Dialectical Spiritualism: Sigmund Freud, Part 6

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)

Hayagriva dasa: Freud further writes: "The riddles of the universe only reveal themselves slowly to our inquiry. To many questions science can as yet give no answer; but scientific work is our only way to the knowledge of external reality No, science is no illusion. But it would be an illusion to suppose that we can get anywhere else what it cannot give us."

Srila Prabhupada: First of all, we have to learn what the object of knowledge is. The word veda means "knowledge, " and anta means "ultimate. " Unless you come to the ultimate point of knowledge, or Vedanta, your knowledge is imperfect or insufficient. The ultimate object of knowledge is God, and if we cannot define God or explain His nature, we have not reached the ultimate point of knowledge. God is a fact, but unfortunately we have no clear idea of Him. This means that our knowledge has not reached the ultimate point — that is, it is imperfect. If the knowledge of a philosopher or scientist is imperfect, of what value is it? According to the Vedic method, we receive our knowledge from the perfect person: Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

Hayagriva dasa: As for the origin of religions, Freud writes: "As it is a delicate task to decide what God has Himself ordained and what derives rather from the authority of an all-powerful parliament or a supreme judicial decision, it would be an indubitible advantage to leave God out of the question altogether, and to admit honestly the purely human origin of all cultural laws and institutions."

Srila Prabhupada: God does not derive power from anyone. As stated in the beginning of Srimad-Bhagavatam: janmady asya yato ' nvayad itaratas carthesv abhijnah sva-rat (Bhag. 1.1.1). The Supreme God, the Absolute Truth, knows everything in complete detail. The word abhijnah means "complete awareness." How is it God has complete knowledge? From whom has He received this knowledge? The answer is: sva-rat. He does not receive it from anyone. He is completely independent. If God has to receive knowledge from Mr. Freud, He is not God. God is the only person who is completely independent.

na tasya karyam karanam ca vidyate 
na tat-samas cabhyadhikas ca drsyate 
parasya saktir vividhaiva sruyate 
sva-bhaviki jhana-bala-kriya ca

"He does not possess bodily form like that of an ordinary living entity. There is no difference between His body and His soul. He is absolute. All H is senses are transcendental. Any one of His senses can perform the action of any other sense. Therefore, no one is greater than Him or equal to Him. His potencies are multifarious, and thus His deeds are automatically performed as a natural sequence." (Svetasvatara Upanisad 6.7-8) God is naturally all perfect, and He doesn't have to adopt some process in order to become perfect. Anyone who is trying to be perfect is not God. When Krsna was only three months old, He could kill the big giant Putana. His potencies are there automatically, whether He appears as a child or as a young man. Nowadays, so-called yogis are trying to become God by meditating, but Krsna did not have to meditate. If God is always God, He doesn't have to learn anything from anyone. That is the true meaning of independence. If we want to know something about God, we should receive knowledge from Him directly, or from a person who knows Him. This is the direction given in Bhagavad-gita:

tad viddhi pranipatena 
pariprasnena sevaya 
upadeksyanti te jhanam 
jhaninas tattva-darsinah

"Just try to learn the truth by approaching a spiritual master. Inquire from him submissively and render service unto him. The self-realized soul can impart knowledge unto you because he has seen the truth." (Bg. 4.34) The word tattva-darsinah refers to one who factually knows about God. It is necessary to learn about God from one who has seen Him eye to eye. Arjuna, for instance, was talking to God on the battlefield of Kuruksetra. If we wish to understand God, we should understand Him as Arjuna did. What was Arjuna's understanding? That is found in the Tenth Chapter of Bhagavad-gita:

param brahma param dhama 
pavitram paramam bhavan 
purusam sasvatam divyam 
adi-devam ajarh vibhum 

ahus tvam rsayah sarve 
devarsir naradas tatha 
asito devalo vyasah 
svayarh caiva bravisi me

"You are the Supreme Brahman, the ultimate, the supreme abode and purifier, the Absolute Truth, and the eternal divine person. You are the primal God, transcendental and original, and You are the unborn and all-pervading beauty. All the great sages such as Narada, Asita, Devala, and Vyasa proclaim this of You, and now You Yourself are declaring it to me." (Bg. 10.12-13)

Hayagriva dasa: Concerning early religious training, Freud writes: "So long as a man's early years are influenced by the religious thought-inhibition and by the lower one derived from it, as well as by the sexual one, we cannot really say what he is actually like." Freud strongly believed that early religious education warps a man's natural development.

Srila Prabhupada: What is wrong with informing a child that there is a Supreme Being controlling the whole cosmic situation? Is it that Freud did not believe in education?

Hayagriva dasa: He felt that children should not be indoctrinated with religious "thought-inhibitions. "

Srila Prabhupada: But there must be some form of education, and spiritual education is the most important. The only business of human life is to learn about God. Lower species cannot understand God, but understanding is possible in the human form. Therefore spiritual education is primary.

Hayagriva dasa: Marx called religion "the opiate of the people," and Freud similarly says that "the consolations of religion may be compared to that of a narcotic."

Srila Prabhupada: As I have said before, neither Marx nor Freud know what religion is, and that is their difficulty. First, they have to learn what religion is before they can discuss it intelligently.