John Locke
Hayagriva: And John Locke, Locke is the..., is most famous for his conception of tabula rasa, or blank slate, that a child is born with no innate ideas. He states that "If there are innate or inborn ideas, all men would have them." That is to say, there would be universal consent. He writes, "This argument of universal consent, which is made use of to prove innate principles, seems to me a demonstration that there are none such because there are none to which all mankind give a universal consent." So it cannot be argued that all people have an innate or inborn idea of God since there is no universal consent on this subject. Well, do innate ideas have to be universal? Might not some living entities have some innate ideas and other living entities have others? Why does an innate idea have to be universal and apply to everyone?
Prabhupada: Yes. Innate idea is that there is somebody. That is developed consciousness. The animals, they cannot think, on account of nondeveloped consciousness, but even in human society, uncivilized society, they have got the innate idea of some superior form. When there is lightning, they offer obeisances. When they see big ocean, they offer obeisances, something big. So that innate idea is universal, to offer obeisances to something wonderful. But this innate idea of accepting something supreme and offering respect is not developed in the animal. So this innate idea is there. When it is not developed, it is animal, and when it is developed, then it is human being. And a perfect human being is he, when he has developed this innate idea to the fullest stage. That is Krsna consciousness.
Hayagriva: Would it not be better to say that the living entity is born with certain tendencies, rather than innate ideas, which carry over from a previous life?
Prabhupada: Yes.
Hayagriva: And that he needs only meet with some stimulus in order for these tendencies to be manifest?
Prabhupada: Yes. Just like when the, a dog, cat, is born it has no eyes, and it searches out the nipples of the mother. So although his eyes are all closed—you have seen the dogs—but because in his previous life as dog he had the experience where to find out the food, so even though it cannot see, it traces out where is the food. That is past experience and that is the proof of the continuation of the soul eternally. Just like I am living in this room and, say, for ten years I am absent from this room, but after ten years when I come here, immediately I remember where is the toilet, where is my sitting place, everything. So that remembrance comes from the last visit. So a living entity is passing through different species of form. That is his material life. So in some previous life, millions of years, when he was a dog, he knew where to find out his food, so immediately in the dog's body again, he remembers. [break]
Hayagriva: This is the continuation of John Locke. Now you said that from your very birth you knew that Krsna was the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Now does this mean that from your very birth you were acquainted with the name Krsna, or didn't your father have to at least say the word once? Now Locke would argue that the idea of Krsna is not an innate idea because it is not universally assented to.
Prabhupada: Universally...?
Hayagriva: Universally, not everyone acknowledges that Krsna is God, so he would say that idea is not inborn in the mind.
Prabhupada: No. In the material world they have got different ideas. That undeveloped mind has got different ideas, but developed, what is called, idea or conception, perfect conception is Krsna consciousness. So if one remembers Krsna consciousness after his birth, that means he had previously cultivated. There is a verse, you can find out: atah. Find that.
Devotee: Gita?
Prabhupada: Yes. The word begins atah paurva-dehikam. You can stop the machine and find it. [break] You can record it. Tatra tam paurva-dehikam buddhi-samyogam. Yes, that is. Therefore Krsna consciousness, culture of Krsna consciousness, is never lost. It goes on, unless it is perfect. Therefore it is stated, sv-alpam apy asya dharmasya trayate mahato bhayat. Even little acting on Krsna consciousness can save one from the greatest danger—as it was done by Ajamila. He cultivated Krsna consciousness in the beginning of his life, then he fell down, he became the greatest debauch. But at the end of life again he remembered Narayana and he got salvation. Tatra tam buddhi-samyogam [Bg. 6.43]. Read Bhagavad-gita carefully. All answers are there. This philosopher cannot go beyond Bhagavad-gita.
Hayagriva: Some people have been said to have remembered events in their previous lives. How are these reminiscences or ideas different from innate ideas? How is it possible for one to recall events?
Prabhupada: Innate idea is in everyone, that is, "God is great, and I am," what is called, "controlled." That innate idea is everywhere. But sometimes, out of ignorance one tries to become God. That is not possible. That is maya, and he suffers from this. Artificially trying to become God, that is simply waste of time. It will never become possible. That is called maya. Otherwise, innate idea is that he is servant and God is great. That is innate idea.
Hayagriva: He writes, "The knowledge of our own being we have by intuition. The existence of a God, reason dearly makes known to us. We have a more certain knowledge of the existence of a God than of anything our senses can discover." Now how is this? If this is the case, how is it that some men have no conception of God?
Prabhupada: He has conception of God, practically, but because under the spell of maya he has become foolish, he tries to cover that conception, that somebody is there. How any sane man can deny that some superior power is there who has created this vast ocean, vast land, vast sky? How one sane man can avoid this conception? Nobody can avoid, but artificially, foolishly, he tries to avoid. Atheism. But that will not endure, that will not stay. His foolishness will be exposed. So this is innate idea, but the atheist class, demon class, they want to cover this innate idea artificially.
Hayagriva: And Locke argues on behalf of private property given to man by God. That is to say a man may have a certain stewardship over a certain amount of property. Is this in compliance with the Isopanisadic version?
Prabhupada: Yes, yes. Tena tyaktena bhunjitha: [Iso mantra 1] everything belongs to God. Just like the father has got many sons and the father is the proprietor of the house. He gives one son, "This is your room," the other son, "This is your room." So the obedient son is satisfied what the father allows to him. Others, those who are not obedient, they want to disturb other brother that "This room also belongs to me." That creates chaos and confusion in the world. The United Nations, they have created a society for unity of the nations, but actually that is not unity. That is another way of encroaching upon others' property. Therefore there is no peace, unless they accept God is the Supreme proprietor. And we must be satisfied with the allotment God has given to us. Then there is no trouble. But the trouble is that we are not satisfied with the allotment given to us. That allotment can be understood by language or similar culture. So why one should encroach upon others' property which is allotted by God? That creates disturbance. So this so-called modern civilized man, first of all they create disturbances, and then they want to make some adjustment. Of course, for the good of a certain people, if somebody encroaches... But they do not know what is good. They encroach upon others' property for their personal sense gratification. Otherwise, if for the good of the local people somebody, some (indistinct), just like the Aryans, they conquered over many islands or places, but that was for the good of them. Just like the Pandavas, they also ruled over, but the Pandavas were God conscious devotees and they made everyone enlightened in God consciousness. That kind of encroachment. Just like Lord Ramacandra went to Ceylon, or Lanka, and conquered over it, because Ravana was a demon. So He conquered, Lord Ramacandra conquered over the property of Ravana, and gave it to Vibhisana, but He did not take anything. Just like Krsna conducted, managed this Kuruksetra war personally, but the kingdom was given to Yudhisthira. He did not encroach. So this kind of encroachment is all right, that everyone should be Krsna conscious, everyone should be highly elevated in spiritual life. For spreading this civilization, encroaching on others' property is quite fit. But if one encroaches upon others' property for self-aggrandizement, for stealing for his own sense gratification, that is sinful.
Hayagriva: So much for Locke.
Prabhupada: Hm. That's all. (end)

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