Monday Morning Greetings 2023 #7 – Sadhus or Cyborgs

February 13th, 2023

About two months ago, my computer was in repair, and I had to write my Monday Morning Greetings by iPhone. I shared with someone how difficult it was. She said, “Why not just use a pen and paper?” Duh! I was so technologically conditioned that the alternative never even crossed my mind. My computer has crashed again, and I’m writing this on a legal pad. Ah! The joy of no texts! Here it goes:


Last week, I wrote about visiting an enchanting thick forest ashram in Vraja, where the sadhus live unencumbered by any modern technology, even electricity, and where hundreds of cows roam with their calves, just as they did when Krishna was here—and who is still here for those with eyes to see.


Just being there had such a powerful effect on my consciousness that it inspired a remembrance of a statement that I read many years ago. I think it was by Paramahamsa Yogananda:


“In terms of elevating our consciousness, environment is more powerful than willpower.”


Influenced by the power of this simple and devotionally laden environment, I began to reflect on how much I have fallen into the illusion that technology is essential to happiness, while, in fact, it mostly degrades the spirit. I was shocked. Have I been captured by the enemy?


OK. I get it. We need and use so many things from the modern techno world that have become essential for our day-to-day living, including our service to God. But are they essential, or do we only require them to counteract the inconvenience that this same modern techno world has thrust upon us, like the dire necessity for the sophisticated tools of communication to assuage the loneliness caused by the advancement of technology, which has broken communities and scattered friends and family all over the world? Wouldn’t it be great if, like the days of yore, all of our loved ones lived within walking distance, and it took just a few steps for all of us to join together in the saṅkīrtana of the holy name?


I am astounded at the powerbrokers in the modern world who, with almost a religious fervor, try to sell us the cult of technology as a solution to the world’s problems while the quality of life under their direction with every step forward seems to move progressively towards hell. Do they really believe their dogma?


Evidently, they do. Last month, while browsing through the airport bookstore, I briefly skimmed through 21 Lessons for the 21st Century by Professor Yuval Noah Harari, perhaps the most prominent voice today promoting the expansion of technology for the evolution and betterment of mankind. I took interest in him from a video someone sent me of his lecture at the World Economic Forum, where he seemed to serve as their intellectual spokesman[1]. Harari is no doubt a brilliant person. He fits carefully into the fourth category of people mentioned in Bhagavad-gītā who never come to Krishna, “those whose knowledge is stolen by illusion”.[2]


Harari professes a philosophy called “Dataism”, a title that he coined, which promotes a mindset that worships “Big Data”.[3] In short, he strongly believes and preaches that there is no soul, and thus the next step in evolution, if engineered carefully, is the development and perfection of human behavior through the collection and manipulation of data by the increasing sophistication of technology. A few of his thoughts for a better world:


“People are bad algorithms soon to be reduced to be replaced because machines can do it better.”


“In the future, the elite, with their advanced technologies, will determine what is best for mankind.”


I sit here in my room, pen and paper in hand, remembering the powerful effect on my consciousness of sitting in an untouched forest with pure sadhus and hundreds of cows. I was also inspired today to scorn the absurdity of technocrats claiming to improve God’s creation when, by their mercy, we sit on the brink of moral and economic collapse. Sadhus or cyborgs? What will you choose? I know my choice. If the land of the cows and simple sadhu-like village folk of Vraja is God’s vision for perfection, it is certainly good enough for me!



[1] https://youtu.be/QuL3wlodJC8

[2] Bg 7.15

[3] “Big Data” is defined, simply, as data that is so large, fast, or complex, that it is difficult or impossible to process with traditional methods.


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