John Stuart Mill
Hayagriva: This is John Stuart Mill. In his essay on nature Mill writes, "The order of nature, in so far as unmodified by man, is such as no being whose attributes are justice and benevolence would have made with the intention that his rational creatures should follow it as an example. It could only be as a designedly imperfect work which man in his limited sphere is to exercise justice and benevolence in amending." So Mill concludes...
Prabhupada: In man dealing, not with any other living beings, only man.
Hayagriva: Well man, Mill concludes that conformity to nature has no connection whatever with right and wrong, and that man must amend nature. He must not act according to nature, but must—the word he uses is "amend"...
Prabhupada: Yes, amend. Not only amend. The nature, that we discussed, almost always, the nature is animal nature. But man must be above the animal nature. That is rationality. Normally a man is called rational animal, so he should advance in rationality. Just for eating, eating is common to the man and to the animal, but man should be advanced, what kind of eating it should be. Not only natural, although natural tendency is... Just like man, some of, not all, some of them want to eat meat. So rationality is that "If I have got better foodstuff, why shall I kill that animal?" This is then rationality. But because he can eat meat, he can kill animal, he should go on killing animal, that is less intelligence. God has given so many nice foodstuff. Take for fruits, there are varieties of fruits Krsna has given to the mankind, and we can utilize milk in so many nice preparation. So the fruits are not eaten by the animals. The dogs, cats, they do not eat fruit. It is meant for human being, so similarly there must, discrimination is the better part of valor. Is that not English proverb? So man should have discrimination, and especially for eating. I think George Bernard Shaw wrote one book, You are What You are Eating.
Hayagriva: You are what you eat.
Prabhupada: Yes. So the eating, about, there must be rationality, not to be carried by the nature's way. Nature's way, a man can eat anything, and they are eating also at the same time. The other day I saw in the airplane one Marwari gentleman he was eating the intestine of the hog. What is called?
Hayagriva: The what?
Prabhupada: Intestine of the hogs.
Devotee: Hogs' intestines.
Prabhupada: What is that called?
Hayagriva: Hogs intestines?
Prabhupada: Yes.
Hayagriva: People eat pig's feet also, that's a...
Prabhupada: Huh?
Hayagriva: A very favorite, the feet of pigs.
Devotee: Pig's trotters.
Prabhupada: Feet.
Hayagriva: Pig's feet.
Prabhupada: Oh.
Hayagriva: That's considered a delicacy.
Prabhupada: So this way they have developed their consciousness. So Narottama dasa Thakura said, nana yoni brahman kare kadarya bhaksana kare, this cycle of birth and death is that, that he comes to a species of life, he eats the most abominable food. So that, that is to be prohibited in human life. That is checking the natural instinct and to become rightly rational, what to eat, how to sleep, how to have sex, how to defend. This is also animal propensity. Above that he should search out about the Absolute Truth, then his rationality is properly used. Otherwise he remains animal.
Hayagriva: He further writes, "The truth is that there is hardly a single point of excellence belonging to human character which is not decidedly repugnant to the untutored feelings of human nature." So he felt that virtues are not instinctive in man, virtues like courage, cleanliness, self-control, these virtues have to be cultivated. They're not...
Prabhupada: Yes. Therefore in the human society there is educational system. Man has to be made a right rational animal. Although he is animal, he has to be educated in nice way. That depends on education, system of education, but in that connection studying the whole world's education system, the Vedic education is perfect. Therefore every man should be educated as they are instructed in the Vedic literature and a summary of Vedic literature is Bhagavad-gita. So every man should read it as it is without any unnecessary interpretation. That will make the man perfect educated.
Hayagriva: Mill envisions God at war with evil, and man's role is in aiding or helping God in this war. He writes, "If providence, or God, is omnipotent, providence intends whatever happens and the fact of its happening proves that providence intended it. If so, everything which a human being can do, is predestined by providence, and is a fulfillment of its designs. But if, as is the more religious theory, providence intends not all which happens, but only what is good, then indeed man has it in his power by his voluntary actions to aid the intentions of providence."
Prabhupada: Yes. Providence desires only good. The man, the living being, is in this material world on account of his imperfect will. God is very kind that even though he is willing imperfectly to enjoy this material world God is giving him a directed facilities. Just like a child wants to play in certain way, still the child is guided by some nurse, or some servant by, engaged by the parent. So our position is like that. We have come to this material world to enjoy, giving up the company of God. So God has allowed him, "All right, you enjoy and experience. When you will experience that this material enjoyment is not good, then you will again come back." So He is guiding the enjoyment of the living being, especially of the human being so that he may again come back to home, back to Godhead. And nature is the via media agent, under the instruction of God. So if he (is) too much addicted to misuse the freedom, then he is punished, and that is also according to his desire. It is not God's desire that a human being become a pig, but he develops such mentality to eat everything. So God allows him to do everything, to eat everything up to stool in the body of a pig. That is God's concession. But he wanted to eat all this nonsense abominable thing so God gives him the chance that, you take this body of a pig, you can eat up to steel, up to stool. You will not find any difficulty to eat stool. In this way, God is seated in everyone's heart, He is noting down his desires, and to fulfill his different types of desire, God is ordering material nature to give a particular body and his repetition of birth and death in different species...
Hayagriva: This is the continuation of Mill. He writes, "Limited as, on this showing, the Divine power must be, by inscrutable and insurmountable obstacles due to the existence of evil." Mill concludes that the existence of evil in the universe, or what he considers to be evil, pain and death, excludes the existence of an omnipotent God. He sees man in a position to aid the intentions of providence by surmounting his evil instincts. So God is not all-powerful, infinite in His power. If He were, there would be no evil, according to Mill.
Prabhupada: No. God, evil is created by God undoubtedly, but the, it was necessary on account of the human being as, misuse of his free will. God gives him good direction but when he is disobedient, then naturally the evil power is there to punish him. Therefore the evil is not created by God but still it is created. It is necessary. Just like the government constructs the prison house. So this prison house creation is not the government's intention. Government wants that university is sufficient, people may be educated and highly enlightened, but because some, not all, misuses the independence, little independence, he creates evil circumstances, and he is compulsorily put into the prison house. Similarly, we suffer on account of our own evil activities but God, being Supreme, He punishes us for our evil activities. For God there isn't... When we are under the protection of God, there is nothing evil, only good thing. There is no evil. So God does not create evil but man's evil activities obliges God to create an evil situation.
Hayagriva: To create what?
Prabhupada: Evil situation.
Hayagriva: The Christian, there's a Christian conception of God as being at war with Satan, and it appears also that Krsna was at war on the battlefield of Kuruksetra, and there were wars between the demigods and the demons, but in the Vedic literatures these wars do not seem to be taken as serious confrontation between God and God's enemies, but Krsna seems to fight the demons in a playful mood. This isn't the case in Christianity.
Prabhupada: Krsna, Krsna is all-powerful. So His fighting with the demons is, actually it is play. It doesn't affect His energy. Just like a small child is fighting with his strong father. So one slap by the strong father is sufficient to the small child. Similarly the fighting of the demons with God is like that. He gives some chance to play fighting but one strong slap to the demon is sufficient. So there is no question of fighting with God. He is omni-powerful, omni-competent, omni... But the demons are there disobeying. When the living being becomes too much disobedient and harassing to the obedient persons or devotees, then it is necessary that God kills them. Paritranaya sadhunam vinasaya ca duskrtam [Bg. 4.8]. That two business is going on, to chastise severely the demons, non-devotees, and to give protection to the devotees. That is the idea of fighting with the demons and the demigods. Paritranaya sadhunam, whenever there is such fight, God takes side of the demigods.
Hayagriva: Mill pictures it more like a struggle but there's no struggle with them.
Prabhupada: Struggle, the struggle is there, because it is the... Demon means they are always against God's ruling. That is demon. And demigod means who will accept the rulings of God. That is the difference. In the sastra it is said that there are two kind of human being, one is called demigod and the other is called demon. The demigods are those who are abiding by the Lord, order of Visnu, and just the opposite number, they are called demons.
Hayagriva: But he pictures God as struggling.
Prabhupada: God has nothing to struggle. He is so powerful that He has nothing to do. That is the Vedic injunction. Na tasya karyam karanam ca vidyate. The Vedic description of God is like this, He has nothing to do. That is right because just like a big man, a big leader, a king, personally he has nothing to do. He has got so many servants, secretaries, ministers, soldiers, so why he has got to do anything? So he has nothing to do. That is described in the Veda, na tasya karyam karanam ca vidyate. There is nothing to do actually. Therefore we see Radha-Krsna picture, the Supreme Lord He is playing on his flute and enjoying. That is anandamayo 'bhyasat (Vedanta-sutra 1.1.12), that is Vedic description, that God is always enjoying, anandamaya. He has nothing to do. So, because na tasya karyam karanam ca vidyate, he has nothing to do because, na tat ca samah abhyadikas ca drsyate, because nobody is greater than Him, nobody is equal to Him. Then how things are happening? Parasya saktir vividhaiva sruyate [Cc. Madhya 13.65, purport]. He has got multi-energies. The energies are acting and they are acting so nicely, svabhaviki jnana-bala-kriya ca, and the, naturally it is happening, so systematic, so nice. Just like by God's order the sun has to rise early in the morning, exactly in the time. You watch your watch and you will find exactly in time there is sunrise and there is light, there is seasonal changes, everything in order. That is Godly arrangement. So He hasn't got to struggle, He hasn't got to fight but there is fight by His different agents to kill the evil element of the world.
Hayagriva: In his Utility of Religion, Mill writes about the power of authority.
Prabhupada: Yes.
Hayagriva: And the enormous, what he calls the enormous influence of authority on the human mind. "Authority is the evidence on which the mass of mankind believe everything which they are said to know except facts of which their own senses have taken cognizance. It is the evidence on which even the wisest receive all those truths of science or facts in history or in life of which they have not personally examined the proofs. Whatever is thus certified to them by authority, they believe with a fullness of assurance which they do not accord even to the evidence of their senses when the general opinion of mankind stands in opposition to it."
Prabhupada: Authority, that is authority. You can not defy it or you can not deny it. That is authority. We are presenting our Krsna consciousness movement on this principle, that you should carry out the orders of the authority, and Krsna or God is the Supreme authority. Whatever He is speaking, instructing to the human society, they must accept it without any wrong interpretation. That will make them happy. So those who are sane persons, they do not hesitate to accept the authority of God and they become happy simply by abiding by the orders of the authority. And those who are following exactly the instruction of the Supreme Authority, they are also authority. So that is the difference between the Supreme Lord and spiritual master. Spiritual master is servant authority, and God is the master authority. Therefore sevya bhagavan, seva bhagavan. Just like government officer, a servant authority, and the king is the master authority. So if one follows the instruction of the authority and teaches the people in general the same principles, then he becomes servant authority or the spiritual master.
Hayagriva: Concerning morality, Mill writes, "Belief then in the supernatural, great as are the services which it rendered in the early stages of human development, that is for children," because he says early religious teachings "has owed its power over mankind rather to its being early than to its being religious." That is you can train a child...
Prabhupada: Religion means to carry out the orders of God. This is the simple definition of religion.
Hayagriva: But the power over man, he says, is due to early training.
Prabhupada: Yes, that I have already said, that there are two authorities, one God the master authority and God's representative is the master author..., is the servant authority. So it is the duty of the servant authority to preach the instruction of God. That will make the human society happy, and this instruction should be taught from the very beginning of life. That is said in the Srimad-Bhagavatam by Prahlada Maharaja. Prahlada Maharaja was teaching God consciousness when he was five years old only and he was teaching amongst the class friend. The class friends wanted to play in the tiffin hour and Prahlada Maharaja asked them to sit down and to learn God consciousness. So the class friend protested, "My dear friend, why you are insisting now? We are now children, let us play." That Prahlada Maharaja protested, "No, no, you should not waste your time playing because this God consciousness should be learned from the very beginning of life." Kaumara acaret prajno dharman bhagavatan iha [SB 7.6.1]. From the very childhood Krsna consciousness should be learned. Why from the, so early, that durlabham manusam janma tad apy adhruvam arthadam. He says that this human form of life you have got after many, many millions of births so we should not misuse this opportunity. We do not know when we shall meet next death, but if before meeting the next death we make our life perfect in Krsna consciousness that is the special boon to this human form of life. We should utilize it.
Hayagriva: He says, "Belief in the supernatural, great as though the service is which it rendered in the early stages of human development, cannot be considered to be any longer required either for enabling us to know what is right and wrong in social morality, or for supplying us with motives to do right and abstain from wrong." That is God is not actually necessary for a sense of morality and in communist countries today we see that they instill a social morality in their citizens that is devoid of any conception of God.
Prabhupada: Morality means to abide by the orders of God. That is real morality. Other things which we manufacture, that you will find different in different countries. But religion and morality both of them are the same principle because religion means to carry out the orders of God, and morality means only the, I mean the principle to fulfill the desires of God. Just like in the battle of Kuruksetra, Arjuna was considering, "Killing is immorality." But when he understood by the instruction of Krsna that this fight is necessary as it is designed by Krsna, so this is morality. Ultimately, morality means to carry out the desire of Krsna or God. He knows what is morality. This, another example can be given, that in the warfield the soldier is there and the commander is there. The commander is asking, kill the enemy, and if he considers that "Killing is bad, why shall I kill the enemy?" That is immorality. He should be immediately killed by martial law. He is disobeying the order of commander. So similarly, what you get, orders from the Supreme Personality of Godhead, if you carry it that is morality. Any other things manufactured by you, that (is) immorality.
Hayagriva: He believed that there is no intrinsic value in the belief of the immortality of the soul, because he said, "What..."
Prabhupada: That is foolishness. That is not philosophical neither rational. If he cannot understand immortality of the soul, then he keeps himself in the animal kingdom. He is not even human being, what to speak of his education and philosophy.
Hayagriva: He concludes this because he says, "Those who believe in the immortality of the soul generally quit life with fully as much, if not more reluctance, as those who have no such expectation." But we have examples, so many classic examples of Socrates quitting, meeting his death courageously, and how could this be possible if he didn't believe in the immortality of the soul or the...
Prabhupada: That I have already said, "Immortality of soul is the fact." If one does not understand this fact then he is animal. He is not in the humans category, he is animal category. He is experiencing daily how the soul is continuing even the body is being changed. In his family, he is seeing that the body of a child is changed into the body of a boy, but the father, mother know that the soul is the same. So where is the difficulty to understand the immortality of the soul? So that means it is less intelligence. Therefore, according to Vedic description, one who does not understand immortality of the soul he remains in the category of animals, sa eva go-kharah [SB 10.84.13].
Hayagriva: Well he seemed to think that belief in the immortality of the soul, belief or knowledge or whatever...
Prabhupada: It is not belief. It is not the question of belief. It is the question of fact. Just like a man if he says, "I don't believe that I shall become old," then that is his ignorance or foolishness. He must become old man, or the body must become old. So if a man thinks that, when I shall become old, that is immortality of soul, that when I shall become old means when my body will become old. He will continue. It is common sense affair. It is a fact. Where is the question of belief or not belief?
Hayagriva: Well, wouldn't knowledge...
Prabhupada: This is knowledge.
Hayagriva: ...of immortality...
Prabhupada: This is perfect knowledge.
Hayagriva: Yes. Wouldn't knowledge of immortality...
Prabhupada: If somebody thinks that "In future, fifty years after, I shall become old man," this is knowledge. And if somebody thinks that "No, no, I shall never become old," that is ignorance. Although it is future—a man of knowledge knows that this will be future. So I shall continue to live in future, and I was a child in the past, and I am a middle aged man at this time, so in these three, past, present and future, I am existing. Where is the difficulty? If this simple truth one cannot understand, that what kind of human being he is? I remain in the past as child, the body is finished. Now I am a middle-aged man or young man, the body is different. And in future I shall become old man, that body will be different. So I, as a child, I, as a young man, as an old man, I am the same, all the bodies changing. This is the fact. Who can deny it? So where is the difficulty to understand it? And in the Bhagavad-gita, it is said, Krsna says to Arjuna, "Both you, Me, and all these soldiers, they existed in the past, and they are present existing, and in future they will continue to exist. This is immortality. He says when, I mean very openly, na hanyate hanyamane sarire [Bg. 2.20], na jayate mriyate va kadacin. This living soul, he is never born. That body is changed, that is called birth. But the soul is immortal. So he never takes birth, he never dies. "No, I see that he has died." No, that is the annihilation of his body. Take it from me that by the annihilation of the body, the soul is not dead. This, this is authority and this is, we have to accept this authority. If you don't accept authority, if you have no reason to understand how the soul is immortal, then what we are, except like the animals? So one who does not believe or cannot understand, he is no better than animal. He has no knowledge. This is the beginning of knowledge. Then other (indistinct). First of all one must understand what he is. If he does not know what he is, he is wrongly directed. He is taking care of the body. Just like he, the cage and bird. If you simply take care of the cage without taking care of the bird, is that very good knowledge? That is foolishness.
Hayagriva: Let me uh... [break] What he is saying here that he doesn't believe that knowledge or belief in the immortality of the soul, gives one courage at death, more courage at death.
Prabhupada: No. First of all knowledge means to understand the fact. If you do not know the fact then on this wrong background all your knowledge is (indistinct). If the foundation is wrong then what is the value of such knowledge. Therefore the first knowledge is one should understand that he is not this body, he is soul.
Hayagriva: We should stop. [break] ...Mill was not only a utilitarian but a humanist, and he says, "A religion of humanity can have as excellent an effect, perhaps even to a greater extent, than a supernatural religion." The religion of humanity would cultivate unselfish feelings. That is a religion without God, religion with man at the center.
Prabhupada: So without God, how it can be religion? Religion means, I have already explained, the order of God.
Hayagriva: Finally on immortality and miracles, he says that there is no evidence for the immortality of the soul and none against it, but...
Prabhupada: How he can be convinced? There are so many evidences. That is the misfortune of the human society. A learned person like Mill, he cannot understand, what to speak of the others. This is simple truth. Any child can understand but due to misfortune they cannot understand.
Hayagriva: And finally he says, "The whole domain of the supernatural, the whole domain of the supernatural, of religion is removed from the region of belief into that of simple hope."
Prabhupada: No. It is neither hope nor belief. It is fact. To us at least, Krsna conscious people, it is fact because Krsna is coming and giving instruction to Arjuna, and that is recorded, and we are reading that. So where is it is belief or fiction or something? It is fact.
Hayagriva: He believed that if man could not, by the exercise of his own energies, improve both himself and his outward circumstances, that is if man could not improve the world to do more good for his, to do good for himself and other creatures, vastly more than God had in the first instance done, the being who called him into existence would deserve something very different from thanks at his hands. In other words that if man couldn't improve the world, then...
Prabhupada: How it can be improved? One man may be good, religious, abiding by the orders of God, and 99.9 percent, they are Godless. So how it can be improved? This material world, as it is, it can be improved only by the increase of percentage of God conscious men, otherwise there is no possibility of improvement. Every man is differently conscious. So you cannot bring them together. For example, just these modern civilized nations, they are struggling in the United Nation Organization, but they could not do for the last thirty, forty years. That is not possible. That is futile attempt. Unless people become God conscious, there is no improvement of the world.
Hayagriva: One last quote from Mill: "I will call no being good who is not what I mean when I apply that epithet," that is good, "to my fellow creatures, and if such a being can sentence me to hell for not so calling him, to hell I will go."
Prabhupada: I could not follow.
Hayagriva: Well, in other words that God must be good in the relative sense as I would say, "Oh, this is a good man." If he could not call God good in that relative sense he would not call God good.
Prabhupada: God is always good. If one does not know the goodness of God then he is imperfect. God is always good, God is always great. That is the version of all Vedic literature. If one does not know God is good, then he is imperfect in his knowledge.
Hayagriva: So that's the end of Mill.
Prabhupada: He says this man is good. What does he mean by this man is good? What is the qualification that he has become good?
Hayagriva: Mill is pretty much a, being a utilitarian, is pretty much a...
Prabhupada: Whatever it may be, let us say...
Hayagriva: pretty much of a materialist, and a good man would work for what he called the greatest happiness principle, that is the greatest happiness for all sentient beings on earth.
Prabhupada: Oh.
Hayagriva: So that would be the good man, would work toward that end.
Prabhupada: So is there any man who can do good to all others? Is there any man? Any single instance?
Hayagriva: A man is finite. How can he do good for everyone?
Prabhupada: Then why does he say this man is good? He is bad in other sense. So how he can say this man is good?
Hayagriva: Christ said that no man is good.
Prabhupada: Yes. Yes.
Hayagriva: there's only one good. That's God.
Prabhupada: Yes. That's a fact. You are thinking that this man is, so how he is good? He is limited in his power. He may think of his brother, of his nation, of his society but what does he do of other living beings? So how he can be good? A good man, speaking even a man like Gandhi, he is a good man, but when he was approached that stop cow killing, he could not do anything. Although he is advocating non-violence but he, the violence committing in the slaughterhouse, thousands and thousands of animals being killed, violence, what did he do? So how he is good man? Nobody can be good man.
Hayagriva: Only a pure devotee of Krsna.
Prabhupada: Yes. Because he abides by the order of the Supreme Good, that's all. If Gandhi could not become a good man, so that as he was killed by enemy, so how the man can be good man? There is no good man, unless he is a devotee of the Supreme Lord, all good. It is physically impossible to become good man, even if he has got the desire. That is not possible. This is our mental concoction. This is good man or bad man. Anyone who is not God conscious, he is bad man, and anyone who is God conscious he is good man. This should be the question. (end)

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