it is St. Patrick’s day. St. Patrick brought Christianity to Ireland. While Christianity is a wide range of beliefs, and some Christians are more austere than others, it is amazing to note how many people use St. Patrick’s day to eat like hogs and transform their consciousness to a lowly animal-like state, all in the name of St. Patrick.

Legend has it that St. Patrick drove the snakes out of Ireland, though some say there were no snakes there to begin with. Some others say that this is a reference to how, by the introduction of Christianity, St. Patrick drove out paganism, represented by snakes.

And how did it start that the poor old St. Patrick got saddled with excessive indulgence to mark his day, the day of his disappearance? Note I say disappearance, not death, because great saints never die, they simply disappear from our vision, even an ordinary soul does not really die, simply changes bodies.

many Christians fast for Lent, the period of time before Easter. The regulations are strict, some live only by bread and water for 40 days before Easter. Someone made a foolish decision to let the Christians put their restrictions aside and indulge in eating, drinking, and all sorts of merry-making on this day. And, this easing was interpreted in this sort of pathetic, drunken, animalistic behaviour as we see on St. Patrick’s day especially much of the western world.

विषया विनिवर्तन्ते निराहारस्य देहिनः ।
रसवर्जं रसोऽप्यस्य परं दृष्ट्वा निवर्तते ॥ ५९ ॥

viṣayā vinivartante
nirāhārasya dehinaḥ
rasa-varjaṁ raso ’py asya
paraṁ dṛṣṭvā nivartate

Though the embodied soul may be restricted from sense enjoyment, the taste for sense objects remains. But, ceasing such engagements by experiencing a higher taste, he is fixed in consciousness.

https://vedabase.io/en/library/bg/2/59/

It is clearly stated that in order to let go of a lower taste, one must develop a higher taste, and without this, after the end of denial comes overindulgence – because the underlying taste remains!

It also shows the calibre of the leadership and populace who cannot change the consciousness from a lower taste to a higher taste…

श्वविड्‍वराहोष्ट्रखरै: संस्तुत: पुरुष: पशु: ।
न यत्कर्णपथोपेतो जातु नाम गदाग्रज: ॥ १९ ॥

śva-viḍ-varāhoṣṭra-kharaiḥ
saṁstutaḥ puruṣaḥ paśuḥ
na yat-karṇa-pathopeto
jātu nāma gadāgrajaḥ

Men who are like dogs, hogs, camels and asses praise those men who never listen to the transcendental pastimes of Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the deliverer from evils.

https://vedabase.io/en/library/sb/2/3/19/

Since St. Patrick is associated with driving away the snakes of ignorance, please see here what the Bhagavatam says…

बिले बतोरुक्रमविक्रमान् ये
न श‍ृण्वत: कर्णपुटे नरस्य ।
जिह्वासती दार्दुरिकेव सूत
न चोपगायत्युरुगायगाथा: ॥ २० ॥

bile batorukrama-vikramān ye
na śṛṇvataḥ karṇa-puṭe narasya
jihvāsatī dārdurikeva sūta
na copagāyaty urugāya-gāthāḥ

One who has not listened to the messages about the prowess and marvelous acts of the Personality of Godhead and has not sung or chanted loudly the worthy songs about the Lord is to be considered to possess earholes like the holes of snakes and a tongue like the tongue of a frog.

https://vedabase.io/en/library/sb/2/3/20/

Poor St. Patrick! May he be at peace even after knowing that most of those he tried to save have completely strayed from his instructions to them and are making a mockery of his memory.

As for Ireland, and everyone who wishes to be saved from sliding down, following in the footsteps of St. Patrick, this is the fastest method for a consciousness upgrade. Just chant…

Chanting the Hare Krishna Mahamantra is the fastest way to a consciousness upgrade.

St. Patrick may not have known this Maha mantra himself as Europe was in the dark ages an not yet ready for this sublime mantra back then. But when St. Patrick hears this mantra, he will surely join us. Now we are in the Golden Age. This would be the real St. Patrick’s day if you could chant this mantra even once! Try it!

Why are Intoxicated People Happy?

Jaanvi, 06 February 2015

Dear all,

Hare Krsna

There are many people who like indulging in alcohol and have a very strong and healthy body as well as being happy. And then, there are those who do not consume alcohol and have a weak body. Now, could you tell me how to understand this difference?

Sincerely,
Jaanvi

Mahabhagavat Das SDA, 06 February 2015

Hare Krishna!

Mother Jaanvi – our present health has many contributing factors. One of them is called “past karma”. A pious person today may have been impious before thus accruing negative karmic reactions, and an impious person today may have been pious before this accruing positive karmic reactions. It is something like a bank account… suppose two people keep spending money equally from their bank accounts, one person’s bank account suddenly becomes empty and the person has no more money, but the other person’s account has a lot more money… but if they keep spending, that account also will become empty.

It is like a Ferris wheel… some people are on top, some people are at the bottom, but the wheel of time turns and situations change.

A fool who keeps indulging in intoxication will eventually fall sick, grow old, and die, nothing is permanent in this material world.

But, Srila Gurudeva has explained that the pious person who is suffering should internally rejoice because their past reactions are getting finished and soon they will be closer to liberation. And the impious person should be gravely thinking that their stock of good karma is rapidly diminishing and some day soon they will have to face up to their current impiety.

The Krishna conscious person sees both with an equal vision, every saint has a past, and every sinner has a future, in this way both saints or sinners can be fully Krishna conscious. But neither the pious nor impious person are really fortunate, unless they are striving to be Krishna conscious.

Krishna consciousness is the only way by which one can get off this “samsara chakra”, the inescapable prison of complete entanglement.

Hope this helps! Other devotees, please do feel free to contribute.

Sincerely,
Mahabhagavat Das

Sacinandana Das, 07th February 2015

Hare Krishna Dear Devotees,

Please accept my humble obeisances.

All glories to Srila Gurudev.

We are not this body. This body is a temporary covering. Only foolish people drink alcohol as its written on the bottle that its injurious to health. Body is secondary. Consciousness is more important. Its better to be Krishna Conscious in a weak body and go Back to Godhead other than being a materialistic drunkard and taking birth as an animal. Only avoiding alcohol is not enough, we should eat and drink only Krishna Prasadam – sanctified vegetarian foodstuff. Generally devotees have a very strong and healthy body. Devotees are the most happy people on this planet. If a man is happy why does he need to drink alcohol?

your servant,
Sacinandana Das

Jaanvi, 8th February 2015

Dear Prabhujis,

Hare Krsna

Thanks for your clear explaination to this query.

Sincerely,
Jaanvi

Saurov, 10th February 2015

Hare Krishna,
My feeling is that when Krishna wants us to come back home, he creates certain situations so that we do not wander. Problems, though we might feel punishing in the short run, is a blessing in the long run as this prevents us from indulging in vices. It is a form of Krishna’s love and mercy. I have seen healthy people so involved in indulging their senses that there is no chance for them to remember Krishna in the present condition.
I agree with all the points Mahabhagavat Prabhu has mentioned. This was my additional input from my own realisations.

Hari Bol,
Saurov

 

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