Room Conversation with Kim Cornish , Perth , 1975-05-08
Prabhupāda: ...psychology, metaphysics.
Kim Cornish: Yes.
Amogha: He was telling me that the paper he's writing for his master's degree is comparing a German philosopher with Buddhist philosophy. Comparison between those.
Kim Cornish: Which, as far as I can gather, is the self/no-self thing. Buddhism was denying that you're the ātman, I think. Could you perhaps say something about that?
Amogha: He's asking about the conception of denial of the self.
Kim Cornish: Of the ātman, yes.
Amogha: Ātman. The finishing of ātman.
Prabhupāda: Hmm. So how can you deny ātman? [aside] My glass, drinking.
Kim Cornish: In Hindu philosophy, what is the nature of the ātman?
Prabhupāda: Nature of ātman is eternal. Eternity, knowledge and blissfulness. Ānandamayo 'bhyāsāt [Vedānta-sūtra 1.1.12] = ātmā is jolly, ānanda, blissful.
Kim Cornish: I've read some of the Upaniṣads where they say that ātman is Brahman.
Prabhupāda: Why have I placed this flower here? Why I like this flower? What is the reason?
Kim Cornish: Because it's beautiful, perhaps?
Prabhupāda: Yes, therefore you want to enjoy. This is the nature of ātmā. I want to enjoy. This is blissfulness. Then why are you trying to become a philosopher?
Kim Cornish: That's for understanding.
Prabhupāda: Yes, therefore knowledge. Why do you not like to die? Because you are eternal. Therefore ātmā's nature is eternal, full of knowledge and full of bliss. This is knowledge. Sat cit ānanda. Do you know Sanskrit?
Kim Cornish: No, but some words.
Prabhupāda: That is ātmā's nature. Sat, cit, ānanda. Eternal, full of knowledge, and blissful.
Kim Cornish: A question. Is there..., the ātman...
Prabhupāda: Just hear.
Kim Cornish: Ātman is attached to each person?
Prabhupāda: Just hear.
Amogha: He says hear for a moment.
Kim Cornish: I'm listening, of course.
Prabhupāda: Ātmā's nature... One question should be understood thoroughly. You have asked what is the nature of ātmā. The ātmā's nature is that he is eternal. He never dies. Never takes birth. He is already existing. Just like you were a child, you were a baby. The body is no longer existing. Your childhood body is no longer existing, but you know that you were a child. You remember your childhood days. Therefore, you are different from the body. The body has passed away, but you remember that you had a body like that. Therefore you exist. You know that you'll become an old man. So this body will not exist. Another body you will get, old age body. Therefore you will exist; the body will change. Now try to understand this fact first of all, and if you cannot understand, ask question.
Kim Cornish: The ātman, is there one to each person, or there is only one ātman for all people?
Prabhupāda: You are ātmā, I am ātmā; we are not one. You are individual, I am individual. I don't agree with you; you don't agree with me. So how one?
Kim Cornish: I beg your pardon?
Prabhupāda: How it is one?
Amogha: He says that you are individual and he is individual, so how can they be one?
Kim Cornish: How can they be one? I see. Yeah. I was wondering how the ātman is associated with each individual. Is it the... It's not right to say the person is the ātman?
Kim Cornish: The person is the ātman. And to each person there is one ātman associated.
Prabhupāda: You are a person and I am a person. You are changing body and I am changing body.
Kim Cornish: And through all the changes there is the ātman that continues.
Prabhupāda: Who is here first of all? You are a person; I am a person. You are hearing, I am speaking. We are two persons. So why you say one?
Kim Cornish: Well, there are two bodies. Two bodies.
Prabhupāda: Yes, two bodies, just like two dress. You are differently dressed, I am differently dressed, but that does not mean that we are one. We are one as ātmā. Just like you are Australian, I am Indian, but as human being we are one. But as Australian, as Indian, we are different. Therefore we are one and different at the same time.
Kim Cornish: Is the ātman...
Prabhupāda: Ātmā as spirit soul is one.
Kim Cornish: Is one.
Prabhupāda: But as individual soul they are different.
Kim Cornish: And the ātman is just with respect to consciousness, or can we talk about...
Kim Cornish: ...an ātman without consciousness?
Prabhupāda: Consciousness is the symptom of ātmā. Because the ātmā is within your body, therefore your consciousness is there. Now, because the ātmā is within the body, if I pinch or if you pinch my body, I feel pains and pleasure. As soon as the ātmā will not be there, it will be cut with a chopper, there is no protest. So that ātmā is present within this body, that is understood by the presence of consciousness. Just like we are in this room, but this light is the reflection of the sunshine. We understand there is sun in the sky. The light and heat we are feeling, that means the sun is in the sky. Similarly, our consciousness and knowledge, etcetera, are there, that means that the ātmā is there. The same ātmā, when it will go out of this body, there will be no more consciousness, no more knowledge, no more feelings of pains and pleasure.
Kim Cornish: Can one say what qualities the ātman has?
Prabhupāda: That I have already explained = eternity, knowledge and blissfulness.
Kim Cornish: And does Hindu philosophy say anything about...
Prabhupāda: Don't take of Hindu philosophy; talk of philosophy.
Kim Cornish: Philosophy. How the ātman came into being?
Kim Cornish: How did the ātman come into being?
Prabhupāda: Ātmā is not coming into being; it is already there. But at the present moment it is accepting a different types of body. Just like your this dress is available in the market. And you are also there, so you purchase the dress and put on. Similarly, the different types of bodies are already there. You, according to your desire, accept one type of body, and you appear in that body. There are 8,400,000 different forms of body, and you have to accept one of them, according to desire, according to your work. You are working. Everyone is working. Now, according to the work and association, he is creating his body. Just like if you infect some type of disease, then you'll have to accept that disease. So we are working in different way---we are individuals---and according to that work we are creating our next body. If you are working in a godly way, then you'll get your body next as god, and if you are working in a dogly way, then you'll get your body as dog. So by nature's way, evolution, we come through 800,000,000's of forms of life, then nature gives us a chance to accept this human form of body. In this body, our consciousness being advanced, if we try, we can understand what is the problem of life, why we have accepted birth, death, old age and disease, how to get out of it, how to revive our original nature of body and again become eternal, full of knowledge and bliss. This is the chance of the human body. Therefore you are a philosopher because you are in the human body, but a dog cannot be a philosopher. He may be a very big dog, can bark very loudly---he has got very good strength, can create good disturbance---but he cannot understand philosophy. That is not possible. But a human being can understand. Therefore he should be given chance to understand the philosophy of life. And that is Vedas.
Kim Cornish: That is?
Kim Cornish: Oh, Vedas, yes.
Prabhupāda: The Vedas are there for understanding by the human society. And if he lives like a cat and dog, then he's spoiling his life. We should take advantage of the Vedic knowledge and make our life successful. This is real philosophy.
Kim Cornish: I'm not very familiar with the Hindu scriptures, but I have read some Upaniṣads, and there's the idea that somehow ātman is Brahman. I don't understand this at all, so perhaps you could say something about that?
Prabhupāda: Which Upaniṣad are you reading?
Kim Cornish: I've read the Chāndogya, the... Brhadāraṇyaka...
Prabhupāda: There are one hundred and eight Upaniṣads.
Kim Cornish: I don't know the pronunciations, that's the difficulty.
Prabhupāda: Have you read Īśopaniṣad?
Kim Cornish: Pardon?
Kim Cornish: I'm familiar with the name, but that's about all.
Prabhupāda: Give him Īśopaniṣad. Read from the beginning.
Amogha: Invocation. I'll show you.
Prabhupāda: Have you read this book? This is the first Upaniṣad that is read. Can you read Sanskrit?
Kim Cornish: No. I'm afraid not.
Amogha: You just read the sound.
pūrṇāt pūrṇam udacyate
pūrṇasya pūrṇam ādāya
Prabhupāda: Read the translation.
Kim Cornish: "The Personality of Godhead is perfect and complete, and because He is completely perfect, all emanations from Him, such as this phenomenal world, are perfectly equipped as complete wholes. Whatever is produced of the complete whole is also complete in itself. Because He is the complete whole, even though so many complete units emanate from Him, He remains the complete balance."
Prabhupāda: Now read the purport. After reading the translation, do you understand everything?
Kim Cornish: No. "The Complete Whole, or the Supreme Absolute Truth, is the complete Personality of Godhead. Realization of impersonal Brahman or of Paramātmā, the Supersoul, is incomplete realization of the Absolute Complete. The Supreme Personality of Godhead is sac-cid-ānanda-vigraha [Bs. 5.1], and impersonal Brahman realization is realization of His sat feature, or His aspect of eternity, and Paramātmā, or Supersoul realization, is the realization of His sat and cit features." I don't understand that. I don't understand it. I read the words, but...
Prabhupāda: It requires elucidation. "Complete whole" means, just like your body is complete whole, and there are so many other things---there are so many holes in the body, there are so many hairs on the body, there are so many hairs on the head, so many fingers, eyes, ears---so many things---but the body is a complete unit, working as a complete machine. And there are so many things. Similarly, the whole cosmos is complete. Exactly like this body is a machine, similarly, the whole cosmos is a big machine. It is complete. One sun is there and keeping everything complete. The day and night, the seasonal changes, the equator, the temperature, then the moonlight, the other planets, we living beings, the vegetables---everything is complete by God, and because the sun is there. Similarly, this body, machine, is complete. And the soul is there, it is working nicely. The body is also a creation, and the universe is also a creation, and the brain which has created these things, He is complete. Therefore He has created these complete units. That is the idea. Pūrṇam idaṁ [Īśo Invocation]. Pūrṇaḥ means complete.
And because He is complete, the creator, He has no defect; therefore He can create everything complete. Pūrṇam idaṁ, pūrṇam adaḥ, pūrṇāt pūrṇam udacyate. And He is so complete that pūrṇasya pūrṇam ādāya, from the complete, if you take the whole complete, still He is complete. Here is a glass of water; I am drinking, drinking part by part. And when it is finished, the water is finished---no more complete. But He is so complete that just like the sun, the temperature is being distributed for million and millions of years, still it is full of temperature. Here, unless the electric power is there, it is not complete. But there is power in the sunshine. It is a reservoir of so much temperature and light that in history, millions and millions of years it is distributing, the seasonal changes are going on, the green foliage is coming again, the snow or rain is coming, so many things are going on account of temperature. Any machine is rolling, just like as soon as there is power, the machine is rolling. In all machines, your bodily machine, my bodily machine, and electric machines and other powered machines---everything is going on. Pūrṇāt pūrṇam udacyate. And in spite of taking so much energy from the sun, it is still full of light and energy. This is one of the creation of the Supreme. Now how much perfect is the Supreme? You can imagine. Its one of the creation, sun, is maintaining the whole universe. And there are many millions of universes, and each of them has got a sun to conduct the business. And all these suns are created by somebody. How much complete He is, you can just imagine. That is God.
God is not so cheap thing. People become God, "I am God." You are a nonsense rascal. What you can do? These are bluff. They do not know what is God. Here is God---complete. Pūrṇam adaḥ, pūrṇam idaṁ. The whole creation is complete, still He is complete. The energy is coming from here, still He is complete. This energy also. A glass of water, I throw the glass, and water again it is coming. Again I throw, again it is coming. Incessantly coming, all the energies. That is God. This is the idea of God. Pūrṇam idaṁ, pūrṇam adaḥ, pūrṇam idaṁ, pūrṇāt pūrṇam udacyate, pūrṇasya pūrṇam ādāya, pūrṇam evāvaśiṣyate. One minus one equals one, not zero. One plus one equals one, not two. This is complete. This is the idea of God. Just like the ocean = you take many thousands buckets of water, it is complete. And again you put many buckets, thousands, millions buckets of water, it is the same depth. This is another example, material example. This is complete. You take millions of buckets of water from the ocean, you'll find not a drop is lost. And you put millions of buckets of water again, not a drop is increased. Pūrṇasya pūrṇam ādāya pūrṇam evāvaśiṣyate. If you try to take out the whole ocean, still it will remain the ocean. This is the idea of complete.
Kim Cornish: One more question [indistinct]. What do you think of the use of drugs as perhaps an aid?
Kim Cornish: What do you think of the use of drugs? Some drugs, as an aid to...
Prabhupāda: Drugs? That is another side of madness. Anyone... Just like human being, after the evolution, eight million forms of body, he comes to human body to understand philosophy, these Vedas. So instead of utilizing life for that purpose, he wants to become again like the cats and dog, and therefore he takes drugs. He is already cat and dog. He's no better than cats and dog, because he has no interest in this knowledge. He was meant for this knowledge, but he remains like cats and dog; therefore he is not satisfied, therefore he takes drug to forget himself. This is the philosophy of drug. He was meant for becoming satisfied by taking this knowledge. He does not get the chance. Nobody leads him to this knowledge. He remains like cats and dogs. But as a human being if he lives like cats and dogs, he'll never be happy. Because there is no happiness, therefore he takes these drugs, to forget. This is the drug philosophy. Drug philosophy means to forget one's present suffering. And he must suffer, because his consciousness is developed. He must take this Vedic knowledge, but he does not take. Therefore he is dissatisfied, and to counteract this dissatisfaction he takes drug. This is drug philosophy.
Kim Cornish: Perhaps often it is that, but...
Prabhupāda: Not "perhaps." There is no question of "perhaps." We want to speak factually.
Kim Cornish: But Patañjali says that perhaps siddhis, powers, can be produced by drugs, so perhaps...
Prabhupāda: Drug is meant for medicinal purpose, not for drinking or taking regularly. Every herb, every vegetable, is a herb, is a drug meant for curing particular disease. This is nature's gift. Just like if you cut your finger, you take little grass and take a little juice and apply it. It will act as tincturizing, immediately. They are meant for this purpose. These vegetable, drugs, are meant for when you are sick or disturbed, you can utilize. Not for intoxication. Just like opium. If you have severe type of dysentery, diarrhea, a little opium it will immediately cure. But opium is not meant for using as an intoxication. There is use of opium. Morphia, opium, they have got use at a certain time, not for using it for intoxication. That is foolishness.
Amogha: Śrīla Prabhupāda, can drugs sometimes be used to help us for spiritual realization?
Prabhupāda: No. That is nonsense. Spiritual realization means knowledge, not to become intoxicated. The spiritual... Just like this is spiritual knowledge. So what the intoxicated person will understand? Even a sane man cannot understand. Then how he will understand in intoxication? That is foolishness. They are suffering material pangs. By taking drugs the suffering is forgotten, and he is thinking that is the solution. Spiritual means negation of material distress. So he is always suffering from material distress. By taking drug, temporarily he forgets it. Therefore he misunderstands, "This is spiritual." That's not spiritual. Then committing suicide is also spiritual? One man is suffering, and he commit, so suffering so big, great he cannot tolerate, therefore he sometimes commits suicide. Is that committing suicide is spiritual? Spiritual means negation of material distresses, that's a fact. But that is a different thing. When you come to the spiritual platform, not by artificially forgetting your material sufferings. That is not spiritual.
Kim Cornish: Another question. I asked earlier about the nature of ātman [indistinct].
Prabhupāda: I replied it.
Kim Cornish: I know. Now the nature of Brahman?
Prabhupāda: Yes. Brahman means the greatest, so as the sky, to our experience, the sky is the greatest. What is the sky? The sky is a combination of small atoms. Do you know that? So if the sky is Brahman, then it is combination of small atoms, then the small atoms are also Brahman. Just like a huge stack of rice, they are called rice, and a small grain of rice, that is also rice. So therefore there are two kinds of Brahman---the component parts of the Brahman, they are also Brahman, and whole Brahman is also Brahman. Do you follow?
Kim Cornish: I hear the words.
Amogha: He says, "I hear you," but he's not sure if he understands.
Prabhupāda: Why don't you understand?
Kim Cornish: I follow the analogy of the rice analogy.
Prabhupāda: The sky, the Brahman. What is the sky? A combination of atoms. So the component parts, they are also Brahman, otherwise how it is Brahman? Unless the component parts are Brahman, so how is it Brahman? It is a combination of many component parts, small Brahman. Para-brahman. Para-brahman means the supreme. The sea water, ocean water. Ocean water is very big, that is Brahman. Big means Brahman. But what is this ocean water? Small molecules of water. Sometimes we see the sea waves, we feeling small molecules, cool. So it is combination of small Brahman. So, sarvaṁ khalv idaṁ brahma [Chāndogya Upaniṣad 3.14.1] = everything is Brahman. And we are a small, very small fragmental portion of Brahman. How small we are? One ten-thousandth part of the tip of the hair. We cannot see even the tip of the hair, very small spot. And you have to divide it into ten thousand parts. And that one part---you, I, everyone. So small. So this is... Everything is Brahman. It is said, sarva khalv idaṁ brahma. Everything is Brahman. Why? Because the Brahman is very big, but what is this big? The big is combination of small molecules, atoms. That's all. What is your idea of Brahman?
Kim Cornish: From my own understanding I took it to be just the world, everything that is, but I don't understand.
Prabhupāda: Not clear idea.
Kim Cornish: I had an experience in New Zealand...
Prabhupāda: So therefore you have to experience from authority what is Brahman. This is explanation of Brahman. So this Brahman realization is first, then Paramātmā realization, then God realization. Just like you realize the sunshine, very big, all over the universe, but you have to see wherefrom the sunshine is coming---the sun globe. That is localized. You are seeing just like a small ball, but actually this big thing, sunshine, is coming from it. Is it not? So which is important, the sunshine or the globe? Which is important?
Kim Cornish: They are both important, but the sun is what produces the sunshine.
Prabhupāda: Similarly God the person is important, and by His bodily rays the whole thing is going on. Yasya prabhā prabhavato [Bs. 5.40]. Brahmaṇo hi... [aside:] Find out this verse---brahmaṇo hi pratiṣṭhāham.
Amogha: Shall I read?
śāśvatasya ca dharmasya
Translation = "And I am the basis of the impersonal Brahman, which is the constitutional position of ultimate happiness, and which is immortal, imperishable and eternal."
Amogha: Purport = "The constitution of Brahman is immortality, imperishability, eternity and happiness. Brahman is the beginning of transcendental realization; Paramātmā, the Supersoul, is the middle, the second stage in transcendental realization; and the Supreme Personality of Godhead is the ultimate realization of the Absolute Truth. Therefore both Paramātmā and the impersonal Brahman are within the Supreme Person.
"It is explained in the Seventh Chapter that material nature is a manifestation of the inferior energy of the Supreme Lord. The Lord impregnates the inferior material nature with the fragments of the superior nature, and that is the spiritual touch in the material nature. When a living entity, conditioned by this material nature, begins the cultivation of spiritual knowledge, he elevates himself from the position of material existence and gradually rises up to the Brahman conception of the Supreme. This attainment of the Brahman conception of life is the first stage in self-realization. At this stage, the Brahman-realized person is transcendental to the material position, but he is not actually perfect in Brahman realization. If he wants, he can continue to stay in the Brahman position and then gradually rise up to the Paramātmā realization and then to the realization of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. There are many examples of this in Vedic literature. The four Kumāras were situated first in the impersonal Brahman conception of truth, but then they gradually rose to the platform of devotional service.
"One who cannot elevate himself beyond the impersonal conception of Brahman runs the risk of falling down. In Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam it is stated that although a person may rise to the stage of impersonal Brahman, without going further, with no information of the Supreme Person, his intelligence is not perfectly clear. Therefore, in spite of being raised to the Brahman platform, there is the chance of falling down if one is not engaged in the devotional service of the Lord. In the Vedic language it is also said, parasya vai samhi evāyam labhvāndamhī bhavati: when one understands the Personality of God, the reservoir of pleasure, Kṛṣṇa, he actually becomes transcendentally blissful."
Prabhupāda: That is required, because we..., our nature is blissfulness. Unless we reach Kṛṣṇa, talk with Him, dance with Him, eat with Him, enjoy life, our perfection is imperfect, not complete. Simply Brahman realization... Just like simply to see... A child can see also the sunshine, but that does not mean he knows what is the sun, although the sunshine is coming from the sun. So unless you understand what is the actual sun, what is the person within the sun globe, our knowledge is imperfect. Simply realization of the big volume of sunshine is not perfect. It is also light, and the sun globe is also light, heat. But this heat and light is not sufficient knowledge of the complete heat and light there. That is the difference between Brahman realization and God realization.
Kim Cornish: What can be said about God realization?
Prabhupāda: I have given the example. Just like this sunshine is coming from the sun globe. Within the sun globe there is the president of the planet. Just like here in this planet you have got some president. Here there are many presidents, because it is hodgepodge, chaotic. But there everything is systematic. There is one person; his name is Vivasvān. He's the predominating deity. Kṛṣṇa went to see him and talked with him about Bhagavad-gītā. He's a person, and there the people, they are also persons, just like in this planet. But here the body is made predominantly of earth, and there the body is predominantly of fire; therefore it is so glowing. The glowing temperature, heat and light, is coming from the person. Their body is made of glowing heat
Prabhupāda: or fire. There are five material elements = earth, water, fire, air and ether. In some planet the earth is prominent, in some planet the water is prominent, in some planets the fire is prominent. So the sun planet is prominent with fire. There the bodies made of the inhabitants there are fire. So all the combination of the fiery effulgence is the heat of the sun globe, and that is being distributed. It is in the [indistinct]. You can see and realize. Everything is there. If you study nature you will get everything. [end]