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Philosophy Discussion on Bertrand Russell

His Divine Grace
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

Śyāmasundara: So this morning's philosopher is called Bertrand Russell. As we enter into this twentieth century, the philosophies become more and more complicated, more and more abstract. So it may be a little difficult to try to understand some of his ideas, but we can try.

Prabhupāda: Philosophy does not become complicated; the mode of living becoming complicated - from simplicity to complication. Otherwise everything is there. Just like by nature's law, the sunrise is not complicated. It is the same process (indistinct). So we are making complicated things underneath the sun. So if we know what is life, then there is no complication. But they do not know. Especially the modern education, they are making things more and more complicated. Therefore the so-called philosophy is becoming complicated.

Śyāmasundara: Another difficulty with Bertrand Russell is that his philosophy changed. Many times throughout his life he changed his viewpoint.

Prabhupāda: That means he does not know what is philosophy. Philosophy cannot be changed. Just like āhāra-nidrā-bhaya-maithunam - the four principles of life - eating, sleeping, mating... (aside:) Sit down here.

Devotee: I was watching the (indistinct).

Prabhupāda: All right. So they are eating - where is the change of philosophy? Eating philosophy is there. Sleeping philosophy is there. Why it should change? What is fact, there is no need of changing. Imperfect knowledge changes. Perfect knowledge never changes. So he changes philosophy means his knowledge is imperfect.

Śyāmasundara: He comes in the tradition of the British empiricists, which believes that nothing outside of our senses can give us any knowledge. But still, he was never able to believe that simple mathematical principles like "Two plus equals four" are merely generalizations which we derive from our experience. He says that these things must be eternal principles, such as "Two plus two equals four."

Prabhupāda: Yes. So mathematical calculations, if it is perfect, then it is all right. Just like a child is born: father plus mother equal to child. So this is all right. But if one says that without father, through mother only, child, then how this is mathematical calculation? Whenever there is a child, it is to be understood that there is father and mother. If somebody says "No. Without father, simply mother gives birth to a child," then what kind of calculation is this? Similarly, these so-called philosophers, they simply think the nature is all-in-all, but that's not the fact. Nature is prakṛti, just like mother. There must be father. But they do not believe in father. So what kind of mathematical calculation? That is not mathematical calculation; that is concoction. Mathematical calculation - "Two plus two equal to four" - is a fact everywhere. Either you go to Europe or America or anywhere you go, that mathematical calculation - "Two plus two equal to four" - it can be understood. Similarly, it is very easy to understand that without father, mother cannot give birth to a child. Similarly, this nature, without the supreme father, Kṛṣṇa, she cannot give any birth. But these modern philosophers, scientists, they are struck with wonder simply by observing the natural activities. So Kṛṣṇa says that "Background of these natural activities is I." Mayādhyakṣeṇa prakṛtiḥ sūyate sa-carācaram (BG 9.10). "Under My supervision." Just like prakṛti, woman, the girl, naturally, when she is young, her father's direction, er, when she is child. When she is young, husband's direction. When she is old, elderly children's, son's, direction. In India at least you'll find, woman has no independence. And to remain dependent under father, under husband or elderly boys, that is their happiness. And in Western countries I see they're so-called independent, but (indistinct) the women's are so unhappy. So mathematical calculation means you should take the natural sequence, no artificial introduction. That will not make us happy.

Śyāmasundara: If you'll remember, some of the philosophers we have discussed, they believe that unless the world is perceived, it does not exist. But Bertrand Russell thought that the world was real in itself. Even though we do not perceive it, it still exists.

Prabhupāda: That, that (indistinct). World exists, whether we perceive or not perceive. It doesn't matter. So many things we do not perceive. Just like the child, he sees the electric fan is moving, but he does not perceive where is electricity power, or the powerhouse. So because the child does not perceive the powerhouse and electricity, it does not mean that there is no electricity or no powerhouse. It is the childish fault that one must think like that, that without electricity, without powerhouse, the fan is moving. That is childish. The so-called perception or no perception is simply childish.

Śyāmasundara: He says that the existence of the real world beyond sense data cannot be proved.

Prabhupāda: Such a nonsense cannot perceive. Therefore we have to go to a person who knows. I may be fool, rascal, so I cannot perceive, but that does not mean things are there as the fools and rascals perceive. Our process is, therefore, Vedic process-tad vijñānārthaṁ sa gurum eva abhigacchet (MU 1.2.12). In order to be really learned, wise, one must go to a guru. Gurum eva abhigacchet. Must. This abhigacchet word means "must." There is no alternative. He cannot know things as they are without approaching guru. That is our Vedic system. And guru means one who knows the Vedas, and one who is firmly fixed up in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, he is guru.

Śyāmasundara: But how does someone prove that something exists beyond his..., beyond our senses?

Prabhupāda: That I have already explained. Just like child does not know. He simply sees the fan is running-superficially. But he does not know that there is electricity power, and there is a powerhouse. So that is lack of knowledge. Therefore Bhagavad-gītā says, bahūnāṁ janmanām ante (BG 7.19). After many, many births, one comes to the real knowledge, and that is vāsudevaḥ sarvam iti (BG 7.19). Then he knows that Vāsudeva, Kṛṣṇa, is the original (indistinct). It is a question of knowing, and knowing through the direct current via media-guru. Otherwise he remains in darkness. Therefore guru-namastaya. Ajñāna timirāndasya. Everyone is blind by the darkness of ignorance. Jñānāñjana śalākayā. And the guru's business is to lighten ignorance, the śalāka. What is called, śalāka?

Devotee: Lamp.

Śyāmasundara: Torch.

Prabhupāda: Torch. Yes. Torchlight. The torchlight. Guru gives the torchlight, jñānāñjana śalākayā. What is that torchlight? By awakening his dormant knowledge. That is torch. Then he can see what is world.

Śyāmasundara: So the proof that one accepts for something which is beyond our sense is not necessarily scientific?

Prabhupāda: Not at all. What to speak of scientific, it is completely ignorant. There is no question of science. It is simply darkness.

Śyāmasundara: No. I mean the proof..., if one accepts the proof of the guru's authority...

Prabhupāda: That is the proof. He gives there. Guru - the next line says who is guru: śrotriyaṁ brahma-niṣṭam. He has heard the truth from the paramparā system, and the result of his hearing-he's firmly convinced and fixed up in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. So when one can finally see that one is fixed up in Kṛṣṇa consciousness and he answers all questions on the authority of śāstra, he's guru. This is the proof of it(?]. Just like we, whenever we say something, we immediately support it by quoting from Bhagavad-gītā, Bhāgavata, Vedas. This is called knowledge. And the result of knowledge-fixed up in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, firm. Nobody can deviate. That is guru. Two sides: one side is that he knows everything from authoritative source. And he, as the result, is fully Kṛṣṇa conscious. These two things are the symptoms of guru.

Śyāmasundara: This Bertrand Russell says that the world consists of a number of simple facts, each independent of all the others yet related externally to each other.

Prabhupāda: What are those facts?

Śyāmasundara: Well, everything that we see and perceive is individually separate, atomic, he calls it. So that the world consists of millions, of billions, numberless simple facts. They're externally related, but they're still independent of each other.

Prabhupāda: Yes. They're not independent; they are dependent. Who makes that separate? How do I separate them? There is no answer for that. They see simply that things are separate, but how they are separated, wherefrom they have come? That means superficial observation. But our Vedic process is to find out the original source. That is factual knowledge. We can, just like (indistinct) because you are scientist, that if we are talking not according to the scientific facts, it is counter to the facts, then, you are modern scientist, so if you find that there is something we are talking which does not corroborate with the scientific statement, you can point out.

Śyāmasundara: Just like when we were discussing Hegel, Hegel's belief was everything was synthetic, that it..., for every thesis there was an antithesis, and each combining made a synthesis, so that all things were related and all things combined together were the world. But his idea is the opposite - that everything is separated, everything is individual.

Prabhupāda: Yes. Separated, but there is sympathy. It is not separated abrupt. There is sympathy. Just like here, all our students, they are individual, separately, but there is (indistinct) sympathy, that every one of you are learning Kṛṣṇa consciousness. That is sympathy. Even though you are all separated, you have got your individual opinions, still there is a sympathy in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Otherwise what is the use of this assembly unless there is sympathy? (aside:) What you say, Dr. Rao?

Dr. Rao: (indistinct)

Prabhupāda: What your science says?

Dr. Rao: Science says that matter is composed of atoms; atoms, in turn, they are composed of the smaller particles like electrons, protons, neutrons and so on. And now scientists, they have found out that these smaller particles, they are also composed of still smaller particles. So there is no end to it. I mean...

Prabhupāda: Then what about the bigger? So what is smaller, but then what about the bigger? (laughter)

Dr. Rao: It doesn't mention. Aṇor aṇīyān mahato mahīyān.

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Dr. Rao: God is greater than the greatest and smaller than the smallest. So for the scientist it is very difficult to find an end, which is the smallest particle. That is what it is coming out every day.

Prabhupāda: Well, that means they could not reach to the ultimate goal of knowledge.

Dr. Rao: Not only that, but the scientists, really, they are changing like anything. Einstein developed the theory, and that theory was thought to be superior to that developed by Newton. Now another theory has been developed which is being thought to be superior than that of Einstein. So these things are only relative. The real scientist can see that all these things are relative. Everything is changing. Our conception of life - somebody says that sun is moving; somebody says earth is moving. But (indistinct) calculation you find that eclipse, lunar or..., (indistinct), it does not not matter which thing is moving and which thing is not moving. It is so complicated.

Prabhupāda: And the complicated things are so nicely (indistinct), that you know or do not know, it goes on. It doesn't matter.

Dr. Rao: (indistinct) (laughter) When people were not so scientific, at that time also, (indistinct rest of comment].

Prabhupāda: Therefore they are called muni. (indistinct) Nasau munir yasya mataṁ na bhinnam. You cannot become a muni unless you differ from the previous system. That is muni. Muni means mental concoction.

Dr. Rao: Mental concoction.

Prabhupāda: That's all. May be thoughtful, but mental concoction. There is no basic truth.

Acyutānanda: When science comes to something which is inconceivable, like gravity, they say it's an inconceivable energy which is pulling everything down. But they don't know what that inconceivable energy is. They just put a fancy word on it, they say it is gravity. And then they claim to have discovered it.

Śyāmasundara: So sometimes Bertrand Russell's philosophy is called atomistic logic, because he sought to base all logic at the, in the smallest particle.

Prabhupāda: That is not new. It was discussed in India, paramāṇuvāda, paramāṇuvāda.

Śyāmasundara: What is that?

Prabhupāda: That is atomistic. Atom, paramāṇu. And in the Brahmā-saṁhitā the paramāṇu logic is there, atomic theory. Aṇḍāntara-sthaṁ paramāṇu-cayāntara-sthaṁ govindam ādi-puruṣaṁ tam aham. So it is not a new discovery. The paramāṇuvāda, atomic theory, is there already.

Śyāmasundara: Well, he seeks to reduce philosophy to the smallest particle, where each individual fact is to be examined.

Prabhupāda: That is not possible. Here is a scientist. He says that atom is divided into protons, (indistinct). That bigger, they do not know how (indistinct) and where it is ended.

Dr. Rao: Not only that, but they have developed their idea of anti-matter, that there is anti-matter, you know, something against matter. So for every particle there is something relative. So his idea is very complicated.

Śyāmasundara: So for each fact there is..., it's also composed of several other facts...

Prabhupāda: Actually, as we say, that anti-matter are fixed up in (indistinct). I say anti-matter is spirit. That spirit soul is very small, keśāgra-śata-bhāgasya: (CC Madhya 19.140) the tip of the hair divided into ten thousand parts. So it is unimaginable by the modern scientist. Therefore the ultimate smallest part is the spirit soul, spark, part and parcel of the Supreme Spirit. Therefore we have to take the knowledge from Vedas. That is the perfect (indistinct).

Śyāmasundara: He says there are two types of logical atoms - the sense data and universals. And this problem, he saw, of the difference between the crude data of the senses and the things as understood by physical sciences. So he divided these into two types of knowledge. The knowledge of sense data is the immediate knowledge by acquaintance with something, and the knowledge of physical science is that knowledge derived from things, or inferred, by description from things. And he says the example of the first type of knowledge...

Prabhupāda: This knowledge, what is that?

Devotee: Inference.

Prabhupāda: Inference. What is that, inference knowledge?

Śyāmasundara: Just like the proposition "All men are mortal," this is inferred after examination, scientific examination, of a number of men.

Prabhupāda: How it is? How many number of men one can examine?

Śyāmasundara: Well, this is what he says.

Prabhupāda: If it is based on scientific examination of men, so our (indistinct) is limited. How many men we can examine to know that he is actually mortal? Just like individual, suppose you live for one hundred years and begin your study of the human being, say, at the age of twenty. So suppose for eighty years you go on examining. How many men you can examine every year? Say ten thousand men? Ten thousand men you examine, go on, eighty years, so how many-ten thousand into eighty?

Śyāmasundara: Er, eight hundred thousand?

Devotee: Eight million.

Prabhupāda: Eight million. Does it mean there is only eight million persons?

Acyutānanda: And how do you know they're mortal anyway, by examining?

Śyāmasundara: No. This is his idea, that this type of knowledge may not be always true.

Prabhupāda: Yes. That is it. It is not true.

Śyāmasundara: The first type of knowledge, centralized in the senses, such as "This snowball is white," he says that type of knowledge, there is no possibility of error, because it is knowledge that's direct or immediate. There's no mediation between. Immediate.

Prabhupāda: Therefore our proposition, to receive perfect knowledge from the authorities, that is perfect. As Kṛṣṇa says, evaṁ paramparā-praptam (BG 4.2). Kṛṣṇa is perfect, and whatever knowledge He imparts, that is perfect. If we take knowledge from Kṛṣṇa, then our knowledge is perfect. I may not be as perfect as Kṛṣṇa, but if I simply accept the statements of Kṛṣṇa, then my knowledge is perfect.

Śyāmasundara: He says that this type of conclusion such as "All men are mortal," there is no possibility of error because different people may arrive at the opposite conclusion...

Prabhupāda: (indistinct) What is that?

Śyāmasundara: He says that this type of conclusion that "All men are mortal," there is room, there is possibility of error in those kind of conclusions because different people arrive at different...

Prabhupāda: No. This knowledge is perfect because our proof is Vedas. In the Vedas it is stated that bhūtvā bhūtvā pralīyate (BG 8.19). In the Vedas it is stated that anything material, by its birth, its growth, its staying, its by-product, its dwindling, and then vanish. This is the nature of everything material. That we get from the Vedas, that everything which is born is sure to die. So birth, death, old age, by-products, dwindling, this is material nature's way. But we get the perfect knowledge from Vedas; therefore our knowledge is perfect. So we can accept perfect knowledge without any examination. What you think, Dr. Rao?

Dr. Rao: That is it.

Prabhupāda: Because our study is imperfect, because if our senses are imperfect, our scope of knowledge is imperfect, therefore as soon as we receive the knowledge from the perfect source, then it is perfect.

Śyāmasundara: He says in a type of understanding that is direct, such as "This snowball is white," that there is no possibility of error because there is no distinction between what a thing seems to be and what it is in reality.

Prabhupāda: No. That is called direct perception. So direct perception is not perfect. It is no... Just like I see the sun (indistinct), but I see just like a disc. But it is not a disc. Therefore my direct perception of the sun is imperfect. When we go to scientific book, astronomy, then you can understand that it is so great, fourteen hundred lakhs, or fourteen hundred thousand times bigger than the earth. So this my direct perception, it has no value.

Śyāmasundara: What about the knowledge, for instance, "This snowball is white"? Isn't that a direct fact, this understanding by everyone?

Prabhupāda: Yes. The snowball is white, but it may be mixed up (indistinct) white. That is also very (indistinct).

Dr. Rao: Snowball is actually colorless. It is not white.

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Dr. Rao: I mean, so this proposition is incorrect. It is the rays of sun which are falling on the snowball, they are reflected, and then you see that snowball is white. Otherwise, snow is colorless.

Prabhupāda: Sometimes we see seven colors on the snowball. It is white. It is sunshine reflected there.

Dr. Rao: White light. You see white light, but white light is composed of seven colors: violet, indigo, blue, you know, (indistinct) and green, yellow, orange and red. So, but you are seeing white. (indistinct).

Devotee: (indistinct)

Prabhupāda: But that is imperfect.

Dr. Rao: That is imperfection.

Prabhupāda: So therefore it is concluded that direct perception is always imperfect. (laughter)

Devotee: (indistinct)

Śyāmasundara: His belief for..., the criterion for truth is called the correspondence theory, that a belief is true if it agrees with the facts with which it is supposed to correspond.

Prabhupāda: Yes. Just like this example, we see the snow as white, but it is..., does not correspond with the fact. Therefore it is not knowledge.

Dr. Rao: There is another example. They see water can (indistinct) in several (indistinct). One is the seawater, one is the (indistinct rest of comment]

Śyāmasundara: He also says that besides the correspondence, that fact must correspond with..., that a belief must correspond with the fact if it is to be true. Also he says...

Prabhupāda: So that fact does not correspond by direct perception, (indistinct) that we are seeing the snowball white, but scientifically it is not white; it is a combination of seven colors.

Dr. Rao: And even by saying white, it is (indistinct). You see sky, you see white clouds, you see white light, you see snow. (indistinct)

Prabhupāda: Therefore we sometimes say "snow white." (laughter) "Snow white" means (indistinct). (laughter) So what is the standard of whiteness?

Dr. Rao: (indistinct comment) ...they are not transparent. But you can take very fine (indistinct) out of them, and they are transparent. So how can we say they are (indistinct). They are in fact transparent. It is ludicrous. That also science is attempting.

Śyāmasundara: He says another criterion for truth is coherence.

Prabhupāda: Therefore in our Vedic language they are called, direct perception, pratyakṣa. Pratyakṣa-jña.

Dr. Rao: Pratyakṣa.

Prabhupāda: So pratyakṣa is third-class knowledge, according to Vedic system. Pratyakṣa is third-class knowledge. Or fifth-class knowledge. There are stages of knowledge-pratyakṣa, parokṣa, aparokṣa, adhokṣaja, aprakṛta-(indistinct) - that when you come to the standard of aprakṛta knowledge, that is perfection. So pratyakṣa knowledge, direct perception, is fifth-class knowledge, and according to Vedic system, pratyakṣa, aitirya, and śabda... Pratyakṣa, direct perception; (Sanskrit), (indistinct); and śabdha. Three. So out of these three kinds of evidences, śabda-pramāṇa, veda-pramāṇa, is perfect. So if pratyakṣa knowledge is perfect, then why a child, a boy, is sent to school? To hear from the teacher. That is śabda. That is śabda. If pratyakṣa, direct perception, would have been perfect, then there was no need of sending these boys to school to hear from the teacher. But this is very scientific, śabda-pramāṇa.

Śyāmasundara: But isn't the understanding of the white light composed of seven other colors, isn't that also a fact of direct sense perception?

Prabhupāda: No. That is śabda. So a man sees this white snowball, he sees snow. He may not see the reflection of the sun, seven colors, but when he goes to a teacher, he can hear that there is seven colors. Therefore śabda-pramāṇa. The word, the sound, then he can be perfect.

Dr. Rao: (indistinct) Vedic truth?

Prabhupāda: No. Anything we receive knowledge directly by our sense perception, that is imperfect knowledge.

Śyāmasundara: Because even if we see the seven colors in the laboratory with instruments, we still don't understand the even simpler facts of which that is composed. There may be seven colors, but how to understand those?

Prabhupāda: Yes. Therefore material knowledge is always imperfect. That is the conclusion.

Śyāmasundara: He says that the mind plays no part in the process of evolution, because the only evidence for the existence of mental phenomena is a fragment of space and time. But this is not a substance; it is simply a set of relations.

Prabhupāda: He does not know it is also matter, but very subtle matter. It is matter. Just like ether - you cannot touch, you cannot see, but still it is matter. And mind is subtler than the ether. But it is matter. Intelligence is subtler than the mind, but still it is matter. So from Vedic authorities we understand that earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind, intelligence, they are all material.

Dr. Rao: And ahaṅkāra, ego.

Prabhupāda: Ego, that is also matter.

Dr. Rao: That is the ultimate...

Śyāmasundara: So does the mind play any part in the evolutionary process? The mind?

Prabhupāda: Yes. Evolutionary process means... If evolution means to go higher, then from mind you come to intelligence. And if you go still higher, then you come to the platform of soul, spirit soul.

Śyāmasundara: Well, according to these men like Russell, the evolution of bodies, the changes from one body to another, those are simply physical.

Prabhupāda: That is nonsense. That is nonsense. That we have already discussed, that if evolution of bodies, then just like this Darwin says that some monkeys, eh? So where is the direct proof that a monkey body is changing to a human body? We say that there are different types of bodies always, just like different types of apartment. But the living entity, the soul, is transferring from one apartment to another just like we change. We are in this room, we may go to another room - but that room is already ready. But I am entering a certain type of apartment according to my means. If I can pay more rent, I can get very nice apartment. If I do not pay, I cannot pay, then that is not possible. Similarly, according to our karma, nature is offering us different apartments, and these apartments are already there, fixed up, 8,400,000 species of life. So as you make yourself fit, you enter accordingly. It is not fixed up that because you are now in a very nice apartment you cannot go down or go up. If you are fit for entering into better apartment, that is also ready. And if you are unfit for entering a better, then lower class of apartment, that is also ready. So these things are already there.

Dr. Rao: (indistinct) between chance of from one apartment to another?

Prabhupāda: Yes. It is said... Just like you step forward. You first of all put your leg. When you see that it is fixed up, then you get up (indistinct). Unless you are firm, that "Now I am solid," then you take up the other leg. Similarly death takes place when it is ascertained that this soul has to enter such-and-such body, when it is settled up by higher authority, then he gives up this body and enters into (another) body.

Śyāmasundara: He says that matter is simply a series of events in which energy and not force as the real motive power, that what we call the material world, rather than being described as solid and understood in terms of force, that actually it is energy performing different events.

Prabhupāda: Yes. Yes. It is forced by the energy. Matter has no form, but by the superior energy, the living entity (indistinct) mixed up (indistinct) matter and make the form. Just like a (indistinct) plate, clay, water, and fire. So the potter makes a form from the clay. Clay means earth and water, mixed up, and it makes a pot and then puts it with fire and it becomes a glass and so on. So tejo-vāri-mṛdāṁ vinimayam. It is simply exchange of earth, water, and fire. But this mixture is being made by the potter. And the instrument is the potter's wheel. So similarly, God is the potter, and the material nature is the wheel, and so many things are coming out. But if there is no potter to turn the wheel or make the clay into pots, this is not (indistinct). There is already water, there is already earth, there is already fire, but unless a spirit, a being, a living being, comes into it, there is no question of (indistinct). Therefore in Bhagavad-gītā it is said, (indistinct). Because the living entities are there, the formation is taking place. A (indistinct), it is a combination of matter. But because we see that the living entity is there, it is taking a certain type of shape. Matter does not out of itself take the shape. That is wrong theory. We have no such experience where matter is taking automatically shape. (indistinct). Is there any exception?

Dr. Rao: (indistinct)

Prabhupāda: How matter can take shape? That is not philosophy, that is childish. That is the defect of the modern civilization. A man has got childish knowledge and he is becoming philosopher.

Śyāmasundara: He says that the cause-effect relationship between things has very little effect on genuine events which can cause reality.

Prabhupāda: No. There must be cause and effect.

Śyāmasundara: Yes. He says there is cause and effect, but these have little effect on the main events that comprise reality.

Prabhupāda: No. There's a cause, a supreme cause, sarva-kāraṇa-kāraṇam (Bs. 5.1), supreme cause. They'll have to find out the supreme cause. Just like I was eating that fruit, what is called? (indistinct) what is the English of (indistinct)? All right. Take any fruit, any fruit, I am eating one fruit. Take orange. So take each piece of orange parts, there are so many seeds, and each seed there is a tree, and each tree there is millions of fruit, and each fruit there is millions of seeds, and each seed, there is a (indistinct) tree. So who has made this? Speak up. Therefore you have to find out the supreme cause. That is knowledge. (indistinct) And Brahmā, the most perfect (indistinct) in this universe, he says that

īśvaraḥ paramaḥ kṛṣṇaḥ
anādir ādir govindaḥ
(Bs. 5.1)

How you have to take that knowledge from the superior? He gives us the key: sarva-kāraṇa-kāraṇam (Bs. 5.1). Vedānta is searching out what is Brahman. Brahman means the original source of everything. (break) ...mattaḥ sarvaṁ pravartate, iti matvā bhajante māṁ budhā bhāva-samanvitāḥ (BG 10.8). So those who are vidhā, actually learned, they know that Kṛṣṇa is the supreme source of everything; therefore we should offer our obeisances to Kṛṣṇa. This is actually knowledge. And one who does not know how to (indistinct) the supreme, but suppose blindly he accepts, "Kṛṣṇa is supreme," he also derives (indistinct). Just like fire: either with scientific knowledge you touch, or without any knowledge you touch, the fire will act. Similarly, Krsna is the supreme. Either you study scientifically or not study, He is supreme. So somehow or other, if one goes to supreme he becomes purified. That is, that is the defect of the modern man. Therefore they question, question about the līlā of Kṛṣṇa and the gopīs. Gopī means, gopī is actually surrendered(?) to Kṛṣṇa in love. Kṛṣṇa is faithful(?). But Kṛṣṇa, He is the supreme. Their lusty desires become purified and they became the first-class devotees. Therefore Lord Caitanya was so strict as a sannyāsī to allow women to come to near to His (indistinct), He says, ramyā kācid upāsanā vraja-vadhū-vargeṇa yā kalpitā. So there is no superior mode of worship than it was conceived by the damsels of Vraja, because they loved Kṛṣṇa blindly, without any reservation, without any return. Mad after Kṛṣṇa. So Caitanya Mahāprabhu says this is the first-class love. They might have gone with some purpose, that doesn't matter, but because they approached Kṛṣṇa somehow or other, (indistinct) kāma, it doesn't matter. Fire, the same example: fire you touch in any way, it will act. So in that way, Kṛṣṇa does not become polluted. Even superficially it appears to be wrong, the gopīs were others' wives, but because He is Kṛṣṇa, He cannot be polluted. The example is given, just like the sun. The sun absorbs water from urinal, so that place where you pass urine, that becomes sterilized, purified, but sun does not become impure. Similarly, you may go with Kṛṣṇa, even with lust, it doesn't matter, but because you come to Kṛṣṇa, you become purified. And Kṛṣṇa remains pure always. So those who do not know this science, they think, "Oh, Kṛṣṇa is being (indistinct)." Kṛṣṇa is not being (indistinct), Kṛṣṇa is giving chance to everyone, "You come to Me, anyway, I give you protection." This is all. Ahaṁ tvāṁ sarva-pāpebhyo mokṣayiṣyāmi (BG 18.66). That is Vaiṣṇava. Even if you are sinful... For a married woman who goes to another man, it is sinful, but because they are going to Kṛṣṇa, so Kṛṣṇa makes them pure, ahaṁ tvāṁ sarva-pāpebhyo mokṣayiṣyāmi. Therefore the transgression, according to the, if you are sinful, becomes purified in touch with Kṛṣṇa. As the example is very nice, (indistinct). Yan-nāma-śruti-mātreṇa pumān bhavati nirmalaḥ: simply by chanting Kṛṣṇa's name one becomes purified. How the gopīs can remain impure, in touch with Kṛṣṇa? Simply in touch with His holy name one becomes pure, and they are directly in touch with Kṛṣṇa, how they can be impure? So one who does not know the science of Kṛṣṇa, they say like that, "Oh, why (indistinct)?" They want to give direction to God. They think that God should be under their rules and regulations; therefore they dare to question Kṛṣṇa's activities. Kṛṣṇa therefore says in the Bhagavad-gītā, janma karma me divyaṁ yo jānāti tattvataḥ. Whatever He does, that is transcendental, but one must know tattvataḥ, in truth. And as soon as he knows it, he becomes liberated. Tyaktvā dehaṁ punar janma naiti mām eti kaunteya (BG 4.9). So one should know Kṛṣṇa in truth, not superficially, and comparing oneself to Kṛṣṇa. No, Kṛṣṇa is... "He (is) a man like me, maybe little wiser, that's all." Dr. Frog calculation. Atlantic Ocean from the well, three-feet well. You see. (indistinct). Yes.

Indian man: The gopīs went to Kṛṣṇa out of knowledge, or being affected by Him?

Prabhupāda: Being affected by Him. Yes.

Indian man: By His beauty. Not that they realized that He is God and...

Prabhupāda: No. The Vṛndāvana, they did not know Kṛṣṇa, even Yaśodā-mayī did not know that He is God. Otherwise, how the transaction of pleasure will be done, if they knew that He is God? Then they could not show, I mean to say, freely mix with Kṛṣṇa. They did not know that Kṛṣṇa is God. "Kṛṣṇa is our friend, boy friend." They're all neighborhood children. From childhood they are grown up, and the girls, when they are twelve, thirteen years old, they're married. So Kṛṣṇa was not married. (indistinct) wait up to twenty years. But the girlfriends, so they are coming to Kṛṣṇa, they could not forget Kṛṣṇa. And they wanted to serve their husbands, but it was not possible. Because in our India, twelve-years-old boy, they got married. But a girl, twelve years, thirteen years, she is (indistinct) young. But the girls had love for Kṛṣṇa, but they are married - some of them had children - but still, they used to come to Kṛṣṇa due to old friendship. That is a fact. But this kind of friendship is not allowed in the society. Therefore it appears like immorality. And Kṛṣṇa also instructed them, when the gopīs came at midnight. He said that "What you have done?" He (indistinct) immediately. That instruction is there. But still they insisted. Their love for Kṛṣṇa is so intense that He must dance with them. They have come and they are not going back. So Kṛṣṇa is always servant to His devotees. And that another point is that Kṛṣṇa is the real enjoyer. Bhoktāraṁ yajña-tapasāṁ sarva-loka-maheśvaram (BG 5.29). So even He danced with others' wives, actually He's the proprietor. So from that sense, angle of vision, there is no immoral.

Pañca-draviḍa: From that angle of vision everyone is committing adultery except Kṛṣṇa.

Prabhupāda: Yes. (indistinct). Kṛṣṇa... When you think that "This is my wife," that is other thing. But (s)he does not belong to you; everything belongs to Kṛṣṇa. But under certain ritualistic ceremony, marriage ceremony, Kṛṣṇa gives you, "All right, you take this as your wife." That is, so much we can take. Tena tyaktena bhuñjīthā (ISO 1). But you cannot aspire more than that. That is immoral.

Śyāmasundara: This Bertrand Russell says that ethics, or what is right and wrong, is simply a set of emotional attitudes, and it cannot be, we cannot regard anything as good or bad. That nothing...

Prabhupāda: He does not make any distinction between good and bad?

Śyāmasundara: That there's no absolute good and bad. Nothing can be said "This is true or false," that "This is good," or that "This is bad."

Prabhupāda: That means he could not observe the distinction between good and bad. Does it mean like that?

Śyāmasundara: He says the only knowledge which is valid is proven scientifically, and he says that since moral right and wrong is not...

Prabhupāda: What is his proposal? What is scientifically proven? What is scientifically bad?

Śyāmasundara: He says good and bad are not subject to scientific proof.

Prabhupāda: But proof to him. But there is proof, what is really good and what is really bad. Has he given any practical example, that "This is scientifically good" and that "this is scientifically bad"?

Śyāmasundara: He says, "What is good is that which is desired," that desirable.

Prabhupāda: But anyone can desire anything. (laughter) So it is nonsense.

Pañca-draviḍa: Also it is nonsense because he went to jail because he wanted them not to bomb. He went to jail himself.

Prabhupāda: So was that not bad thing, to go to the jail? (laughter)

Śyāmasundara: But it's relative. He says it's relative, good and bad.

Prabhupāda: Then he was a madman. (laughter)

Śyāmasundara: From his point of view, he said it was good that he went to jail.

Prabhupāda: Madman always thinks like that. (laughter)

Śyāmasundara: He said that values like good and bad lie outside the domain of knowledge, that they are simply venting of emotions.

Prabhupāda: That outside means it depends on the verdict of somebody further up. Is it not? He does not come to that point?

Śyāmasundara: No. He doesn't come to that point. No. He says it's all relative, good and bad.

Prabhupāda: No. He says... What does he say?

Śyāmasundara: He says that values like good and bad lie outside the domain of knowledge, that they are simply emotional.

Prabhupāda: Outside the domain of knowledge, so that means it depends on the verdict of God. If God says, "This is good," then it is good. If God says, "This is bad," then it is bad. Just like Kṛṣṇa says, sarva-dharmān parityajya mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja (BG 18.66). So if you surrender unto Him, that is religion. And any religion which does not teach to surrender to Kṛṣṇa, that is not religion. Otherwise how Kṛṣṇa can say sarva-dharmān parityajya (BG 18.66)? Any religion which does not preach to surrender to the Supreme, that is not religion.

Śyāmasundara: Just like in Bertrand Russell's own case, they're going to drop the bomb on someone. Now some people say it's good - they should drop the bomb to test it. Some people, like he, say, "No, it's bad." So who is to decide? There's no scientific proof.

Prabhupāda: No. Proof, he does not know. Under whose order to drop bombs, bombs should be dropped, under whose order the bombs should not be dropped? There is authority, but he does not know. Just like Arjuna. Arjuna hesitated to fight, "No, I shall..., I shall not drop the bomb." But when he was convinced, after studying Bhagavad-gītā, that "I have to carry out the order of Kṛṣṇa," so Kṛṣṇa says, "Drop the bomb," you drop - that is good. That is the... So here in this material world, they are doing with the bomb business by their whim. But when it is directly ordered by Kṛṣṇa, that is not whim; that is good. So that is the standard of good and bad. You should carry out, kariṣye vacanaṁ tava (BG 18.73). That is the injunction, as Arjuna says, that "I shall carry out Your order." (indistinct) Krsna consciousness. No hesitation. If one does not do that, that is bad. He may pose himself very saintly person, but if he does not carry out the order of Kṛṣṇa, then he's bad.

Śyāmasundara: He says that the social good is that which is desired by the most people.

Prabhupāda: Self... Most people may be foolish. Therefore we don't take social or in that way. Our Vedic civilization is from the higher authorities. Just like law we take from Manu, Manu-saṁhitā.

Devotee: Most people wanted to drop the bomb. And he was against it. So therefore his own philosophy is negated by himself.

Śyāmasundara: And his idea is that you have to educate...

Prabhupāda: And what is the ultimate goal of that education? So ultimate goal of education is to come to Kṛṣṇa. Bahūnāṁ janmanām ante jñānavān māṁ prapadyate (BG 7.19). That is education. (indistinct), she is educated. Why? So ultimate knowledge is that, to surrender to Kṛṣṇa. Bahūnāṁ janmanām ante jñānavān māṁ prapadyate. Surrender to Kṛṣṇa. Vāsudevaḥ sarvam iti sa mahātmā su-durlabhaḥ (BG 7.19).

Śyāmasundara: His idea is that emotions are what are determining good and bad, and if we educate people into scientific reality...

Prabhupāda: No. No emotion. We don't... Just like Arjuna. By emotion he was thinking, "I shall not fight." That was emotion. So "I shall be bad man, taking to these orders" - these are... Anything material, that is emotion, sentiment. Yes. So religion without philosophy is sentiment, and philosophy without religion is mental speculation. So therefore our this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is so sound. We do not go by sentiment. We accept the superior order of Kṛṣṇa (indistinct), it is perfect.

Śyāmasundara: He says that there is no such thing as fact. There are not facts.

Prabhupāda: That is another nonsense. (laughter) He does not know what is facts.

Devotee: He just before said that it is facts what we see from our senses, so again he's negating his own philosophy.

Śyāmasundara: But he's using... He wants to use another word for facts. Instead of facts he...

Prabhupāda: What is the fact?

Śyāmasundara: ...he calls it propositions, or symbol, such as "Snow is white." Instead of calling it a fact, he would say, "It is proposition." (laughter)

Prabhupāda: What is the fact? He must say "This is fact."

Indian man: This is the same question in London. One of the (indistinct), that how can... (break) (end)