Ludwig Wittgenstein
Syamasundara: This morning we are discussing a philosopher called Ludwig Wittgenstein, a contemporary German philosopher. One of his major so-called contributions is what is called a verification principle, which reads, "To understand a proposition means to know what is the case if it is true." That means anyone who wishes to understand a proposition must first know the conditions under which that proposition is true, that is, what information is required by way of evidence of its truth.
Prabhupada: So the modern world's proposition is that "I am this body." So that is untruth. What does he say about this?
Syamasundara: Well, if I claim that I am this body, that means I have to know all of the conditions which make it true that I am this body. Then if all these conditions are true...
Prabhupada: First of all we must discuss what I am. Then we have to see whether I am this body or not. And what do you mean by "I am"? You are individual, I am individual. How I exact my individuality, and how you exact your individuality? What is the symptom? What is the meaning of "I am"? First of all you have to understand, what do you mean by "I am"? "I am" means my activities, "I am." That is "I am."
Syamasundara: My activities.
Prabhupada: Yes. So try to understand, "I am" means my activities. So how my activities are going on? Presently we can see my activities are going on by the movements of my senses, of the limbs of the body. Therefore we come to the point that the moving force is "I am."
Syamasundara: That which moves the limbs.
Prabhupada: Yes. That moving force, if "I am," then I am not this body, because as soon as the moving force from the body is gone, the body is of no value.
Syamasundara: They would say that then "I" cease to exist. Then "I am" no more. When the body dies, then I am no more.
Prabhupada: Then how do you come to "I am"? "No more" means you came to the existence of "I am." How did you come to exist as "I am"? If you say that after the stoppage of movements of the body, when there is no more "I am," then how this "I am" came into existence? That is the question. Wherefrom this movement came?
Syamasundara: They say that the condition or the evidence required to know if this is true, that I came from...
Prabhupada: The first thing is that if I identify myself with the body, the body means movements of the limbs. Now if something is wanting, and the limbs do not move any more... But that moving force is "I am."
Syamasundara: They would say that it is a combination of chemicals or some...
Devananda: They postulated... The French philosophers at one point postulated that within the matter itself there is a potential of consciousness. They called it elan vital, living potential within matter, and when you put the matter together in certain positions, then that living potential is able to come out, and when the material nature changes again, it is no longer manifested.
Prabhupada: That is another nonsense, because when the body becomes from the lump of matter, why that living potentiality, consciousness, does not come again?
Devananda: Because the elements are no longer in suitable arrangement for life to be...
Prabhupada: If you know the elements, you say that "You add this element." Just like when the motorcar stops for want of gas, you take gasoline from the petroleum store and it starts again. Either you do it, otherwise you are rascal, you are putting some wrong theory. If you say that it is a combination of chemicals, and you know that addition, that these living symptoms are there, then bring that chemical and add to it and let the body go out again. If you cannot do that, then you are nonsense. There is no sense of your statement.
Devananda: So in other words, if a body dies from heart failure, they should immediately be able to remove that heart and put in a fresh heart from somebody who has just died, and it will come back to life. But it doesn't do that.
Prabhupada: No. There are so many other things, and not only one case of heart failure.
Devananda: But there are many, for example...
Prabhupada: Don't you...
Syamasundara: We want to stick to Wittgenstein.
Prabhupada: The main principle is when the body is called dead, why don't you put some chemicals and make it alive again? You say something is wanted. What is that something? That you do not know. But we can say what is that something. We say that something is the soul. That is wanting.
Syamasundara: So far that proposition, you said "I am" means that the soul exists. That is your proposition.
Prabhupada: My proposition is that "I am" means I am the soul, spirit soul, not this body.
Syamasundara: So they say that if we are to verify this proposition, to prove that it is true, then we have to know what conditions under which it is true. What are those conditions under which it is true?
Prabhupada: It is very simple. So long the soul is there, it is moving, and as soon as the soul is out, it is not moving. Anyone can understand. You say something is wanting. I say it is soul, definitely. But you do not know what is that something. Therefore your knowledge is imperfect, my knowledge is perfect. My knowledge is supported by Bhagavad-gita, but your knowledge has no support; therefore your knowledge is nonsense.
Syamasundara: In order for that statement or that proposition to be true, there must be evidence.
Prabhupada: This is evidence: that there is no soul. The self, the individual soul, is now departed; therefore this body is lump of matter. This is evidence. And because the soul is there, therefore the body changes or develops. Just like if a child is born dead, then the body does not develop or changes. It remains in the same condition. But so long the soul is there, the child grows or changes his body. That is evidence. Because the soul is there, therefore the child is growing or changing body from childhood to boyhood, boyhood to youth. Suppose a child is born, doctor says it is dead child. You say something is wanted, but what is that something? You do not know. Otherwise, if you know, you add it. What is that something? Suggest, what is that something? Simply vague idea something, that is nonsense idea. That is not science. You must give, "This is wanting." Suppose that you say that the blood, the redness, just like nowadays blood supply is the theory, so what is this blood? Blood is a liquid, red liquid, like chemical or something, with some salt. So you can add salt, just like in cholera cases, they add saline injection. So dead body, you give saline injection, make it red by some color, give him life. If you say that "Red blood is now white," so make it red. What is the difficulty? There is no difficulty. There are so many chemicals. If you say the redness is the life, then there are many natural products, just like jewels, by nature it is red. Why is it not alive? Why it is not alive? By natural redness of something, if you say that is the cause of life, then there are many jewels. What is called, jewels?
Syamasundara: Ruby.
Prabhupada: Ruby. Why it is not alive? Redness is there. Therefore we have to accept your identification with the soul, not with this body; otherwise this is nonsense.
Syamasundara: He is not disputing that there is soul or there is not soul. He is merely putting forward a principle to test something, if it is true or false.
Prabhupada: This is the test. This is the test. Because the soul is there, therefore the body is moving.
Syamasundara: So that is the evidence for...
Prabhupada: That is the evidence. Anyone can see. Now we say, "My father is gone. Oh, my father is gone." Where has he gone? Your father is lying there. Why do you say gone?
Devananda: They say he has passed away. But what is passed away?
Prabhupada: Passed away... What is this passed away? That means you have not seen your father. You have not seen your father, still you identify the body as your father. Or your father identifies your body as yourself. Just like the father has not seen the son, the son has not seen the father. Therefore it is illusion.
Syamasundara: The movement of the body is evidence that the soul exists.
Prabhupada: Yes. That is the only evidence. Because the soul is there, that individual soul.
Devananda: Srila Prabhupada, when death comes, at the moment... Before death, the whole body is alive, completely alive and functioning, and in a split second it's all finished, completely dead. That would be an evidence that it is not a chemical combination. If it were a chemical combination it would die slowly.
Prabhupada: The reason is that the soul, when quitting this body, there is examination what kind of body he is going to get. Superior examination. Either you call nature or God, there is superior... According to his karma he will get a body. Now, that requires a little time. So what kind of body this soul will get? As soon as it is decided, then immediately he's transferred to that kind of body, and this body remains there.
Syamasundara: This would also, it seems, satisfy his second requirement for verification, that sense observation or information ultimately derived by means of sense observation is necessary for verification.
Prabhupada: This is sense observation. It not nonsensical; it is complete sense, sensible, that now this soul has passed and quit this bodydeath. So the body is not the man; the soul is the man. This is quite sensible. It is not nonsensical. Otherwise how do you explain? You explain what is that distinction between dead body and living body. What is your sensible explanation, according to this philosopher?
Syamasundara: He isn't quibbling with that. His only philosophy was that he was putting forward ways of determining what is true and what is false.
Prabhupada: So that is evidence that this body is false, the soul is true. That is our statement. Body is false. Just like this, this (indistinct), this sweater, this is false. It has got a hand but it is false hand. The real hand is within, within the shirt, that is real hand. Similarly, this body also. It is compared with dress. The dress is false. The man who puts on the dress, he is true. Similarly, the soul is the truth and the body is false. If you want to make distinction between false and true, then this is the distinction: the soul is the truth, the body is false.
Syamasundara: He says that philosophy is that mental activity which seeks to analyze or clarify the meanings of scientific propositions.
Prabhupada: This is philosophy: to study what is this body and how it is moving. This is analytical study. And you come to the understanding that the body is a dead lump of matter, there is something which is called the soul. Because the soul is there. This is scientific truth. One who has not this knowledge, he is not scientific; he is foolish.
Syamasundara: In other words, if you make a scientific proposition that "Because I am, the body moves," that is your scientific proposition?
Prabhupada: Yes, this is scientific proposition.
Syamasundara: Then philosophy is a clarification of that proposition.
Prabhupada: Clarification... It is supported by the greatest authority, Krsna. Dehino 'smin yatha dehe kaumaram yauvanam jara, tatha dehantara-praptih [Bg. 2.13]. He says that, the greatest authority, God Himself, He says that as the body's changing in different phases of my life, similarly, ultimately, at the end, this body is left and another body is accepted. That is scientific. It is not our bogus proposition. It is supported by the whole Vedic knowledge and especially by Krsna, and who can be greater authority than Krsna? That will be scientific. Just like modern science: if somebody proves some theory and it is accepted by the scientific world, then it is accepted as scientific; similarly, our proposition is accepted by Krsna, the greatest scientist; therefore it is fact. But you have no support by the scientists, what you say; therefore your proposition is nonsense. My proposition is accepted by the greatest scientist. He has created this whole world.
Syamasundara: He says that philosophers present old facts in new light, but philosophers do not discover any new facts.
Prabhupada: Because they're all rascals and fools, what they can discover? (laughter) They simply theorize on their rascaldom, that's all. That is their business. (indistinct) There is no fact. And those who are rascals, they believe them. That's all. So we are not such rascals, because our knowledge is received from the greatest scientist, Krsna. I personally may be rascal, but because I follow the greatest scientist, therefore my proposition is scientific. I do not know how this dictaphone is working, but somebody has said "This is dictaphone," I accept. And it is working. That is my scientific knowledge. I may not be the mechanic, but I am working.
Syamasundara: He says that philosophy is a process which attempts to clarify God, not that itself it has factual content.
Prabhupada: This is clarification. Mostly the people are under illusion, identifying the body with the self. But we are clarifying that "You are not this body, you are spirit soul." Therefore it is a scientific proposition.
Syamasundara: So we are clarifying a scientific proposition with our philosophy.
Prabhupada: Yes. This is it. Philosophy means the science of sciences. Another definition of philosophy is "the science of sciences." All sciences are derived from philosophy. So philosophy's actual position is on the higher level than the sciences.
Syamasundara: Another definition he has is that "Philosophy is the pursuit of meaning." Pursuit of meaning.
Prabhupada: Yes. Because philosophy is the searching out about the ultimate truth, therefore it is pursuit; and the ultimate truth is meaning. That is nice. But there are different philosophers, and so far we are concerned, we know that the ultimate meaning is Krsna, sarva-karana-karanam [Bs. 5.1], the cause of all causes; therefore our philosophy is perfect. They are simply pursuing, but we have reached the goal. That is the difference. They are on the way, but we are on the spot. Is that right?
Syamasundara: Yes. (laughs) He says that the propositions of logic and mathematics are tautologies, he calls it, or uninformative assertions which state nothing factual about the world. Just like, for instance, "Two plus two equals four." On paper it is just two symbols: the symbol 2, and the symbol 2 and the symbol 4. But actually that is a void arrangement. It doesn't state anything factual about the world.
Prabhupada: What does he want more practical?
Syamasundara: He says that these can be demonstrated but not verified.
Prabhupada: Why not verified? Two rupees plus two rupees equal to four rupees. This is verified.
Syamasundara: But that's something else.
Prabhupada: That is..., the mathematics is required for that purpose. You have got two rupees, I have got two rupees; when combined together it becomes four rupees. That is mathematics. This is practical proof. Why does he say that there is no practical use? And philosopher, to become philosopher is not to become a nonsense. But because he theorizes something nonsensical, he's become a philosopherthat is not philosophy. This mathematical truth is practically true.
Syamasundara: Let us say the proposition that "The sum of the angles of a triangle equals 180 degrees," that is a proposition. It can be demonstrated on paper but it cannot be verified by experiential data.
Devotee: If you're steering a ship you can make use of it, can't you?
Syamasundara: It can be made use of and it can be called valid or invalid.
Prabhupada: What does he want more?
Syamasundara: He wants to know true and false. That this "Sum of the angles equal to 180 degrees" can be said to be valid or invalid, but it cannot be said to be true or false.
Prabhupada: Then in that way, what he proposes, that is also false, because in this material world there is no truth. Everything is false. So his philosophical proposition is also false.
Syamasundara: Actually, he came to recognize that.
Prabhupada: Yes. Then that's all right. Then why he is bothering about something false? That is another foolishness.
Devananda: I thought that that was a Mayavadi theory, that everything is false.
Prabhupada: Yes. He wants to accept false, again make botheration.
Syamasundara: No. He does not say false, he says that the sum of the...
Prabhupada: Better thing is that as we say, it is not false, but it is temporary.
Syamasundara: He doesn't say true or false, he says that the sum of the angles...
Prabhupada: Just now you said that it cannot be verified. That means false.
Syamasundara: It cannot be verified if it is true or false. But it can...
Prabhupada: That means doubt. It is doubtful.
Syamasundara: Just like the proposition, "The sum of the angles of a triangle equals 180 degrees."
Prabhupada: That is accepted by the scientists and mathematicians.
Syamasundara: Yes. That can be said to be a valid proposition or an invalid proposition. Demonstrated.
Prabhupada: Why invalid? It is valid because all mathematicians, all scientists, they have accepted it.
Syamasundara: Yes. It can be demonstrated that it is valid on paper. But it cannot be said that it is true or false by our experiential data.
Prabhupada: No. That can be said, it is false, because in this world everything is a temporary manifestation. So this world itself is a temporary manifestation. This big sky and this planet and everything is a temporary manifestation.
Syamasundara: So even that law is temporary, that "The sum of the angles equals 180 degrees"?
Prabhupada: Yes.
Syamasundara: That's only temporary.
Prabhupada: Temporary in this sense: because the existence of this universe is also temporary. So whatever is there is temporary.
Syamasundara: But even when this universe ends, doesn't that law carry on?
Prabhupada: Just like this waterpot. This waterpot, you can say false or true. False means when it breaks, then it no longer will be waterpot; it becomes earth again. From the earth it is made, and again it becomes earth. Therefore the shape of this waterpot is not false but temporary. That is the right word. It will not remain as earthen pot for very long time. It will break, and when it breaks, it again becomes earth, from which it was made; therefore this shape is temporary.
Syamasundara: That example of the pot, we can verify if it is true or false by our senses.
Prabhupada: The senses, it is also senses. I am taking it as waterpot, that is I am taking it by my senses. But the shape of the waterpot is temporary.
Syamasundara: That can be proven.
Prabhupada: Yes. So whatever there is in this world, even this house, this big house, this is also temporary.
Syamasundara: But what about a principle, like "Two plus two equals four"?
Prabhupada: Principle is truth, but the manifestation is temporary. Principle... Just like earth. Just like we hear from Bhagavad-gita, bhumir apo 'nalo vayuh kham mano buddhir eva ca: [Bg. 7.4] "This earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind, intelligence, ego, they are My separated energies." And because it is Krsna's energy, and Krsna is true, therefore that energy is true. But this interaction of the energy, manifestation of different things out of that energy, that is temporary. Therefore it is called material energy or external energy, temporary manifestation.
Syamasundara: What about the proposition that "Two plus two equals four"?
Prabhupada: That is also temporary.
Syamasundara: That disappears when this universe disappears?
Prabhupada: Yes. When the universe disappears, everything disappears. Who is going to calculate "Two plus two equals four"? Everything is finished.
Syamasundara: The principle does not carry on, despite...
Prabhupada: The principle will carry on when again there will be manifestation. Just like this waterpot, it breaks, it becomes earth, and again from earth we make waterpot. Therefore this principle that the waterpot is made out of earth, that is a fact, but the waterpot as we see, that is temporary. Creation of the waterpot from earth is a fact. Similarly, this material world is a creation out of Krsna's external energy. That is a fact. Krsna's energy is fact. Krsna is fact.
Syamasundara: What about something that cannot be tangibly seen, like a mathematical calculation or an equation?
Prabhupada: You cannot see so many things. That does not mean that it does not exist. Your power of seeing is limited. Why you are depending on seeing?
Syamasundara: No. I want to take something that we all know, like "Two plus two equals four," that principle. There's no waterpot or anything visible involved, just a purely abstract principle, "Two plus two equals four."
Prabhupada: Abstract or concrete, it doesn't matter. What is abstract for you is concrete for other. [break] ...Krsna is concrete. Param satya, actually that is the only truth. So this idea, abstract and concrete, that is relative.
Syamasundara: Just like the idea, "The sum of the angles of a triangle equal 180 degrees."
Prabhupada: This is calculation.
Syamasundara: It is calculation, but there's no...
Prabhupada: Relative knowledge, because we cannot know beyond 180 degrees according to your geometrical calculation. But your calculation, everything is imperfect because you are imperfect. So because it is going on, for our purpose we take it as truth. That's all.
Syamasundara: It's only working in two planes, or two dimensions.
Prabhupada: Just like this body. This body, I can say is false, but suppose somebody kills somebody, he cannot argue that it is a false thing. If it is killed, why the state should by so much anxious about it if it a false? No. Even it is temporary, even if it's false, but it has got temporary use. You cannot disturb that use.
Syamasundara: He says that propositions pertaining to metaphysical realities such as we have been talking about, like the soul, he says they are neither chronological, that is uninformative assertions, neither are they empirical propositions. So it is impossible to demonstrate either their validity or to verify them.
Prabhupada: Why?
Syamasundara: Statements like "the soul," "I am the soul."
Prabhupada: Yes.
Syamasundara: We can neither say that is valid or invalid, neither we can say it is...
Prabhupada: It is valid. It is not invalid, it is valid. You cannot understand it. Try to understand it. It is valid. "I am the soul," that's a valid proposition. How you can say invalid?
Devananda: He also says that it cannot be demonstrated also.
Prabhupada: This is demonstration. Demonstration, this is demonstration, that as soon as I go, actually I go (indistinct). That is demonstration. What do you want more demonstration?
Syamasundara: He says we have to know what conditions are required to show that it is true and then satisfy those conditions. So one condition you say is that as soon as the body dies, then there is no more movement. But what is there to prove that the soul has left the body or that there was ever a soul in the body?
Prabhupada: That is the proof. Because the soul takes shelter into the womb of the mother, the father injects the soulthat is the statement of the sastrasin the womb of the mother, and the mother gives shelter. So the body develops from the womb of the mother. There is conception, pregnancy. That is the proof.
Syamasundara: Ultimately there is nothing to measure, when the body dies, to determine where that soul went.
Prabhupada: Yes. That you can measure by knowledge. Just like Bhagavad-gita has said, urdhvam gacchanti sattva-stha [Bg. 14.18]. Just like a man has committed murder, killed somebody. He is arrested, he is taken away from your sight, but you can know that he has committed murder, he will be hanged. That's all. You do not require to go there and see that he is hanged. It doesn't require. That is foolishness. If somebody says that "I did not see that the man was arrested," that's all right, but "I did not see that he was hanged. I cannot believe it," no. You believe or not believe, it is a fact.
Syamasundara: So what he is saying is that because you can't see the soul after it leaves the body, therefore we cannot say if the soul exists or does not exist.
Prabhupada: But why does he believe of his eyes so much? Why does he not accept that his eyes are so imperfect that he cannot see the soul?
Syamasundara: Either directly or indirectly he says that we have to be able to prove...
Prabhupada: No. The same example, just like a man has committed murder and he is arrested and taken away. So others, they know that this man will be hanged. And one was, "Oh, I have not seen, so how he is hanged?" But that is foolishness. The state law says that if a man has committed murder he will be hanged. So you have to see through the law, not with your eyes. The nonsense eyes, what can they see? So see through knowledge, through books.
Syamasundara: So our ultimate verification does not rest with our senses but with the authoritative...
Prabhupada: Yes. Authoritative knowledge, that is real seeing. That is real seeing. Just like we have not seen Krsna, take for example. Then all we are fools and rascals, that we are after Krsna? People may say that "You have not seen Krsna. Why you are after so much, Krsna?" They can say. But then you are all set of fools. Does it mean that we are all set of fools? Then how we have seen Krsna?
Syamasundara: Wittgenstein, in that respect he answers that these metaphysical or mystical ideas, even though they are not expressed in words, can be felt or appreciated without knowing whether it is true.
Prabhupada: No. That is knowing. To know through authorities, that is knowing. That is real knowing. That is the process of Vedic knowledge: to know through the authorities. The same example: if somebody is asking, "Who is my father?" then he has to know through the authority of mother; otherwise there is no other way. So therefore to know through authority is perfect knowledge.
Syamasundara: These modern scientists, they fall back on that idea that "Well, I accept that there is something mystical or metaphysical, but because I don't know it is truth, still I appreciate it." Or "It cannot be experienced, we must consign it to science."
Prabhupada: Truth is truth. Either we appreciate or not appreciate, it does not matter. Truth is truth.
Syamasundara: So they fall back on kind of a blind faith...
Prabhupada: But you are in blind faith. Those who do not accept the authorities, they are in blind faith. Just like one who does not know that what is soul, he is in blind faith, accepting this body as self. He is in blind faith.
Syamasundara: He has no real evidence that my self is the body either.
Prabhupada: He is blind, because it is not the fact. The evidence is there, but he is in blind faith. The whole world is working in blind faith"I am Pakistani," "I am Hindustani," "I am American," "I am Englishman." Simply bodily identification. The whole world is a set of fools only. That's all. That is stated in the sastras: yasyatma-buddhih kunape tri-dhatuke [SB 10.84.13]. Anyone who accepts this bag of three dhatus, kapha, pitta, vayu, as self, he is an ass.
Syamasundara: He says that atomic propositions, or the components of compound propositions, depend for their validity upon the reliability with which they accurately picture atomic facts. In other words, suppose there is some proposition that this ring is gold. This proposition is part of a compound proposition which tells where the ring came from, how it was originated, who wore it, so many other facts. But only you take one proposition, "this ring is gold," he said this proposition depends upon the reliability with which it accurately pictures the facts, if it is true or false. That statement, "this ring is gold," it must determine how accurately it pictures the facts before we can say if it is valid or invalid proposition.
Prabhupada: Suppose I say it is gold. What he will say? What is his proposition?
Syamasundara: He'll say that first of all you must give us a list of conditions to determine why it is gold, under what conditions it is gold.
Prabhupada: That is everything. That he is speaking also, that is another condition.
Syamasundara: There must be certain conditions met before...
Prabhupada: But how he is speaking is also fact, that he is speaking under certain conditions. Everything in this material world, that is on condition. So his philosophizing is also under condition. So everything is conditioned. Why does he not understand first of all himself, instead of trying to understand what is gold? Everything is conditioned.
Syamasundara: If we listed for some conditions that it must weigh a certain amount, it must have a certain color, it must have a certain texture, like that...
Prabhupada: That is already there. Those who are chemists, they know what is the characteristics of gold. That is already there, recorded. So what does he want?
Syamasundara: This is part of his system for analyzing what is true or untrue.
Prabhupada: That analysis is there. It may not be with me, it may not be with you, but it is already there. But what he will do with that analysis? What is his aim?
Syamasundara: Well, we can satisfy his conditions and then determine if it is true that this ring is gold.
Prabhupada: Yes. There are so many conditions. After, at the end, the conditions come to atom, atomic theory. But the atom is also conditioned, andantara-stham paramanu cayantara-stham. Krsna is within the atom also; therefore the atom is not absolute or independent. Therefore Krsna is the ultimate fact.
That we have know, that He is the cause of all causes.
Syamasundara: So, for instance, the ring may be gold under one set of conditions...
Prabhupada: Yes. It is gold under certain conditions, but the original cause is Krsna. Everything. Under certain conditions something is wood, something is gold, something is metal, something is this, something is... These are different conditions. I am also conditioned. Under certain conditions I am talking that "I am human being." Otherwise animal, he is under certain conditions, he is an animal. So everyone is under conditions. Who is not under conditions? Everything is under conditions. Therefore this world is called conditioned world or relative world. Nothing is absolute.
Syamasundara: He says that a proposition is a...
Prabhupada: It is gold, gold means it is a metal, a combination of metals. There are eight types of metals, and gold is combination of tin, copper and mercury.
Syamasundara: There is a basic element-gold.
Prabhupada: Not basic. It is a combination of different elements, different metals.
Syamasundara: According to the chemists, there are 108 basic elements, and gold is one of them.
Prabhupada: That may be, but I say that what you call gold is a combination of other metals. So gold, this is not absolute. This is relative. Because other metals have combined together, it is now known as gold. Similarly, the whole world is combination of different material elements, and the gross elements are this earth, water, fire, air, ether.
Syamasundara: What about..., they say that there is a basic atom called a hydrogen atom.
Prabhupada: Whatever you will call it, it is also matter. The minute particles are matter. That's all.
Syamasundara: That's right. Inside these molecules there are atoms, and inside the atoms there are more particles, and it goes on, smaller and smaller.
Prabhupada: Yes. These are all matter.
Syamasundara: He says that a proposition is a picture of reality, a picture is a model of reality, a picture is a fact, the world is a totality of facts, the totality of true thoughts is a picture of the world.
Prabhupada: Totality of not facts, that is a combination of gross matter, combination of gross and subtle matter. But this gross and subtle matter are projection of Krsna's energy. Therefore totalities, they can be said Krsna's external energy. And because Krsna's energy, the energy and energetic, sometimes separated, sometimes mixed up; when separated, it manifests as something creation; when it is mixed up, the energy is no longerit is merged into the energetic. Therefore Krsna is the ultimate cause.
Syamasundara: So the picture of reality is always changing? There are no set combinations?
Prabhupada: Reality is not changing. The combination of different energies is changing. Reality is not changing.
Syamasundara: So true thoughts are not changing.
Prabhupada: Reality is Krsna, but Krsna has got unlimited number of energies, so the combination of different energy is making some manifestation and they are changing.
Syamasundara: He says that the totality of true thoughts is the picture of the world. So that picture does not change. The true thoughts do not change. So the world is not actually...
Prabhupada: Yes. Conservation of energy. Everything rests ultimately in energy, and the energy ultimately rests in Krsna. Therefore we say that everything ultimately rests in Krsna. Krsna is the ultimate cause, aham sarvasya prabhavah mattah sarvam pravartate: [Bg. 10.8] "I am the cause of everything."
Syamasundara: He says that language is a picture of reality-language, words, a picture of reality. Just like we are speaking now. We are making pictures of reality as we speak with our language, with our words. Do these words have more content in themselves, or are they simply pictures of reality?
Prabhupada: Language is a sort of expression to understand reality. Language is not reality.
Syamasundara: Yes. He says that propositions or statements of ideas provide merely the form, telling us not what things are but how they are, but only how they are.
Prabhupada: As well as what they are. If they are how they are, then what they are can also be explained.
Syamasundara: Just like if I describe this picture, I cannot really say what it is, but only how it is, what it is like, how it is.
Prabhupada: What is the difference, "how it is" and "what it is"? What is the difference? It is simply jugglery of words. If I can say how it is, I can say what it is.
Syamasundara: He says what it is can only be experienced by the other sensesby seeing it, touching it.
Prabhupada: In this sense, how it is, of course it can be explained like that. Ultimately, what it is means just like this gold, I said that how it isa combination of other metals is gold, that is how it is. But what it is, that we have to research further. Just like how it isa combination of copper, tin and mercury. Now, then what it is, we will have to make inquiry wherefrom this mercury comes, wherefrom this tin comes, wherefrom the copper comes. That is what it is. Therefore Vedic language it is sarvam khalv idam brahma: "Everything is Brahman." That is what it is.
Syamasundara: (laughing) So we can explain how it is molded into different ways.
Prabhupada: That is how it is, how it has become gold. But ultimately it is Brahman, sarvam khalv idam brahma. Everything is Brahman.
Syamasundara: He says that therefore most philosophical propositions are not false, but they are devoid of sensory facts, of sense content; therefore they are nonsensical.
Prabhupada: Therefore he is also nonsensical.
Syamasundara: He comes to that. (laughter) When a genuine proposition...
Prabhupada: Then why is he after so much nonsensical things? Just to show he's...
Syamasundara: In order to find out what is a genuine proposition, he says that a genuine proposition presents the sense content and shows how things stand if it is true.
Prabhupada: This is sense content, that sarvam khalv, "Everything is Brahman." Everything is Brahman.
Syamasundara: But how does that give us sense content? What does that mean to my sense observations?
Devananda: Isn't there a way... There is a way of perceiving that everything is Brahman. It can be perceived. We cannot perceive it now, but it can be perceived.
Prabhupada: But the true knowledge, that ultimately Brahman is the ultimate cause. So Brahman has got different energies, and the multiple energies, they are combined together, and they manifest in different phases. Therefore Brahman is the cause of all causes. That is the Vedanta-sutra, janmady asya yatah [SB 1.1.1]. Brahman means wherefrom everything is emanating.
Syamasundara: But this statement, "Everything is Brahman," that seems to me devoid of sensory fact, of sense content. Therefore he says it is nonsensical, because I cannot experience it as a sensory experience. How does that have sense content, that statement?
Prabhupada: That means whatever does not come through his senses, that is not true.
Syamasundara: No. But whatever cannot be experienced is not true.
Prabhupada: Experience means by sense experience. That means whatever is not under direct perception, sense experience, that is false.
Syamasundara: Either direct or indirect. But how can I experience that statement that "Everything is Brahman"?
Prabhupada: Indirect is there. Just like we accept that everything has got some cause. So I am a person; the cause is my person father, and his father is also person. Similarly, the ultimate father, the original father, although I have not seen, I cannot sense perceive, still, I must conclude that He is a person.
Syamasundara: But I think behind your statement "Everything is Brahman," there are also statements which show the person how to experience Brahman.
Prabhupada: This is Brahman. Brahman means the greatest. Greatest.
Syamasundara: But when you say "Everything is Brahman," you are also willing to include another set of propositions which show how to experience Brahman, how one can experience this fact, "Everything is Brahman."
Prabhupada: That is not very difficult. Just like this International Society. Originally I started, so in any center, I am there. I am there. My photograph is there, I am there, accepting, Bhaktivedanta Swami. So personally I am not there, but I still am there by my expansion of energy. So similarly, Krsna is the original Brahman. Whatever we see, we perceive, experience, it's all Krsna's expansion of energy. That's all.
Syamasundara: His attack, then, is not upon your statement "Everything is Brahman," because you are also proposing other propositions which show how to experience that everything is Brahman. His attack is upon philosophy that is empty or devoid of sense contact.
Prabhupada: That is not empty. Suppose...
Devotee: He would say that if we can demonstrate that everything is Brahman, then it is not empty philosophy; then it is factual philosophy.
Syamasundara: His attack is with other philosophies that merely state that "This is that, this is that," but have no sense contact, are devoid of any sense meaning.
Devotee: Cannot be perceived. The truth cannot be perceived. If the truth cannot be perceived, then what good is the philosophy?
Prabhupada: Truth can be perceived.
Devananda: We can show; therefore our philosophy is good. He would agree, this philosophy is good because we cannot only state with authority what is the truth, we can reasonably establish it and we can demonstrate it also.
Prabhupada: And perceive also.
Devananda: Yes. We can demonstrate it.
Devotee: I have a question, that if he says that that philosophy which is good, which can be verified by observation or fact, and he comes to the conclusion that his philosophy is nonsense, I'd like to find out how he arrives at this kind of a conclusion.
Syamasundara: We're coming to that. He says that the propositions must describe the object completely by means of logical scaffolding, exhibiting logical form of reality, and whatever cannot be shown cannot be said, either. So he says that if we purport to show reality by our words...
Prabhupada: What is the process of showing?
Syamasundara: By language, that our structure of language must be logically complete and that it must also be able to be seen or it cannot be said. Whatever cannot be shown cannot be said either.
Prabhupada: Then logically complete... Suppose I have my father, I've seen my father, or I've seen my grandfather, or I've seen my great-grandfather, but because I cannot see the father of great-grandfather does not mean that there was no great-grandfather. Logically it is real, that the father of my great-grandfather was also a human being, he had two hands, two legs, and one head. That is logical, even though I have not seen. What is illogical? So it does not mean that things which we sometimes do not see, it is not logical. You cannot say like that. Because they are not seen, that is also logical.
Syamasundara: But that statement, "It can be seen that my father had a father had a father," that can be seen.
Prabhupada: No. That is not seen; that is perceived. Perceived. (Sanskrit) It is called (Sanskrit). I can think of like that, yes. That is perception.
Syamasundara: So in order for us to say like that, something that cannot be shown cannot be said, he says. That if we say something...
Prabhupada: Even if it cannot be shown, it is a fact. Not that because it cannot be shown, it is not a fact.
Syamasundara: But everything you say, you are also showing, you are also giving examples that we can perceive. Just like the body, you say the soul has left the body so the body does not move. So even though it cannot be seen, the soul is leaving the body.
Prabhupada: "It cannot be seen" means you have no seeing power. You cannot see beyond this wall, but that does not mean that because it cannot be seen, that is not fact. That is another foolishness. You have no seeing power. You admit your imperfection. Why you are proposing like that, "Because it cannot be seen"?
Syamasundara: No. Because it cannot be shown, he says. But it can be shown.
Prabhupada: It can be shown, but you have no eyes to see. That is my proposal. Your eyes are just as blind man. If he says that "Show me this," how he can see? He is blind man. So you are blind, you cannot see, but those who have eyes, they can see. Therefore they say, sastra caksusa: don't believe those eyes. Sastra caksusa. Make the sastra your caksusa. That is Vedic position. Don't see with these naked eyes. What is the value of your eyes? Why are you so much proud of your eyes? You cannot see. You see under certain conditions. Therefore adhaksi(?) Adhaksi means those who believe only the eyes. And what is the value of the eyes? That you won't admit, that "I am blind." He won't say. He will say simply, "I cannot see." How you can see? You're blind. That he won't admit, that he's blind. He will simply say that "I cannot see; therefore I don't agree." But you are blind!
Syamasundara: It seems to me, in all of your propositions, you are also showing by practical example how this is true. You do not... It's not in the air, so we cannot perceive it in some way.
Prabhupada: Nothing is in the air. Everything is fact. But if somebody says, although it is fact, "I cannot see, therefore it is not fact," that is not a good proposal.
Syamasundara: You give the evidence: the body is suddenly stopping moving. That is evidence. Even though we cannot see the soul, perhaps, but the evidence is there.
Prabhupada: Yes. Just like on a cloudy day we cannot see the sun, but because there is light, so we say, "Yes, there is sun."
Syamasundara: Evidence.
Prabhupada: Evidence. Similarly, the evidence is the moving capacity. Because the body is moving, there is soul. It doesn't matter if you can see or not see. It doesn't matter. When the motor is moving, there is gas. You may not see the gas. It is foolishness, that "I have not seen the gas. When it is put in?" [break] ...dark, now it is light. How I am saying there is a darkness? It is (indistinct)
Devotee: (indistinct)
Prabhupada: What is past, present, future for a man is not the past, present, future for Brahma. Therefore this past, present, future is relative. And Krsna is eternal. He has no past, present and future.
Devotee: I can understand how the past and future can be...
Prabhupada: Past, present and future is relative to your body. Because you have got a limited body, therefore you have got past, present, future. Otherwise there is no past, present, future.
Devotee: But there is present for everyone.
Devotee (2): But that is also due to that body.
Devotee: But the past and the future are simply reminiscences and projections of (indistinct), but the present is existing for everyone.
Prabhupada: Yes. That past means, just like what you say. The past, present, future for an ant is different from your past, present, future.
Devotee: Why?
Prabhupada: Because your body is different.
Devotee: The experience of the past, present and the future is different.
Prabhupada: My point is there is no past, present, future. This experience is gathered according to your body.
Devotee: The experiences are different, but it doesn't alter the (indistinct).
Prabhupada: (indistinct) actually there is no past, present, future. That is my position.
Devotee: In the same way, the Buddhists say there is no soul. They say that the soul is completely dependent upon the body.
Prabhupada: That we can reply. Why there is no soul? What is the distinction between that, that we already discussed. Don't bother about that.
Devotee: We would say there is no past, or is our perception of the past is false?
Prabhupada: Time is eternal. There is no past, present, future. We perceive past, present, future due to this body. Just like Krsna has no past, present, future.
Syamasundara: Wittgenstein noted that his own propositions are nonsensical; that is, they are devoid of any sense content. Therefore he held that...
Prabhupada: Why he is bothering all nonsensical (indistinct)?
Syamasundara: He held that at first we must transcend that, in order to view the world correctly.
Prabhupada: Yes, that we are. (laughter)
Devotee: We are transcending.
Prabhupada: Let him study philosophy from us.
Syamasundara: Even his verification principles cannot be verified by any other criterion; therefore it is self-refuting. And moreover, this limits the person, the individual, to his own sense experience. So how can the individual refer to himself as part of an existing but not yet experienced external world? In other words, if a person followed his philosophy strictly, he would not be able to put himself in the context of the world.
Prabhupada: That is not very difficult to understand. Just like when there is summer, every one of us experiences heat. When there is winter, every one of use experiences cold. Therefore we are part and parcel of the Supreme. When there is spring season, all the trees immediately become full of foliage. When there is winter season, all the foliage, all the leaves, they fall down. So therefore there is one (indistinct) and we are part and parcel of that. When there is winter season you cannot say that "I am not feeling cold." You cannot say that. (aside:) So you are not going?
Devotee: (indistinct) twelve o'clock.
Syamasundara: Earlier in his philosophy he said that there is only one language of terms which portray reality. In other words, there is only one definite set of language terms that portray reality.
Prabhupada: That is brahma, brahma-sattva. Param satyam dhimahi. That is reality.
Syamasundara: Later he said that it's the way in which a word is used, not its meaning as a name for some object, which gives a language a statement for validity. In other words, the way we use words, not that words in themselves have absolute meaning, but the way we use them.
Prabhupada: Yes. Just like when you use one word, it has got some meaning. When you say "Brahman," it has got some meaning. "Brahman" means nothing is greater than Brahman. When you use the word Brahman it means nothing is greater that Brahman.
Syamasundara: But that statement, "Nothing is greater than," if you use it in another context, say with three or four objects, and you say that "nothing," meaning these three objects, "is greater than this object," that is another...
Prabhupada: No. Any object you bring. When I say "God is great," anything you bring, nothing is greater than God. That's all.
Syamasundara: He says when we ask, for example, "What is the meaning of the word good..." He says we must inquire as to how we learn the meaning of the word good, what its functions have been, and strive to clarify its use, not as a picture of reality but as a tool for describing, recording, and asserting facts or ideas.
Prabhupada: (indistinct) limited science, when you are in the limited material world, good means which satisfies my senses good. That is good. And bad means which does not satisfy my senses. But so far my senses are concerned, this is temporary (indistinct); therefore in this material world, the conceptions of good and bad, they are all the same. Real goodness is God. God is good. That is good.
Devotee: Jaya! Haribol! Haribol!
Syamasundara: So he is saying...
Prabhupada: Everything which is not God, that is bad. That is real goodness.
Syamasundara: He says it's how we use the word good, not what the word good means.
Prabhupada: Good means, I already explained, which satisfies my senses. That is good. But God is good. He satisfies my senses and all others' senses. The relative good is it may satisfy my senses but it may not satisfy your senses. Therefore it is not good. Therefore what is good to me is not good to you. One man's food is another man's poison. Therefore this is relative good.
Syamasundara: Something which satisfies God's senses, that is real good.
Prabhupada: That is absolute.
Syamasundara: So even words, if they are used to satisfy God...
Prabhupada: That is good. Anything that satisfies God, that is good. Just like Arjuna was thinking fighting is bad, but when he understood that this fighting will be utilized for Krsna's satisfaction, therefore it is good. So how the same bad thing becomes good? Because it satisfies Krsna. So anything which satisfies Krsna, that is good. Anything which does not satisfy Krsna, that is bad.
Syamasundara: His final statement was that philosophy must describe the actual uses of language, never interfere with it, in order to achieve clarification. In other words...
Prabhupada: This is clear clarification, that God is the Supreme, God is all-good; therefore what satisfies God, that is good. What will satisfy God, that is nice.
Syamasundara: So our philosophy describes the actual uses of words. There may be the word good and several...
Prabhupada: Otherwise why you are chanting the words Hare Krsna? There are also words.
Syamasundara: There may be ten philosophies, and each one will purport this same word good differently. But real philosophy is (indistinct).
Prabhupada: Absolute good means to satisfy God.
Syamasundara: The use of a word, not exactly what the word means, but the use of it, how it is used.
Prabhupada: Yes.
Syamasundara: There's one more quote. He says, "Don't ask for the meaning, ask for the use of a word." In other words, we don't say if good means this or that; we say how it is used.
Prabhupada: If it is used for God, it is good.
Devotee: So he doesn't present a philosophy; he presents a method, a methodology, but not a philosophy.
Syamasundara: No. His philosophy describes the actual use of language. That is philosophy. So any philosophy that describes how language is used, that's proper philosophy.
Devotee: He doesn't describe how to use language; he describes principles for judging how to use language. But he has not himself described how to use language. So therefore he has not presented a philosophy. He has presented so many methods for presenting philosophy.
Syamasundara: But those methods, they are also philosophy.
Devotee: The philosophy of presenting philosophy, but no philosophy itself.
Devotee (2): But philosophy is meant to understand the ultimate goal of life. What does he say the ultimate goal of life is? What is his ultimate goal of life?
Prabhupada: That they do not know.
Devotee: He said you have to transcend what he presented to find out what that ultimate goal of life is. So anybody...
Syamasundara: His philosophy is an active attempt to clarify.
Devotee: Clarify what? What is he clarifying?
Prabhupada: Clarify his nonsense. He is talking all nonsense. That will be clarified.
Devotee: Some of his principles for ascertaining truth are all right; some of them are not so good. But he has himself not tried to present the truth at all. He has simply tried to present a way of ascertaining truth.
Devotee (2): (indistinct)
Devotee: But how can he ascertain truth if he doesn't know what the truth is?
Devotee (3): He didn't say that he did. He said it was nonsense, that you had to go beyond what he said to find out the truth.
Devotee: That's not much of a philosophy.
Syamasundara: Actually one of his students, John (indistinct) at Oxford, er, Cambridge, he is still living now, he has written an important book for modern theology which applies his philosophy to religion, where he says that we can see God everywhere, so even though we can't prove God in a way that the scientists require, still, this is enough, that we can see His evidence wherever we are. So this is proof that we should have belief in God, have faith in God. His students have been very godly, (indistinct) in a godly way.
Devotee: (indistinct)
Syamasundara: (indistinct)
Visala: Srila Prabhupada said sadhu means he is a devotee of Krsna. So unless you are a devotee of Krsna, how can you be saintly or godly? Unless you are a devotee of Krsna, you are not godly.
Devotee: So what he is trying to ascertain is that God is the absolute truth.
Syamasundara: (indistinct) as I recall he uses the example of the garden, that he sees in the garden the wisdom of logical arrangement, nice taste, so many things, so he concludes that because man can fill this garden or manipulate this garden, therefore there must be God.
Devotee: We also say like that, that there are so many nice arrangements that are universal, we see so many nice arrangements. There must be a...
Devotee (2): (indistinct)
Devotee (3): But the child will pick up a flower and look it and say, "It is so beautiful. Who has made it?" and then another child will answer, "God." (end)

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