Henri Bergson
Hayagriva: This is Henri Bergson, additional notations. [break] Srila Prabhupada? If you could move. I don't think it would be good to have something between me and the microphone, because it might... Nothing between me and the microphone.
Hari-sauri: Well, can we do this?
Hayagriva: Close? Oh, all right. Bergson maintained that God's reality can only be intuited by mystical experience. The creative effort is of God, if it is not God Himself. Knowledge of God leads to activity not passivity.
Prabhupada: Yes. Knowledge of God is activity. Just like bhakti, we are twenty-four hours active, not that we are meditating on. So it is service. God says that anyone who preaches this message of Bhagavad-gita, that is activity. That is Caitanya Mahaprabhu's order, that you, all of you, become guru. To become guru means activity, to train the disciples. So this Krsna consciousness movement is full of activity for giving, rendering service to God, Krsna. It is activity.
Hayagriva: The word..., the word "mystic" is not a very clear word. It can mean so many different things. When he says God's reality can only be intuited by mystical experience, one doesn't really know what this means.
Prabhupada: No, mystical... One who does not know God, for him it is mystical, but one who knows God, he takes orders from God. This is defined, anukulyena krsnanusilanam [Cc. Madhya 19.167], means favorably working for satisfaction of God. But if one's idea of God is not clear, he thinks it is mystical, but one who has got clear idea of God, clear order from God, then it is not mystical but it is practical.
Hayagriva: He believed that mystics—he uses the words "mystics," not-mystics participate in God's love for mankind and aid the divine purpose.
Prabhupada: Yes, that is the...
Hayagriva: This is the real meaning of creative evolution.
Prabhupada: Yes. Everyone is in ignorance due to long separation from God. In the material world the living entity has forgotten his relationship with God; therefore his activities are only sense gratification, like the animals. And when he is given lesson, instruction how to become God conscious, how to love God, that is activity, and that is real life. Otherwise it is animal life. The religion is a kind of faith, sentiment, but when the religious system is understood on the basis of good logic and philosophy, that becomes perfect understanding of God. Without philosophy, religious understanding is sentiment. That sentiment does not help anyone very much. It continues for some time, then people become disinterested in the matter of religion. So religion means, as it is stated in the Bhagavata, Srimad-Bhagavatam, how one has learned to love God. Then it is religion. Sa vai pumsam paro dharmo yato bhaktir adhoksaje [SB 1.2.6]. Adhoksaja means we do not see God eye to eye at the present moment in our physical condition, but still, hearing about Him, we can develop our dormant love for God. That is real religion.
Hayagriva: Bergson saw the greatest obstacle to this creative evolution to be the struggle with materialism, and he felt that politics and economic reforms cannot help matters.
Prabhupada: No. These are different subject matter. It... Politics or economic development can help, provided it is guided properly. Otherwise, if the politics, economic development is aimed at understanding God and our relationship with God, then politics is all right. Otherwise it does not help at all. But this, so far Vedic civilization is concerned, the society is divided into eight division, varna and asrama. So the sannyasi, the brahmana, they are meant for educating the others to develop dormant God consciousness. And the ksatriyas, they are to support these teachings of God consciousness because that is the objective of human life. But unfortunately, they have forgotten everything. They think simply taking care of the body and live comfortably and enjoy sense gratification. That is animal civilization; that is not human civilization.
Hayagriva: He felt that the spirit of mysticism must be kept alive by the fortunate few who know God until such time as a profound change in the material conditions imposed on humanity by nature should permit in spiritual matters of a profound transformation.
Prabhupada: Yes, that is Krsna consciousness movement. Actually they are trying to change the whole situation. The perfect social order is, as I have already mentioned it, that is perfect society when they have learned how to love God, without any motive, as natural behavior between the father and the son, and the son and the father, mother and the son. That is real perfection, perfection of society. Godless society is animal society. It is not to be adored.
Hayagriva: What could..., what must he mean by "until such time as a profound change in the material conditions imposed on humanity by nature should permit in spiritual matters of a profound transformation?" What kind of...
Prabhupada: Transformation.
Hayagriva: ...change in material condition would permit...
Prabhupada: Material condition is the four principles of bodily demands: eating, sleeping, sex and defense. This is material condition. So when the human society... Just like at the present moment they are simply interested in these four things, how to eat nicely, palatable dishes, or very nice table, chair and so on and so on. But after all, this is eating. And similarly, living condition. Formerly people used to live very humbly. Now they are living very, very big, big skyscraper building. But that is living. Similarly sex. Formerly also a crude society, also they have sex. The animals, also they have sex. And to make gorgeous arrangement for sex, to make the women easily available or freely available, nicely dressed, this is also simply sex. Similarly defense. Either you defend with crude weapons or you atom bomb, this is defensing.
Hayagriva: So how are these conditions going to change?
Prabhupada: Change means along with these primary necessities of the body one should understand what is God, what to do for God instead. That is change. That can be done, simply by training.
Hayagriva: But how are they going to change in order to bring about a profound spiritual transformation?
Prabhupada: This is spiritual following. Just like we are doing. We are also not neglecting the bodily necessities of life, but our main business is how to advance in Krsna consciousness. So this is not supported by the state or the leaders of the society. They think they are unnecessary because they are animals. So that is the... If the leaders, yad yad acarati sresthas tad tad eva itarah janah [Bg. 3.21], that is, every leading man accept that this is necessary. Just like we say "No illicit sex." So if the state helps, it can stop immediately. "No meat-eating": the state can immediately do it, "No slaughterhouse." If somebody says that it is enforcement for a person who wants to eat meat and the state has stopped, no. State at least can do this, that state is not going to maintain slaughterhouse. If you want to eat meat, you can kill an animal at your own house, but state is not going to commit these sinful activities, statewise. That is changed in every respect. No more breweries. State cannot maintain the manufacturing of liquor. If anyone individual wants, he can prepare for himself, but he cannot sell, he cannot induce others to take. He can for his personal (indistinct), he can take. In that case, state is giving liberty, "If you want eating meat, so do." But that is not encouragement; that is discouragement. That is Vedic injunction. Vedic injunction is that yes, you can have sex, but get yourself married properly like gentlemen and ladies do. But sex will not be allowed unrestricted intermingling of men and women and prostitution, brothels. That state has to stop. In this way whole thing can be revolutionized, and the society will be completely in human civilization and God consciousness. That is wanted.
Hayagriva: Bergson felt... He was... Bergson was optimistic in that he felt that eventually the mystics, through love, will help mankind back to Godhead.
Prabhupada: He has used that word "back to Godhead"?
Hayagriva: Well, no, but "back to God."
Prabhupada: Oh.
Hayagriva: I put "head" there.
Prabhupada: Yes, that is the real purpose of human life. Nature gives him the opportunity in the evolutionary process to get the human form of body. Now, here is a chance. He can read books, he can read Vedas, he can take instruction from the spiritual master. These opportunities are there. So that should be encouraged. That is human civilization. Simply to keep him in darkness, and that he is body and bodily necessities of life is the only business, it is a very suicidal civilization. That is not civilization. It is animal status of life.
Hayagriva: Within the world Bergson sees nothing but constant, unceasing change. He even sees ego change. He says, "If our existence were composed of separate states with an impassive ego to unite them, for us there would be no duration, for an ego which does not change does not endure, and a psychic state which remains the same so long as it is not replaced by the following state does not endure either." So he sees the psychic state of the individual in the ego and all that the ego contains as cognitively changing.
Prabhupada: This is false ego, that "I am this body." So it has to be changed by education, that "You are not this body." Then when he understands that he is spirit soul, then the activities of the spirit soul begin, mad-bhaktim labhate param [Bg. 18.54]. That is stated in Srimad Bhagavad-gita, that first of all he has to understand that he is not this material body; he is spirit soul. That is the beginning of Bhagavad-gita. Dehino 'smin yatha dehe [Bg. 2.13]. Within this body the soul is there, and that soul is Brahman, spiritual. People, if they do not understand this, so they are in the animal status of life. But if he understands that he is not this body, then his struggle for existence, to maintain the body, stops. Brahma-bhutah prasannatma [Bg. 18.54]. That it is, when he understands that he is not this body, then his unnecessary endeavor to keep the body in comfortable position without the, without executing the business of spiritual life, then he is kept in darkness. So when one understands that he is spirit soul, so how to elevate the spirit soul to the highest perfection, that will be the main business. So that is wanted. Brahma-bhutah prasannatma [Bg. 18.54]. Then he understands that "Not only I am spirit soul, but everyone is spirit soul," then equal, equipoised. Every spirit soul should be given the chance of perfect understanding, samah sarvesu bhutesu. Then activities of devotional service. If everyone is engaged in devotional service, then he gradually comes to the state of loving God, prema. Prema pumartho mahan. So Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu has recommended perfection of human life is how to raise oneself to the platform of loving God. That is perfection. Otherwise it is not perfect society.
Hayagriva: Concerning remembering and forgetting, Bergson writes, "The cerebral mechanism is arranged just so as to drive back into the unconscious"—by unconscious they mean the subconscious—"almost the whole of his past, and to admit beyond the threshold only that which can cast light on the present situation or further the action now being prepared. In short, only that which can give useful work." So that, in other words, man utilizes only those memories or that knowledge which is immediately useful, and in this way man can function in the world. What is the role of Krsna in this, as the arranger of this cerebral mechanism?
Prabhupada: Cerebral mechanism, that is a machine. Just like this microphone is a machine. It helps speaking loudly. It has nothing..., machine has nothing to do with the voice, but it helps the voice louder so we can listen, so far the machine is concerned. Actually the voice is different. Therefore our Vedic sastra is called voice, sruti. So if the sruti, the voice, vibration of this voice is proper, then the machine can help us to understand that. But if there is no voice, what is the use of the machine? Just like dead body: the same brain is there, what is the use? The same ear is there. So it is not the brain that helps; it is the voice, it is the instruction which helps. Therefore we take instruction of Krsna. So that is the Krsna's point. Krsna says, yada yada hi dharmasya glanir bhavati [Bg. 4.7]. When people becomes rascal, without any God consciousness, and the so-called demonic leaders keep the society in darkness, dharmasya glanir bhavati, at that time, to stop these demons talking nonsense, and to raise the devotees who are interested, Krsna comes. That is Krsna's coming. Then He leaves behind Him instruction of Bhagavad-gita so that His devotees can preach for the benefit of the society. So it is not the brain; it is the voice, the instruction, which is important. So a human being has got this nice machine and he can take. But if the leaders are blind, they do not know what is the use of this brain, then it is useless. [break]
Hayagriva: Concerning remembering and forgetting, we were speaking of the cerebral mechanism. In Bhagavad-gita doesn't Krsna say that He is the arranger of the cerebral mechanism which causes one to remember Him and forget Him? He says, "I bring... I make one remember and one forget."
Prabhupada: Yes, yes. He is the supreme power. He can do that. So if somebody wants to forget Krsna persistently—in spite of Krsna's instruction, devotee's instruction, one does not care, he persists to become a demon—Krsna is within the heart of everyone, so He gives him chance to become more and more so that he completely forgets his relationship with God. That is explained in another place, ksipamy ajasram anta yonisu. In the Sixteenth Chapter. (aside:) You can find out. So that this rascal, life after life, remains a rascal. That is Krsna's punishment, that he is kept in perpetual darkness. But it is the mercy of Krsna's devotee, a Vaisnava, he is more compassionate, that "This rascal, he is in perpetual darkness. Let me try to relieve." Therefore Bhaktivinoda Thakura says, vaisnava thakura tomara kukkura. "Vaisnava devotee, kindly accept me as your dog." Because as Narottama dasa Thakura says, chadiya vaisnava seva: "Unless one who gets the shelter of a Vaisnava, he will perpetually remain in darkness." (aside:) Have you got?
"Those who are envious and mischievous, who are the lowest among men, are cast by Me into the ocean of material existence, into various demoniac species of life."
Prabhupada: They will be punished to forget God, forget. He wants to forget, so apohanam ca, mattah... The brain is there, but Krsna wants that this rascal should be punished to forget God. Then he will be punished more by the material nature, daivi hy esa gunamayi [Bg. 7.14]. Maya's business is to punish the demon, so maya keeps him in demonic life so that he may be punished more and more. And Krsna gives intelligence to a devotee, tesam satata-yuktanam bhajatam priti-purvakam [Bg. 10.10]. One who is engaged in devotional service, trying sincerely, from within He is giving instruction, "Do like this. Do like this."
Hayagriva: Can one be forgetful of Krsna eternally?
Prabhupada: No.
Hayagriva: No, but...
Prabhupada: Eternally, it is not possible. Just like a father and son. It may be, circumstantially, the son is separated from the father, but it is not possible to forget eternally. Sometimes he remembers his father. Father is always remembering the son, and father is looking after the opportunity when the son becomes obedient to his order. So there is no question of perpetually.
Hayagriva: That's good news (laughing).
Prabhupada: Yes.
Hayagriva: Regarding karma and transmigration, Bergson writes, "What are we in fact? What is our character if not the condensation of the history that we have lived from our birth, nay, even before our birth, since we bring with us pre-natal dispositions? Doubtless we think with only a small part of our past, but it is with our entire past, including the original bent of our soul that we desire, will and act. Our past, then, as a whole is made manifest to us in its impulse. It is felt in the form of tendency, although a small part of it only is known in the form of idea." That is, although we cannot recall much of the past, the present, our present state, is determined...
Prabhupada: We cannot recall. That is the defect in our life. Therefore the literatures are there to remind us. That opportunity is there in the human form of life to take advantage of this Vedic knowledge which is kept in the literature. Just like Bhagavad-gita or any Vedic literature. Especially Bhagavad-gita is the nutshell of all Vedic knowledge. So we have forgotten. But this forgotten, forgetfulness is not perpetual. He can be reminded and he can come to his real consciousness. That is our Krsna consciousness movement. These rascals, they have forgotten God, Krsna, and they are thinking that "We are the master of everything." The so-called scientists, they are decrying God: "Now we shall do everything independently." This is demonic. So he has to be reminded. Therefore sastras are there, sadhus are there—sadhu, sastra, guru—guru is there, that you are not independent, you are foolishly thinking like that. You are under the clutches of maya. So don't remain in this position, then your life will spoil. Take instruction from Bhagavad-gita. Act accordingly. You will be happy.
Hayagriva: Well he sees that we are what we are today due to all of our activities in the past.
Prabhupada: Yes. That is karma. Karmana, or according to our past karmas, we are in a particular position. So this position can be changed. It is not that it will continue. Therefore Krsna says that "You are suffering on account of your past misdeeds, the reaction, but this suffering is caused on account of your not surrendering unto Me. Now you surrender. I will stop this reaction of...," aham tvam sarva-papebhyo [Bg. 18.66]. This offer is already there, but still we do not take advantage. That is our dog's obstinacy, and we are suffering, and we shall continue to suffer.
Hayagriva: From this, Bergson concludes that we are evolving, that we learn from an accumulation of experience, that we cannot, in a sense, repeat the same mistake twice. He writes, "From this survival of the past, it follows that consciousness cannot go through the same state twice. Circumstances may still be the same, but they will act no longer on the same person since they find him in a new moment of his history. Our personality, which is being built up each instant with its accumulated experience, changes without ceasing. Thus our personality shoots, grows and ripens without ceasing."
Prabhupada: No. There is no cessation because the soul is eternal, so his consciousness is also eternal. But it is changing according to the circumstances, association, time, place, and the party changes. Therefore good association required. Sadhu-sanga [Cc. Madhya 22.83]. It is called sadhu-sanga, association with the devotees. By good association the consciousness can be changed from material to spiritual. That is the Krsna consciousness movement, how to change the consciousness from matter to Krsna. So that requires guidance. The guidance is Krsna's instruction and the spiritual master. Krsna is so kind that he has given us sastra and the sadhu and guru. So if we take advantage of that then we become reformed, our life becomes successful.
Hayagriva: There seems to be an inconsistency here when he says, "our personality, which is being built up with its accumulated experience." Now if personality is determined by experience and if death means a forgetting of our past experience, then a new personality must emerge when we take on a new body.
Prabhupada: No. The..., your deeds in the past you may forget, but Krsna does not forget. He therefore gives you chance that "You wanted to do this, now here is the opportunity, you do it."
Hayagriva: At death it's said that we take the mind...
Prabhupada: Death means the body is changed.
Hayagriva: Yes.
Prabhupada: But the soul is not changed. So soul continues with his reaction of past deeds, and even though he forgets what he has done in the past, Krsna is there. He reminds that "You wanted to do this. Do it now."
Hayagriva: The person is the same but the false personality changes then?
Prabhupada: Yes. So this personality can change to become perfect if he follows the instruction of Krsna.
Hayagriva: Because obviously, say in my next life, I'll be a different personality.
Prabhupada: Yes. According to your work, this karmana daiva netrena [SB 3.31.1], by..., the body will be selected, not by you but by superior authority, that "This man has acted like this, so he should get this body."
Hayagriva: If at death the soul takes the mind, intelligence, and ego with it...
Prabhupada: Yes.
Hayagriva: ...into a new body... If that's the case, isn't it possible for the mind to actually remember its past lives?
Prabhupada: Sometimes he remembers. There are many instances, just like Bharata Maharaja. He got the body of an animal, but by the grace of Krsna that he remembered everything of his past life. Therefore Krsna said, mattah smrtir jnanam apohanam, "That I am." Bharata Maharaja's remembrance, it is due to Krsna's mercy. He was a devotee, but he neglected his devotional service on account for being too much attached to a small deer. So at the time of death he was thinking of the deer, he got the body of a deer. But Krsna, out of His great mercy, He reminded him that "You are in such a position now. You have become a deer. So don't forget Me, My service." So he did that. He was always staying with devotees, that "By my fault I have got this body, so let me remain in this life with the devotees." So next life he took birth in a nice brahmana's family, but due to his past experience, that "I fell down," he remained just like a dull brain, not associating with anyone, that "I cannot fall again." So even in the next birth Krsna can remind him of his past birth and guide him.
Hayagriva: Now if, as Bergson says, our personality, which by definition would include the mind, the intelligence, the ego, and the soul also, as a person...,
Prabhupada: Yes.
Hayagriva: ...if it shoots, grows and ripens without ceasing, then why or how could the personality or the individual jiva soul return to a lower life-form? That is to say, how could a greater experience regress to a lesser experience?
Prabhupada: The..., everything is calculated at the time of death. That is nature's process. That I was talking in the morning, that these boys, they are too much addicted to these water sports. Twenty-four hours they are indulging in this water sport. They are creating a mentality to become aquatic animal. So naturally, at the time of death, he will think of all these things and nature will give him a body. Yes. That you cannot check. After death you are completely under nature's control. You cannot dictate. That these rascal do not understand. Therefore they, "Finish this business. There is no life after death. That's all."
Hayagriva: Now how was it that a great personality like Indra, with his mind, intelligence, and ego all intact, how is it he could become a toad?
Prabhupada: Yes, you can become. So long you are materially existing, your thoughts are under the modes of material mature. So sometimes the thoughts are in the modes of goodness, sometimes the thoughts are in the modes of passion, and sometimes they are in the modes of ignorance and act accordingly. So up and down it is going on. So in order to keep yourself on the standard platform, one should engage himself in devotional service. That is confirmed in the Bhagavad-gita:
(aside:) Find out this verse. Mam ca avyabhicarena bhakti-yogena yah se... (pause)
mam ca yo 'vyabhicarena
bhakti-yogena sevate
sa gunan samatityaitan
brahma-bhuyaya kalpate
[Bg. 14.26]
"One who engages in full devotional service, and who does not fall down in any circumstance, at once transcends the modes of material nature and thus comes to the level of Brahman."
Prabhupada: Yes. So one has to keep himself on the Brahman platform, then there is no difficulties.
Hayagriva: No..., no karmic regression.
Prabhupada: Therefore we are trying to keep everyone twenty-four hours engaged in Krsna consciousness.
Hayagriva: That, that would be what Bergson would call creative evolution.
Prabhupada: Yes.
Hayagriva: He saw, he saw change as maturation. He says, "We are seeking only the precise meaning that our consciousness gives to this word 'exist,' and we find that, for a conscious being, to exist is to change, to change is to mature, to mature is to go on creating oneself endlessly."
Prabhupada: So, you want..., you are struggling, creating for the highest position, but Krsna is giving you the idea. This is the highest position, sarva-dharman parityajya mam ekam saranam vraja [Bg. 18.66], that "You give up your so-called positions, you simply surrender unto Him..., Me, and I shall give you all protection." This is the idea. But he denies, and that because he thinks Krsna is ordinary human being, "Oh, how He can give me the topmost position?" So he goes on, he..., with his plan-making, so that... But this plan-making, if he is actually advancing, then after many, many births he will come to that conclusion that everything is Krsna. Vasudevah sarvam iti sa mahatma su-durlabhah [Bg. 7.19]. But this happens after he is struggling for many, many births. So best thing is that instead of waiting many, many births, if we take Krsna's instruction immediately, we become perfect. Why you should continue in ignorance, unsettled, and making plan? That is another foolishness.
Hayagriva: The bond. It's the bondage of habit.
Prabhupada: Huh?
Hayagriva: The bondage...
Prabhupada: Then you have to change. Therefore Krsna's instruction is there, that "Do like this, do like this."
Hayagriva: In Creative Evolution Bergson writes, "We may conclude then that individuality is never perfect and that it is often difficult, sometimes impossible, to tell what is an individual and what is not, but that life nevertheless manifests a search for individuality as if it strove to constitute systems naturally isolated, naturally closed." A search for...
Prabhupada: (aside:) You have given the key?
Hayagriva: What does he mean by "search for individuality"? Isn't the individual always there?
Prabhupada: It is no search. We are individual, always. This is stated in the Bhagavad-gita in the Second Chapter, that we are individual now, we are individual..., were in the past, and we shall continue to remain individual in future. So the individuality is always there, but the living entity, we, we are not as big as Krsna. Our intelligence is very meager, is very small, so, so therefore we forget what is our real constitutional position. So to bring to our original constitutional position the..., Krsna and His instructions are there. The individuality is always, past, present and future, but when we forget Krsna, make our own plan, then we suffer, and when we utilize our individuality properly, little independence, and follow Krsna's instruction as His servant, then our life is perfect. [break]
Hayagriva: This is the continuation of Bergson.
Prabhupada: Now, the Mayavadi philosophers, they, possessing poor fund of knowledge, they want to kill this individuality. But that is not possible. Krsna says that you shall remain individual perpetually. There is no question of stopping. Mamaivamso jiva-bhuta jiva-loka sanatanah [Bg. 15.7]. They, perpetually you are individual, God is also individual. So to..., killing the individuality is not possible, but this is a false notion that "I kill my individuality and become one with God, then I will be perfect." That is not possible. You cannot become one with God. You keep your individuality. So even though if for the time being you think that "I am now merged in the existence of God," but on account of our individuality you shall again fall down.
Hayagriva: And there's no need for a search for individuality.
Prabhupada: Individual, he is always individual. Perpetually.
Hayagriva: Yes. Concerning the creation, Bergson speaks of impulsion and attraction, and he says, "The causal relation between God and the world is seen as an attraction when regarded from below, as an impulsion or a contact when regarded from above. Therefore we perceive God as an efficient, that is a beginning, cause or as a final cause, according to the point of view." That is, we can see things either..., the creation coming from God or moving toward God, depending on our viewpoint.
Prabhupada: No. Creation is..., God is always there. Before the creation and when the creation is finished, there is God. So God is not one of the creation. In the creation there are so many things coming out, so God is not one of the products of creation because He is created. He was before creation and He will exist to continue after annihilation. This is the Vedic knowledge.
Hayagriva: Yes. This is, this is what he is saying.
Prabhupada: Oh.
Hayagriva: That God is the alpha, the beginning, and the omega, the end, depending on our point of view. He also says in the middle.
Prabhupada: Not, not of the point of view. It is always there.
Prabhupada: But because we are imperfect, you are thinking like that, that individually we are imperfect. God is always there, and this cosmic manifestation is temporary creation. It is a chance to the individual soul to develop his consciousness, but if he does not take, again the annihilation, he remains in unconscious position, and when again there is creation he comes to consciousness. So this is going on.
Hayagriva: He says, "If life realizes a plan, it ought to manifest a greater harmony the further it advances, just as the house shows a better and better idea of the architect as stone is set upon stone. If, on the contrary, the unity of life is to be found solely in the beginning in the impetus that pushes it along the road of time, the harmony is not in front but behind. The unity is given at the start as an impulsion, not placed at the end as an attraction." But he's...
Prabhupada: So this can be utilized. Suppose an artist is trying to improve this building. So if he takes instruction from an experienced artist how to improve, then it becomes easier, and if he tries himself, it takes long, long time. He should take the artistic idea from a person who is perfect in artistic idea, then his work will make progress very swiftly. Otherwise he is already imperfect, he may think "This is better," but it may not be better because he is imperfect. So he has to take instruction from a perfect person, then the progress will be very swift. [break]
Hayagriva: Well, this can be taken from the individual point of view or from the idea that God is the architect of the universe. But according to the system of yugas, there is a greater harmony in the beginning, and as the universe winds down, this harmony disintegrates-Treta-, Dvapara-, and Kali-yuga. Yet there's a plan.
Prabhupada: That's, what is called, that is the nature. First, first of all something is created, then it develops, it stays for some time, then it becomes old, dwindling, and then finished. This is called six changes of sarvika (?), of anything material. But a spirit soul is not material. He is not subjected to all these changes. This is our practical experience. The body is changing but spirit soul is the same. He remembers that "I had this body, a child's body. I have this young boy's body." He remembers; therefore he is eternal. The change is taking place of the body, so therefore the soul has nothing to do with the bodily changes. He has got his perpetual duty, perpetual activity—that is devotional service. So he has to be trained up in that perpetual duty, then he will stop this process of bodily changes, he will remain in his eternal body, spiritual body. That is going back to home, back to Godhead.
Hayagriva: So the creative evolution must necessarily be the evolution of the soul.
Prabhupada: No.
Prabhupada: Soul is eternal. Soul is ever-existing. There is no question of evolution or..., that it is according to the body. So long he is in the material existence and bodily concept of life, he is thinking that a better body is evolution and a lower body... But if his consciousness is changed, then there is no chance of changing, different bodies. He remains in his eternal body.
Hayagriva: Well the basic contradiction, it seems, between Bergson and the Vedic version is that of the evolution of the universe.
Prabhupada: Evolution of universe means, I have already explained, that anything material, it goes under six changes. So this universe, since its birth, it is increasing in volume. So that is material change. It is nothing to the, to do with the spiritual. Spirit, the soul, as we have got soul within this body, similarly akara, Garbhodakasayi Visnu is the soul of this universe. He is not changing; the universe is changing, the body is changing.
Hayagriva: Bergson's theory seems to be that there's greater harmony being realized the further life advances or the further the universe goes on.
Prabhupada: Harmony is there, certainly. That harmony, just like the child's body is harmonically changing into boy's body, harmonical changes, there is harmony. But the change is there.
Hayagriva: So there's harmony at the beginning and harmony at the end?
Prabhupada: Everything is in harmony. That is God's law. Everything is in harmony. Material or spiritual, everything is in harmony.
Hayagriva: So if everything is in harmony, then evolution has an incidental meaning. The meaning is just...
Prabhupada: The evolution is all harmony. Just like from aquatics one has to become insect. From aquatic one has to accept the body of plants and trees, then he has to accept the bodies of insects. This is harmony. Changing is there, but it is in harmony. Now, when one comes to accept the body of human being, then his consciousness is developed. Now he can accept, because he has got greater freedom than the animal, so he has to make his choice whether he is going to stop this evolutionary process or he wants to remain in this evolutionary process. So if he takes instruction of Krsna, then he can stop this botheration of evolution, and if he does not take, then he remains. (aside:) Find out this verse, asraddadhanah purusa dharmasyasya parantapa. What is it?
asraddhadhanah purusa
dharmasyasya parantapa
aprapya mam nivartante
[Bg. 9.3]
"Those who are not faithful on the path of devotional service cannot attain Me, O conqueror of foes, but return to birth and death in this material world."
Prabhupada: That's all. That is the chance of this human form of life. The, everything is there. If he takes the standard instruction and makes his choice whether he shall continue this perpetual, this subordinate position under the laws of nature or he should become free by going back to home, back to Godhead—that choice is there. So Krsna's instruction is there, and simply following the instruction one can become completely detached from this cycle of birth and death, tyaktva deham punar janma naiti... [Bg. 4.9]. Simply by understanding Krsna or Krsna's instruction, this body will be ended, that is described. But after ending this body, no more material body. That is perfection.
Hayagriva: Sometimes Bergson sounds like a Sophist in his contention. He says, "Man might be considered the reason for the existence of the entire organization of life on our planet." Is man the end of evolution on this planet, or is he just simply the highest form of life now present on the planet?
Prabhupada: He is not highest form of life.
Hayagriva: On this planet, he is speaking.
Prabhupada: On this planet also there are different types of men. Not all men are the same position, same as there are intelligent person, there is a foolish person, there is a rich person, there is...
Hayagriva: He is speaking of men in general, everybody, all mankind.
Prabhupada: All mankind, what does he mean all? Everyone is individual. What does he mean? This is not very good, intelligent.
Hayagriva: Yes. He sees the material worlds as being isolated. He says, "There is then a bond between the worlds, but this bond may be regarded as infinitely loose in comparison with the mutual dependence which unites the parts of the same world among ourselves," excuse me, "which unites the parts of the same world among themselves. So that it is not artificially for reasons of mere convenience that we isolate our solar system. Nature itself invites us to isolate it." So this, this calls to mind the image of a prison house. The isolation of the world, as far as man is concerned, is isolation imposed by material nature on the conditioned.
Prabhupada: He is isolated. He is thinking in the wrong way. Just like in the prison house every prisoner, every, every criminal is different from other criminal. So everyone has to suffer the consequence of his criminal activities, so every individual person is suffering or enjoying according to his past deeds. So there cannot be any combination. Then we forget the individuality. That is not possible.
Hayagriva: We feel, we feel isolation as individuals, and not only is there isolation as individuals but we feel isolated on this planet. Man cannot communicate with beings on other planets.
Prabhupada: That is his imperfectness. What is the use of having communications with other planet? The other planets are also like these. They are individual persons. So what is the utility of communicating with the other planets? What is the utility? What does he mean by it?
Hayagriva: Well, man has always had a desire-basically it's a desire for God—but a desire to communicate with something outside of this world, outside of this earth, something higher.
Prabhupada: The higher principle is there, Bhagavad-gita, Krsna. Why does he not communicate with Him? Then he will, that will make him perfect. What is the use of...? Just like that a tree, it has got many leaves, many branches. So if one leaf communicates with other leaf, that will not help him. But if water is poured on the root of the tree, then everyone will participate, sarva hano 'cyutejya. So if we communicate with God, Krsna, then automatically we understand other things. Yasmin vijnate sarvam evam vijnatam bhavati (Mundaka Upanisad 1.3). Simply by knowing Krsna we can understand everything.
Hayagriva: But they have sent rockets off into space and by...
Prabhupada: That is childish. I have already explained.
Hayagriva: Yes.
Prabhupada: That is childish.
Hayagriva: But...
Prabhupada: They cannot go.
Hayagriva: By use of, what is this radio, what do they call it? By radio waves they try to listen to messages from outer space.
Prabhupada: That's all right, but what benefit we will get? Suppose it is not very important thing. If you hear how the persons in other plant are talking, so what benefit we will get?
Hayagriva: Is this isolation a characteristic only of the lower and middle planetary systems? In the higher planetary system, systems, is there so much isolation?
Prabhupada: Isolation is always there. Even in this world there is isolation, even in animals. The birds, the crows, they remain together, and the swans remain together. So there is isolation between the swan and the crows. So this isolation will continue because everyone is under different modes of material nature. There are three modes of material nature. Multiply three by three, it becomes nine. Nine by nine, then it becomes eighty-one. So, prakrteh kriyamanani [Bg. 3.27]. So according to the association of different qualities the isolation is there, but when they come to Krsna consciousness, spiritual platform, so there is no more isolation. When everyone is engaged in the service of the Lord, there is no isolation.
Hayagriva: Bergson sees the universe itself as expanding and evolving. He writes, "For the universe is not made but is being made continually."
Prabhupada: Yes, we also say that, that universes came from the breathing of Maha-Visnu. So just like we can imagine from breathing with the air, something may come very minute form, then it develops.
Hayagriva: Bigger then?
Prabhupada: Bigger, bigger, bigger, bigger.
Hayagriva: Expanding.
Prabhupada: One may be surprised that how this universe has come from the breathing of Visnu, but actually it is so. If we accept that the universe is increasing, length and breadth, then the universe may come like particles and then begin to develop. That is the process we see in our child birth. In the womb it becomes just like a small pea, then it develops, develops as either elephant or man, the body develops. So everything material, it is created, it is very small, that a seed, very small, but it develops a big tree, banyan tree. That is the way of nature. So that's a fact that the universe is increasing. Not perpetually; to a certain extent. Then stop, again it becomes dwindled, and then it is finished.
Hayagriva: Yes. He didn't know. He says, "It is growing, perhaps indefinitely." "Perhaps," he says.
Prabhupada: Perhaps is no knowledge.
Hayagriva: By the addition of new worlds.
Prabhupada: That is all imagination.
Hayagriva: There's no way to know.
Prabhupada: Poor fund of knowledge.
Hayagriva: But new worlds are being added, but not indefinitely.
Prabhupada: No, new worlds added and old worlds subtracted. That is going on, bhutva bhutva praliyate [Bg. 8.19].
Hayagriva: The present-day material scientists, astronomers, state..., one of the theories is that the universe is expanding, that the systems are going outward into space and are moving proportionately further and further from one another, just like raisins rising in dough. When raisin bread is in the oven, the raisins, they go further and further and further apart as the dough expands. So is this...?
Prabhupada: That expansion goes to a certain extent. Then the expansion stops, then it becomes dwindling and then finished.
Hayagriva: Well then Bergson is actually incorrect in saying that the universe is evolving toward some grand harmony.
Prabhupada: That is his imagination. What does he mean by this harmony? Just like I am increasing, your body is increasing, your child's body is increasing. So everybody's body is increasing, so where is the, what does he mean by harmony? It is increasing and it will dwindle and it will finish. That is material nature. If you say this process of increasing and dwindling is going on, that is harmony, then there is no harm, but the, individually everything is going under this process of increasing and decreasing and at the end finished.
Hayagriva: He gives and example that's something similar to the Vedic. He speaks of "a center from which worlds shoot out like rockets in a fireworks display, provided, however, that I do not present this center as a thing but as a continuity of shooting out. God thus defined has nothing of the already made. He, that is God, is unceasing life, action, and freedom."
Prabhupada: It is just like a wheel. A wheel is rotating. There are spokes, there are rims, there is a hub, and in the center, what is they call that, that supports the hub?
Hayagriva: Axle.
Prabhupada: Spindle, axle, axle. So He is the axle. So the round is going on, but He is the center. Everything is going on but He is the center. Aham adir hi..., what is called? Devanam. Aham sarvasya prabhavo [Bg. 10.8]. So the central point is God, and other things are just like a big wheel, and the big wheel has got so many parts. The, it has got the rim, it has got the spokes, it is going in force, but the axle is the same, always in the center.
Hayagriva: Now this is the last point, and I want to just for the record to correct this on Syamasundara's presentation because you took exception to this, and I believe that it was..., you wouldn't take exception to it. I don't know. It says Bergson refers to the "essential function of the universe as being that of a machine for the making of gods."
Prabhupada: That is his misconception. That I have explained, the wheel. The wheel is going on. The wheel has got different parts but it is resting on the axle.
Hayagriva: No, but is the universe a machine for the making of gods in the sense that it's a vehicle to make people Krsna conscious?
Prabhupada: No, this is wrong. The machine, the wheel is already depending on the axle. Axle is already there. Without axle, the wheel cannot move.
Hayagriva: Not for the creation of God, not for the making of God.
Prabhupada: Then?
Hayagriva: But for the making of small "g" gods, like demigods. You once said...
Prabhupada: Demigods are already there. Just like in the same example, in the wheel the different parts, they are already there.
Hayagriva: So there's no question of the making of gods?
Prabhupada: No, no. That is a wrong theory.
Hayagriva: But when a man becomes Krsna conscious, could you say that he has become like a god or godlike?
Prabhupada: He, that godlessness is diseased condition. So when he becomes in normal condition, that is Krsna consciousness. His normal life is Krsna consciousness. That is mukti. Mukti means liberation. What is that liberation? A man is suffering from fever. So if the fever is stopped by medicine and treatment, then he becomes in normal health. It does not mean that he, he changes his constitution. He is the same man, but on account of fever he was talking nonsense, in convul..., what is called, convulsion?
Hayagriva: Convulsions.
Prabhupada: Huh?
Hayagriva: Delirium.
Prabhupada: Delirium, yes. He is talking all nonsense, this diseased condition. So he has to cured from the diseased condition, then he will understand, "Oh, this is my position," brahma-bhutah prasannatma [Bg. 18.54], he becomes immediately joyful, "Oh, I am talking in delirium, nonsense." This is...
Hayagriva: So instead of a machine for the making of gods, it's more like a hospital for the curing of souls.
Prabhupada: Yes, yes, it is hospital. Krsna consciousness movement means curing the disease. That is described in Narada-bhakti-sutra, sarvopadhi-vinirmuktam tat-paratvena nirmalam [Cc. Madhya 19.170], nirmalam. Nirmalam means purified. So when he becomes free from all this designation... The designation begins with this body, and the body accidentally born in Europe, he thinks, "I am a European." Born in America, "I am an American." Born in a Christian family, "I am Christian." He is born in Hindu family, "I am that." That is all misconception. His real position is that "I am part and parcel of Krsna, eternal servant." Then he is free from all. That is, that is beginning of..., that is brahma-bhutah, beginning of spiritual life. So nothing, not that a man can be made to God. He is not God; he is part and parcel of God. He has to simply understand his position. That is mukti. He is working under different impression, that "I am this body." Just like the other day with, concerning the philosopher Huxley. He is a philosopher but he is proud of becoming Englishman. Did you not say?
Hayagriva: Yes.
Prabhupada: So this is going on. So-called philosophy, scientific advancement, but the central mistake is there that he is thinking in terms of his body. That has to be corrected. Then it will be pure consciousness and normal life.
Hayagriva: Now let me get this right. He doesn't say that it's a machine for the making..., that man becomes... He's not saying that man becomes God. He never says that.
Prabhupada: Oh.
Hayagriva: But that a man may evolve to a state like unto the demigods. Is that a possibility?
Prabhupada: What is demigod? That, there is a difference between demigod and a man. A demigod is in the better position, that's all. Just like a high-court judge and layman. Both of them human being, but the high-court judge in a better position, that's all, but both of them human being.
Hayagriva: But that's not the purpose of the universe.
Prabhupada: Everything is the... I am human being, you are human being, but you are in better position. So demigods, they are, on account of their higher qualities, they are in sattva-guna, and here raja-guna, tamo-guna. So..., but as soon we are not subjected to any guna, either sattva-guna, raja-guna, tamo-guna, we are transcendental. So if we keep ourselves in that transcendental position, that is engaged in devotional service, then we are above this all, sattva-guna, raja-guna, tamo-guna. That is wanted. Then that is called mukti, muktir hitvanyatha rupam. We are contaminated or conditioned on account of association with these three modes of material nature, and if we keep ourself aloof from the association of three modes then we are mukta, we are liberated. That is devotional service.
Hayagriva: Higher, higher than the demigods?
Prabhupada: Yes. What is the demigods? They are also rotting in this material world. So devotees are not concerned how to become a demigod. They do not care. That is said by Prabhodananda Sarasvati: vidhi-mahendradis ca kitayate. Vidhi means Lord Brahma, and mahendra means the king of heaven, Indra. So he says, "I think this Brahma and Indra, Candra, the demigods just like as good as the germs and small insects." He says that. Vidhi-mahendradis. You have to attain such a position that you think this Brahma and Indra and demigods, they are as good as the insects. Vidhi-mahendradis ca kita. Kita means a small insect. So actually that is the position. Everyone has got a different type of body according to his karma, either Brahma's body or ant's body, so he is under material laws. So that is not the position of freedom. One has to become above these material laws. That is brahma-bhutah prasannatma [Bg. 18.54]. So anyone who has actually attained that position, what is the importance of Brahma's body or Indra's body? He is not concerned with the body, just, therefore devotees are not interested to be elevated to the higher planetary system in the heaven. They are not interested. They are interested going back to home, back to Godhead. So devotee's position is different. Just like we can see practically our Krsna consciousness movement, we have got so many members. We are not perfect, but still it is not our ambition how to become a Rockefeller or big rich man. This is not our ambition. Is it our ambition, like that? We don't care for this Rockefeller or big, big man. We want how to become a perfect devotee of Krsna. You can see practically. Our endeavors, activities, are not like the karmis'. The karmis are trying "How many motorcars I will possess. How many buildings I shall possess." We do not mind, but we are constructing temples. That is for Krsna's service. We are getting money by Krsna's mercy. You are envious of that money for Krsna's service. Not to that to make a big bank balance and declare that "Now I have become as good as Rockefeller," or this or that. We are not interested. So a devotee is not at all interested to be promoted in the higher planetary system or become demigod. That is not their business. Kita janma hau yatha tuya dasa. Bhaktivinoda Thakura says that bahir-mukha brahma-janme nahi mora asa, "I don't care to become a Brahma, I, better I shall prepare to become a small ant in the house of a devotee." This is our ambition. I shall be very much satisfied remaining a small ant in the house of a devotee, a dog of a devotee, but I don't want, forgetting Krsna, to become like Brahma, Indra, Candra. This is Vaisnava philosophy.
Hayagriva: So that's the end of Bergson. (end)

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