Should we use logic?

 

Question
I like to know if we can use logic to understand Krishna Consciousness. Or should we just accept blindly what is said in our books?

 

Answer
This is a broad topic. I will not touch on the theme of the various types of faith or trust here and I will stick only to the theme of logic.

There is a complete science on logic called Nyaya. Sage Gautama wrote a famous treatise called Nyaya Sutra.
The word logic in general is expressed by the word tarka.

It is clear that logic, or philosophical speculation can’t be enough to approach para-tattva, the absolute truth. This is because we have limited intelligence.
The Veda condemn the method of philosophical research saying:

naisa tarkena matir apaneya
proktanyenaiva sujnanaya prestha
“This knowledge cannot be achieved by logic. O dear one! It should be taught by another person in order to be understood properly.”
(Katha Upanisad 1.2.9)

And:
acintya khalu ye bhava na
tams tarkena yojayet
“Inconceivable states are not subject to logic.”
(Maha-bharata)

However, These verses do not want to say that we should not use our intelligence and just accept blindly whatever we are told. This is not the process.
As a matter of fact:

purvottaravirodhena
ko’trartho’bhimato bhavet
ity-adyam uhanam tarkah
suska tarkam ca varjayet
“That logic is approved wchich produces a meaning not contrary to previous and later parts of a scripture. One should avoid dry logic.”
(Kurma Purana)

And in Caitanya Caritamrita (Adilila, 8.15):
śrī-kṛṣṇa-caitanya-dayā karaha vicāra
vicāra karite citte pābe camatkāra
“If you are indeed interested in logic and argument, kindly apply it to the mercy of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. If you do so, you will find it to be strikingly wonderful.”
The purport by Srila Prabhupada is is enlightening where he says that “despite all this, those who are actually inquisitive to understand the philosophy of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu through logic and argument are welcome.”

The point is that once a reasercher understand the siddhanta (the correct conclusion), by using his logic he will be able to understand and achieve more realization.

 

This is the full purport by Srila Prabhupada on Caitanya Caritamrita (Adilila, 8.15) mentioned above:
“Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura comments in this connection that people in general, in their narrow-minded conception of life, create many different types of humanitarian activities, but the humanitarian activities inaugurated by Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu are different. For logicians who want to accept only that which is proven through logic and argument, it is a fact that without logic and reason there can be no question of accepting the Absolute Truth. Unfortunately, when such logicians take to this path without the mercy of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, they remain on the platform of logic and argument and do not advance in spiritual life. However, if one is intelligent enough to apply his arguments and logic to the subtle understanding of the fundamental spiritual substance, he will be able to know that a poor fund of knowledge established on the basis of material logic cannot help one understand the Absolute Truth, which is beyond the reach of imperfect senses. The Mahābhārata therefore says, acintyāḥ khalu ye bhāvā na tāṁs tarkeṇa yojayet. (Mahābhārata, Bhīṣma-parva 5.22) How can that which is beyond the imagination or sensory speculation of mundane creatures be approached simply by logic? Logic and argument are very poor in spiritual strength and always imperfect when applied to spiritual understanding. By putting forward mundane logic one frequently comes to the wrong conclusion regarding the Absolute Truth, and as a result of such a conclusion one may fall down to accept a body like that of a jackal.

Despite all this, those who are actually inquisitive to understand the philosophy of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu through logic and argument are welcome. Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja Gosvāmī addresses them, “Please put Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s mercy to your crucial test, and if you are actually a logician you will come to the right conclusion that there is no personality more merciful than Lord Caitanya.” Let the logicians compare all the results of other humanitarian work with the merciful activities of Lord Caitanya. If their judgment is impartial, they will understand that no other humanitarian activities can surpass those of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu.

Everyone is engaged in humanitarian activities on the basis of the body, but from the Bhagavad-gītā (2.18) we understand, anta-vanta ime dehā nityasyoktāḥ śarīriṇaḥ: “The material body is ultimately subject to destruction, whereas the spiritual soul is eternal.” Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s philanthropic activities are performed in connection with the eternal soul. However one tries to benefit the body, it will be destroyed, and one will have to accept another body according to his present activities. If one does not, therefore, understand this science of transmigration but considers the body to be all in all, his intelligence is not very advanced. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, without neglecting the necessities of the body, imparted spiritual advancement to purify the existential condition of humanity. Therefore if a logician makes his judgment impartially, he will surely find that Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu is the mahā-vadānyāvatāra, the most magnanimous incarnation. He is even more magnanimous than Lord Kṛṣṇa Himself. Lord Kṛṣṇa demanded that one surrender unto Him, but He did not distribute love of Godhead as magnanimously as Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. Therefore Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī offers Lord Caitanya his respectful obeisances with the words namo mahā-vadānyāya kṛṣṇa-prema-pradāya te/ kṛṣṇāya kṛṣṇa-caitanya-nāmne gaura-tviṣe namaḥ. Lord Kṛṣṇa simply gave the Bhagavad-gītā, by which one can understand Lord Kṛṣṇa as He is, but Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, who is also Kṛṣṇa Himself, gave people love of Kṛṣṇa without discrimination.”

 

– Manonatha Dasa (ACBSP)
27 Jan 2020

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