Dialectical Spiritualism: Karl Marx, Part 7

BY: SUN STAFF - 15.8 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: Marx believed that human nature is a product of environment. By putting a man in a factory and getting him to identify with the state, he would be transformed into a selfless person.

Srila Prabhupada: The basic disease of man is envy, and as long as he is envious, he will remain selfish. When a man sees that he is working very hard but that the profits are not coming to him, his enthusiasm will immediately slacken. In Bengal, there is a proverb: “As a proprietor, I can turn sand into gold, but as soon as I am no longer the proprietor, the gold becomes sand."

The Russian people are in this position. They are not as rich as the Europeans and Americans, and because of this, they are unhappy. If people cannot make a profit from their work, they will eventually lose all interest in their country. The average man will think, “Whether I work or not, I get the same result. I cannot adequately feed and clothe my family." Thinking in this way, he will lose his incentive to work. A scientist will see that despite his high position, his wife and children are dressed just like common laborers.

Syamasundara dasa: Marx felt that industrial and scientific work constitute the highest kind of activity.

Srila Prabhupada: But unless the scientists and industrialists receive sufficient profit, they will be reluctant to work for the state.

Syamasundara dasa: The Russian goal is the production of material goods for the enhancement of human well-being.

Srila Prabhupada: Their human well-being actually means, “If you don’t agree with me, I’ll cut your throat." This was Stalin’s idea of human well-being, and anyone who disagreed with him was killed or imprisoned. They say that a few must suffer for the sake of many, but we have personally seen that Russia has achieved neither general happiness nor prosperity. In Moscow, for instance, none of the big buildings have been recently built. They are old and ravaged, or poorly renovated. And there are also long lines in the stores. These are indications that the economic condition is unsound.

Syamasundara dasa: Lenin reinforced all of Marx’s ideas and added a few of his own. He saw history moving in leaps and progressing toward the Communistic era. He wanted Russia to leap into the dictatorship of the proletariat, which he called the final stage of historical development.

Srila Prabhupada: We can say with confidence — and they may note it carefully — that after the Bolshevik Revolution, there will be other revolutions, because as long as people live on the mental platform, there will be revolutions. Our proposition is to give up all these mental concoctions and come to the spiritual platform where there are no longer revolutions. As Dhruva Maharaja said: “Now that I am seeing God, I am completely satisfied. Now all kinds of theories are finished." God consciousness is the final revolution. There will be repeated revolutions in this material world until people come to Krsna consciousness. People are trying to approach an objective, but they do not know that the final objective is Krsna. They are trying to make adjustments with materialistic revolutions, not knowing that they are spiritual beings and that without God, there is no question of happiness. We are part and parcel of the Supreme Spirit, Krsna, but we have left His association and fallen from the spiritual world because of our desire to enjoy this material world. Unless we reawaken the understanding of our spiritual position and return to the spiritual world, we can never be happy, just as a fish can never be happy out of water. We may theorize for many lifetimes, but we will continue to see one revolution after another. History repeats itself. The old orders change, yielding their places to the new.

Syamasundara dasa: Marx believed that the Communist revolution would be the final revolution because it is the perfect answer to all social contradictions.

Srila Prabhupada: As long as the Communist idea remains materialistic, it cannot be the final revolution. It must be spiritualized. They believe that the state is the owner of everything, but the real owner is God. When they come to this conclusion, the Communistic idea will be perfect. In our International Society for Krsna Consciousness, we are practicing perfect spiritual Communism by doing everything for Krsna. We know that Krsna is the supreme enjoyer of the result of all work. Bhoktaram yajha-tapasam (Bg. 5.29). The Communist philosophy as it is now practiced is vague, but it can become perfect if the conclusion of Bhagavad-gita is accepted: that is, Krsna is the supreme proprietor, the supreme enjoyer, and the supreme friend of everyone. Now people mistrust the state, but if people accept Krsna as their friend, they will have perfect confidence in Krsna, just as Arjuna had on the battlefield of Kuruksetra. The great victory of Arjuna and his associates on the battlefield showed that his confidence in Krsna was justified.

yatra yogesvarah krsno 
yatra partho dhanur-dharah 
tatra srir vijayo bhutir 
dhruva nltir matir mama

“Wherever there is Krsna, the master of all mystics, and wherever there is Arjuna, the supreme archer, there will also certainly be opulence, victory, extraordinary power, and morality. That is my opinion."(Bg. 18.78) If Krsna is at the center of society, the people will be perfectly secure and prosperous. The Communist idea is welcomed, provided they are prepared to replace the so-called state with God. That is religion.