The Artificial Intelligence of Nature

Artificial Intelligence, or AI, is the new phase of the Information Technology era. Basically, in a modern context, Artificial Intelligence is the study and development of computer systems that are able to perform tasks that normally require human intelligence. AI now enables visual perception, speech recognition, decision-making, translation between languages, self-driving cars, and many other wonderful applications. It seems to hold a lot of potential in the upcoming decade or century of technological advancement.


But actually this AI is not a new invention according to the Vedic point of view. It has been in existence in a much more sophisticated manner for as long as the creation itself. As the name suggests, artificial intelligence is seeming intelligence of a real person. Actually, there is no intelligence in computers but having been fed by the programming of a real, intelligent person(s), they work almost independently, having seeming intelligence of their own. In other words, such computers present an illusion of real intelligence, replete as they are with their own decision-making capabilities, independent of human intervention.

Such tremendous power of delegation may convince the atheist of the distant possibility of his absolute conquest over the material energy but for the theist, it is a perfect souvenir of the existence of God. Welcome to the Artificial Intelligence technology of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Śrī Kṛṣṇa.

In the Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad (6.8), the artificial intelligence system of Kṛṣṇa is described as follows:

na tasya kāryaṁ karaṇaṁ ca vidyate
na tat-samaś cābhyadhikaś ca dṛśyate
parāsya śaktir vividhaiva śrūyate
svābhāvikī jñāna-bala-kriyā ca

“The Supreme Personality of Godhead has no duty to perform and His senses are interchangeable. Each of His senses can perform the activities of every other sense. There is nobody equal to or greater than Him. He has multifarious energies that are so expansive and intricate that all the components of activity such as knowledge, capability and endeavor are automatically performed as a natural sequence.”


If we observe nature, it has always been a source of wonder for all kinds of people — the artists, the scientists, the philosophers, the poets, the photographers, the children, the adults, and who not? In our own ways, we praise nature in different ways. Not only is it beautiful but also very orderly and stringent. It has such mighty immovable laws which cannot be undone by anyone. It is definitely an immeasureably expansive arrangement and something that is far beyond our tiny human comprehension.

If we analyze nature, we find that it is a combination of two kinds of energies — dead matter and living entities. The dead matter like stone, water or air does not have life and its concomitant symptoms such as thinking, feeling and willing. On the other hand, the living entities have life. But either individually or collectively, we living entities, despite our faculties of thinking, feeling and willing, have neither created those laws of material nature and nor are we capable of altering them. There is definitely an unseen will that forces the course of events in our lives and in our world that cannot be checked or even understood by even the cleverest brains.

In all the intricate workings of nature, we don’t find a person called God coming and doing things or fixing things. It is all taken good care of by nature itself. But if nature is only a combination of dead things which don’t have any willpower and insignificant living entities who are incapable of handling even their own lives, what to speak of the gigantic existence of the universe, then where is the immense intelligence of nature coming from? Even though it has no intelligence of its own, it appears very intelligent. That is exactly what is meant by artificial intelligence, is it not?


Just like an engineer feeds his computer programming into a machine, the Supreme Personality of Godhead feeds His programming into the cosmic machine and it works without a fault ostensibly with a brain of its own. And then, by its rule, everything is working. This is explained by Lord Kṛṣṇa in the Bhagavad-gītā [9.10]:

mayādhyakṣeṇa prakṛtiḥ
sūyate sa-carācaram
hetunānena kaunteya
jagad viparivartate

“This material nature is working under My direction, O son of Kuntī, and it is producing all moving and unmoving beings. By its rule this manifestation is created and annihilated again and again.”

Another example is given in the Brahma-saṁhitā (5.44) to describe the workings of material nature. Therein, nature is compared to a shadow of Kṛṣṇa. A shadow has no life although it moves. It only moves based on the movement of a real person and it has absolutely no independence in its movement. In that same way, the colossal material nature is said to obey the order of Lord Govinda.

Nevertheless, Lord Kṛṣṇa does not directly order the material nature. In the Bhagavad-gītā [7.4], He states unequivocally that the material nature is His separated energy. He has no personal connection with it. He invests in it His powerful energy called Time or kāla which pushes everything forward. The whole cosmic manifestation moves on this wheel of time called kāla-cakra.


In this way, without His personal intervention, everything is carried out smoothly. The whole material nature is a complete self-sufficient system. The Īśopaniṣad explains it best.

oṁ pūrṇam adaḥ pūrṇam idaṁ
pūrṇāt pūrṇam udacyate
pūrṇasya pūrṇam ādāya
pūrṇam evāvaśiṣyate

“The Personality of Godhead is perfect and complete, and because He is completely perfect, all emanations from Him, such as this phenomenal world, are perfectly equipped as complete wholes. Whatever is produced of the Complete Whole is also complete in itself. Because He is the Complete Whole, even though so many complete units emanate from Him, He remains the complete balance.”


Those who have a poor fund of knowledge of the supreme engineer Kṛṣṇa may glorify the material nature just as an ignorant fool would praise a dead robot for its ostensible intelligence. The intelligent man will praise the engineer who created the program behind the working of the machine. Similarly, those who have thorough intelligence glorify the Supreme Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa who is the background of everything.

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