Talk with Svarūpa Dāmodara , Vṛndāvana , 1977-06-20
Svarūpa Dāmodara: ...Calcutta yesterday all day. I was stranded for several hours.
Prabhupāda: So this can be given to the Deities, these flowers.
Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: They're very nice. Are they scented?
Svarūpa Dāmodara: Some scent. We have another one. It has 108 petals exactly. It's white when full bloomed. Just started, this monsoon. The full season will come sometime in August, August and September. Lotus are everywhere, these flowers, on either side of the road, and all lakes full of lotuses.
Prabhupāda: Pineapple. Your country is famous for pineapple.
Svarūpa Dāmodara: Pineapple is very sweet. This is another season, but in about three weeks the larger variety will come. This is a little smaller type. The bigger ones, big. And it is green outside, but it's very sweet, full of juice. The hillsides all covered with pineapples, and it's very cheap.
Prabhupāda: So Calcutta, there was rain.
Svarūpa Dāmodara: Oh, yes. The farming is very good this time in our side, Bengal and in Assam and in Manipur. So much rain from the south. And I saw from the plane that everything is already green.
Prabhupāda: [aside:] Why you are bringing[?]? Is it necessary? [break]
Svarūpa Dāmodara: But he doesn't want to speak.
Prabhupāda: You have asked him already?
Svarūpa Dāmodara: Yes, I said, "We are coming in September," so he's... We'll be giving lectures there. And the Atishah[?] personally told me that he never thought these ideas before. He said this is the first time that he's seeing such things, that science can be utilized in understanding the nature of the self or life from Bhagavad-gītā. Then I also went to Bose Institute. I wanted to talk with the dir...
Prabhupāda: Oh, Bose Institute.
Svarūpa Dāmodara: Yes. The director wasn't there, but there was very leading professor. His name was Amrtabal Singh. He's the..., just next to the...
Prabhupāda: Woman? Woman?
Svarūpa Dāmodara: No, no, Amrtabal Singh is the name. And he told me he didn't have time to talk with me because, he said, he had a meeting. So then I just told him that I just came to see the director, but since the director is not there I just want to let him know that "We want to hold a conference on life sciences and Kṛṣṇa consciousness, so if you are interested, I'd like to invite you because you're a leading scientist. And the Bose Institute is quite well known. So I'd like you to participate in our conference." Then he asked me, "What is that conference?" Then I started describing about the way modern science is going at this time. "Science says that everything is molecules. So what do you think as a scientist? Now, the way we communicate... I talk with you, and you talk to me, but the way we communicate, science say that these are just chemical reactions. You talk because of some chemical reactions. And so what do you think about this modern philosophy?" Then I started talking about the very unsatisfactory explanations of these ideas according to modern science and trying to introduce concept of Bhagavad-gītā, that "Life is nonchemical and nonphysical. It is spiritual. When we study physics, chemistry and mathematics, we simply study matter, but actually we don't really study life. But modern science says that life is nothing but chemicals. So we are determined to show to the people, especially to the leading scientists, that the knowledge that we have is all wrong. There must be something beyond that we just know so far." Then he started taking great interest, and I talked with him for a little more than an hour. He... And even he was thinking of postponing that... He had a meeting, and he telephoned. He said... He started discussing with me, and the talk became so interesting that he postponed the meeting. He even said. [laughs] So he was very nice, actually. He said that he agrees that in the Western..., especially in the United States, the leading scientists are taking too much for granted. They're saying too much, very unscientific, saying that life started from molecules. He said it's all unknown. These are all stories. So he said that it's a little too much. Science doesn't know these things. He agreed to that point very clearly. I said, "Do you think scientists like...? It is your responsibility, especially from this land, to show that the concept..."
Prabhupāda: We know.
Svarūpa Dāmodara: Yes. And he actually was very interested, and he told me to write about Mandeha[?], the director, so that they can make arrangements and so we can speak. So I just had these few hours, and I wanted to go to the Indian school for experimental medicine that is in Jadavpur. I know the director. The director is from Calcutta University, and I just about to see him, but I couldn't see him. I didn't have the time. So... But we have, I think, plenty of scope, doing these things on a wider scale.
Svarūpa Dāmodara: And I also published this little concept about what these, all these lectures is about. So it says, "Announcing a worldwide lecture tour on the origin of life and matter, sponsored by Bhaktivedanta Institute for Higher Studies, Founder-Ācārya His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda." And then I gave a whole series from here to here, and I also gave the topics and...
Prabhupāda: Very nice.
Svarūpa Dāmodara: So like to hear a little bit?
Svarūpa Dāmodara: Said, "Bhaktivedanta Institute is a center for advanced studies in the research into the Vedic scientific knowledge concerning the nature of consciousness and the self. This institute is the academic division of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness and consists of a body of scientists and scholars who have recognized the unique [indistinct] of His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda's teachings who brought Kṛṣṇa consciousness to the West. The main purpose of the Institute is to explore the implications of the Vedic knowledge as it appears in all features of main culture, and to present these findings in courses, lectures, and audio-visual aides, monographs, books and a quarterly journal, Sa-vijñānam, etc.
"The Institute presents most specifically modern science and other fields of knowledge in light of the Vaiṣṇava philosophy and tradition, providing a completely new perspective on the reality, quite different from that of modern educational systems. One reason for the increasing interest of the Western and the young intellectuals in Śrīla Prabhupāda's teachings is doubtlessly the growing awareness that in spite of their scientific and technological advancements, the real goal of human life has somehow been missed. The philosophy of the Bhaktivedanta Institute begins from a totally different premise from that of modern science. The central doctrine of modern science is that all phenomena, including those of life and consciousness, can be fully explained and understood by the [indistinct] of matter alone. The dictum that life is a manifestation of matter is indeed the ultimate rationale for the entire civilization of material aggrandizement. The Vedas, on the other hand, teach that conscious life is original, fundamental and eternal. This in fact is the essence of Bhagavad-gītā = ahaṁ sarvasya prabhavo mattaḥ sarvaṁ pravartate [10.8]. On this fundamental and critical point, modern science and the Vedic knowledge find themselves opposed.
"The Bhaktivedanta Institute has therefore begun a worldwide lecture tour in order to bring this most fundamental knowledge to every continent. This Institute is clearly demonstrating that the Vedic version is not a matter simply of faith or belief but is scientific in the strict sense of the term. Although many of its features may appear difficult to verify experimentally, others have direct implications concerning what one may expect to observe, as this viewpoint will show as a stimulating challenge to the truly scientific state, to whom we owe the very restricted framework imposed upon our scientific understanding of nature for the past 200 years. Modern science started as an experiment to see how far matter could be explained without invoking God. The Bhaktivedanta Institute has come forward to introduce Vedic knowledge on a genuinely scientific basis for the first time in the history of this modern scientific age. The lecture series in the Indian subcontinent will start from September 1977 and last until February 1978. We request the scientists, scholars and students to kindly participate in this most challenging educational program, which will open up wide fields for fertile thought and meaningful study.
"Some of the topics are listed as follows = 1. What is life and what is matter? 2. Quantum theory and the laws of consciousness. 3. New scientific paradigm---[indistinct] beyond the laws of nature 4. Demonstration by information theory and computer science that life cannot arise from matter. 5. Chemical evolution---a molecular fairytale. 6. Genetic engineering and biomedical ethics. 7. Philosophy and psychology of science. 8. Paramātmā and the process of acquiring knowledge. 9. Scientific message of Kṛṣṇa consciousness. 10. The origin of life and matter.
"For further information, please contact Western headquarter, United States; Eastern headquarter, Bombay; and spiritual headquarter, Vṛndāvana." [laughter]
Prabhupāda: [laughs] All glories to Svarūpa Dāmodara.
Svarūpa Dāmodara: All glories to Śrīla Prabhupāda. And I already got some very positive remarks, especially in Manipur. They invited us... There is a center called Bhaktambabu[?] Research Center in Manipur, so they invited for a speaking engagement. They wanted to get it in printed form so that they also publish in the university. There is a Jawaharlal University in Manipur, and there is also law college. In several college they already invited.
Prabhupāda: So the Bose Institute of Research, they have invited you?
Svarūpa Dāmodara: Oh, yes.
Prabhupāda: Did you not mention...?
Svarūpa Dāmodara: Oh... This was... Yeah, I haven't mentioned it yet.
Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: Did this article come out after?
Svarūpa Dāmodara: Yeah, this article came after. I could have mentioned, but it was just for general remark.
Prabhupāda: So let them issue later on, and you can make.
Svarūpa Dāmodara: Sometime we are preparing, called, a brochure for this lecture series. We'll make it color. So I already have the outline in Boston. So we're titling, "Announcing a Worldwide Lecture Series on the Origin of Life in the Matter, sponsored by Bhaktivedanta Institute for Higher Studies and Founder-Ācārya His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda." And we have some colored pictures inside and a little, also, synopsis of the theme, the topics. We say, "Chemical Evolution---A Molecular Fairy Tale," and we have about three or four lines describing what the lecture should be about and what is the main theme of the talk. And we also have photographs of four or five of us who are going to speak and a little background of the candidate. So we wanted to make it very official.
Svarūpa Dāmodara: And also making it nice-looking.
Prabhupāda: And print very well.
Svarūpa Dāmodara: Yes. So that will be useful for making engagements. That we will do before we come here. And it's already outlined.
Prabhupāda: Very nice. So money is ready there?
Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: Yes, money is ready there. Svarūpa Dāmodara hasn't heard yet about Ambarīṣa's offer.
Svarūpa Dāmodara: I haven't heard about this.
Prabhupāda: For starting our museum.
Svarūpa Dāmodara: In Washington?
Svarūpa Dāmodara: So Ambarīṣa is buying...
Prabhupāda: He is prepared to pay us about two hundred...
Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: Thousand.
Svarūpa Dāmodara: Jaya. That's wonderful. In Washington it will be very nice, the center of the world.
Svarūpa Dāmodara: So we'll all save our Bhaktivedanta...
Prabhupāda: Three? Three hundred million?
Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: He said... He has thirty million dollars.
Svarūpa Dāmodara: I think that will be very attractive, and it will open up wide cultural aspects of Kṛṣṇa consciousness. And we will also have our institute in Washington, D.C...
Prabhupāda: Yes. So there is money, there is intelligence and... That's all. I can give you one... [indistinct] You have taken your lunch now?
Svarūpa Dāmodara: Yes, we'll take prasādam.
Svarūpa Dāmodara: You look better, Śrīla Prabhupāda.
Prabhupāda: Acchā? [break]