Evidence is only as good as the person evaluating it
Suppose someone infected by a disease is in denial. Even when their physician shows them the relevant reports, if they aren’t medically well-read enough to understand those reports, they may dismiss all the evidence.
Whenever any evidence is given for something beyond direct sense perception, that evidence is only as good as the person perceiving it. Such subjectivity doesn’t mean that the evidence has no intrinsic value; it just means that people’s capacity to understand that evidence is relative.
This principle of subjective comprehension applies to spiritual truths too. How the soul exists within the body, how it is bound by the three modes, how it is dragged from one body to another – all this can be perceived only by the spiritually educated (Bhagavad-gita 15.10), not by the materially infatuated (15.11).
When we don’t get some aspects of spirituality, we needn’t agonize over them. Instead, we can focus on raising our consciousness from the lower modes to the mode of goodness, which is more conductive to knowledge (14.16). Practicing bhakti-yoga can elevate us to goodness – and beyond, to transcendence (14.26). And bhakti-yoga can be accessed at various levels of consciousness (12.08-12).
The Gita (03.26) indicates that if someone doesn’t understand some spiritual truths, we needn’t agitate them by demanding that they still accept those truths, instead, we can resourcefully connect them to the broad path for gradual spiritual elevation from their present level. In due course, the necessary comprehension will come to them by the arrangement of the indwelling Lord.
This principle of progressive engagement applies to us too. Rather than endlessly debating points that we find controversial, we can focus on practicing bhakti-yoga, as much as it makes sense to us. By such practice, our consciousness will rise, and gradually, essential spiritual truths will become increasingly intelligible.
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Explanation of article:
Think it over:
- Can you give an example of how the same evidence weighs differently for different people?
- How is the soul bound in material nature? How can we perceive this bondage?
- Elevating our consciousness by practicing bhakti-yoga makes incomprehensible points intelligible – do you have any experience of this principle?