Philosophy Discussion on Arthur Schopenhauer
Śyāmasundara: Today we are discussing German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer. His philosophy is exactly the opposite of Hegel's rational, optimistic world order. His philosophy is often referred to as the philosophy of pessimism. And actually, he was a neurotic bachelor who lived alone with his dog, and he was known for his sexual indulgence and scandalous behavior.
Prabhupāda: And he was a philosopher?
Śyāmasundara: Yes. The philosophy of pessimism. He says that reality is...
Prabhupāda: So why was he fond of dog? Pessimism? He found some value in dog?
Śyāmasundara: He says that reality is blind and irrational and capricious, or whimsical, and that actually life is an evil situation.
Prabhupāda: So how he is to establish his philosophy if everything is whimsical, irrational? How he will convince others if he is irrational and irresponsible? How he will make progress in his philosophical proposition?
Śyāmasundara: He figures his...
Prabhupāda: Man is called a rational animal. Although animal, it is rational. So how his irrational philosophy will be accepted by a rational animal?
Śyāmasundara: He doesn't believe in rationality at all. Everything is..., no matter how hard we try to be rational, our plans are always upset. There is always some flaw to our reasoning.
Prabhupāda: Your reasoning may be full of flaws, that is the same thing. But why do you think others also reasoning will be with flaws?
Śyāmasundara: He was the first Western philosopher to read some of the Vedas. He read Bhagavad-gītā and other Vedic scriptures. So he concluded that all phenomenon are mere illusions, or māyā. He uses that word māyā. This world is simply illusory.
Prabhupāda: That also we say, but it is not irrational. There is rationality. There is regulation. The sun is moving, the moon is moving - not irrationally, quite in order. Everything is in order. We cannot say it is irrational.
Śyāmasundara: Just like all of our desires that we have are never fulfilled.
Prabhupāda: That will never take place. Just like in a prison house, if the prisoners desire something, no, it will never furnish it. It is meant for punishment. So he'll have to abide by the desires of the jail superintendent. He cannot. Similarly, here every living entity is a prisoner. The superintendent of prisons is Durgā Devī. Durgā means fort: you cannot go out, conditioned. So therefore frustration is the law here.
Śyāmasundara: Yeah, he points that out.
Prabhupāda: So, but the thing is, that one should be rational that why there is frustration here? That "why" question is answered in the Vedānta-sūtra, athāto brahma jijñāsā. Now it is spoiled. Kenopaniṣad. Why? That is the rationality. I don't want to be frustrated, but I am forced to be frustrated. I don't want to die, but I am forced to die. I don't want to become old, I am forced to become old. Now this rationality must be awakened to why this is happening. That is what is required. Nature is working in that way so that I may be intelligent to inquire "Why?" Then there will be question, and by questioning and answering through bona fide spiritual master, we'll come to the conclusion that what is the aim of this world.
Śyāmasundara: He says that this world is composed of two parts: idea and will. That the ideas are sense experiences that we perceive in the world, and they are mere representatives of the will, but the will is the ultimate reality.
Prabhupāda: That idea is illusion.
Śyāmasundara: Yes. But he says that will is the ultimate reality. Something is...
Prabhupāda: Yes, yes, will is ultimate reality, we also admit. Because we desire, we will like this. We will that we shall be enjoyer of the material world. Idea was that "I shall become like Kṛṣṇa." This was the idea, and therefore I will. And Kṛṣṇa gave us chance, "All right, you come here and fulfill your desire." So they are implicated in so many karma, and becoming more and more involved. So according to karma he is getting different types of body, and there is no end. It is going on.
Śyāmasundara: Yes, he says that the will is eternal, and it is always incarnated in one body after another. But he describes it as a force...
Prabhupāda: Yes, it is a force.
Śyāmasundara: ...an impersonal force.
Prabhupāda: Impersonal or personal, that will be discussed later on. First of all there is force, and he is being forced. Prakṛteḥ kriyamāṇāni guṇaiḥ karmāṇi sarvaśaḥ (BG 3.27). He had associated with one of the modes of material nature, and as such he is being forced to act according to the nature. Just like you met your friend, she is forced. Nobody likes that, a wretched life, but she is forced, because she has associated with a certain material modes of nature. Just like these hippies, they are forced. They are coming from respectable family, there is no scarcity of money, and still they are lying on the street in wretched dress, wretched habits. So that this nature is forcing, "You do this." Prakṛteḥ kriyamāṇāni. Because he has associated with a certain type of quality of the nature, he will be forced. Kāraṇaṁ guṇa-saṅgasya sad-asad-yoni janmasu. The different types of species of life, the cause is kāraṇam, cause, is guṇa-saṅgasya. As he is associating with the material qualities.
Śyāmasundara: But is this force irrational and blind? This is what he thinks.
Prabhupāda: No, this is not irrational. That will. You desire, you will like that, and as soon as you will, immediately material nature is helpful: "Yes, take this help," and you take the help and we are forced.
Śyāmasundara: Supposing I will for some sense object... (break) Shall we begin?
Śyāmasundara: Yesterday we were discussing that Schopenhauer's idea that the world is basically an evil place. So he says that there are three means of salvation from this basically evil world. The first means he calls aesthetic salvation, or contemplation of higher ideas which transport us above passion, just like poetry, music, art. By contemplating these higher ideas, you become absent of desire. Desire drops away, and you become transported to a higher plane of not willing, above our will.
Prabhupāda: That is mentioned in Bhagavad-gītā. It is not a new thing. It is called paraṁ dṛṣṭvā nivartate (BG 2.59), and actually it is happening. Just like my students, so their former life and this life. They have given up their former abominable life because they have got better life, better thoughts, better philosophy, better eating, everything better. So mind can accommodate something. If you always fill up the mind with Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa consciousness, so there is no chance of the mind being filled up with any other nonsense. That is our philosophy.
Śyāmasundara: This means of salvation called aesthetic...
Prabhupāda: This is salvation, because they are saved from the four kinds of sinful life: illicit sex, meat eating, intoxication and gambling. Because they have got better engagement, they don't like to do this.
Śyāmasundara: He is referring here to art, poetry.
Prabhupāda: Yes, everything is there. Here is art - we are painting. Our students are painting nice pictures. Art. And poetry, all our Bhagavad-gītā and Bhāgavatam are full of poetries.
Śyāmasundara: He is describing an experience of someone in the material world who sees a nice painting.
Śyāmasundara: They transcend the lower levels of consciousness, and for a few moments they become will-less or desireless.
Prabhupāda: Yes, that we admit. We agree also. So we do not want to keep them for a few moments, but we want to keep them continually in that consciousness. That is Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
Śyāmasundara: This aesthetic salvation...
Prabhupāda: (aside:) Where is Rūpānuga? Inform them that we will come.
Śyāmasundara: This aesthetic salvation is only possible momentarily. Contemplation of poetry and art and music, these are...
Prabhupāda: No, that is possible. Just like practice. A child is practiced to play, but if he is constantly practiced to read and write, he becomes educated. So not momentary. It is a practice. If you practice Kṛṣṇa consciousness, then other consciousness will automatically vanish.
Śyāmasundara: But he is describing only one type of salvation, called aesthetic salvation, where one transcends the normal state of desire by seeing art or hearing music or poetry. Only this momentary transcendence.
Prabhupāda: So why momentary? It can continue perpetually.
Śyāmasundara: By seeing pictures and art...
Prabhupāda: Oh, yes. You see Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa picture, you see the Deity, well-dressed Deity, artistically, flowers. So always see. Why momentary?
Śyāmasundara: So even aesthetically, one can have permanent salvation.
Prabhupāda: Oh, yes. Aesthetic with a - I mean to say - solid program. Because Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is all goodness. You find whatever the so-called philosophers will describe, we have got already there. Already there. If you say aesthetic salvation, this is aesthetic salvation. Śrī-vigrahārādhana-nitya-nānā-śṛṅgāra-tan-mandira-mārjanādau **. To worship the Deity. And you cannot derive benefit unless the aesthetic sense is applied to the higher authority, with reverence and respect. That is wanted.
Śyāmasundara: So he sees the second type of salvation from this basically evil existence...
Prabhupāda: That salvation he prescribes in the beginning, that is temporary salvation.
Śyāmasundara: Yes. So this type of salvation called ethical salvation is permanent.
Prabhupāda: It is not salvation. It is for the time being. It is called sasana(?]-vairāgya. Sasana-vairāgya means just like a man dies, somebody dies, so his relative takes him to the crematorium or the burning place. So at that time he gets little renouncement, "Oh, this is the end of life. Why you are struggling?" And again, as soon as he comes from the crematorium, he begins again, the same thing. He forgets that he has to die. You see? So this kind of sasana-vairāgya will not help. Actually this is not salvation.
Śyāmasundara: He says it's only momentary.
Prabhupāda: Momentary. So no, we want to give actual salvation, perpetually aesthetic ideas about Kṛṣṇa.
Śyāmasundara: He is describing three types of salvation. That was the first type, momentary. The second type he calls ethical salvation. He says that because the aim of our life is the final satisfaction of the will, after which no more desires will arise, this being our aim of life...
Prabhupāda: That means the supreme will. He does not know that. Satisfy the supreme will. Just like father wants to do something, his son, his spiritual master or the teacher want. So yasya prasādād bhagavat-prasādo **. Our philosophy is to please the supreme, the spiritual master, the representative of God or God. That means supreme will. Not my will, but the supreme will. That is highest perfection. That is salvation. Just like a person who is working under the guidance of a superior man, actually they do so. Just like in factories there is a foreman. So ordinary workers, they are working, but the foreman is giving direction. Similarly, that means he is fulfilling the desires of the superior. He is not doing whimsically. He is doing according to the direction of the superior man present there. So this is the philosophy, that if you can satisfy the supreme will, then you are liberated. Just like Kṛṣṇa says sarva-dharmān parityajya, mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja (BG 18.66). This is supreme will, order. If you can fulfill this, then your salvation.
Śyāmasundara: He says that immorality comes about through egoism, so that I...
Prabhupāda: Yes. If you think, that "Why shall I surrender to Kṛṣṇa? Kṛṣṇa is also a person, I am also a person. Why He is demanding?" Just like Dr. Radhakrishnan said, sophistry: "It is too much that one person is demanding that 'You give up everything and surrender unto Me.' " So these rascals, they cannot understand that to surrender to the supreme will, to satisfy the supreme will, that is salvation. That is salvation.
Śyāmasundara: He says that this egoism, or this desire, is crushed through love and sympathy for others.
Prabhupāda: Yes. Without love, nothing can sustain. If I do not love Kṛṣṇa I cannot surrender. It is not possible. Just like a small child, he is naturally surrendered to the parents because there is love. The child loves also the parents. So without the basic principle of love, the more you love, the more the surrender is also perfect. Just like a small child, you slap the child, he's crying, yet crying also with the words, "Mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy," because there is love. Even in distress the child cannot forget. That is natural. Similarly, when you remain fully surrendered to the supreme will, either in distress or in happiness, that is your happiness. That is real happiness. This condition cannot be without love. In any condition, you remain surrendered. It cannot be done without love. When there is lack of love, this kind of mentality cannot develop: "In any condition I shall remain surrendered." Just like you are; you are, a whole society is carrying my order, not because I am superior person. There is love. Without love you cannot do so. You have got some bit of love for me, therefore you carry my order. Otherwise it is not possible. And I cannot also. You are foreigners, you are. Americans, I came from another country, I have no account. I cannot also order you: "You must do it, otherwise I will chastise you." Because there is love. It is a connection of love. I can also become bold enough to chastise you, but you also, what, in whatever condition, you carry my order due to the basic principle is love. And our whole philosophy is love. We are just trying to learn how to love Kṛṣṇa, that's all. So without the basic principle of love, these things cannot be conceived.
Śyāmasundara: His idea is that we must love those who are suffering. If we love those who are suffering, then we lose our desire.
Prabhupāda: That is... Why you should love the suffering and not those who are enjoying?
Śyāmasundara: Well, he says everyone is suffering.
Prabhupāda: Yes. Actually we say actually everyone is suffering. Anyone who is under the condition of material nature, he is suffering. That is real love. Patitānāṁ pāvanebhyo. Vaiṣṇava is described as the deliverer of all the fallen souls. Patitānāṁ pāvanebhyo vaiṣṇavebhyo namo namaḥ. Vaiṣṇava... Just like why have you taken sannyāsa? You are going... Why, what is the meaning of preaching. You are not going to preach for earning some money. Money you can earn. Just like Mukunda, when he was here he could not earn, now he is earning some money. So not for money you have taken sannyāsa, but for sympathy of the others. Just like Rūpa Gosvāmī, Sanātana Gosvāmī, they took sannyāsa, gave up. Government said, "Why?" Out of love for the mass of people. Lokānāṁ hita-kāriṇau. Tyaktvā tūrṇam aśeṣa-maṇḍala-pati-śreṇīṁ sadā tucchavat bhūtvā dīna-gaṇeśakau karuṇayā kaupīna-kanthāśritau. Being compassionate to the poor fellows, those who are simply wasting their time like cats and dogs, just to show them some sympathy, the sannyāsa order is there. Just to inform them that "This is not your life. Here is life: be Kṛṣṇa conscious." This is sympathy.
Śyāmasundara: He says that sympathy is really...
Prabhupāda: They are suffering from want of knowledge. In ignorance they are suffering. Therefore this is sympathy, to the suffering. They are thinking, "Oh, because I have got a nice car I am happy." But actually he is not happy. You see? So he may think, out of ignorance he may think, "I have got a nice car, I have got a nice apartment, I have got a nice girlfriend, so I am happy." But actually he is not happy. He is suffering. So this is sympathy. You have taken sannyāsa, you are going to preach, (indistinct), being compassionate with the suffering. That is utilizing. Because you love Kṛṣṇa and they are part and parcel of Kṛṣṇa, so you know that they are suffering for want of Kṛṣṇa consciousness; therefore you are going to preach. This is the position.
Śyāmasundara: He says that real love means sympathy, not sex life.
Prabhupāda: No, sex life is animal. That is not love; that is lust. We always repeatedly say, sex life is lust. That is not love. Here is real love, that "They are suffering for want of Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Let us do something so that they may understand the values of life." Here is love. Sex, simply means you satisfy your senses and the other party satisfies her senses. That is sex. That is lust. You are lusty, she is lusty, that is all. There is no love. That is going on in the name of love. Rascaldom. That is not love. It is lust; they do not know it. Lusty thing has been accepted as love. Mistake. Bhrama, pramāda. Bhrama, mistake. Illusion. Illusion is accepted as something else. Lust is accepted as love. This is illusion.
Śyāmasundara: He says that permanent happiness comes about when we lose our desire to live, when we deny the will to live.
Prabhupāda: That is frustration. That is frustration. That is suicide. Just like one man, who is very much suffering, he does not find any other means, then he cuts his own throat or hangs himself or takes some poison. It is like this.
Śyāmasundara: Suppose now I am desiring to live so much that I am always...
Prabhupāda: You desire or you not desire, that is because you, foolishly, you do not know that you have to live, desire or not desire, because you are eternal. You have to live. But if you don't live in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, then you will have to live in abominable condition like cats, hogs, dogs, trees, like that. We have to live. The modern civilization, they do not know that. The tree is also living, I am also living. So why these two different conditions are there? I am living, we are living, every one of us is living eternally, but according to our karma, according to our work, fruitive activities, we are getting different bodies. But we have to live. There is no question of not living.
Śyāmasundara: No, but there's a will...
Prabhupāda: Just like rascal, one who does not know, he commits suicide. He thinks that "If I commit suicide, then everything is finished." That is his ignorance. He is going to get another abominable body. Ghost. He becomes a ghost, so that he suffers more. A ghost means he has got subtle body, mental body, mind, intelligence and everything is there. Mind is there, intelligence, ego is there, but no gross body, so he cannot enjoy. That is ghostly life.
Śyāmasundara: Suppose I am bound up by the desire to live, so that I am always...
Prabhupāda: So you desire good desire, to live good. Change your desire. That is our program. Change your consciousness and live nicely with Kṛṣṇa. That is our program. We don't say, "You die." You live, but live with Kṛṣṇa consciousness, and you will become happy.
Śyāmasundara: So the will to live must not be denied.
Prabhupāda: You cannot do that. That is not possible. That is impossible. The same man who was doing all nonsense, and now they are mad after Kṛṣṇa. So will is there. Formerly he was willing to do all nonsense, now he is willing to serve Kṛṣṇa. So will is not vanished, but he has been engaged in a good willing process, that is all.
Śyāmasundara: Will can never be...
Prabhupāda: No, not for a second. It is stated in the Bhagavad-gītā. Not for a second you can live without will. You must will. Because we are living.
Śyāmasundara: What about the Buddhists, who desire...
Prabhupāda: That... They do not believe in the soul. They have no idea.
Śyāmasundara: They desire a state of non-willingness. The Buddhists desire a state of no will.
Prabhupāda: No, their philosophy is that willingness is a symptom at a certain condition of material combination. So you dismantle this material condition so there will be no more willing or no more suffering. That is their philosophy. But that is not fact, that's not fact.
Śyāmasundara: You don't think it's possible to stop willing?
Prabhupāda: No, how it can be, because you are permanent, you are eternal. Na hanyate hanyamāne śarīre (BG 2.20). You do not die even after the destruction of this body, therefore thinking, feeling, willing... (aside:) Go and sleep. The thinking, feeling, willing actually carry you from this gross body to another gross body. How transmigration is taking place? Those who are, I mean to say, gross seer, they see that the body is dead, but he does not know the body is dead, but the willing is not dead. He is being carried away by the willing. That he has no eyes to see. He is simply seeing this gross body is dead, finished, but he has no eyes to see that this soul is now being carried away by the subtle body willing another body. According to his willing he gets another body, gross body, either demigod or dog, as he wills.
Śyāmasundara: As he wills.
Prabhupāda: Yes. At the time of death. Because will is the carrier.
Śyāmasundara: Suppose he wills nothing at the time of death?
Prabhupāda: That is not possible. That is not possible. Even in a dream you are willing so many things. The body is sleeping, completely stopped, but still why you are dreaming? (break) ...does not inquire about his ātma-tattvam, self realization. Whatever he is acting is defeated, parābhava. He is not advancing.
Śyāmasundara: He points out that whenever we gratify our desires, that is so-called happiness, and whenever our desires are frustrated, that is suffering. But our desires are continuously frustrated, they are never satisfied. So he said that we are always suffering, and that the more intelligent a person is, the more he suffers.
Prabhupāda: Yes. Or by suffering, one's intelligence becomes manifested.
Śyāmasundara: Suffering sharpens the intelligence?
Prabhupāda: Yes, adverse..., blessings of adversity. Just like a businessman, one, he loses some money in some attempt, he becomes more intelligent, that "This account, business, should not be done."
Śyāmasundara: I think yesterday Hegel described it in terms of conflict, that through conflict progress comes out.
Prabhupāda: Yes. So here is a perpetual conflict with māyā. Daivī hy eṣā guṇa-mayī mama māyā duratyayā (BG 7.14). This is a fight against, māyā is putting impediments, what I think it is right, māyā is breaking it.
Śyāmasundara: That's what he sees in it, the irrational.
Prabhupāda: Hitler's plan, Nazism, in so many ways, māyā has broke it into pieces. The Britishers, they also found the British empire, and māyā broke it. Roman empire... So, this frustration. But we are so fooled that in spite of repeated frustration, we are still trying to do the same thing. That is explained in the Bhāgavata, punaḥ punaś carvita-carvaṇānām (SB 7.5.30), chewing the chewed. Chewing the chewed. He has been frustrated in so many ways, in sexual life, divorce this wife, again another accept, another wife. So what is the another wife? The same thing, sex, but he is making he is (indistinct): "Now again another." That is very nicely experienced in your country. In a year, three times divorce, three times accepting. That is named carvita-carvaṇānām, chewing the chewed. He should have experienced that "I am changing, but what is the change? The same sex life. So what is the use of changing?" But he has no intelligence. Punaḥ punaś carvita-carvaṇānām (SB 7.5.30). His business has become like that.
Śyāmasundara: He says that because there is no end to our striving...
Prabhupāda: There is end, provided... We can end everything, all these miscalculations, provided he goes to the right person. But that he will not go. He will become self-made philosopher. He will not accept guru.
Śyāmasundara: So because of that, there is no measure for his suffering.
Śyāmasundara: He will suffer continually.
Prabhupāda: Yes. Just like if a man who is diseased, suffering from so many symptoms, he should approach a physician. But if he wants to suffer without consultation of a physician, he will suffer until death. What can be done?
Śyāmasundara: He says that this will does not care for the individual's satisfaction, but only for the perpetuation of the species. For instance I have sex life; it is not satisfying to me personally, it simply perpetuates the species.
Prabhupāda: In all species there is sex life, so why...
Śyāmasundara: But it isn't satisfying ultimately. The satisfaction dwindles immediately afterward. So he says that this is a trick by the will just to perpetuate the species.
Prabhupāda: So why there is a trick?
Śyāmasundara: I think that by this sex life I will be satisfied. That is a trick of the will. I find I am not satisfied by it.
Śyāmasundara: And simply the race goes on, the species goes on.
Prabhupāda: Yes, that's nice; that's all right. He must be given a point, or a goal, that here he will be satisfied. Where is that goal?
Śyāmasundara: That goal, he says, it doesn't exist.
Prabhupāda: He does not know. That is his goal.
Śyāmasundara: He says... I'll read a statement of his. He says that "The will forces a person to remain alive, even when there is nothing for which to live. It impels him to live and suffer another day, even when there is no hope or promise of any pleasant future prospects. It is like the alms which the beggar receives from life today, that he may hunger again on the morrow. For all men, irrespective of their status, the essence of life is misery and frustration."
Prabhupāda: Yes, that is a good point, but why he is hankering after something? Why he is hankering after...? He is being frustrated.
Śyāmasundara: The will. The will is...
Prabhupāda: Therefore the conclusion is: there is a goal. He is hankering after that goal. But he has not as yet approached that goal, achieved that goal. Therefore, to understand what is that goal, one should approach a spiritual master. Tad vijñānātaṁ sa gurum evābhigacchet.
Śyāmasundara: He has no idea of any goal; he says that life is a waste of effort.
Prabhupāda: That means he is not a perfect philosopher. The thing is that when I am willing to have something(?] solution, there must be some solution. There must be some solution. But I do not know what is that solution.
Śyāmasundara: If I will there is some solution, there must be some solution.
Prabhupāda: Yes. The same example: the child is crying for the mother's breast-feeding, crying, crying, crying, there is solution. But as soon as the breast-feeding is given in the mouth, he is satisfied. So one should know what the child is wanting, why is this (indistinct).
Śyāmasundara: He says that human life must be some kind of mistake, that the greatest crime of man is that he was ever born.
Prabhupāda: So that's all right, there must be somebody who punishes him for his crime. Is it not? The greatest crime, he is suffering, then there must be somebody who is judge that "You are criminal, you must suffer."
Śyāmasundara: You must be born.
Prabhupāda: "You must take your birth." So who is that?
Śyāmasundara: He doesn't believe in God. Actually...
Prabhupāda: That means nonsense. Anyone who does not believe in, he is a nonsense, rascaldom.
Śyāmasundara: He says that because the world is so mad, it could not possibly have any author. Because if there was a God, that God would have set the world in order.
Prabhupāda: Then why he is mad? We have got experience that there are madmen, but there is hospital also for treating the madmen. Similarly, the world may be mad, but there is hospitalization. That he does not know. From practical experience we see there are many madmen. At the same time there is a hospital, lunatic hospitals also, so treatment is there. So he does not see that. He has no knowledge where is the hospital, how he'll get and be treated. This is accepted, the world is mad, that's all right. But there is treatment also. Because in our experience practically we can show whenever there is disease, there is some treatment of it. But he does not know what is the treatment. He is speaking of sinful life, what he was saying, just like, but he does not accept who is the judge to give me resultant action of my sinful life. The world is mad, but he does not know where the treatment of madman is done. He does not know. Therefore his knowledge is imperfect, and still he is philosophizing. That is the defect. Our proposition is that unless one is perfect, we cannot take knowledge from him. That is our proposition. Therefore our authority is Veda. Veda means knowledge, perfect knowledge. Veda means knowledge, perfect knowledge. Why it is perfect? Because it is given by God. Tene brahma hṛdā ya ādi-kavaye (SB 1.1.1). The Vedic knowledge was imparted to Brahma within the heart. So the perfect knowledge is coming from the supreme perfect. When you take that knowledge, then your knowledge is perfect. Otherwise you can go on. You can become Dr. Frog, that's all.
Śyāmasundara: Once before we were discussing a philosopher named Leibnitz. Leibnitz said that this is the best of all possible worlds, and you agreed, you said, "Yes, this is the best of all possible worlds because it's God's arrangement." But Schopenhauer says that this is the worst of all possible worlds.
Prabhupāda: But best of all? Why shall I say best of all worlds?
Śyāmasundara: In the sense that because Kṛṣṇa created it or God created it, that it was the best arrangement.
Prabhupāda: Why this? Any world, what Kṛṣṇa creates, that is all right. Pūrṇasya pūrṇam ādāya, pūrṇam idaṁ pūrṇam adaḥ (Iso Invocation). Everything is perfect. The world is perfect. So there is no doubt. But the nature of the world being material, there are three qualities. They are also working perfectly. As you work, so you get the result, reaction.
Śyāmasundara: So what would you say, if Schopenhauer said this is the worst of all possible worlds?
Prabhupāda: Why worst? We don't say worst.
Śyāmasundara: Because it is so full of frustration.
Prabhupāda: Nothing can be worst which is created by God. Why God shall create some worst? Why he says worst? What is he...?
Śyāmasundara: Because it is so full of madness and frustration.
Prabhupāda: Actually frustration, if it is taken seriously, that frustration may make him successful. Frustration, we get so many letters from our students, frustration, but now they are thinking that they are safe. So frustration is another help, but provided we take the real shelter. Then frustration is not bad. If you are put into some dangerous position, but if you know how to save from it, that danger will be later on a feeling of pleasure. "Oh, I was put into such pleasure and I was saved in this way." (laughter)
Śyāmasundara: He says that the working of the world is ethically evil. For instance, he observes that...
Prabhupāda: To some extent that is all right, because when you are in prison life, you will find evil. But that evil is good for you, so that you can learn some lesson, and when you are out of the prison you will not come again. That is the blessings of evil.
Śyāmasundara: The blessings of evil.
Śyāmasundara: For instance in the animal kingdom, he observes the brutality of one animal eating another animal, and he says that this is life's pattern, one disappointment after another.
Prabhupāda: So, the worst brutal is the human being who is eating animals. Animals are called brutal because he is eating another animal, and the human being who is eating animal, he is the worst brutal, because in spite of his sense, he is violating. So therefore, he is the worst animal.
Śyāmasundara: He says that happiness is a negative state. It only means a momentary suspension of suffering.
Prabhupāda: Yes, that is explained by Caitanya Mahāprabhu, janme jana rage jana (Bengali). That a man is destined to be punished, he is put within the water. When he is almost on the point of suffocation, he is taken out. He feels how happy. He does not, "Oh, again I am down. Again I will be down." If I have happiness here, it is temporary relief. But if he is intelligent enough, then he will not do something which may put him into that unhappiness condition.
Śyāmasundara: He says that suicide is no escape from evil because the will is indestructible and eternal.
Prabhupāda: Yes, that is a fact. He is putting himself in more. By suicide he becomes a ghost. That is more troublesome. Yes. Because the body given by God, he is killing. So from this body he has to accept another body. So unless that point comes, he has to remain a ghost. No body. Suppose I have to live in this body eighty years. I'll make suicide. So up to five years I have to remain a ghost, no body. Then it may be chance to get another body. This is wrong. Killing of any body, because na hanyate hanyamāne śarīre (BG 2.20). So one can put this argument, that the soul is everlasting, so what if the body is killed? But that's all right, body is killed, but you cannot kill the body to hamper its progress. One living entity is destined to live in a certain body. If you destroy that body, then he has to wait for the next body. That means you are interfering with his progress. Therefore you are sinful. Just like I am living in this apartment. If somebody by force drives me away, it is criminal. If I go to the police, that "I was living in this apartment and this man by force has driven me," is it not criminal? So I am not lost because I am driven out of this body. But you will be liable for criminal punishment because you have forced me to leave this body. Ramakrishna Mission says that what is the point if a man or animal is killed? The soul is immortal, so what is this? What is that? The rascals, they do not know. The real philosophy is here. The soul is destined to live in a certain body for a certain period. If you immaturely stop it, then you become responsible. Exactly like that. I am living in my apartment. If you by force drive me away, you are criminal. They do not know all these things. Imperfect knowledge.
Śyāmasundara: He says that the bodies are manifestations of the will...
Prabhupāda: Yes, that we also say, but whose will?
Śyāmasundara: "The will," he calls it. "The will," in the abstract.
Prabhupāda: No, that is nonsense. Will, when he says will, the will must be from a person, of an individual person. That he does not know.
Śyāmasundara: We only have experience that will is coming from a person.
Śyāmasundara: But what about the will of electricity and gravity, these forces of nature. Aren't they also...
Prabhupāda: That is also will of a person. The maker of the computer machine, he has will.
Śyāmasundara: That's right. A computer machine has a will also.
Prabhupāda: Will..., not will. It is so mechanically arranged, it is acting. Just like a tape is singing...
Prabhupāda: ...outside your door: "Prabhupāda is singing." But I am not singing.
Śyāmasundara: The computer doesn't...
Prabhupāda: I have made it to sing. The computer is not the ultimate. The real brain is the who has made it.
Śyāmasundara: The computer doesn't have a will, but it expresses the will of some man.
Prabhupāda: Yes. The mechanical arrangement is so nice by the brain of the manufacturer that is acting.
Śyāmasundara: I see. So he says that this will must continuously reincarnate...
Śyāmasundara: ...time after time, there is no stopping it.
Śyāmasundara: So that we cannot become nothing; we must endure...
Prabhupāda: No. We are something. How we can be nothing? Na hanyate hanyamāne śarīre (BG 2.20). We do not become nothing even after the destruction of this body.
Śyāmasundara: Therefore he says that we must endure our state, our suffering state, and make the best of a bad bargain.
Prabhupāda: You should endure, at the same time you should find out the way that your suffering may be stopped. That is intelligent. That is intelligent.
Śyāmasundara: He says that life is more than disappointment; it is a form of deception, and all human beings born into this world are condemned not to death but to life.
Prabhupāda: That we say, but we give also hope that in this way we shall be happy. Your life will be blissful. We say this is condemned life and this is blissful life. Come to bliss. That is Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. But he has no such knowledge. He is simply staying with the condemned side. He has no knowledge of the blissful side. Therefore he is imperfect. Andhā yathāndhair upanīyamānā. This kind of philosophy will be accepted by a man of his category: he is blind and another blind man will accept it, that's all.
Śyāmasundara: So tomorrow we will finish Schopenhauer. Today is finished. (break)
Prabhupāda: The will cannot be stopped. Therefore you have to reform your willing process. That is Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
Śyāmasundara: He says..., he mentions a third type of salvation, called religious salvation. He says that this is the highest. But his idea of religious salvation is ascetism. That by denying the will then we can quiet the will.
Prabhupāda: Yes that is in one sense, that you don't will anything which is not favorable to Kṛṣṇa's service. That is our prescription. Ānukūlyasya saṅkalpaḥ prātikūlyaṁ vivarjanam. This is, out of the six items of surrender, these are the two items, that you should give up things which are not favorable in execution of devotional service. You should give up. That sort of willing, you should give up. And you should accept everything which is favorable for Kṛṣṇa consciousness. So willing cannot be... Our process is to purify willing. Sarvopādhi-vinirmuktaṁ tat-paratvena nirmalam (CC Madhya 19.170). So, just like you are working or others are working, somebody is working, "I am American, I must do this as American." And others say, "I am communist, I must do this." This is superfluous. According to designation, they are willing. And when you come to this willing: simply to serve Kṛṣṇa, that is designation-less. That sort of willing we should practice. Not willing with designation. He is thinking of willing of designation.
Śyāmasundara: So practically that is the same as not willing.
Prabhupāda: No. Not willing you cannot say. Not willing bad, but willing good. That is called purification. Sarvopādhi-vinirmuktaṁ tat-paratvena nirmalam (CC Madhya 19.170). To... We are willing. We are willing to serve to Kṛṣṇa, we are willing to preach Kṛṣṇa's glories. But this kind of willing. Willing is now reformed. This is real willing. Because I am part and parcel of Kṛṣṇa, so I must will according to Kṛṣṇa's will. Just like this hand is part and parcel of my body. It is moving according to my will .
Śyāmasundara: He says that through self-mortification that we can destroy the willing process altogether.
Prabhupāda: That is impossible. That is rascaldom. It is not possible. Nobody can destroy the willing process.
Śyāmasundara: I'll just read what he says. He says, "Eventually the ascetic will exist only as a pure knowing being, the undimmed mirror of the world. Nothing can trouble him more. Nothing can move him, for he has cut all the thousand cords of will which hold us bound to the world, and as desire, fear, envy, anger, drag us hither and thither in constant pain, to such a man life is an illusion to which he must be indifferent." So his idea is that you cut all the cords of will which bind us to this material world.
Prabhupāda: Then what remains?
Prabhupāda: That means he is the philosopher is of śūnyavādī.
Prabhupāda: Śūnyavādī, nirviśeṣa śūnyavādī. So we are killing this kind of philosophy, śūnyavādī. But you cannot become śūnya. It is not possible.
Śyāmasundara: He has a similar idea to the Buddhists. He says that we repudiate desire in passing to nirvāṇa, or nothingness.
Prabhupāda: And that is not possible. This is, this is simply a lack of knowledge. Just like the same philosophy, if there is danger before me I cannot protect me from the danger, I simply close my eyes, "Ahh. There is no danger." It is like that. The danger remains there. He thinks by closing the eyes, he thinks, "Now I am out of danger". That is his foolishness. You know? The small animal, rabbits or monkeys, they close the eyes. There was..., I do not know, I heard that there was an artistic competition, prize distribution, that one has to paint a picture, that the..., before the mother the son is being killed. So the artist has to paint the facial expression of the mother. So, so many artists paint so many ways. And one artist painted the mother closed the eyes. He got the first prize. Because this kind of suffering cannot be expressed. The best thing is closed.
Śyāmasundara: Oh, I see.
Prabhupāda: Yes, this is their philosophy. Close the eyes. "I no more, no longer exist." But that will not work. You have to exist my dear sir, and you have to surrender, you have to become a tree. Just like tree exists, it has got life, but practically it is not existing: cut it, insult it, kick it. That kind of existence will be the salvation for these rascals, to remain a tree for ten thousand years, that's all. No sense.
Śyāmasundara: He says where there is no will, then there is no ideas, no world...
Prabhupāda: That is all explained. That means when there is no sense of pains and pleasure, then they say there is no will. But, this not will. It is suppression. Suṣupti, it is called suṣupti. There are three stages: one stage is that I am awakened; another stage is that I am not awakened, I am sleeping but dreaming; and another stage is unconsciousness. Three stages. But in three stages, the will is there.
Śyāmasundara: Even in the unconscious.
Prabhupāda: Yes, because we see unconscious person, as soon as comes to consciousness, "Oh, I have to do this, I have to go there." Wherefrom it comes? It is called suṣupti damna(?]. Suṣupti damna means you are sleeping, but when you are awakened you immediately remember all your duties, past and present and future.
Śyāmasundara: The will is never killed.
Prabhupāda: No it cannot be. That is the function of the soul. The soul is eternal, therefore willing is eternal. It can be suppressed for sometime. Just like death. What is death? Death means stop willingness for seven months, that's all. That is death. And as soon as, according to your will, you develop a type of body and come out from the mother's womb, and the willing begins again. Again. Death means suppression of will for seven months, that's all. So suppression of willing... Just like if you are chloroformed, if you are anesthetic given, you can suppress your willing. Therefore you are unconscious. Even somebody is cutting you, you don't protest. But that does not mean the will is not there. It is there. It is suppressed, by artificial means. In other words, will cannot be killed or it can be stopped. If you train your willing process badly, then you have to suffer life after life. And if you train your willing nicely, then you go to Vaikuṇṭha, back to Godhead
Devotee: The impersonalist in the brahmajyoti, is his will in a dormant state also?
Prabhupāda: Yes. That is willingness in a negative way: "I shall not will. I shall not will. Because I have got experience that by willing I have suffered so much, so I shall not will." But that stage you cannot stay for a long time. Then you have to again will in the same way.
Śyāmasundara: What about these men who perform great austerities, lash their bodies, starve, and...
Prabhupāda: Oh, that is also the same thing, not willing. They have no knowledge of good willing; therefore they simply want to kill bad willing. Because they are insufficient in knowledge that in this way willing cannot be reformed. Just like a child is accustomed to play. If you stop playing, then he will be dull, he'll be diseased. But you must give him good engagement. Just like DDD, he stopped playing. He was worshiping Jagannātha, and he said, "It is māyā." He stopped. Just like your daughter, when she is engaged in worshiping Deity, she is engladdened. So give good engagement, good willing, and he will automatically give up all this nonsense bad willing. But if you want to stop artificially willing, that will be not possible. That you can stop for the time, but it will again act.
Śyāmasundara: So you go through so much trouble...
Prabhupāda: Therefore the Māyāvādī philosophers, the impersonalists, because they are not willing to serve Kṛṣṇa, they stop willing. They again fall down. Vivekananda comes and opens hospitals. Just like your Christian missionaries. Yes. This is there. Willing, you cannot stop. You have to will badly or goodly, or godly. So better try to will godly, then badly will automatically... This is our process. You don't stop willing. Yes, we will - or Kṛṣṇa's service.
Śyāmasundara: So that's all for Schopenhauer. (end)