The whole premise of modern civilization, based on the idea of advancement of education, technology, industry and economics is dismissed by us (VAISHNAVAS) as ERRONEOUS and therefore IRRELEVANT for the well being of this planet earth with its 4 to 5 billion human beings and innumerable animals, insects, etc.
How can we (VAISHNAVAS) be so totally CALLOUS and IRREVERENT to the GIANT leaps of progress of science and technology of the last 100 years? Because the VAISHNAVAS understand that a living being is not a PRODUCT of MATTER, but he is a UNIT of LIVING FORCE, without which matter in any shape or form could not take shape, no more than the radio, television, refrigerator, light bulb or heater could (or would) have taken shape without the presence of the electric force that moves them now.
Everywhere the BODIES are expanded on the basis of LIVING FORCE, just as everywhere we find the expansion of ELECTRONICS—simple (TOASTERS) and complex (COMPUTERS)—on the basis of ELECTRICITY.
Failing to understand this FUNDAMENTAL TRUTH, the modern civilization has created a sand castle built upon the mistaken premise that the body is living, when in fact it is always a lump of dead matter manipulated for a short time only by the presence of the living force. That is explained in the Bhagavad-gita: “That which pervades the entire body is INDESTRUCTIBLE. No one can kill the imperishable soul.” Just as electricity is not broken or lost upon the destruction of the computer machine, similarly the destruction of the material body is not synonymous with the destruction of the LIVING FORCE.
The living entity carries his different conceptions of life from one body to another, as the air carries aromas. (Bhagavad-gita 15.8)
Wherever and whatever the mind is fixed upon on leaving this body, that state one attains without fail. (Bhagavad-gita 8.6)
The whole process of transmigration of the LIVING FORCE from one condition (body, man, animal, insect, etc.) to another is eloquently described in Bhagavad-gita:
The living entity (living force) is changing his body from childhood to boyhood, to youth, to old age, and similarly, at death there is another change. The self-realised soul (living force) is not bewildered by such a change. (Bhagavad-gita 2.13)
As a man gives up an old and useless dress, getting a new dress, so the soul (living force) gives up an old and useless body, and he gets a new body. (Bhagavad-gita 2.22)
The nature of this living force and how it interacts with this inert material world (earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind, intellect and ego) is elaborately explained in Bhagavad-gita. There it is said that matter consists of eight elements—earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind, intelligence and false ego. This is described as APARA-PRAKRITI, meaning INFERIOR NATURE. Then it is stated that the living force is a unit of the SUPERIOR NATURE, PARA-PRAKRITI, and thus the superior living force (PARA-PRAKRITI) is struggling hard to exist within the INFERIOR NATURE (UNIVERSE), which includes his body and mind.
Therefore science, technology, economics and education must aim at understanding the science of the LIVING FORCE and its interrelation with MATTER (INFERIOR NATURE) and ultimately study and understand the CONTROLLER of both SUPERIOR and INFERIOR NATURES. Without a scientific understanding of living force and how it acts upon inert matter, all advancement of so-called science and technology will result only in perpetuating man’s frustration and suffering in the perpetual cycle of birth, old age, disease and death.
Man’s primary problem is that he must die, regardless of how sophisticated he has developed his environment with technology and industry. Science, economics and political maneuvering cannot stop any man from growing old, diseased and eventually dying. Therefore, what is the actual benefit of working hard day and night to advance industry and so-called economics? Real advancement must help everyone under all circumstances understand the difference between dead matter and the living force that gives shape to and moves matter. Real progress of science, technology, industry and civilization means progressing out of the DARK INFERIOR ATMOSPHERE of INERT MATTER to the ATMOSPHERE of ETERNAL LIVING FORCE. Anything less than that is simply a futile struggle to exist in an environment where no one can exist for more than a few years, thereafter disappearing into the OBLIVION of eternal time.
We reject wholesale the premise that there is anything to be attained in material existence. We declare without compromise that material life is nothing but suffering from beginning to end and that to ESCAPE the miseries of material existence (birth, death, old age, disease) is the only effort which has any VALUE or meaning for a human being. All activities that do not further one’s progress out of the cycle of birth and death are condemned by us Vaishnavas as a worthless waste of time.