Perspectives on Science and Philosophy
last updated 30th July 2008

Journey of Self Discovery 7.1: Plato: Goodness and Government
Journey of Self Discovery 7.2: Shortcomings of Marxism

Mundane Science and Krishna Consciousness
Darwin made a monkey of  humankind:
Atheistic Scientists.............this has to be seen

Moonlanding Hoax exposed by Prabhupad in the 1960s

Science articles in relation to Krishna consciousness

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Journey of Self Discovery 7.1: Plato: Goodness and Government

Plato: Goodness and Government
In 1972 and 1973, Çréla Prabhupäda held a series of philosophical discussions with his personal secretary, Çyämasundara, while traveling around the world. These sessions were recorded and published to provide an understanding of Western philosophy, psychology, and science from the viewpoint of the timeless teachings of India’s Vedic literature. In the following conversation, the striking similarities between Plato’s ideal state and that outlined in the Bhagavad-géta prompt one to ask, “Could Plato have gotten his ideas from India’s ancient Vedas?”

Çyämasundara: Plato believed society can enjoy prosperity and harmony only if it places people in working categories or classes according to their natural abilities. He thought people should find out their natural abilities and use those abilities to their fullest capacity—as administrators, as military men, or as craftsmen. Most important, the head of state should not be an average or mediocre man. Instead, society should be led by a very wise and good man—a “philosopher king”—or a group of very wise and good men.
Çréla Prabhupäda: This idea appears to be taken from the Bhagavad-gétä, where Kåñëa says that the ideal society has four divisions: brähmaëas [intellectuals], kñatriyas [warriors and administrators], vaiçyas [merchants and farmers], and çüdras [laborers]. These divisions come about by the influence of the modes of nature. Everyone, both in human society and in animal society, is influenced by the modes of material nature [sattva-guëa, rajo-guëa, and tamo-guëa, or goodness, passion, and ignorance]. By scientifically classifying men according to these qualities, society can become perfect. But if we place a man in the mode of ignorance in a philosopher’s post, or put a philosopher to work as an ordinary laborer, havoc will result.
In the Bhagavad-gétä Kåñëa says that the brähmaëas—the most intelligent men, who are interested in transcendental knowledge and philosophy — should be given the topmost posts, and under their instructions the kñatriyas [administrators] should work. The administrators should see that there is law and order and that everyone is doing his duty. The next section is the productive class, the vaiçyas, who engage in agriculture and cow protection. And finally there are the çüdras, common laborers who help the other sections. This is Vedic civilization—people living simply, on agriculture and cow protection. If you have enough milk, grains, fruits, and vegetables, you can live very nicely.
The Çrémad-Bhägavatam compares the four divisions of society to the different parts of the body—the head, the arms, the belly, and the legs. Just as all parts of the body cooperate to keep the body fit, in the ideal state all sections of society cooperate under the leadership of the brähmaëas. Comparatively, the head is the most important part of the body, for it gives directions to the other parts of the body. Similarly, the ideal state functions under the directions of the brähmaëas, who are not personally interested in political affairs or administration because they have a higher duty. At present this Kåñëa consciousness movement is training brähmaëas. If the administrators take our advice and conduct the state in a Kåñëa conscious way, there will be an ideal society throughout the world.
Çyämasundara: How does modern society differ from the Vedic ideal?
Çréla Prabhupäda: Now there is large-scale industrialization, which means exploitation of one man by another. Such industry was unknown in Vedic civilization—it was unnecessary. In addition, modern civilization has taken to slaughtering and eating animals, which is barbarous. It is not even human.
In Vedic civilization, when a person was unfit to rule he was deposed. For instance, King Vena proved to be an unfit king. He was simply interested in hunting. Of course, kñatriyas are allowed to hunt, but not whimsically. They are not allowed to kill many birds and beasts unnecessarily, as King Vena was doing and as people do today. At that time the intelligent brähmaëas objected and immediately killed him with a curse. Formerly, the brähmaëas had so much power that they could kill simply by cursing; weapons were unnecessary.
At present, however—because the head of the social body is missing—it is a dead body. The head is very important, and our Kåñëa consciousness movement is attempting to create some brähmaëas who will form the head of society. Then the administrators will be able to rule very nicely under the instructions of the philosophers and theologians—that is, under the instructions of God-conscious people. A God conscious brähmaëa would never advise opening slaughterhouses. But now, the many rascals heading the government allow animal slaughter. When Mahäräja Parékñit saw a degraded man trying to kill a cow, he immediately drew his sword and said, “Who are you? Why are you trying to kill this cow?” He was a real king. Nowadays, unqualified men have taken the presidential post. And although they may pose themselves as very religious, they are simply rascals. Why? Because under their noses thousands of cows are being killed, while they collect a good salary. Any leader who is at all religious should resign his post in protest if cow slaughter goes on under his rule. Since people do not know that these administrators are rascals, they are suffering. And the people are also rascals because they are voting for these bigger rascals. It is Plato’s view that the government should be ideal, and this is the ideal: The saintly philosophers should be at the head of the state; according to their advice the politicians should rule; under the protection of the politicians, the productive class should provide the necessities of life; and the laborer class should help. This is the scientific division of society that Kåñëa advocates in the Bhagavad-gétä [4.13]: cätur-varëyaà mayä såñöaà guëa-karma-vibhägaçaù. “According to the three modes of material nature and the work ascribed to them, the four divisions of human society were created by Me.”
Çyämasundara: Plato also observed social divisions. However, he advocated three divisions. One class consisted of the guardians, men of wisdom who governed society. Another class consisted of the warriors, who were courageous and who protected the rest of society. And the third class consisted of the artisans, who performed their services obediently and worked only to satisfy their appetites.
Çréla Prabhupäda: Yes, human society does have this threefold division, also. The first-class man is in the mode of goodness, the second-class man is in the mode of passion, and the third-class man is in the mode of ignorance.
Çyämasundara: Plato’s understanding of the social order was based on his observation that man has a threefold division of intelligence, courage, and appetite. He said that the soul has these three qualities.
Çréla Prabhupäda: That is a mistake. The soul does not have any material qualities. The soul is pure, but because of his contact with the different qualities of material nature, he is “dressed” in various bodies. This Kåñëa consciousness movement aims at removing this material dress. Our first instruction is “You are not this body.” It appears that in his practical understanding Plato identified the soul with the bodily dress, and that does not show very good intelligence.
Çyämasundara: Plato believed that man’s position is marginal—between matter and spirit—and therefore he also stressed the development of the body. He thought that everyone should be educated from an early age, and that part of that education should be gymnastics—to keep the body fit.
Çréla Prabhupäda: This means that in practice Plato very strongly identified the self as the body. What was Plato’s idea of education?
Çyämasundara: To awaken the student to his natural position—whatever his natural abilities or talents are.
Çréla Prabhupäda: And what is that natural position?
Çyämasundara: The position of moral goodness. In other words, Plato thought everyone should be educated to work in whatever way is best suited to awaken his natural moral goodness.
Çréla Prabhupäda: But moral goodness is not enough, because simple morality will not satisfy the soul. One has to go above morality—to Kåñëa consciousness. Of course, in this material world morality is taken as the highest principle, but there is another platform, which is called the transcendental (väsudeva) platform. Man’s highest perfection is on that platform, and this is confirmed in Çrémad-Bhägavatam. However, because Western philosophers have no information of the väsudeva platform, they consider the material mode of goodness to be the highest perfection and the end of morality. But in this world even moral goodness is infected by the lower modes of ignorance and passion. You cannot find pure goodness (çuddha-sattva) in this material world, for pure goodness is the transcendental platform. To come to the platform of pure goodness, which is the ideal, one has to undergo austerities (tapasä brahmacaryeëa çamena ca damena ca). One has to practice celibacy and control the mind and senses. If he has money, he should distribute it in charity. Also, one should always be very clean. In this way one can rise to the platform of pure goodness.
There is another process for coming to the platform of pure goodness—and that is Kåñëa consciousness. If one becomes Kåñëa conscious, all the good qualities automatically develop in him. Automatically he leads a life of celibacy, controls his mind and senses, and has a charitable disposition. In this age of Kali, people cannot possibly be trained to engage in austerity. Formerly, a brahmacäré [celibate student] would undergo austere training. Even though he might be from a royal or learned family, a brahmacäré would humble himself and serve the spiritual master as a menial servant. He would immediately do whatever the spiritual master ordered. The brahmacäré would beg alms from door to door and bring them to the spiritual master, claiming nothing for himself. Whatever he earned he would give to the spiritual master, because the spiritual master would not spoil the money by spending it for sense gratification—he would use it for Kåñëa. This is austerity. The brahmacäré would also observe celibacy, and because he followed the directions of the spiritual master, his mind and senses were controlled.
Today, however, this austerity is very difficult to follow, so Çré Caitanya Mahäprabhu has given the process of taking to Kåñëa consciousness directly. In this case, one need simply chant Hare Kåñëa, Hare Kåñëa, Kåñëa Kåñëa, Hare Hare/ Hare Räma, Hare Räma, Räma Räma, Hare Hare and follow the regulative principles given by the spiritual master. Then one immediately rises to the platform of pure goodness.
Çyämasundara: Plato thought the state should train citizens to be virtuous. His system of education went like this: For the first three years of life, the child should play and strengthen his body. From three to six, the child should learn religious stories. From seven to ten, he should learn gymnastics; from ten to thirteen, reading and writing; from fourteen to sixteen, poetry and music; from sixteen to eighteen, mathematics. And from eighteen to twenty, he should undergo military drill. From twenty to thirty-five, those who are scientific and philosophical should remain in school and continue learning, and the warriors should engage in military exercises.
Çréla Prabhupäda: Is this educational program for all men, or are there different types of education for different men?
Çyämasundara: No, this is for everyone.
Çréla Prabhupäda: This is not very good. If a boy is intelligent and inclined to philosophy and theology, why should he be forced to undergo military training?
Çyämasundara: Well, Plato said that everyone should undergo two years of military drill.
Çréla Prabhupäda: But why should someone waste two years? No one should waste even two days. This is nonsense—imperfect ideas.
Çyämasundara: Plato said this type of education reveals what category a person belongs to. He did have the right idea that one belongs to a particular class according to his qualification.
Çréla Prabhupäda: Yes, that we also say, but we disagree that everyone should go through the same training. The spiritual master should judge the tendency or disposition of the student at the start of his education. He should be able to see whether a boy is fit for military training, administration, or philosophy, and then he should fully train the boy according to his particular tendency. If one is naturally inclined to philosophical study, why should he waste his time in the military? And if one is naturally inclined to military training, why should he waste his time with other things? Arjuna belonged to a kñatriya [warrior] family. He and his brothers were never trained as philosophers. Droëäcärya was their master and teacher, and although he was a brähmaëa, he taught them Dhanur Veda [military science], not brahma-vidyä. Brahma-vidyä is theistic philosophy. No one should be trained in everything; that is a waste of time. If one is inclined toward production, business, or agriculture, he should be trained in those fields. If one is philosophical, he should be trained as a philosopher. If one is militaristic, he should be trained as a warrior. And if one has ordinary ability, he should remain a çüdra, or laborer. This is stated by Närada Muni in Çrémad-Bhägavatam: yasya yal-lakñaëaà proktam. The four classes of society are recognized by their symptoms and qualifications. Närada Muni also says that one should be selected for training according to his qualifications. Even if one is born in a brähmaëa family, he should be considered a çüdra if his qualifications are those of a çüdra. And if one is born in a çüdra family, he should be taken as a brähmaëa if his symptoms are brahminical. The spiritual master should be expert enough to recognize the tendencies of the student and immediately train him in that line. This is perfect education.
Çyämasundara: Plato believed that the student’s natural tendency wouldn’t come out unless he practiced everything.
Çréla Prabhupäda: No, that is wrong—because the soul is continuous, and therefore everyone has some tendency from his previous birth. I think Plato didn’t realize this continuity of the soul from body to body. According to the Vedic culture, immediately after a boy’s birth astrologers should calculate what category he belongs to. Astrology can help if there is a first-class astrologer. Such an astrologer can tell what line a boy is coming from and how he should be trained. Plato’s method of education was imperfect because it was based on speculation.
Çyämasundara: Plato observed that a particular combination of the three modes of nature is acting in each individual.
Çréla Prabhupäda: Then why did he say that everyone should be trained in the same way?
Çyämasundara: Because he claimed that the person’s natural abilities will not manifest unless he is given a chance to try everything. He saw that some people listen primarily to their intelligence, and he said they are governed by the head. He saw that some people have an aggressive disposition, and he said such courageous types are governed by the heart—by passion. And he saw that some people, who are inferior, simply want to feed their appetites. He said these people are animalistic, and he believed they are governed by the liver.
Çréla Prabhupäda: That is not a perfect description. Everyone has a liver, a heart, and all the bodily limbs. Whether one is in the mode of goodness, passion, or ignorance depends on one’s training and on the qualities he acquired during his previous life. According to the Vedic process, at birth one is immediately given a classification. Psychological and physical symptoms are considered, and generally it is ascertained from birth that a child has a particular tendency. However, this tendency may change according to circumstances, and if one does not fulfill his assigned role, he can be transferred to another class. One may have had brahminical training in a previous life, and he may exhibit brahminical symptoms in this life, but one should not think that because he has taken birth in a brähmaëa family he is automatically a brähmaëa. A person may be born in a brähmaëa family and be a çüdra. It is a question not of birth but of qualification.
Çyämasundara: Plato also believed that one must qualify for his post. His system of government was very democratic. He thought everyone should be given a chance to occupy the different posts.
Çréla Prabhupäda: Actually, we are the most democratic because we are giving everyone a chance to become a first-class brähmaëa. The Kåñëa consciousness movement is giving even the lowest member of society a chance to become a brähmaëa by becoming Kåñëa conscious. Caëòälo ’pi dvija-çreñöho hari-bhakti-paräyaëaù: Although one may be born in a family of caëòälas [dog-eaters], as soon as he becomes God conscious, Kåñëa conscious, he can be elevated to the highest position. Kåñëa says that everyone can go back home, back to Godhead. Samo ’haà sarva-bhüteñu: “I am equal to everyone. Everyone can come to Me. There is no hindrance.”
Çyämasundara: What is the purpose of the social orders and the state government?
Çréla Prabhupäda: The ultimate purpose is to make everyone Kåñëa conscious. That is the perfection of life, and the entire social structure should be molded with this aim in view. Of course, not everyone can become fully Kåñëa conscious in one lifetime, just as not all students in a university can attain the Ph.D. degree in one attempt. But the idea of perfection is to pass the Ph.D. examination, and therefore the Ph.D. courses should be maintained. Similarly, an institution like this Kåñëa consciousness movement should be maintained so that at least some people can attain and everyone can approach the ultimate goal—Kåñëa consciousness.
Çyämasundara: So the goal of the state government is to help everyone become Kåñëa conscious?
Çréla Prabhupäda: Yes, Kåñëa consciousness is the highest goal. Therefore, everyone should help this movement and take advantage of it. Regardless of his work, everyone can come to the temple. The instructions are for everyone, and prasädam is distributed to everyone. Therefore, there is no difficulty. Everyone can contribute to this Kåñëa consciousness movement. The brähmaëas can contribute their intelligence; the kñatriyas their charity; the vaiçyas their grain, milk, fruits, and flowers; and the çüdras their bodily service. By such joint effort, everyone can reach the same goal—Kåñëa consciousness, the perfection of life.


Journey of Self Discovery 7.2: Shortcomings of Marxism
In the following dialogue, Çréla Prabhupäda focuses on Marx’s frustrated attempt to eradicate greed from human nature and society at large. “A classless society is possible only when Kåñëa is in the center,” says Çréla Prabhupäda. “The real change occurs when we say, ‘Nothing belongs to me, everything belongs to God.’... So Kåñëa consciousness is the final revolution.”

Çyämasundara: Karl Marx contended that philosophers have only interpreted the world; the point is to change it. His philosophy is often called “dialectical materialism” because it comes from the dialectic of George Hegel—thesis, antithesis, and synthesis. When applied to society, his philosophy is known as communism. His idea is that for many generations, the bourgeoisie [the property owners] have competed with the proletariat [the working class], and that this conflict will terminate in the communist society. In other words, the workers will overthrow the capitalistic class and establish a so-called dictatorship of the proletariat, which will finally become a classless society.
Çréla Prabhupäda: But how is a classless society possible? Men naturally fall into different classes. Your nature is different from mine, so how can we artificially be brought to the same level?
Çyämasundara: His idea is that human nature, or ideas, are molded by the means of production. Therefore everyone can be trained to participate in the classless society.
Çréla Prabhupäda: Then training is required?
Çyämasundara: Yes.
Çréla Prabhupäda: And what will be the center of training for this classless society? What will be the motto?
Çyämasundara: The motto is “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.” The idea is that everyone would contribute something, and everyone would get what he needed.
Çréla Prabhupäda: But everyone’s contribution is different. A scientific man contributes something, and a philosopher contributes something else. The cow contributes milk, and the dog contributes service as a watchdog. Even the trees, the birds, the beasts—everyone is contributing something. So, by nature a reciprocal arrangement is already there among social classes. How can there be a classless society?
Çyämasundara: Well, Marx’s idea is that the means of production will be owned in common. No one would have an advantage over anyone else, and thus one person could not exploit another. Marx is thinking in terms of profit.
Çréla Prabhupäda: First we must know what profit actually is. For example, the American hippies already had “profit.” They were from the best homes, their fathers were rich—they had everything. Yet they were not satisfied; they rejected it. No, this idea of a classless society based on profit-sharing is imperfect. Besides, the communists have not created a classless society. We have seen in Moscow how a poor woman will wash the streets while her boss sits comfortably in his car. So where is the classless society? As long as society is maintained, there must be some higher and lower classification. But if the central point of society is one, then whether one works in a lower or a higher position, he doesn’t care. For example, our body has different parts—the head, the legs, the hands—but everything works for the stomach.
Çyämasundara: Actually, the Russians supposedly have the same idea: they claim the common worker is just as glorious as the top scientist or manager.
Çréla Prabhupäda: But in Moscow we have seen that not everyone is satisfied. One boy who came to us was very unhappy because in Russia young boys are not allowed to go out at night.
Çyämasundara: The Russian authorities would say that he has an improper understanding of Marxist philosophy.
Çréla Prabhupäda: That “improper understanding” is inevitable. They will never be able to create a classless society because, as I have already explained, everyone’s mentality is different.
Çyämasundara: Marx says that if everyone is engaged according to his abilities in a certain type of production, and everyone works for the central interest, then everyone’s ideas will become uniform.
Çréla Prabhupäda: Therefore we must find out the real central interest. In our International Society for Krishna Consciousness, everyone has a central interest in Kåñëa. Therefore one person is speaking, another person is typing, another is going to the press or washing the dishes, and no one is grudging, because they are all convinced they are serving Kåñëa.
Çyämasundara: Marx’s idea is that the center is the state.
Çréla Prabhupäda: But the state cannot be perfect. If the Russian state is perfect, then why was Khrushchev driven from power? He was elected premier. Why was he driven from power?
Çyämasundara: Because he was not fulfilling the aims of the people.
Çréla Prabhupäda: Well, then, what is the guarantee the next premier will do that? There is no guarantee. The same thing will happen again and again. Because the center, Khrushchev, was imperfect, people begrudged their labor. The same thing is going on in non-communist countries as well. The government is changed, the prime minister is deposed, the president is impeached. So what is the real difference between Russian communism and other political systems? What is happening in other countries is also happening in Russia, only they call it by a different name. When we talked with Professor Kotovsky of Moscow University, we told him he had to surrender: either he must surrender to Kåñëa or to Lenin, but he must surrender. He was taken aback at this.
Çyämasundara: From studying history, Marx concluded that the characteristics of culture, the social structure, and even the thoughts of the people are determined by the means of economic production.
Çréla Prabhupäda: How does he account for all the social disruption in countries like America, which is so advanced in economic production?
Çyämasundara: He says that capitalism is a decadent form of economic production because it relies on the exploitation of one class by another.
Çréla Prabhupäda: But there is exploitation in the communist countries also. Khrushchev was driven out of power because he was exploiting his position. He was giving big government posts to his son and son-in-law.
Çyämasundara: He was deviating from the doctrine.
Çréla Prabhupäda: But since any leader can deviate, how will perfection come? First the person in the center must be perfect, then his dictations will be correct. Otherwise, if the leaders are all imperfect men, what is the use of changing this or that? The corruption will continue.
Çyämasundara: Presumably the perfect leader would be the one who practiced Marx’s philosophy without deviation.
Çréla Prabhupäda: But Marx’s philosophy is also imperfect! His proposal for a classless society is unworkable. There must be one class of men to administer the government and one class of men to sweep the streets. How can there be a classless society? Why should a sweeper be satisfied seeing someone else in the administrative post? He will think, “He is forcing me to work as a sweeper in the street while he sits comfortably in a chair.” In our Inter-national Society, I am also holding the superior post: I am sitting in a chair, and you are offering me garlands and the best food. Why? Because you see a perfect man whom you can follow. That mentality must be there. Everyone in the society must be able to say, “Yes, here is a perfect man. Let him sit in a chair, and let us all bow down and work like menials.” Where is that perfect man in the communist countries?
Çyämasundara: The Russians claim that Lenin is a perfect man.
Çréla Prabhupäda: Lenin? But no one is following Lenin. Lenin’s only perfection was that he overthrew the czar’s government. What other perfection has he shown? The people are not happy simply reading Lenin’s books. I studied the people in Moscow. They are unhappy. The government cannot force them to be happy artificially. Unless there is a perfect, ideal man in the center, there cannot possibly be a classless society.
Çyämasundara: Perhaps they see the workers and the managers in the same way that we do—in the absolute sense. Since everyone is serving the state, the sweeper is as good as the administrator.
Çréla Prabhupäda: But unless the state gives perfect satisfaction to the people, there will always be distinctions between higher and lower classes. In the Russian state, that sense of perfection in the center is lacking.
Çyämasundara: Their goal is the production of material goods for the enhancement of human well-being.
Çréla Prabhupäda: That is useless! Economic production in America has no comparison in the world, yet still people are dissatisfied. The young men are confused. It is nonsensical to think that simply by increasing production everyone will become satisfied. No one will be satisfied. Man is not meant simply for eating. He has mental necessities, intellectual necessities, spiritual necessities. In India many people sit alone silently in the jungle and practice yoga. They do not require anything. How will increased production satisfy them? If someone were to say to them, “If you give up this yoga practice, I will give you two hundred bags of rice,” they would laugh at the proposal. It is animalistic to think that simply by increasing production everyone will become satisfied. Real happiness does not depend on either production or starvation, but upon peace of mind. For example, if a child is crying but the mother does not know why, the child will not stop simply by giving him some milk. Sometimes this actually happens: the mother cannot understand why her child is crying, and though she is giving him her breast, he continues to cry. Similarly, dissatisfaction in human society is not caused solely by low economic production. That is nonsense. There are many causes of dissatisfaction. The practical example is America, where there is sufficient production of everything, yet the young men are becoming hippies. They are dissatisfied, confused. No, simply by increasing economic production people will not become satisfied. Marx’s knowledge is insufficient. Perhaps because he came from a country where people were starving, he had that idea.
Çyämasundara: Yes, now we’ve seen that production of material goods alone will not make people happy.
Çréla Prabhupäda: Because they do not know that real happiness comes from spiritual understanding. That understanding is given in the Bhagavad-gétä: God is the supreme enjoyer, and He is the proprietor of everything. We are not actually enjoyers; we are all workers. These two things must be there: an enjoyer and a worker. For example, in our body the stomach is the enjoyer and all other parts of the body are workers. So this system is natural: there must always be someone who is the enjoyer and someone who is the worker. It is present in the capitalist system also. In Russia there is always conflict between the managers and the workers. The workers say, “If this is a classless society, why is that man sitting comfortably and ordering us to work?” The Russians have not been able to avoid this dilemma, and it cannot be avoided. There must be one class of men who are the directors or enjoyers and another class of men who are the workers. Therefore the only way to have a truly classless society is to find that method by which both the managers and the workers will feel equal happiness. For example, if the stomach is hungry and the eyes see some food, immediately the brain will say, “O legs, please go there!” and “Hand, pick it up,” and “Now please put it into the mouth.” Immediately the food goes into the stomach, and as soon as the stomach is satisfied, the eyes are satisfied, the legs are satisfied, and the hand is satisfied.
Çyämasundara: But Marx would use this as a perfect example of communism.
Çréla Prabhupäda: But he has neglected to find out the real stomach.
Çyämasundara: His is the material stomach.
Çréla Prabhupäda: But the material stomach is always hungry again; it can never be satisfied. In the Kåñëa consciousness movement we have the substance for feeding our brains, our minds, and our souls. Yasya prasädäd bhagavat-prasädaù. If the spiritual master is satisfied, then Kåñëa is satisfied, and if Kåñëa is satisfied, then everyone is satisfied. Therefore you are all trying to satisfy your spiritual master. Similarly, if the communist countries can come up with a dictator who, if satisfied, automatically gives satisfaction to all the people, then we will accept such a classless society. But this is impossible. A classless society is only possible when Kåñëa is in the center. For the satisfaction of Kåñëa, the intellectual can work in his own way, the administrator can work in his way, the merchant can work in his way, and the laborer can work in his way. This is truly a classless society.
Çyämasundara: How is this different from the communist country, where all sorts of men contribute for the same central purpose, which is the state?
Çréla Prabhupäda: The difference is that if the state is not perfect, no one will willingly contribute to it. They may be forced to contribute, but they will not voluntarily contribute unless there is a perfect state in the center. For example, the hands, legs, and brain are working in perfect harmony for the satisfaction of the stomach. Why? Because they know without a doubt that by satisfying the stomach they will all share the energy and also be satisfied. Therefore, unless the people have this kind of perfect faith in the leader of the country, there is no possibility of a classless society.
Çyämasundara: The communists theorize that if the worker contributes to the central fund, he will get satisfaction in return.
Çréla Prabhupäda: Yes, but if he sees imperfection in the center, he will not work enthusiastically because he will have no faith that he will get full satisfaction. That perfection of the state will never be there, and therefore the workers will always remain dissatisfied.
Çyämasundara: The propagandists play upon this dissatisfaction and tell the people that foreigners are causing it.
Çréla Prabhupäda: But if the people were truly satisfied, they could not be influenced by outsiders. If you are satisfied that your spiritual master is perfect—that he is guiding you nicely—will you be influenced by outsiders?
Çyämasundara: No.
Çréla Prabhupäda: Because the communist state will never be perfect, there is no possibility of a classless society.
Çyämasundara: Marx examines history and sees that in Greek times, in Roman times, and in the Middle Ages slaves were always required for production.
Çréla Prabhupäda: The Russians are also creating slaves—the working class. Joseph Stalin stayed in power simply by killing all his enemies. He killed so many men that he is recorded in history as the greatest criminal. He was certainly imperfect, yet he held the position of dictator, and the people were forced to obey him.
Çyämasundara: His followers have denounced him.
Çréla Prabhupäda: That’s all well and good, but his followers should also be denounced. The point is that in any society there must be a leader, there must be directors, and there must be workers, but everyone should be so satisfied that they forget the difference.
Çyämasundara: No envy.
Çréla Prabhupäda: Ah, no envy. But that perfection is not possible in the material world. Therefore Marx’s theories are useless.
Çyämasundara: But on the other hand, the capitalists also make slaves of their workers.
Çréla Prabhupäda: Wherever there is materialistic activity, there must be imperfection. But if they make Kåñëa the center, then all problems will be resolved.
Çyämasundara: Are you saying that any system of organizing the means of production is bound to be full of exploitation?
Çréla Prabhupäda: Yes, certainly, certainly! The materialistic mentality means exploitation.
Çyämasundara: Then what is the solution?
Çréla Prabhupäda: Kåñëa consciousness!
Çyämasundara: How is that?
Çréla Prabhupäda: Just make Kåñëa the center and work for Him. Then everyone will be satisfied. As it is stated in the Çrémad-Bhägavatam [4.31.14]: If you simply pour water on the root of a tree, all the branches, twigs, leaves, and flowers will be nourished. Similarly, everyone can be satisfied simply by acyutejyä. Acyuta means Kåñëa, and ijyä means worship. So this is the formula for a classless society: Make Kåñëa [God] the center and do everything for Him. There are no classes in our International Society for Krishna Consciousness. Now you are writing philosophy, but if I want you to wash dishes, you will do so immediately because you know that whatever you do, you are working for Kåñëa and for your spiritual master. In the material world different kinds of work have different values, but in Kåñëa consciousness everything is done on the absolute platform. Whether you wash dishes or write books or worship the Deity, the value is the same because you are serving Kåñëa. That is a classless society. Actually, the perfect classless society is Våndävana. In Våndävana, some are cowherd boys, some are cows, some are trees, some are fathers, some are mothers, but the center is Kåñëa, and everyone is satisfied simply by loving Him. When all people become Kåñëa conscious and understand how to love Him, then there will be a classless society. Otherwise it is not possible.
Çyämasundara: Marx’s definition of communism is “The common or public ownership of the means of production, and the abolition of private property.” In our International Society for Krishna Consciousness, don’t we have the same idea? We also say, “Nothing is mine.” We have also abolished private property.
Çréla Prabhupäda: While the communist says, “Nothing is mine,” he thinks everything belongs to the state. The state, however, is simply an extended “mine.” For example, if I am the head of a family, I might say, “I do not want anything for myself, but I want many things for my children.” Mahatma Gandhi, who sacrificed so much to drive the English out of India, was at the same time thinking, “I am a very good man; I am doing national work.” Therefore, this so-called nationalism or so-called communism is simply extended selfishness. The quality remains the same. The real change occurs when we say, “Nothing belongs to me; everything belongs to God, Kåñëa, and therefore I should use everything in His service.” That is factual.
Çyämasundara: Marx says that the capitalists are parasites living at the cost of the workers.
Çréla Prabhupäda: But the communists are also living at the cost of the workers: the managers are drawing big salaries, and the common workers are dissatisfied. Indeed, their godless society is becoming more and more troublesome. Unless everyone accepts God as the only enjoyer and himself simply as His servant, there will always be conflict. In the broad sense, there is no difference between the communists and the capitalists because God is not accepted as the supreme enjoyer and proprietor in either system. Actually, no property belongs to either the communists or the capitalists. Everything belongs to God.
Çyämasundara: Marx condemns the capitalists for making a profit. He says that profit-making is exploitation and that the capitalists are unnecessary for the production of commodities.
Çréla Prabhupäda: Profit-making may be wrong, but that exploitative tendency is always there, whether it is a communist or a capitalist system. In Bengal it is said that during the winter season the bugs cannot come out because of the severe cold. So they become dried up, being unable to suck any blood. But as soon as the summer season comes, the bugs get the opportunity to come out, so they immediately bite someone and suck his blood to their full satisfaction. Our mentality in this material world is the same: to exploit others and become wealthy. Whether you are a communist in the winter season or a capitalist in the summer season, your tendency is to exploit others. Unless there is a change of heart, this exploitation will go on.
I once knew a mill worker who acquired some money. Then he became the proprietor of the mill and took advantage of his good fortune to become a capitalist. Henry Ford is another example. He was an errand boy, but he got the opportunity to become a capitalist. There are many such instances. So, to a greater or lesser degree, the propensity is always there in human nature to exploit others and become wealthy. Unless this mentality is changed, there is no point in changing from a capitalist to a communist society. Material life means that everyone is seeking some profit, some adoration, and some position. By threats the state can force people to curb this tendency, but for how long? Can they change everyone’s mind by force? No, it is impossible. Therefore, Marx’s proposition is nonsense.
Çyämasundara: Marx thinks the minds of people can be changed by forced conditioning.
Çréla Prabhupäda: That is not possible. Even a child cannot be convinced by force, what to speak of a mature, educated man. We have the real process for changing people’s minds: chanting the Hare Kåñëa mantra. Ceto-darpaëa-märjanam: This process cleanses the heart of material desires. We have seen that people in Moscow are not happy. They are simply waiting for another revolution. We talked to one working-class boy who was very unhappy. When a pot of rice is boiling, you can take one grain and press it between your fingers, and if it is hot you can understand all the rice is boiling. Thus we can understand the position of the Russian people from the sample of that boy. We could also get further ideas by talking with Professor Kotovsky from the India Department of Moscow University. How foolish he was! He said that after death everything is finished. If this is his knowledge, and if that young boy is a sample of the citizenry, then the situation in Russia is very bleak. They may theorize about so many things, but we could not even purchase sufficient groceries in Moscow. There were no vegetables, fruits, or rice, and the milk was of poor quality. If that Madrasi gentleman had not contributed some dahl and rice, then practically speaking we would have starved. The Russians’ diet seemed to consist of only meat and liquor.
Çyämasundara: The communists play upon this universal profit motive. The worker who produces the most units at his factory is glorified by the state or receives a small bonus.
Çréla Prabhupäda: Why should he get a bonus?
Çyämasundara: To give him some incentive to work hard.
Çréla Prabhupäda: Just to satisfy his tendency to lord it over others and make a profit, his superiors bribe him. This Russian communist idea is very good, provided the citizens do not want any profit. But that is impossible, because everyone wants profit. The state cannot destroy this tendency either by law or by force.
Çyämasundara: The communists try to centralize everything—money, communications, and transport—in the hands of the state.
Çréla Prabhupäda: But what benefit will there be in that? As soon as all the wealth is centralized, the members of the central government will appropriate it, just as Khrushchev did. These are all useless ideas as long as the tendency for exploitation is not reformed. The Russians have organized their country according to Marx’s theories, yet all their leaders have turned out to be cheaters. Where is their program for reforming this cheating propensity?
Çyämasundara: Their program is to first change the social condition, and then, they believe, the corrupt mentality will change automatically.
Çréla Prabhupäda: Impossible. Such repression will simply cause a reaction in the form of another revolution.
Çyämasundara: Are you implying that the people’s mentality must first be changed, and then a change in the social structure will naturally follow?
Çréla Prabhupäda: Yes. But the leaders will never be able to train all the people to think that everything belongs to the state. This idea is simply utopian nonsense.
Çyämasundara: Marx has another slogan: “Human nature has no reality.” He says that man’s nature changes through history according to material conditions.
Çréla Prabhupäda: He does not know the real human nature. It is certainly true that everything in this cosmic creation, or jagat, is changing. Your body changes daily. Everything is changing, just like waves in the ocean. This is not a very advanced philosophy. Marx’s theory is also being changed; it cannot last. But man does have a fundamental nature that never changes: his spiritual nature. We are teaching people to come to the standard of acting according to their spiritual nature, which will never change. Acting spiritually means serving Kåñëa. If we try to serve Kåñëa now, we will continue to serve Kåñëa when we go to Vaikuëöha, the spiritual world. Therefore, loving service to Lord Kåñëa is called nitya, or eternal. As Kåñëa says in the Bhagavad-gétä, nitya-yukta upäsate: “My pure devotees perpetually worship Me with devotion.”
The communists give up Kåñëa and replace Him with the state. Then they expect to get the people to think, “Nothing in my favor; everything in favor of the state.” But people will never accept this idea. It is impossible; let the rascals try it! All they can do is simply force the people to work, as Stalin did. As soon as he found someone opposed to him, he immediately cut his throat. The same disease is still there today, so how will their program be successful?
Çyämasundara: Their idea is that human nature has no reality of its own. It is simply a product of the material environment. Thus, by putting a man in the factory and making him identify with the state and something like scientific achievement, they think they can transform him into a selfless person.
Çréla Prabhupäda: But because he has the basic disease, envy, he will remain selfish. When he sees that he is working so hard but that the profit is not coming to him, his enthusiasm will immediately slacken. In Bengal there is a proverb: “As a proprietor I can turn sand into gold, but as soon as I am no longer the proprietor, the gold becomes sand.” The Russian people are in this position. They are not as rich as the Europeans or the Americans, and
Çyämasundara: One of the methods the authorities in Russia use is to constantly whip the people into believing there may be a war at any moment. Then they think, “To protect our country, we must work hard.”
Çréla Prabhupäda: If the people cannot make any profit on their work, however, they will eventually lose all interest in the country. The average man will think, “Whether I work or not, I get the same result. I cannot adequately feed and clothe my family.” Then he will begin to lose his incentive to work. A scientist will see that despite his high position, his wife and children are dressed just like the common laborer.
Çyämasundara: Marx says that industrial and scientific work is the highest kind of activity.
Çréla Prabhupäda: But unless the scientists and the industrialists receive sufficient profit, they will be reluctant to work for the state.
Çyämasundara: The Russian goal is the production of material goods for the enhancement of human well-being.
Çréla Prabhupäda: Their “human well-being” actually means, “If you don’t agree with me, I’ll cut your throat.” This is their “well-being.” Stalin had his idea of “human well-being,” but anyone m who disagreed with his version of it was killed or imprisoned. They may say that a few must suffer for the sake of many, but we have personally seen that Russia has achieved neither general happiness nor prosperity. For example, in Moscow none of the big buildings have been recently built. They are old and ravaged, or poorly renovated. Also, at the stores the people had to stand in long lines to make purchases. These are indications that economic conditions are unsound.
Çyämasundara: Marx considered religion an illusion that must be condemned.
Çréla Prabhupäda: The divisions between different religious faiths may be an illusion, but Marx’s philosophy is also an illusion.
Çyämasundara: Do you mean that it’s not being practiced?
Çréla Prabhupäda: In the sixty years since the Russian Revolution, his philosophy has become distorted. On the other hand, Lord Brahmä began the Vedic religion countless years ago, and though foreigners have been trying to devastate it for the last two thousand years, it is still intact. Vedic religion is not an illusion, at least not for India.
Çyämasundara: Here is Marx’s famous statement about religion. He says, “Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of the heartless world, just as it is the spirit of the spiritless situation. It is the opium of the people.”
Çréla Prabhupäda: He does not know what religion is. His definition is false. The Vedas state that religion is the course of action given by God. God is a fact, and His law is also a fact. It is not an illusion. Kåñëa gives the definition of religion in Bhagavad-gétä [18.66]: sarva-dharmän parityajya mäm ekaà çaraëaà vraja. To surrender unto God—this is religion.
Çyämasundara: Marx believes everything is produced from economic struggle and that religion is a technique invented by the bourgeoisie or the capitalists to dissuade the masses from revolution by promising them a better existence after death.
Çréla Prabhupäda: He himself has created a philosophy that is presently being enforced by coercion and killing.
Çyämasundara: And he promised that in the future things will be better. So he is guilty of the very thing that he condemns religion for.
Çréla Prabhupäda: As we have often explained, religion is that part of our nature which is permanent, which we cannot give up. No one can give up his religion. And what is that religion? Service. Marx desires to serve humanity by putting forward his philosophy. Therefore that is his religion. Everyone is trying to render some service. The father is trying to serve his family, the statesman is trying to serve his country, and the philanthropist is trying to serve all humanity. Whether you are Karl Marx or Stalin or Mahatma Gandhi, a Hindu, a Muslim, or a Christian, you must serve. Because we are presently rendering service to so many people and so many things, we are becoming confused. Therefore, Kåñëa advises us to give up all this service and serve Him alone: “Abandon all varieties of service and just surrender unto Me. I shall deliver you from all sinful reactions. Do not fear.” [Bhagavad-gétä 18.66]
Çyämasundara: The communists—and even to a certain extent the capitalists—believe that service for the production of goods is the only real service. Therefore they condemn us because we are not producing anything tangible.
Çréla Prabhupäda: How can they condemn us? We are giving service to humanity by teaching the highest knowledge. A high court judge does not produce any grains in the field. He sits in a chair and gets $25,000 or $30,000. Does that mean he is not rendering any service? Of course he is. The theory that unless one performs manual labor in the factory or the fields he is not doing service would simply give credit to the peasant and the worker. It is a peasant philosophy.
There is a story about a king and his prime minister. Once the king’s salaried workers complained, “We are actually working, and this minister is doing nothing, yet you are paying him such a large salary. Why is that?” The king then called his minister in and also had someone bring in an elephant. “Please take this elephant and weigh it,” the king said to his workers. The workers took the elephant to all the markets, but they could not find a scale large enough to weigh the animal. When they returned to the palace the king asked, “What happened?” One of the workers answered, “Sir, we could not find a scale large enough to weigh the elephant.” Then the king addressed his prime minister, “Will you please weigh this elephant?” “Yes, sir,” said the prime minister, and he took the elephant away. He returned within a few minutes and said, “It weighs 11,650 pounds.” All the workers were astonished. “How did you weigh the elephant so quickly?” one of them asked. “Did you find some very large scale?” The minister replied, “No. It is impossible to weigh an elephant on a scale. I went to the river, took the elephant on a boat, and noted the watermark. After taking the elephant off the boat, I put weights in the boat until the same watermark was reached. Then I had the elephant’s weight.” The king said to his workers, “Now do you see the difference?” One who has intelligence has strength, not the fools and the rascals. Marx and his followers are simply fools and rascals. We don’t take advice from them; we take advice from Kåñëa or His representative.
Çyämasundara: So religion is not simply a police force to keep people in illusion?
Çréla Prabhupäda: No. Religion means to serve the spirit. That is religion. Everyone is rendering service, but no one knows where his service will be most successful. Therefore Kåñëa says, “Serve Me, and you will serve the spiritual society.” This is real religion. The Marxists want to build a so-called perfect society without religion, yet even up to this day, because India’s foundation is religion, people all over the world adore India.
Çyämasundara: Marx says that God does not create man; rather, man creates God.
Çréla Prabhupäda: That is more nonsense. From what he says, I can tell he is a nonsensical rascal and a fool. One cannot understand that someone is a fool unless he talks. A fool may dress very nicely and sit like a gentleman amongst gentlemen, but we can tell the fools from the learned men by their speech.
Çyämasundara: Marx’s follower was Nikolai Lenin. He reinforced all of Marx’s ideas and added a few of his own. He believed that revolution is a fundamental fact of history. He said that history moves in leaps, and that it progresses toward the communist leap. He wanted Russia to leap into the dictatorship of the proletariat, which he called the final stage of historical development.
Çréla Prabhupäda: No. We can say with confidence—and they may note it carefully—that after the Bolshevik Revolution there will be many other revolutions, because as long as people live on the mental plane there will be only revolution. Our proposition is to give up all these mental concoctions and come to the spiritual platform. If one comes to the spiritual platform, there will be no more revolution. As Dhruva Mahäräja said, nätaù paraà parama vedmi na yatra nädaù: “Now that I am seeing God, I am completely satisfied. Now all kinds of theorizing processes are finished.” So God consciousness is the final revolution. There will be repeated revolutions in this material world unless people come to Kåñëa consciousness.
Çyämasundara: The Hare Kåñëa revolution.
Çréla Prabhupäda: The Vedic injunction is that people are searching after knowledge, and that when one understands the Absolute Truth, he understands everything. Yasmin vijïäte sarvam evaà vijïätaà bhavati. People are trying to approach an objective, but they do not know that the final objective is Kåñëa. They are simply trying to make adjustments with so many materialistic revolutions. They have no knowledge that they are spiritual beings and that unless they go back to the spiritual world and associate with the Supreme Spirit, God, there is no question of happiness. We are like fish out of water. Just as a fish cannot be happy unless he is in the water, we cannot be happy apart from the spiritual world. We are part and parcel of the Supreme Spirit, Kåñëa, but we have left His association and fallen from the spiritual world because of our desire to enjoy this material world. So unless we reawaken the understanding of our spiritual position and go back home to the spiritual world, we can never be happy. We can go on theorizing for many lifetimes, but we will only see one revolution after another. The old order changes, yielding its place to the new. Or in other words, history repeats itself.
Çyämasundara: Marx says that there are always two conflicting properties in material nature, and that the inner pulsation of opposite forces causes history to take leaps from one revolution to another. He claims that the communist revolution is the final revolution because it is the perfect resolution of all social and political contradictions.
Çréla Prabhupäda: If the communist idea is spiritualized, then it will become perfect. As long as the communist idea remains materialistic, it cannot be the final revolution. They believe that the state is the owner of everything. But the state is not the owner; the real owner is God. When they come to this conclusion, then the communist idea will be perfect. We also have a communistic philosophy. They say that everything must be done for the state, but in our International Society for Krishna Consciousness we are actually practicing perfect communism by doing everything for Kåñëa. We know Kåñëa is the supreme enjoyer of the result of all work (bhoktäraà yajïa-tapasäm). The communist philosophy as it is now practiced is vague, but it can become perfect if they accept the conclusion of the Bhagavad-gétä—that Kåñëa is the supreme proprietor, the supreme enjoyer, and the supreme friend of everyone. Then people will be happy. Now they mistrust the state, but if the people accept Kåñëa as their friend, they will have perfect confidence in Him, just as Arjuna was perfectly confident in Kåñëa on the Battlefield of Kurukñetra. The great victory of Arjuna and his associates on the Battlefield of Kurukñetra showed that his confidence in Kåñëa was justified: “Wherever there is Kåñëa, the master of all mystics, and wherever there is Arjuna, the supreme archer, there will also certainly be opulence, victory, extraordinary power, and morality. That is my opinion.” [Bhagavad-gétä 18.78] So if Kåñëa is at the center of society, then the people will be perfectly secure and prosperous. The communist idea is welcome, provided they are prepared to replace the so-called state with God. That is religion.

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