Part Two: Sounding the Alarms / Where Is the Evidence?
Not a Thread of Evidence
So let’s get this straight. Mr. Kuiken hasn’t even got a remnant of historic evidence to support his claim that the Original Gita consisted of only 209 verses. So then what is he doing? Is he hoping that his audience will be so gullible that they will believe those verses were there simply because someone took the time to write a book about it? Why does he seem to think that his backward interpolation of a carefully selected group of hand-picked verses extracted from the historic 700 verse Gita constitutes proof of what he is claiming? Is that the type of science he conducts?
The only academic support that was offered to collaborate the fantasy of an older more succinct Non-Duel gita were six references from obscure authors. Two of those references merely concurred that Mr. Kuiken dream gita it might have existed but they offered little additional evidence to support that conclusion. The other four citations from obscure authors provided some vague statements with similarly shoddy research. However non of these so called historians can agree on just how many verses existed in the so-called “Original Gita”. Their spectrum of guesswork stretched anywhere from 50 to 350 “Original Gita” verses.
Meanwhile the audience didn’t seem to notice or care that Mr. Kuiken peppered his presentation with all sorts of assumptions, prejudices and false assertions. It’s hard not to conclude from this that his audience was not very well educated, intellectually lazy or most likely, so entrenched in the do-as-you-like-and-don’t-worry-about it Neo-Advaita charade that nobody was inclined to challenge any of it! On one hand we have a half-dozen gonzo advaitists promoting history the way they want to write it. On the other hand we have thousands of extraordinary individuals spread over several hundred generations of history, who never even hinted that the Gita was ever diabolically injected into the Mahabharata by misleading sentimental Brahmins. When Mr. Kuiken was asked how it was possible that so many brilliant transcendentalists could have been so grossly deceived over and over again without ever discovering what he claims really happened, the best response the good doctor could muster was to shrug his shoulders, pop on a disingenuous smile and directly confess: “I don’t know!”
Your Ignorance is Showing
Another obvious symptom that exposed how little Mr. Kuiken understood the Gita was the portion of the lecture where he spoke about the cast system found in the fourth chapter of the historic Bhagavad Gita.
“According to the three modes of material nature and the work associated with them, the four divisions of human society are created by Me. And although I am the creator of this system, you should know that I am yet the nondoer, being unchangeable.” – Bhagavad Gita As It Is Chapter 4, Transcendental Knowledge, Text 13.
He claimed this verse offers compelling proof that the Gita as we know it today couldn’t possibly be correct because it condoned discrimination between the different social classes. He appeared to have absolutely no awareness of the Varna-Ashrama system or the fact that the four varnas always existed in some capacity, are in place now, and will continue to exist in the future in every society world wide.
Mr. Kuiken also fell head first into the trap of concluding that the newer version of the Gita couldn’t possibly be accepted as a “Spiritual Treatise” because it advocated war and fraternal strife. This objection came right out of the Hippie Handbook of the 1960’s that most thoughtful people have since come to realize stemmed from idealism and immaturity.
The foolishness of the evening continued when the audience was presented a collection of about 35 different translations for the 28 verse in chapter two of the historic Bhagavad Gita. Mr. Kuiken went thru this little exercise as part of his argument for why the 700 verse Gita was inferior to his non-existent 209 hallucinated verse version of the text. “You See” he said, “Sanskrit is such a robust language that it allows one to translate it into whatever one wants and that is why nobody can agree on what the larger Gita actually says!” Using simpleton logic he concluded: “Better we agree to accept the 209 verses of the Gita, (that he took the liberty to author,) because it removes all the controversial subjects like Dharma, Karma, Individuality, and most importantly all the impossible questions we can’t really answer about the nature of God!”
In the middle of all this vaudeville, Mr. Kuiken deviated into a lecture about unrelated philosophical conundrums that are easily found in any university level Philosophy 101 class. He apparently did this to impress his audience who responded like this was fascinating evidence when in fact its effective purpose was to further obfuscating the fact that Mr. Kuiken had still not providing any tangible evidence to support his main thesis. At one point he even wandered off to critique a translation of the Tao-Te-Ching. Although very strange, apparently Mr. Kuiken felt this was useful to illustrate how he transcended the difficulties with language and why his understanding of the Gita was superior to all those who came before him. Some may have been distracted by all the smoke-and-mirrors but none of it really made any sense nor was it relevant to plugging any of the gaping holes in the poor reasoning I have already addressed.
What about the Bhagavat Purana?
Mr. Kuiken was academically generous enough to acknowledge forthright that the Srimad Bhagavat Purana was indeed the most magnanimous scripture for those interested in Bhakti. But what he was completely unable to reconcile was why those scriptures would even exist at all if the highest truth consisted of only Brahman Realization. Even if the good Dr. was able to somehow succeed in convincing the academic world that the “Original Gita ” did not include Krishna or Arjuna, there would still be volumes of other Vedic scriptures that proclaim Krishna as the summum-bonum, Supreme Personality of Godhead! That being the case, would the good Dr. then wager a campaign alleging the majority of the 20,000 verses found in the Bhagavat Purana were also mischievously adulterated to hide the Neo-Advaita agenda he is so obviously obsessed with?
To find out I asked Mr. Kuiken to explain how he would interpret the following very important verse given right in the opening chapters of the Srimad Bhagavat Purana.
vadanti tat tattva-vidas tattvam yaj jnanam advayam
brahmeti paramatmeti bhagavan iti sabdyate
vadanti — they say; tat — that; tattva-vidah — the learned souls; tattvam — the Absolute Truth; yat — which; jnanam — knowledge; advayam — nondual; brahma iti — known as Brahman; paramatma iti — known as Paramatma; bhagavan iti — known as Bhagavan; sabdyate — it so sounded.
Learned transcendentalists who know the Absolute Truth call this nondual substance Brahman, Paramatma or Bhagavan – Srimad Bhagavat Purana Canto 1 “Creation”, Chapter 2, “The Lord In The Heart”, Text 11.
In this classic sloka it is unequivocally stated that the energy we all perceive underling the entire cosmic creation can be understood from three different points of view. Brahman (Impersonalized Energy), Paramatma(Localized God within the Heart) and Bhagavan(The Supreme Personality of Godhead.) In this case the word Bhagavan is an undeniably clear Sanskrit reference to the personhood of God Himself. This is the same word repeatedly used to remind us that the origin of the Historic Gita is not a blob of undefined energy but “Sri Bhagavan Uvacha,” the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
Mr. Kuiken slapped on the grin again and gave me his illuminating answer. “There is no problem reconciling the word Bhagavan. ..” he confidentally boasted… ‘… you can use it to mean Krishna if you like… and I can use it to mean “THAT” energy… what is the harm?” With this it was quite conclusively apparent that for Mr. Kuiken how words are defined and used is all arbitrary. When history and translations are concerned… you can pretty much read whatever you want into these ancient Sanskrit slokas!
Welcome to my Reckless Impersonal Hallucination
“The tale about Krishna and Arjuna is a very nice story” Mr. Kuiken pleasantly conceded, “…it just doesn’t appeal to me philosophically.” While attempting to sound cordial, what Mr. Kuiken was actually revealing was his subliminal motive behind his lifelong effort to persuade the world into accepting his prejudicial Advaitic interpretation of the historic Bhagavad Gita.
All through his lecture, Dr. Kuiken implied that the bhakti tradition was not very philosophical and specifically written by mundane individuals for the purpose of attracting the hearts of the less intelligent sentimental devotees. His commitment was therefore to those who appreciated the more subtle philosophy found in the pure advaita teachings. He stated several times that he found any concept of God as a person just too immature for him to accept. After all.. he is a thermodynamic scientist and trained in the study and appreciation of of hard scientific evidence…right?
Well No. The holy grail for the Neo-Advaitist is the narcissistic selfish conclusion that, “It’s all about ME!” and that cannot be fully realized until all residual concepts of God are completely eradicated. Mr. Kuiken and all of the people who hide behind the Neo-Advaita sophistry are actually very proud and have no interest in surrendering to anything or anyone, least of all the Supreme Personality of Godhead that is clearly introduced as the speaker of the Bhagavad Gita As It Is.
The Neo-Advaitists are attached to their self-serving interpretation of the Advaita philosophy and they know that Vaishnavas properly armed with the torchlight of knowledge found in the Gita, (Bg. 10.11) will present the most formidable challenges to their incomplete faith. To eliminate this threat, the impersonalists go to all sorts of extremes for the very purpose of removing Krishna out of the discussion. This is exactly what Mr. Kuiken is attempting to do by introducing a conspiracy theory into the history of the Bhagavad Gita we have today.
Many people are very aware of how the ego will flare up in the pursuit of spiritual truth. Yet despite all of the people who speak eloquently about “Taming the Ego” or “Getting the Ego out of the way”, few of them are willing to let go of it enough to give seriously consideration to the Bhakti path spoken by Krishna Himself.
“Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me. I shall deliver you from all sinful reaction. Do not fear.” – Bhagavad Gita As It Is Chapter 18, “Conclusion, The Perfection of Renunciation”, Text 66.
Individuals who are serious about pursuing spiritual life will inevitably eventually come face to face with the Bhagavad Gita. At that point they will either take Krishna’s instructions seriously and surrender to Him as he advises, or their ego will flare up and they will misuse their intelligence to generate reasons why they don’t need to. The historical Gita 700 provides the most convincing arguments for why and how to surrender to the Supreme Personality of Godhead for those who are humble and intelligent enough to really do it. For those who need something to prop up their ego simply so they can keep plodding thru life on their own, Mr. Kuiken has provided a great excuse, albeit cheap and embarrassingly ignorant. For those folks he has reduced the powerful dialogue between Krishna and Arjuna to a meaningless fairytale.
A Brief History of Theological Cheating
What is alarming about all this isn’t the fact that Mr. Kuiken is attempting to make a name for himself by whipping up his own spin on theological history. The history books are filled with all sorts of inaccurate and misleading statements for a wide variety of reasons. The heros of one nation are often the nemesis of another and everyone agrees that the history books are written by the victors of war. So what Mr. Kuiken is doing is not a new phenomenon, but it is a dastardly ploy to mislead the innocent for his own selfish reasons.
The Morman church was founded on the belief that a 4th century prophet “Morman” buried golden tablets in upstate New York outlining an addendum to the Bible. Joseph Smith was the New World prophet sent by God to find the valuable tablets and translate them into what we now know of as the “Book Of Morman.” Based on this fantastic story, the Morman church was born.
The relevant point here is that there is absolutely no historic record that the golden tablets ever existed, what to speak of an ancient prophet by the name of Morman. We are left to assume that Morman was well off enough to fund the creation of golden tablets and have them transported to upstate New York in the 4th century. Since then, the tablets apparently evaporated out of our time-space-continuum just like the 209 verses Mr. Kuiken claims to have once existed!
The fire alarm for those who actually appreciate all 700 of the verses in the historic version of the Gita is the fact that despite how absurd Joseph Smith’s tale was, millions obviously didn’t care about the integrity of his story. Consequently, the Morman church blossomed out of a script comparable to a script from the “X-Files” apparently because people were not satisfied with the prominent faiths of their day.
There are also people writing books and lecturing to persuade the public that the descendants from the tribe of Judah, known as the Jews are NOT God’s “Chosen People” as mentioned in the Bible. The people who are promoting this concept have anti-semitic viewpoints and their agenda is to convince everyone that the real “Chosen People” are the white Anglo-Saxon Germanic descendants that are often incorrectly referred to as the “Aryan Race.” The bigots behind this propaganda go by the name of Neo-Nazis and they are committed to also revising history so much that they claim the atrocities committed by Hitler never happened. They insist that 6 million jews were never killed because the holocast never happened!
Most people become rightfully enraged when they hear about this blatant example of egregious historic revisionism, yet Mr. Kuiken is doing virtually the same thing. Although the exact number can be debated, the Mahabharata indicates that millions of people were also killed on the battle field of Kuruksetra in a heroic effort to preserve dharma and remove the horrendously selfish despotic king Duryodhana. Mr. Kuiken openly admits that he can’t grasp the deeper meaning of the classical Bhagavad Gita so now his agenda is to change the way people think about it and that includes suggesting that the Battle of Kukuksetra never happened. His sycophant admirers cry for the plight of the Jews, but they couldn’t care less about the Pandava dynasty or honoring the tremendous impact the Bhagavad Gita As It Is has had on a world wide community of very wise Vaishnavas!