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"In the Vedic conception of reality, matter exists only as a concept within consciousness."

Monday, December 1st, 2003

Balakovo, Russia

Second Lecture

Subjective Evolution of Consciousness

In the evening I give the second of three consecutive lectures on "Vedic Culture in the Modern Age" at the Dialog Cafe. Tonight I speak about the Vedic conception of the subjective evolution of consciousness (as opposed to the materialistic idea of objective evolution).

I explain that it is too absurd to even entertain the so-called scientific notion that an object (matter) can produce a subject (consciousness). Without a subject, an object cannot stand. It is much more logical and reasonable to understand that just the reverse is true: that the subject produces the object, that matter evolves from consciousness.

"It is easy to see how this object," I say, pointing to the table in front of me, "first existed as a concept within consciousness, then perhaps as a sketch on a piece of paper, before finally evolving into the spatial object we see before us, but it is ludicrous to think that the object could ever produce the subject."

An elderly woman in the audience interrupts me: "What is the utility of imagining a table as a concept within consciousness?"

"I am explaining Krishna consciousness in a very scientific way," I say in exasperation. "Krishna consciousness is not a sentimental religion; it is not an artificial imposition on the mind. Krishna consciousness is very scientific. Just listen, and try to understand what I am saying."

I continue: "In the Vedic conception of reality, matter exists only as a concept within consciousness. To quote the Irish philosopher George Berkeley: 'The world is in the mind.' Consciousness is superior to matter: matter can never produce consciousness. Is this so difficult to understand?"

After the lecture I am interviewed by reporter from the local newspaper. She does not believe me when, in reply to a question about my education, I tell her that I dropped out of high school in the eleventh grade. "Just see how great is the mercy of my gurudevas, I tell her, that even one such as I may speak knowledgeably about Krishna consciousness."

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