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.

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?

The “science”(dogma) of conjecture

Evolution is a fact. But not the way it is commonly understood… How to understand evolution scientifically?

You may have heard about Darwin’s theory of natural selection… yes, where the claim is that one species evolved into another species because the fittest who evolved survived and the others died off, thereby creating a natural evolution of species just sort of accidentally and randomly. It is in line with the magical wishful thinking of the Big Bang.

But according to the Vedic scripture all 8.4 Million species are created by the arrangement of God. 400,000 of those species are human in nature, and the remain 8 million are sub-human.

“jalaja nava lakshani, sthavara laksha-vimshati, krimayo rudra-sankhyakah, pakshinam dasha-lakshanam, trinshal-lakshani pashavah, chatur lakshani manavah”

Jalaja (Water based) – 0.9 million, Sthaavara (immobile like plants & trees) – 2.0 million, Krimaayo (Reptiles and germs) – 1.1 million, Pakshinaam (Birds) – 1.0 million, Paashavah (terrestrial animals) – 3.0 million, Maanavah (human-like bodies, including human species, demigods, danavas, gandharvas etc) – 0.4 million.

Padma Purana

Some species may be visible at some times, and other species may be present at other times. So what determines whether there are any specimens of any given species are actually on a planet at any given time?

A tiger has no choice…

Karma! Karma is the law action and reaction – every action has an equal and opposite reaction, that is the law of Karma. This most basic law of nature drives the circumstances of a living entities trajectory in the material world… simply put, certain deeds are classified “karma” or deeds that bring pleasing reactions, and certain deeds are classified “vikarma” or deeds that bring unpleasant reactions. Karma and Vikarma is only accrued in human forms of life, the sub-human species are simply living our their karma – the tiger suffers no reaction for killing a deer but a human does.

A human has choices…

अधस्तान्नरलोकस्य यावतीर्यातनादय: ।
क्रमश: समनुक्रम्य पुनरत्राव्रजेच्छुचि: ॥ ३४ ॥

adhastān nara-lokasya
yāvatīr yātanādayaḥ
kramaśaḥ samanukramya
punar atrāvrajec chuciḥ

Having gone through all the miserable, hellish conditions and having passed in a regular order through the lowest forms of animal life prior to human birth, and having thus been purged of his sins, one is reborn again as a human being on this earth.

After transmigrating through the millions of different species, we get a human life. What we do in our present human life determines our future trajectory.

It takes a lot of transmigraton through species to get a human life…

Of course, trying to piece together the effects of the law of karma is a fool’s errand, because here’s something – let’s say you have one seed – one karmic action. That seed sprouts, grows into a tree, flowers, and fructifies – each fruit contains many more seeds… those result in more trees and more and more and more. Pretty soon, you don’t know where you started and why you’re enjoying or suffering. All sorts of apparently anomalous phenomena occur, and people ask questions like “why do bad things happen to good people”. In the material world, no one is really fully innocent. We all came here by our own free will, due to the original sin of trying to displace God after all.

A Banyan tree – where did it all start?

There is one kind of action, called “akarma” which can be loosely translated as “inaction in action”…

कर्मणो ह्यपि बोद्धव्यं बोद्धव्यं च विकर्मणः ।
अकर्मणश्च बोद्धव्यं गहना कर्मणो गतिः ॥ १७ ॥

karmaṇo hy api boddhavyaṁ
boddhavyaṁ ca vikarmaṇaḥ
akarmaṇaś ca boddhavyaṁ
gahanā karmaṇo gatiḥ

The intricacies of action are very hard to understand. Therefore one should know properly what action is, what forbidden action is and what inaction is.

कर्मण्यकर्म यः पश्येदकर्मणि च कर्म यः ।
स बुद्धिमान्मनुष्येषु स युक्तः कृत्स्नकर्मकृत् ॥ १८ ॥

karmaṇy akarma yaḥ paśyed
akarmaṇi ca karma yaḥ
sa buddhimān manuṣyeṣu
sa yuktaḥ kṛtsna-karma-kṛt

One who sees inaction in action and action in inaction is intelligent among men, and he is in the transcendental position, although engaged in all sorts of activities.

Statements like this can be mysterious and confusing, and they did end up confusing a lot of western scholars who studied the Bhagavad Gita without the guidance of the disciplic succession, a bona fide Guru.

But it is quite easy to understand with the context, go ahead and click on the link to BG 4.18 and you will get a crystal clear explanation. Basically, you might think you are inactive, but you could be accumulating karmic reactions just by your breathing… but there is a way to do everything so that not only are there no karmic reactions but your existing karmic reactions are burned away…

Coming back to the speculative idea that somehow or other one organism adapted and evolved into another species, and that the fossil record is to be taken as proof is fallacious. The fossil record, is at best, a conjecture.

Why is that?

Fossils are not truly reliable as evidence for evolution…

Because the fossil record simply represents certain events or accidents depending on whose viewpoint you are looking at – some hapless animal got caught in some clay that solidified to rock preserving the skeleton as a fossil, and just because this didn’t happen a billion years before or after doesn’t necessarily give us the time when that species was around. A fossil is essentially like a little child pointing and clicking a camera randomly – you can’t decide what exactly happened that day just from the photos. A lot of room for error.

A great book on this subject is Nature’s IQ by by Balaz Hornyansk and Istvan Tasi.

Nature’s IQ

The introduction to the book reads “It is not at all surprising that insects behave like insects, birds behave like birds, and mammals behave like mammals. They execute most of their intricate behavior in a predetermined, instinctive manner. But how do they know when and how they should act? Where did the intelligence that is manifested in nature come from? Can the current view be true, that inert matter (lacking consciousness) somehow acquired intelligence over the course of a vast span of time? Darwin’s theory of evolution is widely accepted as the explanation for the varieties of life. Evolutionists attempt to explain the origin of behavioral patterns by gradual modifications of more simple behavior forms. But when we try to explain complex animal behavior this way, it becomes impossible! Nature’s IQ invites the reader to investigate an alternative explanation. Is it possible that our world reflects, in many different ways, a supernatural intelligence that has applied its own infinitely ingenious solutions to create the living world?”

One of Darwin’s ideas is that some fortunate specimens of a particular species developed a particular advantage that helped them survive while their peers perished due to the lack of that advantage.

The key idea is that for example, it is conjectured that a giraffe needed a long neck so it could eat the leaves from trees that were very tall and thus have an advantage over those animals that depend on grass and other short plants… one day, a short-necked ancestor of a giraffe developed a slightly longer neck, and its descendants developed longer and longer necks… but the authors make an argument like, OK, what advantage did the giraffe ancestor with a neck only slightly longer than its previous generation have? How could that change continue in the absence of any tangible advantage? What about more complex instincts and behaviours? What about the intelligence that many animals exhibit?

Such examples abound in nature… Michael Cremo writes in his foreword… “These complex behaviors involve many behavioral steps, linked in specific sequences. Without all the parts of the behavior being present in proper sequence, the behavior would not be executed. We can thus say that not only biological form but biological behavior can be irreducibly complex. That means these behaviors cannot have arisen in the step by step fashion that evolution requires. Thus biological behavior also provides evidence of intelligent design.”

In other words, the theory of evolution of species is not much more than mental speculation combined with healthy doses of conjecture. It is the dogma of conjecture.

Another great book is Rethinking Darwin, by Leif Jensen.

Rethinking Darwin

What can we do then? We can evolve back to a higher consciousness with our efforts and lots of mercy.

The Vedic Scriptures say:

aprārabdha-phalaṁ pāpaṁ
kūṭaṁ bījaṁ phalonmukham
krameṇaiva pralīyeta

For those who are engaged in the devotional service of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, all sinful reactions, whether fructified, in the stock, or in the form of a seed, gradually vanish.

Quotation from the Padma Purana in purport of

Here is real science. You can know this, follow the process of Bhakti, Loving Devotional Service to the Supreme, and go back home. It is a repeatable process. Countless have done it. You can too. Dear Spirit Soul, you are already perfect in your original state. Over countless lifetimes, you have devolved from your original perfection to a state which is an embarrassment to your true identity. Wake up! Know yourself! Be yourself! Go back home to the spiritual realm where you belong! I pray to serve you on your journey back home, that is why I exist. Ask me how!

Can animals, birds, insects, plants be liberated from material existence without attaining human form?

Lipsa, 27th November 2013

Hare Krishna
Please accept my humble obeisances
All glories to Srila Gurudev and Srimati Gurumataji
All glories to Srila Prabhupada

I have a doubt in Krishna Book. Kindly clarify…

Chapter 6:

“When flowers and fruits are offered to Krishna, the tree that bore them also receives much benefit, indirectly………

…… Undoubtedly all the gopis and cowherd boys and cows who served Krishna in Vrindavana with love and affection were liberated from the miserable condition of material existence.”

Can a tree or cow or any other animal be liberated by the mercy of the Lord without attaining a human form of life?

Thank you.
your unworthy servant,

Sudeep Manchanda, 27th November 2013

Hare Krishna,

Please accept our humble obeisances.

If I remember it correctly I have heard in a lecture that these trees and cows are not ordinary, there are very special and have Krishna’s special mercy.
And when one has Krishna’s mercy anything is not impossible.

For example the lila, where Gajendra who was in an elephant body was liberated, but he was an exalted devotee of the Lord and hence has his special mercy.

For an ordinary jiva who is conditioned and trapped in the cycle of birth and death, we can say that they need to first attain a human body to be able to practice bhakti.

Please correct if I am wrong.

your Servant,
Sudeep Manchanda

Mahabhagavat Das SDA, 28th November 2013

Dear Mother Lipsa and Bhakta Sudeep,

Can a tree or cow or any other animal be liberated by the mercy of the Lord without attaining a human form of life?

To be noted that Tulasi devi or Vrinda Devi is an eternally liberated pure devotee appearing in the material world in the form of a plant/tree so that ordinary persons may have something wonderful to offer to Krishna.

It is rare, but possible…

Yes, the example is a dog who was liberated by Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu by taking coconut scraps from His hand, this He did because His devotee Sivananda Sen was very much merciful to the Lord – the entire pastime is in Chaitanya Charitamrita Antya Lila Chapter 1, specifically CC Antya 1.17-1.33.

Mahabhagavat Das

Lipsa, 28th November 2013

Hare Krishna Mahabhagavat Das Prabhuji and Sudeep Prabhuji
Please accept my humble obeisances
All glories to Srila Gurudev and Srimati Gurumataji
All glories to Srila Prabhupada

Thank you for enlightening me on this subject.

Reading the verses 1.17 – 1.33 from Chaitanya Charitamrita Antya Lila Chapter 1 was really ecstatic. Thank you Mahabhagavat Das Prabhuji for mentioning about it.

Every verse is full of spiritual knowledge. Whoever reads it immediately feels the need to develop an attachment to this sublime process. I am mentioning a few lines from the text that I liked the most.

Text 24:
…. He thus offers to become the dog of a Vaisnava. There are many other instances in which the pet animal of a Vaisnava was delivered back home to Vaikunthaloka, back to Godhead. Such is the benefit of somehow or other becoming the favorite of a Vaisnava. ….

Text 30:
Seeing the dog eating the green coconut pulp and chanting “Krishna, Krishna” again and again, all the devotees present were very much surprised.

Text 32:
This is the result of sadhu-sanga, consequent association with Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and promotion back home, back to Godhead. This result is possible even for a dog, by the mercy of the Vaisnava. Therefore, everyone in the human form of life should be induced to associate with devotees.

Thank you.
your unworthy servant,

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