Dialectical Spiritualism: Jean-Paul Sartre, Part 6

BY: SUN STAFF - 2.10 2017

Conversations wtih HDG A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, excerpted from  Dialectical Spiritualism: A Vedic View of Western Philosophy.

Jean-Paul Sartre (1905-1980)

Syamasundara dasa: Sartre believes that the fate of the world depends on man's decisions. Obviously, if man decides properly, the world would be a better place.

Srila Prabhupada: Therefore we are trying to introduce this Krsna consciousness in order to make the world into Vaikuntha, into a place where there is no anxiety. But this is not a blind decision. It is the decision of a higher authority; therefore it is perfect.

Syamasundara dasa: Many people call Sartre's philosophy pessimistic because he maintains that man is a "useless passion" vainly striving in a universe without a purpose.

Srila Prabhupada: Sartre may be a useless passion, but we are not. No sane man is useless. A sane man will follow a superior authority. That is Vedic civilization. If one approaches a bona fide spiritual master, he will not be bewildered. Sartre believes that the universe is without a purpose because he is blind. He has no power to see that there is a plan. Therefore, according to Bhagavad-gita, his philosophy is asuric, demoniac. Everything in the universe functions according to some plan. The sun and moon rise, and the seasons change according to plan.

Syamasundara dasa: For Sartre, man stands alone in the world, yet he is not alone if he is a being-for-others. Man needs others for his own self-realization.

Srila Prabhupada: This means that man requires a guru.

Syamasundara dasa: Sartre does not speak of a guru but of interaction with others for self-understanding.

Srila Prabhupada: If this is required, why not interact with the best man? If we require others to understand ourselves, why should we not seek the best man for our own understanding? We should receive help from the man who knows. If you take the advice of one who can give you the right direction, your end will be glorious. That is the Vedic injunction. Tad-vijndnartharh sa gurum evabhigacchet (Mundaka-upanisad 1.2.12).

Syamasundara dasa: Sartre feels that in the presence of others, man is ashamed.

Srila Prabhupada: Man is ashamed if he is not guided by a superior. If you are guided by a superior, you will be glorious, not ashamed. Your superior is that person who can lead you to the glory of Krsna consciousness.