Dialectical Spiritualism: Karl Marx, Part 6


Aug 10, 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: In Marx's society, private property would be abolished, and there would be common ownership of the means of production. That is, everything would be state owned.

Srila Prabhupada: Well, we have seen in Moscow that the people do not like to go shopping because they are obliged to stand in line for hours. So that system does not appear to be working very well. If you cannot get what you want, what is the use of the stores? Besides, what is the state but an extension of the individual self?

The self is extended in the form of one's family, children, community, and nation. So-called nationalism and Communism are just extensions of the self. The labels are different; the quality remains the same. We may steal ourselves, or have others steal for us. What is the difference? We may say, "Nothing is mine." That much is a fact. But we also say, "Everything belongs to God. "We can live very comfortably in this world with the consciousness that everything belongs to God. God has given us the opportunity to live here, and we should satisfy and glorify God.

Syamasundara dasa: Marx saw the capitalists as parasites living at the cost of the workers.

Srila Prabhupada: But the Communists are also living at the cost of the workers. They are drawing big salaries while others are sweeping the streets. So what is the difference?

Syamasundara dasa: Marx felt that the price of a product should equal the labor expended on it.

Srila Prabhupada: Well, we see that in India the price of ghee has risen, but people are still buying ghee. The price may be two hundred rupees a kilo, or two rupees a kilo. The man who is destined to purchase it will do so, regardless of price.

Syamasundara dasa: Marx would say that no profit should be made off the ghee.

Srila Prabhupada: He is simply pointing out some anomalies, but these anomalies cannot be checked even by the Communists. They will appear in different ways because that is the nature of material existence. Material existence means exploitation, and these anomalies can be checked only when there is Krsna consciousness. You may say that one should not make a profit, but no one will accept this theory. The tendency to make a profit is there, and you cannot stop it. The exploitative mind is there, whether one is a Communist or a capitalist.

In Bengali, this is called maya-tattva. It is a bug's business to suck the blood of others. In the winter, the bug dries up, but as soon as summer comes, he immediately starts sucking again. In the material world, the mentality is to exploit others and become fat like a bug. Whether you are a Communist in the winter, or a capitalist in the summer, your tendencies are the same. As soon as you have an opportunity, you will become fat by extracting the blood of others. Unless there is a change in heart, this cannot be stopped.

Syamasundara dasa: Marx felt that only the workers are entitled to the surplus value of a product.

Srila Prabhupada: But as soon as a worker gets some money, he becomes a proprietor, takes advantage of his position, and becomes a capitalist. What is the point in changing your designation? A change in mentality is needed.

Syamasundara dasa: Since capital is unnecessary for production, Marx urged the workers to unite and violently overthrow the capitalists.

Srila Prabhupada: When one is very poor, he favors his brothers who are also poor and working hard. But as soon as one gets a little money, he immediately becomes a capitalist. This is because everyone in this material world is thinking, "I shall become the Lord." In material life, everyone is searching for a profit, for some adoration, for a position. How can you equalize people forcibly? It is not possible.

Syamasundara dasa: The Communists have played upon this profiteering tendency. If the worker produces more, he is glorified by the state and given a small bonus as incentive.

Srila Prabhupada: This means that he has a tendency to lord it over the creation, and he wants some profit, some bribe. Everyone wants some profit, and the state cannot destroy this tendency, neither by law nor by force.

Syamasundara dasa: The Communists are trying to centralize everything — money, communications, and transport — by putting everything in the hands of the state.

Srila Prabhupada: To what benefit? As soon as all the wealth is centralized, the members of the central government will appropriate it just as Stalin and Khruschev did. All these ideas are useless 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? In any case, the leaders will never be able to train the people to think that everything belongs to the state. This idea is simply Utopian nonsense.

Syamasundara dasa: Another slogan of Marx is: "Human nature has no reality." He believes that man's nature changes through history according to material conditions.

Srila Prabhupada: What does he know of 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 the waves in the ocean. It does not take a very advanced philosophy to understand this. Marx's theory is also changing. It cannot last. Man does, however, have a fundamental nature that never changes, and that is his spiritual nature. We are teaching people to act according to their changeless spiritual nature, and this means serving Krsna. If we try to serve Krsna now, we will continue to serve Him when we go to Vaikuntha, the spiritual world. Therefore loving service to Lord Krsna is called nitya, eternal.

satatam klrtayanto mam
yatantas ca drdha-vratah
namasyantas ca mam bhaktya
nitya-yukta upasate

"Always chanting My glories, endeavoring with great determination, bowing down before Me, these great souls perpetually worship Me with devotion."(Bg. 9.14) The Communists try to replace Krsna with the state, expecting people to think, "Nothing in my favor; everything in favor of the state." But people will never accept this. It is impossible. All the rascals can do is force the people to work, as Stalin did. As soon as someone opposed Stalin, Stalin immediately had his throat cut. The same disease is there today. So how will their program be successful?

Bhaktivedanta Book Trust


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