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Which I think are generally quite good, his essays on the Gita themselves. Are there places there that you would strongly disagree with in his, what he (Sri Aurobindo) says?

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"Are there places there that you would strongly disagree with in his, what he says" |"Sri Aurobindo" |"Which I think are generally quite good, his essays on the Gita themselves"

Conversations and Morning Walks

1975 Conversations and Morning Walks

No, we disagree with the whole system because he is trying to understand the Absolute Truth by his own effort. That is not possible.
Conversation with Professor Hopkins -- July 13, 1975, Philadelphia:

Prof. Hopkins: So that would then be the deciding test, as it were, of whether one were a serious devotee or not.

Prabhupāda: Devotee means serious devotee.

Prof. Hopkins: Not only that one is devoted now, but that one sees the goal as perpetual devotion.

Prabhupāda: Yes. Nitya-yukta.

Prof. Hopkins: And which never is there...

Prabhupāda: The word is used, nitya-yukta. Nitya-yukta means perpetually. If a devotee is to merge into the existence of the Lord then why this word is used, nitya-yukta. Upāsana. Not only nitya-yukta, upāsana. Upāsana means "you worship Me." As soon as the word is "he worships" that means the worshipable and the mode of worship and the worshiper must be there. That is indicated, nitya-yukta, perpetual. But the Māyāvādīs or these impersonalists, they think that it is temporary. I am devotee temporarily. As soon as I become perfect I become one.

Prof. Hopkins: So that you would see then, in terms of, in terms of some kind of theological structure, you would see that Puruṣottama as always...

Prabhupāda: Uttama, uttama means the best.

Prof. Hopkins: Always superior.

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Prof. Hopkins: And always...

Prabhupāda: That is the word, puruṣottama. Puruṣottama means supreme or superior. So there must be inferior, otherwise, how he is superior? Is it not?

Prof. Hopkins: Hm.

Prabhupāda: As soon as he is the superior, professor, or the, what is called? Junior or senior. As soon as called senior, there must be junior. Without junior there is no question of senior.

Prof. Hopkins: So that the Puruṣottama always stands beyond, always, is other, in addition to be in also everything that there is.

Prabhupāda: Unless He is eternally there, then how the devotee will eternally, nitya-yukta upāsana, whom to worship? Nitya-yukta upāsana. Unless Puruṣottama is everlasting Puruṣottama then where is the question of worship everlasting? So the Māyāvādīs, they do not understand.

Prof. Hopkins: Well, would you... Do you equate then the impersonalists and the Māyāvādīs? Are they the same?

Prabhupāda: Almost the same.

Prof. Hopkins: At some point I guess they would have to be almost.

Prabhupāda: Eh?

Prof. Hopkins: At some point I suppose they would almost have to be because to be an impersonalist you would have to deny the ultimate reality of phenomenon, which would make you a Māyāvādī.

Prabhupāda: They accept this form of God as māyā. Therefore we call them Māyāvādī.

Prof. Hopkins: Any form of God, including the Puruṣa. So that your, your central existence, or certainly one of your central existences would be that the ultimate reality is personal, that it is known as Viṣṇu, possessing all qualities.

Prabhupāda: Yes. That is stated in the Bhāgavatam:

vadanti tat tattva vidas
tattvaṁ yaj jñānam advayam
brahmeti paramātmeti
bhagavān iti śabdyate
(SB 1.2.11)

Human life is meant for understanding the tattva. Then the question will be what is that tattva or ultimate truth? And that is described. Tattva is realized in three phases: Brahman, impersonal Brahman; Paramātmā, localized Paramātmā; and Bhagavān.

Prof. Hopkins: So it's the mistake... The mistake of the impersonalist then is to identify the complete reality with Brahman, which is only one aspect of the complete reality.

Prabhupāda: Just like finger. Finger is one of the item of the whole body. You can't say, "Yes, the finger is my body," because the finger is not the whole body. Similarly, everything is part and parcel of the whole but that does not mean that everything is whole.

Prof. Hopkins: And these realities are in a hierarchy in the sense that Brahman, Paramātman...

Prabhupāda: Brahman is everything. Brahman is also māyā Brahman, (indistinct) is Brahman. Śabda idaṁ khalv brahman. Because it is the manifestation of Brahman. Brahman's energy. Just like here in this room. Daytime there is sun, but sun is ninety three miles away; ninety three millions miles. But where there is sunshine we can say, "Here is sun."

Prof. Hopkins: So that the problem is not the identification of everything with Brahman, which is correct, but the failure to realize that there is the Paramātmā or the Puruṣottama.

Prabhupāda: Supreme Person.

Prof. Hopkins: Which is beyond this and includes...

Prabhupāda: Just like I have got so many branches, hundred branches. So everyone knows that I am something, but that does not mean I am present everywhere. My student(?) has got this tape..., hundreds of thousands of tape recorders to record my speech and then you speak the same thing that I am speaking, but I am not there. And that is explained in the Bhagavad-gītā.

mayā tatam idaṁ sarvaṁ
jagad avyakta-mūrtinā
mat sthāni sarva bhūtāni
na cāhaṁ teṣv avasthitaḥ
(BG 9.4)

Hm? Find out. Everything is God but God is not everything. He is simultaneously one and different. We therefore say that everything is God but not that everything is..., not that God is everywhere. But because everything is God, everything, with everything you can realize God.

Prof. Hopkins: So that the...


mayā tatam idaṁ sarvaṁ
jagad avyakta-mūrtinā
mat sthāni sarva bhūtāni
na cāhaṁ teṣv avasthitaḥ
(BG 9.4)

"By Me, in My unmanifested form, this entire universe is pervaded. All things are in Me but I am not in them."

Prof. Hopkins: So the failure is a failure to go beyond.

Prabhupāda: Eh?

Prof. Hopkins: The failure is a failure to go beyond, to realize beyond that level of identity, that there is a Lord, who is...

Prabhupāda: Māyāvādī philosophy is defective. They say if everything is God then where is the Lord's separate existence. That is their defect. That is materialist theory. If you take a big paper and make it into small pieces and throw it away, then the big paper is lost. (laughs) The Māyāvādī thinks like that, that if everything is Brahman, Brahman is distributed, then where is..., why you call the Supreme Lord? They think that Brahman being distributed, He is finished. This is Māyāvādī. He does not know the potency of God. And that is stated in Upaniṣad. Īśāvāsyam idaṁ sarvam.

pūrṇam idaṁ pūrṇam adaḥ
pūrṇāt pūrṇam udacyate
pūrṇasya pūrṇam ādāya
pūrṇam evāvaśiṣyate
(Iso Invocation)

In the material sense one minus one is equal to zero. In the spiritual world pūrṇasya pūrṇam ādāya. The one is pūrṇa and if you take the whole one it is still one. That they cannot understand, the poor brain. They think materially. If the one is complete and if one is taken away then it becomes zero. What kind of God is only zero? But Upaniṣad says pūrṇasya pūrṇam ādāya pūrṇam evāvaśiṣyate. If from the complete you take the complete, it still it is complete. That they cannot understand. That is God. We say why complete is complete always? Why complete may be zero? No.

Prof. Hopkins: So God can create everything out of Himself.

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Prof. Hopkins: And still be complete as He was before.

Prabhupāda: We can see one material example, that the sun, for millions and trillions of years it is distributing sunshine, heat, but still it is full. If it is possible materially, what about the Supreme Lord? Five thousand years or five millions of years the degree of temperature in the sunshine was the same as it is now. If it is materially so possible how much it is possible spiritually?

Prof. Hopkins: Is that... It's difficult for people outside the Kṛṣṇa consciousness group to see what the purpose of the movement is.

Prabhupāda: Eh?

Prof. Hopkins: It's difficult for people outside the society of Kṛṣṇa consciousness to see what the purpose is. How would you understand the purpose? Simply to make God known? How would you state...

Prabhupāda: Our purpose is how to become happy. Everyone is struggling how to become happy. Somebody is thinking that "If I can get money then I'll be happy." Somebody is thinking that "If we become one with the Supreme, then I'll be happy." And somebody thinks that "If I can get material power, then I'll be happy." So those who are thinking in terms of money, they are karmīs. And those who are thinking in terms of becoming one, they are jñānīs. And those who are thinking in terms of getting material power, they are yogis. But the bhaktas, they don't want any such perfection. They, bhaktis, "Let me worship the Supreme, that's all." Therefore he has already (indistinct) and they are all in want. Bhakta is satisfied simply by worshiping the Lord. Svāmin kṛtārtho 'smi. And all others, karmīs, jñānīs, yogis, they want something so they cannot be happy. So if happiness is my aim, then I must become a bhakta, otherwise there is no happiness. You are always in want. Somebody is in want of money, somebody is in want to becoming one with the Supreme, and somebody wants to show some jugglery, mysticism. So they want something. And a devotee, he doesn't want all these things. He wants to serve Kṛṣṇa, that's all. No demand. And he serves Kṛṣṇa without any motive. Ahaituky apratihatā. That is bhakta.

Prof. Hopkins: So what you are doing is simply showing people how to be happy.

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Prof. Hopkins: I like that.

Prabhupāda: Thank you. That is the real want, how to become happy.

Prof. Hopkins: It's remarkable how complicated simple things get.

Prabhupāda: The example is also very simple. Just like a child is crying and somebody is offering some milk, somebody is offering something but he is still crying. Could not find any cause. Then when the child goes to the mother's lap, immediately (claps)-stops. He understands immediately, "Now I am on the lap of my mother, then everything is all right." Yaṁ labdhvā cāparaṁ lābhaṁ manyate nādhikaṁ tataḥ. Everyone is hankering after making some profit, this way, that way, this way, that way. But when one becomes, gets that supreme thing then he thinks, "Oh, I don't want anything." That is happiness. Unhappiness due to want. So the karmīs, jñānīs, yogis, they are all in want. They want something. Bhaktas are also sometimes in want. They want Kṛṣṇa. And in absence of Kṛṣṇa they are very unhappy, but that unhappiness is greater than happiness.

Prof. Hopkins: The gopīs in Vṛndāvana.

Prabhupāda: Yes. That is greater than happiness. And the Māyāvādī, karmī, jñānī, they cannot understand. They will say, "Your gopīs are also crying for Kṛṣṇa, for want of Kṛṣṇa." But they do not know that this want is different.

Prof. Hopkins: So you have been extremely generous with your time and your wisdom.

Prabhupāda: I enjoy(?) that. And that is what the whole human society (indistinct).

Prof. Hopkins: Well I... I have been a friend for many years now. I suspect... I suspect sometimes that I may end up as a sannyāsī among your line at some point. (laughs)

Prabhupāda: Sannyāsa does not mean change of dress. Sannyāsa means everything for Kṛṣṇa. That is sannyāsa.

Prof. Hopkins: What is your view of Śrī Aurobindo? (loud laughter) Or should I have left well enough alone? He is not an impersonalist, he's not a Māyāvādī.

Prabhupāda: He says that above the Māyāvāda philosophy there is something else, super. That is bhakti. (indistinct) ...bhakti, but he could not understand because he did not take any education from realized person. He wanted to realize himself. That is his defect.

Prof. Hopkins: So one who... You would see his effort to transcend, I suppose you would call it...

Prabhupāda: That effort was for life after life. Then when his effort will be successful he will realize Kṛṣṇa. Vāsudevaḥ sarvam iti sa mahātmā su-durlabhaḥ. Bahūnāṁ janmanām ante (BG 7.19).

Prof. Hopkins: So his problem was the effort to attempt to do this on his own without going through...

Prabhupāda: The guru.

Prof. Hopkins: The guru.

Prabhupāda: Therefore it will take time. Just like a man searching after the right path but he does not care to ask anybody, he is loitering in the forest.

Prof. Hopkins: You... I'm sure you're familiar with his essays on the Gītā.

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Prof. Hopkins: Which I think are generally quite good, his essays on the Gītā themselves. Are there places there that you would strongly disagree with in his, what he says?

Prabhupāda: No, we disagree with the whole system because he is trying to understand the Absolute Truth by his own effort. That is not possible.

Prof. Hopkins: So you would say then that no matter... He may have the right idea, but he has not, he has not...

Prabhupāda: He may be a great thoughtful man but (indistinct) ...a realized man.

Prof. Hopkins: Not realized. I'm sorry I raised the question right at the last minute but it occurred to me and I was interested in your answer. So, thank you very much.

Prabhupāda: You have given him prasāda?

Brahmānanda: Yes.

Prabhupāda: You are staying here?

Prof. Hopkins: No, I'm going back to Lancaster this evening. I have tomorrow... Tomorrow morning we are getting a group of students together to go to India.

Prabhupāda: Oh.

Prof. Hopkins: I am not going but we're sending seventeen students to India, leaving tomorrow evening.

Brahmānanda: You can stay at our guest house in Vṛndāvana.

Prof. Hopkins: Ah, could I pass on the people an invitation from you that that would be possible?

Brahmānanda: Yes. Definitely we can arrange it.

Prof. Hopkins: Because I know there are students in the group who would like to visit Vṛndāvana. And you, I think, talked to some this spring and you were there. I know that the senior student with the group is very interested in going to Vṛndāvana.

Devotee: We have nice facility there. (indistinct)

Prof. Hopkins: That's true. They're going to be in Delhi for a week or so. It would be great if they could get out to Vṛndāvana just for a day. They can come back later when they have more time. So... Would they have to make preliminary arrangements or could they...? Is there some way they could make arrangements from Delhi to do that?

Brahmānanda: Afterwards we can discuss it.

Prof. Hopkins: Okay. So.

Prabhupāda: Thank you very much.

Prof. Hopkins: Hare Kṛṣṇa. (end)