Dialectical Spiritualism: Sigmund Freud, Part 5

BY: SUN STAFF - 12.10 2017

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

Sigmund Freud (1856-1934)

Syamasundara dasa: For Freud, the sexual energy, or libido, is not only manifest through sexual intercourse. It is associated with a wide variety of pleasurable sensations relating to bodily activities and including pleasures of the mouth and the different organs.

Srila Prabhupada: We have already said that the only happiness in this material world is considered to be sexual. Yan maithunadi (Bhag. 7.9.45). The word adi means the basic principle, which, in the material world, is sex. What is materialistic happiness? It is enjoying this life with one's friends and family. But what kind of pleasure is this? It is compared to a drop of water in the desert. Actually, we are seeking unlimited pleasure. Anandamayo' bhyasat. How can this drop of water in the desert, which is materialistic pleasure, ever satisfy us? No one is satisfied, although people are having sex in so many different ways. And now young girls are almost going naked, and the female population is increasing everywhere. As soon as there is an increase in the female population, the women say, "Where are the men?" There then must be disaster because every woman is trying to attract a man, and men will take advantage of this situation. When milk is available in the market, what is the use in keeping a cow? The more men become attached to women, the more the female population will increase.

Syamasundara dasa: How is that?

Srila Prabhupada: When you have more sex, your power to beget a male child is diminished. When the man is less potent, a girl is born, and when a man is more potent, a boy is born. If a man's discharge is larger, there will be a male child. If the woman's discharge is larger, there will be a female child. When women are easily available, men become weak, and they beget female children because they lose their power from overindulgence. Sometimes they even become impotent. If you don't restrict your sex life, there will be so many disasters. Yamunacarya says:

yadavadhi mama cetah krsna- padaravinde 
nava-nava-rasa-dhamanudyata rantum asit 
tadavadhi bata nari-sahgame smaryamane 
bhavati mukha-vikarah sastu nisthwanam ca

"Since I have been engaged in the transcendental loving service of Krsna, realizing ever-new pleasure in Him, whenever I think of sex pleasure, I spit at the thought, and my lips curl with distaste."

Syamasundara dasa: Freud would consider this a form of repression.

Srila Prabhupada: His idea of repression is different from ours. Our repression means rising early in the morning, attending mangala-aratik, chanting the Hare Krsna maha-mantra, and engaging in devotional service. In this way, we repress material propensities.

Syamasundara dasa: In other words, it's repression with awareness and knowledge.

Srila Prabhupada: Actual knowledge will come later. In the beginning, there is obedience to the spiritual master. In this way, we will not become habituated to undesirable activity.

Syamasundara dasa: Yet by remembering some traumatic or shocking experience, our tensions are often relieved, and personality disorders rectified. This is a fact of psychoanalysis.

Srila Prabhupada: That may be, but when a seed has fructified and grown into a tree, it is no longer possible to rectify the seed. The seed is no longer there. It has changed into a tree. Freud may be able to find out the cause, but does he know the cure? Our cure is to divert the attention to Krsna. By understanding Krsna, we automatically forget our problems. Krsna is the panacea for all diseases.

Syamasundara dasa: Freud also investigated projection, that is attributing one's own personality onto others. A man may regard others as a thief because he's a thief himself.

Srila Prabhupada: We accept that. Atmana many ate jagat. Everyone thinks others to be like himself.

Syamasundara dasa: Freud also felt that children act in different ways to win the love and affection of their parents.

Srila Prabhupada: Children imitate. In Agra, I have seen two and three-year-old children try to imitate the sexual intercourse of their parents. They did not know anything about sex pleasure, but they were imitating what they had seen. Children do not know the value of things, but they imitate their parents. There is no fixed pattern of development for the personality of children. You can mold children in any way. They are like soft dough, and you can make out of them what you like. All you have to do is put them into the mold. Many of the neuroses Freud talked about are not experienced in Indian families. If you place a child in good association, he will act properly, and if you place him in bad association, he will act improperly. A child has no independence in that sense.

Syamasundara dasa: Freud believed that our behavior must be understood in terms of our entire life history.

Srila Prabhupada: That is so. Therefore in our Vedic system, it is forbidden for the husband and wife to speak of sex even jokingly before a small child, because the child cannot understand. If children know of sexual intercourse, it is because they have learned about it from their parents.

Hayagriva dasa: Although often avoiding the very subject of religion, Freud sometimes took an agnostic stand. He writes: "Of the reality value of most religions we cannot judge; just as they cannot be proved, neither can they be refuted."

Srila Prabhupada: First of all, he does not know what religion is. As we have said, religion means the orders given by God. Since he has no conception of God, how can he know anything of God's orders? He is acquainted only with fictitious religions, which have been described in Srimad-Bhagavatam as kaitava — cheating religions. Real religion is law. Just as you cannot manufacture laws in your home, you cannot manufacture religion.