The members of the Hare Krishna movement, however, have a different way of getting understanding.
Faced with an unfamiliar but complex machine, you can observe it and try to figure out how it works. You can monkey with the thing and see what happens. You can call in friends and get their ideas of what the pulleys, gears, and wires are supposed to do. And maybe you’ll figure it out. Maybe.
But the sure way to understand the machine is to learn about it from the person who built it.
So the direct way to understand the machinery of the universe—including the subtle machinery of reincarnation—is to learn about it from the person behind it.
That there’s a person behind this machine comes near to being self-evident. It’s axiomatic. Of course, you’re free to reject the axiom. But then you’re faced with the task of explaining how things “just happen” to work, how everything in the universe “just happens” to fit together, without any intelligence behind it.
You can say that everything happens “by chance” (which is no explanation at all). You can ascribe everything to some ultimate impersonal force that, without intelligence or volition, gets everything to work. Or you can sidestep the problem by saying that everything we see is merely an illusion: “The machine doesn’t even exist.” But then you have to explain where the illusion comes from. And that puts you right back where you started.
It’s easier and more reasonable, therefore, to assume that behind the workings of the cosmic machine is the supreme intelligence, or the Supreme Person. This is the entity to whom we refer when we use the name Krishna.