Dialectical Spiritualism: Karl Marx, Part 2

BY: SUN STAFF - 4.8 2017

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

Karl Marx (1818-1883)

Hayagriva dasa: For Marx, there is nothing spiritual in the universe. He writes: "An incorporeal substance is just as much a contradiction as an incorporeal body. Body, being, substance are one and the same real idea. One cannot separate the thought from matter which thinks."

Srila Prabhupada: When there is no spirit soul within the body, the body is considered dead. Otherwise, what is the difference between a dead body and a living body?

Hayagriva dasa: He further writes: "Since only what is material is perceptible, knowable, nothing is known of the existence of God. I am sure only of my own existence."

Srila Prabhupada: But if he does not know of the spirit soul, how can he be certain of his own existence? What is his idea of life? Why is the body like a dead stone when life has ended? He must first understand what life is.

Hayagriva dasa: He felt that consciousness is basically social. "Life is not determined by consciousness,"he writes, "but consciousness by life Consciousness is therefore from the very beginning a social prod uct, and remains so as long as men exist at all."

Srila Prabhupada: Then why does life have an end? Why does he cease to exist? What is the answer to this? The soul of man exists, but why does he die? Death is a fact, and it cannot be denied. During this lifetime, he may speak very loudly, but as soon as he is dead, he can speak no more. Where is consciousness then?

Hayagriva dasa: Marx opposed Comte's recommendation of the worship of women, and also the worship of God in nature. "There is no question," he writes, "that modem sciences, which along with modem industry, have revolutionized the whole of nature and put an end to man's childish attitude toward nature, as well as to other forms of childishness The position as regards to the worship of female is the same as nature worship."

Srila Prabhupada: But how has science overcome the basic laws of nature? Has man put an end to birth, death, old age, and disease? If not, what is the meaning of revolutionizing or conquering nature? Nature's laws are going on just as before. Before Marx died, his father and mother died, and their parents died before them, and so on. How has man then conquered nature? Death, old age, and disease continue. Where is the improvement?

Hayagriva dasa: If there is no improvement, he would feel that it is because religion has been an impediment.

Srila Prabhupada: This has nothing to do with religion. This is the work of nature. When a man takes birth, he faces death. How has science revolutionized this matter? Nature's work is going on despite all the theories of Marx and others. So how have they surpassed the laws of nature?

Hayagriva dasa: Marx felt that religion is the cause of constant antagonism between men. "The most persistent form of antagonism between the Jew and the Christian is religious antagonism,"he writes. "How does one solve an antagonism? By making it impossible. And how is a religious antagonism made impossible? By abolishing religion."

Srila Prabhupada: The question of antagonism is solved if we know God and God's desires. If we know the government and its laws, there is no antagonism. Antagonism is there when so-called religious systems do not know of God and His desires. God and His regulations are clearly described in the Bhagavad-gita, and therefore we are advocating the reading of Bhagavad-gita so people will know God and His instructions. As I have said before, religion means understanding God according to a system. God is the supreme proprietor and the supreme friend of everyone. He is the enjoyer of everything. People claim that their religion is better than others, but first of all we must know what religion is. It is knowing the orders of the supreme proprietor, and living according to them. If we do not know what religion is, why criticize religion and create antagonisms?