Agnotology and how it misleads people

When they say their products are safe, were they lying 20 year ago when it becomes exposed that their product was harmful, without any apology for past toxic mistakes, no accountability for your suffering?


Agnotology (formerly agnatology) is the study of culturally induced ignorance or doubt, particularly the publication of inaccurate or misleading scientific data. It was coined in 1995 by Robert N. Proctor, a Stanford University professor, and linguist Iain Boal.  – Wikipedia.

When HDG A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada spoke on Agnotology in the 60’s and 70’s it did not exist, at least it was not a subject of study, it was only recognized as something tangible in 1995.  In another article on titled “Reject them Immediately” it explains how scientific data was manipulated for profit in billions and how TIME Magazine and the media can be an instrument in this deception at the expense of lives, unfortunately this goes on perpetually.

The transcendental activities of Prthu Maharaj explain how true leaders govern with the interests of the people, which includes keeping Lord Krishna’s service in the centre.

If one hears of the characteristics of Pṛthu Mahārāja and is a brāhmaṇa, he becomes perfectly qualified with brahminical powers; if he is a kṣatriya, he becomes a king of the world; if he is a vaiśya, he becomes a master of other vaiśyas and many animals; and if he is a śūdra, he becomes the topmost devotee. – (S.B. 4.23.32)

गोपीथाय जगत्सृष्टे: काले स्वे स्वेऽच्युतात्मक:।
मनोवाग्वृत्तिभि: सौम्यैर्गुणै: संरञ्जयन्प्रजा: ॥ ५५ ॥ (S.B 4.22.55)

gopīthāya jagat-sṛṣṭeḥ kāle sve sve ’cyutātmakaḥ
mano-vāg-vṛttibhiḥ saumyair guṇaiḥ saṁrañjayan prajāḥ

TRANSLATION: Since Mahārāja Pṛthu was a perfect devotee of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, he wanted to protect the Lord’s creation by pleasing the various citizens according to their various desires. Therefore Pṛthu Mahārāja used to please them in all respects by his words, mentality, works and gentle behavior.

PURPORT BY SRILA PRABHUPADA: As will be explained in the next verse, Pṛthu Mahārāja used to please all kinds of citizens by his extraordinary capacity to understand the mentality of others. Indeed, his dealings were so perfect that every one of the citizens was very much satisfied and lived in complete peace. The word acyutātmakaḥ is significant in this verse, for Mahārāja Pṛthu used to rule this planet as the representative of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He knew that he was the representative of the Lord and that the Lord’s creation must be protected intelligently. Atheists cannot understand the purpose behind the creation. Although this material world is condemned when it is compared to the spiritual world, there is still some purpose behind it. Modern scientists and philosophers cannot understand that purpose, nor do they believe in the existence of a creator. They try to establish everything by their so-called scientific research, but they do not center anything around the supreme creator. A devotee, however, can understand the purpose of creation, which is to give facilities to the individual living entities who want to lord it over material nature. The ruler of this planet should therefore know that all the inhabitants, especially human beings, have come to this material world for sense enjoyment. It is therefore the duty of the ruler to satisfy them in their sense enjoyment as well as to elevate them to Kṛṣṇa consciousness so that they all can ultimately return home, back to Godhead. 

With this idea in mind, the king or government head should rule the world. In this way, everyone will be satisfied. How can this be accomplished? There are many examples like Pṛthu Mahārāja, and the history of his regency on this planet is elaborately described in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. Even in this fallen age, if the rulers, governors and presidents take advantage of Pṛthu Mahārāja’s example, there will certainly be a reign of peace and prosperity throughout the world.” 


The term media, which is the plural of medium, refers to the communication channels through which we disseminate news, music, movies, education, promotional messages and other data… We used to get all our news and entertainment via TV, radio, newspapers and magazines. Social media has become the preferred mode for dissemination of information, so is it possible to understand how much propaganda is being promoted there? While it appears to be an exception it is often found to be the rule.

Smaller crimes are blown up and focused on and the biggest crimes involving millions or billions are given a slap on the wrist. Why is this so? What role does money have in such an anomaly?

Some people say that what Srila Prabhupada taught is outdated, I strongly disagree and say the opposite, his teachings are visionary and for all time. In the book Perfect Questions, Perfect Answers, a conversation with Bob Cohen, a Peace-corps worker from America, Srila Prabhupada asks Bob to first learn the truth then teach knowledge.

Śyāmasundara: How is Krishna the greatest scientist?

Śrīla Prabhupāda: Because He knows everything. A scientist is one who knows a subject matter thoroughly. He is a scientist. Krishna—He knows everything.
Bob: I am presently a science teacher.
Śrīla Prabhupāda: Yes, teaching. But, unless you have perfect knowledge, how can you teach? That is our question.
Bob: Without perfect knowledge, though, you can teach—
Śrīla Prabhupāda: That is cheating; that is not teaching. That is cheating. Just like the scientists say, “There was a chunk… and the creation took place. Perhaps. Maybe…” What is this? Simply cheating! It is not teaching; it is cheating.
Srila Prabhupada knew well the workings of this material world and how materialists could manipulate things in their favor for profit.

When Srila Prabhupada said they did not go to the moon, few believed it and yet decades later documentaries came out debunking the moon landing.  It is still a matter of contention for those who are inclined in that way, and we wont dwell on it, we see that in the books that Srila Prabhupada gave us such as Bhagavad-Gita and Srimad Bhagavatam the exposure of this temporary world and it’s false controllers are exposed, still our life is not based on moon controversy, what is more important is the philosophy behind it and always returning to remembrance of Lord Krishna.

“We are always suffering from material pangs, and our hearts are burning, but we cannot find any way out of it.” The materialistic person can also be called a tapasvī, which means someone who is always suffering from material pains. One can get rid of all these material pains only when he takes shelter of the chanting of the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra. ŚB 4.22.15 Purport.


Are we being lied to? Why? How often?  In order to answer this we need to have a spiritual understanding – and this is available in study of the Srimad Bhagavatam and Bhagavad-Gita.  Greed, lust and envy are our enemies, it is mentioned that Kaliyuga personified entered into sinful activities and gold, this is the basis of of illusion and the perpetrators of deception are victims themselves, this is the wonder of Maya or illusion. The only way to get out is to practice Krishna consciousness, after understanding this subject matter.  While we need to know how the material energy is working today, we should not at the same time get too involved these matters but remain it thought of Lord Krishna just as a lotus leaf always remains in water, but is waterproof. What is the cause of this great deception?

BG 3.37, Translation and PurportThe Supreme Personality of Godhead said: It is lust only, Arjuna, which is born of contact with the material mode of passion and later transformed into wrath, and which is the all-devouring sinful enemy of this world.

When a living entity comes in contact with the material creation, his eternal love for Kṛṣṇa is transformed into lust, in association with the mode of passion. Or, in other words, the sense of love of God becomes transformed into lust, as milk in contact with sour tamarind is transformed into yogurt. Then again, when lust is unsatisfied, it turns into wrath; wrath is transformed into illusion, and illusion continues the material existence. Therefore, lust is the greatest enemy of the living entity, and it is lust only which induces the pure living entity to remain entangled in the material world

In Kali-yuga Dharma is standing on one shaky leg – Truth, shaky truth because although truth is there and can be revealed it is often well hidden and takes time to uncover.

In recent times the truth of tobacco has been revealed and authorities have indisputable evidence that the tobacco industry lied to the world for a whole century:

German scientists identified a link between smoking and lung cancer in the late 1920s, leading to the first anti-smoking campaign in modern history, albeit one truncated by the collapse of Nazi Germany at the end of World War II. In 1950, British researchers demonstrated a clear relationship between smoking and cancer.

agnotology article

That’s right in the 1920’s it was discovered that tobacco was harmful, and yet in the 1950’s and 60’s it was advertised as a healthy product, for doctors and even for pregnant women.   It is a most toxic product and yet we see people are still using it, the entertainment industry uses it’s people to sell you the same as well as tons of products that are not good for you.

Your washing powder in 1950 washed things whiter than white. The same company every year says that their new product washes whitest with newer technology- were they lying in the past?

When they say their products are safe, were they lying 20 year ago when it becomes exposed that their product was harmful, without any apology for past toxic mistakes, no accountability for your suffering, it is just business, for the love of money

One might even be surprised that cocaine and heroin were sold as medicines, even for children decades ago.

How do you cure one drug epidemic? Create a new drug. That’s what happened in the late 1880s, when heroin was introduced as a safe and non-addictive substitute for morphine. Known as diamorphine, it was created by an English chemical researcher named C.R. Alder Wright in the 1870s, but it wasn’t until a chemist working for Bayer pharmaceuticals discovered Wright’s paper in 1895 that the drug came to market. Reference:

As shocking as this seems now, no one should be surprised that this type of cheating is happening today. In 1980 the first lawsuit was filed against the tobacco industry. Later internal documents exposed that the companies used deception, misdirection as well as clinical studies designed to get a desired result or outcome. These documents are now said to be in millions of pages. In one of the most damning documents it is stated that the industry must create doubts in the minds of consumers.

Leaving aside tobacco this “Manufactured Ignorance” has expanded across the board.  Products that cause cancer like plastics, soft drinks, medicines and even hospitals and businesses ranging from the IT industry to your daily food items, even the monetary systems and world economies, all practice deception.

Srila Prabhupada: “If you simply want an ordinary education, you have to devote so much time, labor, and understanding to it. Similarly, if you are going to take to spiritual life, you must become serious.”
Reporter: “I wondered how many people you think might have been taken in by fake gurus.”
Srila Prabhupada: “Practically everyone. [Laughter.] There is no question of counting. Everyone.”
Reporter: “This would mean thousands of people, wouldn’t it?”
Srila Prabhupada: “Millions. Millions have been cheated, because they want to be cheated. God is omniscient. He can understand your desires. He is within your heart, and if you want to be cheated, God sends you a cheater.”
(The Science of Self-Realization, chapter 2)

His Divine Grace Srila Sac-cid-ananda Bhaktivinod Thakur’s Appearance Day, Lecture — London, September 3, 1971: If anyone says that “I am guru,” er, “I am God,” then he cannot be guru. Because he has no knowledge. How he is God? But he can cheat some people. That is different thing. You can cheat all people for some time and some people for all time, but not all people for all time. That is not possible. So these kinds of guru, who poses themself that “I am God,” he’s a false guru. The bona fide guru will say that “I am servant of the servant of the servant of Kṛṣṇa,” or God.

It is to be concluded that the false gurus of this world are political leaders and huge conglomerates in various industries who take the lead in deception, offering all manner of “consumer enjoyments” that lead one to deaths door in total ignorance. That is why Srila Prabhupada says “Practically everyone…Millions have been cheated” simply for greed and power.


Millions are still being cheated, an industry will sell you a product, like a pesticide and say its harmless,  one of the most deadly was DDT, which was claimed safe enough to apply on baby skin for mosquitoes.

Today we are told that we need to get the latest phone, there is a system of  “Planned Obsolescence”  for most electronics in this artificial economy we have today, where the industry makes sure that a product will only last for a certain period of time before an upgrade is necessary.

Products were made to last but the industries got together and figured that there must always be an upgrade and products must last only as long as a few years.  There is a lightbulb in a fire station in California called  the centennial light that has been burning since 1901 till now, this used to be the case for many products, until the emergence of cartels.

A cartel is a collection of independent businesses or organizations that collude in order to manipulate the price of a product or service. Cartels are competitors in the same industry and seek to reduce that competition by controlling the price in agreement with one another.

The Phoebus Cartel

On 23rd December 1924, a group of leading international businessmen gathered in Geneva for a meeting that would alter the world for decades to come. Present were top representatives from all the major lightbulb manufacturers, including Germany’s Osram, the Netherlands’ Philips, France’s Compagnie des Lampes, and the United States’ General Electric. As revelers hung Christmas lights elsewhere in the city, the group founded the Phoebus cartel, a supervisory body that would carve up the worldwide incandescent lightbulb market, with each national and regional zone assigned its own manufacturers and production quotas. It was the first cartel in history to enjoy a truly global reach.

(IEEE, pronounced “Eye-triple-E,” stands for the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. The association is chartered under this name and it is the full legal name.

Organization type: Professional association)

Unfortunately the foolish governmental head and the general populace do not know that the ultimate goal of life is to understand and approach Lord Viṣṇu. Without this knowledge, everyone is in ignorance, and all society is crowded with cheaters and cheated. Srila Prabhupada SB 5.12.7, Purport.

Research into the oil industry, media industry, the fishing industry, dairy and beef industry, the chocolate industry/ food industry in general expose many problems, it is summed up as exploitation, whether it be our own mother earth or child labor used to extract toxic materials for our electronics or in the coffee and chocolate industry. Among the biggest of these cartels is the commodities market that set the price in futures trading of food, a change in price will affect producer farmers on the ground, while the manufacturers and traders make the most money, this reduces the small farmer to poverty in many cases, and ushers in the era of industrial farming, a source of great environmental damage.

In conclusion  one should understand that all these great advancements in society come with a clause “We are going to cheat you, and you will happily accept it”  We see that the climate is in a fluctuating state today, new diseases are emerging and the threat of wars over water are inevitable as resources run out.  Cheating has become widespread and well hidden, that it requires a new form of education to deal with it at University level, namely “Agnotology”  or  “Manufactured Ignorance”

Srila Prabhupada has already summed it up in his teachings. Question is: Do we still think materialists and the so called leaders of this world are speaking the truth now? Sadly even they may not know how deep the well of ignorance and illusion is;

“My dear Lord, O Supreme Personality of Godhead, I can understand that all living entities on this planet are illusioned by Your external energy and enamored of the illusory satisfaction of sense gratification. Being fully engaged in illusory activities, they are reluctant to worship Your lotus feet, and because they are unaware of the benefits of surrendering unto Your lotus feet, they are subjected to various miserable conditions of material existence. They are foolishly attached to so-called society, friendship and love, which merely produce different kinds of miseries. Illusioned by Your external energy, everyone, whether man or woman, is attached to this material existence, and all are engaged in cheating one another in a great society of the cheaters and the cheated. (Krishna Book 51)

Note: All emphasis mine.

Here are the 7 Purposes of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness:

  1. To systematically propagate spiritual knowledge to society at large and to educate all people in the techniques of spiritual life in order to check the imbalance of values in life, and to achieve real unity and peace in the world.
  2. To propagate a consciousness of Krishna as He is revealed in Bhagavad-gita and Srimad Bhagavatam.
  3. To bring the members of the society together with each other and nearer to Krishna, and thus to develop the idea within the members and humanity at large that each soul is part and parcel of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
  4. To teach and encourage the Sankirtan movement, congregational chanting of the holy name of God, and to reveal the teachings of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.
  5. To erect for the members, and the society at large, a holy place of transcendental pastimes, dedicated to the Personality of Godhead.
  6. To bring the members closer together for the purpose of teaching a simple and more natural way of life.
  7. With a view towards achieving the aforementioned purposes, to publish and distribute periodicals, magazines, books and other writings.

When Srila Prabhupada formed ISKCON he gave 7 purposes of the organization, to take people from illusion to knowledge, from time to time we can also meditate on these aims as a guiding principle in order to counter the ignorance in ourselves and all.


Mayapur Voice App