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Philosophy Discussions

Philosophy Discussion on Auguste Comte:

Hayagrīva: ...Frenchman, and he is known as a positivist. He felt that positivism reconciles the heart and the intellect. He felt that theology dealt solely with the heart or the sentiments and that philosophy dealt solely with the intellect, but positivism reconciled the two. He writes, "Positivism proves more efficient than theology yet at the same time terminates the disunion which has existed so long between the intellect and the heart. It is a fundamental doctrine of positivism, a doctrine of as great political as philosophical importance, that the heart preponderates over the intellect. When it is said that the intellect should be subordinate to the heart, what is meant is that the intellect should devote itself exclusively to the problems which the heart suggests, the ultimate object being to find proper satisfaction for our various wants," meaning material wants, as well as spiritual wants.

Prabhupāda: So we have got from Bhagavad-gītā that the gross understanding are the senses, though the still finer understanding is the mind, and then intellect, and then the soul. The soul is the original, basic principle of activities. So it becomes grosser, grosser, grosser, and when the soul acts on the platform of senses and body, these are gross activities. So our calculation is the gross activities of the body, then the subtle activities of the mind and still more subtle activities of the intellect, and then spiritual platform. So that is also expressed in another way: pratyakṣa, parokṣa, aparokṣa, adhokṣaja, aprākṛta. These are different stages of knowledge. Direct perception, pratyakṣa; then receiving knowledge from others, then..., pratyakṣa par..., aparokṣa, still further Vedic knowledge. Then adhokṣaja, beyond the experience of mind and senses. Then aprākṛta, transcendental, spiritual. These are the different stages of knowledge and different stages of understanding from gross to the subtler forms of life.

Philosophy Discussion on Auguste Comte:

Hayagrīva: He draws a distinction between atheism and positivism. He says, "Atheism, even from the intellectual point of view, is a very imperfect form of emancipation, for its tendency is to prolong the metaphysical stage indefinitely by continuing to seek for new solutions of theological problems instead of setting aside all inaccessible researches on the grounds of their utter inutility. In a word, atheism is still concerned with studying the 'why' instead of the 'how,' and positivism, true positivism, is concerned with the 'how' instead of the 'why.' " In other words, he felt that religion quo religion, religion as religion, had best be set aside because religious questions are basically childish. They can never be answered. So atheism is rejected because atheists "occupy themselves with theological problems and yet reject the only appropriate method of handling them." And for him the only appropriate method is to forget the whole thing.

Prabhupāda: So how can he forget? Atheism will help anyone to improve his position? Just like death. Atheist, if he does not believe in God and God sends him death, how he can counteract it? He has no power to counteract it. We understand from Bhagavad-gītā that death is God for the atheist. Atheists do not believe in God, but God comes to him as death to convince him that "Here I am." So how the atheist can avoid? How it will improve his present situation by atheistic speculation? So how the atheist can become independent? That is not possible.

Philosophy Discussion on Auguste Comte:

Hayagrīva: He felt that more..., even more than the vaiśya, the merchant, or the kṣatriya, the administrator, that the man who will usher in positivism will be the working man, or the śūdra. He says, "The occupation of working men are evidently far more conducive to philosophical views than those of the middle classes, since they are not so absorbing as to prevent continuous thought even during the hours of labor." In other words, when a man is working he can think of philosophical issues because he doesn't have to use his mind, oh, like a merchant or a kṣatriya.

Prabhupāda: He, he, he has used this word kṣatriya, brāhmaṇa...?

Hayagrīva: Oh, no. I'm using this.

Prabhupāda: Oh.

Hayagrīva: He says..., he's speaking of the working man.

Prabhupāda: Hm.

Hayagrīva: In this he is a..., he influenced Marx considerably in his belief in the worth of the working man.

Prabhupāda: But so far we have seen that even the working man requires a director. In the present Communist society there is working man and the manager class. So as soon as you have to accept a manager, then simply working man will not help us. There must be a managerial person. Otherwise, how the working man can be, I mean to say, systematically engaged in working?

Hayagrīva: He believed in forming working men's clubs that would be dedicated to the philosophy of positivism. He wrote, "The real intention of the club is to form a provisional substitute for the church of old times." He's referring specifically to the Catholic Church; he's a Frenchman. "Or rather, the working man is to prepare the way for the religious building of the new form of worship, the worship of humanity."

Prabhupāda: What is that humanity? The working man does not know...

Hayagrīva: Humanity is all mankind.

Prabhupāda: All mankind to do what?

Philosophy Discussion on Auguste Comte:

Hayagrīva: To reconcile all mankind.

Prabhupāda: Yes. That is not possible.

Hayagrīva: No one would agree with. No one is in total agreement.

Prabhupāda: That is not possible.

Hayagrīva: But he felt that positivism...

Prabhupāda: Positivism, that we can understand, that every man eats. So they have to eat. That is positive. Every man sleeps; he must sleep. But the thinking, feeling, willing, even in eating, sleeping also, everyone has got his own taste, own method. So how these things will be adjusted? If you force upon them that "You must eat these things," that will create dissatisfaction.

Hayagrīva: You discussed this in Marx.

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Hayagrīva: He felt... When Comte wrote, Communism was in its incipient state, it was just beginning to form under a philosopher called Feuerbach(?), and he felt that Communism and positivism could work hand in hand. He said, "Positivism has nothing to fear from Communism. On the contrary, it will probably be accepted by most Communists among the working classes."

Prabhupāda: Working classes? Only working classes? So why there is managerial class? If they want classless, only working class, then why they require direction and dictatorship? Why these things are required?

Hayagrīva: The dictatorship of the proletariat. This is the new idea.

Prabhupāda: Then anywhere, anywhere, somebody is working and somebody is... Just like in our body even, the hand is working, the leg is working, but the brain is giving direction. That is natural. How the working class will work without the direction of someone, experienced person?

Philosophy Discussion on Auguste Comte:

Hayagrīva: The role of woman he envisioned as that of man's companion. He says, "The first aspect, then, under which positivism considers women is simply as the companion of man, irrespective of her maternal duties," and that this friendship or companionship has as its basis sex. He says, "Conjugal union becomes a perfect ideal of friendship, yet still more beautiful than friendship, because each possesses and is possessed by the other. For perfect friendship, difference of sex is essential as excluding the possibility of rivalry." So he felt that sex, there can actually be very little friendship between men, because there's no sexual basis, that sex is the basis for the friendship between the sexes.

Prabhupāda: Hmm. So woman, sex, there is sex, sexual necessity and the bodily demand. So woman not only give the sex pleasure to the man, but woman should prepare good foodstuff also for the man. The man is working very hard. When he comes home, if the wife supplies him good foodstuff and nice comfort and sex, then the home becomes very happy. That is practical experience. So after hard working, when man comes home, if he finds out good foodstuff and nicely satisfied by eating, and then the woman gives satisfaction by sex, then both of them remain fully satisfied, and then they can improve their real business, spiritual understanding, because human life is meant for making progress in spiritual understanding. Spiritual, first of all they must know that the spirit soul is the basis of material life even, and the body is built up on the soul, and within the body there is soul. This understanding is required both for the man and the woman. Although woman is less intelligent, still, by the help of the husband, he..., she can become intelligent. This we think, we see in the instruction of Kapiladeva. Kapiladeva is the son of Devahūti, and He is engaged in teaching the mother. So a woman, either as daughter, as wife or mother, remains subordinate and gets knowledge from the man, either from the father or the husband or son. Then that life is elevated. We find also in the conjugal life of Lord Śiva and Pārvatī, in the Purāṇas we see always Pārvatī is questioning and Lord Śiva is answering. In this way woman is elevated, and the comforts given by the woman, comforts of the tongue, of the belly, and the genital, in this way, cooperative life, both of them becomes advanced in spiritual life.

Philosophy Discussion on Auguste Comte:

Hayagrīva: He felt that in the beginning stages at least, of positivism, woman should take the role of God. He says, "From childhood each of us will be taught to regard their sex as the principal source of human happiness and improvement, whether in public life or in private. In a word, man will kneel to women and to women alone. The worship of women, when it has assumed a more systematic shape, will be valued for its own sake as a new instrument of happiness and moral growth. The worship of women satisfies this condition and is so far a greater efficacy than the worship of God."

Prabhupāda: Worship of man, woman.

Hayagrīva: Yes.

Prabhupāda: Yes, to give protection to women. That is not actually worshiping, but maintaining her comfortably, that is the duty of the man. But to worship woman as God, that is not very good proposal. Then he will be henpecked. Worship of God is reserved for God only, not for anyone else. But the exchange, cooperation, between men and women for worshiping God, that is essential. Not that woman should be worshiped like God, or man should be worshiped like God. But the affection sometimes is stressed that you see him as God or see, see her as God. That is sentimental. But God is different either from man or from the woman. Both of them are living entities, both of them meant for worshiping God. Just like sometimes in the Vedic conception the wife is considered as dharma-patnī, religious wife. Means wife helps the husband in the matter of his religious life. That is found in, still in Hindu family: the man is worshiping the Deity and the woman is helping about the paraphernalia Deity worship, helping the husband so that he can immediately come into the Deity room and begin worshiping comfortably. So woman should always be engaged to assist the man in every respect in his religious life, in his social life, in his family life. That is real benefit of conjugal life. But if the woman does not agree with the man, and the man treats the woman as his servant, that is not good. The man should give the woman all protection and the woman should give all service to the man. That is ideal life, family life, conceived in the Vedic way of life.

Conversations and Morning Walks

1977 Conversations and Morning Walks

Morning Walk -- February 1, 1977, Bhuvanesvara:

Svarūpa Dāmodara: Among the professors, see, there is a question, this logical positivism, saying that something, life, is beyond experimental knowledge. Then he said according to logical positivism, whatever we cannot see or whatever we cannot find out by experiment is not science.

Prabhupāda: Yes, that is not science. That I am always speaking, that science means not to observe but to make experiment. And that is science, observation and experiment. If you cannot make experiment, it is all logic. Therefore they say, "theory, theory." The Darwin is careful. He says, "theory." He doesn't say, "science," because he knows that he is talking all nonsense. So this is "theory."

Morning Walk -- February 1, 1977, Bhuvanesvara:

Svarūpa Dāmodara: There is another very strange statement in this regard saying that though we cannot prove something by experiment, but sometimes it is convenient to assume that way.

Prabhupāda: No, that is foolishness. How you assume?

Svarūpa Dāmodara: That is logical positivism, saying that... How, there's a house. Let's say there is a temple there, but since I don't see the temple there, but I don't know that the temple is existing or not, but it is convenient to assume that there is a temple.

Prabhupāda: No, no. When there is a possibility of getting proof, why shall I assume?

Svarūpa Dāmodara: Because they say they cannot see.

Prabhupāda: Now, just the same example: You cannot see. You cannot see your father because the father was before your birth. Only mother can see. How you can refute this argument? Therefore she is the only proof.

Svarūpa Dāmodara: We have a small chapter on this in the book this logical positivism.

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Svarūpa Dāmodara: Very interesting and very strange.

Prabhupāda: It is quite logical that without father, nobody is born. So I do not know who is my father, but the mother is the evidence. That's all. You cannot make this theory that "I was born without father." That is not possible. That is not the laws of nature. But there must be father. You can say, "I have not him." And that is not proof that there is no father. One who has seen, go. Tattva-darśinaḥ. Therefore Bhagavad-gītā says,

tad viddhi praṇipātena
paripraśnena sevayā
upadekṣyanti te jñānaṁ
jñāninas tattva-darśinaḥ
(BG 4.34)

Go to mother who has seen your father. That is only proof. Tattva-darśinaḥ. She has seen your father. So you submit, praṇipātena, to mother. "Mother, tell me who is my father." And she'll say, "Yes, he is." Tattva... She has seen. Tattva-darśinaḥ. It is not that mother is blindly indicating somebody as father. She has seen, and you have to learn from your mother by submission. That's all. There is no other way.

Morning Walk -- February 1, 1977, Bhuvanesvara:

Svarūpa Dāmodara: Actually we can utilize these theories...

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Svarūpa Dāmodara: ...to disprove their own theories.

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Svarūpa Dāmodara: It's very convenient. Like this logical positivism...

Prabhupāda: Yes, it is very good argument, that these rascals have never produced life, and why do they say like that? It's good argument because they say that "We have not seen; therefore we don't believe." They're experimental. But you have not experimented. Why you push? Why you brainwash my brain?

Svarūpa Dāmodara: According to this logical positivism, you can say that it is convenient to say that man has arisen from apes, but that is not the truth.

Prabhupāda: There is no experiment.

Svarūpa Dāmodara: There's no experiment, but it is convenient to assume according to this logic, but that's not a fact.

Prabhupāda: But why the modern ape is not producing any human being?

Svarūpa Dāmodara: They say that's a long time ago...

Prabhupāda: Long time.

Svarūpa Dāmodara: Millions of years ago.

Prabhupāda: But why man is producing man? Not the ape? Just see how they lunatic they are.

Page Title:Positivism
Compiler:Jai, Archana
Created:08 of Dec, 2008
Totals by Section:BG=0, SB=0, CC=0, OB=0, Lec=6, Con=3, Let=0
No. of Quotes:9