Oct 11, 2017 CANADA (SUN) Conversations wtih HDG A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, excerpted from Dialectical Spiritualism: A Vedic View of Western Philosophy.
Sigmund Freud (1856-1934)
Hayagriva dasa: Freud further writes: "The riddles of the universe only reveal themselves slowly to our inquiry. To many questions science can
as yet give no answer; but scientific work is our only way to the knowledge of external reality No, science is no illusion. But it would be an illusion to suppose that we can get anywhere else what it cannot give us."
Srila Prabhupada: First of all, we have to learn what the object of knowledge is. The word veda means "knowledge, " and anta means "ultimate. "
Unless you come to the ultimate point of knowledge, or Vedanta, your
knowledge is imperfect or insufficient. The ultimate object of knowledge
is God, and if we cannot define God or explain His nature, we have not
reached the ultimate point of knowledge. God is a fact, but unfortunately
we have no clear idea of Him. This means that our knowledge has not
reached the ultimate point — that is, it is imperfect. If the knowledge of
a philosopher or scientist is imperfect, of what value is it? According to
the Vedic method, we receive our knowledge from the perfect person:
Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
Hayagriva dasa: As for the origin of religions, Freud writes: "As it is a
delicate task to decide what God has Himself ordained and what derives
rather from the authority of an all-powerful parliament or a supreme judicial decision, it would be an indubitible advantage to leave God out
of the question altogether, and to admit honestly the purely human origin
of all cultural laws and institutions."
Srila Prabhupada: God does not derive power from anyone. As stated
in the beginning of Srimad-Bhagavatam: janmady asya yato ' nvayad
itaratas carthesv abhijnah sva-rat (Bhag. 1.1.1). The Supreme God, the
Absolute Truth, knows everything in complete detail. The word abhijnah
means "complete awareness." How is it God has complete knowledge?
From whom has He received this knowledge? The answer is: sva-rat. He
does not receive it from anyone. He is completely independent. If God
has to receive knowledge from Mr. Freud, He is not God. God is the only
person who is completely independent.
na tasya karyam karanam ca vidyate
na tat-samas cabhyadhikas ca drsyate
parasya saktir vividhaiva sruyate
sva-bhaviki jhana-bala-kriya ca
"He does not possess bodily form like that of an ordinary living entity.
There is no difference between His body and His soul. He is absolute.
All H is senses are transcendental. Any one of His senses can perform
the action of any other sense. Therefore, no one is greater than Him or
equal to Him. His potencies are multifarious, and thus His deeds are
automatically performed as a natural sequence." (Svetasvatara Upanisad
6.7-8) God is naturally all perfect, and He doesn't have to adopt some
process in order to become perfect. Anyone who is trying to be perfect
is not God. When Krsna was only three months old, He could kill the
big giant Putana. His potencies are there automatically, whether He
appears as a child or as a young man. Nowadays, so-called yogis are
trying to become God by meditating, but Krsna did not have to meditate.
If God is always God, He doesn't have to learn anything from anyone.
That is the true meaning of independence. If we want to know something
about God, we should receive knowledge from Him directly, or from a
person who knows Him. This is the direction given in Bhagavad-gita:
tad viddhi pranipatena
upadeksyanti te jhanam
"Just try to learn the truth by approaching a spiritual master. Inquire
from him submissively and render service unto him. The self-realized
soul can impart knowledge unto you because he has seen the truth." (Bg. 4.34) The word tattva-darsinah refers to one who factually knows about
God. It is necessary to learn about God from one who has seen Him eye
to eye. Arjuna, for instance, was talking to God on the battlefield of
Kuruksetra. If we wish to understand God, we should understand Him
as Arjuna did. What was Arjuna's understanding? That is found in the
Tenth Chapter of Bhagavad-gita:
param brahma param dhama
pavitram paramam bhavan
purusam sasvatam divyam
adi-devam ajarh vibhum
ahus tvam rsayah sarve
devarsir naradas tatha
asito devalo vyasah
svayarh caiva bravisi me
"You are the Supreme Brahman, the ultimate, the supreme abode and
purifier, the Absolute Truth, and the eternal divine person. You are the
primal God, transcendental and original, and You are the unborn and
all-pervading beauty. All the great sages such as Narada, Asita, Devala,
and Vyasa proclaim this of You, and now You Yourself are declaring it
to me." (Bg. 10.12-13)
Hayagriva dasa: Concerning early religious training, Freud writes: "So
long as a man's early years are influenced by the religious thought-inhibition and by the lower one derived from it, as well as by the sexual one,
we cannot really say what he is actually like." Freud strongly believed
that early religious education warps a man's natural development.
Srila Prabhupada: What is wrong with informing a child that there is a
Supreme Being controlling the whole cosmic situation? Is it that Freud
did not believe in education?
Hayagriva dasa: He felt that children should not be indoctrinated with
religious "thought-inhibitions. "
Srila Prabhupada: But there must be some form of education, and
spiritual education is the most important. The only business of human
life is to learn about God. Lower species cannot understand God, but
understanding is possible in the human form. Therefore spiritual education is primary.
Hayagriva dasa: Marx called religion "the opiate of the people," and
Freud similarly says that "the consolations of religion may be compared
to that of a narcotic."
Srila Prabhupada: As I have said before, neither Marx nor Freud know what religion is, and that is their difficulty. First, they have to learn what
religion is before they can discuss it intelligently.
Bhaktivedanta Book Trust