Syamasundara: Today's philosopher is called Jacques Maritain, and he's a French..., contemporary French philosopher, very influential, and he's a religionist. He believes in a personal God.
Prabhupada: Still living?
Syamasundara: Yes. His main philosophy is that existence and essence are both there; that existence is not possible without essence. He defines existence to be..., er, essence to be potential and existence to be the actual. So that a thing, and everything that we can perceive, has both existence and, in other words, potentiality and actuality. For instance, this cup has the potentiality to be something else, to be a piece of metal, but in its actual form it is like this. But it has potentiality to become something else. So he says these two things—the essence and the existence-exist simultaneously.
Prabhupada: So we agree to this point. Just like soul, at the present moment you have got a certain type of body, human body, but the soul has potentiality to have a spiritual body or a dog's body. Both potentialities are there. So the essential is the soul, and the reality... It is not reality; temporary form in the material body. But the potentiality as the soul has its own spiritual body. When it is uncontaminated by the material contamination, he remains only reality without any so-called actuality or temporary form.
Syamasundara: He says that sense activity occurs on an immediate level of experience, without any conscious awareness of itself, but that true knowledge of reality comes through intuition, and that this reality is called being.
Prabhupada: Intuity, also past experience. What you call intuition is past experience. Just like when a child is born, by intuition it seeks mother's breast. Because the child does not know where is food, but by intuition, as soon as the mother's breast is given, pushed in its mouth, he is satisfied immediately. So by..., this is called by intuition. But actually it is its past experience. The same child, as the soul, may have taken something else in a different body. So the fact is that the soul is wandering in different types of bodies, and when he comes to a particular type of body, he remembers everything from his past experience. Just like fifty years ago, when I was a businessman, so at that Gaudiya Math, as soon as I go there, I remember all those things; I am again fifty years back. That is actual... So this, suppose if I say I am going, I do not require to be directed that "Here is this thing, here is that thing." Immediately I enter that town I will understand that if I have to go to the toilet, "Here it is." If I go to the kitchen, "Here it is." So you may call it intuition, but actually it is experience, past experience. There is no, nothing such thing as intuition. That is a vague expression. Actually it is past experience.
Syamasundara: He says that God, He is pure actuality. There is no potentiality.
Syamasundara: He is Absolute. He is pure existence and essence together, but that the..., everything else that exists besides God has these two characteristics of potentiality and actuality.
Prabhupada: That potentiality, actuality, it is material relativity. In the spiritual world there is same—potentiality, reality—they're one. Just like Krsna. Krsna, the rascal scholars, they think that Krsna's body and Krsna's soul is different, as it is, what is called, expressed by Dr. Radhakrishnan. But that is not the fact. There is no such difference. Krsna also says, avajananti mam mudha [Bg. 9.11]. Because He comes in a human form, rascals think of Him as ordinary human being. But He is not that. He is absolute. He has nothing to do with the body and soul as we have got. He is body and soul together-potentiality and the actuality. Similarly, anyone who gets a spiritual body, he also gets the same position. There will be no difference between actuality and potentiality.
Syamasundara: He says that God, or the divine intellect, perceives His own essence.
Prabhupada: No. [break]
Syamasundara: He says that God perceives His own essence, and thus He..., everything else and all of the creation came into existence as a part of His essence of God. That everything is a part of God's essence and keeps coming into existence in different forms, different stages of actuality.
Prabhupada: So that... They say everything is expansion of God's energy. The example is given in the Vedic sastras, just like the fire is there in one place but the heat and light of the fire expand. Similarly, God, or Krsna, is there in Goloka Vrndavana, but His energy, external energy and internal energy and marginal energy, they are expanding in this place. So what is his opinion of it?
Syamasundara: Well, these two types of energy he would call..., material energy he would call potential energy, and the spiritual energy, he would say is actual energy.
Prabhupada: Well, actual, the energy is one, but it is working differently. Just like electricity is one, but it is working differently as cooler and heater, although cooling and heating are two opposites. Cooling is just opposite of heating, and heating is just opposite of cooling, but electric energy is working in both the places.
Syamasundara: Electric energy is also measured in terms of its potency, its potential.
Prabhupada: Yes. So for God there is no such distinction; therefore it is called kaivalya. For Him the material energy or the spiritual energy is the same. Therefore the Mayavadis, they cannot understand God. They think that Krsna, when He comes, He accepts a material body. But even He accepts a material body, for Him there is no such distinction-spiritual body and material body. He is..., He being omnipotent, He can act even in His material body as spiritual. Just like when Krsna was present, accepting that He has a material body, but at the age of seven years old He lifted the big hill. That is not possible by the material body. Therefore, as omnipotent He can turn the material energy into spiritual energy and the spiritual energy into material energy. That is omnipotency. But those who are with poor fund of knowledge, they think that Krsna has got this material body. Actually He has no such distinction, either material or... Just like electrical engineer, he knows how to tackle electric energy. He can convert the heater into refrigerator, and he can convert the refrigerator into heater, because he knows how to do it.
Syamasundara: There's another school of modern philosopher who has the same idea of existence and essence, but they say that there is only existence, that there is no essence, therefore there's no meaning to life.
Prabhupada: No. According to our..., essence is reality; existence is temporary.
Syamasundara: Well, he opposes these philosophers by saying that there cannot be existence without essence.
Prabhupada: That is our view also. Essence... Just like Sankaracarya says, brahma satyam jagan mithya. The existence is mithya. He says mithya. But we, Vaisnava philosopher, we say not mithya, not false, but temporary. But temporary. So mithya we cannot say, because anything coming from God, it cannot be false, but it is temporary. He can change it as He likes; therefore it is temporary.
Syamasundara: So he says that existence is the coming into being of the essence.
Syamasundara: The inbetween stage he calls becoming.
Prabhupada: That is Brahman. Brahman is essence, and from Brahman is everything is coming out-janmady asya yatah [SB 1.1.1]. So Brahman means everything is emanating. Now this janma is in reference to this material world. In the spiritual world there is no such thing as creation. Creation and annihilation, that is the nature of this material world. So when we speak of janmady asya yatah [SB 1.1.1], it means the creation of the material world, but the original source of creation, that is eternal. Janmady asya yatah [SB 1.1.1]—the source from which everything is taking birth. So everything is taking birth means before the birth of everything there was the source wherefrom the birth is taking place. Just like child is born, and before the birth of the child the mother was existing. Similarly, before the creation of this material world, the source, Brahman, was there. Therefore Brahman is not matter. Brahman is not matter.
Syamasundara: Brahman is the essence.
Prabhupada: Essence. The essence was there before the creation of the manifestation. That Brahman, Krsna says, as Vedanta says, janmady asya yatah; [SB 1.1.1] similarly Krsna says aham sarvasya prabhavo [Bg. 10.8]: "I am the source of everything." And Brahma-samhita says, Krsna..., sarva-karana-karanam [Bs. 5.1], "the cause of all causes." So before creation, Krsna was existing, or God was existing. Creation means matter. So the source of creation, God, or Krsna, is not matter. It is spirit.
Syamasundara: He says that the essence of an entity is its intelligible nature, or that one can have ideas. This is proof that we are more than existence, that we are also essence.
Prabhupada: No. This existence is temporary. Just like this, I have got this coat. This is also existence, but I may change it next time, but I am the essence. I am permanent. I am changing.
Syamasundara: He says this is proven by the fact that the senses, they can perceive the existence of something by feeling it or touching it or seeing it, but they can't say anything about it until the intelligence comes into play, and then intelligence says what it is and gives it being.
Prabhupada: Intelligence says what is its cause.
Syamasundara: Yes. And he describes...
Prabhupada: So that cause is find some cause and again you find out the cause, again you find the cause, and then you find out cause and effect, you study effect and find out the cause, then when you come to the ultimate cause, which has no other cause, then that is Krsna, that is God. [break]
Syamasundara: He says that the senses can say "This exists," but if they said something... The senses can say "This exists," but the indirect is what says "This being is." In other words, it describes what exists—not only that something exists but what exists. So this intellect, or this being able to describe the essence of something, proves that we are made of this essence, that this is our real nature, that we are... It is not simply blindly existing but that there is some essence. He says that to exist means to act. He says actuality means continuous activities; there's no..., no rest.
Prabhupada: That is karma-yoga. Because work, activities, why they are so active? Because they want to enjoy. That's all. That's all.
Syamasundara: Everything that exists wants to enjoy?
Prabhupada: Yes. Here in this material world, variety, working so hard for sense gratification. The same activity, we consider..., when it is converted in Krsna consciousness, that is spiritual activity.
Syamasundara: So the essence of any object is its power to exist and be known. To be known.
Prabhupada: Mm. That is the basic principle of Vedanta-sutra: athato brahma, what is the basic platform, how is it. That is called brahma-jijnasa. That is intelligence. That is intelligence.
Syamasundara: Intelligence is the basic...
Prabhupada: Yes. No. By intelligence one can inquire what is the cause of this. Jijnasu. It is called jijnasu. Those who are not jijnasus, sreya uttamam, they are third class. Just like animals, they cannot ask, "What is its cause?" That is animal life. And human life means when the inquiry is "What is its cause?" That is the distinction between animal life and human life. Human life must be inquisitive, "What is its cause? What is the essence?" Just like Sanatana Gosvami approached Lord Caitanya that "Why I suffer some threefold miseries? I do not wish to suffer, but why?" This "why" question, unless this "why" question is there, then he's not to be considered as human being. Sri Ramanujacarya, when writing comments on Bhagavad-gita, manusyanam sahasresu [Bg. 7.3], he says manusya means "inquisitive." Not with two legs and hands. That is not a manusya; that is an animal. (indistinct) vikara (indistinct). One who inquires from authoritative Vedas, sastras, he's a human being. And those who are not inquisitive, they are not considered to be human being. "What is the essence?" that is human being. Otherwise animal life. And tad vijnanartham sa gurum evabhigacchet [MU 1.2.12]. And one who is actually inquisitive, he, he requires to have the guidance of spiritual master. Tasmad gurum prapadyeta jijnasuh sreya uttamam [SB 11.3.21]. Guru is required for him who is inquisitive of the higher essence, not for... To accept a guru is not a fashion. Those, without being inquisitive of the highest essence, accept from guru, they think it is a fashion to keep a guru. Just like one keeps one dog by fashion: "My friend is keeping a dog, I shall keep a dog. My friend is keeping a car, I shall keep a car." Such kind of acceptance of guru is useless. It has no meaning. Actually, guru means... One..., the disciple must be very much inquisitive, interest into this is to understand the original essence. And he should approach a suitable bona fide person who can answer about the original essence. This is the system of guru and disciple. It is not a fashion, bogus fashion. A sisya must be intently inquisitive to understand the original essence, and guru must be a well-conversant person who can answer the disciple's relevant questions. This is guru and sisya.
Syamasundara: He says that because God is pure actuality, the opposite of godly nature is pure potential without much existence.
Prabhupada: No. The existence is there. The essential, essence also is there, but it is a question of awareness and not awareness. One who knows, he is brahmana; one who does not know, he is krpana. Just like human beings, one who knows what is Brahman, he is called brahmana, and one who does not know what is Brahman, he is called a krpana. Krpana. Krpana means miser. He got the opportunity to understand Brahman but he did not care for it, just like a man has got money but he could not utilize it. Similarly, the opposite word of brahmana is krpana. Those who are trying to understand the essence, they are brahmana, brahmana. Veda pathad bhaved vipra brahma janatiti brahmanah: by studying Vedas, trying to understand the essence. And Krsna says in the Bhagavad-gita, vedais ca sarvair aham eva vedyah [Bg. 15.15]. Really, to understand Vedas means to understand Krsna. So those who are trying to understand Krsna, they are human being. Others, they are not human being.
Syamasundara: He sees the same kind of hierarchy, that on the one hand the highest types of beings are those who are most actualized, are those who are more perfect.
Syamasundara: They have realized their essence.
Prabhupada: Krsna conscious.
Syamasundara: Yes. Whereas the lower types of entities who are purely potential but have very small existences, like they're animal, plant life, he sees that hierarchy, and he says that the highest summit of man is..., the summit of wisdom, when he becomes capable of loving God lovingly.
Prabhupada: That's right.
Syamasundara: Then he becomes purely...
Prabhupada: Caitanya Mahaprabhu says, prema pumartho puman: the highest perfection of life is to attain love of Godhead. And Bhagavata also says, sa vai pumsam paro dharmo yato bhaktir adhoksaje [SB 1.2.6]. That is first-class religious system, (indistinct) develops his dormant love of God. That is religion. That is first-class, transcendental religion. And Bhagavata, in other place it is said, dharmah projjhita kaitava atra: all cheating religious system is rejected here. Because Bhagavata does not accept a religious system as genuine unless the followers develop love of Godhead. This is the test. And dharma means, as it is stated in the Bhagavad-gita, sarva-dharman parityajya mam ekam saranam vraja [Bg. 18.66]. This is dharma. Krsna says that "You give up all types of religious system." That means they are not religious, they are not religious. Otherwise why Krsna will ask that you give it up?
Prabhupada: He, in the beginning, says that "I come to establish religion," and He says that "Give up, kick out all these so-called religions." So they are not religion, and that is confirmed in the Bhagavata, kaitava, dharma kaitava. Kaitava means cheating. Anything, any religious system which does not give knowledge of Krsna, that is cheating religion. That is cheating religion. Dharma kaitava. Kaitava means cheating. And Sridhara Swami, he comments that atra moksa vancha (indistinct), those who are after mukti, liberation, they are also rejected herein. The jnanis, they are after mukti. So Sridhara Swami says they are also within the category of these cheating religious systems, because they are being cheated. They are cheating themselves, that "I'll become God." So that is another type of cheating. Therefore Krsna says that "Give up all these cheating type of religious systems. Just surrender unto Me." This is religion. Surrender unto Him. This is religion. And for teaching this religion, Krsna appeared: dharma samsthapanarthaya. What is that religion? Sarva-dharman parityajya mam ekam saranam vraja: [Bg. 18.66] "Just surrender unto Me." This is religion. Anything which does not teach surrender unto the Supreme Lord, Krsna, that is cheating religion. That's all.
Syamasundara: He says that this love of God is significant to one's experience of being a living self.
Prabhupada: Yes. I am individual living self. I want to exist by loving somebody. That is, we can practically see: I want to love somebody.
Syamasundara: That gives significance to my existence...
Syamasundara: ...if I love somebody.
Prabhupada: Similarly, other individual also wants to love somebody. The loving propensity is there. So our love is now distributed in so many ways, sukha mitra... (?): to our children, to our friends, to our country, to our families, to our wives, and if somebody has nothing like that, he reposes his love to dog, to cat. So the love must be there, and it must be reposed. But you should not know; therefore we have been frustrated. But when it is done to Krsna, (indistinct) success. So dormant love is there. (aside regarding guests-indistinct)
Syamasundara: He says that this state is called realization or actualization.
Prabhupada: This is realization. Everyone knows that "I want to love somebody." So that is going on. Anyone, even animals. Even animals, they also love their cubs, their children. Dogs, cats, even tiger, they love. They, every living entity wants to love, but because the love is reposed in a wrong place, he is being frustrated.
Syamasundara: He says when we come to the platform of loving God...
Prabhupada: That is perfection.
Syamasundara: ...then our potential nature is no more existing; everything is purely actual.
Syamasundara: We have actualized our potential.
Prabhupada: Absolute platform. Yes. That is absolute platform.
Syamasundara: Up to that stage, everything has got some potential...
Prabhupada: Difference, so potential is actual.
Syamasundara: But they are acting on a smaller level. And when they reach that stage of loving God, then there's no more potential, purely actual.
Prabhupada: That's right. That is higher conception. Samsiddhim labhate param. That is higher conception.
Syamasundara: He says... Now here is maybe one degree of difference. He says that ethical life, or knowledge of the Absolute, comes to our conscience or our reason, and the ethical life is to act in accordance or obedience to our conscience or our reason.
Prabhupada: Conscience..., not ordinary conscience—Krsna consciousness. Conscience is pure, but when it is diluted, contaminated, so somebody has got his conscience, consciousness, a different type. Just like Pakistani, Hindustani, they have got Hindustani consciousness or Pakistani consciousness, Muhammadan consciousness.
Syamasundara: Conscience. Not conscious but conscience.
Prabhupada: Conscience, everyone is conscience. Every living entity has got conscience.
Revatinandana: Conscience means if I'm..., a sense of whether what I am doing is right or wrong. That is conscience. That's different from consciousness.
Prabhupada: What is consciousness? Conscience means living force.
Revatinandana: So not consciousness.
Prabhupada: Conscious. Discrimination of good and bad.
Prabhupada: That conscience is due to practice. Just like a butcher, he has no conscience that killing is bad. That he is practiced to do that, he does not say that... His conscience is not touched by killing. So this conscience is by practice created in a different atmosphere, so it does not act. Unless one comes to Krsna consciousness, his conscience has no value. It is contaminated conscience. So as you are accustomed, so you have made a particular type of conscience. A thief, a thief, when he goes to steal, his conscience says, "This is all right. This is my livelihood. Why shall I stop it?" So what is value of this conscience?
Syamasundara: His idea is that because he comes from a Christian background, where there is no...
Prabhupada: Under some background he is speaking of conscience. But I say there are different consciences according to different backgrounds. So unless one comes to Krsna background, his conscience has no value. That is our...
Syamasundara: Yes. He says that the speculative faculty is intelligence, that we can understand...
Prabhupada: Then he is also speculating. Just like the butcher killing, he is also speculating, "What is the wrong there? Why people are protesting?" That is also speculating. But because his background is different, his conscience does not help him.
Syamasundara: So the method of... An authoritative basis for right and wrong, given by God Himself, then we can never know absolutely...
Prabhupada: Unless one comes to Krsna consciousness, his conscience has no value.
Syamasundara: But what about a person, say like this person, who had no access to God's laws, but he was simply speculating with his intelligence to try to find out what is right and what is wrong? Can he ever understand?
Prabhupada: He'll understand when he comes in contact with a devotee; otherwise he is also in ignorance.
Devotee: By following the regulative principles, we develop a Krsna conscious conscience.
Prabhupada: No. Regulative principle is good—he may be, one may be moral, ethical—but that does not mean he is a Krsna conscious. A Krsna conscious person, even without moral principles, he is higher than the person without Krsna consciousness, simply sticking to the moral and ethical principles, he has no... Harav abhaktasya kuto mahad-guna [SB 5.18.12]. Anyone who is not a devotee of Hari, Krsna, he has no good qualification. He may be good morally, good about following rules and regulations, but that does not mean that he is good. We have many instances in the Srimad-Bhagavatam. Those who are strictly following their religious principles but has no idea of devotional service, he does not gain anything in this life. And a person who has engaged himself in the devotional service of the Lord, even if he falls down due to immaturity, he has gained so many things.
Syamasundara: It would seem like this idea of pure actuality would also..., could also be called devotional service, because everything that I'm acting is for Krsna, for the pure actual.
Prabhupada: No, no. Everything we are acting, we imagine that will be pure. (indistinct) confirm by this.
Syamasundara: Prabhupada, if I'm engaged in devotional service...
Prabhupada: Yes. Devotional service under the guidance of the spiritual master, that is devotional service. Not that you manufacture yourself.
Syamasundara: So that stage of acting under the guidance of the spiritual master, that would be pure actuality. There would be no...
Prabhupada: Oh, yes. That is beyond this; transcendental to the three gunas. Sa gunan samatityaitan brahma-bhuyaya kalpate [Bg. 14.26]. That is actuality. Brahma-tattva, that is actuality. So anyone who is engaged in devotional service, he is above, transcendental to the three modes of material nature. Sa gunan samatityaitan [Bg. 14.26]. All these material qualities, samatita, atita, he surpasses, and brahma-bhuyaya kalpate, he is situated in actuality.
Syamasundara: He says that God knows reality as it exists and it has the potentiality to become. In other words, He knows everything.
Prabhupada: He knows. Vedaham samatitani [Bg. 7.26]. Krsna says, "I know everything, past, present and future." You have nothing like that, past, present and future. The past, present and future is concealed due to our, these temporary material bodies.
Syamasundara: He says that the human being is nature's most perfect creation.
Prabhupada: That's it. We also accept that. So after many, many births, 8,400,000 species of life, one gets this human form of life, and that also, civilized life, that also, in India, following the Vedic principles, that is the highest birth.
Syamasundara: He says that the human being has the material aspect of individuality plus the spiritual aspect of personality.
Prabhupada: Yes. That, that personality understanding is the perfect understanding. The Absolute Truth, as it is given in the Srimad-Bhagavatam, is realized in three phases: impersonal Brahman, Paramatma, and Bhagavan. Bhagavan is person. So to..., when one comes to Bhagavan understanding, that is the highest perfection. Bahunam janmanam ante jnanavan mam prapadyate: [Bg. 7.19] after many, many births of cultivating knowledge, one actually is wise, he surrenders to Krsna. That is the perfection.
Syamasundara: He says that this is..., because of this spiritual personality that he can know and love God.
Prabhupada: Yes. Without person how there can be love? There is no question of love. You cannot love air or sky; you must find out a man or woman in the, under the sky. So therefore if you want to love God then you must accept God is a person; otherwise there is no question of love. Therefore for the Mayavadi philosopher there is no question of love. They merge. They want sayujya-mukti, to become one. They have no other conception, because they cannot conceive personal God. So there is no love. Therefore they manufacture an idea that in the material condition of life, you just imagine any form of God and love Him, and ultimately you become one. That is their philosophy. Ultimately you throw away this... The example is given that you want to rise on some top floor you take a ladder and go to the top and throw away the ladder: there is no need of this ladder, now you have come to the position. So their theory is that because you cannot love or worship something impersonal, because it is difficult, it is troublesome... It is stated in the Bhagavad-gita, klesa adhikataras tesam avyaktasakta-cetasam: those who are attached to impersonal deities, their progress in spiritual life is very troublesome because they never fix up. So in order to give them some facility, they say that "You imagine some form of the Absolute Truth, and when you are perfect, then throw away that form. You become one." This is their philosophy. But if God is God, then how I can throw Him? That means while they are thinking of God, that is not God. And they say it is imagination. Then what is the value of imagination if it is not reality? So how by imagination, by kalpana, by taking something false, you can reach the reality? That is the defect of their philosophy. If you take it something wrong, how you can reach the reality? Your process is wrong, because you are accepting something wrong: imagination, imagination.
Syamasundara: So he says because men are a combination of spiritual personality and material individuality, he says because of the spiritual personality we can know God, and because of the material individuality evil arises, because of the material body.
Prabhupada: No. If we have no perfect knowledge of the individuality... Individuality does not mean always evil and good. Just like in Vrndavana, the gopis, they have got individuality, but that individuality is for Krsna. Therefore they are all one. The objective is one. The example was given by my Guru Maharaja that according to Vedic system, when one's husband is away from home, she does not dress herself very nicely, so she does not look very attractive. But the same woman, when the husband is at home, she dresses very nice. Now, this dressing or not dressing, they are two contradictory things, but the aim is the one; therefore that is one. The aim is the husband. For the husband's satisfaction she dresses and sometimes not dresses. So these two things, dressing and not dressing, apparently may be contradictory, but (if) the aim is one, they are the same. Similarly, there is variety in the spiritual world, but all the varieties, their central point is Krsna. Therefore the varieties are also one.
Syamasundara: He means more in the sense that because of this material body, this material position, that is where evil arises, by identifying with this material condition only. Their real nature is spiritual. Personality is spiritual.
Prabhupada: Yes. It is contaminated. The varieties are there in the spiritual world. The same varieties when they are presented here with material contamination, it is called perverted. Just like the example in the Fifteenth Chapter of Bhagavad-gita, urdhva-mulam adhah-sakham [Bg. 15.1], reflection on the bank of a river, reservoir of water, the tree is reflected, varieties are there. The trees or trunks, branches, twigs, flowers, everything is reflected, but they are all false. Real variety is there, on the bank of the river. Because it is reflection, it appears that everything is there in the perverted way, and then they are all false.
Syamasundara: This potential and actual, he also says that potential is matter and actual is form, so that God, being purely actual, is also pure form.
Prabhupada: Yes. Without God being form, how the forms are coming? Janmady asya yatah [SB 1.1.1]. In the original (indistinct) [break]
Syamasundara: Potentiality is matter, and actuality is form. Potentiality is undifferentiated matter, whereas actuality is form. So God, being actuality, is also pure form.
Prabhupada: That also we say: sac-cid-ananda-vigraha [Bs. 5.1]. Sat cit ananda vigraha, form. Vigraha means form. So what else?
Syamasundara: I think that's all for today. (end)
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