Thomas Henry Huxley
Hayagriva: This is Thomas Henry Huxley. Huxley felt that the main difference between man and the animals is the ability to speak. Now, is...
Prabhupada: That is the beginning of another nonsense. Everyone speaks in his own language. What does he..., what he means by speak?
Hayagriva: But isn't speech, which is the articulation of the intellect, the primary difference between man and the animals in the sense that is it not through words that one can come to understand God?
Prabhupada: That is another thing, but the animal has a, his own language, as the human being has his own language. So why does he say that? When he speaks, he speaks from the very beginning in his own language.
Hayagriva: Well he, he, he mentions speech as being "Intelligible, rational speech..."
Prabhupada: They have got rational speech.
Hayagriva: "...that accumulates and organizes experience which is almost lost with the cessation of indi..., with every individual life in other animals." In other words, man has a history due to language, but animals may be able to articulate certain basic facts to one another, but they have no culture or history.
Prabhupada: Then those who speak in Sanskrit language, they are only human beings; all other animals. If he says like that, Sanskrit language is the oldest...
Hayagriva: It is the oldest.
Prabhupada: ...mother of all language, and one who speaks in Sanskrit, he is only perfect, all other animals, according to his theory. But Mr. Huxley does not speak in Sanskrit.
Hayagriva: Well, we'll see. He read quite a bit. I don't know if he read in Sanskrit or English, but he read quite a bit of the Vedas.
Prabhupada: No, why does he say that the language, he gives that...
Hayagriva: Probably not.
Prabhupada: ...everyone has his language. It does not mean that the animals have no language. They have got their own language. The birds have their own language, the Englishmen have their own language, the Indians have their own language. So there are different varieties of life, and each one has his own language.
Hayagriva: Although Huxley was called...
Prabhupada: Language is not the important. The education is important. A developed human being can take real education, while the animals are not able to take. That you can define. It is not the question of language. Knowledge can be imparted, in particular knowledge, a language, just like we are imparting Vedic knowledge in English. So it is not the language, it is the knowledge. But the animals cannot take the knowledge of God. That is their defective. But a human form of body or a human being, it doesn't matter in what language he speaks, but if the knowledge of God is properly imparted in him, then he can understand. The dog cannot understand. That is the difference.
Hayagriva: Huxley, although an evolutionist, and although he was called Darwin's bulldog, he differed with Darwin, especially on the theory of the survival of the fittest. He believed in the survival of those who are ethically the best.
Prabhupada: That is..., that can be said fittest. "Best" and "fittest," where is the difference?
Hayagriva: He says the strongest, the most self-assertive, tend to tread down the weaker.
Prabhupada: First thing is what do they mean by survival?
Hayagriva: Well, the continuance of a culture.
Prabhupada: That is going on. Every culture is continued. The Vedic culture is there and other cultures are also there. It is continuing.
Hayagriva: He says the influence of the cosmic process on the evolution of society is greater the more rudimentary its civilization. Social progress means a checking of the cosmic process at every step, and the substitution for it of another, which may be called the ethical process.
Prabhupada: So the difference...
Hayagriva: The cosmic process is the process of creation, maintenance and ultimate annihilation. He says this can be checked by a..., an ethical culture.
Prabhupada: The cosmic process cannot be checked, but the cosmic process is continuing in different modes. That is called tri-guna. One process is the process of goodness, another process is the process of passion, another process is process of ignorance. So in the process of goodness, real advancement goes on, and ultimately one has to transcend the process of goodness also and come to the platform which is all-good. In the material world, whichever process you accept, it is mixed, both goodness, passion and ignorance. It is very difficult in the material way of life to keep the process pure. Therefore the real process is gradually bring the being or the soul to the platform of goodness and then transcend also goodness and keep him or let him remain in the actual platform of pure goodness. That is wanted. That is really progress. That pure goodness is bhakti. When the transaction is only with God—there is no other transaction—that is pure goodness. That is survival of the fittest. When one comes to that platform of pure goodness, he survives. Otherwise nobody survives. When... Everyone has to change the body—this body to that body, that, tatha dehantara-prap... But one who comes to the pure goodness platform, he understands God, then he hasn't got to change. Tyaktva deham punar janma naiti mam eti [Bg. 4.9]. That is survival; otherwise there is no meaning of survival. They do not know what is this survival. Survival means that when the soul remains pure, in his original position, does not change body, that is survival. In the spiritual world there is no more change, so that is survival. And in the material world there is change. That is not survival. So they do not know what is the meaning of survival. If there is change, there is no survival. Everyone has to change the body.
Hayagriva: Well, that sort of negates the rest of this.
Prabhupada: So survival is explained?
Hayagriva: The rest of this doesn't survive (laughing).
Prabhupada: (laughs) Now what do you think, individually?
Hayagriva: Oh, I..., he said Huxley looks on civilization as something of an attempt to give order to nature. "Civilization might be defined as a complex ethical understanding between men enabling as many men as possible to survive."
Prabhupada: No, that is not possible. Nature is so strong that either you become Huxley or Einstein or somebody else, you must die. That is nature's law. You cannot dictate nature. The nature will go on dictating to you; then you must die. That is the... There is no question of survival under the regulation of the material nature. There is no... When you go above the dictation of the material nature, then you survive. That is explained in the Bhagavad-gita, sa gunan samatityaitan brahma-bhuyaya kalpate [Bg. 14.26]. When one realizes Brahman understanding, then he survives; otherwise there is no survival.
Hayagriva: Well, Huxley is typically British. He wrote in...
Prabhupada: He is a British or Frenchman?
Hayagriva: Huxley, no, he was English, Englishman.
Hayagriva: He says, "By the Ganges ethical man admits that the cosmos is too strong for him..."
Hayagriva: "...and destroying every bond which ties him to it by ascetic discipline he seeks salvation in absolute renunciation."
Hayagriva: He says..., but he says, "This attempt to escape from evil has ended in flight from the battlefield." He doesn't advocate this for an Englishman. In a typically British manner he quotes Alfred Lord Tennyson. He says, "We are grown men and must play the man strong in will to strive, to seek, to find and not to yield."
Prabhupada: Rascal, at last you die. (laughter) You do not like to yield, but the nature kicks on your face and says you must die. That he does not like.
Hayagriva: Well, at any rate he's dead now, so...
Prabhupada: So therefore he is..., he is not surviving. He was...
Hayagriva: He admits, he says, "This seems..."
Prabhupada: Either you be Englishman or Frenchman or this man, you cannot survive. You have to succumb under the dictation of the superior nature. That is explained in the Bhagavad-gita, that—I think Huxley read Bhagavad-gita; he does not know-that,
This kind of conception, that "I shall survive, I am Englishman," this is a false egotism and bewildered soul. Whatever he may be, Englishman or this man or that man, he must die. That is the law of nature. So intelligent man first of all makes provision "How I shall not die." That is real business of human being. That is explained in the Bhagavad-gita, that if one simply understands Krsna, then he survives; otherwise one has to die. There is no doubt. Nobody can...
Hayagriva: Huxley did appear to have..., to adhere to the doctrine of transmigration. He says, "The doctrine of transmigration constructs a plausible indication of the ways of the cosmos to man. Every sentient being is reaping as it has sown, if not in this life then in one or other of the infinite series of antecedent existences of which it is the latest turn." In Evolution and Ethics he writes about brahman and atman and liberation. He says, "The earlier forms of Indian philosophy agreed with those prevalent in our times, and supposing the existence of a permanent reality or substance beneath the shifting series of phenomena, whether of matter or of mind, the substance of the cosmos was brahman, that of individual man atman, and the latter, that is atman, was separated from brahman only by its..."
Prabhupada: That is also not. He is not separated. He is, brahman and atman, they are existing, co-existing, and that is explained in the Bhagavad-gita in the chapter "Ksetra and Ksetrajna." The body is the field, and the atma, individual soul, is the owner of the field or the worker in the field. So it is also said there is another owner, ksetra-jnam capi mam vidhi. As the individual is working in the body, similarly, there is another soul working in the body. So what is the difference between the two? The two is different that the individual soul knows only about his own body, but the other soul, Supersoul, He knows everything of every body. That is the difference. I know the pains and pleasure of my body. I do not know the pains and pleasure of your body. But this Supersoul, He knows the pains and pleasure of this body, of that body, of millions and millions of bodies. That is the difference between the two souls. But the two souls are there. One is called Supersoul, paramatma, and the individual soul is called atma. So atma and paramatma are there. The difference between them is that atma knows about his own body and the paramatma knows everything of all bodies. That is the difference.
Hayagriva: His understanding was the understanding of the Sankarites, that the atma is imprisoned in the body. When the man is enlightened and sees apparent reality as mere illusion, the bubble of illusion will burst, and the freed individual atman will lose itself in the universal brahman.
Prabhupada: Then that does not mean that the atma becomes the paramatma. Just like a drop of water, you put into the sea, it mixes with the sea. It is not mixing. Now suppose it is mixing, but that does not mean that the drop of water has become the sea. He is mixed with the seawater, but that, that does not mean he is the sea. He was not sea before, and after dropping him in the sea, he remains as what he was, but he is mixed up in the sea. Just like an airplane is flying, you see, and going higher and higher, and going very high you do not see. That doesn't mean the airplane is lost. You do not see. So these Sankarites' proposal is defective. Just like a green bird enters a tree but you do not see the bird anymore. You simply foolishly think that he has become one with the tree. But that is foolishness. He keeps his individuality, but your defective eyes cannot see him anymore. The Sankarite theory is like that, a defective understanding, that the individual soul merges into the Supreme. He keeps always his individuality. The foolish man cannot see how he has merged or existing.
Hayagriva: He says, "There is no external power which could affect the sequence of cause and effect which gives rise to karma. None but the will of the subject of the karma which could put an end to it." Now by willing to surrender to Krsna, the individual allows Krsna to put an end to his karma.
Prabhupada: Yes. So our idea is(?) that is Mukunda.
Hayagriva: So Huxley has no idea that, of the, of this.
Hayagriva: You said that.
Prabhupada: Yes. I think this is my statement.
Hayagriva: Yes. No, this isn't Huxley.
Prabhupada: Huxley said...
Hayagriva: Huxley says, "This salvation of liberation from karma was to be attained through knowledge and by action based on that knowledge." The supernatural, in our sense of the term, is entirely excluded.
Prabhupada: Yes. We are acting under certain designation, that just like Mr. Huxley said a few minutes before, that "We are Englishmen." So this is designation. So, so long you will work under designation, there is no freedom. Because under false impression that "I am Englishman," "I am Frenchman," "Let me work in this way," that means you are entangling himself, yourself into some other way, so that today you are Englishman, next day you may be Frenchman or dog's man, that you are entangling yourself. But when you give up this designation, that "I am no man, no other's man, but I am Krsna's man," then you will save yourself. Otherwise... Therefore to become Krsna consciousness, conscious, is actual platform of freedom from karma.
Hayagriva: So that there's no question of independent liberation?
Prabhupada: No. Therefore that is explained in the Bhagavad-gita, yajna-arthat karma. Only for yajna or Krsna you should work. Yajna-arthat karma, anyatra karma-bandhanah. Otherwise you are entangled. This is freedom, to work for Krsna; then you are not under entanglement. This is..., there are many practical examples. Just that a soldier, he is killing, his business is killing, and the more he kills he gets recognition. But as soon as he kills one man on his own account, he is murderer. Just like when... The soldier's business is to kill, and so long he is killing for the satisfaction of his state, of the government, he is getting recognition medals. The same soldier, as soon as he kills one man for his own sense satisfaction, he is a murderer, he is to be hanged. This is the karma-bandhanah. The business the same—killing. But one killing is on the order of the state and one killing is for his sense gratification. So killing business is the same, but the position is different. Similarly, when you act for Krsna, that is not karma-bandhanah; that is freedom. And when you act for yourself, that is karma-bandhanah. That is the teaching of Bhagavad-gita throughout. Arjuna was thinking, "Killing, and suffer the sinful activities," because he was thinking on account of himself. But when he understood that "I am induced to kill on behalf of Krsna. Krsna wants this fight," then he accepted Krsna's proposal. That is not karma-bandhanah. That is not killing. One has to understand this.
Hayagriva: Now there is one interesting point that Huxley makes in Evolution and Ethics. He tries to tie in the theory of karma with the theory of evolution.
Hayagriva: He writes in this way: "In the theory of evolution the tendency of a germ to develop according to a certain specific type, for instance of a kidney bean seed to grow into a plant having all the characters of Phaseolus vulgaris," that is a kidney bean, "that is its karma. The snowdrop is a snowdrop and not an oak tree—and just that kind of snowdrop—because it is the outcome of the karma of an endless series of past existences."
Prabhupada: Yes. Karma... That is called karma-bandhanah: one after another, one after another, one after another, it is going on. So if this evolutionary process one comes to the form of human being, then he is allowed the discrimination to decide whether he shall continue in this karma-bandhanah process or he should stop his karma-bandhanah process and surrender to Krsna. If he surrenders to Krsna then his karma-bandhanah process stopped, and if he does not, then he is again put into the karma-bandhanah process by the laws of nature.
Hayagriva: So he does appear at least a little closer than Darwin, because Darwin didn't recognize any of this transmigration at all.
Prabhupada: Darwin, he is all through. Everyone is more or less. Unless one has got the right knowledge... Why Darwin? Everyone is under false impression. Therefore our proposition is that you take right knowledge from the right person, Krsna, then you are perfect. And if you go on speculating—you speculate in one way, I speculate in another way—it does not mean that we are intelligent person.
Hayagriva: The, Huxley, it was Huxley who coined the word "agnostic," as the opposite of gnostic, of church history. The word gnostic is "one who follows in the gnostic tradition of church history."
Prabhupada: Nastika means who does not believe in the Vedas.
Hayagriva: Ol, this is different: gnostic.
Prabhupada: Nastika, it is gnostic.
Hayagriva: This is gnost..., (sic:) N-O-S-T-I-C. Gnostic is one in the gnostic tradition, or in the church tra..., in the tradition of the Christian Church, and ag..., he used the word a-nost, agnostic. So this word was coined by... Coined.
Prabhupada: What does, what is the meaning of ag?
Hayagriva: That means, well, like there's dharma and there's adharma, that is, er, "not." "Not," a, meaning "not."
Prabhupada: Against, against.
Hayagriva: As theism and atheism.
Prabhupada: That means against; ag means against.
Hayagriva: Yeah, against. But according to him, agnosticism holds that man shouldn't assert what he calls a truth without logically satisfactory evidence.
Prabhupada: We say "without any authority."
Hayagriva: When Huxley became a Darwinist he rejected a supernatural God and the Bible. In For Argument from Design... He believed in, previously he believed in a Christian God as the designer, but he believed that Darwin's theory gave this Christian conception its death blow. He did not accept a pantheistic God, like Spinoza did, as being identical... Excuse me. He did accept a pantheistic God, like Spinoza did, as being identical with nature. That is, he saw God as nature, and he believed in the divine government of the universe. He believed that the cosmic process is rational, not random...
Prabhupada: How it becomes rational?
Hayagriva: ...but he rejected a personal God concerned with morality.
Prabhupada: That is his defect. The nature is dead body, matter. So how it can be rational? Just like this table is a dead wood. How it can be rational? That is nonsense. The carpenter is rational, who has made the wood in the shape. So he says the nature is rational. Nature is dead matter. How it can be rational? Therefore there is a rational being behind the nature. That is God. This, the wood, is dead. The wood, out of its own accord, cannot become a table. The carpenter is shaping the wood into table. That is rational. Therefore behind the dead nature, the rational being is God. That is explained in the Bhagavad-gita. I think Mr. Huxley is supposed to have read..., understand he has given some comment on the Ramakrishna Mission Bhagavad-gita, but he has not studied Bhagavad-gita thoroughly.
Hayagriva: Oh, that's his son, his grandson.
Hayagriva: That's Aldous, Aldous Huxley.
Hayagriva: And this is Thomas Henry Huxley.
Hayagriva: It's a very famous English family of many...
Prabhupada: So anyway, we...
Hayagriva: That's his grandson was, uh...
Prabhupada: So this Thomas Huxley, how he says that the nature has rational, has knowledge? We don't find. A dead stone, maybe big mountain, but has it got rationality? How does he say that the nature has rationality? What is the basis?
Hayagriva: Well, it's the pantheistic, it's the same pantheistic contention that God is..., God is impersonal and made the tree grow.
Prabhupada: Maybe. "Impersonal," "personal," that we shall consider, but God is sentient. He is all-pervasive. That is accepted. Maya tatam idam sarvam [Bg. 9.4]. That's all right. But God is not like the dead matter, who has no sense. We don't find the dead matter has got rationality. The rationality behind the dead matter is God.
Hayagriva: That's it on Huxley. (end)
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