Aug 08, 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)
Syamasundara dasa: Well, the goal is the production of goods for the material well being of all people.
Srila Prabhupada: That is useless. We have seen that production in America is beyond comparison in the world, and that is a capitalist society. Yet despite so much production, people are not satisfied. The young men especially are confused. It is nonsensical to think that by increasing production you will satisfy people. Man is not created simply to eat. Man also has a brain and spiritual and intellectual necessities.
In India, we have seen people sitting silently in a solitary place and practicing yoga. There is no question of production satisfying them. The proposition that everyone will be satisfied by increasing production is a proposition for animals. The basic principle is nonsensical and due to insufficient knowledge. Perhaps Marx was thinking like that because he was coming from a country where people were starving. This means that he has no conception of what happiness actually is.
Happiness is in understanding the truths given in Bhagavad-gita. We
are happy when we know that God is the proprietor of everything and
that He is the supreme enjoyer. We are not enjoyers; we are all workers.
By nature there are enjoyers and workers. In your body, for instance,
the stomach enjoys, and all the other parts work to satisfy the stomach.
When the stomach is satisfied, all other parts of the body are nourished.
Everywhere we look, we see that there are those who are enjoying, and
those who are working. There is no question of a Communist or capitalist
society. You cannot avoid the fact that there must be directors, or enjoyers, and workers. We therefore have to find out how both the manager
and the worker can feel equal happiness. There must be cooperation for
a central purpose, and a classless society is possible only when Krsna
is at the center. Then the brahmanas, ksatriyas, vaisyas, and sudras all
work for His satisfaction.
yatah pravrttir bhutanam
yena sarvam idam tatam
svakarmana tarn abhyarcya
siddhim vindati manavah
"By worship of the Lord, who is the source of all beings, and who is all
pervading, man can, in the performance of his own duty, attain perfection."(Bg. 18.46) Each class works in his own way for the satisfaction
of Krsna. The brahmana contributes one thing, and the ksatriyas, vaisyas, and sudras, something else:
samo damas tapah saucam
ksantir arjavam eva ca
jnanam vijnanam astikyam
sauryam tejo dhrtir daksyam
yuddhe capy apalayanam
danam isvara-bhavas ca
ksatram karma svabhava-jam
"Peacefulness, self-control, austerity, purity, tolerance, honesty, wisdom, knowledge, and religiousness — these are the qualities by which
the brahmanas work. Heroism, power, determination, resourcefulness,
courage in battle, generosity, and leadership are the qualities of work
for the ksatriyas. Farming, cow protection, and business are the qualities
of work for the vaisyas. And for the sudras, there is labor and service to
Syamasundara dasa: How does this differ from the Communist state
wherein the street sweepers, the managers, the farmers, and the military
all contribute for the central purpose, the state?
Srila Prabhupada: If the state is not perfect, no one will be willing to
contribute to it. Of course, you may force people to contribute to it; that
is a different thing. But voluntary contribution will be there only when
people are satisfied that the center is perfect. In any case, there will
never be a classless society because there will always be an intellectual
class, an administrative class, a mercantile class, and a working class.
People will never find perfection in the state; therefore the workers will
always remain dissatisfied. If not, why are they always running their
leaders out of office?
Syamasundara dasa: In examining history, Marx noted that the main
production amongst the ancient Greeks and Romans was carried out by
slaves, and in feudal times by serfs.
Srila Prabhupada: But the Communists have also created slaves; they
call them workers. When you have workers, you must also have people
directing them. Therefore a dictator is needed. There must be directors
and workers in any society, but they should be so satisfied that they
forget their differences. That is, there should be no envy. If you make
the center anything other than Krsna, you will have nothing but materialistic activity. Materialism necessarily means exploitation. The
only solution is Krsna consciousness. We must make Krsna the center,
and work for Him. This is the formula: pour water on the root of the tree,
and all the branches, twigs, and leaves will be satisfied. By satisfying
Krsna, we satisfy everyone. Arjuna had many problems, but by satisfying
Krsna, all his problems were resolved. When we put Krsna at the center,
everything we do is absolute. We may either write books or wash the
dishes; our activities will not collide because they are on the absolute
platform. In Vrndavana, some living entities are cowherd boys, some are
cows, some are trees, and so on, but they are all satisfied because Krsna
is the center, and they are happy by loving Him. When people become
Krsna conscious and understand how to love Krsna, there will be a classless
society. Otherwise, it is not possible. It is all bogus, humbug.
Syamasundara dasa: Marx felt that in the capitalistic state, a few men
control at the expense of many.
Srila Prabhupada: But there are only a few men in the Kremlin. What
is the difference? Marx was interested in changing society, but we can
see there is no difference. Society can be changed only when the center
is Krsna. The people in this International Society for Krsna Consciousness have actually changed their lives. Unless the consciousness of
people is changed, how can the social structure change? First of all, we
must change the consciousness; then society will change. If the consciousness of people does not change first, how will they accept a new
theory? First, we must change the heart, and that is the process of Krsna
consciousness. Ceto-darpana-marjanam (Siksastaka 1). By chanting, we
cleanse the mirror of the mind.
If the consciousness is the same, what do you gain by changing the
form of government? You will have the same situation. When you see
stool on the ground, one side is dry, and the other side is moist. If you
think, "Oh, this side is very nice because it is dry, "you are very foolish.
After all, any way you look at it, it is stool. There will always be people
who are hungry, and people who are wealthy. There will always be people
with different ideas and capacities. People will never become the same.
Temporary situations are created by materialistic men or by the laws of
nature; they come and they go. Krsna tells us in Bhagavad-gita that we
should be fixed on the absolute platform and not worry about these temporary things. Agamapayino 'nityas tarns titiksasva (Bg. 2.14). A sane
man should not bother with these temporary "ism's. "We do not support
capitalism or Communism, this idea or that idea. Our only concern is
how to satisfy Krsna. We know perfectly well that all these systems will come and go, that if they are existing now, in the future they will not
continue to exist. We must fix ourselves up with that system which is
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