Dialectical Spiritualism: Karl Marx, Part 5

BY: SUN STAFF - 10.8 2017

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

Karl Marx (1818-1883)

Syamasundara dasa: Well, the goal is the production of goods for the material well being of all people.

Srila Prabhupada: That is useless. We have seen that production in America is beyond comparison in the world, and that is a capitalist society. Yet despite so much production, people are not satisfied. The young men especially are confused. It is nonsensical to think that by increasing production you will satisfy people. Man is not created simply to eat. Man also has a brain and spiritual and intellectual necessities.

In India, we have seen people sitting silently in a solitary place and practicing yoga. There is no question of production satisfying them. The proposition that everyone will be satisfied by increasing production is a proposition for animals. The basic principle is nonsensical and due to insufficient knowledge. Perhaps Marx was thinking like that because he was coming from a country where people were starving. This means that he has no conception of what happiness actually is.

Happiness is in understanding the truths given in Bhagavad-gita. We are happy when we know that God is the proprietor of everything and that He is the supreme enjoyer. We are not enjoyers; we are all workers. By nature there are enjoyers and workers. In your body, for instance, the stomach enjoys, and all the other parts work to satisfy the stomach. When the stomach is satisfied, all other parts of the body are nourished. Everywhere we look, we see that there are those who are enjoying, and those who are working. There is no question of a Communist or capitalist society. You cannot avoid the fact that there must be directors, or enjoyers, and workers. We therefore have to find out how both the manager and the worker can feel equal happiness. There must be cooperation for a central purpose, and a classless society is possible only when Krsna is at the center. Then the brahmanas, ksatriyas, vaisyas, and sudras all work for His satisfaction.

yatah pravrttir bhutanam 
yena sarvam idam tatam 
svakarmana tarn abhyarcya 
siddhim vindati manavah

"By worship of the Lord, who is the source of all beings, and who is all pervading, man can, in the performance of his own duty, attain perfection."(Bg. 18.46) Each class works in his own way for the satisfaction of Krsna. The brahmana contributes one thing, and the ksatriyas, vaisyas, and sudras, something else:

samo damas tapah saucam 
ksantir arjavam eva ca 
jnanam vijnanam astikyam 
brahma-karma svabhava-jam 

sauryam tejo dhrtir daksyam 
yuddhe capy apalayanam 
danam isvara-bhavas ca 
ksatram karma svabhava-jam 

vaisya-karma svabhava-jam 
paricaryatmakam karma 
sudrasyapi svabhava-jam

"Peacefulness, self-control, austerity, purity, tolerance, honesty, wisdom, knowledge, and religiousness — these are the qualities by which the brahmanas work. Heroism, power, determination, resourcefulness, courage in battle, generosity, and leadership are the qualities of work for the ksatriyas. Farming, cow protection, and business are the qualities of work for the vaisyas. And for the sudras, there is labor and service to others."(Bg. 18.42-44)

Syamasundara dasa: How does this differ from the Communist state wherein the street sweepers, the managers, the farmers, and the military all contribute for the central purpose, the state?

Srila Prabhupada: If the state is not perfect, no one will be willing to contribute to it. Of course, you may force people to contribute to it; that is a different thing. But voluntary contribution will be there only when people are satisfied that the center is perfect. In any case, there will never be a classless society because there will always be an intellectual class, an administrative class, a mercantile class, and a working class. People will never find perfection in the state; therefore the workers will always remain dissatisfied. If not, why are they always running their leaders out of office?

Syamasundara dasa: In examining history, Marx noted that the main production amongst the ancient Greeks and Romans was carried out by slaves, and in feudal times by serfs.

Srila Prabhupada: But the Communists have also created slaves; they call them workers. When you have workers, you must also have people directing them. Therefore a dictator is needed. There must be directors and workers in any society, but they should be so satisfied that they forget their differences. That is, there should be no envy. If you make the center anything other than Krsna, you will have nothing but materialistic activity. Materialism necessarily means exploitation. The only solution is Krsna consciousness. We must make Krsna the center, and work for Him. This is the formula: pour water on the root of the tree, and all the branches, twigs, and leaves will be satisfied. By satisfying Krsna, we satisfy everyone. Arjuna had many problems, but by satisfying Krsna, all his problems were resolved. When we put Krsna at the center, everything we do is absolute. We may either write books or wash the dishes; our activities will not collide because they are on the absolute platform. In Vrndavana, some living entities are cowherd boys, some are cows, some are trees, and so on, but they are all satisfied because Krsna is the center, and they are happy by loving Him. When people become Krsna conscious and understand how to love Krsna, there will be a classless society. Otherwise, it is not possible. It is all bogus, humbug.

Syamasundara dasa: Marx felt that in the capitalistic state, a few men control at the expense of many.

Srila Prabhupada: But there are only a few men in the Kremlin. What is the difference? Marx was interested in changing society, but we can see there is no difference. Society can be changed only when the center is Krsna. The people in this International Society for Krsna Consciousness have actually changed their lives. Unless the consciousness of people is changed, how can the social structure change? First of all, we must change the consciousness; then society will change. If the consciousness of people does not change first, how will they accept a new theory? First, we must change the heart, and that is the process of Krsna consciousness. Ceto-darpana-marjanam (Siksastaka 1). By chanting, we cleanse the mirror of the mind.

If the consciousness is the same, what do you gain by changing the form of government? You will have the same situation. When you see stool on the ground, one side is dry, and the other side is moist. If you think, "Oh, this side is very nice because it is dry, "you are very foolish. After all, any way you look at it, it is stool. There will always be people who are hungry, and people who are wealthy. There will always be people with different ideas and capacities. People will never become the same. Temporary situations are created by materialistic men or by the laws of nature; they come and they go. Krsna tells us in Bhagavad-gita that we should be fixed on the absolute platform and not worry about these temporary things. Agamapayino 'nityas tarns titiksasva (Bg. 2.14). A sane man should not bother with these temporary "ism's. "We do not support capitalism or Communism, this idea or that idea. Our only concern is how to satisfy Krsna. We know perfectly well that all these systems will come and go, that if they are existing now, in the future they will not continue to exist. We must fix ourselves up with that system which is eternal.