Published On: Sat, Apr 13th, 2013

Scarcity: the Fruit of Illusion

April 13, 2013 (VNN) – from Back to Godhead Magazine


Ecologists, economists, sociologists, etc., are greatly concerned with the population explosion, for they hypothesize that as the population continues to increase by leaps and bounds, the eventual result will be insufficient natural resources for the minimum needs of society. Some countries of the world appear to have already been overtaken by this problem, and for other more prosperous nations the problem, although still theoretical, is a cause of serious concern.

Although the general sociological and ecological approach is to examine the problem of increasing population and decreasing resources from the quantitative angle, the Vedic analysis which presents important ideas which should be seriously considered by modern social planners stresses the qualitative aspect of the problem. Regardless of census figures, it’s the quality of the population that is important.

The idea that the earth is unable to provide sufficient resources to keep up with an increasing world population fails to give proper credit to the laws of nature. By nature’s laws there is already sufficient food and shelter provided for all creatures. The ant eats merely a few grains in a day, whereas an elephant may consume hundreds of pounds to maintain itself. Who is providing for them? There is no government agency required for the maintenance and sustenance of these creatures or any others for their needs are automatically fulfilled by the wonderfully complex and efficient laws of nature.

Similarly, there is sufficient food allotted by nature to feed every human being also. If the population of certain countries is starving, it is not due to any lack of supply on the part of nature, but to gross mismanagement by the leaders of the nations of the world. For the sake of maintaining a particular economic standard, the United States government disposes of tons of foodstuffs daily, which are badly needed by the starving population of other countries. But, the government authorities argue, if these measures were not taken, it would be the Americans who would suffer economic decline and consequent starvation. Thus there is a merry-go-round of economic jugglery and economic entanglement for the sake of insuring the basic necessities which for animals are automatically provided by nature without complicated governmental intervention.

The problem is a matter of lack of knowledge. If one understands the laws of nature and lives in harmony with these laws, he can live simply and peacefully or opulently and peacefully without much difficulty. But if one tries to exploit the laws of nature without proper knowledge of how these laws are acting, the result is that he becomes increasingly entangled in nature’s complexities, and suffering for himself and his community is the inevitable result.

The first principle of understanding nature is to understand that there is a force behind nature by which she is controlled. The material scientists postulate different evolutionary theories to explain the complex laws of universal harmony. These theories, however, are constantly changing, and therefore they must be considered unreliable. They are merely wonderful concoctions to avoid the obvious conclusion: nature is controlled by a superior intelligence God.

Reliance on the limited reasoning power of the brains of material science results only in confusion and complication, for one speculator never fully agrees with another. If, however, one accepts the simple explanation which stares us in the face that nature displays an intelligent order because it is controlled by an intelligent person then the laws of nature are easy to understand. If everything is created by God, then everything belongs to God, and therefore everything should be used according to His laws.

The Vedic literature confirms this supposition as a basic fact of nature. Among all the living beings, there is one supreme eternal living being who provides the necessities of the others. This can be observed by anyone in his practical daily life. We are living by the grace of the sun, the water, the air, etc., none of which are provided by government agencies or scientific research teams. They are all provided by the Supreme Lord, and therefore they are all the property of the Lord and are to be used according to His injunctions.

The truth of God’s existence is accepted by Krsna conscious analysts as axiomatic. For those who wish logical evidence and proof, there is ample explanation in the literature of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, which is both reasonable and convincing, but space does not allow for exposition of this theme here, nor is this our purpose. For the purpose of understanding the Vedic system of social planning, it is expedient to at least theoretically accept the existence of God as an axiomatic fact.

If we accept that there is God, then we are like citizens in a beautiful garden in a public park. Anyone is free to enjoy the natural beauty of a public park, but if one disobeys the laws of the Parks Department, which are very liberal and are meant for the benefit of all the citizens, then his privileges are revoked, and he is punished by the laws of the state. Thus misuse of independence results in misfortune.

Similarly, as human beings we all have independence. We are free to act as we choose. But there are two kinds of citizens those who are law-abiding and those who are outlaws, who defy the authority of God. The duty of the God conscious person is clear to live a simple life of plain living and high thinking, taking whatever he needs to live in health and happiness, and devote his essential energy to the development of God realization. This is the purpose of the laws of nature. There is sufficient provision by nature for all human beings to live in this simple and uncomplicated manner and develop God consciousness, but those who are against God consciousness create a disturbance in the laws of nature and thus cause suffering for themselves and others.

The basic problem of the population explosion is not that there are too many people, but that there are too many outlaws. As already pointed out, material nature is sufficiently opulent to provide whatever is needed for the maintenance of all living beings who are placed under her charge. But, on the other hand, she is also capable of withholding her resources from those who break her stringent laws by trying to take more than they need.

If we understand the purpose of nature and the laws of nature, we can easily live in harmony with nature in a world of peace and prosperity. But if we are ignorant of nature’s laws and purpose, we will simply create chaos. Modern civilization has created worldwide chaos only because of ignorance of the laws of nature or the laws of God, which are very simple but which have to be understood, with all reasoning and logic, from a properly informed spiritual source. The basic principles of God consciousness agreed upon by members of all religions and sects is that God is the Supreme Person, we are all His servants, and the resources of nature are all His property. It is very simple and clear.

We are all boastful of our so-called advancement of material civilization, but unless there is actual peace in the minds of the citizens of the world, there can be no real claim of advancement. And without God consciousness, there can be no peace, but only a hard struggle for existence in a world of selfish competition for supremacy among nations and among men. Therefore, any civilization which is not established on the principles of God consciousness is not civilization at all.

The difficulty is that neither the leadership of the world nor the followers of the world leaders are educated in the science of God consciousness, and therefore they are unable to offer practical suggestions for successful management of their nations or the world. Therefore, there is great need for a worldwide program to educate people in general regarding the science of God consciousness, and this educational attempt should be spearheaded by the intelligentsia of society. It is the duty of all intelligent and responsible men in society to seriously consider the problems of the world in the light of spiritual knowledge, since the citizens of the world are in reality spiritual living entities.

Because world leadership is acting under the misconception of ownership of property and resources which actually belong to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, it is acting in illusion. For example, I may be invited to a friend’s house to stay for some days, but if I somehow come to think that the house is mine, this is called illusion, and the result of such illusion is that I must be in anxiety due to the falseness of my claim. Similarly, one who thinks that the natural resources of the world are his to exploit is in illusion, and since this illusion is predominant all over the world, we are living in world wide illusory consciousness and consequent worldwide tension.

Sectarian religious efforts cannot be effective in achieving a solution to this problem because no sectarian religion can offer a universal platform of God consciousness which can be acceptable to the members of other religious sects. In this connection, however, Krsna consciousness is offering a unique program because it is a completely non-sectarian spiritual science which can be easily understood and adopted by all the people of the world, regardless of religious conviction or faith.

The basic principle of the Krsna consciousness philosophy is that the greatest need of world civilization is a systematic program to broadcast the glories of the Supreme Lord by every available means. Because the Supreme Lord is transcendental to the confusion and anxiety of the material world, glorification of the Lord is similarly transcendental. The Supreme Lord is situated within the hearts of all living entities, and since all living entities are parts and parcels of God and therefore originally God conscious living beings, as soon as one hears the transcendental sound vibration of glorification of the Lord, the Lord acts from within to purify his consciousness and revive his original purity of mind and purpose.

The media of the world are overburdened with mundane propaganda glorifying the temporary and flickering tidings of the material world, but such news cannot act for the real benefit of the citizens of the world. The spiritually realized person can see that all living entities are parts and parcels of the Supreme Lord. He sees everyone as a spirit soul and serves him as such. The mundane philanthropist can offer only temporary solutions which pertain to the outer covering of the living being, the material body. This bodily welfare work does not, however, solve the real problem, any more than cleaning the cage of a starving bird acts to satisfy the bird’s hunger.

If only a small percentage of the world’s leaders understand the importance of acting in Krsna consciousness, the entire face of the world can be changed. The public media the radio, the press, television are all in actuality the property of God because they exist by God’s energy. The ether through which television and radio waves travel and the trees which provide the paper on which newspapers are printed are not created by man, but by the Supreme Lord. Therefore, the claim of any man, syndicate or nation to have proprietorship of any of the public media must be considered an illusion only. Because these media exist on God’s resources, they are therefore the property of God, and they should be used for the glorification of God.

The headlines should announce the glories of God, the radios should broadcast the name of God, television should present the pastimes of God. The mass media is now acting as a worldwide disservice. The newspaper is a chronicle of birth, death, disease and old age which is distributed in the millions and thrown in the streets as rubbish the next day in exchange for that day’s news, which is really nothing new, but only the same static mundane tidings. Similarly, radio and television are polluting the world with mundane sound vibrations which are of no benefit to the spiritual advancement of civilization. The newspapermen and television commentators of the world are sleeping, and what can a sleeping man report? We call on the leaders of the mass media to wake up and broadcast the name, fame, qualities and pastimes of the Supreme Lord for the benefit of all living entities. We call upon the scientists of the world to learn the greatest science, the science of the spirit soul, the active principle within everything, which is moving the material world. We call upon the politicians to organize political structures within their jurisdiction for the advancement of spiritual knowledge, instead of mundane sense gratification for their own personal and extended selfish interests. We call upon the theologians of the world to learn the universal science of Krsna consciousness, which is relevant for men of all religions because it is the postgraduate science of religion, the complete practical science of how everyone can actually develop love of God. We call upon writers to write of God, singers to sing of God, workers to work for God, and we call upon every human being to revive his dormant relationship with God by the practical method of hearing about Krsna from His devotees.

The supreme omnipotent Lord has full potency to provide for the prosperity of millions and billions of universes. Therefore, the only real scarcity is a scarcity of genuine God consciousness. It is the mission of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness to counteract this scarcity, for that will automatically adjust all other problems.