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Prague, Czech Republic
26 June 2004

Dry knowledge and Vedic knowledge

The logic behind speculative jnana is very different from the real purpose of the Vedas taught by Brahma, who was entrusted by Lord Krsna to be the guru of all genuine Vedic gurus. The Vedic purpose is ratir atman yato bhavet, the cultivation of attraction to the Supreme Soul. Lord Krsna says that if someone masters Vedic knowledge but has no attraction to the Lord, he is like a man who keeps a cow that gives no milk. Thus speculative jnana is called suska-jnana, or dry knowledge.

The logic of suska-jnana reduces the Vedic teachings to impersonal axioms. Axioms are basic rules of thought that are not supposed to be questioned--they are simply "given," though the impersonalist admits no need for a personal Giver. The goal of this dry analysis is never rasa, which is irreducibly personal. Thus because from the start they favor an impersonal interpretation, suska-jnanis are unsubmissive to the goal advised by the greatest Vedic authorities, Lord Krsna and His son Brahma. As Srila Prabhupada points out, the jnanis think they know better.

Two phases of dry knowledge

There are two phases of suksa-jnana: purva (the lower) and uttara (the higher). At the purva stage, trai vidya (three-fold knowledge) is studied. Trai vidya is variously explained as the three Vedas (Rig, Yajur and Sama); as manas (mind), prana (vital force) and vak (Vedic sound vibration); as adhidaivika, adhibautika and adhyatmika (the three cosmic levels at which every material thing exists simultaneously); and as the tri-varga (the three material objectives of dharma or piety, artha or wealth, and kama or sensual pleasure). In any case, trai vidya pertains to the enjoyment of the three modes of nature: trai-gunya-visaya veda, as Krsna tells Arjuna in Bhagavad-gita 2. 45. The goal is to change position by moving upward into higher cosmic dimensions of sense enjoyment.

At the uttara stage, trai vidya is reduced to impersonal Brahman, the ultimate axiom of susksa-jnana. By Brahman, the jnanis mean the all- pervading spiritual effulgence called brahmajyoti. Like the rays of light streaming from the sun, the brahmajyoti emanates from Krsna's transcendental form (though jnanis do not know that Krsna is its source). If he is able to supress the influence of the material mind and senses by yoga, the impersonalist experiences the Lord's opulence of knowledge as a flood of glaring light into which his individual identity merges. The goal here is to change position by becoming God.

Srila Prabhupada says a jnani is prone to speculate. At the purva stage, jnanis speculate about material elevation through Vedic sacrificial rituals. At the uttara stage, the speculations of the purva stage are negated, and the jnani speculates that he has become one with God, the impersonal absolute. Srila Prabhupada says the jnanis want to invent. They invent an impersonal conception of reality. Srila Prabhupada says the jnanis want to change the law. The supreme law or dharma according to Lord Krsna is for the soul to surrender to Him in pure devotion. The jnanis try to change that to mean the merging of the soul into the impersonal absolute. Finally, Srila Prabhupada says the jnanis waste time laboriously. Avyakta hi gatir duhkham dehavadbhir avapyate: "progress toward the impersonal goal is difficult for embodied souls. " (Bg. 12. 5) Even if a suksa-jnani manages to attain the brahmajyoti, his persistent ignorance of the Supreme Person beyond the light leaves him spiritually unsatisfied. For want of rasa, his personal desires pull him back down into the world of time: aruhya krcchrena param padam tatah patanty adho 'nadrta-yusmad-anghrayah. (Bhag. 10. 2. 32)

Therefore Krsna says that it takes many, many births for a jnani to become jnanavan, truly wise--by knowing at last the Supreme Person to be everything, both at the purva and uttara stages. This change of heart comes when the jnani is blessed by association with a mahatma who corrects his impersonal perspective. The jnani learns from the mahatama that "I am Krsna's", and stops speculating "I am God. " Thus he becomes a mahatma himself.


Dogs Play Cards in Casino Publicity Stunt

Thu Jun 24, 9:43 PM ET Add Strange News - AP to My Yahoo!

By JOHN CURRAN, Associated Press Writer

ATLANTIC CITY, N. J. - Some gamblers just don't know how to play their cards. Tiny Chip, for example. His three blackjack cards totaled 19, but he took a card anyway. It was a three of hearts, so he busted. Jack Attack had the same problem. Sitting pretty with 18, he still wanted another card. He got a seven of diamond, busting with 25.

Then there was Lucky Louise. The dealer hadn't even gotten to her yet when she got up out of her seat, walked across the green felt table and stepped in the chip float, her bushy tail wagging.

Sands Casino Hotel workers used five live dogs to re-create artist C. M. Coolidge's famously lowbrow painting "Dogs Playing Poker" in a publicity stunt to drum up interest for a new table games pit.

"Sands Casino Hotel: Where the Big Dogs Play," read the sign in the pit, which has per-hand betting minimums of $500 on weekends. Built to lure high-stakes players, the pit features roulette wheels, a craps table and six blackjack tables.

The crowd parted to make way for dog handlers as they ushered in the animals dog "actors" who work in advertising, TV and movies on leashes.

The dogs, who remained seated through most of the hand, barked to ask for cards. It was on command from the handlers, of course.

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