Dialectical Spiritualism: Carl Jung, Part 11


The last in a series of 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: Jung writes: "It is unfortunately only too clear that if the individual is not truly regenerated in spirit, society cannot be either, for society is the sum total of individuals in need of redemption."

Srila Prabhupada: True, the basis of change is the individual. Now there are a few disciples individually initiated into Krsna consciousness, and if a large percentage can thus become invigorated, the face of the world will change. There is no doubt of this.

Hayagriva dasa: For Jung, the salvation of the world consists in the salvation of the individual soul. "His individual relation to God would be an effective shield against these pernicious influences."

Srila Prabhupada: Yes, those who seriously take to Krsna consciousness are never troubled by Marxism, this-ism, or that-ism. A Marxist may take to Krsna consciousness, but a Krsna conscious devotee would never become a Marxist. That is not possible. It is explained in Bhagavad-gita that when one knows the highest perfection of life, he cannot be misled by a third or fourth-class philosophy.

Hayagriva dasa: Jung also felt that materialistic progress could be a possible enemy to the individual. "A favorable environment merely strengthens the dangerous tendency to expect everything to originate from outside," he writes, "even that metamorphosis which external reality cannot provide, mainly, a deep-seated change of the inner man".

Srila Prabhupada: Yes everything originates from inside, from the soul. It is confirmed by Bhaktivinoda Thakura and others that material progress is essentially an expansion of the external energy, maya, illusion. We are all living in illusion, and so-called scientists and philosophers cannot even understand God and their relationship to Him, despite their material advancement. Material advancement and knowledge are actually hindrances to the progressive march of Krsna consciousness. To live a saintly life, we minimize our necessities. We are not after luxurious living. We feel that life is meant for spiritual progress and Krsna consciousness, not for material advancement.

Hayagriva dasa: To inspire this deep-seated change in the inner man, Jung feels that a proper teacher is needed, someone to explain religion.

Srila Prabhupada: Yes, according to the Vedic injunction, it is essential to seek out a guru, who, by definition, is a representative of God. Saksaddharri-tvena samasta-sastrair (Sri Gurv-astaka 7). The representative of God is worshipped as God, but he never says, "I am God." Although he is worshipped as God, he is the servant of God. God Himself is always master. Caitanya Mahaprabhu requested everyone to become a guru. "Whatever you are, it doesn't matter. Simply become a guru and deliver all these people who are in ignorance." One may say, "I am not very learned. How can I become a guru?" Caitanya Mahaprabhu said that it is not necessary to be a learned scholar, for there are many so-called learned scholars who are fools. It is only necessary to impart Krsna's instructions, which are already there in Bhagavad-gita. Whoever explains Bhagavad-gita as it is is a guru by definition. If one is fortunate enough to approach such a guru, his life becomes successful.

Hayagriva dasa: Jung points out that "our philosophy is no longer a way of life, as it was in antiquity; it has turned into an exclusively intellectual and academic affair."

Srila Prabhupada: That is also our opinion. Mental speculation has no value in itself. We must be directly in touch with the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and, using all reason, assimilate the instructions given by Him. We can then follow these instructions in our daily life and do good to others by teaching Bhagavad-gita.

Hayagriva dasa: He sees on the one hand an exclusively intellectual philosophy, and on the other, denominational religions with "archaic rites and conceptions," which have "become strange and unintelligible to the man of today "

Srila Prabhupada: That is because preachers of religion are simply dogmatic. They have no clear idea of God; they make only official proclamations. When one does not understand, he cannot make others understand. But there is no such vanity in Krsna consciousness, which is clear in every respect. This is the expected movement Mr. Jung wanted. Every sane man should cooperate with this movement and liberate human society from the gross darkness of ignorance.

Hayagriva dasa: He describes the truly religious man as one "who is accustomed to the thought of not being sole master of his own house. He believes that God, and not he himself, decides in the end."

Srila Prabhupada: Yes, that is the natural situation. What decisions can we make? Since there is already a controller over us, how can we be absolute? Everyone should depend on the supreme controller and fully surrender to Him.

Hayagriva dasa: Jung feels that modem man should ask himself, "Have I any religious experience and immediate relation to God, and hence that certainty which will keep me, as an individual, from dissolving in the crowd?" Our relationship with God ultimately assures our own individuality.

Srila Prabhupada: Yes, all living entities are individuals, and God is the supreme individual. According to the Vedic version, all individuals are subordinate to Him. Nityo nityanam cetanas cetananam (Katha-upanisad 2.2.13). The supreme individual is one, and the subordinate are many. The supreme individual is maintaining His subordinates, just as a father maintains his family. When the children learn to enjoy their father's property without encroaching upon one another, accepting what is allotted them, they will attain peace.

Hayagriva dasa: That ends our session on Jung.

Srila Prabhupada: So far, he seems the most sensible.

This concludes our presentation of "Dialectical Spiritualism", discourses on philosophy 
by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada