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One of the things you say is that "Religion without a rational basis is just sentiment." Can you explain that to us, and the converse of it, which...?

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"Can you explain that to us, and the converse of it, which" |"Religion without a rational basis is just sentiment" |"one of the things you say is that"

Conversations and Morning Walks

1976 Conversations and Morning Walks

Just like they, most religions, they say, "We believe." So what is this believe? You may believe something which is not naturally correct. Just like some of the Christian people, they say "We believe there is no soul of the animal." That is not correct. You have believed because you want to eat the animal. You have discovered philosophy, but that's not the fact.
Radio Interview -- July 27, 1976, London:

Mike Robinson: I see. There's two things if I could perhaps bring up. One is a quote that we had.... I was given this literature by some of your people before I came, in which one of the things you say is that "Religion without a rational basis is just sentiment." Can you explain that to us, and the converse of it, which...

Prabhupāda: Just like they, most religions, they say, "We believe." So what is this believe? You may believe something which is not naturally correct. Just like some of the Christian people, they say "We believe there is no soul of the animal." That is not correct. You have believed because you want to eat the animal. You have discovered philosophy, but that's not the fact.

Mike Robinson: How do you know the animal has a soul?

Prabhupāda: You can know also. What is the difference? How do you distinguish that the animal has no soul and the man has soul? How do you distinguish? How do you say the man has soul and the animal has no soul? How do you distinguish?

Mike Robinson: I believe this Christian religion do it because their scriptures say...

Prabhupāda: Again you believe, don't believe, don't believe. When you say that the animal has no soul, but you believe or you know that man has soul. So what is the distinction between the man and the animal you find so that you say that the animal has no soul? What is your scientific conclusion? How do you say that animal has no soul?

Mike Robinson: As far as the Christian faith is concerned, doesn't it base it...

Prabhupāda: Why are you bringing Christian?

Mike Robinson: Well, I thought you quoted Christianity. But as far as the Christian faith is concerned, don't they quote their scriptures?

Prabhupāda: Then it is misleading. As soon as you say that "We Christians, we believe," then it is misbelief. It is not scientific.

Mike Robinson: Well how does it become scientific?

Prabhupāda: Scientific because the animal eats, you eat. The animal sleeps, you sleep. The animals have sex, you have sex. The animal defends, you also defend. Then where is the difference between you and the animal? Why do you say there is no soul?

Mike Robinson: I can see that completely, but what I'm maybe querying is, for instance, the Christian scriptures would say that someone...

Prabhupāda: Don't bring Christian scripture now. Simply you just try to understand, that animal eats, you eat, and the animal sleeps, you sleep. The animals have sex, you have got sex. He also defends when he's attacked, you also defend. Then if the behavior of a living being is the same, how do you say that the animal has no soul? Why do you say like that? Irresponsibly?

Mike Robinson: I see what you're getting at, but is that also...

Prabhupāda: What is your answer, first of all?

Mike Robinson: Well, my...

Prabhupāda: Apart from your believing as Christian. As we are talking, as a scientist, how do you deny this animal has no soul?

Mike Robinson: But ultimately you're basing all your faith factually, aren't you, on your reasoning?

Prabhupāda: No, no, no. It is quite logic, that the animal can eat, you can eat; the animal can sleep, you can sleep. The animal can have sex, you can have sex; the animal can defend, you can defend; so why do you deny this poor animal soul?

Mike Robinson: Well, perhaps if I put my point perhaps a slightly different way, if, by your reasoning, if.... This is a hypothetical situation, but if you, by your reasoning, could imagine something that seemed contrary to the scriptures that you were reading earlier...

Prabhupāda: Again scripture, why do you bring scripture?

Mike Robinson: Well, I'm referring to your scripture, not...

Prabhupāda: Not my scripture, it is common sense, talking.

Mike Robinson: Yes, but everything that you, because in...

Prabhupāda: No, forget that everything, come to the common platform of understanding. The animal is eating, you are eating, the animal sleeping, you are sleeping. The animal is defending, you are defending. The animal is having sex, you have sex. The animal have children, you have got children. You have got a living place, they have got a living place. So why do you say.... If your body's cut, there is blood. If the animal body's cut, there is blood. So all the similarities are there. So why you deny one similarity? Analogy. Analogy means points of similarity. So this is logic. You have read logic? There is a chapter, analogy. Analogy means points of similarity. If the points of similarity are so many things, why one similarity should be avoided? That is not logic. That is not science.

Mike Robinson: But if you take that logic and use it the other way...

Prabhupāda: Otherwise, there is no other way.

Mike Robinson: No, if you say...

Prabhupāda: If you are not on the basis of logic, then you are not rational.

Mike Robinson: Yes, okay. But let's start from another hypothesis. If you say the animal has no soul...

Prabhupāda: How you can say?

Mike Robinson: No, hang on, if you started off by saying that, then you'd have to say human beings would have no soul, wouldn't you?

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Mike Robinson: And therefore...

Prabhupāda: If you accept human being has soul, you have to accept animal has soul. If you accept animal has no soul, then there is no soul.

Mike Robinson: Well what proof have you got, then, that a human being has got a soul?

Prabhupāda: That is your business. We say everyone has soul. The animal has soul and the man has soul.

Mike Robinson: But if you're going to be rational, you've got surely to prove, you see you've got to prove that a human being has a soul.

Prabhupāda: This is rational. Because we see all the points of similarity, analogy, therefore the human being has soul and the animal has soul, by points of similarity.

Mike Robinson: Yes, I can see the point you're trying to make about similarity, but what I'm asking is, what proof do you have that a human being has a soul?

Prabhupāda: That is, I have already begun. As soon as the soul is gone, what is the value of your this beautiful body? Who cares for this body? You throw it away, kick it out. And now, if I touch your hair, there will be fight. (laughter) Yes. That is the distinction. The soul is there and soul is not there. As soon as soul is not there, it has no value, useless.

Mike Robinson: I see. So what part then do...

Prabhupāda: Therefore you have to study, that, this.... At the present moment people are so dull-headed, they are not taking the important point, that this body, one minute ago it was so important, and now it has no value. If you kick on his face, nobody will say. But they have no brain to understand what is that thing missing, that it has become so unimportant that within a minute.... They have no brain. The so-called scientists, philosophers, all dull-headed. It is very abominable condition of society. There is no man who is real brain.

Mike Robinson: Are you, sir, writing off all scientists because they've failed to understand the spiritual dimension in life?

Prabhupāda: Huh? Yes, it is scientific, everything scientific. Science means knowledge, full knowledge.

Mike Robinson: But you were a chemist yourself, were you not, in secular life before you took up the position you have...?

Prabhupāda: It doesn't require to become a very big chemist. Any common sense man can do it. Of course, I was chemist in my previous life.

Mike Robinson: So presumably you think that that science is also important, even if scientists are being dull-headed.

Prabhupāda: The important so far—not all-important. Not all-important.

Mike Robinson: I see. Can I come back to a question that is interesting me, and that is when we were differing a few minutes ago, you were saying don't bother, you know, don't bring the scriptures in, use common sense. But what part do the scriptures have in your religion? How important are they?

Prabhupāda: Our religion is science. As we, when we speak, that a child grows a boy, it is science, it is not religion. Every child grows to become a boy. Where is the question of religion? Every man dies. Where is the question of religion? And when a man dies, the body is useless. So where is the question of religion? It is science, it is science. Either you Christian or Hindu or Muslim, when you die your body's useless. This is science. You cannot say that "We are Christian. Now the body is dead. Now we don't consider it as dead. We believe it is not dead." No, it is dead. Either you are Christian or Hindu or Muslim, it is dead, it is useless. So when we speak, we speak on this basis, that the body is important—it doesn't matter whether it is Christian body or Hindu body or Muslim body—so long the soul is there. When the soul is not there, it is useless. It is applicable to everyone.

Mike Robinson: I think I'm beginning to get, if you could explain, a bit confused. What I'd like you to explain is...

Prabhupāda: We are trying to educate people on this basis.

Mike Robinson: But that's, if I understand you correctly, you seem to be educating people on a purely scientific basis.

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Mike Robinson: So where does religion come into it at all?

Prabhupāda: Religion means also science. But they have taken religion as faith, "I believe." Religion means, actually, religion means.... Just like in the dictionary you find what is the religion...

Hari-śauri: Obeying the Supreme Person.

Prabhupāda: Yes. Religion means to learn how to obey the supreme controller. That is religion. So you may be Christian, I may be Hindu, it doesn't matter. But we must accept there is a supreme controller.

Mike Robinson: Are you happy to carry on for a few more minutes perhaps?

Hari-śauri: I have that reference, in the dictionary. It says "Human recognition of superhuman controlling power..."

Prabhupāda: Just see!

Hari-śauri: "...and especially of a personal God entitled to obedience, and effect of such recognition on the conduct of mental attitude."

Prabhupāda: This is religion. This is religion. So this religion is applicable to everyone, any human being. Why do you bring Christian or Hindu or Muslim, or...? Everyone has to accept that. That is real religion. And this is not religion, "We believe there is no soul of the animal." That is not religion. That is most unscientific. That is not religion. Religion means scientific understanding of the supreme controller. So now if you accept the supreme controller, then if you violate something, you must be punished. Immediately you have to accept. As soon as you accept there is supreme controller, so immediately as you violate the laws of the supreme controller, immediately you are punished. That is nature's law.