Blaise Pascal
Hayagriva: This is a section, a continuation of Pascal, Blaise Pascal. P-A-S-C-A-L. Pascal saw man situated in the universe between two extremes-between the abyss of infinity and the abyss of nothingness. Man has a body like the animals and an intellect like the angels or demigods. As such, he is neither a demigod nor an animal but somewhere between the two. Due to this situation, man is intelligent enough to know that he is in a miserable situation. Nonetheless, he has a great desire to be happy and to rid himself of his misery. Pascal saw that all men complain and suffer regardless of the situation. According to him, man engages in all kinds of hobbies and games and diversions in order to divert himself from his misery. But ultimately nothing really helps. What man once possessed and now has lost is perfect happiness. Pascal believes that the emptiness felt by man can only be filled by God. Isn't..., is this the same as...
Prabhupada: Bhagavad-gita.
Hayagriva: Bhagavad-gita (laughs).
Prabhupada: Mudha janmani janmani mam aprapyaiva [Bg. 16.20]. Because he does not get under the shelter of Krsna, so life after life he is trying to be happy and he is becoming baffled. He is manufacturing new way of sporting—sometimes diving in the water, sometimes flying in the air. So this sporting, as soon as, according to his desire, God is supplying, "All right, you want to fly, you become a bird. You want to dive in the water, all right, you become a fish, big fish." So God is giving you and trying to see whether giving up all this nonsense plan he comes to God and surrenders unto Him: "Sir, I have, I have tried all my plan; I could not become happy. Now, my Lord, you say that 'You give up all this nonsense business, you surrender unto Me, I will make you happy.' " Then he becomes happy. For this message, God comes. Because this rascal will not do according to the desire of God; therefore God comes personally and teaches him—as Lord Ramacandra, as Lord Krsna, as Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu, and He, They, He gives the same instruction, that "You surrender unto Me and act according to My instruction; you will be happy." But he will not do that.
Hayagriva: Whereas Descartes stressed reason, Pascal says that the principles that are understood by the heart are absolutely certain and that they are certainly adequate to overcome all skepticism or doubt in God. Is this something like the Supersoul speaking in the heart? Or how can one be certain that it is the Supersoul?
Prabhupada: Yes, he is speaking. That is stated in the Bhagavad-gita, that buddhi-yogam dadami tam yena mam upayanti te: "I give him intelligence by which he can always live with Me," upayanti. He is living along with... Every living entity is living with God. But out of his ignorance, he does not know. So what for the other bird is there? What He is doing? And He is living as witness. He is friend, that "What this nonsense is doing? He will suffer." So He is finding out the opportunity how he will take instruction from the other bird, God. And He gives instruction. But to whom? When he surrenders, and he is engaged in this service, then He gives him instruction. Tesam satata-yuktanam bhajatam priti-purvakam, buddhi-yogam dadami [Bg. 10.10]. He gives. God is giving intelligence to everyone, but the nondevotee, he is not surrendered; he will not accept. The same example, when the thief goes to steal, God gives him that "Don't do this. You will suffer," and he knows that, that God says, He is speaking that "Don't do this," but still he does. So he suffers. But if he can purify and acts according to the instruction of God, then he is perfect. That is the difference between demon and devotee. Devotee strictly follows the order of God; he is happy. And demon, he also knows what is God's desire; he disobeys, he acts according to his whim, he suffers. So God is giving instruction. There is no doubt about it. Externally He is giving instructions through His agent, spiritual master, through books; and internally as consciousness, conscience. He is giving, always, but the rascal will not accept. Then he must suffer. What can be done?
Hayagriva: Pascal believed in the doctrine of original sin. That doctrine holds that at one time man fell from grace by committing some sin or other, and that fall from grace accounts for his present position between the demigods and the beasts. In other words, that original sin accounts for man's engagement, or encagement, in matter.
Prabhupada: Yes, this is our...
Hayagriva: What was this original sin?
Prabhupada: To disobey the order of Krsna, or not to serve Krsna. Just like some servant, he tries that "Why I am serving this master? Why not become a master." The, sometimes psychologically it comes. A man is working in the office, he is seeing the managing director is sitting and is taking all the money, and sometimes the worker... Just like a capitalist and the worker. Why it is Communist movement? That they are thinking that "We are working, and the capitalist is taking the money." So they revolt, they make strike, and they form a society that "We have the..., we must have this money." That is communism. So similarly, when the living entity—he is eternally part and parcel of God; to serve God, that is his real position—but when he thinks that "Why I shall serve God? I shall enjoy myself," that is the beginning of falldown. So what is your question? When the... This was your question, that "When the sinful life begins?"
Hayagriva: Oh, what was, what was this original sin?
Prabhupada: This is the original sin. When he thought of not to serve God but to become God, that is the original. Just like the Mayavadis, they have knowledge, they have philosophy, everything, but still trying to become God, which is impossible. Then there is no meaning of God. If simply by meditation and by some material efforts one can become God, then where is the use of God? You cannot become God. But artificially you can try to become God, and that artificial way of becoming God is the beginning of sinful life.
Hayagriva: He believed that it is impossible..., it is impossible for man to understand the universe or his position in the universe. In the material world we cannot look for certainty or stability because our reasoning powers, our reason, is always being deceived. Consequently, man must surrender to the dictates of his heart and to God.
Prabhupada: Yes, that is our position. We, we are teaching Krsna consciousness means that you act according to the instruction given by Krsna. We are not depending on heart, because a heart, the dictation is coming, but it is not appreciated by the demons, nondevotee. Therefore direct, direct instruction is the Bhagavad-gita, and it is explained by His devotee. So in this way, if we take right from God and His representative. Not that (indistinct). So therefore Krsna consciousness movement is teaching or preaching God consciousness so that people may take instruction of this Bhagavad-gita as it is and act accordingly and be happy. That is our program. We do not manufacture any ideas. The ideas are already there. Simply we are preaching. If one is intelligent, fortunate, he will take it and be happy.
Hayagriva: Of all things in the world, Pascal considered this to be the strangest. He says, "A man spends many days and nights in rage and despair over the loss of his job or for some imaginary insult to his honor, yet he does not consider with anxiety and emotion that he will lose everything by death. It is a monstrous thing to see in the same heart and at the same time this sensibility to trifles and this strange insensibility to the greatest objects—death. It is an incomprehensible enchantment and a supernatural slumber, which indicates as its cause an all-powerful force," such as maya.
Prabhupada: This is, this is instruction of Bhagavad-gita, that one who does not believe in God or disobeys the orders of God, a day will come when God will come as death, and his all power, all false prestige, all imagination, all plans will be all broken. Then after that, according to the transmigration of the soul, that person, because he did not obey the orders of God, he acted like animals, he gets the body of an animal. This is transmigration. And he suffers.
Hayagriva: He also writes, "If we submit everything to reason, our religion will have no mysterious and supernatural element. If we offend the principles of reason, our religion will be absurd and ridiculous."
Prabhupada: Yes, that is a fact. Because religion means the orders given by God. So if we faithfully carry out the orders of God, then that is religion. But if we don't carry out the orders of God, this is cheating religion. That is not religion. That is condemned in the Srimad-Bhagavatam. That cheating religion are kicked out from the Srimad-Bhagavatam. So any religious system which has no conception of God and does everything, every year changes by resolution of the priests, that "Now this is all right," against religious principles—that is a farce. That is not religion.
Hayagriva: This is by way of saying that we should not accept our faith blindly, but at the same time we should not expect everything to be comprehensible to our understanding.
Prabhupada: Yes. That just like the father and the child. The father says, "You do this." So that is all-comprehensive. The father's idea is complete; it is good for the son. But the son says, "No. I want to act in this way." That is his folly. Similarly, what God says, that is religion, and... So there is no question of blind following. If you know, "Here is God. He is all-perfect, and whatever He is saying, that is all-perfect. Let me accept it," then you are gainer. And if apply your reasoning and change it according to your whims, then you suffer.
Hayagriva: He also writes, "The greatness of man is great in that he knows himself to be miserable. A tree does not know itself to be miserable. These miseries prove man's greatness. They are the miseries of a great lord, a deposed king."
Prabhupada: Yes. The..., that is explained in the Srimad-Bhagavatam, that you are trying to live long, so does the tree not live longer than you? If you are trying by scientific method how to live more than hundred years or (indistinct), but the tree is living for ten thousands of years. Does it mean this is perfection of life, to live long? That is not perfection of life. So in this way, analyze all other living condition. When you come to God consciousness, that living condition is perfect, because by God consciousness or Krsna consciousness you understand God—how to behave with Him; what is your relationship with God—then you become perfect and you go to the kingdom of God and live there eternally.
Hayagriva: Descartes was more in the jnani tradition, and Pascal more in the bhakti tradition. He says, "Employ the rule of love not of intellect," and for Pascal, knowledge can only be attained by curbing the passions, submitting to God, and accepting the revelation of God. And he was also Christian. And he said "There is no happiness apart from religion."
Prabhupada: Yes. We say the same thing, that without religion one is animal. Because the animal society there is no church, there is no religion, there is no discussion about God. So if the human society, as they are doing now, that they are denying discussion about God even in the schools and colleges, so it is the most degraded form of society, and the consequence is there: they are all suffering.
Hayagriva: Although he was considered a great philosopher, he concluded that philosophy in itself only leads to skepticism, that faith is needed, and he always added here, "God."
Prabhupada: Philosophy means, real philosophy means to understand the truth. That is philosophy. So without understanding about the truth, if he encourages untruth... Just like some philosophers are philosophizing on sex life. So the people are becoming degraded. So what is philosophy in sex life, that is an (indistinct). It is there in animal and man also. So sex life is not actual life; it is a symptom of life only. So if we stress on this point only, that is not philosophy. Philosophy means, as it is stated, tattva jnanartham darsanam. To find out the Absolute Truth, tattva, that is philosophy. And tattva means the spirit soul or the spiritual atmosphere. Brahmeti paramatmeti bhagavan iti sabdyate [SB 1.2.11]. So those who are discussing about Brahman or Paramatma, Supersoul, or Bhagavan, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, they are real philosopher because they are trying to find out the Absolute Truth, and others are bogus.
Hayagriva: That's, that's all.
Prabhupada: That's all. (end)

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