Dialectical Spiritualism: Carl Jung, Part 4

BY: SUN STAFF - 24.10 2017

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

Carl Gustav Jung (1875 - 1961)

Hayagriva dasa: Recalling his difficulties in understanding God's personality, Jung writes: "Personality, after all, surely signifies character... certain specific attributes. But if God is everything, how can He still possess a distinguishable character...? Moreover, what kind of character or what kind of personality does He have? Everything depends on that, for unless one knows the answer, one cannot establish a relationship with Him."

Srila Prabhupada: God's character is transcendental, not material. He also has many attributes. For instance, He is very kind to His devotees, and this kindness may be considered one of His characteristics or attributes. He also has unlimited qualities, and sometimes He is described according to these transcendental qualities. His qualities, however, are permanent. Whatever qualities or characteristics we have are but minute manifestations of God's. God is the origin of all attributes and characteristics. As indicated in the sastras. He also has a mind, senses, feelings, sense perception, sense gratification, and everything else. Everything is there unlimitedly, and since we are part and parcel of God, we possess His qualities in minute quantities. The original qualities in God are manifest minutely in ourselves. According to the Vedas, God is a person just like us, but His personality is unlimited. Just as my consciousness is limited to this body, and His consciousness is super consciousness within everybody, so I am a person confined to this particular body, and He is the super person living within all. As Krsna tells Arjuna in Bhagavad-gita, the personality of God and that of the individual are eternally existing.

na tv evaham jatu nasam 
na tvam neme janadhipah 
na caiva na bhavisyamah 
sarve vayam atah param

"Never was there a time when I did not exist, nor you, nor all these kings; nor in the future shall any of us cease to be." (Bg. 2.12) Both God and the living entity are persons, but God's personality is unlimited, and the individual personality is limited. God has unlimited power, strength, influence, knowledge, beauty, and renunciation. We have limited, finite power, knowledge, influence, and so on. That is the difference between the two personalities.

Hayagriva dasa: Seeing that philosophies and theologies could not give him a clear picture of God's personality, Jung concludes: "What is wrong with these philosophers? I wondered. Evidently they know of God only by hearsay."

Srila Prabhupada: Yes, that is also our complaint. None of the philosophers we have discussed has given us any clear idea of God. Because they are speculating, they cannot give concrete, clear information. As far as we are concerned, our understanding of God is clear because we receive the information given by God Himself to the world. Krsna is accepted as the Supreme Person by Vedic authorities; therefore we should have no reason not to accept Him as such. Narayana, Lord Siva, and Lord Brahma possess different percentages of God's attributes, but Krsna possesses all the attributes cent per cent, in totality. Rupa Gosvami has analyzed this in his Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu, which we have translated as The Nectar of Devotion. God is a person, and if we study the attributes of man, we can also know something of God's. Just as we enjoy ourselves with friends, parents, and others, God also enjoys Himself in various relationships. There are five primary and seven secondary relationships that the living entities can have with God. Since we take pleasure in these relationships, God is described as akhila-rasamrta-sindhu, the reservoir of all pleasure. There is no need to speculate about God, or try to imagine Him. The process for understanding is described in Bhagavad-gita:

mayy asakta-manah partha 
yogarh yuhjan mad-asrayah 
asamsayam samagram mam 
yatha jhasyasi tac chrnu

"Now hear, 0 son of Prtha, how by practicing yoga in full consciousness of Me, with mind attached to Me, you can know Me in full, free from doubt." (Bg. 7.1) You can learn about God by always keeping yourself under His protection, or under the protection of His representative. Then, without a doubt, you can perfectly understand God. Otherwise, there is no question of understanding Him.

Hayagriva dasa: Jung continues: "At least they [the theologians] are sure that God exists, even though they make contradictory statements about Him God's existence does not depend on our proofs I under stand that God was, for me at least, one of the most certain and immediate of experiences."

Srila Prabhupada: Yes, that is a transcendental conviction. One may not know God, but it is very easy to understand that God is there. We have to learn about God's nature, but there is no doubt that God is there. Any sane man can understand that he is being controlled. So, who is that controller? The supreme controller is God. This is the conclusion of a sane man. Jung is right when he says that God's existence does not depend on our proof.

Hayagriva dasa: Recalling his early spiritual quests, Jung writes: "In my darkness... I could have wished for nothing better than a real, live guru, someone possessing superior knowledge and ability, who would have disentangled from me the involuntary creations of my imagination "

Srila Prabhupada: Yes, according to Vedic instructions, we must have a guru in order to acquire perfect knowledge.

tad vijhdnarthaih sa gurum evabhigacchet 
samit-panih srotriyam brahma-nistham

"In order to learn the transcendental science, one must approach the bona fide spiritual master in disciplic succession, who is fixed in the Absolute Truth." (Mundaka Upanisad 1.2.12) The guru must factually be a representative of God. He must have seen and experienced God in fact, not simply in theory. We have to approach such a guru, and by service, surrender, and sincere inquiry, we can come to understand what is God. The Vedas inform us that a person can understand God when he has received a little mercy from His Lordship; otherwise, he may speculate for millions and millions of years. Bhaktya mam abhijanati. "One can understand the Supreme Personality as He is only by devotional service." (Bg. 18.55) This process of bhakti includes sravanam kirtanam visnoh, hearing and chanting about Lord Visnu and always remembering Him. Satataih kirtayanto marh (Bg. 9.14). The devotee is always glorifying the Lord. Srimad-Bhagavatam says:

naivodvije para duratyaya-vaitaranyas 
soce tato vimukha-cetasa indriyarthamaya-sukhaya bharam udvahato vimudhan

"0 best of the great personalities, I am not at all afraid of material existence, f or wherever I stay I am fully absorbed in thoughts of Y our glories and activities. My concern is only for the fools and rascals who are making elaborate plans for material happiness and maintaining their families, societies, and countries. I am simply concerned with love for them." (Bhag. 7.9.43) The devotee's consciousness is always immersed in the ocean of the pastimes and unlimited activities of the Supreme Lord. That is transcendental bliss. The spiritual master trains his disciple to remain always in the ocean of God consciousness. One who works under the directions of the acarya knows everything about God.

Hayagriva dasa: When in Calcutta in 1938, Jung met some celebrated gurus, but generally avoided so-called holymen. "I did so because I had to make do with my own truth," he writes, "not to accept from others what I could not attain on my own."

Srila Prabhupada: On the one hand, he says he wants a guru, and then on the other, he doesn't want to accept one. Doubtless, there are many cheating gurus in Calcutta, and Jung might have seen some bogus gurus he did not like. In any case, the principle of accepting a guru cannot be avoided. It is absolutely necessary.

Hayagriva dasa: Concerning consciousness after death, Jung feels that the individual must pick up the level of consciousness which he left.

Srila Prabhupada: Yes, and therefore according to that consciousness, we have to accept a body. That is the process of the soul's transmigration. An ordinary person can see only the gross material body, but accompanying this body is the mind, intelligence, and ego. When the body is finished, these remain, although they cannot be seen. A foolish man thinks that everything is finished at death, but the soul carries the mind, body. This is confirmed by Bhagavad-gita: na hanyate hanyamane sarire. "He is not slain when the body is slain." (Bg. 2.20)

Hayagriva dasa: Jung believes that individual consciousness cannot supersede world consciousness. He writes: "If there were to be a conscious existence after death, it would, so it seems to me, have to continue on the level of consciousness attained by humanity, which in any age has an upper thought variable limit."

Srila Prabhupada: It is clearly explained in Bhagavad-gita that although the body is destroyed, the consciousness continues. According to one's consciousness, he acquires another body, and again in that body, the consciousness begins to mold its future lives. If a person were a devotee in his past life, he would again become a devotee after his death. Once the material body is destroyed, the same consciousness begins to work in another body. Consequently, we find that some people quickly accept Krsna consciousness, whereas others take a longer time. Bahunam janmanam ante (Bg. 7.19) This indicates that the consciousness is continuing, although the body is changing. Bharata Maharaja, for instance, changed many bodies, but his consciousness continued, and he remained fully Krsna conscious. We may see a person daily, but we cannot visualize his intelligence. We can understand that a person is intelligent, but we cannot see intelligence itself. When one talks, we can understand that there is intelligence at work. When the gross body is dead and no longer capable of talking, why should we conclude that the intelligence is finished? The instrument for speech is the gross body, but when the body is finished, we should not conclude that consciousness and intelligence are finished. After the destruction of the gross body, the mind and intelligence continue. Because they require a body to function, they develop a body, and that is the process of the soul's transmigration.

Hayagriva dasa: Still, what of Jung's contention that the individual's level of consciousness cannot supersede whatever knowledge is available on this planet?

Srila Prabhupada: No, it can supersede, provided we acquire knowledge from authority. You may not have seen India, but a person who has seen India can describe it to you. We may not be able to see Krsna, but we can learn of Him from an authority who knows. In Bhagavad-gita, Krsna tells Arjuna that there is an eternal nature:

paras tasmat tu hhavonyo 
'vyakto' vyaktat sanatanah 
yah sa sarvesu bhutesu 
nasyatsu na vinasyati

"Yet there is another nature, which is eternal and is transcendental to this manifested and unmanifested matter. It is supreme and is never annihilated. When all in this world is annihilated, that part remains as it is." (Bg. 8.20). On this earth, we encounter temporary nature. Here, things take birth, remain for some time, change, grow old, and are finally destroyed. There is dissolution in this material world, but there is another world in which there is no dissolution. We have no personal experience of this other world, but we can understand that it exists when we receive information from authority. It is not necessary to know it by personal experience. Paroksaparoksa. There are different stages of knowledge, and not all knowledge can be acquired by direct perception. That is not possible.

Hayagriva dasa: Jung believed in the importance of consciousness elevation. He writes: "Only here, in life on earth, can the general level of consciousness be raised. That seems to be man's metaphysical task "

Srila Prabhupada: Yes, our consciousness should be developed. As stated in Bhagavad-gita:

prapya punya-krtarh lokan 
usitva sasvatih samah 
Surinam srimatam gehe 
yoga-bhrasto ' bhijayate 

athava yoginam eva 
kule bhavati dhlmatam 
etaddhi durlabhatararh 
loke janma yad idrsam 

tatra tarn buddhi-samyogam 
labhate paurva-dehikam 
yatate ca tato bhuyah 
samsiddhau kuru-nandana

"The unsuccessful yogi, after many, many years of enjoyment on the planets of the pious living entities, is born into a family of righteous people, or into a family of rich aristocracy. Or he takes his birth in a family of transcendentalists who are surely great in wisdom. Verily, such a birth is rare in this world. On taking such a birth, he again revives the divine consciousness of his previous life, and he tries to make further progress in order to achieve complete success." (Bg. 6.41-43)

So if one's yoga practice is incomplete, or if he dies prematurely, his consciousness accompanies him, and in the next life, he begins at the point where he left off. His intelligence is revived. In an ordinary class, we can see that some students learn very quickly, while others cannot understand. This is evidence for the continuation of consciousness. If a person is extraordinarily intelligent, his previously developed consciousness is being revived. The fact that we have undergone previous births is also evidence for the immortality of the soul.