There was a very bright rainbow the other day, incredibly beautiful and brilliant, strung against a very dark background, encircled by a fainter type. Metaphorically it was like a group of brightly attired sakhis encircling monsoon-cloud Krsna, further encircled by their sakhi maidservants…
Science has a less captivating version. White light, which is composed of all colours, which are actually simply different wavelengths of the same thing, breaks up into its constituents when entering the prism-shaped raindrop. Due to slowing down slightly, it refracts, with the longest wavelength, red light, scattered one way, the shortest length violet rays scattered less, and the other in between wavelengths scattered at their own rates. Thus, a rainbow.
In times prior to the present one, there was no such scientific explanation, and the rainbow was the source of inspiration solely for the poetic and spiritual mindset, as it offered only mystical beauty- it was not understood, and thus it pointed to the fingerprint of God. The sense of wonder and closeness to God must have been breath-taking. Why did Krsna allow such a mechanical, dry, hollow and depressing version of the rainbow to enter the minds and hearts of mankind? Why is it that everything wonderful can be boiled down to calculations?
One possible answer lies in the destitute area known as the Middle East of modern times. There, due to Islamic fundamentalism of the worst type, women are raped then stoned to death for adultery, forced to see their children die from starvation, because they are forbidden to work, even as widows, while the whole populace is forced to convert to this vicious belief system, or die. Torture, mass murder, everything is justified in the name of God, with these personifications of the most sinister kind of evil, thoroughly convinced they will be entering heaven eternally after death, for their cruelty and violence in God’s name.
If such evil were perpetrated in your name, you would certainly want to hide your face and distance yourself from it, and of course, Krsna says “I am not responsible for the sinful and pious actions of men..” In the age of Kali, He also incarnates to try to stop the cruelty and violence committed in His name, going so far as to preach atheism- as Buddha, He did this. Thus, Krsna would rather see a kind, gentle and moral form of atheism, than so-called religion which justifies violence to living entities.
The other way He preaches atheism is through atheists of course, who break down everything wonderful like rainbows into numbers, crudely transforming them into equations, and thus “making sense” of them. In this way, while several hundred years ago, we had practically no choice but to believe in God- “How else can you explain this?”- now we have a choice- there is an alternative explanation. It could be God, or it could be matter and light working according to scientific law. We of course accept both are true- who made the laws?
The necessity for such a choice is apparent when we observe the following. When men become absolutely unquestionably certain of something, such as that they are going to heaven for their brutality, they will do anything and everything for their convictions. This is true both for the divine and demoniac nature. When we are absolutely convinced Krsna is real, we will do anything and everything to honor that conviction. Since Krsna as Kapiladeva instructed that He does not accept worship from the separatist, who does not see His presence in the hearts of all, but only in the temple, we therefore try to honor Krsna everywhere, and be kind to all living entities (if we are actual devotees and know the philosophy). We do everything and anything to honor that.
The demoniac, accepting that God, like them, is cruel and sadistic, also do anything and everything to honor that horrible conviction. If there were no other explanations, other than God, for such things as rainbows, such people (of the demoniac nature) would have no choice but to believe, and under the influence of Kali, the world would go to hell much faster than it is now, possibly resembling the Middle East all over.
Thus, Krsna tells Arjuna that He is explaining this secret because he has shown himself to be a dear friend, and elsewhere in the gita, He says He hides Himself from those who are demoniac in nature. He hid Himself once, in the atheistic philosophy of the Buddha, and now He hides Himself again, in the atheistic science of the modern age.
Gradually, acaryas sent by Krsna, one after the other, uncover His beautiful face once more, and through their powerful use of reason and logic, establish that there is a scientific basis also for belief in God, thus ridding the world of atheism. Preaching according to time, place and circumstance, they try to do so among people who will not use the knowledge for evil.
The nature of this specific knowledge about God is that it melts hearts, it makes them very soft, and the suffering of others become unbearable for a devotee who is aware of Krsna’s presence in the hearts of all. He tries to raise the consciousness of moral atheists, so that they rise from neutrality about God, to working good in His name, with all the energy and enthusiasm that absolute conviction affords.