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
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
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
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
"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