Dr. Frog Ph.D.
Dr. Frog has spent his whole life in a well. But he has seen so much through the hole in the top of his well! Dr. Frog has experienced many things, he’s seen so much. As a result of all of his observation he has been able to come up with his own particular universal view… He doesn’t know there is any more than he has seen.
There are two methods of acquiring knowledge, one is called the descending process and the other is called the ascending process. Krishna consciousness follows the descending process. Perfect knowledge is passed from Krishna to the first spiritual master, Lord Brahma, from Lord Brahma to his son Narada Muni, from Narada to Srila Vyasadeva, then Srila Vyasadeva wrote down all the Vedic scriptures. In this way the perfect knowledge is coming to us through the disciplic succession. This is a perfect source of knowledge because Krishna is all knowing, He knows everything. Whatever Krishna says is not contaminated by the limitations of our material senses.
When we try to present knowledge without taking it from Krishna in the disciplic succession it is always contaminated by four types of defects: we have a tendency to cheat, we are illusioned — we accept something as a fact which is not actually a fact, our senses are imperfect and we make mistakes. Because all scientific research is riddled with these faults it is all imperfect knowledge. However, if we take the knowledge coming down from the perfect source, Krishna, via the unbroken chain of disciplic succession, it is perfect. We don’t need to do anything except accept the knowledge, all the research work has already been done.
All knowledge exists in the Vedas, the ancient scriptures of India. The scriptures of India are called Veda and Veda means knowledge. So in the Vedas we can find knowledge about every conceivable subject matter, because all knowledge is there. There is Dana Veda — the science of warfare, the Jyoti Veda — the science of astronomy and astrology, the Ayur Veda — the medical science. There are also Vedic scriptures describing architecture, the construction of aeroplanes and space ships, even interplanetary travel — everything is there in the Vedic knowledge.
Any knowledge we see scattered across the planet at the moment is simply fragments of this Vedic knowledge. Five thousand years ago the Vedic culture was spread all over the planet. At that time the earth was being ruled by a king called Maharaja Pariksit. Under his rule the whole planet was following the Vedic culture. Since then the planet has become more and more divided. We can still see examples of countries being split for political reasons. Basically the Vedic culture has been lost, but there are still remnants. You will find many similarities in different cultures which, from our Western point of view, seem to have developed independently. There are also many similarities in languages. This is because originally the one culture, the Vedic culture, was spread all over the world.
I have described the descending process of knowledge, knowledge being passed down from a higher authority. The other process for acquiring knowledge is the ascending process. This is the method our scientists use. They try to understand things around them by the perceptions of their senses. Using information gathered through their senses they develop hypothesis to explain the observed phenomena. This process is not perfect because our sense perceptions are themselves imperfect. Our senses only give a small sample of the actual data. For example the eyes can only see within a restricted range of the spectrum. There are light waves above the colours we can see and the are also light waves below the colours we can see. We can only see one small band. We can also only see a short distance, after some distance everything becomes blurred and indistinct. In this way the information coming through our eyes is not perfect because we can only see a very limited amount of the actual information. Similar limitations apply to all our other senses. Not only are the senses imperfect, but I am also imperfect. If I have a hypothesis which I am anxious to prove the tendency is for me to cheat. Because I want some recognition by proving my particular theory I will tend to ignore the evidence that doesn’t support my theory and I will report the evidence which does. This tendency to cheat is within us all. Therefore in every way our so-called scientific knowledge is imperfect.
The analogy has been given of Dr. Frog. A frog often lives in a well. The well is one meter wide, it’s in the middle of a field and above the well is a tree. Our Dr. Frog has spent his whole life in that well. He has no experience beyond that one meter diameter well. But he has seen so much through the hole in the top of his well! Sometimes he sees nice blue sky and trees with green leaves, sometimes he sees clouds in the sky, sometimes rain comes through the top of his well, sometimes the leaves from the tree fall into his well. So Dr. Frog has experienced many things, he’s seen so much. As a result of all of his observation he has been able to come up with his own particular universal view, “The universe according to Dr. Frog.” He doesn’t know there is any more than he has seen. He has only seen what is visible through the hole in the top of his well, so he thinks that’s all there is, he thinks that’s the universe. He has developed so much philosophy, so many theories to describe what is happening in his universe. But what can he see? So what is the value of his conclusions? His conclusions are useless. The difficulty is if somebody comes from outside to tell him about the actual universe he won’t be able to understand it because it’s outside the scope of his world.
One day another frog hopped into Dr. Frog’s well. This frog had not been confined to a one metre wide well for his whole life, he had travelled quite a bit, he’d even seen the Pacific Ocean. So he tried to explain to Dr. Frog, “My dear friend, I have seen such a vast mass of water, it is called the Pacific Ocean.” So Dr. Frog said, “Yes. Please explain it to me.” But he was thinking in terms of the water in his well, so he thought, “Perhaps it’s twice as big as my well, perhaps three times as big as my well, maybe it is even five times bigger.” In this way he tried to understand the Pacific Ocean but it was impossible because he can’t even conceive of the greatness of the Pacific Ocean.
Our scientists are something like Dr. Frog. They are confident they have a clear understanding of the universe around them. After all they have such big expensive equipment, they get so many big grants from the government and they have so many respectable predecessor scientists who have put forward so many nice hypothesises which they now accept as facts. They think they are well situated, but what have they seen? We know this planet is only one of so many planets in the universe. Even within this universe we are insignificant. The creation of the Supreme Lord consists of not just one universe but of unlimited universes. In the Vedic literature the number of universes is compared to a bucket full of mustard seeds. If you look at a mustard seed you will find it is a very small seed. A whole bucket of mustard seeds is a huge quantity, millions and millions. So universes are clustered together like this and our planet earth is only one tiny fragment of one of the smallest universes. But our “Dr. Frog” scientists think they understand how things are going on. They think one day they will be able to control everything. One day they will be able to make it rain when they want, they will make man live forever, they will be able to do anything they like. However, in reality, their knowledge is comparable to Dr. Frog’s knowledge of his universe. Of course there may be some glimmer of truth in some of the scientific theories but they are all full of defects: the tendency to make mistakes, the tendency to cheat, the problem of being illusioned and the difficulty of the senses being imperfect. These defects are present in all of our so-called scientific theories.
In reality Western scientific knowledge is useless. They have put forward a description of the universe based on the planets orbiting around the sun and through our experimental observations it appears the planets do orbit around the sun or that the sun orbits around the planets. Because we really don’t know what our position is in the universe there are many models which are equally valid in that they explain the observed evidence. Nowadays we only seriously consider one model, the heliocentric or sun-centred model, but in the past scientists and philosophers also considered geocentric or earth-centred models. Either model could be correct, there is no way of proving conclusively one or the other by our experience because we can’t really tell what this earth is doing — it may be moving or it may be stationary. We look into the sky and we see so many other planets and stars moving, but everything is moving relative to everything else. So we don’t really know what is moving. We are right in the middle of it all, we can’t really see what’s happening.
If you’re very small and inside a very large piece of machinery it might be difficult to understand what the machine is doing. If, however, you are in a position where you can see the whole machine, you can see what is going into it and what is coming out at the other end, it’s not difficult to understand what it’s doing. Another example concerns a group of blind men. If a group of blind men come across an elephant in the jungle and they try to discover what it is. One blind man takes the elephant’s leg and he says, “It’s just like a tree trunk,” another one takes the trunk of the elephant and he says, “No. It’s just like a big hose.” Another one takes a different part of the elephant. In this way they can’t understand the elephant in its entirety. They can only understand fragments of the elephant. One understands the foot, one the leg, one the trunk, one the ear, but they can’t put all the pieces together and understand what the elephant is. They have no ability to see the elephant in full.
From our position in the universe we can’t see it in a very broad way, we can only see some small features, we have fragmental knowledge only. There are many things in the universe we can’t see at all. If we go back to Dr. Frog, he can speculate on so many things about what is going on in the universe but there are so many things he can’t see at all. There could be a tractor plowing the field but he can only hear the noise coming into his well. He can speculate, “What is this noise?” He has heard a fly or a bee making a similar but softer noise so he may think the noise is coming from a big fly or a big bee that he can’t see. That’s alright, it’s a reasonable hypothesis considering his experience, he has never seen a tractor and he will never see on either, the tractor won’t come into his well. He will just sometimes hear the noise when the farmer is plowing the field, that’s all.
Our scientists view the universe in a similar way, they see little hints of what’s going on but they cant see the “big picture”. This is the difficulty with all our Western knowledge, it’s all speculation, it’s all based on fragmental pieces of knowledge — they guess all the missing parts. It’s like the fossil experts, they just find a bone and from one bone they build a whole skeleton, they just imagine it, more or less. The tendency to cheat is there, they are prepared to build a whole skeleton based on one bone just to support their theories.
All information we receive through modern science is useless, even though there may be a glimmer of truth here and there, it’s all contaminated by the tendency to cheat, the problems of being illusioned, the imperfect senses and the tendency to make mistakes. You may well ask, “If all the scientific knowledge we have is useless then where can we find real knowledge?” The answer is we get knowledge from Krishna via the disciplic succession. The Vedic scriptures present scientific knowledge and the cream of all the Vedic scriptures is Srimad-Bhagavatam. Srimad Bhagavatam contains all scientific knowledge. It describes knowledge like the structure of the universe, how the child develops within the womb of the mother, how time is calculated from the movement of the atoms, atomic physics, it describes everything — all knowledge is there both material and spiritual.
If you want to become a real scientist, a real expert, a knowledgable person, you should throw all your Western science books out the window and simply study the Srimad-Bhagavatam.
If someone simply continuously reads Srimad-Bhagavatam he will become completely expert in all aspects of knowledge. No other literature is required, there is no knowledge that can not to be found in the Bhagavatam. It includes everything. Therefore I humbly request you to make your life successful by reading the Srimad-Bhagavatam and questioning knowledge coming from the Western so-called scientific system. We shouldn’t blindly accept things. It’s not just because it’s written in the science book it’s a fact. It’s not a fact — they present so much nonsense, so much speculation, it’s all useless. If we want real scientific knowledge we have to get it from Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the Supreme Scientist. Thank you very much. Hare Krishna.