Hayagrīva: Yes. Spinoza is impersonal. He asserts that God cannot be a remote cause of the creation. He says that the creation flows from God in the same way that conclusions flow from principles in mathematics. God is free to create, but He is the eminent cause. That is to say, the creation is an extension of Himself.
Prabhupāda: Yes. That is, He creates by His energy. Just like in the Bhagavad-gītā it is stated,
- bhūmir āpo 'nalo vāyuḥ
- khaṁ mano buddhir eva ca
- bhinnā me prakṛtiḥ aṣṭadhā
- (BG 7.4)
These eight kinds of material elements—earth, water, air, fire, sky, mind, intelligence and ego—they are material energies, and this material world is made of these material elements. So because it is made of God's energy, therefore it is called created by God. But this is creation of His energy. Prakṛtiḥ pradhāna, upadhāna, pradhāna. The ingredients are coming from Him, and prakṛtiḥ, nature, creates. This is the idea of creation. So God is a remote cause and a eminent cause also, because these elements, they are God's energy. So the eminent cause is the energy. Therefore it is confirmed in the Bhagavad-gītā, mayā tatam idaṁ sarvam: "By Me, everything is expanding." So when He says "By Me," then He is the eminent cause. There are two causes: remote and eminent.
Prabhupāda: So both, He is remote cause and eminent cause.
Hayagrīva: Both remote and eminent.
Hayagrīva: He says that each soul coincides with its body. That is to say, the soul acquires a body befitting it...
Hayagrīva: ...a soul acquires a body befitting it. A soul can progress beyond bodies to come to know spiritual truths by turning toward God rather than the material world.
Hayagrīva: Or, as Spinoza would put it, by turning toward God's extensions. He calls them God's extensions.
Hayagrīva: Because he is pantheistic.
Prabhupāda: This is..., expansion also we accept. What is called, there is technical name, pracāra (?). Expansion, that is stated in Bhāgavatam, mayā tatam idaṁ sarvam: "By Me everything is expanded." This very word is used. Mayā tatam idaṁ sarvam (BG 9.4). So expansion is also God, but at the same time in expansion there is no God. "No God" means not in person. The expansion is imperson, but expansion is from the person. Just as a government, this is impersonal, but the governor is person. So government means under the control of the governor. So impersonal expansion of God is controlled by the personal God. This is like pantheism. And pantheism, so I think that because everything is God, that God has no personal existence. Is it not?
Hayagrīva: Yes. Pantheists would say that God is eminent in everything.
Hayagrīva: But has no personal or remote...
Prabhupāda: So that is material thought. That is material thought, because the paper in your hand, if it is made into pieces and thrown, expanding, then the original paper is lost. So this is material conception. But the spiritual conception is that He may expand Himself unlimitedly; still, He remains in His own person.