Aug 01, 2017 CANADA (SUN) Conversations wtih HDG A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, excerpted from Dialectical Spiritualism: A Vedic View of Western Philosophy.
Karl Marx (1818-1883)
Hayagriva dasa: For Marx, there is nothing spiritual in the universe. He writes: "An incorporeal substance is just as much a contradiction as
an incorporeal body. Body, being, substance are one and the same real idea. One cannot separate the thought from matter which thinks."
Srila Prabhupada: When there is no spirit soul within the body, the body is considered dead. Otherwise, what is the difference between a dead body and a living body?
Hayagriva dasa: He further writes: "Since only what is material is perceptible, knowable, nothing is known of the existence of God. I am sure
only of my own existence."
Srila Prabhupada: But if he does not know of the spirit soul, how can he be certain of his own existence? What is his idea of life? Why is the
body like a dead stone when life has ended? He must first understand what life is.
Hayagriva dasa: He felt that consciousness is basically social. "Life is
not determined by consciousness,"he writes, "but consciousness by
life Consciousness is therefore from the very beginning a social prod
uct, and remains so as long as men exist at all."
Srila Prabhupada: Then why does life have an end? Why does he cease
to exist? What is the answer to this? The soul of man exists, but why
does he die? Death is a fact, and it cannot be denied. During this lifetime,
he may speak very loudly, but as soon as he is dead, he can speak no more. Where is consciousness then?
Hayagriva dasa: Marx opposed Comte's recommendation of the worship
of women, and also the worship of God in nature. "There is no question,"
he writes, "that modem sciences, which along with modem industry,
have revolutionized the whole of nature and put an end to man's childish
attitude toward nature, as well as to other forms of childishness The
position as regards to the worship of female is the same as nature
Srila Prabhupada: But how has science overcome the basic laws of nature? Has man put an end to birth, death, old age, and disease? If not,
what is the meaning of revolutionizing or conquering nature? Nature's
laws are going on just as before. Before Marx died, his father and mother
died, and their parents died before them, and so on. How has man then
conquered nature? Death, old age, and disease continue. Where is the
Hayagriva dasa: If there is no improvement, he would feel that it is
because religion has been an impediment.
Srila Prabhupada: This has nothing to do with religion. This is the work
of nature. When a man takes birth, he faces death. How has science
revolutionized this matter? Nature's work is going on despite all the
theories of Marx and others. So how have they surpassed the laws of
Hayagriva dasa: Marx felt that religion is the cause of constant antagonism between men. "The most persistent form of antagonism between
the Jew and the Christian is religious antagonism,"he writes. "How does
one solve an antagonism? By making it impossible. And how is a religious
antagonism made impossible? By abolishing religion."
Srila Prabhupada: The question of antagonism is solved if we know God
and God's desires. If we know the government and its laws, there is no
antagonism. Antagonism is there when so-called religious systems do
not know of God and His desires. God and His regulations are clearly
described in the Bhagavad-gita, and therefore we are advocating the
reading of Bhagavad-gita so people will know God and His instructions.
As I have said before, religion means understanding God according to a
system. God is the supreme proprietor and the supreme friend of
everyone. He is the enjoyer of everything. People claim that their religion
is better than others, but first of all we must know what religion is. It is
knowing the orders of the supreme proprietor, and living according to
them. If we do not know what religion is, why criticize religion and create
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