Atheistic philosophy

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Bhagavad-gita As It Is

BG Chapters 1 - 6

BG 2.39, Purport:

An analytical study of the soul and the body has been very graphically explained by Lord Kṛṣṇa. And this descriptive knowledge of the soul and the body from different angles of vision has been described here as Sāṅkhya, in terms of the Nirukti dictionary. This Sāṅkhya has nothing to do with Sāṅkhya philosophy of the atheist Kapila. Long before the imposter Kapila's Sāṅkhya, the Sāṅkhya philosophy was expounded in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam by the true Lord Kapila, the incarnation of Lord Kṛṣṇa, who explained it to His mother, Devahūti.

BG Chapters 7 - 12

BG 7.4, Purport:

Philosophers who deal with mental activities are also not perfect in knowledge because they do not know the ultimate source, Kṛṣṇa. The false ego—"I am," and "It is mine," which constitute the basic principle of material existence—includes ten sense organs for material activities. Intelligence refers to the total material creation, called the mahat-tattva. Therefore from the eight separated energies of the Lord are manifest the twenty-four elements of the material world, which are the subject matter of Sāṅkhya atheistic philosophy; they are originally offshoots from Kṛṣṇa's energies and are separated from Him, but atheistic Sāṅkhya philosophers with a poor fund of knowledge do not know Kṛṣṇa as the cause of all causes. The subject matter for discussion in the Sāṅkhya philosophy is only the manifestation of the external energy of Kṛṣṇa, as it is described in the Bhagavad-gītā.


SB Canto 3

SB 3.7.31, Purport:

The combination of living entities in different modes of material nature is called crossbreeding. The faithless atheists do not believe in the existence of God, and thus their paths of philosophy are contradictory. Atheistic philosophies never agree with one another. Different species of life are evidence of varieties of mixtures of the modes of material nature.

SB 3.29.41, Purport:

As the sun rises and sets and the seasonal changes ensue at their appointed times by the superintendence of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, so the seasonal plants, flowers, herbs and trees all grow under the direction of the Supreme Lord. It is not that plants grow automatically, without any cause, as the atheistic philosophers say. Rather, they grow in pursuance of the supreme order of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. It is confirmed in the Vedic literature that the Lord's diverse energies are working so nicely that it appears that everything is being done automatically.

SB Canto 4

SB 4.11.17, Purport:

How the external energy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead works within this material world is explained in this verse. Everything is happening by the energy of the Supreme Lord. The atheistic philosophers, who do not agree to accept the Supreme Personality of Godhead as the original cause of creation, think that the material world moves by the action and reaction of different material elements. A simple example of the interaction of elements occurs when we mix soda and acid and the movement of effervescence is produced. But one cannot produce life by such interaction of chemicals.

SB 4.19.23, Translation:

Whatever different forms Indra assumed as a mendicant because of his desire to seize the horse were symbols of atheistic philosophy.

SB Canto 6

SB 6.16.47, Purport:

Atheistic men think that the cosmic manifestation has come about by chance, by a combination of matter, without reference to God. Materialistic so-called chemists and atheistic philosophers always try to avoid even the name of God in relation to the cosmic manifestation. For them God's creation is impossible to understand because they are too materialistic.

Sri Caitanya-caritamrta

CC Adi-lila

CC Adi 5.41, Purport:

Śrīpāda Rāmānujācārya has also refuted the arguments of Śaṅkara in his own commentary on the Vedānta-sūtra, which is known as the Śrī-bhāṣya: “Śrīpāda Śaṅkarācārya has tried to equate the Pañcarātras with the philosophy of the atheist Kapila, and thus he has tried to prove that the Pañcarātras contradict the Vedic injunctions.

CC Adi 7.114, Purport:

The Māyāvādīs, who are not in agreement with the existence of the Lord, can be classified in two groups, exemplified by the impersonalist Śaṅkarites of Vārāṇasī and the Buddhists of Saranātha. Both groups are Māyāvādīs, and Kṛṣṇa takes away their knowledge due to their atheistic philosophies. Neither group agrees to accept the existence of a personal God. The Buddhist philosophers clearly deny both the soul and God, and although the Śaṅkarites do not openly deny God, they say that the Absolute is nirākāra, or formless. Thus both the Buddhists and the Śaṅkarites are aviśuddha-buddhayaḥ (SB 10.2.32), or imperfect and unclean in their knowledge and intelligence.

CC Adi 7.119, Purport:

Unfortunately, most of them think that they are the body and should therefore enjoy the material senses irresponsibly since when death comes everything will be finished. This atheistic philosophy also flourished in India, where it was sometimes propagated by Cārvāka Muni, who said:

ṛṇaṁ kṛtvā ghṛtaṁ pibet yāvaj jīvet sukhaṁ jīvet
bhasmī-bhūtasya dehasya kutaḥ punar āgamano bhavet

His theory was that as long as one lives one should eat as much ghee as possible. In India, ghee (clarified butter) is a basic ingredient in preparing many varieties of food. Since everyone wants to enjoy nice food, Cārvāka Muni advised that one eat as much ghee as possible.

CC Adi 9.43, Purport:

To prepare oneself for his next life is common sense, and it is a principle of the Vedic civilization, but presently people throughout the world do not believe in a next life. Even influential professors and other educators say that as soon as the body is finished, everything is finished. This atheistic philosophy is killing human civilization. People are irresponsibly performing all sorts of sinful activities, and thus the privilege of the human life is being taken away by the educational propaganda of the so-called leaders.

CC Madhya-lila

CC Madhya 6.171, Purport:

When the atheistic philosophers or the Māyāvādīs, being unable to understand the inconceivable energies of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, imagine an impersonal void, their imagination is only the counterpart of materialistic thinking. Within the material world, there is nothing inconceivable.

CC Madhya 17.143, Translation:

“Because the Māyāvādīs are great offenders and atheistic philosophers, the holy name of Kṛṣṇa does not come from their mouths.

CC Madhya 25.42, Purport:

Śrīpāda Śaṅkarācārya's propaganda opposed the atheistic philosophy of Buddha. Lord Buddha's intention was to stop atheists from committing the sin of killing animals. Atheists cannot understand God; therefore Lord Buddha appeared and spread the philosophy of nonviolence to keep the atheists from killing animals. Unless one is free from the sin of animal-killing, he cannot understand religion or God.

CC Madhya 25.43, Translation:

“The atheists, headed by the Māyāvādī philosophers, do not care for liberation or Kṛṣṇa's mercy. They simply continue to put forward false arguments and countertheories to atheistic philosophy, not considering or engaging in spiritual matters.

Other Books by Srila Prabhupada

Teachings of Lord Caitanya

Teachings of Lord Caitanya, Chapter 21:

All these various speculative philosophers are one in denying the existence of the Supreme Lord Viṣṇu, and they are very much enthused to propagate their own theories and be recognized by the people. Unfortunate people become enamored of these atheistic philosophers and consequently can never understand the real nature of the Absolute Truth. It is far better to follow in the footsteps of great souls (mahājanas).

Teachings of Lord Caitanya, Chapter 25:

Because Lord Buddha did not accept these Vedic principles, the Vedic teachers consider him to be an atheist. Although Māyāvādī philosophers pretend to accept the Vedic principles, they indirectly preach Buddhist philosophy, or atheistic philosophy, and do not accept the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Māyāvādī philosophy is inferior to Buddhist philosophy, which directly denies Vedic authority. Because it is disguised as Vedānta philosophy, Māyāvādī philosophy is more dangerous than Buddhism or atheism.

Nectar of Instruction

Nectar of Instruction 4, Purport:

The world is full of Māyāvādīs and atheists, and the political parties of the world take advantage of Māyāvāda and other atheistic philosophies to promote materialism. Sometimes they even back a strong party to oppose the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. The Māyāvādīs and other atheists do not want the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement to develop because it educates people in God consciousness.

Krsna, The Supreme Personality of Godhead

Krsna Book 48:

My dear Lord, You are always situated in uncontaminated goodness (śuddha-sattva). Your appearance is necessary to reestablish actual Vedic knowledge, as opposed to the atheistic philosophy which tries to establish that God and the living entities are one and the same. My dear Lord Kṛṣṇa, this time You have appeared in the home of Vasudeva as His son, with Your plenary expansion, Śrī Balarāma.

Renunciation Through Wisdom

Renunciation Through Wisdom 2.7:

Empirical, atheistic philosophers like Kapila spent innumerable tedious hours researching the material phenomena of this cosmic creation. Yet it remained beyond the grasp of their limited intelligence to understand that there exists a realm transcendental and far superior to this manifested material world. Finally, when their probing minds failed to sight land in an ocean of speculation, they concluded that the absolute truth is unmanifest.

Renunciation Through Wisdom 3.2:

We have already enumerated these material ingredients in our description of the Sāṅkhya philosophy of the atheist Kapila. The kṣetra, or "field," is the combination of the twenty-four ingredients mentioned above. When these twenty-four ingredients interact the result is the transformation of material nature, which gives rise to the gross material body composed of five gross elements (pañca-mahābhūta), as a result of material desires, hate, enjoyment, lamentation, and so on. The shadow of consciousness in the form of mind and will are transformations of that field.

Light of the Bhagavata

Light of the Bhagavata 20, Purport:

But all these different Vedic literatures were systematically distorted by the onslaught of the age of Kali, as the walls of the paddy field and the strand of the river are distorted by the onslaught of heavy rains. The attacks of distortion are offered by atheistic philosophers who are concerned only with eating, drinking, being merry, and enjoying. These atheists are all against the revealed scriptures because such persons are intimately attached to sense pleasures and gross materialism.


Bhagavad-gita As It Is Lectures

Lecture on BG 2.2 -- London, August 3, 1973:

This kind of theory was accepted long, long ago. In the Vedic culture. Not accepted, was heard. Never it was accepted. Cārvaka theory. Cārvaka theory was atheist. He was not... (break) So his philosophy was atheistic philosophy. He used to say that bhaṣmi bhūtasya dehasya kuto punar āgamaḥ, means bodily concept of life, talking of this body, deha, that it is burned into ashes. So he used to say, "When the body is burned into ashes, then where is the chance of coming back?" That means he had no information of the soul.

Lecture on BG 4.11 -- Bombay, March 31, 1974:

People may question that "Lord Buddha is accepted as an incarnation of Lord Kṛṣṇa." Keśava dhṛta-buddha-śarīra jaya jagadīśa hare. "Then why he preached atheistic philosophy?" He preached, "There is no God." Śūnyavāda. But there was necessity at that time.

Srimad-Bhagavatam Lectures

Lecture on SB 1.2.4 -- Rome, May 28, 1974:

Everything is finished." That is the basic principle of modern civilization, that "There is no life after death, and whatever senses we have got, let us enjoy it." Then bhasmī-bhūtasya dehasya... That it is a new thing. This atheistic philosophy was there long, long ago. They have not discovered anything new. It is already there. In India, the atheistic philosophy was already there. Cārvāka Muni, he used to say, "Enjoy life, senses. Gratify your senses some way or other." "No, I have no sufficient money."

Lecture on SB 3.12.19 -- Dallas, March 3, 1975:

Similarly, we cannot see at the present moment by the imperfect senses what is Kṛṣṇa. Therefore it is Kṛṣṇa's kindness that He has appeared before you in a manner by which you can see Him. This is Kṛṣṇa's mercy. Not that the atheistic philosophy, "They are worshiping Deity, some stone, some metal," not like that. He is adhokṣaja. We cannot see Kṛṣṇa with our present eyes, but we can see Him through the scripture. The "through the scripture" is that although we cannot see Him by our present imperfect senses, adhokṣaja, beyond our perception, still, we can see Him.

Lecture on SB 3.26.11-14 -- Bombay, December 23, 1974:

That is called prakṛti. And there are twenty-four elements, and they are changing or growing, whatever you say. This is Sāṅkhya philosophy. Unfortunately, people are not given lesson about the Sāṅkhya philosophy in universities, in... If they are given in some philosophical classes—that atheistic philosophy of Kapila, Sāṅkhya philosophy, but not this Sāṅkhya philosophy, theistic Sāṅkhya philosophy.

Lecture on SB 3.26.17 -- Bombay, December 26, 1974:

Viśeṣa means varieties. And nirviśeṣa or nirvāṇa-practically the same thing: "Finish these varieties and again become nirviśeṣa, no variety, neutral stage." That is the highest perfection of Buddha philosophy, nirviśeṣa-śūnyavādi. There are two kinds of atheistic philosophers. One is nirviśeṣa, and the other is śūnyavādi. So my students, therefore, they address, nirviśeṣa-śūnyavādi-pāścātya-deśa-tāriṇe. So whole world is nirviśeṣa-śūnyavādi. Some of them are advocates of zero. There are many big, big philosophers writing on zero. They believe in zero, but they write volumes of books.

Lecture on SB 3.26.17 -- Bombay, December 26, 1974:

So the atheistic philosopher, they think that this combination of prakṛti and puruṣa is without any aim, without any idea, just like a man and woman meets and they may have sex. There was no idea, but they have sex. They give this example. That is stated in the Bhagavad-gītā, Sixteenth Chapter. There is no aim, and that puruṣa becomes subdued by the prakṛti, and the manifestation comes. But this Kapiladeva, you will find, and we Vaiṣṇava philosophers, we do not admit this, that "without any aim." There is aim.

Lecture on SB 6.1.6 -- Sydney, February 17, 1973:

We are thinking that we are very clever: "I can cheat so many persons and take money and enjoy." That is atheistic. Ṛṇaṁ kṛtvā ghṛtaṁ pibet yāvaj jīvet sukhaṁ jīvet. The atheistic philosopher... Everything there are in Indian Vedic culture. Everything is discussed—atheistic, theistic, scientific, everything is there.

So this Carvaka Muni was an atheistic philosopher. His philosophy was that so long you... Now that philosophy is being followed at the present moment, that "You don't care for sinful activities, there is no life, and after finishing this body, everything is finished; enjoy life as you like."

Lecture on SB 6.1.34-39 -- Surat, December 19, 1970:

This very word is very important: asuri-bhāvam āśritāḥ. They have... Because they have taken to the shelter of asuri-bhāva, atheistic philosophy, in spite of advancement of education, they are narādhama, lowest of the mankind. These words are exactly there. Naradhāmā. You cannot say, "How you can say this gentleman asura? He is so much educated, highly qualified, university degree." The answer is there, māyayā apahṛta-jñānā: "Yes, it appears that he is very learned, but his actual knowledge is taken away by the māyā on account of his being atheistic."

Sri Caitanya-caritamrta Lectures

Lecture on CC Madhya-lila 20.391-405 -- New York, January 2, 1967:

God is dead for those who are following the owl philosophy. Owl has never seen sun, or it does not like to see the sun. Therefore the owl says, "There is no sun." Similarly, the atheistic philosophy is... There are so many logic. Just like the owl philosophy, the frog philosophy, the camel philosophy and the dog philosophy, the hog philosophy—there are so many philosophies. So only the persons who are, who have got two hands and two legs, but they are counted amongst the animals. And therefore they cannot think of the eternal, blissful existence of the Supreme Lord at all times.

Lecture on CC Madhya-lila 25.40-50 -- San Francisco, January 24, 1967:

Out of them, only the Vedānta philosophy is compiled by Vyāsadeva. So it is considered that Vedānta philosophy only establishes the existence of God. All other philosophies, they do not admit the existence of God. They are atheistic philosophies. Mīmāṁsaka. Mīmāṁsaka means they have decided that "There is no necessity of worshiping God. If there is any God, all right, you do your duty nicely, and He will be obliged to award you the required result. Then there is no question of flattering Him." That is mīmāṁsaka philosophy.

Initiation Lectures

Initiation of Lokanatha dasa -- New Vrindaban, May 21, 1969:

So Caitanya Mahāprabhu says, jñāne prayāsam. Jñānīs, the empiric philosophers, they simply speculate and try to prove that "I am God." That means āsuriṁ bhāvam āśritāḥ. The atheist says that "There is no God," and here the Māyāvādī philosophy says, "Yes, there is God, but God I am." That's all. It is the same philosophy, atheism. He is also denying that "There is no separate God. I am God." That atheistic philosophy, like Buddha philosophy, "There is no God..." But Buddha himself is God.

Conversations and Morning Walks

1974 Conversations and Morning Walks

Room Conversation with Catholic Cardinal and Secretary to the Pope -- May 24, 1974, Rome:

Prabhupāda: Well, Buddhists, they do not believe in God.

Cardinal and Monsignor Verrozano: Yes.

Prabhupāda: So according to our Vedic conception, Buddhist philosophy is atheistic philosophy.

Cardinal Pignedoli: Theoretically yes, but practically, do you think they are atheistic, practically? Because...

Prabhupāda: No, no. Our... Yes. Theoretically atheistic, but because they believe in Lord Buddha, they are theistic. Because we accept Lord Buddha as incarnation of God, Kṛṣṇa.

Room Conversation -- June 28, 1974, Melbourne:

Prabhupāda: There is no doubt about it. My Guru Mahārāja had very great respect for Muhammad, Jesus Christ... We pray Lord Buddha. Although he preached atheistic philosophy, but we know that he's incarnation of God. Keśava dhṛta-buddha-śarīra jaya jagadīśa hare. So a Vaiṣṇava is godly. He is qualified with all good qualities. That is Vaiṣṇava. That is Vaiṣṇava. He knows the value of each and everything. Therefore he's godly. And therefore to offer respect to Vaiṣṇava is also a great qualification. Even to offer respect to the Vaiṣṇavas is greater qualification than one who simply offers respect to God.

1976 Conversations and Morning Walks

Evening Darsana -- August 12, 1976, Tehran:

Prabhupāda: If I am eternal, if I am not going to die even after the annihilation of the body, then the next question would be jijñāsuḥ. Then what will be my next position? What kind of body I am going to get? That is intelligent. But nobody has this intelligence, and he's passing as paṇḍita. Big, big professor, they'll say, "Swamiji, after death, everything is finished." I went to Moscow. There was a big professor, Kotovsky, Indology professor. So we had some talks. So he does not believe transmigration of the soul, and he's a learned scholar. And everywhere you find that. The same atheistic philosophy.


1947 to 1965 Correspondence

Letter to Sri Munshiji -- Bombay 18 February, 1957:

Those, who therefore consider God and living beings are identical in every respect, are polluted in thought. This pollution of thought of the empiric and atheistic philosophers now prevailing practically all over the world, has caused a tremendous deterioration of human civilization as to become agnostics in dealings. Symptoms of this agnostic trend of human civilization is described in the 16th chapter of the Bhagavad-gita and I need not describe it before you.

1974 Correspondence

Letter to Syamasundara -- Bombay 1 April, 1974:

The meat eater class may not be encouraged but if they are stubbornly attached they can eat hogs and dogs or goats or lambs under certain conditions only, but not by maintaining slaughterhouses. Then human society will be very peaceful and everyone engaged in employment without producing any idle brains which only are devils workshops. If England and America as well as France and Germany can understand this philosophy there will be great theistic revolution which will counteract the atheistic philosophy of Marxism. The present communistic philosophy must be countered by revival of the principles of catur varnyam.

1976 Correspondence

Letter to Robert -- Mayapur 8 March, 1976:

There is a Bengali proverb: tor shil tor noda, tor bhangi dater goda. I take your mortar and pestle and I break your teeth. This means that we use the scientists own weapons and with them we defeat their atheistic philosophy. There is another example. A hatchet is sitting before a tree. The tree asks, "what are you doing here?" The hatchet replies, "I have come here to cut you down." The tree then said, "You can not cut me down, alone, but with the help of my descendants you can do it." The idea is that the ax-handle is made of wood, and so without the assistance of the wooden tree, the hatchet is useless. Similarly, we can use our materialistic knowledge to defeat the atheistic philosophy of the scientists.

Facts about "Atheistic philosophy"
Compiled byAparajita Radhika +, Visnu Murti +, Matea + and MadhuGopaldas +
Completed sectionsALL +
Date of first entrySeptember 6, 0008 JL +
Date of last entryJanuary 15, 0011 JL +
Total quotes40 +
Total quotes by sectionBG: 2 +, SB: 5 +, CC: 8 +, OB: 7 +, Lec: 12 +, Conv: 3 + and Let: 3 +