At the present moment, the word religion is being sacrificed on the altar of materialistic tendencies. The human race is more concerned now with subject matters related to eating, sleeping, defending, and gratifying the senses, much as are the lower animals. The general tendency is to avoid transcendental subject matters as far as possible or, in any case, not to go into the details. Even the biggest political leaders have been heard to say that the hungry man or woman finds no meaning in God and religion. People in general, under the leadership of such materialistic men, are gradually descending to the status of lower animals, devoid of all transcendental realization, knowing nothing beyond their material bodies and the material world.
Thus, the human race has descended to the qualitative status of the dogs, who are habituated to barking as soon as they come upon another set of dogs who happen to hail from another quarter. We cannot conceive of a greater degradation of the human being than when he is apt to raise a hue and cry as soon as he sees another human being who does not happen to belong to his quarter or his religious denomination. He raises this hue and cry as if he had been faced with a tiger or a wolf. Without transcendental knowledge, the human race has actually become no more than the tigers and the wolves.
It is therefore necessary at the present moment to understand something about absolute knowledge if we want to bring the human race back to sanity. Thus intelligent persons or leaders of men should not devote their energies only for worldly betterment in the matter of eating, sleeping, defending, and gratifying the material senses. Leaders who think a hungry man or woman has no use for God and religion should be told emphatically that no man or woman in the world is not hungry—and that it is precisely the hungry man or woman who has to understand the meaning of God and religion now, more than ever.
In this connection, we would like to quote the substance of a speech delivered by Śrī Radhakrishnan (former president of India) at a recent meeting of UNESCO in Paris. He said that when a nation proudly turns away from God and concentrates on worldly success and prosperity, it meets its doom. What is essential today is not so much the rehabilitation of schools and libraries or shops and factories but the rehabilitation of man; we must re-create man if we are to create a new world community.
It is therefore more necessary than ever to realize the all-important relationship of man with God if we want at all to rehabilitate the human race, which is already shattered more than ever.
The philosophers and the logicians have tried to understand the intrinsic relationship of living entities with God by various conceptions and methods, on the strength of their mundane education and scholastic research. But the Absolute Truth remains above the philosophers and their acquired knowledge. The conception of the Absolute is never perfectly attained by such an ascending process, because of its being born of imperfect, material senses. These empiric philosophers and logicians cannot realize their imperfection by the vanity of material knowledge, and the ultimate conclusion of such materialistic philosophers is atheism. They deny the existence of God, who is the Supreme Person, different from all other persons. Under such a vague assumption, we remain in the same darkness as before. We are content with a conception of Godhead according to our own individual idea, without knowing the real relationship of Godhead and ourselves.
Therefore, the transcendentalists do not recognize such a process of generalization but pass over direct perception to receive the knowledge of deduction in its various stages—from authorities who have actual revelation of transcendental knowledge. This revelation is made possible from the deeper aspect within the human personality. The real knowledge of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and His relationship with us can be revealed only by this transcendental method. Since the Supreme Personality of Godhead is absolute, He reserves the right of not being exposed to the mundaners. He can be known by one absolute process, and the relative process of sense perception cannot reach Him ever. If Godhead were subject to being revealed by our relative sense perception, then our sense perception, and not Godhead, would be absolute. The process is therefore fallacious in all its manifold stages.
We cannot approach the Absolute by our poor fund of knowledge, but the Absolute becomes revealed out of His own mercy by His own appearance. In the darkness of night, the sun cannot be obliged to appear, even by the power of our highest technology. But in the morning the sun reveals itself of its own accord without the help of any materialistic enterprise of ours. When the sun appears, the darkness of the night automatically disappears. It is therefore a truth that the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself or His confidential servants manifest themselves by their own potency and without any help from this material world. They descend out of their causeless mercy, just to benefit the fallen souls who are apt to be illusioned by the material energy of Godhead, called the modes of nature.