Jul 06, 2017 CANADA (SUN) Conversations wtih HDG A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, excerpted from Dialectical Spiritualism: A Vedic View of Western Philosophy.
VIII. EVOLUTIONARY NATURALISM
Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (1844-1900)
Hayagriva dasa: One last point on Nietzsche. He believed in eternal recurrence — that is, after this universe has been destroyed, it will be
repeated again after many aeons.
Srila Prabhupada: In Bhagavad-gita, it is stated, bhutva bhutva praliyate (Bg. 8.19). This material world is manifest at a certain point, maintained for a certain period, then destroyed. Brahma, Visnu, and Siva are in charge of creation, maintenance, and destruction. Above them is Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. It is the nature of everything material to be created, maintained, and annihilated.
Hayagriva dasa: Well, that's one type of general repetition, but
Nietzsche believed that everything will be repeated infinitely in every
detail. That is, the detailed arrangements of this world will eventually
recur sometime in the future.
Srila Prabhupada: The creation will be repeated in detail in that the
twenty-four elements will again be assembled. There are the five gross
elements — earth, water, fire, air, and ether — and three subtle elements:
mind, intelligence, and ego. There are the ten senses, and the five sense
objects. All these will be created again.
Hayagriva dasa: That's one type of detail, but he believes that eventually, Friedrich Nietzsche will live again from 1844 to 1900.
Srila Prabhupada: The year 1844 is an element of time, and from the
moment of creation, we may begin to assign dates. In this way, the date
may again be repeated. For instance, every day is a new day, but in
every day there is six o'clock, eight o'clock, and so on. There is automatic
Hayagriva dasa: If this is the case, if one has to continue being Friedrich
Nietzsche, or whoever, how is liberation possible?
Srila Prabhupada: This material world is created for the conditioned
soul, who is put here in order to learn his position as the eternal servant
of God. Lord Brahma, the first created being in the universe, is given
the Vedic instructions, and he distributes them through the disciplic
succession, from Brahma to Narada, from Narada to Vyasadeva, from
Vyasadeva to Sukadeva Gosvami, and so on. These instructions encourage the conditioned soul to return home, back to Godhead. If the conditioned soul rejects them, he remains in the material world until it is
annihilated. At that time, he remains in an unconscious state, just like
a child within the womb of his mother. In due course of time, his consciousness revives, and he again takes birth. The point is that anyone
can take advantage of the Vedic instructions and go back to Godhead.
Unfortunately, the conditioned living entities are so attached to the material world that they repeatedly want to take up material bodies. In this
way, history repeats. There is again creation, maintenance, and destruction.
Hayagriva dasa: Nietzsche believes that even the minute details will
recur. That is, he would again be Friedrich Nietzsche, living in Germany,
going through the same actions, writing the same books, and so on.
Srila Prabhupada: Why is he so attached to Germany? That is his attachment for maya. Under maya's influence, we think that we will again
return in these same bodies and do the same things. Sometimes when
people hanker after this repetition, they go to an astrologer and ask, "Can
we again come back as husband and wife?" This is all due to attachment.
There may be an accidental recurrence, and one will again be a husband
and have a wife, but he will not have exactly the same wife. That is an
illusion. What is the point in combining the same husband and wife?
The living entities combine for some sense gratification, and they get it,
be it this husband or that wife. The purpose is the same, though the
minute details are different.
Hayagriva dasa: Sometimes people claim to have experiences of deja-vu, thinking that they have been at the same spot before doing the same
thing. This convinced Nietzsche of the doctrine of eternal recurrence.
Srila Prabhupada: People simply want the same atmosphere. This is
due to maya's influence.
Bhaktivedanta Book Trust