Just like at the present moment—not present moment; always—people are engaged in the matter of economic development for sense gratification. So that is also ignorance. That is also ignorance. Because advancement of economic development . . . there is a nice song by a Vaiṣṇava. He says that jaḍa-vidyā, saba māyāra vaibhava. Jaḍa-vidyā means the material advancement of knowledge is a manifestation of this illusory energy. The illusory energy manifests herself in different ways, and that is called material advancement of knowledge. The material advancement of knowledge means he has becoming more and more illusioned. Illusioned.
Just like today one of our student, he had been to some doctor for some personal business. He had some talks with him. So when the student said that "We believe in personal God," then the doctor answered that "Oh, we believe . . . the world believed seven hundred years before like that." Now people have advanced so far that they cannot believe in the Personality of Godhead. Now, people think, think that they have made very much advance in the material science. Well, actually, if we scrutinizingly study how much advancement they have made, then we can know that practically we have been more illusioned than we have made advancement.
Now, seven hundred years before, people were dying. Death was there. So has the advancement of material science during the seven hundred years has stopped death? No. That is not possible. People were suffering from diseases seven hundred years before. Then has the material science so much advanced, stopped diseases? No.
People were embarrassed with increase of population. Has that been stopped? No. People were embarrassed with so many death rate. Has that been stopped? No. That is now . . . now, seven hundred years before, the sun was rising on the eastern side. Has the material science stopped the sun rising on the eastern side? Has it gone to the western side? No. Then what is this advancement? Simply defying the existence of God, is that the advancement of knowledge?
If we materially calculate that . . . practically, the major questions which are embarrassing us, janma-mṛtyu-jarā-vyādhi (BG 13.9). We are embarrassed with the material miseries of life. That has not been solved. The major questions have been set aside. Simply by thinking that "There is no God. We are God. Where science is everything," oh, do you think that is advancement of knowledge? No.
So therefore, ajñānena āvṛtaṁ jñānam. This is, this sort of advancement of knowledge in the material science, is also another type of ignorance. The Lord says, ajñānena āvṛtaṁ jñānam: "Real knowledge is now covered. Real knowledge, being covered by nescience," ajñānena tena muhyanti jantavaḥ, "therefore they are actually perplexed." By the name of so-called advancement of knowledge the whole population of the world, they are now perplexed. Even we do not go into the details, but any sane man will admit that we are not advancing. Actually we are degraded in so many ways.
- jñānena tu tad ajñānaṁ
- yeṣāṁ nāśitam ātmanaḥ
- teṣām ādityavaj jñānaṁ
- prakāśayati tat param
- (BG 5.16)
Tat param. This tat param word is very significant. Tat param means "in relationship with the Supreme Lord." That is called tat param. That knowledge is real knowledge. So jñānena, by spiritual advancement of knowledge, when you are advancing in spiritual advancement of knowledge, or Kṛṣṇa consciousness, then our this ajñāna, or ignorance, that "I am the product of this material world," and therefore identifying myself with this body extensively and, I mean to say, centrally also . . . when we are not so much advanced we think of my body only. But when we are very much advanced in the material science, we think extensively for others also to be in that category of knowledge.
So jñānena tu ajñānaṁ teṣāṁ nāśitam ātmanaḥ. Any person who has advanced in the spiritual knowledge, Kṛṣṇa consciousness, then his . . . that covering of material knowledge is dissipated. How? Now, teṣām ādityavaj jñānam. Just like sun rising, the darkness of the night at once dissipated, similarly, when we advance in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, spiritual knowledge, then our material conception of life is at once dissipated.