UFOs and Krishna Consciousness
Thompson examinations Puranic accounts of 400,000 categories of human consciousness to help illustrate parallels with a variety of contemporary reports of apparent “close encounters.” Drawing upon his extensive study of literature pertaining to such events, Thompson proposes that these parallels could well be more than coincidental.
TRANSCRIPT: UFOs and Krishna Consciousness. Los Angeles - December 5, 1992 / (014)
“UFOs and Kṛṣna Consciousness.” I may as well start right in by discussing what such a subject could possibly have to do with Kṛṣna Consciousness. So I’ll begin by talking about the Vedic picture of reality. What do we read about the layout of the universe and the different populations within the universe in the Vedic literature? And given the basic description that you find in Vedic literature, what would one expect to find in the modern observable world that might tend to confirm that or disconfirm it, or in some way shed light on the reality of the basic Vedic world view? So I’ll begin by giving a just brief synopsis of the Vedic description of the universe.
What you have is a universe created by Supreme Intelligence, the, of course, initial creator of this material universe is Lord Brahmā, who is manifested from the lotus flower coming from the navel of Garbhodakaśāyi Viṣṇu. From Brahmā there are emanations of prajapatis who are beings who are empowered to create other species of life. From the prajapatis various generations of species descend. There are eight million, four hundred thousand species of living beings within the universe. Alright, there are eight million, four hundred thousand species of life within the universe, and of these, four hundred thousand are described to be basically human in form. Now, four hundred thousand species – that’s quite a large number, if you think about it. And needless to say the Vedic literature does not tell us about all of those different species. If you stop to think that, for example, the Srimad-Bhagavatam has eighteen thousand verses. so if each verse told us a little about one of those species, that would only cover eighteen thousand of them; and there are four hundred thousand! So, naturally we don’t have information about all these different species. However, if we look at the Vedic literature we do have some basic information about them that gives us some knowledge.
From the Bhagavatam there are a number of facts that you can glean. Basically there are the demigods, or devas, whose main dwelling area in the universe is Svargaloka. These include Indra, Chandra, Varuna and so forth. It is said that there are thirty-three million principal demigods. There are upadevas; the upadevas are almost demigods. They are not quite demigods. It is said in one sastra that I noted, one of the Puranas, that the powers of the upadevas are about three quarters of that of the powers of the devas. So that gives you sort of a numerical idea. The devas, by the way, have all kinds of mystic powers. This is one of the primary things you see when you read the Bhagavatam. They have great control over the material elements and thus it is possible for them to appear and disappear; they can change their form. Indra, if he likes, can appear as a bird, as happened in that pastime with Maharaja Shibi for example. They have control over the elements within your body. They can control your mind. They can manipulate matter in different ways. There are eight basic siddhis. These are described in the eleventh canto of the Srimad-Bhagavatam, and a whole series of other subordinate siddhis or mystic powers, many of which are quite remarkable; and these are fully possessed by the demigods. So the upadevas typically also possess these powers, to a lesser extent of course. These include beings such as Siddhas, Caranas, Vidyadharas and so forth. Also there are Gandharvas, Kinnaras, there are many different categories of upadevas within the universe. The living places for the Siddhas, Vidyadharas, and so on are described in the Srimad-Bhagavatam. Basically they are beneath the planet Rahu and above the earth. Basically there is the Rahu planet and between the level of the Rahu planet and the earth there are various lokas inhabited by the Vidyadharas, Siddhas, Caranas and so forth. Beneath them there are lokas occupied by more demonic grades of beings.
Of course there are three basic modes of nature – goodness, passion and ignorance. The devas or demigods are predominantly in the mode of goodness. The Daityas, demons, are in the modes of passion and ignorance, and there are other beings who are predominantly in the mode of ignorance, which could be called ghostly species of life. One should make a distinction between ghosts and ghostly species. A ghost, by definition, is the subtle body of someone who has died, but because of their karmic complications, they are unable to receive another gross body. And furthermore, they are attached to a particular material situation in this world. So they tend to haunt some particular location within this world. It is said that a person in this situation desires material enjoyment but they are not granted a material body with which they can obtain these material enjoyments, so it is a condition of great suffering. That’s the situation of a ghost. So the ghost is a body of mind, intelligence and false ego. Typically the ghosts are not able to do very much. They may be able to influence a person’s mind slightly and on some occasions if they can gain access to a person’s energy, perhaps because of some physical defect in the person, then they can throw some things around and create disturbances and these are called hauntings, or poltergeist effects, and so on. So that’s the situation of a ghost.
But there are also ghostly species, and there’s quite a list of them in the Bhagavatam. These consist of Bhutas, Pethas, Prasachas, Yathudhanas, Kushmandalas, Vaitalyn [sp?]; there are different lists that you find in the Bhagavatam describing these different types of beings. These, however, are species; it’s not that when you die and you are just there in your subtle body that you become one of these. You can also become one of these beings as a result of karma. But they have organised societies and they are definite species with definite bodily forms. Their bodies are more subtle than the bodies we have, but they may contain some admixture of gross elements also. Typically they also possess different mystic powers. However they are not as powerful as the upadevas; that’s also described in different sastras.
So the fifth canto of the Srimad-Bhagavatam says that, interestingly enough, these beings have their lokas, or dwelling places, one hundred yojanas above the highest altitude to which the birds can fly; large birds it says. So that would indicate that above more or less the upper region of the troposphere, I guess in modern terminology, if you go one hundred yojanas up, which is about eight hundred miles, then according to the Fifth Canto of the Bhagavatam, that’s where you come to the domains in which these beings are living.
In addition to that there are different kinds of living beings that inhabit lower planetary systems. There are seven lower planets, lower planetary systems, which are described in the Bhagavatam, mainly in the Fifth Canto. These are referred to as subterranean heavenly planets. It is an interesting description. They are called Bila-svarga. So, many different types of living beings live there. Many of these are predominantly in the mode of ignorance or they are demonic. Typically when the demons are defeated in battles with the demigods in the heavenly planets they are driven down into the lower planets like Patalaloka or Sutala and so forth. And then occasionally they try to come back up to the heavenly planets, and on other occasions they try to take over the earth. So there are very powerful demonic beings living in the lower planets. Some of them, it turns out, are not demonic actually. There’s the famous case of Bali Mahārāja, who as a demon conquered the heavenly planets and was divested of his possessions by Vamanadeva, the avatar of Lord Visnu, and in the course of his meeting with Vamanadeva he surrendered to Vamanadeva and so he became a pure devotee. But still, he was considered still to be officially a demon and was sent to live in Sutala until the end of this manvantara period. At the end of that period he will become the indra and then he’ll rightfully rule the heavenly planets.
So apart from that though there are beings of lesser stature of many different categories. One interesting group is the Nāgas. The Nāgas are described as living both in lower planetary systems [pause]…hmm, there we go!, and on the earth. The Nāgas, as is true with many of these beings, can change shapes. The Nāgas typically have a serpent form and a human form, and sometimes a half-serpent half-human form. In the story of Kaliya Nāga in the Krishna Book, of course Kaliya had a serpent form with many heads, but when his wives were appeasing Krishna, you can see in all the paintings they are shown as being human from the waist up and serpent from the waist down. And sometimes the Nāgas just are in human form; so they have these powers to assume these different forms.
It is interesting that the Nāgas play a role in the description in Vedic literature similar to that of the so-called fairies in Ireland and Scotland and so forth. Of course “fairy-tale” is a pejorative term, but there are traditions of beings called the Tuatha Dé Danann, which means the sons of Dana, who were basically a very aristocratic class of beings of a more subtle nature than the humans, who were traditionally believed to live in the same lands as England, Ireland, Scotland and in that area. Typically these beings were worshipped by offering them crops, and they were regarded as being able to control the weather and produce thunderstorms and things like that. So if they weren’t given their offerings of the harvest, then they might cause a storm and destroy the harvest and things like that. Exactly the same traditions exist in India with regard to the Nāgas, especially in Kashmir you can read about these different traditions. So these beings are said to live on the earth, the lower planetary systems.
So in various sastras there’s additional information. There’s a whole category I’ve left out. These would be the pitṛs, or forefathers; “ancestors” is another way to look at it. There’s the Pitṛloka planets. In some of the Puranas it is described that there are actually many categories of Pitṛloka planets, with many different names. There is an elaborate nomenclature, so it is a very complex system. Basically in the Bhagavatam we just read about Pitṛloka, but it’s actually described that there are more Pitṛloka planets than there are planets of the demigods. And in a way that makes sense because the Pitṛloka planets are connected with the transmigration of the souls and a lot of souls are transmigrating! The demigods are more like cosmic administrators. So in any case, it’s interesting to see that there is a vast array of Pitṛloka planets. Some of these are connected with punishment of sinful personalities. Yamarāja is presiding in Pitṛloka in the southern part of the universe and the Narakalokas, or hellish planetary systems, are located in that region. So that’s a basic run down on the different planetary systems.
So if you look at the Bhagavatam, Mahabharata and so forth, you find that in the time periods described in those books; many different categories of beings were interacting very openly with human beings. Demigods would sometimes come to the sacrifices performed by great kings for example. When Maharaja Yudhistira performed the Rajasuya sacrifice various demigods were present there to participate in various ways in the sacrifice. It was said that sometimes even a common man could see the demigods, which implies, by the way, that sometimes the common man couldn’t see them, even though they were actually there to participate.
Apart from that, there were meetings and encounters with many kinds of beings of a more demonic nature. There were the Raksasas; people would have encounters with these. There are many stories of the Pandavas. Of course Bhima would occasionally have a knock-down, drag-out fight with a Raksasa like Hidimba. And he also married the sister of Hidimba, and there was offspring from that named Ghatotkacha, which indicated that human beings and Raksasas could produce fertile offspring. In fact this is a general concept. Arjuna was at one time abducted by a Nāga woman named Ulūpī. Arjuna was bathing in the Ganges at that time, in preparation for engaging in a fire sacrifice in Haridwar, and this Nāga woman came up behind him and pulled him down into the water; but she didn’t pull just into the water, she pulled him down into the Nāgaloka kingdom. Her father was one of the kings of the Nāgas, and in fact there was offspring from that also. Arjuna had some son from that union, I believe it’s described. Of course, demigods would also sometimes produce human offspring; the Pandavas are an example. Each of the Pandavas had as their mother Queen Kunti, and their fathers were different demigods. So that’s a brief description.
I would note, by the way, also that these beings described in Vedic literature are very often said to have remarkable flying machines called vimanas in Vedic literature. A very prominent example of the vimanas is the flying machine of Salva. Salva, by the way, was a human king but this flying machine was built for him by Maya Dānava, who is an inhabitant of the lower planetary system and is a famous technological wizard. So by the arrangement of Lord Siva, Maya Dānava constructed this spaceship, or whatever you may call it, for Salva. So, apart from that there are many descriptions of vimanas. The demigods themselves are even called vaimanika which means those who travel in vimanas. The upadevas are typically described as having them. For example, the Vidyādharas, typically they are flying in vimanas; the Gandharvas also. There’s the desc… some of the vimanas are sort of like single-seater vehicles it seems. For example, one Gandharva was flying over the palace of Devahuti, and he saw Devahuti playing ball on the roof of the palace, and he fell out of his vimana; he was so infatuated with Devahuti. So it seems as though maybe he banked too steeply and he didn’t have his seatbelts on [laughter].
So, on the other hand, the vimana of Salva was huge. He had armies on his vimana and he was dropping all kinds of things on Dvaraka. It’s interesting by the way, that he was not dropping bombs like in World War 2. He was dropping slabs of rock, tree trunks, poisonous serpents and so on. So it seems that he didn’t have the technology for bombing. So this was entirely an amateur operation. He just happened to get this flying machine from somebody else who knew how to build them, but in his own human society people didn’t know how to build those things evidently, or they would have had the technology that goes with it for bombing and so forth.
So, also there are descriptions of flying cities in the Vedic literature. There is the city of Hiranyapura for example. Hiranyapura was occupied by different groups of Danavas such as the Puloma and the Kalakeya Danavas. And, they would just travel around the universe in their flying city doing whatever they wanted, and they had a benediction from Lord Brahma that no demigod could defeat them. So, however they did not have a benediction that no human could defeat them because, after all, humans are actually quite puny and insignificant. So an arrangement was made by Indra for Arjuna to attack Hiranyapura because of course he was technically a human, although he wasn’t exactly human in his powers. And so Arjuna destroyed Hiranyapura with his celestial weapons. So this is the basic . . .[recording skips]
So if this is true one could ask about the world as we experience today? Now today the standard view of the world which people are raised on is that basically human beings are the only intelligent form of life which exists within the range of our senses. Scientists will argue that all of the planets in the solar system are uninhabited except for the earth; life cannot exist there. They speculate that if life could evolve on the earth then maybe it could evolve on some other planet, on some other star, but the probabilities are that this would be very, very far away from the earth. And many prominent scientists, such as Carl Sagan for example, have argued that interstellar space travel is not at all a practical consideration. There are limitations imposed by the speed of light and the theory of relativity and so forth; so practically speaking we are alone in the universe as far as intelligent life is concerned. So, in contrast, the Vedic literature describes all these different forms of life, many of which live on the earth, or beneath the earth in a subterranean region, or very close to the earth a few hundred miles up, above the earth’s atmosphere and so forth. So one natural question you can ask is, well if that is so, where are they?
Now this of course is the Kali-yuga; it’s different from the Dvapara-yuga. It’s described that the demigods do not manifest themselves before human beings here on the earth anymore, during the Kali-yuga, because proper sacrifices for the demigods are not being performed. So they won’t appear here. They still live here! Lord Caitanya for example met Lord Siva on Srisaila Hill in south India, that’s described in the Caitanya-caritamrta, and various other demigods were also living there as described there. So, but they don’t make themselves visible normally to human beings in this day and age. At least that is not the standard procedure. But there are many other categories of living beings and there is no account indicating that they have ceased to become, be manifest, or to live on the earth. In particular there are beings in the mode of ignorance and so on and so forth. So, one prediction one could make based on the material in the Bhagavatam is that, it would seem that there should be some interaction between human beings and some other form of human like intelligent beings, but you wouldn’t expect these, generally speaking, to be demigods or anything like that. That would be something you would expect, based on the Vedic literature.
Now Srila Prabhupada has not said very much about this kind of possibility; he has said something though. One comment that Srila Prabhupada made, I think this devotee Madhuvisa was asking Srila Prabhupada about UFO’s and so forth, so he said in a letter to him:
“Your second question about spacemen from other planets, it is stated in the Vedic literature that there are many planets where the inhabitants are more advanced than the inhabitants of this earth planet. So it is not unlikely that such people may have developed space travelling methods. They occupy higher posts in the creation of the Lord and so they may be considered as demigods in the same way as the president is especially empowered by the nation. But this does not mean that such spacemen are necessarily carrying the messages of the Lord just as the business of the state employees is not to act as the state representative but he acts in his particular job.” [25.56 end quote Srila Prabhupada letter to Madhuvisa, Date??]
So that’s an interesting statement. So, all Srila Prabhupada is saying there is that such things are possible. It is not unlikely that such people may have developed space travelling methods, but there’s the interesting point that he makes that this ‘does not mean that such spacemen are necessarily carrying messages of the Lord’; that could be highly relevant.
So, now that is the introduction concerning the Vedic world view. So what I’ll refer to now is the topic of UFO phenomenon, say a few words briefly about that, and then relate the two topics to one another. The basic theme of the, with regard to the UFO phenomenon, is that people since the late 1940’s have been reporting some kind of beings travelling about in the atmosphere of the earth with some kind of unusual vehicles. And people report meeting these beings and having different kinds of encounters with them and so forth. A number of interesting points can be made. First of all, this is considered to be a very disreputable topic in many circles, and there are reasons for that. I can go into a number of the reasons. Part of the reasons have to do with the uneasiness that is produced in people of the modern outlook on life at the thought that some other kind of beings may exist, which could be equal to ourselves or superior to ourselves in intelligence and in power to manipulate the material energy. Such beings pose a threat naturally. Lower animals that are less intelligent than ourselves naturally do not pose any particular threat, but if someone is of equal or greater intelligence, then they could create problems. So there is a tendency to, for the idea that such beings may exist, to create uneasiness.
Part of the history of the UFO phenomenon is that there have been interactions between people in the military and different beings flying around in unusual vehicles. There is a very extensive history involved with this. Once again, just to sum-up the gist of it, the indication is that for many years people in the military have had encounters with flying machines that can completely out-perform their own military airplanes. And, this of course would create considerable concern among the military. Many sources indicate that the government, for example, in the United States and in various other countries around the world, is concerned that if people were to become well aware of the reality of this kind of activity, then this could destabilise government and social order. People might panic, there could be different breakdowns in society, they might rebel against the government, and so on and so forth. There is a great deal of documentation relating to this idea.
So there have been specific programmes to debunk or ridicule the UFO phenomenon so as to prevent people from widely coming to this kind of conclusion. For example in 1953 there was a panel of scientists headed by a man named Robertson, who was a very famous scientist dealing with the area of relativity. The panel was convened by the CIA and the (Change in phraseology leaves this as excess), it met for three days and it came out with a paper, which was kept classified for many years but maybe about twenty years ago that was declassified, saying that indeed this UFO phenomenon should be debunked systematically by making use of the media, different kinds of movies, TV presentations, and so forth, in which the idea was essentially ridiculed. So this kind of background is there. I won’t go into that in much more detail.
I will mention that quite credible witnesses have given testimony concerning relations between the US military and the UFO phenomenon. For example, I myself have spoken to a man named Elmer Green who is a PhD. He is working for the Menninger Foundation doing medical research, that’s in Topeka Kansas, and in the early 1950’s he was engaged, he was the head of a group of engineers in the military doing metric-photography for weapons tests. In metric-photography you have cameras which you can use to track missiles and other kinds of weapons as they fly through the air. This is used for testing the weapons. So, his experience was that members of his group were obtaining pictures of UFO’s along with the weapons. The UFO would follow, let’s say, a missile. Just to give you one example that he described to me, once they were going to fire a V2 rocket - back in those days are still testing the V2 rockets that they had captured from the Germans - so their cameras were ready and the rocket was about to fire when two small disc-like objects came down from the sky. [32.39 unclear, long continuous stream ‘my edit’ for new sentence.] They were revolving around the rocket for about 10 minutes or so and then went flying off into the sky. And he said they used up all their film on the objects so then they had to delay firing the rockets while they reloaded their cameras with more film. So there are many descriptions like this. He personally saw a UFO flying after a cargo plane that was coming in for a landing. This was in China Lake at the naval weapons testing centre there and so forth. So he described this to me in great detail. He said that the reports and all the photographs of these objects were duly forwarded to Washington and he said that when some of his colleagues asked later if they could see the reports or refer to them they were informed that there were no such reports. They were simply told that “we have no record of such a report; there was never such a report”, and it was simply left at that. So, this was the experience that he was having, and there’s extensive documentation along these lines. So this is some of the background on the UFO phenomenon.
Now what I would like to do is go very quickly to the point to describe how the UFO phenomenon relates to Kṛṣna Consciousness. This is entirely a matter of preaching of Kṛṣna Consciousness. At the present time a very large amount of material has accumulated concerning encounters that people have with UFOs and different kinds of beings associated with them. The beings typically are of two broad categories. There are beings who are, to put it bluntly, they appear to be very tamasic in nature, very frightening. And there is another category of beings that seems to be more in the mode of goodness in terms of their behaviour and their appearance. The frightening beings typically look totally horrifying. They come at night; they cause people to become paralysed, and there’s a whole experience that people describe in relation to these beings. There’s been a lot of publicity about this lately, and this is called abduction. They will say that they are carried away into perhaps a UFO, at least into some room somewhere, they don’t know where, and subjected to various types of mistreatment that sort of look like a medical examination, but they’re very painful and they involve quite a number of very unpleasant activities. These people typically become traumatised by the experience.
In recent years quite a number of people in the medical profession have begun to investigate these reports; particularly psychiatrists and psychologists have made these investigations. They have found typically that the people are not psychotic. They typically exhibit signs of what is called “post-traumatic stress syndrome”, which is a psychological syndrome that develops as a result of traumatic experiences such as rape, or say, Vietnam veterans sometimes have this kind of syndrome and so forth. So basically speaking, just to give you an example of some of the psychological studies, a blind experiment was done with one psychologist named Elizabeth Slater and, I think it was, six different people who had reported being abducted by these beings. Elizabeth Slater was not told that that was in fact what these people had in common. Nothing about UFO abductions was mentioned to her. She was merely asked to give a psychological evaluation of these people. She performed the evaluation and concluded that they were all perfectly sane. These were people, by the way, in a number of walks of life. One was a New York corporate lawyer for example, a woman, a career woman. Another was a secretary; one was an artist; I think someone was an engineer, a variety of different backgrounds. These were all very respectable people. They were not nutty in any way. They did not have unusual occult interests. They were quite run-of-the-mill actually, and they were certified by her to be perfectly sane but she observed this post-traumatic stress syndrome type of manifestation in them. When she was informed that what they had in common was that they had been carried off by strange little men and subjected to tortures of different kinds, she was totally shocked and she said that according to her previous training and understanding of psychology, people who would tell stories like that would have to be strange psychotic characters given to fugue states and schizoid experiences. So, this was one example of the studies.
Recently there’s a professor of psychiatry at Harvard University named John Mack who is taking these experiences very seriously. So these are experiences in which people claim to meet a kind of being which is, as I say, frightening in both in appearance and behaviour. These beings typically exhibit what would appear to be the equivalent of different mystic siddhis described in Vedic literature. For example there’s a mystic siddhi called vaśitā siddhi which is described in the Vedic literature. It is a power of hypnosis by which one can control the mind of someone else at a distance. Srila Prabhupada commented that sometimes a yogi acquires a small degree of this vaśitā siddhi power and he comes among people, convinces them of some unreal thing, takes away their money and then leaves. So, the beings who engage in these activities appear to exhibit a power like that. They can control the minds and bodies of the people who are having these experiences.
Another feature is the laghimā siddhi; that is the power to nullify gravity, and these beings very frequently described as floating through the air. So sometimes when they take people with them they cause them to float through the air also. There are many accounts like this and many quite responsible people have given testimony to this effect. I’ll just mentioned for example, there was one air force officer named Moody, I forget his first name now, but he was all a member of an elite force in which very careful psychological screening was used to eliminate any kind of unstable personality from the, that military group. He had an experience of an encounter with these kinds of beings, and he made the comment at one point that, “I hope nobody sends for a straitjacket for me but those beings did not walk, they floated!” That was his description. He saw them floating across the ground coming towards him. There are literally hundreds of accounts of this nature. So that corresponds, though, to a mystic power described in Vedic literature which is the laghimā siddhi.
It gets worse than this however; these beings are described to come through walls. Now this is where one begins to think of ghosts and things like that; something insubstantial that can come through a wall, but that is also described in these accounts. It is a very standard description. There is by the way, just to give another reference for credibility, there’s a history professor named David Jacobs at Temple University in Philadelphia, who has written a book called Secret Life. He studied a large number of these cases and he, by the way, is pretty much of a materialist in his views. He makes that very clear in his account. It’s, by the way, respectable to be a materialist especially in a University these days. So he is a respectable man and he affirms that these beings tend to come through the walls. And since he definitely does not believe in mystic powers or any kind of superstitious nonsense like that, he says that, well, they must have some kind of technology by which they can alter the molecular structure of the wall and somehow pass through it. It’s just a very advanced technology. After all, just think to a savage tribesman, radio and television and aeroplanes would seem magical, so likewise these things seem magical to us. That is the way he reconciles himself to these things. It is interesting, though, that these correspond to Vedic siddhis also.
In the Kṛṣna Book for example, we have the story of the abduction of Aniruddha. The story, of course, there is that Usha of course dreamed of this beautiful young man. Usha was a very protected princess. She was in the castle of Bansura and there were no easy ways in there to get at her. So, but Citralekhā, her mystic yogini girlfriend, travelled through the ether. Srila Prabhupada, whenever he refers to this, he calls it travelling in outer-space. But the space in question is the ether and actually the ether is everywhere right here. It’s not that it’s just way out beyond the atmosphere. So, Citralekhā could travel through the ether, or through outer-space, which as far as I can understand it from the different descriptions in the Vedic literature, means that ordinary matter would cease to be an obstacle and she would just be going through the space. It is as though you can ignore everything that’s in the space and just go through space to another place, which means you can travel through walls, trees, or whatever is in the way. At the other place you come back into the normal state of existence, and it appears that you passed through matter. So she picked up Aniruddha without waking him up and took him back into the palace, into the quarters of Usha, and then of course they had an affair there, which was very disturbing ultimately for Banasura, Usha’s father, when he found out about it. So, that’s an example of this kind of mystic power in the Vedic literature. It is possible also in Vedic literature to go through walls and so forth.
Interestingly enough in the eleventh canto of the Bhagavatam there’s a description of a mystic power called mano-jäva. Kṛṣna is describing the different mystic siddhis to Uddhava and He says mano-jäva is the power whereby the body is made to follow the wind that accompanies the mind. So that's an interesting idea. According to that, if you move your mind somewhere, Srila Prabhupada has spoken of travelling at the speed of the mind, with this mystic power your body will move with it and your body will go to whatever place you visualised in your mind. So, these reports of these beings involve these kind of mystic powers. So there’s a strong analogy that can be drawn with the powers exhibited by these beings and the powers described in Vedic literature. Furthermore the beings seemed seem to fall in a sort of ghostly category, just based on the descriptions people give of them, and in the Vedic literature you have the different categories of ghostly beings. As I say these are not ghosts but they are beings of ghostly nature. They tend to be predominated by tama guna. These, by the way, are described in great detail in the Vedic literatures that relate to Lord Siva. This makes sense because Lord Siva is Bhutanatha so he's specifically concerned with those beings. For example in the Vayu Purana eighteen different kinds of bhutas are described and their bodily forms are described. They have a great variety of different bodily forms. And then sixteen categories of Pisachas are described with all the details of their bodily appearance. So still that’s a long way to go to get all 400,000 types of species.
So the basic idea then, with regard to this UFO phenomenon in the Vedic literature, is that this can used for preaching Kṛṣna consciousness. A lot of people now are taking these phenomena seriously. Many books have been written on the subject. At the present time there are all kinds of TV specials dealing with this subject matter. As I say professional, people like psychiatrists and so on are involving themselves with it. So the interest is there and one can take this material, compare it with the material in the Vedic literature, talk about the Vedic picture of reality, and say that this basically confirms the Vedic picture of reality. And it provides a forum then for talking about the Vedic picture of reality as something real. Apart from that, one can just say, “Well, on faith one should accept that these things are true”, but it’s really, becomes a matter of, a leap of faith. One lives in the world of modern experience in which we are the only intelligent beings that we know of on the planet or within many, many light years of here. So one can consider on the basis of faith, that, well maybe the universe really is, or at least maybe at some time was, as described in the Vedic literature. But the advantage of this subject matter is that in discussing it, one can then discuss the Vedic picture of reality as something actually real. It's perfectly natural then to do that. And on that platform then one can talk about all kinds of things relating to Kṛṣna consciousness.
Now one feature of this whole UFO phenomenon is that people who look into this at all seriously find it to be very disturbing, as you might imagine. I’ve described the tamasic aspect. There are other kinds of encounters that are not so frightening. I’ll get to those in a moment because there’s an interesting thing we can say about those as well, but we look at those that are considered to be very tamasic, these are very disturbing. This David Jacobs for example said, “Sometimes somebody will ask me, ‘What if this all turns out to be an illusion?’, and none of these things are real; it’s just some kind of dream or an illusion,” or something like that. And he said that, “If that turned out to be the case I would weep for joy, you know, I don't want this to be true”. This is what he was saying. So the Vedic literature provides the actual solution to this kind of problem.
For example, and the solution of course is Kṛṣna consciousness, the simple basic logic of it is this: if we think that we are the only intelligent beings within many, many millions of light years and we think that we have the power to control nature, then to solve our problems one natural way to do it is to use our own intelligence. Learn how to manipulate matter in a more ingenious way and thus deal with the different difficulties. We can conquer disease. We can solve the problems imposed by nature and so forth using technology and science and in this way deal with everything. And if we are the only intelligent beings around how else could we do? But if there’s the possibility that there are beings superior to us, that might in fact mistreat us in some way for example, then what can we do? We can’t fight them if they’re superior to us any more than say, members of a savage tribe could fight off people with modern military weapons.
Just consider the plight of, you know, some tribesman when they meet up with a modern army. What can they do? So, the solution then is simple. You have to appeal to some higher beings. If some beings higher than you are causing you trouble, then the only thing you could possibly do is to appeal to somebody higher than them. Logically speaking you may as well go straight to the top. Eh, I mean, one whole thing you can immediately infer from the existence, by the way, of beings other than humans, is that there must be God. It's a natural inference. If we are in fact the only intelligent being on the earth, then you can perhaps give some credence to the evolutionary theory that we came up from the apes. You know things have been gradually improving over millions and millions of years and we’re just the pinnacle of the evolutionary process. We’re the best thing that has come along. So that makes sense in that picture. But if you have all kinds of beings superior to us, immediately the evolutionary view breaks down. First of all, the theory of evolution in no way can account for any of the types of beings that I described, if in fact these are real.
Now, by the way, as a point of epistemology, I don’t insist that any of these things are real. It's perfectly alright for me if this is a species of folklore that has now emerged within modern consciousness for some sociological or psychological reason. That’s perfectly all right, but a lot of people are taking it seriously and Vedic literature says that such beings are real. Whether people are actually experiencing that now or not is another thing, but certainly they’re reporting experiences which enable you to talk about this subject matter in a very serious way, and that’s the basic point. In other words we don't have to affirm that any of these things are real in order to talk about these things. In this book that I wrote in the introduction I said, in fact I gave the advice, that for some people the best way to look at this is a study of folklore. So, and I'm not saying, by the way, that therefore it is just folklore; this is just a point of epistemology. What we are mainly interested in getting at here is the Vedic literature and of bringing that into serious discussion among people.
So, to cut a long story short, the solution to the problem posed by beings superior to us is you have to surrender to God. If there are beings superior to us, that suggests that the theory of evolution is certainly not very good. Darwin’s theory cannot explain the origin of such beings. If you try and stretch Darwin’s theory to accommodate them, then you’ve got real problems. If you say they evolved on another planet, then the problem is why they look similar to humans, because they do. They have two arms, two legs, head, eyes in the right place, and so on and so forth. On the other hand if they evolved on the earth, where’s the record of that? There’s no record!