A report on Scientific Sankirtan Seva
(Harmony of Science and Religion)
at Imphal, Manipur
26th August - 10th September, 2013
1. Scientific Presentations of Spiritual Biology and identity of Life Processes
Bhakti Vedanta Institute of Spiritual Culture and Science, Princeton, NJ, USA (www.bviscs.org), Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Institute, Siliguri, WB, India (www.bviscs.org/scsi) and Srila Sripad Educational and Cultural Research Foundation, Imphal, Manipur, India organized several programs on the scientific basis of Bhagavad-Gita in Imphal for promoting the Harmony of Science and Religion. The Original conception of the Scientific Presentations of Krishna Consciousness was conceived by His Divine Grace Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada and was given to Srila Sripad Bhaktisvarupa Damodara Goswami Maharaja (Dr. T.D. Singh, Founding Director – Bhaktivedanta Institute) and Sripad Bhakti Madhava Puri Maharaja, Ph.D. (Serving Director, Bhakti Vedanta Institute). Later Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaja encouraged and gave further nourishment to the Bhakti Vedanta Institute devotee scientists in their services which were coming down via the instructions of Srila Prabhupada. Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaja gave the deepest contributions of Sriman Mahaprabhu establishing consciousness as the foundational nature of reality and dismissed Darwinism as pure misconception. He explained, “Consciousness comes first and then matter. The basis of all things material is consciousness, which is spiritual. Consciousness can contact consciousness directly. ”
By the mercy of Srila Bhaktisvarupa Damodar Maharaja and Sripad Bhakti Madhava Puri Maharaja, Sripad Bhakti Niskama Shanta Maharaja, Ph.D., His Grace Ajit Prabhu and Bhaktivijnana Muni, Ph.D. got many opportunities to propagate the scientific basis of true religion in Manipur during our visit for Janmastami celebrations. First we had a short term course in the Manipur University from 2nd to 7th September, 2013, then we had a very exciting lecture session at Earth Science Department, Manipur University on the Teachers Day, 5th September, 2013 and to conclude there was a Seminar at the Regional Institute of Medical Science (RIMS), Imphal, Manipur. Manipur University and RIMS are the leading educational and research establishments of Manipur. There was interaction with several senior doctors, senior faculties and a large gathering of students and exchange of advance research knowledge in the field of 21st century biology and science that is confirming the rich theistic concepts of Vedanta.
Prof. Irabanta Singh, the Dean of Life Science Department, Manipur University inaugurated the short term course on spiritual biology. He graciously explained that when knowledgeable people discuss advanced biology and religion, then such dialogues become very useful and we all must pay our attention to these devotee scientists from Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Institute. Topics of deeper scientific and religious significance were explained under several banners as given below in the photo copy of university notice:
The six day short term course in Manipur University was well attended by faculties and students. Among the faculties apart from Prof. N. Irabanta Singh, Prof. Varatharajan was a keen and attentive participant. He said that these new concepts of biology were very interesting, thought provoking and significant because we are usually taught in general curriculum only about Darwin, genetic determinism and reductionistic concepts. But today advanced biology had found newer concepts which have completely invalidated the poor fitting models of conventional biology or abiology. As these concepts of 21st century biology are of significant scientific interest leading to the deeper spiritual significance, these must be introduced in education with the proper scientific perspective. He was especially attracted by the verse of Srimad Bhagavatam: jiva jivasya jivanam , that all life is coexisting and mutually co-producing. Only life can explain and sustain life. Biology cannot be understood as mere complex interplay of atoms and molecules.
Sripad Bhakti Niskama Shanta Maharaja, Ph.D. delivered a talk on the topic “Modern Geological Evidence Undermines Chronology of Geologic Column’  in the department of Earth Sciences at Manipur University. It was organized by the help of Prof. Arun Kumar and Head of the Department of Earth Sciences at Manipur University. The seminar was attended by the faculties from various departments as well as graduate students and research scholars of the Earth Science department. The seminar raised many questions about the chronology of sedimentary rocks. The uniformitarian assumptions of Nicholas Steno had been proved incorrect and this has opened a can of worms for the Darwinian evolutionary scenario due to the fact that the age of fossils collected do not follow Darwin’s preconceived notion. He also highlighted the flaws and inconclusiveness of radiometric dating techniques . The faculties also asked a few questions on the nature of the origin of earth and there was a lively discussion on the Vedantic Concept of Matter comes from Life and Life comes from Life concepts. They concluded that they had got a new perspective into looking at the nature of the formation of earth’s surface and will look into the experimental and theoretical nature of the fundamental experiments on sedimentation by Guy Berthault . Furthermore, they have shown interest in future of research potentials in the field of earth sciences as well as origin and evolution of life studies in the light of new directions they have obtained from the presentation. There is no other way for humanity to know about their origins without following the spiritual and deep conceptual axiomatic structures of Vedanta . The video of this entire lecture and the discussion can be found below:
Dr. Bhakti Niskama Shanta Maharaja had earlier presented the same paper in the recently concluded 18th Indian Geological Congress during April 27-29, 2013 at Bhopal, India. The leading geologists in India that had attended this congress also showed much interest in this topic. The video of lecture can be found below:
At RIMS, there were interactions with many doctors, including the HOD of department of Microbiology Dr. Sulochana Devi and Dr. Brajachand Singh. They appreciated the presentations on, (1) 21st century biology refutes the delusion of Genetic determinism and Environmental determinism in old biology (Abiology) by Sripad Bhakti Niskama Shanta Maharaja, Ph.D. and (2) Information, knowledge and Biology in the 21st century by Bhaktivijnana Muni, Ph.D. and concluded that the DNA cannot be said to be the controller of the cell, but rather DNA plays a less than fundamental role in controlling the cell and life. They further concluded that we have to include cognition into our studies on evolution and living processes of organisms to develop the real concept of biology . Dr. Brajachand was very concerned that in Manipur the need for addressing peaceful co-existence is paramount. He had requested us to address how we can achieve peace in Manipur. Manipur is a multicultural and multi religious society and its peace procedure is very crucial. Srila Sripad Maharaja (Dr. T.D. Singh) had himself said that if we can extract the essence from the advanced scientific knowledge and the religious wisdom within the phenomenon of a multi-religious and multi-cultural background, we can make way for a wonderful dialogue and we can all come together and forget our differences. Prof. Brajachand himself works in the area of HIV infection and AIDS. The social problems of HIV infection and AIDS are quite acute in Manipur . A student of RIMS College also asked us that sometimes setbacks come in our life and how should we face them. The lively question and answer session that ensued were mainly answered by Sripad Shanta Maharaja and His Grace Ajit Prabhu. Sripad Shanta Maharaja appreciated the head of department for concluding that DNA is not the controller of the cell and gave a summary synopsis of the demise of central dogma leading to the realization of composite cellular regulation, Natural Genetic Engineering, failure of Crick and Darwin in addressing Biology and the subjective evolution of consciousness propagated by the devotees of Sriman Maharabhu and specifically Srila B.R. Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaja and showed how that is confirmed in biology. Sripad Shanta Maharaja is quite fond of narrating the story of Alexander, the great that he had heard from Sripad Bhakti Madhava Puri Maharaja. He explained that Alexander had asked his famous entourage of Doctors, at his deathbed that the famous doctors around him cannot save him from death and all he had earned in terms of gold and riches were mere garbage and how he longed now for the wealth of soul without which a dying person is empty. A true human being must earn the necessary wealth for his soul, the atman and this was the realization he got from Aristotle in the beginning of his life and which was enriched further in his life in India when he met the sages .
Dr. Brajachand then also narrated his affectionate relation with Srila Bhaktisvarupa Damodar Maharaja. He said that Sripad Maharaja was like his brother and was a friend of his real brother and due to his religious and spiritually advanced realization was a true representative of God. He said that Sripad Maharaja was a little senior to himself in the D.M. College and was topper in his batch. Sripad Maharaja was an extremely brilliant student and had very strong and perfect memory. Sripad Maharaja had discussed about DNA with him for more than an hour during a flight when they shared seats side by side and had also taught him some chemistry. He also said that Sripad Maharaja was also selected to study the medical science to become a doctor but could not pursue that due to his financially poor background. He further said that once Sripad Maharaja organized a conference in RIMS Jublee Hall and had invited leading personalities and also had a cultural part where he had invited leading cultural personalities. He said that even though he was unqualified and had no knowledge of deeper spiritual and religious significance of medical science and scientific knowledge, yet by Sripad Maharaja’s encouragements he prepared a talk on AIDS and Religion. Sripad Maharaja had offered him a glass of fresh milk which he still remembers. In this way Sripad Maharaja had a great influence on the scientists and people all over the world. Really we know very little about Srila Sripad Maharaja but seeing through the words of the saintly persons and sastra, such examples teach us that a great devotee of Lord can wholesale transform anyone who has the humility and affection for a pure devotee of Lord Hari. His Grace Ajit Prabhu spoke in Manipuri language on the question of peace in Manipuri Society. Ajit Prabhu is a Manipuri Ranganiketan devotee of Sripad Maharaja and served the mission of Srila Sripad Maharaja in cultural presentations of Krishna Consciousness all over the world. He explained that for peace we must have meaningful peace education. He explained the importance of Bhagavat culture and proper hearing and practicing life as the foundation upon which the society can achieve peace. The flickering nature of material life, its flickering joys and lamentation were highlighted. They demonstrate to us that how human life is distinguished from animal life in that human life is a culture of meditation on five questions:
1) Why I am suffering?
2) How to solve that suffering?
3) Who am I?
4) Where I come from?
5) Where I will go after this life?
In conclusion His Grace Ajit Prabhu explained that when we can remember the saints and the Lord and their mercy then everything becomes nectar and that’s how our life’s potential can get a higher meaning and peaceful actuality. The video of this entire program can be found below:
2. Janmastami Celebrations at Srila Sripad Siksa Niketan, Kairangathen Sinam, Imphal East
Srila Sripad Siksa Niketan, Kairangathen Sinam, Imphal East organized a beautiful Cultural and traditional Rasa-lila performance on the occasion of Janmastami, the most Holy appearance day of Supreme Lord, Sri Krishna. It was an important instruction of Srila Prabhupada to Srila Sripad Maharaja that Manipur had inherited the Vaishnava tradition of Bhagavat culture from Srila Narottama Das Thakura. Srila Narottama Das Thakura had been bestowed the grace of Sriman Mahaprabhu and the six goswamis of Vrindavan and Srila Lokanath Acharya Thakura. Srila Prabhupada envisioned that if Manipuri Gaudiya Vaishnavism can be revived then Manipur will become the first Vaisnava state in the world. Bhagavat Culture when awakened in Manipur will give light to the entire world just as the Sun rises in the East and gives light to the whole world. This distribution of Bhagavat culture was the heart and soul of Srila Sripad. To this extent he formed a cultural troupe called ‘Ranganiketan’, or ‘House of colorful Arts’. Srila Sripad took this Ranganiketan party all over the world, including Paris, Kennedy Center, Washington D.C., ECOP center – Walt Disney Land and hundreds of schools through Los Angeles Music Centre. Ranganiketan represented India in many international children festivals. It also represented the topmost spiritual and religious message through the United Religions Initiative. Ranganiketana had representations in many Middle East countries through ICCR, GOI. It included a program for the World Trade Organization Ministerial conference in Singapore, December 1996. Ranganiketan also went to Canada, England, Italy, Finland, Egypt, Syria, Nepal, Burma, Germany, Poland, Finland, Switzerland, Australia, Peru, Venezuela, Brazil and many other countries throughout the world.
Srila Sripad Maharaja was a Ph.D. from the University of California, Irvine. By instruction and association of Srila Prabhupada and his mercy, he pioneered the Scientific Presentation of Krishna consciousness which attracted the leading scientists (including several Nobel laureates), scholars and philosophers of the world to take up a spiritual thinking in science. Yet additionally he was a deeply cultural personality and seeing this divine quality in him Srila Prabhupada asked him to take his cultural troupe all over the world, wherever he would make his scientific presentations. Ranganiketan became glorious through Srila Sripad, who was bestowed the highest mercy of Srila Narottama Das Thakura by Srila Prabhupada.
The deities of most holy and revered Gurudev, Srila Sripad Maharaja and Sri Sri Radha Madhava Jiu (more than 120 years old) were specially brought and placed in the Rasa Mandap. In the honor and to fulfill the instructions of Srila Sripad this year also the Srila Sripad Siksa Niketan, Kairangathen Sinam, Imphal East organized: (1) Rasa lila dance, (2) Kamsa badha, (3) Children’s drawing festival on Radha-Krishna on the auspicious occasion of Sri Krishna Janmastami and Nanda Utsav (Srila Prabhupada’s Vyasapuja Day). Devotees chanted the divine glories of Srila Prabhupada, his extraordinary enthusiasm and contribution to the preaching mission of Sriman Mahaprabhu.
We were searching for only seven children for the Rasa lila dance as we were concerned that in this remote mountainous area there was not much Vaishnava tradition. This was a multicultural and multi-religious population, and very few were acquainted with Vaishnava tradition. Further, many of them who had a Vaishnava background had stopped any practicing life. But when we were searching modestly for only seven, we received twenty six children with great enthusiasm who eagerly wanted to participate in the Rasa dance. The rasa lila was performed on the Janmastami day. The festival dance was splendid and was accompanied by parents, elderly and a large number of young children from all over the mountain region of Sina. The rasa lila performance brings out the unconditional, super excellent devotional service of Srimati Radharani. Afterwards, children became so happy that they wanted to perform the dance again and again. Even parents became happier seeing their children dancing and feeling joyful. In this way Krishna Consciousness is coming back in their minds and we all can witness this happiness through their smiling faces.
Afterwards there was a multicultural program by Chum Thang Music group. They brought a variety of percussion instruments and combined it with their tradition Sankirtan performance. There was also a performance of Nat Sankirtan as an invocation before rasa dance. The Nat Sankirtan is the very life and soul of Sriman Gauranga Mahaprabhu. Entire Pancha Tattva is present in the Nat-Sankirtan. It begins by performance of the raga. After the form is constructed by chanting the raga, Gauranga Mahaprabhu is invited to establish Himself in the form constructed thereof raga. Then Sriman Mahaprabhu begins to perform Maha-Sankirtan with His devotees. This is the topmost nectarine wealth of the Spiritual world. Then Mahaprabhu remembers the pastimes of Braja-lila and he enters into the deep mood of Braja-prema. Then Mahaprabhu becomes Radha and Krishna and plays the divine Rasa Lila dance. This rasa is completely divine and is not meant for this material world, or those who are still hankering for material enjoyments. It is realized by the blessed purified hearts (nirmal hrdayas) when they attain the highest mercy of Sriman Gauranga Mahaprabhu.
The Kamsa Badha play was held the next day after Janmastami, which is the day of Nandotsava and also the Vyasapuja day of Srila Prabhupada. All the villagers, the village Chief, children, ladies – all came and happily partook in the festival. All the time they kept thanking the festival and the divine gift of Srila Sripad Maharaja. The richest person of that area came and glorified the festival saying, “Thanks for bringing the wonderful spiritual and happy atmosphere to the locality. By the culture of your Gurudev, our village is becoming transformed.”
Divine Mahaprasad was also offered whole day to all the visitors who came. Special devotee cooks from Kolkata were brought as it was difficult to find vegetarian cook in Manipur. In the drawing festival all the children drew unbelievably beautiful and exquisite pictures of Radha and Krishna and braja lila. Sometime they drew Manipuri Radha Krishna, or South East Radha Krishna or Bengali Radha Krishna. Overall the festival brought happiness to everyone. His Grace Ajit Prabhu sponsored the entire festival despite his several financial hardships. To see more photos of this festival please click here.
We would like to mention that just before we enter the temple at Sina, there is one lord Shiva Temple which is hundreds of years old. This mountain temple is very close to the famous Baruni Mountain where lord Shiva-Parvati temple is located. It is the tradition of Manipuri Gaudiya Vaisnavas to take permission of these deities before embarking on a pilgrimage to Braja. We thank all devotees who came and gave their invaluable services. Only by the combined mercy of Gurudev, Saintly personalities and Supreme Lord Gauranga Mahaprabhu can we hope to render humble services to them. We always beg their mercy and direction in our lives for the peaceful co-existence of Manipur and the whole world.
3. A sincere Prayer
We sincerely pray to all that kindly take this scientific preaching mission of Bhakti Vedanta Institute of Spiritual Culture and Science, Princeton U.S.A. and Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Institute, Siliguri as a most important service mission to Srila Prabhupada for which Sripad Bhakti Madhava Puri Maharaja is a totally dedicated, qualified and senior most guide and teacher. You can help the mission in various capacities by all kinds of contributions including intellectual, cultural as well as monetary support. We are holding an international conference “Science and Scientist – 2013” at temple city Bhubaneswar on 8th December 2013 (for details please see the conference page: http://bviscs.org/scsi/conferences/scienceandscientist_03). We will have a gathering of scientists and scholars from all over India and World. If you would like to be a contributor or donor, you can visit: http://scienceandscientist.org/donate
Tridandi Bhikshu Bhaktivijnana Muni, Ph.D.
Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Institute
Siliguri, West Bengal, India
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