Dialectical Spiritualism: Samuel Alexander, Part 6

BY: SUN STAFF - 29.6 2017

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

Samuel Alexander (1859-1938)

Hayagriva dasa: Within the same book, Space, Time and Deity, Alexander contradicts himself on this issue of reciprocation. "God reciprocates the worship man pays Him and the confidence he reposes in Him," he writes. "There is always the double relationship of need. If man wants God and depends upon Him, God wants man, and is so far dependent."

Srila Prabhupada: God is not dependent on anyone. God is independent, but that statement is acceptable in the sense that sometimes God wants to become dependent. That is according to His pleasure. Sometimes He accepts some of His devotees in ways that He can depend on them. He became dependent on Mother Yasoda, just as an ordinary child becomes dependent on his mother. Although everything is dependent on God, and He is not dependent on anyone, He takes pleasure in this kind of relationship.

Hayagriva dasa: I don't think Alexander understood it in that way.

Srila Prabhupada: This is not a very ordinary thing to understand. It cannot be understood by mental speculation.

Hayagriva dasa: Alexander also writes that God Himself is involved in our acts and their issues. "Not only does He matter to us, but we matter to Him." Is this actually so?

Srila Prabhupada: Yes, although we are sons of God, we are fallen conditioned souls and are suffering. Therefore God is very compassion ate, and He comes personally to teach us. He says, "Why are you rotting in this material world? Surrender to Me and go back to Godhead. Then you will be happy." God is the father of everyone, and it is natural for a father to be concerned about his sons. Presently we are conditioned by material nature because we are disobedient. God, being the Supreme Father, feels for our suffering. But He is not suffering. The devotees of God also feel for the conditioned souls, and Krsna's devotees are very dear to Him because they are trying to spread His instructions, Bhagavad-gita. The devotees are acting on behalf of God to deliver conditioned souls.

Syamasundara dasa: Alexander believed that man, being part of God, is capable of cooperating with God to make further progress in the universe.

Srila Prabhupada: Yes, that is real life, cooperating with God. But in this material world, man is uncooperative. Krsna says, "Surrender unto Me," but no one wants to do this. Even when people attain the highest levels of human life wherein their karma is regulated and they possess knowledge and yogic abilities, they still will not surrender to Krsna.

krsna-bhakta — niskama, ataeva 'santa'
bhukti-mukti-siddhi-kami — sakali 'as anta'

"Because a devotee of Lord Krsna is desireless, he is peaceful. Fruitive workers desire material enjoyment, jnanis desire liberation, and yogis desire material opulence; therefore they are all lusty and cannot be peaceful. " (Caitanya-caritamrta , Madh. 19. 149) The karmis want sense enjoyment, the jnanis want mukti, liberation, and the yogis want yogasiddhis, the yoga powers. All these people are demanding various things: sense gratification, liberation, mystic powers. Only the Krsna-bhakta makes no demands. He says, "Dear Lord, I am Your eternal servitor. I surrender unto You. Now do whatever You like with me."

bhoktarafn yajha-tapasam 
suhrdam sarva-bhutanam 
jhatva mam santim rcchati

"The sages, knowing Me as the ultimate purpose of all sacrifices and austerities, the Supreme Lord of all planets and demigods, and the benefactor and well-wisher of all living entities, attain peace from the pangs of material miseries." (Bg. 5.29) By understanding that Krsna is the supreme enjoyer, the supreme proprietor, and the supreme friend, we can become santa, peaceful.

Syamasundara dasa: Alexander felt that man should cooperate with God in order to usher in a higher stage of consciousness, the next stage of evolution. This is man's responsibility.

Srila Prabhupada: But what is the next stage of evolution? When man is prepared to cooperate with God, he has already attained the highest position. Unfortunately, no one wants to cooperate. There is simply enjoyment; there is no more evolution. If you come to the point of worshipping the Supreme Lord, there is no question of evolution. You have already attained the highest form of evolution.

mam ca yo'vyabhicarena bhakti-yogena sevate 
sa gunan samatltyaitan 
brahma-bhuyaya kalpate

"One who engages in full devotional service, who does not fall down in any circumstance, at once transcends the modes of material nature and thus comes to the level of Brahman." (Bg. 14.26) The Brahman platform is already attained; he doesn't have to strive to become Brahman. He immediately transcends the three gunas and comes to the platform of spirit. Without being Brahman, how can you serve the Supreme Brahman?

Alexander speaks of the higher stages of evolution, but he has no real knowledge of them. According to the Vaisnava philosophy, there are five basic stages: santa, dasya, sakhya, vatsalya, and madhurya. When you attain the brahma-bhuta stage and understand that you are not the body but spirit soul, you have attained the santa platform. On that platform, you think, "Oh, God is so great!" From the santa stage, you can progress to the dasya stage, wherein you realize that God is so great that some service must be rendered to Him. In the sakhya stage, you not only know that God is great and render service to God, but you also serve God as a friend, like Arjuna. On the vatsalya platform, service is rendered to Krsna as a father or a mother. Yasoda, for instance, rendered service to Krsna as a mother, and she was always thinking, "Krsna is hungry. I must feed Him. I must protect Him from monkeys and fire." On the platform of madhurya-rasa, the highest platform, you can enter into intimate pastimes with Krsna. Although there are many stages in spiritual life, there is actually no difference between them. It is not that those who serve Krsna as friends are inferior to Radharani, who serves Krsna as His consort.