We belong to the devotee group of philosophers. Then there are others who are impersonalists. But they, or both of them, they do not deny the presence of the soul

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"we belong to the devotee group of philosophers. Then there are others who are impersonalists. But they, or both of them, they do not deny the presence of the soul"

Lectures

Bhagavad-gita As It Is Lectures

Just like we belong to the devotee group of philosophers. Then there are others who are impersonalists. But they, or both of them, they do not deny the presence of the soul, presence of the soul. The Buddha philosophy, they do not recognize the soul. They, according to them, that the combination of matter at a certain stage produces consciousness. But that philosophy, that argument, can be refuted that with matter, you cannot produce consciousness.
Lecture on BG Lecture Excerpts 2.44-45, 2.58 -- New York, March 25, 1966:

So this theory, that separating the material elements by which this material body is formed, if they are broken or they are sent back to their original position, then we are free from all distresses, material... But we, at least those who are following this Bhagavad-gītā, this philosophy does not say that the material body is all in all. Beyond this material body, there is spirit, and the symptom of that spirit is understood by consciousness. Consciousness. That is the philosophy of Bhagavad-gītā. Now, you cannot deny consciousness. You cannot deny consciousness. And consciousness minus... Body minus consciousness is dead body. Everyone knows it. A child can understand it, that I am speaking, you are hearing because your consciousness is present, my consciousness is present. As soon as my consciousness is deducted from this body, then this same mouth will not speak, the same hand will not move, the same your ear will not hear. The whole thing will be stopped. So it is very common sense affair, that consciousness, that is the main thing in this body. So any intelligent man with common sense can understand this. Now, what is this consciousness? This consciousness is the symptom of the soul. Just like wherever there is some fire, there is heat or there is smoke. When you see something... Suppose you are sitting here. If you find somewhere smoking, then you are afraid, "Oh, there must be some fire. Otherwise why smoke is coming?" Or wherever you feel some heat, although you do not see the fire directly, still, you can understand that there is fire. Because there is smoke... Because there is heat, therefore there is fire. Similarly, this consciousness, nobody can deny this consciousness. Now, this consciousness, because this consciousness is, therefore I am, my, I mean to say, identification or my energy is being produced in the shape of consciousness. So this consciousness proves that I am the soul, present here. That is Gītā's philosophy, and that is the whole Vedic philosophy. Anyone, either the devotees...

Just like we belong to the devotee group of philosophers. Then there are others who are impersonalists. But they, or both of them, they do not deny the presence of the soul, presence of the soul. The Buddha philosophy, they do not recognize the soul. They, according to them, that the combination of matter at a certain stage produces consciousness. But that philosophy, that argument, can be refuted that with matter, you cannot produce consciousness. Because... Take the example of a dead man. The dead man is there. All the elements, material elements, are all there present. But you cannot revise, you cannot revoke that man to consciousness. The elements are there, the ingredients are there. Now, if you think this ingredient has been decomposed or deteriorated, then replace that ingredient. Just like in a machine. In a machine some part is wear and tear. It is not working, stopped. You can replace that part into new part, and the machine will work. But this is not like that. If you think that something has deteriorated in this body, therefore it has become dead. Say, for example, that they say generally, due to heart failure. Now, heart... Medical practitioners they know it that heart is always pumping like this, pumping like this. Now, can you produce heart action by artificial pumping? No. It is not possible. They give respiratory oxygen gas and so many things, but it cannot be revived.

Therefore it is a fact that the soul, soul is different from this body. So long the soul is there, the body acts. And we, with our blunt senses, our gross senses, we cannot see the soul. Therefore we deny it. Because our imperfect senses cannot see this. We cannot see so many things. So many things. Just like we are seeing this place is vacant, the outer space, but there are instruments. If you see with those instruments, you will find they are full of germs. Full of germs. Take a drop of water, as clear as possible. But if you see with microscope, you will see, "Oh, it is full of germs." So imperfect vision of existence, of the existence of the soul, does not mean that there is no soul. The soul is there. Soul is there, and we can feel the presence of the soul by the symptom of consciousness. Consciousness. And that's a clear fact.

Now, we have discussed all these points. Now, Kṛṣṇa says that if our whole misery... The whole philosophy is that our whole misery is due to this bodily contact. Bodily contact. We feel miseries, distress or happiness at the present stage. It is due to this body. We have already discussed that... Take, for example, the water. Water, in summertime it is very pleasant, and wintertime, oh, it is very distressful. We are afraid. Even a drop of cold water, we are afraid of. Without hot water, we cannot take our bath. Now, water as it is, it is water constitutionally, chemically or whatever it may be, but it is due to the bodily touch of the water we sometimes feel pleasure and sometimes feel distress. Therefore all our feelings of distress and happiness is due to this body. Is due to the body. Body under certain condition, mind under certain condition, feels happiness and feel distress. So therefore, We are actually hankering after happiness because the soul's constitution is happiness. Soul's constitution is happiness. Anyone who is brought up in a very nice family with all comfortable conditions, as he feels distress in a different condition, similarly, the soul is the part and parcel of the Supreme Being.