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Can Man Control Nature?

Especially nowadays we hear the scientists saying: “We must fight the Covid virus, we must fight nature by science.” But is it really possible? Is the nature to be controlled by mere mortals? His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada gives practical arguments against such so-called scientific claims in the following conversation for the pleasure of the devotees. He also discusses how the Hare Krsna song is more enjoyable than any other mundane song.

Prabhupada: In the history there is not a single instance that man has controlled nature. But nature has controlled man. That is the history. Where is the proof that you shall control? You are controlled. Nature is forcing you to become an old man. You are becoming. You control like that, that you remain a young man. Nature is controlling you to die. You control nature that "Death will not be forced upon me." So where is the history that man has controlled nature?

Nitai: They say that now we are controlling atomic energy, and now we are controlling...

Prabhupada: What is that atomic energy? What is the use of it? We'll die. Without atomic energy you'll die. What is this control? Death is already there, and you are utilizing atomic energy for death, that's all. So what is your credit? You use atomic energy that you'll not die. Then it is control. Death is already there. You might have atomic energy or no atomic energy—you have to die. By atomic energy you are accelerating the same problem of death, that's all.

Tamala Krsna: Gradually we are learning how to become deathless.

Prabhupada: Eh?

Tamala Krsna: They will argue...

Prabhupada: That is foolishness. That is called hope against hope. That is foolishness. Therefore we say because you are expecting like that, therefore we understand that you are a fool. We can immediately understand, "Here is a grand fool." That is our study. Many fools have done like that, and you are one of them, you are also trying to be. Therefore our conclusion is, "You are fool number one."

Devotee: We may not be able to actually stop death, but while we're here we can at least prolong our lifetime and...

Prabhupada: That also you cannot do. Where is the proof?

Devotee: Well, at the atomic research plants...

Prabhupada: Oh, that is another foolishness, I say. You have not done it. You are simply expecting. Hope against hope, that's all.

Devotee: But they are making different cures for critical diseases that are causing deaths...

Prabhupada: That's all right. But that does not mean there will be no disease. That is already being done by many medical practitioners—better medicine. But where is the medicine that will not be disease?

Tamala Krsna: Gradually we are eliminating, one by one, all the diseases.

Prabhupada: No, that you have not done. No disease... You have increased diseases. You have stopped one disease and increased another. Not stopped, but you have increased another disease.

Devotee: We have to learn, though, how to prevent all these diseases.

Prabhupada: Therefore you are fool. You have to learn. That means you have to learn, means you are fool.

Yasodanandana: But we are learning.

Prabhupada: Don't assert it, that you have done it already, you shall do it... As soon as you say, "We have to learn," that means you are fools. And why, you are student, why you are claiming all these perfections? You have to learn. That you have to learn from us.

Brahmananda: Actually, when I was in Germany, there was evidence of how the scientists increased disease. They invented some vaccine to counteract influenza, and they injected all of Germany with this vaccine. But what happened is sometimes the body builds up resistance to these vaccines and produces another germ. So, as a result, another type of influenza was created, which was far more worse than the previous. It made people get fever for four and five days straight, 105 degrees.

Prabhupada: That is the way of... They have discovered this streptomycin for tuberculosis, that if one takes too many injection of streptomycin, then it does not act.

Devotee: He becomes immune.

Prabhupada: Yes.

Brahmananda: So as a result of the vaccine, they created a worse type of influenza, and they have nothing to counteract that worse type. So now they have to invent another type.

Prabhupada: These rascals give trouble to the people, especially in India. They are not after the vaccine. They will catch people and force them. Just see. This is going on. Boys and others are avoiding, they are going, going this way, that way. Sometimes they fall, they do not know, and capture and force. These rascals are creating havoc. Only to kick them on their face with shoes, that's all. The so-called scientists and biologists and... They do not know anything.

Tamala Krsna: You were saying that all the scientists are fools and rascals, but they may challenge, "How has your knowledge benefited you?"

Prabhupada: Your knowledge has not benefited you. Our taking your so-called science has benefited you because you are using it for Krsna. You have worked so hard, so result is going to Krsna. Hare Krsna. We are making the best... Just like there is chair, but we don't care for the chair. We can sit down. But if it is available, we don't reject it. Therefore if you are making favor to me, you have made a chair and I am sitting there. Not that I require your chair; without your chair I will..., shall die. That is not my policy. You rascal, you have done something; I'm using it for your benefit. That's all.

Tamala Krsna: They may argue that the knowledge which you say you have, it doesn't stop all of these things from happening to you. You're also suffering from symptoms of...

Prabhupada: Yes. But I'm trying, because I have got this material body like you, so I have to suffer like you. But I'm making treatment. You are not making treatment.

Tamala Krsna: But the effects appear to be the same on everyone.

Prabhupada: No. We are not so much after doctors or medical...

Tamala Krsna: Your students also suffer from diseases and all...

Prabhupada: That's all right. So long the body's there, one has to suffer. That we tolerate. That is advised in the Bhagavad-gita,

matra sparsas tu kaunteya


agamapayino nityas

tams titiksasva bharata

[Bg 2.14]

Titiksa. We know how to tolerate. We are not mad after curing. We know these things will happen so long I have got this body.

Tamala Krsna: So your difference is that you tolerate, whereas the scientists don't.

Prabhupada: Because we know that there is no cure. You do not know. You are trying to cure. That is the difference between you and me. We know that so long I have got this body, I'll have to suffer. So we do not stop our business. We tolerate and do our business. That's all. But you have no business. You are simply trying, hope against hope. But it will never be fulfilled. That is the... [break] Apart from us, take other living entities, just like birds, beasts, they do not know science. But so long they have got this body, they are also sometimes diseased. But they have no science. How they are cured? The same thing, just like this trees, they have no scissors, so how their leaves are being trimmed, falling down, again new leaves are coming." We have discovered scissors, or clippers, but you have no clippers. How their hairs, or their leaves, are being cut, vanished?

Devotee: Prabhupada, according to archeological findings primitive man, before, when they would get some disease they would just die. And now modern science has developed so nicely...

Prabhupada: That is there. And who is not dying now?

Devotee: Well, but...

Prabhupada: Well, well, well...

Devotee: ...they died at thirty, forty years old. Now we're dying at a hundred years old.

Prabhupada: So what is the difference, you die after forty years or hundred years? These trees dies after thousands years. Does it mean the trees are better than you? [laughter] If one dies after one thousand years, does it mean his life is successful?

Devotee: But all of us want to live longer.

Prabhupada: Why? Who is allowing to live long? If you trying to live longer, already trees are living longer than you. Then a tree is better than you. By living longer you want to take some credit, then trees should be given that credit. That is the point. Many big, big men, they lived for short time. Just like Sankaracarya lived for thirty-two years, Caitanya Mahaprabhu lived for forty-eight years. They're still living. There are so many followers of Sankaracarya, so many followers of Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Krsna told that He lived for 125 years, and Krsna is still living.

Yasodanandana: Jesus Christ only lived for thirty-six years.

Prabhupada: Who's caring for any tree who lives for five thousand years? If that is your point—to live long is a great credit—there are already so many living entities who live long, longer than you.

Devotee: Well, they don't... They may be living a long time, but they don't have the same intelligence how to use their life span...

Prabhupada: That is also [indistinct], that the dogs also got intelligence, the hogs also got intelligence. The intelligence which you are claiming, that is all discussed in Srimad-Bhagavatam. It is said yes, they are living, but you don't see that breathing. So then the vastra, the bellow, it is breathing, "Waa, waa, waa, waa." If breathing is a credit, then give credit to vastra. It is breathing more forcefully. Yes they're living, but they have... don't see they have any sex enjoyment [indistinct]. You see the dogs and hogs, they are having very good sex enjoyment, even on the street, without any restriction, and begetting three dozen children in a year. And we give credit to whom?

Tamala Krsna: Well, apart from science, we have very nice philosophy and literature, studying art.

Prabhupada: That is real science. Science we admit, but your science is not. You are trying to go against the laws of nature.

Tamala Krsna: What about our art and literature, which just shows that...

Prabhupada: No. That is different department so far science is concerned. But pure science is useless, simply useless.

Tamala Krsna: If we acknowledge that, suppose we acknowledge that, but we say that still our cultural advancements are very great. The students say that...

Prabhupada: That's a fact. That's a fact.

Tamala Krsna: They say, "Why...?" Many people I meet in the universities, they're not involved with science very much. Their main dealings are with culture, literature, arts, philosophy, music. They say... This feels, "We have very wonderful, beautiful things to study, so why should we take up studying what you have to offer? There's so much to study with what we're doing. Why should we join your movement? Why should we give up studying such beautiful music and art and literature?"

Prabhupada: Because you'll like it. And there is beautiful sounds, you'll hear it. The animals hear it.

Tamala Krsna: But you sing the same song all the time.

Prabhupada: That's all right. But do you hear it? As soon as you chant Hare Krsna mantra, hundreds of persons, they'll have to hear it. Ask them not to hear it. You go, you scientists, [indistinct] ...don't hear it. They hear it. That's all.

Tamala Krsna: But your music is of one chanting, is very limited. Chanting...

Prabhupada: First of all you finish this limited, then you go to unlimited. You have no experience of this limited, what to speak of the unlimited. Krsna has described you mudhas, and you have taken. You are mudhas. You may try to take credit in so many ways, but our conclusion is following the footsteps of Krsna. You are all mudhas.

Devotee: Just like some people may express God by chanting Hare Krsna, but we can also express God through our musical talent.

Prabhupada: We are doing. We are doing. We decorate God so nicely [indistinct]. We are doing art, painting, everything. They, cooking art, so many varieties of different that we are offering to Krsna. There's no scarcity of art, [indistinct].

Tamala Krsna: We are trying to attain the Supreme through our own music. We are doing that through our own mus...

Prabhupada: No. That is... That is another nonsense. We are trying to please the Supreme by the supreme music. Golokera prema-dhana hari-nama-sankirtana. These sounds are not mundane sounds. These are Vaikuntha sounds. Narada muni bajaya vina radhika-ramana name. It is brought by Narada Muni. It is not manufactured here.

Tamala Krsna: Don't you think that the great musicians like Bach, they were inspired by God to make this music?

Prabhupada: But they [indistinct] do not believe in God. So that is another thing. But this music is like you are hearing music ten thousand miles away. Similarly, this music is being imported from Vaikuntha, many millions and many millions of miles away. So this is not just music of this mundane sound. Otherwise, why you are not tired, repeating it for many, many days? Any mundane sound, we repeat it, you cannot prolong it. You cannot prolong it. But we are..., we have learned this only Hare Krsna, and you can chant this. And you also hear it. You're attracted.

Yasodanandana: You have said that variety is the mother of enjoyment. So we are enjoying many different songs.

Prabhupada: Unless there is variety, how we are enjoying?

Yasodanandana: Yes. So therefore you only have one song. But we have many songs.

Prabhupada: That's all right. Who cares for you?

Yasodanandana: So many people.

Prabhupada: No.

Tamala Krsna: But there are so many symphonies...

Prabhupada: That is our credit. We have got one song, and we are attracting so many. You have got many songs, but you attract yourself only. That...

Devotee: When there is a symphony orchestra, ten thousand, twenty thousand people have come to hear.

Prabhupada: But who takes it seriously?

Devotee: They all do.

Prabhupada: They hear and go away. That's all. Temporary, temporary.

Devotee: But then they will also buy the record and listen at home.

Prabhupada: That's all right, but our song, we are chanting always. Where is that song you have got? You have got to... Just like George Harrison. He has to give new records. Nobody cares for the old record. Although he is a big musician, then his business will stop if he says that "I have given one song, that's all." [laughter] Who will care for it? That is our credit.

Devotee: But they will say only a select few are interested in that Hare Krsna song. Not so many people.

Prabhupada: That's all right. Not select few. We're increasing the number, many thousands. Cannot say select few. Select few was beginning, because I was chanting Tompkinson Square. And now that it is not select few, and it will increase. But the song is the same. That is our credit.

(Conversation with Devotees – April 14, 1975, Hyderabad)

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