Q: Having seen that the solar probe has reached the sun, how does this compare with the Vedic view of Surya and the sun being the chariot of the sun god? Is it the case that as human beings we are perceiving only
on a certain platform of reality?
A: That sounds like a reasonable way to respond to the situation. It also holds well with scientific perspectives: human beings have a very limited perception of the physical cosmos as per standard modes of perception. Of course, scientific instrumentation arguably extends upon those limitations, but how far they extend – who can say?
Meanwhile, Gaudiya Vaishnavas appreciate that material energy is infinitely complex, for all practical purposes. After all, if the spiritual realm is considered unlimited and the material realm is considered a quarter of the spiritual domain – well then, that’s unlimited in the sense that 25% of infinity is also unlimited. Having said that, Sukadeva Goswami clearly states that no one knows the full complexity of Krishna’s material energy even if granted a lifetime as long as that as Lord Brahma (311 quadrillion years), who is considered the chief engineer of the universe (on Krishna’s behalf). Krishna’s energies
So no doubt, these scientific instruments are perceiving something, and that something may offer numerous practical
applications. But how much of that something represents the totality of all potential “somethings” – who can say? Even from a scientific perspective, the “something” scientists may feel comfortable knowing in the present will likely become dwarfed by the “something” scientists will feel comfortable knowing in the future, assuming scientific knowledge continues to progress. In that light, today’s something is a nominal something compared to future scientific somethings, so if seen in that light, there is not much to be proud of when considering “something” in the present tense. So while useful knowledge may well be culled from a present-day solar probe, how much more there is to be known is anyone’s best guess.
Send your Ask a Nerd questions to:
Jun 25, 2022
Radhapriya Chawla, ISKCON Toronto Communications