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Philosophy Discussion on Soren Aabye Kierkegaard

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Soren Kierkegaard (1813 - 1855)

Śyāmasundara: ...philosopher is called Kierkegaard. He was a Danish philosopher, last century. He is the father of what is called existentialism, which is a very prominent modern philosophy, probably the most prominent modern philosophy. Last time we were discussing the phenomenologists, who are interested in getting at the "whatness," or the essence of a thing. These existentialists, they are more interested in the "thatness," or the existence of a thing. So this Kierkegaard describes three steps of the life experience. The first step he calls the aesthetic step or stage of life. This aesthetic stage of life is characterized by two types of persons: that one engaged in sense gratification completely, unrestricted sense pleasure; and the mental speculator or philosopher. He said that in both cases that both persons are uncommitted to any specific goals and that they become bored with their activities, unrestricted sense gratification and philosophical speculation; that they are devoid of commitment - they are not committing themselves to anything, simply enjoying and speculating - and that this type of life, this aesthetic type of life, is...

Prabhupāda: So how they can be philosopher if they have no ultimate goal?

Śyāmasundara: He says they are not really philosophers; they are mental speculators.

Prabhupāda: So mental speculator anyone can become, without any aim. What is this? Ship without a rudder, a man without aim.

Śyāmasundara: They said that both of these types of persons become bored with themselves and they get a feeling of emptiness or meaninglessness or despair. He calls it despair, hopelessness, nothingness. So that this pleasure...

Prabhupāda: That we condemn, śūnyavādi. Śūnyavādi, or nirviśeṣa śūnyavādi, impersonalists and voidists. They must be overcome by despair. They have no aim. They do not know what is the aim of life. Being disgusted in the present form of life, they, when they have no conclusion, no high aim, they become disappointed. That is the cause of these hippies.

Śyāmasundara: Yes. He says that then they indulge in pleasure and mental speculation as a diversionary tactic. To try to cover up this despair, they become more indulged in sense pleasure and more speculating.

Prabhupāda: Just like people in the material world, when a businessman failure, he takes to drinking. Sometimes great shock, in order to forget, one takes to drinking. Yes. Intoxication.

Śyāmasundara: So he says that this is the stepping-stone, or the first stage toward self-realization, that from this despair that one can find his authentic selfhood.

Prabhupāda: This we will admit. That is, therefore the Vedānta-sūtra is there. When fickle people become disgusted, that "We have worked so hard, but still we could not attain the goal of life, peace and prosperity," despair, then they begin to think, "Actually, what is the purpose of life?" That is called brahma-jijñāsā, inquiring into the Absolute Truth or the ultimate truth of life. That is natural in human life. That sort of inquiry is necessary for further development.

Śyāmasundara: He says that to find our authentic selfhood then the next step, beginning with the stage of not being committed to anything, is to be aware that life is an "either/or" decision; that we must begin to commit ourselves to certain patterns of action and make conscious commitments - either this or that - and make decisions and become concerned, ethically(?] concerned with life. This he says is the second stage toward self-realization.

Prabhupāda: Self-realization, as I said, that enquiring to the Absolute Truth. It is not that?

Śyāmasundara: Yes.

Prabhupāda: I think that. Yes. That is self-realization. So there the philosophy of life begins: inquiry into the origin, source of everything.

Śyāmasundara: The emphasis of these existentialists is upon acting. They think that first there must come an active decision to say, be concerned one way or the other about something, and take an active role in dealing with life rather than aimlessly taking pleasure from it. But try to ethically become involved with life and make decisions, either this or that.

Prabhupāda: So these things are very nicely described in Vedānta-sūtra, and Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is the right commentary on Vedānta-sūtra. Just like it is also philosophy, that what is the actual aim of life, or what is the Absolute Truth. So the Vedānta-sūtra is so nicely made, the answer is also there. The Absolute Truth must be that thing which is the origin of everything. Now Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam discusses what is the nature of that origin. This requires philosophical as well as authentic proof. Now, that origin, first of all the origin is conscious or not conscious. Origin, just like these some philosophers, they are tracing life from bones, tracing life. So now one should be intelligent enough to understand whether actually life can begin from bones and stones or life begins from life, actual life. So if the origin of everything, you can say the original source of creation or the creator, if you take it as creator, that we have to take. But creation does not take automatically. There is no proof. There is no proof. From matter, automatically creation takes place, that is not very perfect philosophy, neither one can support this view in the long run. Therefore Śrīmad-Bhāgavata says that the origin of everything must be conscious. And that consciousness, also, existence, existing eternally. Not that consciousness has developed under certain conditions. In this way Bhāgavata has explained, Vedānta-sūtra has explained the origin very logically and sensibly. So these answers are there in the Bhāgavata and Vedānta-sūtra.

Śyāmasundara: They... What they're more concerned with is that they find themselves here in this world as an active living being, and they are concerned more with the activities of life, how to...

Prabhupāda: But how the activity came? Then one should be..., intelligent man should be concerned first of all wherefrom this activity came. What is the origin of activity? That is philosophy. You are simply seeing there are... Sometimes we see activity in matter, just like the cloud, cloud is coming on the sky, it is moving, there is activity. But that activity, this material activity, is interaction. That is not real activity. Real activity, just like modern science, they are concerned with the material science, seeing the activity, they are saying it is by nature it is going; rather, a fruit is coming out, a flower is coming out, this is, there is activity. So one should know what is the cause of this activity. They think that it is automatically coming, by nature, nature. They cannot explain. That is not philosophy. But we have to see wherefrom this activity comes. We get answer from Bhagavad-gītā that behind all these material activities there is a brain, there is a... That is God. Just like this machine is working, acting. It is talking. As soon as you press one button it's talking. But a child will say, "Oh, how wonderful this machine is talking." This is childish. One who has got sense, he'll know this talking is not coming automatically. Somebody has talked, and it is simply a record. That is intelligence. So wherefrom the activity is coming?

Śyāmasundara: They say that at this level of existence that we can't say where it is coming from. We simply find...

Prabhupāda: Then you can't say, then you learn. Then you are not in the perfect stage.

Śyāmasundara: No. This is only the middle stage, he calls.

Prabhupāda: So the middle stage, so then you have to learn. You are not perfect, so you do not know. So one who does not know, his speculation, what is the value? Just like a child, if he does not know how the machine is working, how, then his speculation on this machine, what is the value of it? Without perfect knowledge, simply speculation, that is going on. The modern civilization, they prefer simply speculation without any basic truth. That is the defect. Andhā yathāndhair upanīyamānās (SB 7.5.31). And they have become leaders, philosophers, scientists. Bhāgavata condemns them: andhā yathāndhair upanīyamānās. They are blind themselves and they are trying to lead other blind men. So their leading, their science, their philosophy are practically useless. They cannot give any benefit to the human society. Childish.

Śyāmasundara: So if...

Prabhupāda: If you do not know, then why do you take the post of teacher? This is our proposition. If you do not know, sit down. It is better not to talk foolish. There is an English proverb: "It is better not to talk than to talk foolish." If you do not know, then don't talk. That is nice. What is the use of philosophically foolishly talking this and that and "maybe," "perhaps," like that, like that? What is the use of such knowledge?

Śyāmasundara: So he proposes these three stages of existence. The first one we talked about is the aesthetic stage of noncommitment - simply sense gratification and speculation. The second stage he says that a man makes a leap in commitment and begins to concern himself or involve himself with the world on an ethical level. And the third stage is the religious stage, or self-realization. But in the second stage he says that "The despair of life has lead one to the commitment to make choices, to commit himself to action and to enter into life's involvement and become ethically concerned; that suddenly he's turned within himself and in his passion and freedom and decision or subjectivity, then he begins to find himself."

Prabhupāda: What does he find?

Śyāmasundara: This may be likened to the people who do pious works, or the people who do good to others, who are morally committed to life, on that level. To feed others, clothe others, like that. They say that that is a step higher than simply sense gratification and speculation. He says that "This is a move in the right direction toward authentic selfhood, and eventually this way we will understand what I am. And because we are at last doing something, we are involved with life, then we are no more abstract. We are existing." Then we are existing. That someone who is doing all sense gratification and mental speculation, they are living abstract life, abstract life, external life. Simply waiting for the enjoyment of life and speculating what is the meaning of things, that is abstract life, and this being committed to action or decision-making is called existence. This is the first step toward real existence. So in this ethical stage he says that by the very act of making decisions that we become aware, that we become more and more aware, and that decision-making means awareness. And if we make choices about anything, that means that we are becoming aware.

Prabhupāda: What is the decision? Why people become moral - to feed the poor, like that, humanitarian? What is the decision, ultimate decision?

Śyāmasundara: He says that it's not so much the fact of the decision but how the decision is made: if it's made with integrity and self-confidence.

Prabhupāda: How the decision... Why, how the decision is made, that I still don't know. How? Why? Why they make such decision? One man is running on a slaughterhouse. He's killing only. Another man is after humanitarian work, giving food, giving them chance to live. So what is the ultimate decision?

Śyāmasundara: The decision is...

Prabhupāda: There are two sides. There are two kinds of people are going. The same man, he is giving charity for feeding poor man or giving relief to the distressed man, but at the same time he's encouraging animal-killing. So what is the ethics? What is the ethical law in these two contradictory activities? One side... Just like our Vivekananda. He is advocating daridra-nārāyaṇa sevā, "Feed the poor," but feed the poor with mother Kālī's prasāda, where poor goats are killed. Just like, another, one side feeding the poor, another side killing the poor goat. So what is the ethic? What is the ethical law in this connection? Just like people open hospitals, and the doctor prescribes, "Give this man," what it is called," (Hindi), ox blood, or chicken juice." So what is this ethic? And they're supporting that "Here is chicken juice." Just because animal has no soul, so they can be killed. This is another theory. So why the animal has no soul? So imperfect knowledge. So on the basis of imperfect knowledge this ethic or this humanitarian, what is the value? We do not give any value to all this understanding. Where is the ethics? If you protect the human life by giving him something by killing - there are so many medicines, but the killing is very prominent - then next point should be that if you say that the human life is important, so nonimportant animal-killing can be supported to save the important. Then the question will be, "Why it is important? Why consider the human life is important and the animal life is not important?" These are the questions of ethical law. Where are these discussions on the ethical laws?

Śyāmasundara: He gives importance not so much to the facts of the...

Prabhupāda: Then if there is no fact, then what is the use of such philosophy? It is not based on fact.

Śyāmasundara: Yeah. He gives stress on how the decision is made.

Prabhupāda: When decision is made, then you should go farther. How the decision is made, that is our question. How is this made this decision, that you kill somebody and by killing somebody you protect somebody? How this decision is? That is our question. What is the answer?

Śyāmasundara: His answer is that you make the decision by inwardness, by turning inward...

Prabhupāda: And what is that inward mean? Why you are thinking that "I shall give protection to my brother by killing another gentleman"? Why you are thinking like this? What is the ethic? What is the value of ethic? That is our question.

Śyāmasundara: Well, perhaps his ethical man would not make that decision. Perhaps his ethical man would make the decision to protect the cow also. Because the idea is that through a passionate, feeling, awareness inside that one will come to the right decisions, that, that...

Prabhupāda: But he has no standard of right decision. What is the standard of right decision?

Śyāmasundara: His... It's... It's not so much... His motto is not so much "Know thyself" as to "Choose thyself." He's not so much saying that what you...

Prabhupāda: So how you can make your choice if you do not know yourself? You make your choice, "This is good, this is bad." So this choice is made when you know yourself. So this is my interpretation. I have interest in this; therefore it is good. That, so without knowing yourself, how you can make this choice? How you can make your decision?

Śyāmasundara: He says that you will know yourself when you begin choosing yourself. And when you begin making choices and examining them, you find the right choice for you, and you will begin to know yourself. That this passionate, inner awareness when one becomes engaged in life, in doing things actively, and making decisions...

Prabhupāda: So this choice, when you know yourself, so how you can know yourself unless you go to somebody who knows things as they are? Just like people know that "I am this body." But this kind of knowing is animal knowing. This kind of knowing, that "I am this body," yasyātma-buddhiḥ kuṇape tri-dhātuke (SB 10.84.13). If one understands that "I am this body," then he is no better than an ass. The animals, the ass, the ass also thinks, "I am this body," and you also think that you are body, then what is the difference between you and the ass? And what is the value of the philosophy of an ass if you are in the bodily concept of life?

Śyāmasundara: This particular philosophy puts emphasis on the act of deciding, that whatever is decided doesn't matter, but...

Prabhupāda: But you cannot decide without your aim. What is the aim of life?

Śyāmasundara: Well, he says that because we cannot know the aim or...

Prabhupāda: Then how we can make decision?

Śyāmasundara: Then we must make a choice, either this or that.

Prabhupāda: That is childish. That is childish. Just like a child, he does not know. He sometimes plays with these things, sometimes plays with these things, sometimes plays with that. That's all. That is child.

Śyāmasundara: Well, his idea is that you choose one fact and stick to it, whether..., no matter what it is, but that it must be..., your decisions must be free, full of passion, tension and integrity.

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: What about someone like Hitler, who chose...

Śyāmasundara: Just like, just like Hitler, they might say, or actually the whole hippie philosophy comes from these men, these existentialists. It's not... It doesn't matter what you do, it's that you do it with conviction, determination, passion, freedom.

Prabhupāda: However foolish it may be. That is nice. (laughter) However foolish it may be, you go on.

Śyāmasundara: They would admire Hitler because at least he stuck to his principles.

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: They would admire Hitler.

Prabhupāda: Ah?

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: They would admire Hitler for sticking to his principles and acting upon them.

Prabhupāda: So what happened? Hitler became vanquished. That's all.

Devotee: Now they admire the Hell's Angels.

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: Wouldn't you say that pretty much, that this philosophy is guiding a lot of the figures, the youth...?

Śyāmasundara: This is the most prevalent philosophy today, guiding people. It says that because God is dead, that we don't know where we came from, all we know is that we're here existing, the only way we can genuinely know ourself and exist authentically...

Prabhupāda: But our point is that we do not know genuinely. What we know, that is foolishness, that is asses' knowledge. Just like ass knows that "I am this body. I am the servant of this washerman." So this knowledge, like this. So he has made the decision. The ass has made this decision that "I shall take a morsel of grass and whole day I shall carry tons of cloth of this washerman." He has made this decision, that's all. Then is it that the decision is very nice? This is asses' decision, that's all.

Śyāmasundara: They say that rather than indulge in unrestricted sense gratification or spend our life speculating about...

Prabhupāda: So why not unrestricted sense gratification, if one makes that decision?

Śyāmasundara: Just because it becomes boring.

Prabhupāda: Ah?

Śyāmasundara: He says because unrestricted sense gratification becomes boring and full of despair and...

Prabhupāda: That is boring, then he, he must give that aim of life which is not boring.

Śyāmasundara: He says the only..., that it is not boring if one becomes actively engaged somehow with life, you see. He gets a purpose in life and chooses to act on that purpose.

Prabhupāda: How you make such choice, that is the point. Whimsically.

Śyāmasundara: No. He says this choice is made through inward, subjective, passionate search, and it will come out.

Prabhupāda: So that inward, subjective, just like these Bowery bums - what is called?

Devotees: Bowery bums.

Prabhupāda: Yes. So they have made decision as soon as they get some money, purchase one bottle whiskey and drink it, and lie down.

Śyāmasundara: Then he would say there is no decision being made there. There is no commitment to any ethical decision there. That is just sense gratification. He says the next higher level above unrestricted sense gratification is to take up a cause, a good cause, and determine...

Prabhupāda: So how he'll make it a good cause? The good cause is relative. You think something good cause, I think something good cause, so what is really good cause? Who will, who will decide that this is good cause?

Śyāmasundara: He says that the good cause is determined when we begin to anticipate death. He says that if we lived every moment as if we might die soon in anticipation of death that we will make the right decisions. That then the value, the real value of things will come out.

Prabhupāda: That is not possible, because we see that in the slaughterhouse the animal is seeing that "Next life is mine." What decision he can make? And still he is standing there and does not go away.

Śyāmasundara: He's not exactly human. The human being, he can think of things, death.

Prabhupāda: The human being, if he is like animal, then he must be animal. Just like this is human being, that one should think that "I do not wish to die, but death is overcoming me. So what is the cause, and what should I do?" That is human being. Nobody says, if any one of us is asked, "Would you like to die?" You may whimsically say yes, but no, actually he does not like to die. But death overcomes. If I ask somebody that "Would you like to be diseased?" he'll say no, but disease is coming. So these are the human problems, that simply making some whimsical decision. The real decision is that I do not wish to suffer, but suffering comes upon me. So how to make the solution? And that is real decision. And everyone is trying to do that. Everyone is working so hard just to get out of suffering.

Śyāmasundara: One of the examples that this man's successor has used, which probably would apply here, is that in the case, for instance, of having to fight... (break)

Prabhupāda: ...not working?

Śyāmasundara: It ended. I had to turn it over.

Prabhupāda: So therefore, considering as he says past, present and future, we have to act in such a way what is beneficial for past, present and future, and then the next question is that if I existed in the past, am existing now, and I shall exist in future, then what is this body? The body, this body was not in the past. This body, it will exist for some years, and in the future it will not exist. Then you immediately understand that this body is external. Then my decision should be not on the basis of body, but on the basis of my real position, the soul. These things (indistinct). That is right decision.

Śyāmasundara: Yes. He says whereas the condition of modern man - that he is disintegrated and he doesn't have connection with the past; he's lost his memory; he has no connection with the future, then he becomes hopeless - that the opposite of this is the integrated personality: that he has memory and that he has hope, these two qualities. In other words, his present position is connected with the past and future. This is the integrated personality.

Prabhupāda: That is being taught, that integration, that Kṛṣṇa reminds that you were in the past, you will be in future, and you are existing now. So decision should be taken on this platform. That is real decision.

Śyāmasundara: He said that at the moment of decision or of commitment of the integrated personality that the self unites the past with the future and establishes an integrity.

Prabhupāda: Then he comes to the point of self.

Śyāmasundara: Yes. That the self...

Prabhupāda: And he accepts that self is eternal, integrating past, present and future.

Śyāmasundara: Yes. Well, this is the next level. This is the third and highest level. He said that first of all there's the aesthetic level of unrestricted sense gratification, but this ends in despair. Then comes the ethical level, when one decides, "Well, I will take a cause, good cause, and I will commit myself to it and act upon that." Then he comes to the development of the religious stage, or the highest stage. When he, his decision-making power is so advanced that...

Prabhupāda: In other words, he's supporting our movement.

Śyāmasundara: Yes.

Prabhupāda: Because we are in the topmost stage.

Śyāmasundara: He does. The modern philosophers, his foIlowers like Sartre and Camus and people like that, they have only followed his lower development stages. They have not thought of this aspect of a religious stage. He said that the ethical stage is typified by a regard for duty, but this advances to the religious stage when there is obedience and commitment to God. And the chief symptoms of this stage...

Prabhupāda: So it is not that he is supporting our movement?

Śyāmasundara: No, no. He does. He says that the chief symptoms of the religious..., when one is advanced to the religious stage, are suffering and faith.

Prabhupāda: Not always suffering. (indistinct) We are, we in religious. Suppose we are in the topmost. Does it means that we are suffering?

Śyāmasundara: He is a Christian religionist. He's a Christian religionist. They give importance to suffering. "Christ suffered for us, so we..." He says that to abstain from sin means suffering, we are suffering.

Prabhupāda: That is also wrong theory. If Christ is God, or God's son, then why he should suffer? God is subjected to suffering? Then what kind of God He is?

Devotee: They say that he did not suffer for God; he suffered for man.

Prabhupāda: Anyway, if there is no suffering, then where is the question of suffering for God or suffering for man?

Śyāmasundara: They say that it's a paradox, that... They say that it's a paradox or an apparent contradiction that the Transcendental came into the material world and appeared to suffer for men, but actually he does not suffer because He is God, that He only appeared to suffer to save us from our sins and remind us always not to sin.

Prabhupāda: But why the Christians are committing sins still? They have given contract to Jesus Christ that "You suffer for us and we go on committing sins." Very good philosophy.

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: What is their concept of God?

Śyāmasundara: Well, going on now, he says that these life stages or these three levels that we talked about are the levels of attaining selfhood. That is, that selfhood is an achievement, not that it is a given human nature, but that it is an achievement. Not that a self-realized soul is simply that way because that is his nature, but because he has achieved that stage through... He's developed to that stage through consciously...

Prabhupāda: Without any endeavor he'll achieve?

Śyāmasundara: No, no. That he has, with great endeavor, intelligently and consciously achieved that stage. Not that he has without any endeavor got that stage. It is not natural stage, even...

Prabhupāda: So when that endeavor is made?

Śyāmasundara: It is made passing through these three stages of development.

Prabhupāda: That means this endeavor is possible in human form of life. Therefore we are preaching that the human form is especially meant for God realization. That is the first function of the human form of life. Not to act as animal. That is our (indistinct).

Śyāmasundara: There are some philosophies such as the phenomenologists, they say that essence is prior to existence, but these existentialists say that existence is prior to essence; in other words, that by existing we come to our essence. We realize ourself by going through stages of different existence.

Prabhupāda: Yes. That is our theory, that we are struggling or transmigrating from different species of life, and when we come to the perfectional stage of living condition, human form of life, so then we understand what is the aim of life. So as spirit soul I am existing, and then, at my perfectional stage, I learn what is the essence of life. Essence of life is Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Therefore existence is first, and then to understand the essence.

Śyāmasundara: Ah. He says the culmination of commitment is religious life, or he calls it the inwardness of suffering, that we...

Prabhupāda: No. We don't follow that. Suffering, actually there is no suffering, because a spirit soul is different from the body. The same example: Just like when there is accident in the motorcar, the motor driver or the owner of the car is not actually suffering. But because he has identified his motorcar with himself, therefore he is suffering. Similarly, either you say God and all God's personal parts and parcels, the living entities, the spirit soul, he has no suffering. But the ordinary spirit soul, because he has identified himself with the matter, he suffers, whereas God, because He has full knowledge and is always apart from this material world, nāhaṁ teṣv avasthitaḥ, just like Bhagavad-gītā. There is..., God has no suffering. It is a question of, just like the same example: In a motorcar I am sitting and my friend is sitting. There is some accident; the motorcar is lost. So this man who possesses the motorcar, he suffers, but I do not suffer. I am in the same car, but I do not suffer. What is the difference? The difference is that I have full knowledge that I am not this car, but he, being identified with the car, being ignorant, he is suffering. So it is a question of knowledge where there is suffering and no suffering.

Śyāmasundara: Oh. So penance and austerity, that it is not really suffering? What does suffering involve?

Prabhupāda: No, no. No suffering. Those who are advanced in knowledge, there is no suffering. Actually those who are spiritually advanced, if there is some bodily pain, he knows that "I am not this body. Why should I suffer? Let me do my duty. Hare Kṛṣṇa." That is advancement.

Śyāmasundara: Well, by this inwardness of suffering, he applies... The same principle, the same idea is there, that one goes on, and he risks...

Prabhupāda: Actually, suffering is due to ignorance, that's all.

Śyāmasundara: Yes. That he risks serving God on his faith of...

Prabhupāda: There is no reason.

Śyāmasundara: ...and whatever...

Prabhupāda: Because he knows that "I am part and parcel of God. So my duty is to serve God." So where is the suffering?

Śyāmasundara: Yes. Yeah.

Prabhupāda: That is pleasure, serving God. Just like Rūpa Gosvāmī, just see, in the cottage. They are minister. They are ministers. Tyaktvā tūrṇam aśeṣa-maṇḍala-pati-śreṇīm. They are living most aristocratically, and now they are taking the place of mendicants living in the cottage, no bodily comfort, no servants, nothing of the sort. Does it mean they are suffering? There is one... That is stated in the, that vande rūpa-sanātana, that they, tyaktvā tūrṇam aśeṣa-maṇḍala-pati-śreṇīṁ sadā tuccha-vat. They gave up as most insignificant this society, this aristocracy. Tyaktvā tūrṇam aśeṣa-maṇḍala-pati-śreṇīṁ sadā tuccha-vat. It is... What is the value of this? Give up. And bhūtvā dīna-gaṇeśakau karuṇayā kaupīna-kanthāśritau. And in order to become merciful to the mass of people, they accept simply loincloth, any way covering, that's all. That is a suffering? No. They are not suffering. Then people may say that that is suffering. But for them, there is a... Gopī-bhāva-rasāmṛtābdi-laharī-kallola-magnau muhur. Then he merged into the ocean, in the thought that how gopīs, gopī-bhāva, they are transacting their business with Kṛṣṇa. Gopī-bhāva-rasāmṛta. That is a ocean of transcendental bliss. So because they're merged into that ocean, what is this suffering? They have no sense of suffering. One man is suffering because he has identified with this body, he is suffering. But they were identified with the cause of the gopīs. They are simply writing Kṛṣṇa's pastimes with gopīs, Vidagdha-mādhava, Lalitā-mādhava, Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu. They are simply engaged in thoughts of Kṛṣṇa and the gopīs and writing, writing, writing. So what is the suffering? Other fools may think, "Oh this man was minister. He was so comfortably situated. Now they have taken this cloth and they've no home, no food, nothing of this..." They are thinking that is suffering, but they are not suffering. They are not suffering. They are enjoying.

Śyāmasundara: I think that's the difference between the Christian emphasis and Kṛṣṇa consciousness...

Prabhupāda: Because it's simply mental speculation. There is no basis.

Śyāmasundara: The Christian monks, ascetics, they always thought that the life they were giving up, they were suffering, always that feeling...

Prabhupāda: Poor fund of knowledge, that's all.

Śyāmasundara: Anyway, to go on...

Prabhupāda: And they have developed this philosophy and this Bible, after the demise of Jesus Christ. More or less it is concoction.

Śyāmasundara: He says that the opposite of faith is sin, that sin is the same as despair. Sin and despair are the same.

Prabhupāda: Well, unless you have got complete sense of God, there is no question of sin or piety. Because if you do not know what is the standard of sin and piety... Just like the same example can be given that in this India-Pakistan war, that party killed so many men and this party killed so many men on the other side. When you take killing as sin, but it's piety. From their side it is piety; from our side it is piety. So how these sinful activities or pious activities are considered? To satisfy the higher authorities.

Śyāmasundara: Yes. He means faith in the orders of God; the opposite of that.

Prabhupāda: It is not a question of faith, it is a question of fact. Then it is, the same example, just like Arjuna. He decided to become nonviolent in the beginning, but at the end he decided to fight and kill. Now which is piety and which is sinful? Actually, this decision to kill by the order of Kṛṣṇa is piety, because he satisfies the higher authorities. So in this material world we concoct that "This is sinful, this is piety," but actual sinful and piety is decided on the order of the Supreme God. That is (indistinct). So if you have no connection with God, so our these thoughts of sinful and piety, they are simply mental concoction. It has no value.

Śyāmasundara: He says that faith in the order of God, that is piety.

Prabhupāda: Then you must have order of God. Unless you have no conception of God, where is the question of order? If God is impersonal, He cannot speak, He has no mouth, He has no tongue, He has no eyes, He has..., where is the question of order?

Śyāmasundara: His idea is that Jesus is the standard.

Prabhupāda: But that's all right. Then there is no Christian. Jesus Christ's first order is "Thou shall not kill," and they're killing, simply killing. Then where is Christians? There is no Christian.

Śyāmasundara: So he calls the modern Christianity the "sickness unto death," because he says...

Prabhupāda: In the other words, we say there is no Christian.

Śyāmasundara: Yes. He says that modern Christianity is sick. It is sickness unto death, he calls it.

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: If he accepts Jesus as the perfection, why doesn't he, in the beginning when he was looking for a way of making decisions, why doesn't he follow Jesus's path of morality?

Śyāmasundara: Well, he does. He does. He's just describing the philosophers describing...

Prabhupāda: He's coming to the point of religion.

Śyāmasundara: Yeah. He comes to the point. He says that modern Christianity is despairing, and they are becoming sick.

Prabhupāda: Then why not say not Christian? Modern Christianity... Christianity is Christianity. You cannot make it "modern" and "past." You cannot say "God modern" and "God past." That is not good philosophy. You say there is Christianity or no Christianity. So our system is that if we do not follow the tenets of some religious principle, then how you can claim you belong to that religion? That is applicable everywhere. Just like the so-called Hindus, they did not believe anything, and they are passing on as Hindus, as brāhmaṇas, as (indistinct). That is just passing.

Śyāmasundara: At the time he was writing... (break) At the time he was philosophizing, Europe was in a very sad state of affairs, and everyone was trying to commit suicide. It was the..., in vogue. So he said that because Christianity is sinning, they are sinning despite their knowledge of what is right, then they come to the point of despair, and they are trying to kill themselves even though they know that Christianity says that we are immortal, that you cannot kill yourself. So he says that suicide is no answer to...

Prabhupāda: Christianity believes in the immortality of the soul?

Śyāmasundara: Yes. So for Christians, suicide is no answer to escape their sinning or their despair. So he says...

Prabhupāda: You have committed so many sinful activities, and simply by killing you are trying to escape. In that way you are committing another sin. You are committing another sin. Therefore these persons who commit suicide, they become ghosts.

Śyāmasundara: So he says that we must live as if at any moment we may die, so that at the last moment we must be fully absolved of all sins. We must be fully authentic at the last moment. So he says that we must live as if we were going to die at any moment.

Prabhupāda: That is not possible. If you don't practice, it is not possible to understand at the last moment.

Śyāmasundara: No. That's what he means. We must practice it so that as if thinking any time we may die, so we must practice being absolved of sin.

Prabhupāda: That is practically being done by our movement. We are teaching our students to chant always Hare Kṛṣṇa, without any stopping. So death may come at any moment, but if we are chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa, that is happy death.

Devotee: The Christians have this philosophy that at the time of death, if a priest is there he can give you absolution at your deathbed, and then you can be saved from all your sins.

Prabhupāda: But provided I have got consciousness to understand the words of the priest.

Devotee: Even if you commit sinful activities all your life, if he is there at your deathbed then you can be saved from your sins.

Prabhupāda: That is quite possible, you see, because he can remind you. But at the time of death, when everything is stopped, the functions of the body, kapha, pitta, vāyu, therefore Kulaśekhara says that "Let me die immediately." Actually, natural death means I will be encumbered with so many things, natural disturbance of this body, the disturbance, they'll be choked up, and cough, mucus, so many things. So unless one is practiced, it is not possible. Therefore practice is required from the very beginning-austerity, penance, brahmacārī, celibacy, like that. These things have to be practiced.

Śyāmasundara: He says that faith is the self willing to be the self, willing to be itself - the self willing to be itself. This is faith, or authenticity.

Prabhupāda: What is this willing to be itself?

Śyāmasundara: That the self is willing to be itself. That's what he calls faith.

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: To be itself and not something else.

Śyāmasundara: Just like we might say surrender. The self wills...

Prabhupāda: There is no question of surrender. To become self, that is the Māyāvādī, that I become one with the Supreme Self.

Śyāmasundara: No. He means as a part and parcel of God, because he says, "Faith is the self willing to be itself, authenticity, and to stand transparently..."

Prabhupāda: Then it can be understood that I am part and parcel of the Supreme. So when I remain as part and parcel, that is called faith.

Śyāmasundara: Yes. When I surrender to the idea that I am part and parcel of God, then I am...

Prabhupāda: So that surrender to the idea means, the same example, that a part and parcel of my body, they are engaged in the service of the body. So as soon as you engage yourself in the service of the Lord, that is your self-realization. That is perfect self-realization. Because you remain in your position, your position as part and parcel of the Supreme is to serve Him, practically. So if you engage yourself always in the service of the Lord, that is self-realization. There is no other philosophy.

Śyāmasundara: He says that in a way because he said that at this stage one stands transparently before God, and this is his integrity, when he realizes his...

Prabhupāda: Transparently before God means to be engaged in His service. So this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is teaching that way. They are always engaged in Kṛṣṇa's service, twenty-four hours; therefore they are self-realized. They are standing on their self. That is mukti. That is liberated. And those who are, these karmīs, the jñānīs, the yogis, they are not engaged in the self. They are trying to realize self. Therefore all these students, or the disciples of the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement, they are liberated persons, because they are acting as such. So everyone should join this movement and become liberated, immediately. You preach like that. Try to understand and preach.

Śyāmasundara: They say that this is an authentic position, that it...

Prabhupāda: This is authentic position. We are serving Kṛṣṇa. This is authentic position. My position is part and parcel, to serve Kṛṣṇa. So actually I am engaged in service of Kṛṣṇa. That is my authentic position. This authentic position is at the present moment a little confused. But that now I am liberated, healthy, so if I continue healthy, that is my real position. Then I will keep always my self healthy. That's all. There is no change.

Śyāmasundara: And also this word integrity is there. It means integrated, or complete.

Prabhupāda: The more you become practiced to Kṛṣṇa's service, the more you are established, integrated. You don't fall down. Yes.

Śyāmasundara: So when someone has integrity, you can see that they are one-minded.

Prabhupāda: Yes. Just like we are. Our concern is Kṛṣṇa. At ārati, we stand before Kṛṣṇa. The integrity is that Kṛṣṇa is the shelter. We are all serving, chanting Kṛṣṇa, ārati, someone is chanting, someone is dancing. The center is Kṛṣṇa. Similarly, when you go to preach, when you write books, when you go to the play, the center is Kṛṣṇa. Then all our activities are on the platform of liberation.

Śyāmasundara: The idea is there also in this philosophy, that all of us know what is the real position, but that either due to weakness or a poor fund of knowledge or defiance...

Prabhupāda: Therefore we require guidance of the spiritual master so that we may not fall down.

Śyāmasundara: ...or defiance, sometimes due to, even though we know the real position, we defy it, then we become sinful.

Prabhupāda: Defiance, there is no question. If you are actually engaged in the service of Kṛṣṇa, where is the question of defiance?

Śyāmasundara: Well, he is talking about someone who may know what is the law of God, but he defies it. Someone who wants to sinfully act. Either due to weakness or defiance we sin, but he says that the self-integrated personality is willing to be himself. He surrenders to what his real position is. This is called self-realization.

Prabhupāda: No. This self-realization practically - to be self means to remain as part and parcel, to serve.

Śyāmasundara: He says that full self equals full will. That when we are fully ourself, then we are fully willed.

Prabhupāda: What you mean? That is Māyāvādī. Full self, what is that? Then what is the question of part and parcel?

Śyāmasundara: That means when we make decisions that they are...

Prabhupāda: You cannot make decision. If you are part and parcel, then you have to take decisions from the whole. You cannot make. The finger does not make decision. I say "Finger, stand up like this, please."

Śyāmasundara: So just like when there are decisions to be made, because a self-realized soul automatically...

Prabhupāda: The decision is that I shall serve Kṛṣṇa as soon as ordered. But the order comes from the superior. Just like Arjuna. Arjuna is ordered by Kṛṣṇa to fight, so he has to fight. That is all. Arjuna's decision was wrong, but when he takes decision from Kṛṣṇa, that is right. So we have to take decision from Kṛṣṇa's representative. That is right. We cannot make our own decisions. That is wrong.

Śyāmasundara: So full will means to follow...

Prabhupāda: Full will means full will to surrender, full will to follow the orders of the superior. That is full will.

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: So how does he ever come to the point of religion if he wants men to make their own decisions? How can we make our own decisions according to him?

Prabhupāda: There is no own decision. If we want to become self, that means I am part and parcel, so I have no personal decision. I have to take decisions from the higher authority.

Śyāmasundara: We were talking about the decision; you were talking about the other levels. The religious stage, you said, is obedience and commitment to God.

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: But to get to that stage, you have to go through the second stage. So how do you get to the second stage by making your own decisions without God's..., without God's representative? In other words, how can you come to the platform of the third stage from the second stage?

Śyāmasundara: It is gradual development. You gradually develop.

Prabhupāda: Why gradual development? Here Kṛṣṇa says, the Supreme Self, "Surrender unto Me. I give you all protection." Why gradual? Immediate.

Śyāmasundara: He is saying we are motivated by despair to come to this stage.

Prabhupāda: But there is no question. Christ says, or Kṛṣṇa says that "You surrender unto Me, I'll save you," no more disappointment.

Devotee: I haven't heard in this philosophy yet where he has mentioned either guru or śāstra. How... (break)

Prabhupāda: ... dealing factually, scientifically.

Śyāmasundara: You said (indistinct) just the opposite. You said, "Keep me talking. That is my life."

Prabhupāda: Yes. It is a fact. Sa vai puṁsām... Sa vai manaḥ kṛṣṇa-padāravindayoḥ vacāṁsi vaikuṇṭha-guṇānuvarṇane (SB 9.4.18). That is Ambarīṣa Mahārāja, the great saintly king. About him it is described, sa vai manaḥ kṛṣṇa-padāravindayoḥ. He engaged completely, twenty-four hours, his mind unto the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa. And vacāṁsi vaikuṇṭha-guṇānuvarṇane, and he engaged his talking simply on Vaikuṇṭha, on the subject matter of Vaikuṇṭha, Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Prahlāda Mahārāja also speaks like that: tad vijñā, tad vijñā sa (indistinct). Glorifying, he is very (indistinct). So they have no conception of God, and whatever you believe, (indistinct). So God is imperson, He is not a person, so where is the (indistinct)? So they come to the (indistinct), scientist, another politician, another this, (indistinct) and they want to become a hero eventually, "I am a great philanthropist," "I am a great nationalist," "I am greatest philosopher." That... And when they finish their talks, then become (indistinct). No more talks - finished. (Hindi) Prahlāda Mahārāja says that (indistinct). He says that śoce tato muni vimukha-cetasa(?]: "I am simply thinking of these rascals who are without God consciousness." Tato muni (indistinct): "They are averse to God. I am thinking of them." Śoce tato vimukha-cetasa, māyā-sukhāya bharam udvahato vimūḍhān (SB 7.9.43). These rascals, simply for māyā-sukha, temporary happiness, they are busy, always running here and there for constructing hundred and fifty-stories' house, and bring your money for that. Very busy, very busy. Just like Mr. Birla, he's always busy, (he] cannot see (you]. They do not know that "What happiness I am creating?" (indistinct) Just at the end of my life (indistinct). As soon as I close my eyes and I go away from this body, all these things that I have created will be finished. I cannot remember, you cannot remember what was in your past life. But you are eternal, tathā dehāntara-prāptiḥ (BG 2.13). So suppose I was a king in my last life, I was another Birla, or Birla's servant, (indistinct). Suppose I was Jawaharlal Nehru, or Gandhi. So what benefit I am deriving now? Who is respecting me as Gandhi or Jawaharlal Nehru? (indistinct) Even I do not know that my photograph or statue is being worshiped. I do not know that. Such foolish persons. Therefore Prahlāda Mahārāja says, māyā-sukhāya bharam udvahato. Simply for illusory happiness you have created gigantic show of civilization and advancement of material life. Māyā-sukhāya. Everything will (indistinct) as soon as there is death." That's all. Simply wait for death and then finished. That's all. Finished. He cannot say that "Let me enjoy." Actually, one of my friends in Allahabad, he was dying at the age of fifty-four. I was also fifty-four. So he was begging the doctor, "Doctor, can you not give me four years' life? I have got some unfinished work. Let me finish." (laughter) Such unfinished work. Suppose if you (indistinct), what will he gain? But he does not know where he is going next life. But he is begging the doctor, "Please save me. I have got some plan; it is not yet finished." So all these rogues and fools, they are doing like that: "I have got some plan; it is not yet finished. Please allow me to live." Suppose you are waiting for another four or five years or ten, what achievement you are going to do? That they do not know. Vimūḍhān. Therefore Prahlāda Mahārāja has classified them as fools and rascals and rogues. That's all.

Śyāmasundara: Kierkegaard, he considers that truth, it's true (indistinct) subjectivity-personal, individual reflections...

Prabhupāda: That is another nonsense. That is another nonsense. Truth is true. Not that... I cannot fashion truth. This statement is nonsense. Truth is true. Fire is hot. That is true. If I imagine that fire is cold, is that philosophy? He does not prove. He does not know what is truth. One who does not know what is truth, therefore they imagine or manufacture truth. Just like Vivekananda, yata mata, Ramakrishna, yata mata tata patha, "You can manufacture your truth." That is going on. That is going on. The hippies, they are manufacturing their truth. So truth cannot be manufactured. Truth is truth. That is called absolute truth. Not relative truth, absolute truth. You can manufacture relative truth, but absolute truth is one: tattvaṁ phalaṁ yena (?], just like Bhāgavata says. Who is meditated upon? Who is worshiped? The Absolute Truth. So they have no knowledge of the absolute.

Śyāmasundara: Their idea is that...

Prabhupāda: All they know is the relative truth.

Śyāmasundara: Their idea is that passion, (indistinct) passion is truth.

Devotee: Sense activity. If my impulse is passionate nature.

Prabhupāda: But passion is working differently. Unless... Passion is all right, activity, but if you do not know the goal, then you are misled.

Devotee: This philosophy has been adopted by the hippies.

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Devotee: The mode of passion is truth.

Prabhupāda: Passion is truth, that's all right. But the passion means activities. So where your activity will end? What is the purpose of the activity? You start your car, but if you do not know where to go, then what is the use of starting your car? Simply spoiling your energy and spoiling the petrol.

Śyāmasundara: (laughs) Spoiling the petrol.

Prabhupāda: That's all. They do not know where to go. Is that very good proposition: "I do not know, that doesn't matter; therefore I start my car"?

Śyāmasundara: Yeah.

Prabhupāda: Never mind if I meet with accident. That's all right.

Śyāmasundara: That's their philosophy, that it is not what is done or the object of the doing; it is how it is done. That is what they say. Not what is done but how it is done.

Prabhupāda: That is another foolish thing. Dog's obstinacy that is called. Dog's obstinacy. This philosophy is dog's obstinacy.

Devotee: He says that the normal state of man's condition is an anxious uncertainty, that a man is naturally anxiety and uncertain.

Prabhupāda: Uncertainty for them who do not know what is the end of life, the goal of life.

Śyāmasundara: So he says that this anxiety and uncertainty is displaced or replaced by the passion of truth or faith.

Prabhupāda: Yes. These modern economic concept, they think that this anxiety is the impetus for economic development. They also say like that. Just like in America especially, they are never satisfied. They are manufacturing another machine, another machine, another machine. That hankering after another, another, they think it is really progress. In one sense it is all right, all right, but the attempt should be made, when there is goal. Just like you know how to rise up to the 102nd story that Empire Building. Now they're going step by step, and you know that "I have not completed the step, that I will go further, further, all right," but you know that "I have to go to 102nd story." But if you do not know, this is simply waste of energy. Or you should take the path of mahājana, mahājano yena gataḥ sa panthāḥ (CC Madhya 17.186). Even you do not know where to go, you have seen somebody is going up, so you follow him. You follow him. That is also nice. Even you do not know what is the goal, you see that this man, who is first-class, he has followed this path. So if you follow him, mahājano yena gataḥ sa, that is all right. That is also firm, fixed up. Unless you know the goal, the fixed-up point, then your energy may be misused, misguided. The passion, the energy, will be misguided.

Śyāmasundara: His idea ultimately is that that point should be God, that energy is used towards reaching God, through Christ. And he says the in-between stage...

Prabhupāda: Then he is right. If the ultimate goal is God and God should be known through Jesus Christ, that is a good proposal.

Śyāmasundara: And he says the in-between stage, this stage is (indistinct), in-between stage is...

Prabhupāda: Why if you know that through Jesus Christ, God can be reached...

Śyāmasundara: That is a higher stage he talks about. He is talking about three levels of existence. In the lower stage, there are... Anyway. The second stage is that they fix one point, no matter whether that point is the highest or not, at least there is a point fixed, and they'll act towards that point, like the piety...

Prabhupāda: That means the other two stages simply spoiling time.

Śyāmasundara: Yes. They advance slowly toward that stage of God realization.

Prabhupāda: So why not take immediately, directly?

Śyāmasundara: Yes. That is what he is recommending.

Prabhupāda: So that is our process. Just like in the Bhagavad-gītā, in the Vedas, tad vijñānārthaṁ sa gurum evābhigacchet (MU 1.2.12). If actually you want to know the highest goal of your life, he must approach guru. That is the (indistinct). In the Bhagavad-gītā, also it is said, tad viddhi praṇipātena paripraśnena sevayā (BG 4.34). You try to understand the highest truth by surrendering, praṇipātena, by serving, by giving service; tad viddhi praṇipātena paripraśnena sevayā, by inquiring. In Bhāgavata also, tasmād guruṁ prapadyeta jijñāsuḥ śreya uttamam (SB 11.3.21). If you are actually inquisitive to understand the highest truth, then you must surrender yourself to the guru. That is the (indistinct). Not that by experience I go on, go on, go on, being baffled here, there, here, there, then automatically... No. You may not come even to the right path by such experience. Just like on an ocean, if you do not know direction, the path ship, how you will direct your ship this way, that way? You can go on this way, sometimes this way, that way, this way, that way, then you will be lost. You will be lost. All your endeavors will be simply baffled. You must have the direction; therefore the captain keeps that, what is called, compass: "Just here I am going to the this side." Actually, when I was coming...

Devotee: On the ship?

Prabhupāda: Yes. They were calculating (indistinct) immediately, "Now we are here. Now we are in Mediterranean, Italy, this that." I was asking. I was very inquisitive. But actually you (indistinct). By the compass and by the map, they are coming to the right direction. The captain's business is this. They have got different types of maps, and the compass.

Śyāmasundara: (indistinct)

Prabhupāda: Everything is there. The captain ordered, "Now turn the wheel this way. Stop the wheel this way." So therefore (indistinct). Otherwise he's nonsense. (indistinct) captain. If he has got the (indistinct) and everything, "Just go on this way." (laughter)

Devotee: (indistinct)

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Devotee: Later existentialists, though, they said existential means that right now at any given moment, whatever I do is completely independent of all other sources, and I am just like a ship without a rudder; whatever I do is another path of action. At any given moment I can go any direction. And as soon as you have any idea that there is a God, then that is no longer existential; that is putting a direction on something which is actually (indistinct).

Prabhupāda: What is that existence? Foolishly driving? Does that mean existence cannot mean foolishly driving?

Devotee: (indistinct) existentialists, they talk like that.

Śyāmasundara: But this Kierkegaard, he was living in last century, he was prior to the modern existentialists, so he was still thinking about God. He came before God (indistinct). His final thought is that..., the final idea is that thought should be separated from existence, because existence cannot be thought, but it must be lived; that the thought process should be separated from the existing process or the acting process.

Prabhupāda: Our process is already guided (?]. (indistinct). Just like in university if you want to be a doctorate in philosophy, three other big philosophers are appointed to guide you, and then you present your thesis. But these people are thinking without any guidance, (indistinct).

Śyāmasundara: He says that the (indistinct) must come from Christ ultimately...

Prabhupāda: Then they're accepting some (indistinct).

Śyāmasundara: Yes. But his emphasis is on the acting part, not the...

Prabhupāda: Guidance is (indistinct), then where is different thought? What is that? If the guidance is one, then thought must be on the same relation as different thought.

Śyāmasundara: But he makes this statement that "The difference between God and man can be discerned in that God does not think; He creates. God does not exist; He is eternal. Man thinks..."

Prabhupāda: But He's eternal, He does not exist? What is this? What is that nonsense? He's eternal, He does not exist.

Śyāmasundara: He's thinking that the word "existence" as meaning something that becomes something else-developing, growing, that is existence. And in that sense God is eternal because He does not become anything else, He's always...

Prabhupāda: Then He's perfect. Your existence means you are trying to be perfect. You are making progress from one state to another.

Śyāmasundara: Becoming something else.

Prabhupāda: Yes. So their existence means to..., the process of becoming perfect. Is it?

Śyāmasundara: Yes.

Prabhupāda: Whereas God is already perfect.

Śyāmasundara: Yes. So He does not in the same way exist, but He...

Prabhupāda: So if that is his philosophy, then why not take the direction from God, Bhagavad-gītā? Why you are making experiments from this platform to that platform? Why you are wasting time in that way? If he agrees that God is eternal, existing, perfect, then why don't you take direct from God, or God's representative? Why you are making experiment?

Śyāmasundara: He also recommends that. He says in this case he's simply formalized the difference between God and man, that God does not have to think; He creates. He does not think; He creates.

Prabhupāda: So he (indistinct) if God is omnipotent, all-powerful, as soon as... That we also say, Vedas, that He doesn't require to make plan how to do things.

Śyāmasundara: No. It just comes.

Prabhupāda: Parāsya śaktir vividhaiva śrūyate (CC Madhya 13.65, purport). His energies are so perfect and subtle, as soon as He thinks, "Let there be creation," immediately everything perfectly done. That is God. So if God is perfect in that way, then we should take guidance from God and mold our lives. That is perfect leader. That we are doing. We have taken Bhagavad-gītā, the words of God, and guide, that is the guide, and we are following. Therefore our principle, our process is perfect. We don't make any experiments for perfection. Take. Just like a teacher, if he shows that you write "A" like this, that is perfect. That's all. Why should I go on, lifelong, just like this child is doing, this scientist. No. But if he takes guide from his teacher, he immediately teaches, "Make this one like this, one like this, one like that. Three lines makes 'A'." Immediately. And he'll go on, lifelong, like this, like that - he'll never come to God. Nobody will like. So their process is like this. You go on like this - existential - one problem, one problem, one problem, go on. But he does not know "If I continue in this way millions of lives, I will never come to perfection," unless the teacher shows, "Do like this." That is their foolishness. Ciraṁ vicinvan. That is described, athāpi te deva padāmbuja-dvaya-prasāda-leśānugṛhīta eva hi, jānāti tattvam (SB 10.14.29). One can understand the truth, simply one who has got a little, little, fractional portion of Your mercy, he knows the truth. Others, athāpi te deva padāmbuja-dvaya-prasāda-leśa. Prasāda means mercy; leśa, "a little fragment of Your mercy." One who has this, jānāti tattvam, he knows the truth. Others, na cānya eko 'pi ciraṁ vicinvan. Eko 'pi. There are many mental speculators, philosophers, all of them, if they go on thinking like that for life after life, they will never understand. Simply waste time. That's all. So why not try to have a little fraction of mercy of Kṛṣṇa? And Kṛṣṇa says, bhaktyā mām abhijānāti: (BG 18.55) "Simply by devotional service one can understand Me." So why not take to Kṛṣṇa consciousness immediately? That is perfection. That is perfectional stage. Why should he speculate and be misguided by your so-called (sic:] existentional person?

Śyāmasundara: Yes. I see what he's saying now. He's saying that our existence as men, man's existence, continually becoming something else, separates thought from our being, our actions, so that there is always a gap between the two, so that we're always becoming something. But when we are united, thought and being are united, then we cease to become.

Prabhupāda: Why don't you unite? Why don't you unite? Why refusing to unite? God is conversing, "Unite with Me. Yes. Surrender unto Me. I'll fix up. What is (indistinct)?" If that is the perfection, (indistinct), why don't you unite? That "You surrender unto Me," that is the difficulty. "You keep your individualism, I keep My individualism, but you surrender unto Me," then it is (indistinct).

Śyāmasundara: That unifies thought and being together.

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: That's the only way.

Prabhupāda: Eh?

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: That seems to be the only way that thought and being can actually be united.

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: If you surrender to God.

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Śyāmasundara: Otherwise the thought will always be different from the action.

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: Kierkegaard, actually, he understands the principles, but he actually understands that one has to surrender to God in order to (indistinct).

Śyāmasundara: Yes. He does. His statement is that "We are here as shown a new order, faith(?], a new pre-supposition that consciousness is (indistinct), a new decision, a learning, and a new teacher, God, in time." That is Christ. Christ is so-called "God in time." So he prefers Christ as the teacher.

Prabhupāda: Why Kṛṣṇa not teacher?

Śyāmasundara: Maybe they're not so personal as we are. (laughter)

Prabhupāda: All right. It is better to accept Christ as teacher, but why he does not follow? So all philosophers have been following these commandments of Christ, ten commandments. They are not following.

Śyāmasundara: No. That's all. (break)

Prabhupāda: ...Caitanya Mahāprabhu, simply we think like this, with Christ. And (indistinct) another thing, against God. Simply (indistinct) say that "I am Christian. We are following Christ."

Śyāmasundara: (indistinct)

Prabhupāda: Yes. But doing all nonsense against the instruction of Christ. So what is the use of such philosopher, and (indistinct)? Act.

Devotee: Prabhupāda, before I was going to Vietnam, I did not want to go. I went to a Catholic priest and I brought this Bible, and I said to him, "It says here, that 'Thou shalt not kill,' and yet you are saying that I should go and kill." And he said, "Yes. You should go anyway." He just said, "You should go anyway." No reason, no explanation, just "You go anyway and kill."

Prabhupāda: Just see.

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: We saw a very interesting thing yesterday, myself and Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa. We were reading in the Time magazine that there is a big fight going on in Ireland between the Protestants and Catholics. Now the Pope and, I think, the Archbishop of Canterbury...

Prabhupāda: Yes, the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: The two of them have been trying to work together to come out with a statement which will satisfy both Churches according to the scriptures. So Time magazine reports that after one and a half years of laborious work, they have finally come out with a 2,500-word statement, but the Pope said that this should not be taken as the Church teachings but should only be used for consideration. That means that after spending so much time, and still (indistinct). He said it should not be taken as a teaching, as a scripture.

Prabhupāda: Then what is the use of giving it?

Devotee: (indistinct)

Prabhupāda: If people are the ultimate persons to consider, then what is the use of his giving this statement? He is not authority.

Śyāmasundara: That Archbishop of Canterbury, he is a good friend of Mr. (indistinct). They went to school together, and he says that in college they used to jog together. That was their favorite pastime. (laughter) Now he is archbishop.

Devotee: (indistinct)

Prabhupāda: And Brahmānanda sent me that picture, Africa, five thousand priests in that hospital, on account of their drinking habits.

Devotee: Five thousand!

Prabhupāda: Five thousand. In America. (break) ...as soon as I cut with knife, the same blood is coming. Here also the same blood is coming. He is also crying, he is also crying. All these things are (indistinct). Then how do you say that this man has got soul and this animal has not got soul? Where is analogy? And points of similarities are there. Analogy means points of similarity. So the points of similarity, while killing either a man or animal, are all the same, then how are you bringing this analogy that he has got soul, he hasn't got soul? Where is his logic?

Devotee: (indistinct) illogic is the fact that they'll go out and (indistinct) (end)