Dialectical Spiritualism: Auguste Comte, Part 4

BY: SUN STAFF - 2.8 2017

Conversations wtih HDG A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, excerpted from  Dialectical Spiritualism: A Vedic View of Western Philosophy.

IX. UTILITARIANISM AND POSITIVISM 
Auguste Comte (1798 - 1857)

Hayagriva dasa: Comte felt that love of God is inconsistent with love for our fellow men, and that it has always interfered with man's love of woman. He writes: "It was impiety for the knight to love his lady better than his God; and thus the best feelings of man's nature were repressed by his religious faith. Women, therefore, are not really interested in perpetuating the old system [of religion]; and the very instincts by which their nature is characterized will soon incline them to abandon it."

Srila Prabhupada: Generally, women are interested in a comfortable home life. That is their nature. They are not spiritually very advanced or interested, but if a man has spiritual interests, and the woman helps the man — either as a mother, wife, or daughter — both can make spiritual progress. However, the woman must remain subordinate, and the man must make spiritual progress. Because the woman helps the man, she shares his spiritual benefits.

Hayagriva dasa: Comte envisioned women primarily as companions of men. He writes: "The first aspect then, under which Positivism considers woman, is simply as the companion of man, irrespective of her maternal duties For perfect friendship, difference of sex is essential, as excluding the possibility of rivalry."

Srila Prabhupada: According to the bodily demands, there are sexual necessities. Women should not only give sex pleasure to their husbands, but should also prepare good food. After coming home from a day of hard work, the man should be supplied good food, comfort, and sex. Then the home becomes very happy, and both husband and wife are satisfied.

Then they can improve their real business, which is spiritual understanding. Human life is meant for progressing spiritually, and people must first of all know that the spirit soul is at the basis even of material life. The body is built upon the soul. Although women are generally less intelligent, this understanding is required of both men and women. With the help of the husband, a woman can become more intelligent. In Vedic history, we have the example of Kapila-deva giving spiritual instructions to his mother Devahuti. Whether the woman is a daughter, wife, or mother, if she remains subordinate, she can receive knowledge from either her father, husband, or son. In the Puranas, there is the example of Lord Siva answering the spiritual questions of Parvati. Women supply the comforts of the tongue, belly, and genitals, and, remaining submissive, they are instructed in spiritual life. Thus there is cooperative advancement.

Hayagriva dasa: Comte felt that at least in the beginning stages of Positivism, women should take the place of God as an object of man's affection and love. He writes: "From childhood, each of us will be taught to regard women's sex as the principal source of human happiness and improvement, whether in public life or in private In a word, man will kneel to women, and to women alone She will be regarded by man as the most perfect personification of humanity The worship of women, when it has assumed a more systematic shape, will be valued for its own sake as a new instrument of happiness and moral growth The worship of women satisfies this condition, and is so far of greater efficacy, than the worship of God."

Srila Prabhupada: It is the duty of men to protect women and maintain them comfortably, not worship them. It is not a very good proposal to worship a woman as God. Then man will be henpecked. Worship is reserved for God only, and is not meant for others. However, cooperation between men and women for the sake of worshipping God is desirable. It is not that a man or a woman should be worshipped as God. Sometimes, affection is so strong that a person may see another person as God, but that is sentimentalism. God is different from men and women, who are but living entities meant to worship God. A woman should always be engaged in assisting a man in every respect in his religious, social, and family life. That is the real benefit of conjugal life.

Hayagriva dasa: Comte writes that "the whole effect of Positivist worship will be to make men feel clearly how far superior in every respect is the synthesis founded on the love of humanity to that founded on the love of God."

Srila Prabhupada: Love of humanity means raising humanity to the point where people can understand the real goal of life. We do not serve humanity by keeping people in darkness. We must enlighten others with knowledge, and ultimate knowledge means understanding God, our relationship with God, and the activities of that relationship. That is real humanitarian work. Mankind must be informed of the nature of the body and the soul and the necessities and goal of the soul. In this way, we can really serve humanity. We do not serve it by encouraging the animal propensities.