In a generalized sense, an event is considered random if it occurs out of the ordinary or something that has no prior notification of incidence. A pattern, on the other hand, is like a random event except it occurs several times that statisticians’ derive a “pattern” based on the type of event. For example, if there was an isolated burglary in a house, investigators would see it as a random event, but if the same burglary occurs at certain times and certain locations or over period of times and locations, then investigators can perhaps derive a pattern of burglary to arrive at certain conclusions.
Physical evidence is stronger when there is data to track a pattern of events versus a random isolated event. Stronger evidence helps researchers arrive closer to accuracy about the nature of events. In this way, researchers collect, store and analyze data over generations thus evolving a body of knowledge.
In a similar vein, how do we know if Krishna is God and that chanting His Holy Names can actually help us see God? These are questions that each and every individual has to answer for him/herself. However, as a researcher, as a seeker, if I want to seek out a genuine and authentic process to understand the metaphysical aspects of life and God, then how do I go about doing it? The answer lies somewhat in the concept of random versus pattern.
If we begin by assuming (hypothetically) that Krishna is God, and then seek to study the people who practice Krishna consciousness, perhaps we will obtain some clues. To begin with, we have to trace back history (data) as far as possible to find out those who have dedicated themselves to Krishna or at least who say they dedicate themselves to Krishna. Then, we have to study the scriptures that elucidate the characteristics or symptoms that are associated with Krishna and His followers. With some theoretical understanding of Krishna and His followers (albeit in a mood of neutral researcher and not as a follower), we set out to study the characteristics of pure devotees of Krishna. These pure devotees can be historical figures or contemporary ones, either way we simply have to ascertain for their authenticity and approach to study them.
If we find the characteristics of pure devotees over generations of time to be consistent in quality and in accordance to scriptural evidence, then we are basically seeing the same patterns of behaviors/characteristics exhibited by these pure devotees (regardless of geography, culture, religion or other background variables). This pattern of data that is exhibited in the form of pure devotion by multiple devotees over period of thousands of years is indicative of the fact that, indeed, Krishna must be real and that His pure devotees are exhibiting pattern of behavior that is only characteristic of them and not others. If we can chart this pattern of data and categorically prove that they are not random or isolated, then, as a researcher we have to acknowledge the veracity of Krishna, His devotees and the process of Krishna Consciousness as authentic. Otherwise, what explanation is there to describe the consistent pattern of physical, psychological and sociololgical characteristic exhibited by these devotees? They must be having close encounters of the fifth kind of some sort with a being not of this world? This being they (pure devotees) call Krishna.
The entire Guru Parampara (disciplic succession) starting from Lord Brahma till Srila Prabhupada is a chain of pure devotees who have been exhibiting such ecstatic symptoms of love that cannot be defined or limited by mundane terms. This cannot be a random or isolated event as the time line from Brahma to Prabhupada extends for millions of years. If we have consistent data for millions of years (say), then we have to accept the Supremacy of Krishna and His Divine Personality. As initial followers of Srila Prabhupada, I study this pattern of other worldly love and compassion of these great teachers/devotees and conclude that their external behavior must be something that cannot be explained by modern day science books. That something, I understand through Bhagavad Gita and through the words of the teachers’ (pure devotees) themselves to be Lord Krishna.
This line of pure devotees is the epitome of Krishna and its process. We simply cannot ignore the amount of physical, psychological, sociological and anthropological data (pattern of data) that these great devotees have left behind and how mysteriously all of them exhibit a similar pattern of behavior closely related to one another yet set apart by eons of time. This behavior, they say, is attributed to Krishna. If we are serious beyond common rhetoric, sentiment, and superficial designations then here is an opportunity to study these great souls of yore and now and delve deeper to understand them.
The verdict by these great souls is out, and is unanimous – Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead and serving Krishna in devotion is the goal of human life.