Biology and Nature
Used with permission of the compiler.
Originally published in 2010, these quotes were compiled by Willem Vandenberg (Varnadi das), who joined ISKCON in Amsterdam in 1990. He served in the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust in Sweden as a translator and editor and as a manager of one of its sub-complexes. After officially leaving ISKCON in 2010 he went on to further his career as a computer programmer in higher education. He now lives in Texas and enjoys life reading, writing, and traveling the world.
Prabhupada in His Own Words
Biology and Nature
What follows here is an extensive list of quotes from Bhaktivedanta Swami, the founder of the Hare Krishna movement, on the topic of science. Despite the repeated claim that his own cult is scientific and his books are scholarly, the Swami had absolutely no tolerance for any kind of modern science that did not support his ideas and doctrines.
Modern science and its practitioners are in general condemned as criminal, untrustworthy, and cheating. Everything presented by modern science must be questioned and scrutinized against the gold standard of Bhaktivedanta Swami’s understanding of the ancient Indian myths and legends — unless it even remotely supports it, in which case it will be instantly and blindly accepted without further question. This particular section deals with Biology and Nature.
Sexual intercourse in which the husband is attracted to the wife is sure to produce a male child, but sexual intercourse based on attraction of the wife for the husband may produce a girl. That is mentioned in the Ayur-veda. When the passion of the woman is greater, there is a chance of a girl’s being born. When the passion of the man is greater, then there is the possibility of a son.
It is said in the smrti-sastra as well as in the Ayur-veda that when the discharge of the male is greater, male children are begotten, but when the discharge of the female is greater, female children are begotten. It appears from the circumstances that Devahuti was more sexually excited, and therefore she had nine daughters at once.
[The ratio of male to female children worldwide averages 50/50 and is determined by a simple mathematical principle, not by levels of attraction or amounts of discharge. The female egg always carries an X chromosome, while about half of the male sperms carries an X chromosome and the other half a Y chromosome. When egg and sperm combine, an XX pair produces a girl, an XY pair a boy. Again, there is a 50% chance for either.]
SB 5.23.3, purport
Regarding the great eagles mentioned in this verse, it is understood that there are eagles so big that they can prey on big elephants. They fly so high that they can travel from one planet to another. They start flying in one planet and land in another, and while in flight they lay eggs that hatch into other birds while falling through the air. In Sanskrit such eagles are called syena. Under the present circumstances, of course, we cannot see such huge birds, but at least we know of eagles that can capture monkeys and then throw them down to kill and eat them. Similarly, it is understood that there are gigantic birds that can carry off elephants, kill them and eat them.
Govardhana Puja Lecture, New York, November 4, 1966
Therefore… This rain is controlled by Bhagavan Indra. The heavenly king Indra, he controls the megha. Megha means cloud. He is the master of the cloud. He can send cloud, and he can stop cloud. He is representative of God, so he has got the power.
Letter to: Aniruddha, San Francisco, April 9, 1968
Milk and salt should never be mixed, it is improper, and will cause leprosy. But salt can be mixed with yogurt.
Letter to: Satsvarupa, Tittenhurst House, England, October 31, 1969
The crude example is that when a man is physically very strong, and if he has sex intercourse with a woman, she is sure to become pregnant. When pregnancy fails, it is due to the weakness of the male partner generally.
SB 2.3.19, Los Angeles, June 15, 1972
Therefore the Vedic system of civilization is seventy-five percent life of celibacy. In the brahmacari system there is no connection with woman. Student life. Student life, if one remains brahmacari, he becomes determined. His brain becomes very receptive. Therefore, in the brahmacari system, complete celibacy, no connection with woman. So up to twenty-five years, if he does not discharge semen, he becomes very stout, strong, and his health is built up for whole life, and he becomes so intelligent that anything he will hear, he will remember immediately. Then after brahmacari system, if one cannot remain brahmacari, naisthika-brahmacari, then the spiritual master allows him to marry. That is grhastha-asrama. So when one is complete, fit for sex life, he begets children, male children, and after twenty-five years, the child becomes grown up, so he retires. In this way, brahmacari, grhastha, vanaprastha, and sannyasa.
SB 1.8.34, Mayapur, October 14, 1974
There are very, very big, big birds. They are floating in the air, very, very big eagle. They fly from one planet to another. Their resting place is… They start from one planet, and they go and rest in other planet. And they lay their eggs while flying. That eggs also become a bird simply by air cohesion. That’s all.
SB 6.1.45, Laguna Beach, July 26, 1975
There is a big eagle bird. We have no information. They are very big bird. They are flying in the sky, and their rest is from one planet to another. Just like here you find the birds, they are flying from one tree to another. Similarly, there are so big birds… They are called garuda. So garuda, these birds, they start their flying from one planet and sits in another planet. Just try to understand what is their flying. Not only that, they also lay eggs while flying, and the eggs, while falling down, it becomes another bird. And these birds can pick up elephants for eating. So this is God’s creation.
Morning Walk, August 5, 1975, Detroit
Birds who eat monkey. You know that? I have seen in Los Angeles zoo, monkey-eating bird. They capture the monkey by the neck and drop it. And when it falls down it dies, and meat. And I have seen one statue in the Central Park. They are catching goats-eagle. And there are big eagles. They catch up elephant. [break]
Morning Walk, January 18, 1976, Mayapur
There are many birds, garuda bird. They can fly from one planet to another. Just like small birds — they fly from one tree to another, take rest again — so they fly from this planet to another. Take rest, again another. What is the value of your airplane? You cannot go to another planet. There are birds; they catch up elephants and take it away for eating.
Morning Walk, March 19, 1976, Mayapura
Radhavallabha: In one BTG article, you described increase in women population as a natural disaster.
Radhavallabha: So when one woman read this article, she became very angry. She came back and was very angry.
Prabhupada: She may be angry. She is woman and man. Actually this is physiological. If a man is too much addicted to sex life, he’ll become impotent, and if he begets child, it will be a girl. With no potency to give birth to a male child…. That requires potency.
Hamsaduta: When we were going around in London making life members, I noticed that in so many families, all the children are girls.
Prabhupada: Yes. The whole world is full of girls, girl children. Why? There is no potency. Potency finished. Or impotent. And if you keep one boy brahmacari, no sex life, and get him married, the first child must be a boy, must be, without any doubt.
Lokanatha: That means, then, woman is more potent than…
Prabhupada: Yes, yes. Yes. The Ayur-vedic formula is that when there is discharge, woman’s discharge, more, means girl, and man’s discharge, more, means boy. This is physiological.
Discussions with Syamasundara dasa on Sigmund Freud
For want of education, everything is being stunted-brain, bodily growth, and everything. So after he is trained as a brahmacari, if he thinks that still he will have sex enjoyment, all right, he can be married. But because he will have strength of body and brain, he will beget a child, immediately there will be male child.
Discussions with Syamasundara dasa on Sigmund Freud
When you have more sex, then you have no power to beget a male child. When the man is less powerful, a girl is born. When the man is powerful, a boy is born. That is Vedic system. In our country, in (indistinct), there are fewer woman because there the men are very stout and strong. When there is discharge, if the man’s discharge is larger, then there is a male child; if the woman’s discharge is larger, then there is a female child. So when women will be very easily available, the men will be weak. So what will he beget? He will beget female child, because he has lost his power. Sometimes he becomes impotent. So many desertions. If you don’t restrict sex life, there will be so many desertions. And that is happening-impotency, no marriage, woman population more. But they did not know how things are happening, how human psychology can be controlled. The perfect system is the Vedic system.
Room Conversation, Mayapur, February 27, 1977
Yes. Generally a girl attains puberty at fourteen years, thirteen years. In India because it is tropical climate… I think in Western countries they attain puberty not before fifteen, sixteen years. So although a girl is married before puberty, she is not allowed to go to the husband until she has attained puberty. Formerly, in our days also, after attaining puberty there is another second marriage. Then the husband and wife live together.
Bhu-mandala Diagram Discussion, July 2, 1977, Vrindavana
Prabhupada: And they are going to the Moon. (devotees laugh) I… So far I remember, the Moon is also like the sun, that it is fire blazing, but it is surrounded by a cool atmosphere. Therefore it is soothing. I think there is such description.
Bhakti-prema: Srimad-Bhagavatam says the Moon is also (indistinct).
Tamala Krishna: How far do they, the scientists, say the Moon is from the earth? How long? I have a book which says it, and I’m bringing this book. It’s very… You’ll see it here.
Bhakti-prema: Twenty-four lakhs miles.
Tamala Krishna: Twenty-four lakhs miles, the scientists say?
Tamala Krishna: What do the scientists say? How…?
Prabhupada: Two lakhs.
Tamala Krishna: Two lakhs miles, 250,000 miles. So that means about, in yojanas, very little, about 25-, 30,000 yojanas.
Yasoda-nandana: They say the sun is 93,000,000 away.
Bhakti-prema: I think the difference of the (indistinct).
Tamala Krishna: They have froglike brains.
Prabhupada: That, the microscope… What is called? Telescope.
Tamala Krishna: This is the book of the rascal scientists. They describe the solar system according to their nonsense. The solar system… Gives all the calculations. They calculated how much it weighs on each planet. (laughs) They haven’t even been there. They say that each planet has moons. Says here… This is how scientific they are. “Pluto was discovered only in 1930, and as yet, little is known about this remote planet. Pluto is much smaller than Neptune and has a diameter probably about…”
Tamala Krishna: “…half the size…”
Tamala Krishna: “The orbit of Pluto is extremely elliptical, and the day is some 6,109 hours long. There is probably no atmosphere, and there are no known humans.”
Prabhupada: “Probably.” Their science is “probably.” Probably it is science; otherwise it is nonsense. (laughter)
Tamala Krishna: It says here, “The Moon is 238,860 miles from the earth. It has no atmosphere, no weather and no wind.”
Prabhupada: “Probably.” Everything “probably.”
Tamala Krishna: It says here, “There is thick dust covering and no evidence to suggest that the Moon has ever supported life.” In that newspaper article the man who is exposing them said — because they say it is covered by dust — “How is it that no dust is shown on the astronauts’ suits when they walked around?” He says, “If there’s such a thick dust, then, when the rocket landed, it would have made a pocket within that dust.” He says, “But there’s no crater around the rocket. Then how it is possible that these things are like that?” ‘Cause actually they forgot. When they were making the stage setting in Arizona, they forgot these things.
[This refers to Bill Kaysing’s Moon-hoax arguments, which are apparently readily accepted without further scrutiny as if Kaysing is some kind of guru with better credentials and qualifications than NASA and other world scientists.]
Yasoda-nandana: One argument Your Divine Grace gave in 1971 was that if they went to the Moon and they found it was rock, how do they explain the Moon is so shiny and gives such a cooling effect? They cannot explain that.
[There are very detailed explanations of why the Moon is shiny. As to the cooling effect, the Moon is mostly visible at night, when temperatures are already dropping naturally. Incidentally, the coolest nights are new Moon nights (when the Moon is not visible) and cloudless nights.]
Tamala Krishna: Look at the earth. Now, this is a real question that we still have to answer. They picture the earth round, and we say, no. Bhu-mandala is like a lotus, like this, and the earth is only one part of one island in Bhu-mandala, and it’s not, you know, it’s not round(?). It doesn’t look like that. And all the pictures they take of the earth when they go up in their satellites show round. And we’re going to tell them that it’s not. This is a very tricky question. In other words, if this is the picture of the world, like this, and we say that… If we take an airplane from here, from Los Angeles. Now, supposing we go to India, which is here. So there’s two ways to go. One way, you can go like this, and the other way, you can go like that. But if the earth is not a round globe, then how is it sometimes people go from Los Angeles via Hawaii to Japan and then India? So we can’t figure this out. We have experience, those of us who have flown, that actually the plane went from Los Angeles to Hawaii to Tokyo to Hong Kong and then to India. So it doesn’t work out in our maps so far, right? We can’t figure it out. This thing has to be very complete in its answers. Otherwise everyone will laugh at us. We can’t leave any loopholes.
Prabhupada: So are you thinking on this?
Bhakti-prema: In the Srimad-Bhagavatam… According to Srimad-Bhagavatam, it is (indistinct).
Prabhupada: Find out from our side, according to Bhagavatam.
Bhakti-prema: Scientists are lacking in the main points.
Prabhupada: Yes. They “probably,” so many theories.
Bhakti-prema: There is… Srimad-Bhagavatam gives that about Himalaya. Himalaya is 80,000 miles high, 16,000 miles wide. That means covering more than earth, more area than (indistinct).
Tamala Krishna: Then it’s not so much. In other words, the Himalaya Mountains are here, according to our, this yellow here is the Himalayas. This is a map, showing all the mountains. So according to Srimad-Bhagavatam, how long do they stretch?
Bhakti-prema: Sixteen thousand miles wide.
Tamala Krishna: So the Himalayas are 16,000 miles wide. Sixteen thousand miles is a huge area, beyond this whole area. So according to the Bhagavatam, this should be all Himalayas.
Bhakti-prema: Yes, then it is coming this side, up to Canada, all Himalayas.
Tamala Krishna: So what is the explanation?
Bhakti-prema: And bring this from there and there, there are nine islands. From each, divided one between (indistinct). They say that it’s 8,000 miles. (indistinct)
Tamala Krishna: And how high is the Himalayan Mountains?
Bhakti-prema: Eighty thousand miles.
Tamala Krishna: Ten thousand yojanas, 80,000 miles. Here it says that “The highest mountain is Mount Everest, 29,000 feet.” Not very high. That’s about six miles. And we are saying 80,000 miles. So we want to know where is that. How high is Govardhana supposed to be?
Bhakti-prema: Govardhana (indistinct). Govardhana mountain is sinking.
Bhakti-prema: Crushed by (indistinct). [break]
Tamala Krishna: So the Rand McNally’s Illustrated World Atlas, its special feature is that it gives maps describing all different subjects like language. What language is spoken throughout different places is the world is shown by map and the national areas, according to size, population, and cities, major populations, densities of population. Like China is supposed to be… China. This shows proportionately in population according to this and India, it says that it is… Everything else is very small compared to these two, India and China. Agriculture, what kind of agriculture, natural vegetation, climate… [break]
Bhakti-prema: But there was no Atlantic Ocean, Indian Oceans, no. But after that, there were sixteen thousand sons of Sagara Maharaja. Then their sacrificial hearth was stolen by Indra. So it was put somewhere in the earth folds. They began to dig the earth to find out that hearth. So they dug other oceans, (indistinct) Kapila Muni (indistinct), and it explains the curse(?) that he is the chief. And then there’s…
Tamala Krishna: It says here that “Only our knowledge of the crust of the earth is based on direct observation, but studies of paths of earthquake waves…” Then it goes… The only way they can understand is by direct observation. And that’s very limited. Says, “All the planets were probably formed at much the same time.” It doesn’t sound like they have very much knowledge, Srila Prabhupada. Everything is “probably,” “maybe.” Says that “Probably all the planets were formed at much the same time from the same great dust cloud.” After you create this planetarium, Srila Prabhupada, they’ll have to rewrite all of these books. These businesses…
Bhakti-prema: Another book has to be written. Its name should be Easy-to-Read Geography or Advanced Geography. And also about history we have to write. Your Divine Grace will write Advanced History, and there the complete lifetime of Manus and Indras should be given.
Tamala Krishna: According to the modern thinkers, any further back than about three or four thousand years ago, everyone was living in the caves. So they think that all of our books are mythology, some dreamt-up stories by some people…
Prabhupada: So how they are writing of millions of years ago?
Tamala Krishna: This is all according to their mythology.
Prabhupada: No, they are suggesting.
Tamala Krishna: And, of course, they say that there were no humans around, just dust and water and earth. There were no brains at that time.
Prabhupada: Only brains are developed now.
Tamala Krishna: Yeah, especially now, this century. Before this, everybody was unintelligent, and now man’s brain is developing to a higher and higher degree, and he can finally understand what is what. I don’t think that… Your descriptions, especially this planetarium, will at first meet with a lot of heavy reaction. It is not going to be embraced immediately very favorably. It means that everyone who calls himself a Ph.D. is a fool, that students will laugh at their teachers, if what we say is correct. There will be chaos in educational circles. (Prabhupada chuckles)
Prabhupada: All right.
Devotees: Jaya Srila Prabhupada. (end)