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Aside

Unit 1.1 – An Essay on God & Krsna

Difficulty: Medium/Hard

Recommended time for completion:  6 minutes

 

The following passage is adapted from The Science of Realisation, a book by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupáda

 

Ladies and Gentlemen, I thank you very much for kindly participating in this Krsna Consciousness movement. When this society was registered in 1966 in New York, a friend suggested that it be named the Society for God Consciousness. He thought that the name Krsna was sectarian. The dictionary also says that Krsna is a Hindu god’s name. But in actuality, if any name can be attributed to God, it is “Krsna.”

Actually, God has no particular name. By saying He has no name, we mean that no one knows how many names He has. Since God is unlimited, His names also must be unlimited. Therefore we cannot settle on one name. For instance, Krsna is sometimes called Yasodá-nandana, the son of mother Yasodá; or Devakí-nandana, the son of Devakí; or Vasudeva-nandana, the son of Vasudeva.

God has many dealings with His many devotees, and according to those dealings, He is called certain names. Since He has unnumerable devotees and innumerable relations with them, He also has innumerable names. We cannot hit on any one name. But the name Krsna means “all attractive’. God attracts everyone; that is the definition of God. We have seen many pictures of Krsna, and we see that He attracts the cows, calves, birds, beasts trees, plants and even the water in Vrndávana. Therefore if any particular name can be given to God, that name is “Krsna”.

Bhagaván, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is defined as one who is full in six opulences – who has full strength, fame, wealth, knowledge, beauty and renunciation.

Bhagaván is the proprietor of all riches. There are many rich men in the world, but no one can claim that he possesses all the wealth. Nor can anyone claim that no one is richer than he. We understand, however that when Krsna was present on this earth He had 16,108 wives, and each wife lived in a palace made of marble and bedecked with jewels. The rooms were filled with furniture made of ivory and gold, and there was great opulence everywhere. These descriptions are all given vividly in the Srímad-Bhágavatum. In the history of human society we cannot find anyone who had sixteen thousand wives or sixteen thousand palaces. Nor did Krsna go to one wife one day and another wife another day. No, He was personally present in every palace at the same time. This means that He expanded himself in 16, 108 forms. This is impossible for an ordinary man, but it is not very difficult for God.

 

 

1.            According to the above passage, for what reason did the author’s friend suggest that the society be named the Society for God Consciousness?

  • A      To avoid debates over God’s name
  • B      To enable the society be more inclusive of different religions and sects
  • C      He disagreed with the definition of Krsna as meaning ‘all attractive’
  • D      To prevent anybody confusing Krsna for an ‘ordinary man’

 

2.         How does the author defend the naming of the Society for Krsna Consciousness?

  • A      By arguing that God has not one name, but many.
  • B      By listing some alternative, obviously less-practical names
  • C      By explaining why he believes Krsna is the most apt name for God
  • D      By explaining that God attracts everyone, regardless of his name

 

3.            The passage focuses mainly on God as a being of:

  • A      Omnipotence
  • B      Knowledge
  • C      Mystery
  • D      Ambiguity

 

4.            “In the history of human society we cannot find anyone who had sixteen thousand wives or sixteen thousand palaces.”

What is the purpose of this line?

  • A      To illustrate that there is no record of God having been on earth.           
  • B      It is included as an historical fact in order to add to the credibility of the argument.
  • C      To differentiate between God and ordinary humans
  • D      To show that the wives were not aware of each other’s existence

 

  • Answers:

    Q1: B. The answer is in lines 3 &4. His friend suggested ‘God Consciousness’ because he thought Krsna was sectarian. Sectarian denotes membership of a particular sect. Therefore if something is sectarian it is exclusive. We can infer from this that his friend thought ‘God consciousness’ would be more inclusive.

    Q2: C. It is important to recognise in this question that the author does, in fact, do all of these (A,B,C & D) things. However, they are all simply fuel for his argument that Krsna is the most apt (or best) name for God.

    Q3: A. Omnipotence means having unlimited power or being able to do anything. Often understood as being able to be everywhere at once. Once you understand this definition is becomes quite obvious that this is how god was depicted in the passage. Ambiguity means uncertainty or inexactness in meaning.

    Q4: C. We’ll use a process of elimination to explain this one; A, is untrue. Just because they could not find his 1608 palaces does not mean that there is NO evidence of God on earth, but this is not a claim the author makes. D, is irrelevant to the main idea of the piece. Whether or not the wives knew they were all married to Krsna doesn’t matter, and it is unlikely that the author would write in such detail so only imply that this was the case.
    B; it’s not an historical fact since no evidence is provided. If anything the story of there being 1608 majestic palaces hidden around the world makes the argument less credible. C is the answer because is complies with the main argument of the piece – that God was all powerful, no ordinary man.

    Leave a comment with any further questions / disagreements / or if there’s anything you would like clarified!

    Gamsat Sample Questions

    May 16, 2012

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