About Bhaktivedanta Institute
From the front matter of the
1977 Bhaktivedanta Institute Monograph Series
Bhaktivedanta Institute is a center for advanced study and research into the Vedic scientific knowledge concerning the nature of consciousness and the self. The Institute is the academic division of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness. It consists of a body of scientists and scholars who have recognized the unique value of the teachings of Krishna Consciousness brought to the West by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda. The main purpose of the Institute is to explore the implications of the Vedic knowledge as it bears on all features of human culture, and to present its findings in courses, lectures, monographs, books, and a quarterly journal, Sa-vijñānam.
The Institute presents modern science and other fields of knowledge in the light of Vaiṣṇava philosophy and tradition, providing a new perspective on reality quite different from that of our modern educational systems. One reason for the increasing interest of modern intellectuals in Srīla Prabhupāda’s teachings is doubtlessly the growing awareness that in spite of great scientific and technological advancements, the real goal of human life has somehow been missed. The philosophy of Bhaktivedanta Institute provides a meaningful answer to this concern by proposing that life – not matter – is the basis of the world we perceive.
The central doctrine of modern science is that all phenomena, including those of life and consciousness, can be fully explained and understood by recourse to matter alone. The dictum that “life is a manifestation of matter” is, indeed, the ultimate rationale for the entire civilization of material aggrandizement. The Vedas, on the other hand, teach that conscious life is original, fundamental, and eternal. This is the essence of Bhagavad-gītā – “ahaṁ sarvasya prabhavo mattaḥ sarvaṁ pravartate” (10.8). On this fundamental and critical point, modern science and Vedic knowledge find themselves opposed.
Bhaktivedanta Institute is dedicated to disseminating this most fundamental knowledge throughout the world. The Institute is clearly demonstrating that the Vedic version is not a matter simply of “faith” or “belief,” but is scientific in the strict sense of the term. Although many of its features may appear difficult to verify experimentally, others have direct implications concerning what we may expect to observe. Thus, this view should serve as a stimulating challenge to the truly scientific spirit to go beyond the very restrictive framework imposed on our scientific understanding of nature over the last two hundred years. Modern science began as an experiment to see how far nature could be explained without invoking God. But the purpose of Bhaktivedanta Institute is to introduce Vedic knowledge on a genuinely scientific basis for the first time in the history of this modern scientific age.