William James
Syamasundara: Today we are discussing American philosopher William James. His philosophy is called pragmatism, or that which can be practically applied. The central thesis of his philosophy is that the whole function of thought is to produce habits of action. In other words, he was tired of theoretical philosophy, and he wanted to see that philosophy had practical application.
Prabhupada: So philosophy without practical application is called mental speculation. It has no value. We agree to that. Philosophy must be practically applied in life. That is real philosophy.
Syamasundara: He says that there is a question, "What difference would it make, practically, to anyone, if this notion rather than that notion were true?" He says that the criterion for deciding that question is the practicality of something. If there are two questions, two notions, then the standard of judgment should be which notion is applicable in practice.
Prabhupada: Which notion should be...?
Syamasundara: Which notion will have the better result in practice.
Prabhupada: Which is factual, not theoreticalthat will have good effect in practice. What is his example?
Syamasundara: There is no example given, but for instance, if there are two different theories involving a subject, then that theory which is more easily practiced is more true. It has become part of our experience; that is true. He says that anything that is meaningful or real must have some influence on practice on our experience, and vice verse. Anything that is practiced must be meaningful or real.
Prabhupada: So that is Krsna consciousness. We have invited our students, and when they actually practice Krsna consciousness, the result is immediately there. Just like you all European and American boys, you were eating meat, and other things were practiced, but since you have taken to Krsna consciousness, you have left it. So by practicing, we see the practical result; therefore this is most practical.
Syamasundara: What about, for instance, people who are practicing sense gratification, and they find it very practical to gratify their senses. Does this mean that it is meaningful or real?
Prabhupada: Yes. It is real. But by sense gratification we will gradually glide down to the hellish condition of life. Therefore sense gratification should not be allowed unrestricted. That is practical. If you eat more, you suffer from indigestion. If you have more sex life, then you get tuberculosis. This is practical. If you indulge in intoxication, then gradually you become a nonsense, crazy. Therefore when we say that "Don't do this," this is practical.
Syamasundara: So it is a matter of degree which is more practical than something else. Sense gratification or communism or any other "ism," it's practiced (indistinct) effect, but that effect...
Prabhupada: But if it has bad effect then what is the use of it? It must have good effect. Effect must be there, but if it is bad, that is not practical. The effect must be good and continuous.
Visala: But that good result is relative, depending upon who is deciding whether it is good. In other words, Lenin or Mao, they feel that the practical result of their philosophy is good.
Prabhupada: That's all right, but now Mao disagrees with the practical utility of Russian philosophy. So where is the stability? And similarly, the Russians don't agree with the Chinese, so what is practical for China is not practical for the Russians. So which one we shall take?
Visala: That which is practical for both.
Prabhupada: That means both of them are not practical. It will be proved in due course of time.
Syamasundara: He says that terms such as "God" and "matter" and "absolute" and terms like that must have cash value or practical worth. He says, "You must bring out of each work its practical cash value."
Prabhupada: Yes. Therefore our Krsna consciousness movement daily brings cash value without any business, without any labor. What do you think?
Visala: Yes.
Prabhupada: Visala knows very well.
Syamasundara: So when we use the word "God," it has cash value?
Prabhupada: Cash value. We are going to everyone, we are simply showing some book and taking (indistinct). You can say, somebody may say, you are giving books worth $200 and taking $1,100...
Syamasundara: I think this may be one reason why Krsna consciousness is thriving in America, because this is a typically American idea, that everything must have a cash value or it is useless.
Prabhupada: So our Krsna consciousness movement has cash value. Even in Los Angeles, outsiders, they are surprised: "How these people live in such a nice house, eat such nicely, and have so many cars, and they have no anxieties, although they do not work, they have no business?" So what can be more cash value than this?
Devotee: And no bills for psychoanalysis.
Prabhupada: Yes. Everything is there, but still they do not work, and these rascals, they work the whole day and night, and still they are not happy. What more cash value we can expect than Krsna consciousness?
Syamasundara: He says theories must become instruments, and not just answers to questions which we rest upon. They must become instruments.
Prabhupada: Yes. Theory is instrument. That is Krsna consciousness.
Syamasundara: He says that, about the nature of truth, that truth is more than just an agreement of idea with reality, but it also has a practical significance, that whatever is practical is true.
Prabhupada: Yes. Practical we can see from the verse of Prabodhananda Sarasvati, that anyone who has got a slight merciful glance of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu, he thinks that Brahman liberation is as good as hell. Kaivalyam narakayate. And the heavenly planets, they are phantasmagoria, and yoga-siddhi, that is not a very important thing. And people are suffering on this material condition. (But) for a devotee it is simply pleasing. Everywhere he goes he feels pleased, while others seeing full of anxiety. Devotees, they are seeing everything pleasing. So these things happen simply by a fragment of the merciful glance of Caitanya Mahaprabhu upon His devotees. Visvam purnam, they do not care for any big scholar or many exalted personalities, just like we challenge anyone, even we don't care for Dr. Radhakrishnan, who is so much exalted. So this is practical. Because one has become Krsna conscious, therefore these things happen. (to guest:) Please sit down. (Bengali)
Syamasundara: His idea of truth is that truth means experience.
Prabhupada: That is our proposal. Bhaktih paresanubhavo viraktir anyatra syat [SB 11.2.42]. Bhakti means one who advances in bhakti, he becomes..., he has no more any taste for material enjoyment. The more one increases in bhakti cult, he decreases his tendency for material enjoyment. That is the test. Bhaktih paresanubhavo viraktir anyatra. Unless one becomes detestful for material things, it is to be understood that he is not making progress. This is practical. The example is given just like a hungry man: when he eats, he feels, as he goes on eating, proportionately he feels satisfaction and strength of (indistinct). Similarly, one who is advancing in Krsna consciousness, he will feel spiritually strong and no taste for material enjoyment. This is practical.
Syamasundara: His idea is that truth is created in the same manner as health and wealth are created.
Prabhupada: Truth is not created. Health can be created, but truth is existing always. It is not created.
Syamasundara: He sees that truth is developing in the same way as...
Prabhupada: Truth is not developing, but you are gradually progressing towards truth. Truth is not developing. Just like the sun is not developing, but as the clouds disappear, you are developing your sight to see the sun. That's all. The sun is not developing. The sun is there in its position.
Syamasundara: He calls truth a system of verification; in other words, a process whereby ideas become true and they are made true by events in our experience. As we get more experience, then truth is created.
Prabhupada: Not created. Truth is there. Truth is revealed. As you make progress, so the truth becomes revealed. Ye yatha mam prapadyante tams tathaiva bhajamy aham [Bg. 4.11]. Just like in Bhagavad-gita it is said that "As one makes his surrendering process complete, I become revealed to him accordingly."
Syamasundara: But if an idea works when it is applied to concrete facts of experience, then it becomes a true idea, and we accept it as a true idea. So as we develop our experience, our life progresses, then we develop truth because we see that this idea works in my experience, so then it becomes true. Is this not the process?
Prabhupada: Yes. That is our process. Just like one enters to Krsna consciousness in the beginning by faith. He has on practical experience. But suppose somebody sees that "These people, Krsna conscious people, appear to be very bright-faced," just like in your country they may have been known, the bright-faced. So he gets a little interest. So that interest increases. First of all he comes with little faith and interest, but as he associates with us, the interest increases. That is true. Otherwise why are they sticking?
Syamasundara: His experience proves that the ideas are true.
Prabhupada: Yes. Otherwise, how you European and American boys, you are satisfied with the shirt only? Where is your necktie, coat and boot and everything?
Syamasundara: Because their idea doesn't have practical value for us.
Prabhupada: (laughs) You are practically realizing that a simple life is better than this artificial way of life. So that is true.
Syamasundara: But to a businessman a shirt, and a coat and a tie, they have practical value.
Prabhupada: Practical value is all right. When you go to take some business, then you must satisfy him. Not that I require, but because I am going to get some business from a person, so I have to satisfy him. The Indian word is abruci khana phalusi pay na. When you go to meet somebody, so you must dress yourself so that your dress may attract. So dress is not required for you, but because you are going to attract some person, then you may dress like a gentleman. But when you eat yourself, Krsna prasada, you don't require to constantly think (indistinct) whether he'll be pleased or not. That doesn't require. This is practical.
Syamasundara: The idea is that the suit and the coat are practical for the businessman, and the...
Prabhupada: Business, that is socially required. If you, of course... In our Bengali it is called jana bahune pohite dakhane. If a man is known a brahmana, he doesn't require to show his sacred thread. Just like our Krsna conscious men, gradually people are understanding our philosophy, so even if we go in this dress, they honor us. But for ordinary things, if you go in this dress, it will not attract them.
Syamasundara: One thing that puzzles me is if what is practical for one person is not practical for another person, then what is the criterion of truth? Is truth relative? This is true for me but it is not true for you. This isn't true for him but it is...
Prabhupada: Yes. There are relative truths. But for the Absolute Truth... There is Absolute Truth and relative truth. So first of all we have to see in which you are interestedAbsolute Truth or relative truth. That is to be understood. There are two kinds of truth.
Syamasundara: So if the result of the businessman is to make some money for his use, and our purpose of doing business is also to make some money for another use, so then it is a question of what the use, what is the practical...
Prabhupada: As far as pushing on your Krsna consciousness movement, just like constructing this big building, you require some money. So if you go somewhere to take that money, you must please him; otherwise you cannot get money. But his pleasing that man is not the ultimate goal. Ultimate goal is to please Krsna. But for pleasing Krsna, this is a temporary method I have accepted, just to please Him.
Syamasundara: What about the businessman who goes to please that man for his...
Prabhupada: When a businessman goes to please somebody, he wants the money for himself. That is the difference. But when we go to please somebody, to get some money, our ultimate aim is to please Krsna, the Absolute Truth. Therefore the means adopted, even if it is relative truth, that becomes Absolute Truth. The end justifies the means. Because the means is adopted, just like Krsna advises Arjuna, "Just go and tell Dronacarya that his son is dead," although his son was not dead. So this is not truth. But because by that action Krsna will be pleasedKrsna is Absolute Truth-therefore even that lying is also absolute.
Syamasundara: So practicality has to be judged on the result, what is the result of that action?
Prabhupada: Yes. That is that the end justifies the means. Means is not very important. What is the end, we have to see.
Syamasundara: For instance, James uses the example of God. Whether God exists depends on the extent to which a belief in God affects my life. In other words if it is practical, if it makes me feel happy, if I get some courage and strength by believing in God, then God is true, then God does exist.
Prabhupada: So one may not feel like that, that means that God does not exist? Suppose one man does not feel very good talking about God. That means God is null and void?
Syamasundara: According to James's philosophy...
Prabhupada: That means he is an atheist. He's a godless.
Syamasundara: He considers himself to be a religious man.
Prabhupada: Considers... He has no idea of God. What kind of a religious man he is? We say he is a nonsense.
Syamasundara: In other words, truth is relative, according to him.
Prabhupada: No. Truth is not relative. Your position is relative. So long you are under the clutches of maya, your understanding of God is relative. God is not relative. God is absolute. You cannot understand God. Your position is relative. Just like, I will give you a practical example: a man is deaf and he is calling wife, "Mrs. such and such, such and such." She is replying, "Yes. I am coming." But he himself is deaf. He cannot hear the wife is replying. So he is accusing his wife, "Mrs. such and such is very deaf; she cannot hear." She is hearing; she is replying. This rascal cannot hear; therefore she becomes deaf. This is an example. So I cannot understand what is Godtherefore there is no God. This is the most rascal position. I cannot see at night the sun-therefore there is no sun. He does not understand that "I am in darkness at night, so there is no possibility of my seeing." He has no such knowledge. But he concludes there is not sun. That is rascaldom.
Syamasundara: I think he would say that a belief in God would...
Prabhupada: It is not belief. You believe or not believe, God is there.
Syamasundara: But he would say that...
Prabhupada: And that word is another nonsense expression. You believe in God, you don't believe, what does it matter for God?
Syamasundara: But I think he would say that if everyone who believes in God gets some strength, some happiness, some courage, so that it would benefit everyone to believe in God...
Prabhupada: But he does not get any strength by it, does it mean God is not there?
Syamasundara: But doesn't everyone derive strength?
Prabhupada: No. Somebody, he thinks, "By drinking I get strength." There are many men in Bowery Street in your country. So, just like, why these drunkards? I'll give you a practical example. When long ago when Mahatma Gandhi came in Calcutta, so some of the Gaudiya Math men went to invite him, "Mahatma Gandhi, please come to our temple." At that time charka was very prominent.
Syamasundara: What is that?
Prabhupada: Charka, the, what is called? Spinning wheel.
Syamasundara: Spinning wheel.
Prabhupada: Spinning wheel, yes. Gandhi was himself devoting, just like we chant Hare Krsna, he thought that you spin. So he first of all inquired whether in your temple you spin this charka. They replied, "No, sir. We worship Krsna, God, and chant Hare Krsna mantra. This is our regular routine work." Gandhi replied, "Oh, then I am not going to your temple. My charka is my God." He said that. And actually, for him, charka was God in this sense: by introducing charka the whole Manchester closed. You see? And the British Empire half broken, simply by killing this Manchester industry. So many mills they closed. But later on the, (laughs) Manchester came to Ahmedabad. Now when we are taking supplies from Manchester, we are getting cloth, one rupee 8 annas per pair, now we have to pay twenty-five rupees per pair.
Syamasundara: For dhotis?
Prabhupada: Dhotis, yes. In our childhood we have seen that Manchester made cloth, first class. One dhoti was selling (indistinct), that was selling like hotcake, imported by Rally Brothers. Very nice clothone rupee 8 annas per pair, two, two pieces. But the same dhoti you have to purchase at twenty-five. So the consumer's money is now going to Ahmedabad. You may say your money is saved in your country, but my pocket is empty. (laughs) It is saved in my country, that's all rightin the state bank. That's all right. But my pocket is empty.
Syamasundara: And Mafatlal's pocket is full.
Prabhupada: That's all. This is going on.
Syamasundara: He says that a person's philosophical attitude will depend upon the individual's personality. Different personalities naturally have a different philosophy.
Prabhupada: Philosophy without any fact is mental speculation. What is the value of such philosophy? He has already practical value. According to person, your mentality, your personality may not agree with me. Then you have got different philosophy. And what is the practical use?
Devotee: This seems to have a similarity to the divisions of faith according to the three gunas.
Prabhupada: No. The philosophy is not faith. Faith is a different thing, and fact is different thing. Philosophy must be on the fact, not on faith. Faith may be blind faith. That is different thing.
Syamasundara: So he says we seek a universe which is appropriate to our predispositions. If we have a certain inclination we automatically seek to piece together the universe according to our, the way we see things, our perspective.
Prabhupada: What is that, seeing?
Syamasundara: So that people who think differently about things, who have different inclinations and abilities, different perspectives, they will automatically see the world or the universe in a different manner.
Prabhupada: Yes.
Syamasundara: They will have different philosophies.
Prabhupada: Yes. But that does not prove the fact. Different men have got different ideas of peace, that does not mean that is peace. Peace is a different thing. Peace is that which applies to everyone. That is peace. Not that because I think by drinking I shall be peaceful, therefore drinking is peace. No. And somebody thinks, "By doing this thing, I'll feel peaceful." No. There must be a standard of peace which will be applicable to everyone. That is real peace. We are talking of that peace.
Syamasundara: He sees that there are two basic or fundamental philosophical temperaments. The one he calls tendermindedness, which is exemplified by the rationalist, the idealist, the optimist, the religionist, and the dogmatist; and toughmindedness, or the empiricist, the materialist, the pessimist, the irreligious, the fatalist and the skeptic. He says that philosophers are of two types: tender minded and tough minded.
Prabhupada: So this depends upon one's education. If one is educated, in one way he may become tender, and another man, if he is educated in a different way, he may be hard. But our proposition is that originally the soul is good. This tenderness and hardness, they are developed later on. But they are not standard. When you come to the platform of soul, there everything is good. In that platform, either tenderness or hardness, both of them are in the absolute. So our philosophy is that, as we understand from Bhagavad-gita, that every living entity is part and parcel of God. So God is good, pavitra. Just like Arjuna accepts, param brahma param dhama pavitram [Bg. 10.12]. Pavitra means pure. But because we are part and parcel of God, therefore we are pure. The impurities are acquired by our contamination with this material world. So either you become tender or hardthat is impurity of this material world. So we don't give any credit to any person, either he is tender or hard. These are all material qualifications. When he is spiritually placed, then we give him, that he is now liberated, either from tenderness or from hardness. These are all material qualifications. One is hard, one is tender. So that is our material quality. Just like a disease. One is suffering from headache, one is suffering from indigestion, or one is suffering from fever. So one who is suffering from headache, he is thinking, "Instead of having a headache, if I would have suffered from indigestion it was better." You see? And the man who is suffering from indigestion, passing stool every three minutes, he is thinking that "If I would have suffered from headache instead of this nasty disease, I would have been all right." So these rascaldom, either tenderness or something, it is the same thing. It is our mental concoction that he thinks this is a better disease. It is not better. It is bad. Therefore it is explained by Caitanya-caritamrta, 'dvaite bhadrabhadra sakali saman, ei bhalo ei manda sab more ghara. 'Dvaite: when you are contaminated, diseased... I will give you one... I heard from one of my medical practitioners friend. So he told me that when he was a student in Calcutta there was a big professor, Colonel Megha, English professor. He was lecturing, and with in talking he said that in our country that seventy-eight percent of the students are infected with syphilis. Yes. So the doctor said as soon as he heard from Professor Megha, he said, "Horrible." And the doctor said, "Why you are saying horrible? In your country ninety-nine percent are suffering from malaria. So as a doctor you should take the disease. Why do you think that this is a horrible and this is not horrible? You are thinking that malaria is not horrible; syphilis is horrible. But in our country we think syphilis is not horrible and malaria is horrible. So as a medical practitioner you should consider the disease, not the aftereffects. Aftereffects of all diseases is suffering, either it is malaria or it is syphilis." So we should be concerned that this soul, pure soul, is affected by these sattva, rajas, tamaguna, material modes of nature, and he is suffering. So he should be given relief from this suffering, not that because one is contaminated by this sattva-guna, one is a brahmana, very nice brahmana, therefore that is, from a material point of view, the brahmana is better than a sudra. But from the spiritual platform, either a brahmana or a sudra, they are contaminated by this material nature, so they are suffering. That is explained in the Bhagavad-gita. Brahmana is thinking, "Oh, I am so pure. I am learned." So that is, thinking "I am so, I am so, I am so..." he is not thinking that he is part and parcel of Krsna, or God. Similarly, others are also thinking. So the fact is, so long as one is affected by these material modes of nature, his position is the same.
Syamasundara: William James's position is..., he calls himself a radical empiricist. He says that the unity of the universe as a neat set of interconnected relations in an absolute. It is false, because...
Prabhupada: Absolute? False?
Syamasundara: No. He says that a unified pattern of things, that the universe as a unified scheme, neat pattern of things, is false because our direct experience informs us of a discontinuity of facts. Our direct experiences sees discontinuity of facts, so we must conclude that the universe is comprised of facts which are not perfect in unity.
Prabhupada: Yes. Because you are seeing the universe by your imperfect eyes. So it is your imperfectness. Just like you are seeing the sun planet just like a disc, but it is not a disc. But because you cannot see perfectly, you are thinking like that. So your conception of the universe is imperfect, because you are imperfect. Otherwise, everything is complete. Just like Isopanisad, purnam idam [Isopanisad, Invocation]. It is complete. That is the first verse of the Isopanisad. But because you are imperfect, you are seeing the universe and everything as imperfect. The universe, because it is made by God, it cannot be imperfect. God is perfect, and anything created by God is perfect.
Syamasundara: His idea is that...
Prabhupada: Because you do not see through the eyes of Godyou want to see through your imperfect eyes-therefore you consider this universe as imperfect.
Syamasundara: His idea is, the exact quote is, "That order is gradually one and always in the making." In other words, the universe is evolving toward ultimate unification, which is never fully achieved.
Prabhupada: That means he has no knowledge, poor fund of knowledge. The universe is complete, but he is not complete. The same example: The deaf husband is considering the wife is deaf, because he cannot hear the response given by the wife. So because he has got imperfect knowledge, he has no knowledge of God, he has no knowledge that the... God has created this universe, and because it is created by the perfect being, it is also perfect.
Syamasundara: Because his vision of a unified universe is evolving, then he ascribes that the universe itself is false...
Prabhupada: No. The universe is not evolving. It is perfect since it was created. But because we have no perfect knowledge, you are thinking it is evolving.
Syamasundara: Because he... Because my observations of the universe are evolving toward a unity. This is his criterion for truth, that only that which I can perceive is true, or which I can experience.
Prabhupada: Yes. What you can perceive, that may be wrong thing also, because you are not perfect. But because you have got a poor fund of knowledge, therefore you are thinking that imperfect thing it is also perfect.
Syamasundara: He says that... This is a quote...
Prabhupada: Just like in the sastras it is stated that the human beings, they are being controlled by the modes of passion, so they love to work very hard. And that hard working, they think it is happiness. Actually, everyone is working hard day and night, and because he is getting some money in return, he is thinking that "I am becoming happier." In exchange of a little money he is accepting that hard working is very good. But sastra says that this hard working for some sense gratification is being done by the hogs and dogs. They are also working hard, and getting some remuneration for food and sense enjoyment. So that business is there already. So does it mean that a human being also works so hard, as a hog, simply to get his food and sense gratification? Suppose a big builder is working hard and getting money. But what will be the result of his work? A little food and sense gratification. A beggar also, he's getting the little food and sense gratification. Then why he's happy working so hard? What is the use? That sense, it does not come to him. He thinks, "I am happy. I am happier than the beggar because I have got so much money, I have got such a big building." But what is in relation to you? You are eating the same four capatis and have your sex life with your wife, that's all. What is the better advantage you are getting than the hog and poor man? This is because he is in the modes of passion, he is thinking, "I am happier than him." This is called maya, or illusion.
Syamasundara: James says that the world...
Prabhupada: Visayah khalu sarvatah syat, sastra says. This visayasu, eating, sleeping, mating and defendingthis is called visayasuthat is available in every life. A dog is also enjoying, the hog is also enjoying, a poor man is also enjoying, or a rich man is also enjoying. If a rich man has no hunger, then even very palatable dishes will not be very pleasing to him. But a poor man, if he has got hunger, even a rough foodstuff without any ghee or without any..., he eats like anything, like nectar. So the happiness of this visaya-eating, sleeping, mating and defendingthey are equal everywhere. That does not mean that a rich man is enjoying eating more than a poor man. No. When one eats if one is hungry, the enjoyment is the same. There is no difference. Similarly the hog eats the stool with great eagerness. You pass stool, and the hog is waiting. As soon as you stand up, two or three hogs, "ruh, ruh, ruh," like this. (laughter) You see? So the happiness of eating stool and the happiness of eating halava are the same. You see? It depends on the different tongues. Therefore a man, a drunkard, he, by his drinking liquor, it is tasting so nice. But at least for me, if you give me drop of liquor, it is so pungent, because I tasted rectified spirit when I was in medical practice, you see. It is so pungent, so... Just like burns the tongue. You see? So one man's food is another man's poison. That is all. But actually, in this material world this standard of happiness is equal. It is simply, this is called maya, that he does not know that he is working so hard, but he is thinking that "I am becoming happy."
Syamasundara: From the graphs from Darwin and the evolutionists, there is an idea that...
Prabhupada: Sometimes we see by some rich men in your country and here also, they will run (indistinct). First of all he becomes fatty by eating more. Then again he hasn't got to do in the office, anything, so he runs four miles, you see. He does not think this is labor; this is enjoyment. Similarly, the maya, under the influence of maya, everyone is working very hard, but he is thinking "I am enjoying."
Syamasundara: There is this idea in James's philosophy and others' also, since Darwin...
Prabhupada: Sitting in this portion... [break] If I say "This is my portion," and if you are sitting in another portion and you say this is your portion, so by chance if I step in your portion you become angry, or you step in my portion... We forget that we have come here temporarily to sit down. Why shall I demark like this, "This is my portion," "This is my portion"? So the system is already there, tena tyaktena bhunjitha [Iso mantra 1]. The Isopanisad says that whatever is allotted to you, you may be satisfied with that. But they are not satisfied in that way. I am trying to encroach upon your, I mean to say, possession, you are trying to encroach upon my possession. Or we have actually all forgotten that we are all sons of God. This planet is given to us to live, so let us produce according to the methods and eat and live peacefully and remember God. That we are not doing. The Americans, they have got... What is the area of your land?
Syamasundara: I don't know.
Prabhupada: Yes. I can measure it is about 3000 miles by 3000 miles. And whereas India is 1000 miles. What is the area of India? Maybe 1000 miles by 800 miles, whereas in America 3000 miles by 3000 miles. And the population is one quarter of India's. The land is four times than India, but the population is one quarter of India. So they can produce enough. Actually they are producing enough. And that can be distributed to the portion where the food is a scarcity. And that is arrangement of God. The land and the water given by God is sufficient for the whole population. Not only human beingsall beasts, birds... Sufficient food. But we are, I mean to say, mismanaging the whole thing. Therefore we find that India is poverty-stricken and America is throwing grains in the water. So actually, if we take the perfection made by God, that "This planet belongs to us, we human beings, and it is God's property, so let us live peacefully..." But..., but no. That is maya. So therefore the whole solution of the problem is Krsna consciousness. If people will understand that "We are all sons of Krsna's. This land belongs to Krsna, so let us enjoy our father's property without fighting..." That they will not do. And they will accuse that God has made incomplete. That is maya. Otherwise from God's side everything is complete.
Syamasundara: His very quotation in this regard is, "The world is a pluralism of which the unity is not fully experienced as yet. The universe..."
Prabhupada: That they have to understand through Krsna consciousness. That is a fact. Not as yet. Because they do not know the verse in the Bhagavad-gita that "You are not proprietor." Neither you are Chinese, neither you are Americans. This they have to know. That is Caitanya Mahaprabhu, naham vipra na ca narapati. He does not identify Himself with this tabernacle identifications, with this body.
Syamasundara: So where we differ from James is that we say that the truth exists, and it is revealed to a person...
Prabhupada: As he becomes...
Syamasundara: ...as he experiences it.
Prabhupada: Yes. Or as he becomes wiser.
Syamasundara: Yes.
Prabhupada: He is born fool. Either Mr. James or Mr. something, they are all born fools.
Syamasundara: Whereas he says that "The truth develops as I experience it."
Prabhupada: Yes. But that experience you have to take from a man who is experienced. Just like he wants to philosophize, he is trying to distribute his experience. But he does not like to take others' experience. That is the defect.
Syamasundara: He says that the universe continually grows in quantity by new experiences that graft themselves upon the older mass.
Prabhupada: This older mass, that we (indistinct) should (indistinct). Therefore our policy is that we should gather experience from a person who is already experienced.
Syamasundara: But he says that that person's experience will be transcended by another person's experience.
Prabhupada: No. We will meet a person whose experience cannot be transcended, cannot be surpassed. We take experience from him. Just like Krsna. Nobody can become wiser than Krsna; therefore we take directly, experience from Krsna. That is our standard. We don't accept any experience from a secondary man.
Syamasundara: So perhaps due to Darwin, these men, they don't think that truth exists independently of man's experience. They think that truth is developing as man evolves.
Prabhupada: No. Because he is imperfect, he does not know what is truth. The same experience: because he cannot hear, other who is hearing is answering and he cannot hear him, so he thinks that he is dumb, deaf. Atmavan manyate jagat. The difficulty is that everyone thinks others on his own standard. If a fool, he thinks others fool. So that is not the fact. We have to take experience from a person whose experience nobody can surpass. Just like Krsna says, vedaham samatitani vartamanani bhavisyani [Bg. 7.26]. He says that "I know past, present, future, everything." So who knows past, present, future, everything? Therefore we have to take experience from Krsna. Just like Arjuna inquired from Krsna that "You taught this philosophy to the sun-godhow I am to believe this?" Because Krsna... Arjuna thought that "Krsna is my friend, my cousin-brother. He is of my age. How is that I can believe that He taught this philosophy to the sun-god." This was not for Arjuna. This question was raised for us. So Krsna replied that "Both you and Me were present. We took many times appearances. But you have forgotten. I do not forget." That is the difference between Arjuna and Krsna, ordinary living entity and God.
Syamasundara: So his definition of reality-reality equals pure experience. He says that reality equals pure...
Prabhupada: Yes. Therefore we should go to the perfect experienced personality; then we can know reality. From his definition it is concluded that we must go to the perfect experienced person and understand what is reality. That is our process.
Syamasundara: The realized person.
Prabhupada: Yes. Then we can know what is reality. I cannot know what is reality, but if I go to the perfect experienced personality, he can tell me what is reality.
Visala: In the Teachings of Lord Caitanya, Your Divine Grace, it mentions that there are three processes: the transcendental process, the speculative philosophical process, and the materialistic process. The devotees go to the transcendental process to get perfect knowledge.
Prabhupada: Yes.
Prabhupada: Yes. Krsna says that 40,000,000..., "Thousands of years before, I spoke this philosophy to Vivasvan"we accept it. That's all.
Syamasundara: He says that there is an aspect of chance in nature.
Prabhupada: Nature means always changing.
Syamasundara: Chance.
Prabhupada: What?
Syamasundara: Chance. Accident. That there is an aspect of accident.
Prabhupada: No, no, no. We don't accept that. If there would have been accident, so many planets are rotating in, and so forth... There is no collision. There is no accident. But in your motorcar there is so many accidents, and people are dying.
Syamasundara: He sees in our human conduct that we have the choice to make certain decisions, certain...
Prabhupada: Decision means because you are imperfect, human beings are imperfect, so their machine, these motorcars, there are so many accidents, so many killing. But because God is so perfect, although all the planets are rotating in their speed, just like this earth is rotating... What is the speed? At least in twenty-four hours it is completing 25,000 miles. That means its speed is about 1000 miles at least. And similarly, other planets are also moving, similarly. And the sun planet is moving at 16,000 miles per minute or second, calculated. But all these planets are moving in this way, so much speed, but they are not colliding. The perfect arrangement is there, and they are floating. How it is possible? This is accidental? Do you think this is accidental?
Syamasundara: Well, he says it like this, that there are alternative courses of action. For every possibility there are several other possibilities. So that for instance a man can make a decision, a choice, to take different, alternative way. So he says that nature works in that way also.
Prabhupada: No. Nature is not working that way. Nature is working very perfectly. We can see. Just after... So perfect that the astronomers, they are calculating that on such and such date there will be an eclipse, and it will be seen in India; it will not be seen in Europe; and exactly at this time the eclipse will begin. So how they are calculating unless there is a rigid law? How it is possible? They are calculating mathematically. The general matter that two plus two is always four, not that by accident it becomes five. That is not possible. So the nature's law is working in that way. Otherwise how one year before you can calculate this solar eclipse and lunar eclipse so rightly? And they can say that from this country it will be seen, and from this country it will be not seen. That means the position of the sun, moon and everything, of the latitude and longitude, everything is so nicely done that you can make calculations very perfectly. How you can say accident? There is no accident.
Devananda: In the Bhagavad-gita even the human behavior is predicted like that. Through the later chapters it is described how people will act in different modes of nature, and they all behave that way.
Prabhupada: Yes. Yes. Just like in Bhagavata it is calculated that lavanyam kesa-dharanam. In the Kali-yuga, in this age, people will think by keeping their long hair he has become beautiful. Now, then, see all the hippies. That is written in the Bhagavatam in India. How it is happening in Europe? Now the Indians also are imitating. So five thousand years before, this was written, lavanyam kesa-dharanam.
Syamasundara: So would even accidents between two automobiles, that would not really be an accident?
Prabhupada: Because it is imperfect, therefore there is an accident.
Syamasundara: Oh! It is an accident?
Prabhupada: Yes.
Syamasundara: That is not determined by any...
Prabhupada: No.
Bhavananda: That's not determined even by karma?
Prabhupada: What?
Bhavananda: It is not determined even by karma?
Prabhupada: Yes. In higher sense it is also like that. That means from God's eyes even the so-called accident is also predestined.
Devananda: Nothing can be outside of the law of God.
Prabhupada: Yes.
Syamasundara: His definition of the world is that it is the stuff of pure experiencethat matter, mind, everything is made up of experience.
Prabhupada: Whose experience? Your experience?
Syamasundara: He doesn't say whose experience. Just experience.
Prabhupada: What does it mean? Experience, there are different types of experience. Your experience is different from my experience. Then we have to calculate whose experience.
Syamasundara: He says the substance called experience sometimes manifests in mind, sometimes manifests as matter. So, for instance, the substance of these flowers is made up of the experience gathered from previous flowers.
Prabhupada: Whose experience? I am asking whose experience? It is not your experience, so nice flowers. You have not made it.
Syamasundara: Presumably the flower's experience.
Prabhupada: That is another nonsense. The flower's experience. (laughs) Just see.
Syamasundara: He just calls this pure experience. He doesn't say whose experience.
Prabhupada: That means his knowledge is not perfect. He is speculating, that's all.
Syamasundara: Isn't everything we see a product of experience?
Prabhupada: Yes. Whose experience? That is my question.
Syamasundara: He doesn't say, so...
Prabhupada: He does not know.
Syamasundara: Whose experience.
Prabhupada: Krsna's experience. Parasya saktir vividhaiva sruyate svabhaviki jnana-bala-kriya ca [Cc. Madhya 13.65, purport]. This is the Vedic version. The Supreme is so much equipped with different kinds of energies. That energy means experience. You can apply your energy if you have got experience. You can apply your energy of drawing a figure, providing you have got experience.
Syamasundara: Yes.
Prabhupada: Similarly, all this display of this universe or anything creation, cosmic manifestations, this is designed by the Supreme, parasya saktir vividhaiva. Multi-energies. Just like this flower. We have got experience that if you paint a flower, it requires so much experience to handle the brush and the colors. So similarly, this is certainly proof of experience, but His energy is acting so nicely, we see that the flower is coming automatically. And the same example I have given so many times, that nowadays in electronics, just like this, so many mechanical arrangement is within there. But I say "putt,"I push on this one button. One who does not know, he sees, "Oh, this is moving so wonderfully." No. There is experience.
Syamasundara: The Darwinists, for instance, would say that this flower through time had the experience that if it produced a nice odor, more bees would come to pollinate it and continue the species. So that the experience is passed on in the gene or the seed of the flower, so...
Prabhupada: Whose experience passed?
Syamasundara: The flower's experience.
Prabhupada: The flower has got experience?
Syamasundara: Don't all living things have experience?
Prabhupada: No. All the living things are experienced, but ultimately they are put into certain condition by the experience of the Supreme. And the flavor of the flower is stated in Bhagavad-gita: punyo gandhah prthivyam ca. There are many flowers, but all of them have no flavor. It must be the arrangement of somebody else who has given flavor to some flowers. He has given somebody beauty and somebody not. Otherwise who will deny beauty? If it had been done by his own experience, then everyone would have been beautiful or every flower would have given flavor. Where is that experience? That means either you say flower's experience or your experience, it is conducted by another, superior experience. What is that?
Devananda: Would another conception be that Krsna is not only the experienced since time immemorial but He is also the experiencer now? He, being the prime enjoyer, enjoyment means experience. He knows nothing but enjoying, so all His experience is enjoying. All His enjoying is His experience. That experience...
Prabhupada: That means that the sum and substance, that is supremely experienced, past, present and future. Unless He is supremely experienced, how He can know future? Past and present..., past, present and future for us, because of the time, eternal time... I am a fragmental production of this time; therefore there is a beginning of my appearance, date. And when I disappear, there is a date of my disappearance. And within this date of appearance and disappearance, there is past, present and future. So my past, present and future and an ant's past, present and future and Brahma's past, present... They are all different.
Syamasundara: Your experience after you, your body finishes, your experience is passed on, so that everything that we see-doors, walls, bodies, mindseverything is made up of previous experience. So and so learned how to build a door this way, and it was passed on...
Prabhupada: That previous experience of Krsna. Just like I was sometimes thinking of Africa, I think. They have made their houses almost like India. I have see that this is the Indian style. I have told you that this is Indian style. So how the Africans got my Indian's experience or the Indian got the African experience? So actually, the Indians did not take experience from Africans, nor the Africans took the experience from the Indians. It is experience of the Supersoul.
Syamasundara: Oh. So just like a man...
Prabhupada: Just like Krsna says. Krsna says, sarvasya caham hrdi sannivisto: [Bg. 15.15] "I am sitting in everyone's heart." Sarvasya caham hrdi sannivisto mattah smrtir jnanam apohanam ca, "I am giving experience." So when the Africans are constructing a house or cottage like the Indians, that is not that the Africans came to India and learned this experience. Or the Indians are constructing a cottage just like the Africans, that does not mean that... Several times I have told you that so far as the pigeon is concerned, the sparrow, I mean to say, either American or Indian, they are of the same size and doing the same thing.
Syamasundara: I think that we have discussed this before under the categories of acquired knowledge and intuitive knowledge, that some knowledge is acquired, experienced; some knowledge is intuitive.
Prabhupada: So the pigeons or the sparrows or the doves are doing the same thing in India as in America. It does not mean these pigeons have gone to America from India.
Syamasundara: So it's intuitive.
Prabhupada: But because they are Krsna's... As Paramatma is there, within the heart of the pigeon in India and America, they are acting similarly. Therefore original experience comes from God. And He says that "I know everything past, present, and future." That is real experience.
Syamasundara: So his definition of reality is pure experience, or...
Prabhupada: He cannot give any definition of reality because he has not experienced. He has not perfectly experienced, so how he can give the definition of reality? What definition he is giving, that is not reality. He has no experience. He is developing experience. So how he can give a definition of reality?
Syamasundara: Actually, he is defining the process.
Prabhupada: What is that process?
Syamasundara: The process is to understand reality, but he is not describing reality.
Prabhupada: He says that reality?
Syamasundara: He says that reality is the stream of consciousness or the flux of life.
Prabhupada: A jugglery of words, that's all.
Syamasundara: One's consciousness, as it develops more and more conscious, then he becomes more and more aware of reality.
Prabhupada: That's all right. But what is the guarantee that he'll develop consciousness fully?
Syamasundara: Yes. What if a man develops into a madman? Does that make him more aware of reality?
Prabhupada: That definition we can give him. When a man becomes Krsna conscious, then he is contacted with reality.
Devananda: It's only when a man becomes Krsna conscious or actually reaches the reality, then he can be sure that the process does lead to the reality. He is speculating that this process will lead to the reality, but he doesn't know it for sure, because it has not actually brought him to the point of reaching the reality.
Prabhupada: Of course, to reach the Krsna consciousness platform the process is not man-made.
Syamasundara: No.
Prabhupada: The process is also God-made. Just like Krsna said that, sarva-dharman parityajya mam ekam saranam vraja [Bg. 18.66]. This is the process. This is not man-made; this is God-made. Man-mana bhava mad-bhakto mad-yaji mam namaskuru [Bg. 18.65]. This is God-made. Daivi hy esa gunamayi mama maya duratyaya mam eva ye prapadyante [Bg. 7.14]. This is God-made. So to come to Krsna conscious platform also, you have to follow the God-made method, not your method. You cannot give any definition.
Syamasundara: But he has a philosophy of religion. And he says that the believer in God has a greater chance than the doubter to discover truth and to gain...
Prabhupada: That... Vinasyati. Those who are doubtful, they vinasyati; they are finished.
Syamasundara: Yes. He says that at least the believer has a greater chance to gain practical advantages by his belief, whereas the doubter doesn't stand any chance to gain...
Prabhupada: That is good. That is good. Then whether he is a believer or a doubter?
Syamasundara: He is a believer, but the extent of his belief we'll discuss in a few moments. He says that the one who disbelieves faces the added risk of losing any chance of discovering the truth.
Prabhupada: Yes.
Syamasundara: So it is better to believe, even though one doesn't know for sure. It is better to believe because it gives one more chance of discovering the truth. He says that we have the right to believe in God, even in the absence of absolute proof. Even though there is no absolute proof, he says, of the existence of God, still we have the right to believe in God because this helps us to get closer to the truth. It gives us a better chance.
Prabhupada: That means he accepts God is truth and that He's existing. Does he say like that or not?
Syamasundara: Yes. He says there is no absolute proof, but...
Prabhupada: But that is proof.
Syamasundara: ...by my belief I get more...
Prabhupada: That he is saying, that if somebody believes, he has got greater chance. Unless the fact is there, simply by believing, how there is chance?
Syamasundara: He says that by this belief I get some strength, some happiness, some practical advantage; therefore I have the right to believe, because I get a practical benefit.
Prabhupada: So practical benefit... Suppose you are getting some warmth, so you believe there must be some fire. So I believe. Unless there is fire, how there is warmth?
Syamasundara: Yes. So the belief itself is the proof.
Prabhupada: Yes.
Devananda: Srila Prabhupada, one thing about James as distinct from many other philosophers is that he felt the personal experience of God.
Prabhupada: Everyone has got personal experience of God.
Devananda: But he recognized it as such.
Prabhupada: Somebody He reveals; sometimes he does not believeHe hides. Everyone has got. Everyone. A human being, every human being has got.
Devananda: That's true. The only experience...
Prabhupada: No, no. The atheists, simply artificially they cover. Naturally he has belief. Naturally he has belief. Even in this primitive stage, as soon as there is something wonderful, natural phenomenon, they offer respects, the primitive man. The man in the jungle, as soon as he sees a big ocean, he offers his respects. As soon as he sees a big mountain, he offers his respects. As soon as there is a thunderbolt... This is called realization of the sakti. Parasya brahmanah sakti. So this is sakta stage, realization of God by seeing something wonderful. That is sakta stage. Then after this state, sakta, sauriyam. Sakta stage, worshiping the energy of Godeverything is energy; then saktyopasanam, then saktasauriyam, then suryopasanam, worshiping the sun, because it is the reservoir of all energies according to the material world. Sakta, sauriya then ganapatya. The ganapatya means that is humanitarian. That energy is distributed-pantheism, humanitarian. Sakta, sauriyam, ganapatya, then saiva, you go on. Then Vaisnava. Impersonal then personalist.
Syamasundara: There is also the demigods in charge of those different departments? Different demigods...
Prabhupada: That is ganapatya. Ganapati, the worshiper of Ganesa. Ganapatya.
Syamasundara: Sakti.
Prabhupada: Sakti, Surya, Ganapati, Siva, and then Visnu-pancopasanam. This is called pancopasanam.
Syamasundara: He says that the mind is not dependent upon the existence of the body; therefore the mind may survive the body...
Prabhupada: That is fact. That, that we say. The gross body, when it is finished, the subtle bodymind, intelligence, ego-remains. That carries me to another gross body. Just like the example is, there is a flavor. You cannot see, but it is carried by the air. If it is coming from the rose garden, you say, "Oh, very nice flavor." You cannot see it, but it is carried by the subtle air. Similarly, I, the spirit soul, when I give up this gross body, then I am carried. I have got body still. That is subtle bodymind, intelligence, and ego. And according to my desire, that subtle body grows into another gross body.
Syamasundara: So the mind and the intelligence, they are not material? That means...
Prabhupada: Material. Subtle.
Syamasundara: But they don't die? They die also? The mind...
Prabhupada: No. Dies and it disappears. Disappear... When you are liberated, then you have no more material mind.
Syamasundara: Oh. But you carry your material mind throughout all of your lifetimes.
Prabhupada: Yes. So long as you are not liberated.
Syamasundara: The same mind.
Prabhupada: Yes. Yes. The same mind.
Syamasundara: So the mind I have now I have always had.
Prabhupada: Yes.
Syamasundara: But the body I have now...
Prabhupada: The body changes. This is also material; that is material. But the subtle material accompanies me, unless I am liberated.
Syamasundara: So the subtle material is capable of longer life. Very long life.
Devananda: It is acquiring samskaras as it goes from body to body, developing new bodies it acquires new samskaras and carrying...
Syamasundara: The mind doesn't deteriorate or get old.
Prabhupada: Changing, that is a mind's business. Changing. Sankalpa, vikalpa-accepting and rejecting.
Syamasundara: Oh. So the mind I have now, the mind I have now...
Prabhupada: Yes.
Syamasundara: ...I may not have had in the past.
Prabhupada: No. No. Why not? The same mind?
Syamasundara: Same mind.
Prabhupada: Rejecting these circumstances, accepting another circumstances.
Syamasundara: Oh, the function is the same, but the contents may be different.
Prabhupada: Same thing. Just like you are sitting here. You can, by the dictation of the mind, you can go somewhere else. You can immediately go to your American home. The mind will carry you.
Syamasundara: He had a vague idea of Brahman realization, by saying that the consciousness...
Prabhupada: Everything is vague idea.
Syamasundara: The consciousness eventually enters into the, what he called the mother sea.
Prabhupada: What?
Syamasundara: The mother sea.
Prabhupada: Mother sea?
Syamasundara: The mother ocean.
Prabhupada: What is that?
Syamasundara: He says that the consciousness eventually enters into the mother ocean. That is as far as he could speculate.
Devananda: Let the bubbles go on popping in the ocean. The bubble bursting into the ocean is the mother sea.
Prabhupada: Merges into the...
Syamasundara: Merges into the...
Prabhupada: ...supreme consciousness.
Syamasundara: Yes. Something like that. He says that experience and not philosophy or theology should form the basis of religious life; that experience should be our religious life and not just philosophy, but actual applied practice.
Prabhupada: Yes. Philosophy will give us the idea of the goal, and our practical application is to give us the right path.
Syamasundara: He says that the life of religion is mankind's most important function.
Prabhupada: That's nice. We say also, without religion a living entity is no better than an animal. So that is very important.
Syamasundara: And he says that the evidence for God's existence is found primarily in one's personal inner experience. One has an intuitive experience that God exists.
Prabhupada: God exists. Just like we say always that God is supposed to be the supreme father. So as I know, even though I did not see my father, but still I know that I had father, or I have father. So if God is the supreme father, He must be there.
Syamasundara: So presumably you could not convince someone through logic or...
Prabhupada: This is logic. This is logic.
Syamasundara: ...like that, that God exists, unless he has a personal inner experience that God exists.
Prabhupada: Yes. It is very simple logic. Because I am born of my father, my father is born of his father, his father is born of his father, go on, go on, and find out the supreme father. After all, there must have been a beginning of all the fathers. So how can I deny the supreme father?
Syamasundara: Unless I have the experience, inner experience of that...
Prabhupada: This is inner experience. It is very simple. Because my father is, therefore I am born of him. He is born of his father, he is born of his father. Go on, that's it. That is, our sastra says, ultimately you will come to Brahma, the father of this universe. The Brahma is also born of Narayana, how you say, Garbhodakasayi Visnu, and the Garbhodakasayi, wherefrom He comes? Maha-Visnu, Karanodakasayi Visnu. Wherefrom Maha-Visnu comes? From Sankarsana. Wherefrom Sankarsana comes? From Narayana. Wherefrom Narayana comes? He comes from Baladeva. Wherefrom does Baladeva comes? Krsna. Therefore the Brahma-samhita says,
He is the original cause of all causes.
Syamasundara: He makes a few comments about religion. He says that "The religious experience is unique, and it enables the individual to realize that the world he perceives is part of a spiritual universe which alone gives the sensory world value, and that man's proper goal is to unite himself with that higher universe. That prayer or inner communion with the universal spirit or God is the means whereby spiritual energy flows in and produces effects, psychological or material, occurring in the phenomenal world. And that religious faith imparts a new zest to life, taking the form either of lyrical enchantment or of appeal to earnestness and heroism, and that religion contributes some assurance of safety and peace and teaches love in human relationships."
Prabhupada: That's nice.
Syamasundara: He says some nice things about...
Prabhupada: That's nice.
Syamasundara: But practically, the practical aspect of religion, that it imparts new zest to life, that it produces psychological and material effects, like that. But he didn't believe that God was unlimited. That was his... He believed that God was somehow limited; because there is evil, because evil exists, that God is somehow limited.
Prabhupada: He does not know that evil does not exist independently. He does not know. In our sastras it says that evil is the back side of God. But it is not independent of God. But either back side or front side, it is God; therefore it is absolute. I cannot neglect my back side. I cannot say that "You can beat me on my back side. Go on, kick me." That I cannot say. The back side is as important as the front side. But comparatively it is explained that evil is back side, papa, sin. That is back side of God.
Syamasundara: He says that we can cooperate with God...
Prabhupada: That means when you are not in front side of God, you are sinful.
Devananda: If one doesn't stand before God, he stands in darkness.
Syamasundara: He says that we can cooperate...
Prabhupada: Those who are sinful, they cannot stand in front of God. Krsna therefore says, yesam anta-gatam papam: unless one has completely uncontaminated from the reaction of papa,
So one cannot be Krsna conscious unless he is freed from all sinful reactions. But if you say, "Then I am so much sinful. How can I become Krsna conscious? It will just take a long, long time." Yes. It will take a long, long time, but if you accept Krsna's order immediately, just "You surrender unto Me and I will give you relief from all sinful reactions," so you surrender to Krsna, so your sinful life immediately becomes pious life. That is a fact. What you think, Visala Prabhu?
Visala: Yes.
Prabhupada: You are hearing?
Visala: Yes.
Prabhupada: So by surrendering unto Krsna, immediately one becomes pious. Is that not a fact?
Visala: Yes.
Prabhupada: That's it.
Syamasundara: So that's all for him.
Prabhupada: Thank you. Now, Mr. ... (end)

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