Perspectives on Science and Philosophy
last updated 30th July 2008
of Self Discovery 7.1: Plato: Goodness and Government
of Self Discovery 7.2: Shortcomings of Marxism
SCIENTIFIC SIDE OF RELIGIOUS CONSCIOUSNESS
by Govindarajan Padmanabhachari
Mundane Science and Krishna
Darwin made a monkey of humankind:
has to be seen
Moonlanding Hoax exposed by Prabhupad
in the 1960s
Science articles in relation to Krishna
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of Self Discovery 7.1: Plato: Goodness and Government
Plato: Goodness and Government
In 1972 and 1973, Çréla
Prabhupäda held a series of philosophical discussions with his personal
secretary, Çyämasundara, while traveling around the world.
These sessions were recorded and published to provide an understanding
of Western philosophy, psychology, and science from the viewpoint of the
timeless teachings of India’s Vedic literature. In the following conversation,
the striking similarities between Plato’s ideal state and that outlined
in the Bhagavad-géta prompt one to ask, “Could Plato have gotten
his ideas from India’s ancient Vedas?”
Plato believed society can enjoy prosperity and harmony only if it places
people in working categories or classes according to their natural abilities.
He thought people should find out their natural abilities and use those
abilities to their fullest capacity—as administrators, as military men,
or as craftsmen. Most important, the head of state should not be an average
or mediocre man. Instead, society should be led by a very wise and good
man—a “philosopher king”—or a group of very wise and good men.
This idea appears to be taken from the Bhagavad-gétä, where
Kåñëa says that the ideal society has four divisions:
brähmaëas [intellectuals], kñatriyas [warriors and administrators],
vaiçyas [merchants and farmers], and çüdras [laborers].
These divisions come about by the influence of the modes of nature. Everyone,
both in human society and in animal society, is influenced by the modes
of material nature [sattva-guëa, rajo-guëa, and tamo-guëa,
or goodness, passion, and ignorance]. By scientifically classifying men
according to these qualities, society can become perfect. But if we place
a man in the mode of ignorance in a philosopher’s post, or put a philosopher
to work as an ordinary laborer, havoc will result.
In the Bhagavad-gétä
Kåñëa says that the brähmaëas—the most intelligent
men, who are interested in transcendental knowledge and philosophy — should
be given the topmost posts, and under their instructions the kñatriyas
[administrators] should work. The administrators should see that there
is law and order and that everyone is doing his duty. The next section
is the productive class, the vaiçyas, who engage in agriculture
and cow protection. And finally there are the çüdras, common
laborers who help the other sections. This is Vedic civilization—people
living simply, on agriculture and cow protection. If you have enough milk,
grains, fruits, and vegetables, you can live very nicely.
compares the four divisions of society to the different parts of the body—the
head, the arms, the belly, and the legs. Just as all parts of the body
cooperate to keep the body fit, in the ideal state all sections of society
cooperate under the leadership of the brähmaëas. Comparatively,
the head is the most important part of the body, for it gives directions
to the other parts of the body. Similarly, the ideal state functions under
the directions of the brähmaëas, who are not personally interested
in political affairs or administration because they have a higher duty.
At present this Kåñëa consciousness movement is training
brähmaëas. If the administrators take our advice and conduct
the state in a Kåñëa conscious way, there will be an
ideal society throughout the world.
How does modern society differ from the Vedic ideal?
Now there is large-scale industrialization, which means exploitation of
one man by another. Such industry was unknown in Vedic civilization—it
was unnecessary. In addition, modern civilization has taken to slaughtering
and eating animals, which is barbarous. It is not even human.
In Vedic civilization, when a person
was unfit to rule he was deposed. For instance, King Vena proved to be
an unfit king. He was simply interested in hunting. Of course, kñatriyas
are allowed to hunt, but not whimsically. They are not allowed to kill
many birds and beasts unnecessarily, as King Vena was doing and as people
do today. At that time the intelligent brähmaëas objected and
immediately killed him with a curse. Formerly, the brähmaëas
had so much power that they could kill simply by cursing; weapons were
At present, however—because the
head of the social body is missing—it is a dead body. The head is very
important, and our Kåñëa consciousness movement is attempting
to create some brähmaëas who will form the head of society. Then
the administrators will be able to rule very nicely under the instructions
of the philosophers and theologians—that is, under the instructions of
God-conscious people. A God conscious brähmaëa would never advise
opening slaughterhouses. But now, the many rascals heading the government
allow animal slaughter. When Mahäräja Parékñit
saw a degraded man trying to kill a cow, he immediately drew his sword
and said, “Who are you? Why are you trying to kill this cow?” He was a
real king. Nowadays, unqualified men have taken the presidential post.
And although they may pose themselves as very religious, they are simply
rascals. Why? Because under their noses thousands of cows are being killed,
while they collect a good salary. Any leader who is at all religious should
resign his post in protest if cow slaughter goes on under his rule. Since
people do not know that these administrators are rascals, they are suffering.
And the people are also rascals because they are voting for these bigger
rascals. It is Plato’s view that the government should be ideal, and this
is the ideal: The saintly philosophers should be at the head of the state;
according to their advice the politicians should rule; under the protection
of the politicians, the productive class should provide the necessities
of life; and the laborer class should help. This is the scientific division
of society that Kåñëa advocates in the Bhagavad-gétä
[4.13]: cätur-varëyaà mayä såñöaà
guëa-karma-vibhägaçaù. “According to the three
modes of material nature and the work ascribed to them, the four divisions
of human society were created by Me.”
Plato also observed social divisions. However, he advocated three divisions.
One class consisted of the guardians, men of wisdom who governed society.
Another class consisted of the warriors, who were courageous and who protected
the rest of society. And the third class consisted of the artisans, who
performed their services obediently and worked only to satisfy their appetites.
Yes, human society does have this threefold division, also. The first-class
man is in the mode of goodness, the second-class man is in the mode of
passion, and the third-class man is in the mode of ignorance.
Plato’s understanding of the social order was based on his observation
that man has a threefold division of intelligence, courage, and appetite.
He said that the soul has these three qualities.
That is a mistake. The soul does not have any material qualities. The soul
is pure, but because of his contact with the different qualities of material
nature, he is “dressed” in various bodies. This Kåñëa
consciousness movement aims at removing this material dress. Our first
instruction is “You are not this body.” It appears that in his practical
understanding Plato identified the soul with the bodily dress, and that
does not show very good intelligence.
Plato believed that man’s position is marginal—between matter and spirit—and
therefore he also stressed the development of the body. He thought that
everyone should be educated from an early age, and that part of that education
should be gymnastics—to keep the body fit.
This means that in practice Plato very strongly identified the self as
the body. What was Plato’s idea of education?
To awaken the student to his natural position—whatever his natural abilities
or talents are.
And what is that natural position?
The position of moral goodness. In other words, Plato thought everyone
should be educated to work in whatever way is best suited to awaken his
natural moral goodness.
But moral goodness is not enough, because simple morality will not satisfy
the soul. One has to go above morality—to Kåñëa consciousness.
Of course, in this material world morality is taken as the highest principle,
but there is another platform, which is called the transcendental (väsudeva)
platform. Man’s highest perfection is on that platform, and this is confirmed
in Çrémad-Bhägavatam. However, because Western philosophers
have no information of the väsudeva platform, they consider the material
mode of goodness to be the highest perfection and the end of morality.
But in this world even moral goodness is infected by the lower modes of
ignorance and passion. You cannot find pure goodness (çuddha-sattva)
in this material world, for pure goodness is the transcendental platform.
To come to the platform of pure goodness, which is the ideal, one has to
undergo austerities (tapasä brahmacaryeëa çamena ca damena
ca). One has to practice celibacy and control the mind and senses. If he
has money, he should distribute it in charity. Also, one should always
be very clean. In this way one can rise to the platform of pure goodness.
There is another process for coming
to the platform of pure goodness—and that is Kåñëa consciousness.
If one becomes Kåñëa conscious, all the good qualities
automatically develop in him. Automatically he leads a life of celibacy,
controls his mind and senses, and has a charitable disposition. In this
age of Kali, people cannot possibly be trained to engage in austerity.
Formerly, a brahmacäré [celibate student] would undergo austere
training. Even though he might be from a royal or learned family, a brahmacäré
would humble himself and serve the spiritual master as a menial servant.
He would immediately do whatever the spiritual master ordered. The brahmacäré
would beg alms from door to door and bring them to the spiritual master,
claiming nothing for himself. Whatever he earned he would give to the spiritual
master, because the spiritual master would not spoil the money by spending
it for sense gratification—he would use it for Kåñëa.
This is austerity. The brahmacäré would also observe celibacy,
and because he followed the directions of the spiritual master, his mind
and senses were controlled.
Today, however, this austerity is
very difficult to follow, so Çré Caitanya Mahäprabhu
has given the process of taking to Kåñëa consciousness
directly. In this case, one need simply chant Hare Kåñëa,
Hare Kåñëa, Kåñëa Kåñëa,
Hare Hare/ Hare Räma, Hare Räma, Räma Räma, Hare Hare
and follow the regulative principles given by the spiritual master. Then
one immediately rises to the platform of pure goodness.
Plato thought the state should train citizens to be virtuous. His system
of education went like this: For the first three years of life, the child
should play and strengthen his body. From three to six, the child should
learn religious stories. From seven to ten, he should learn gymnastics;
from ten to thirteen, reading and writing; from fourteen to sixteen, poetry
and music; from sixteen to eighteen, mathematics. And from eighteen to
twenty, he should undergo military drill. From twenty to thirty-five, those
who are scientific and philosophical should remain in school and continue
learning, and the warriors should engage in military exercises.
this educational program for all men, or are there different types of education
for different men?
this is for everyone.
is not very good. If a boy is intelligent and inclined to philosophy and
theology, why should he be forced to undergo military training?
Well, Plato said that everyone should undergo two years of military drill.
But why should someone waste two years? No one should waste even two days.
This is nonsense—imperfect ideas.
Plato said this type of education reveals what category a person belongs
to. He did have the right idea that one belongs to a particular class according
to his qualification.
Yes, that we also say, but we disagree that everyone should go through
the same training. The spiritual master should judge the tendency or disposition
of the student at the start of his education. He should be able to see
whether a boy is fit for military training, administration, or philosophy,
and then he should fully train the boy according to his particular tendency.
If one is naturally inclined to philosophical study, why should he waste
his time in the military? And if one is naturally inclined to military
training, why should he waste his time with other things? Arjuna belonged
to a kñatriya [warrior] family. He and his brothers were never trained
as philosophers. Droëäcärya was their master and teacher,
and although he was a brähmaëa, he taught them Dhanur Veda [military
science], not brahma-vidyä. Brahma-vidyä is theistic philosophy.
No one should be trained in everything; that is a waste of time. If one
is inclined toward production, business, or agriculture, he should be trained
in those fields. If one is philosophical, he should be trained as a philosopher.
If one is militaristic, he should be trained as a warrior. And if one has
ordinary ability, he should remain a çüdra, or laborer. This
is stated by Närada Muni in Çrémad-Bhägavatam:
yasya yal-lakñaëaà proktam. The four classes of society
are recognized by their symptoms and qualifications. Närada Muni also
says that one should be selected for training according to his qualifications.
Even if one is born in a brähmaëa family, he should be considered
a çüdra if his qualifications are those of a çüdra.
And if one is born in a çüdra family, he should be taken as
a brähmaëa if his symptoms are brahminical. The spiritual master
should be expert enough to recognize the tendencies of the student and
immediately train him in that line. This is perfect education.
Plato believed that the student’s natural tendency wouldn’t come out unless
he practiced everything.
No, that is wrong—because the soul is continuous, and therefore everyone
has some tendency from his previous birth. I think Plato didn’t realize
this continuity of the soul from body to body. According to the Vedic culture,
immediately after a boy’s birth astrologers should calculate what category
he belongs to. Astrology can help if there is a first-class astrologer.
Such an astrologer can tell what line a boy is coming from and how he should
be trained. Plato’s method of education was imperfect because it was based
Plato observed that a particular combination of the three modes of nature
is acting in each individual.
Then why did he say that everyone should be trained in the same way?
Because he claimed that the person’s natural abilities will not manifest
unless he is given a chance to try everything. He saw that some people
listen primarily to their intelligence, and he said they are governed by
the head. He saw that some people have an aggressive disposition, and he
said such courageous types are governed by the heart—by passion. And he
saw that some people, who are inferior, simply want to feed their appetites.
He said these people are animalistic, and he believed they are governed
by the liver.
That is not a perfect description. Everyone has a liver, a heart, and all
the bodily limbs. Whether one is in the mode of goodness, passion, or ignorance
depends on one’s training and on the qualities he acquired during his previous
life. According to the Vedic process, at birth one is immediately given
a classification. Psychological and physical symptoms are considered, and
generally it is ascertained from birth that a child has a particular tendency.
However, this tendency may change according to circumstances, and if one
does not fulfill his assigned role, he can be transferred to another class.
One may have had brahminical training in a previous life, and he may exhibit
brahminical symptoms in this life, but one should not think that because
he has taken birth in a brähmaëa family he is automatically a
brähmaëa. A person may be born in a brähmaëa family
and be a çüdra. It is a question not of birth but of qualification.
Plato also believed that one must qualify for his post. His system of government
was very democratic. He thought everyone should be given a chance to occupy
the different posts.
we are the most democratic because we are giving everyone a chance to become
a first-class brähmaëa. The Kåñëa consciousness
movement is giving even the lowest member of society a chance to become
a brähmaëa by becoming Kåñëa conscious. Caëòälo
’pi dvija-çreñöho hari-bhakti-paräyaëaù:
Although one may be born in a family of caëòälas [dog-eaters],
as soon as he becomes God conscious, Kåñëa conscious,
he can be elevated to the highest position. Kåñëa says
that everyone can go back home, back to Godhead. Samo ’haà sarva-bhüteñu:
“I am equal to everyone. Everyone can come to Me. There is no hindrance.”
What is the purpose of the social orders and the state government?
The ultimate purpose is to make everyone Kåñëa conscious.
That is the perfection of life, and the entire social structure should
be molded with this aim in view. Of course, not everyone can become fully
Kåñëa conscious in one lifetime, just as not all students
in a university can attain the Ph.D. degree in one attempt. But the idea
of perfection is to pass the Ph.D. examination, and therefore the Ph.D.
courses should be maintained. Similarly, an institution like this Kåñëa
consciousness movement should be maintained so that at least some people
can attain and everyone can approach the ultimate goal—Kåñëa
So the goal of the state government is to help everyone become Kåñëa
Yes, Kåñëa consciousness is the highest goal. Therefore,
everyone should help this movement and take advantage of it. Regardless
of his work, everyone can come to the temple. The instructions are for
everyone, and prasädam is distributed to everyone. Therefore, there
is no difficulty. Everyone can contribute to this Kåñëa
consciousness movement. The brähmaëas can contribute their intelligence;
the kñatriyas their charity; the vaiçyas their grain, milk,
fruits, and flowers; and the çüdras their bodily service. By
such joint effort, everyone can reach the same goal—Kåñëa
consciousness, the perfection of life.
of Self Discovery 7.2: Shortcomings of Marxism
In the following dialogue, Çréla
Prabhupäda focuses on Marx’s frustrated attempt to eradicate greed
from human nature and society at large. “A classless society is possible
only when Kåñëa is in the center,” says Çréla
Prabhupäda. “The real change occurs when we say, ‘Nothing belongs
to me, everything belongs to God.’... So Kåñëa consciousness
is the final revolution.”
Karl Marx contended that philosophers have only interpreted the world;
the point is to change it. His philosophy is often called “dialectical
materialism” because it comes from the dialectic of George Hegel—thesis,
antithesis, and synthesis. When applied to society, his philosophy is known
as communism. His idea is that for many generations, the bourgeoisie [the
property owners] have competed with the proletariat [the working class],
and that this conflict will terminate in the communist society. In other
words, the workers will overthrow the capitalistic class and establish
a so-called dictatorship of the proletariat, which will finally become
a classless society.
But how is a classless society possible? Men naturally fall into different
classes. Your nature is different from mine, so how can we artificially
be brought to the same level?
His idea is that human nature, or ideas, are molded by the means of production.
Therefore everyone can be trained to participate in the classless society.
Then training is required?
And what will be the center of training for this classless society? What
will be the motto?
motto is “From each according to his ability, to each according to his
need.” The idea is that everyone would contribute something, and everyone
would get what he needed.
But everyone’s contribution is different. A scientific man contributes
something, and a philosopher contributes something else. The cow contributes
milk, and the dog contributes service as a watchdog. Even the trees, the
birds, the beasts—everyone is contributing something. So, by nature a reciprocal
arrangement is already there among social classes. How can there be a classless
Well, Marx’s idea is that the means of production will be owned in common.
No one would have an advantage over anyone else, and thus one person could
not exploit another. Marx is thinking in terms of profit.
First we must know what profit actually is. For example, the American hippies
already had “profit.” They were from the best homes, their fathers were
rich—they had everything. Yet they were not satisfied; they rejected it.
No, this idea of a classless society based on profit-sharing is imperfect.
Besides, the communists have not created a classless society. We have seen
in Moscow how a poor woman will wash the streets while her boss sits comfortably
in his car. So where is the classless society? As long as society is maintained,
there must be some higher and lower classification. But if the central
point of society is one, then whether one works in a lower or a higher
position, he doesn’t care. For example, our body has different parts—the
head, the legs, the hands—but everything works for the stomach.
Actually, the Russians supposedly have the same idea: they claim the common
worker is just as glorious as the top scientist or manager.
But in Moscow we have seen that not everyone is satisfied. One boy who
came to us was very unhappy because in Russia young boys are not allowed
to go out at night.
The Russian authorities would say that he has an improper understanding
of Marxist philosophy.
That “improper understanding” is inevitable. They will never be able to
create a classless society because, as I have already explained, everyone’s
mentality is different.
Marx says that if everyone is engaged according to his abilities in a certain
type of production, and everyone works for the central interest, then everyone’s
ideas will become uniform.
Therefore we must find out the real central interest. In our International
Society for Krishna Consciousness, everyone has a central interest in Kåñëa.
Therefore one person is speaking, another person is typing, another is
going to the press or washing the dishes, and no one is grudging, because
they are all convinced they are serving Kåñëa.
Marx’s idea is that the center is the state.
But the state cannot be perfect. If the Russian state is perfect, then
why was Khrushchev driven from power? He was elected premier. Why was he
driven from power?
Because he was not fulfilling the aims of the people.
Well, then, what is the guarantee the next premier will do that? There
is no guarantee. The same thing will happen again and again. Because the
center, Khrushchev, was imperfect, people begrudged their labor. The same
thing is going on in non-communist countries as well. The government is
changed, the prime minister is deposed, the president is impeached. So
what is the real difference between Russian communism and other political
systems? What is happening in other countries is also happening in Russia,
only they call it by a different name. When we talked with Professor Kotovsky
of Moscow University, we told him he had to surrender: either he must surrender
to Kåñëa or to Lenin, but he must surrender. He was taken
aback at this.
From studying history, Marx concluded that the characteristics of culture,
the social structure, and even the thoughts of the people are determined
by the means of economic production.
How does he account for all the social disruption in countries like America,
which is so advanced in economic production?
He says that capitalism is a decadent form of economic production because
it relies on the exploitation of one class by another.
there is exploitation in the communist countries also. Khrushchev was driven
out of power because he was exploiting his position. He was giving big
government posts to his son and son-in-law.
He was deviating from the doctrine.
since any leader can deviate, how will perfection come? First the person
in the center must be perfect, then his dictations will be correct. Otherwise,
if the leaders are all imperfect men, what is the use of changing this
or that? The corruption will continue.
the perfect leader would be the one who practiced Marx’s philosophy without
But Marx’s philosophy is also imperfect! His proposal for a classless society
is unworkable. There must be one class of men to administer the government
and one class of men to sweep the streets. How can there be a classless
society? Why should a sweeper be satisfied seeing someone else in the administrative
post? He will think, “He is forcing me to work as a sweeper in the street
while he sits comfortably in a chair.” In our Inter-national Society, I
am also holding the superior post: I am sitting in a chair, and you are
offering me garlands and the best food. Why? Because you see a perfect
man whom you can follow. That mentality must be there. Everyone in the
society must be able to say, “Yes, here is a perfect man. Let him sit in
a chair, and let us all bow down and work like menials.” Where is that
perfect man in the communist countries?
The Russians claim that Lenin is a perfect man.
Lenin? But no one is following Lenin. Lenin’s only perfection was that
he overthrew the czar’s government. What other perfection has he shown?
The people are not happy simply reading Lenin’s books. I studied the people
in Moscow. They are unhappy. The government cannot force them to be happy
artificially. Unless there is a perfect, ideal man in the center, there
cannot possibly be a classless society.
Perhaps they see the workers and the managers in the same way that we do—in
the absolute sense. Since everyone is serving the state, the sweeper is
as good as the administrator.
But unless the state gives perfect satisfaction to the people, there will
always be distinctions between higher and lower classes. In the Russian
state, that sense of perfection in the center is lacking.
Their goal is the production of material goods for the enhancement of human
That is useless! Economic production in America has no comparison in the
world, yet still people are dissatisfied. The young men are confused. It
is nonsensical to think that simply by increasing production everyone will
become satisfied. No one will be satisfied. Man is not meant simply for
eating. He has mental necessities, intellectual necessities, spiritual
necessities. In India many people sit alone silently in the jungle and
practice yoga. They do not require anything. How will increased production
satisfy them? If someone were to say to them, “If you give up this yoga
practice, I will give you two hundred bags of rice,” they would laugh at
the proposal. It is animalistic to think that simply by increasing production
everyone will become satisfied. Real happiness does not depend on either
production or starvation, but upon peace of mind. For example, if a child
is crying but the mother does not know why, the child will not stop simply
by giving him some milk. Sometimes this actually happens: the mother cannot
understand why her child is crying, and though she is giving him her breast,
he continues to cry. Similarly, dissatisfaction in human society is not
caused solely by low economic production. That is nonsense. There are many
causes of dissatisfaction. The practical example is America, where there
is sufficient production of everything, yet the young men are becoming
hippies. They are dissatisfied, confused. No, simply by increasing economic
production people will not become satisfied. Marx’s knowledge is insufficient.
Perhaps because he came from a country where people were starving, he had
Yes, now we’ve seen that production of material goods alone will not make
Because they do not know that real happiness comes from spiritual understanding.
That understanding is given in the Bhagavad-gétä: God is the
supreme enjoyer, and He is the proprietor of everything. We are not actually
enjoyers; we are all workers. These two things must be there: an enjoyer
and a worker. For example, in our body the stomach is the enjoyer and all
other parts of the body are workers. So this system is natural: there must
always be someone who is the enjoyer and someone who is the worker. It
is present in the capitalist system also. In Russia there is always conflict
between the managers and the workers. The workers say, “If this is a classless
society, why is that man sitting comfortably and ordering us to work?”
The Russians have not been able to avoid this dilemma, and it cannot be
avoided. There must be one class of men who are the directors or enjoyers
and another class of men who are the workers. Therefore the only way to
have a truly classless society is to find that method by which both the
managers and the workers will feel equal happiness. For example, if the
stomach is hungry and the eyes see some food, immediately the brain will
say, “O legs, please go there!” and “Hand, pick it up,” and “Now please
put it into the mouth.” Immediately the food goes into the stomach, and
as soon as the stomach is satisfied, the eyes are satisfied, the legs are
satisfied, and the hand is satisfied.
But Marx would use this as a perfect example of communism.
But he has neglected to find out the real stomach.
His is the material stomach.
But the material stomach is always hungry again; it can never be satisfied.
In the Kåñëa consciousness movement we have the substance
for feeding our brains, our minds, and our souls. Yasya prasädäd
bhagavat-prasädaù. If the spiritual master is satisfied, then
Kåñëa is satisfied, and if Kåñëa is
satisfied, then everyone is satisfied. Therefore you are all trying to
satisfy your spiritual master. Similarly, if the communist countries can
come up with a dictator who, if satisfied, automatically gives satisfaction
to all the people, then we will accept such a classless society. But this
is impossible. A classless society is only possible when Kåñëa
is in the center. For the satisfaction of Kåñëa, the
intellectual can work in his own way, the administrator can work in his
way, the merchant can work in his way, and the laborer can work in his
way. This is truly a classless society.
How is this different from the communist country, where all sorts of men
contribute for the same central purpose, which is the state?
The difference is that if the state is not perfect, no one will willingly
contribute to it. They may be forced to contribute, but they will not voluntarily
contribute unless there is a perfect state in the center. For example,
the hands, legs, and brain are working in perfect harmony for the satisfaction
of the stomach. Why? Because they know without a doubt that by satisfying
the stomach they will all share the energy and also be satisfied. Therefore,
unless the people have this kind of perfect faith in the leader of the
country, there is no possibility of a classless society.
The communists theorize that if the worker contributes to the central fund,
he will get satisfaction in return.
Yes, but if he sees imperfection in the center, he will not work enthusiastically
because he will have no faith that he will get full satisfaction. That
perfection of the state will never be there, and therefore the workers
will always remain dissatisfied.
The propagandists play upon this dissatisfaction and tell the people that
foreigners are causing it.
But if the people were truly satisfied, they could not be influenced by
outsiders. If you are satisfied that your spiritual master is perfect—that
he is guiding you nicely—will you be influenced by outsiders?
Because the communist state will never be perfect, there is no possibility
of a classless society.
examines history and sees that in Greek times, in Roman times, and in the
Middle Ages slaves were always required for production.
The Russians are also creating slaves—the working class. Joseph Stalin
stayed in power simply by killing all his enemies. He killed so many men
that he is recorded in history as the greatest criminal. He was certainly
imperfect, yet he held the position of dictator, and the people were forced
to obey him.
His followers have denounced him.
That’s all well and good, but his followers should also be denounced. The
point is that in any society there must be a leader, there must be directors,
and there must be workers, but everyone should be so satisfied that they
forget the difference.
Ah, no envy. But that perfection is not possible in the material world.
Therefore Marx’s theories are useless.
But on the other hand, the capitalists also make slaves of their workers.
Wherever there is materialistic activity, there must be imperfection. But
if they make Kåñëa the center, then all problems will
Are you saying that any system of organizing the means of production is
bound to be full of exploitation?
Yes, certainly, certainly! The materialistic mentality means exploitation.
Then what is the solution?
How is that?
Just make Kåñëa the center and work for Him. Then everyone
will be satisfied. As it is stated in the Çrémad-Bhägavatam
If you simply pour water on the root
of a tree, all the branches, twigs, leaves, and flowers will be nourished.
Similarly, everyone can be satisfied simply by acyutejyä. Acyuta means
Kåñëa, and ijyä means worship. So this is the formula
for a classless society: Make Kåñëa [God] the center
and do everything for Him. There are no classes in our International Society
for Krishna Consciousness. Now you are writing philosophy, but if I want
you to wash dishes, you will do so immediately because you know that whatever
you do, you are working for Kåñëa and for your spiritual
master. In the material world different kinds of work have different values,
but in Kåñëa consciousness everything is done on the
absolute platform. Whether you wash dishes or write books or worship the
Deity, the value is the same because you are serving Kåñëa.
That is a classless society. Actually, the perfect classless society is
Våndävana. In Våndävana, some are cowherd boys, some
are cows, some are trees, some are fathers, some are mothers, but the center
is Kåñëa, and everyone is satisfied simply by loving
Him. When all people become Kåñëa conscious and understand
how to love Him, then there will be a classless society. Otherwise it is
yathä taror müla-niñecanena
tathaiva sarvärhaëam acyutejyä
Marx’s definition of communism is “The common or public ownership of the
means of production, and the abolition of private property.” In our International
Society for Krishna Consciousness, don’t we have the same idea? We also
say, “Nothing is mine.” We have also abolished private property.
While the communist says, “Nothing is mine,” he thinks everything belongs
to the state. The state, however, is simply an extended “mine.” For example,
if I am the head of a family, I might say, “I do not want anything for
myself, but I want many things for my children.” Mahatma Gandhi, who sacrificed
so much to drive the English out of India, was at the same time thinking,
“I am a very good man; I am doing national work.” Therefore, this so-called
nationalism or so-called communism is simply extended selfishness. The
quality remains the same. The real change occurs when we say, “Nothing
belongs to me; everything belongs to God, Kåñëa, and
therefore I should use everything in His service.” That is factual.
Marx says that the capitalists are parasites living at the cost of the
But the communists are also living at the cost of the workers: the managers
are drawing big salaries, and the common workers are dissatisfied. Indeed,
their godless society is becoming more and more troublesome. Unless everyone
accepts God as the only enjoyer and himself simply as His servant, there
will always be conflict. In the broad sense, there is no difference between
the communists and the capitalists because God is not accepted as the supreme
enjoyer and proprietor in either system. Actually, no property belongs
to either the communists or the capitalists. Everything belongs to God.
Marx condemns the capitalists for making a profit. He says that profit-making
is exploitation and that the capitalists are unnecessary for the production
Profit-making may be wrong, but that exploitative tendency is always there,
whether it is a communist or a capitalist system. In Bengal it is said
that during the winter season the bugs cannot come out because of the severe
cold. So they become dried up, being unable to suck any blood. But as soon
as the summer season comes, the bugs get the opportunity to come out, so
they immediately bite someone and suck his blood to their full satisfaction.
Our mentality in this material world is the same: to exploit others and
become wealthy. Whether you are a communist in the winter season or a capitalist
in the summer season, your tendency is to exploit others. Unless there
is a change of heart, this exploitation will go on.
I once knew a mill worker who acquired
some money. Then he became the proprietor of the mill and took advantage
of his good fortune to become a capitalist. Henry Ford is another example.
He was an errand boy, but he got the opportunity to become a capitalist.
There are many such instances. So, to a greater or lesser degree, the propensity
is always there in human nature to exploit others and become wealthy. Unless
this mentality is changed, there is no point in changing from a capitalist
to a communist society. Material life means that everyone is seeking some
profit, some adoration, and some position. By threats the state can force
people to curb this tendency, but for how long? Can they change everyone’s
mind by force? No, it is impossible. Therefore, Marx’s proposition is nonsense.
Marx thinks the minds of people can be changed by forced conditioning.
That is not possible. Even a child cannot be convinced by force, what to
speak of a mature, educated man. We have the real process for changing
people’s minds: chanting the Hare Kåñëa mantra. Ceto-darpaëa-märjanam:
This process cleanses the heart of material desires. We have seen that
people in Moscow are not happy. They are simply waiting for another revolution.
We talked to one working-class boy who was very unhappy. When a pot of
rice is boiling, you can take one grain and press it between your fingers,
and if it is hot you can understand all the rice is boiling. Thus we can
understand the position of the Russian people from the sample of that boy.
We could also get further ideas by talking with Professor Kotovsky from
the India Department of Moscow University. How foolish he was! He said
that after death everything is finished. If this is his knowledge, and
if that young boy is a sample of the citizenry, then the situation in Russia
is very bleak. They may theorize about so many things, but we could not
even purchase sufficient groceries in Moscow. There were no vegetables,
fruits, or rice, and the milk was of poor quality. If that Madrasi gentleman
had not contributed some dahl and rice, then practically speaking we would
have starved. The Russians’ diet seemed to consist of only meat and liquor.
communists play upon this universal profit motive. The worker who produces
the most units at his factory is glorified by the state or receives a small
Why should he get a bonus?
To give him some incentive to work hard.
to satisfy his tendency to lord it over others and make a profit, his superiors
bribe him. This Russian communist idea is very good, provided the citizens
do not want any profit. But that is impossible, because everyone wants
profit. The state cannot destroy this tendency either by law or by force.
The communists try to centralize everything—money, communications, and
transport—in the hands of the state.
But what benefit will there be in that? As soon as all the wealth is centralized,
the members of the central government will appropriate it, just as Khrushchev
did. These are all useless ideas as long as the tendency for exploitation
is not reformed. The Russians have organized their country according to
Marx’s theories, yet all their leaders have turned out to be cheaters.
Where is their program for reforming this cheating propensity?
Their program is to first change the social condition, and then, they believe,
the corrupt mentality will change automatically.
Impossible. Such repression will simply cause a reaction in the form of
Are you implying that the people’s mentality must first be changed, and
then a change in the social structure will naturally follow?
Yes. But the leaders will never be able to train all the people to think
that everything belongs to the state. This idea is simply utopian nonsense.
Marx has another slogan: “Human nature has no reality.” He says that man’s
nature changes through history according to material conditions.
He does not know the real human nature. It is certainly true that everything
in this cosmic creation, or jagat, is changing. Your body changes daily.
Everything is changing, just like waves in the ocean. This is not a very
advanced philosophy. Marx’s theory is also being changed; it cannot last.
But man does have a fundamental nature that never changes: his spiritual
nature. We are teaching people to come to the standard of acting according
to their spiritual nature, which will never change. Acting spiritually
means serving Kåñëa. If we try to serve Kåñëa
now, we will continue to serve Kåñëa when we go to Vaikuëöha,
the spiritual world. Therefore, loving service to Lord Kåñëa
is called nitya, or eternal. As Kåñëa says in the Bhagavad-gétä,
nitya-yukta upäsate: “My pure devotees perpetually worship Me with
The communists give up Kåñëa
and replace Him with the state. Then they expect to get the people to think,
“Nothing in my favor; everything in favor of the state.” But people will
never accept this idea. It is impossible; let the rascals try it! All they
can do is simply force the people to work, as Stalin did. As soon as he
found someone opposed to him, he immediately cut his throat. The same disease
is still there today, so how will their program be successful?
Their idea is that human nature has no reality of its own. It is simply
a product of the material environment. Thus, by putting a man in the factory
and making him identify with the state and something like scientific achievement,
they think they can transform him into a selfless person.
But because he has the basic disease, envy, he will remain selfish. When
he sees that he is working so hard but that the profit is not coming to
him, his enthusiasm will immediately slacken. In Bengal there is a proverb:
“As a proprietor I can turn sand into gold, but as soon as I am no longer
the proprietor, the gold becomes sand.” The Russian people are in this
position. They are not as rich as the Europeans or the Americans, and
One of the methods the authorities in Russia use is to constantly whip
the people into believing there may be a war at any moment. Then they think,
“To protect our country, we must work hard.”
If the people cannot make any profit on their work, however, they will
eventually lose all interest in the country. The average man will think,
“Whether I work or not, I get the same result. I cannot adequately feed
and clothe my family.” Then he will begin to lose his incentive to work.
A scientist will see that despite his high position, his wife and children
are dressed just like the common laborer.
Marx says that industrial and scientific work is the highest kind of activity.
But unless the scientists and the industrialists receive sufficient profit,
they will be reluctant to work for the state.
Russian goal is the production of material goods for the enhancement of
Their “human well-being” actually means, “If you don’t agree with me, I’ll
cut your throat.” This is their “well-being.” Stalin had his idea of “human
well-being,” but anyone m who disagreed with his version of it was killed
or imprisoned. They may say that a few must suffer for the sake of many,
but we have personally seen that Russia has achieved neither general happiness
nor prosperity. For example, in Moscow none of the big buildings have been
recently built. They are old and ravaged, or poorly renovated. Also, at
the stores the people had to stand in long lines to make purchases. These
are indications that economic conditions are unsound.
Marx considered religion an illusion that must be condemned.
The divisions between different religious faiths may be an illusion, but
Marx’s philosophy is also an illusion.
Do you mean that it’s not being practiced?
In the sixty years since the Russian Revolution, his philosophy has become
distorted. On the other hand, Lord Brahmä began the Vedic religion
countless years ago, and though foreigners have been trying to devastate
it for the last two thousand years, it is still intact. Vedic religion
is not an illusion, at least not for India.
is Marx’s famous statement about religion. He says, “Religion is the sigh
of the oppressed creature, the heart of the heartless world, just as it
is the spirit of the spiritless situation. It is the opium of the people.”
He does not know what religion is. His definition is false. The Vedas state
that religion is the course of action given by God. God is a fact, and
His law is also a fact. It is not an illusion. Kåñëa
gives the definition of religion in Bhagavad-gétä [18.66]:
sarva-dharmän parityajya mäm ekaà çaraëaà
vraja. To surrender unto God—this is religion.
believes everything is produced from economic struggle and that religion
is a technique invented by the bourgeoisie or the capitalists to dissuade
the masses from revolution by promising them a better existence after death.
He himself has created a philosophy that is presently being enforced by
coercion and killing.
And he promised that in the future things will be better. So he is guilty
of the very thing that he condemns religion for.
we have often explained, religion is that part of our nature which is permanent,
which we cannot give up. No one can give up his religion. And what is that
religion? Service. Marx desires to serve humanity by putting forward his
philosophy. Therefore that is his religion. Everyone is trying to render
some service. The father is trying to serve his family, the statesman is
trying to serve his country, and the philanthropist is trying to serve
all humanity. Whether you are Karl Marx or Stalin or Mahatma Gandhi, a
Hindu, a Muslim, or a Christian, you must serve. Because we are presently
rendering service to so many people and so many things, we are becoming
confused. Therefore, Kåñëa advises us to give up all
this service and serve Him alone:
“Abandon all varieties of service and
just surrender unto Me. I shall deliver you from all sinful reactions.
Do not fear.” [Bhagavad-gétä 18.66]
mäm ekaà çaraëaà
ahaà tväà sarva-päpebhyo
The communists—and even to a certain extent the capitalists—believe that
service for the production of goods is the only real service. Therefore
they condemn us because we are not producing anything tangible.
How can they condemn us? We are giving service to humanity by teaching
the highest knowledge. A high court judge does not produce any grains in
the field. He sits in a chair and gets $25,000 or $30,000. Does that mean
he is not rendering any service? Of course he is. The theory that unless
one performs manual labor in the factory or the fields he is not doing
service would simply give credit to the peasant and the worker. It is a
There is a story about a king and
his prime minister. Once the king’s salaried workers complained, “We are
actually working, and this minister is doing nothing, yet you are paying
him such a large salary. Why is that?” The king then called his minister
in and also had someone bring in an elephant. “Please take this elephant
and weigh it,” the king said to his workers. The workers took the elephant
to all the markets, but they could not find a scale large enough to weigh
the animal. When they returned to the palace the king asked, “What happened?”
One of the workers answered, “Sir, we could not find a scale large enough
to weigh the elephant.” Then the king addressed his prime minister, “Will
you please weigh this elephant?” “Yes, sir,” said the prime minister, and
he took the elephant away. He returned within a few minutes and said, “It
weighs 11,650 pounds.” All the workers were astonished. “How did you weigh
the elephant so quickly?” one of them asked. “Did you find some very large
scale?” The minister replied, “No. It is impossible to weigh an elephant
on a scale. I went to the river, took the elephant on a boat, and noted
the watermark. After taking the elephant off the boat, I put weights in
the boat until the same watermark was reached. Then I had the elephant’s
weight.” The king said to his workers, “Now do you see the difference?”
One who has intelligence has strength, not the fools and the rascals. Marx
and his followers are simply fools and rascals. We don’t take advice from
them; we take advice from Kåñëa or His representative.
So religion is not simply a police force to keep people in illusion?
No. Religion means to serve the spirit. That is religion. Everyone is rendering
service, but no one knows where his service will be most successful. Therefore
Kåñëa says, “Serve Me, and you will serve the spiritual
society.” This is real religion. The Marxists want to build a so-called
perfect society without religion, yet even up to this day, because India’s
foundation is religion, people all over the world adore India.
Marx says that God does not create man; rather, man creates God.
That is more nonsense. From what he says, I can tell he is a nonsensical
rascal and a fool. One cannot understand that someone is a fool unless
he talks. A fool may dress very nicely and sit like a gentleman amongst
gentlemen, but we can tell the fools from the learned men by their speech.
Marx’s follower was Nikolai Lenin. He reinforced all of Marx’s ideas and
added a few of his own. He believed that revolution is a fundamental fact
of history. He said that history moves in leaps, and that it progresses
toward the communist leap. He wanted Russia to leap into the dictatorship
of the proletariat, which he called the final stage of historical development.
No. We can say with confidence—and they may note it carefully—that after
the Bolshevik Revolution there will be many other revolutions, because
as long as people live on the mental plane there will be only revolution.
Our proposition is to give up all these mental concoctions and come to
the spiritual platform. If one comes to the spiritual platform, there will
be no more revolution. As Dhruva Mahäräja said, nätaù
paraà parama vedmi na yatra nädaù: “Now that I am seeing
God, I am completely satisfied. Now all kinds of theorizing processes are
finished.” So God consciousness is the final revolution. There will be
repeated revolutions in this material world unless people come to Kåñëa
The Hare Kåñëa revolution.
The Vedic injunction is that people are searching after knowledge, and
that when one understands the Absolute Truth, he understands everything.
Yasmin vijïäte sarvam evaà vijïätaà bhavati.
People are trying to approach an objective, but they do not know that the
final objective is Kåñëa. They are simply trying to make
adjustments with so many materialistic revolutions. They have no knowledge
that they are spiritual beings and that unless they go back to the spiritual
world and associate with the Supreme Spirit, God, there is no question
of happiness. We are like fish out of water. Just as a fish cannot be happy
unless he is in the water, we cannot be happy apart from the spiritual
world. We are part and parcel of the Supreme Spirit, Kåñëa,
but we have left His association and fallen from the spiritual world because
of our desire to enjoy this material world. So unless we reawaken the understanding
of our spiritual position and go back home to the spiritual world, we can
never be happy. We can go on theorizing for many lifetimes, but we will
only see one revolution after another. The old order changes, yielding
its place to the new. Or in other words, history repeats itself.
says that there are always two conflicting properties in material nature,
and that the inner pulsation of opposite forces causes history to take
leaps from one revolution to another. He claims that the communist revolution
is the final revolution because it is the perfect resolution of all social
and political contradictions.
If the communist idea is spiritualized, then it will become perfect. As
long as the communist idea remains materialistic, it cannot be the final
revolution. They believe that the state is the owner of everything. But
the state is not the owner; the real owner is God. When they come to this
conclusion, then the communist idea will be perfect. We also have a communistic
philosophy. They say that everything must be done for the state, but in
our International Society for Krishna Consciousness we are actually practicing
perfect communism by doing everything for Kåñëa. We know
Kåñëa is the supreme enjoyer of the result of all work
(bhoktäraà yajïa-tapasäm). The communist philosophy
as it is now practiced is vague, but it can become perfect if they accept
the conclusion of the Bhagavad-gétä—that Kåñëa
is the supreme proprietor, the supreme enjoyer, and the supreme friend
of everyone. Then people will be happy. Now they mistrust the state, but
if the people accept Kåñëa as their friend, they will
have perfect confidence in Him, just as Arjuna was perfectly confident
in Kåñëa on the Battlefield of Kurukñetra. The
great victory of Arjuna and his associates on the Battlefield of Kurukñetra
showed that his confidence in Kåñëa was justified:
“Wherever there is Kåñëa,
the master of all mystics, and wherever there is Arjuna, the supreme archer,
there will also certainly be opulence, victory, extraordinary power, and
morality. That is my opinion.” [Bhagavad-gétä 18.78] So if
Kåñëa is at the center of society, then the people will
be perfectly secure and prosperous. The communist idea is welcome, provided
they are prepared to replace the so-called state with God. That is religion.
yatra yogeçvaraù kåñëo
yatra pärtho dhanur-dharaù
tatra çrér vijayo
dhruvä nétir matir mama
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