Carl Jung (1865-1961) was a Swiss student of Freud’s who broke with his teacher and began his own school of psychiatry. He is best known for his work in exploring the unconscious and for championing the importance of philosophy, religion, and mysticism in understanding the human mind. Here Śrīla Prabhupāda makes clear that although many of Jung’s conclusions concerning the soul, God, and consciousness were correct, his lack of a self-realized guide ultimately left Jung frustrated in his spiritual search.
Disciple: Jung gave the following criticism of Sigmund Freud: “Sexuality evidently meant more to Freud than to other people. For him it was something to be religiously observed....One thing was clear: Freud, who had always made much of his irreligiosity, had now constructed a dogma. Or rather, in the place of a jealous God whom he had lost, he had substituted another compelling image, that of sexuality.”
Śrīla Prabhupāda: Yes, that is a fact. He has taken sexuality to be God. It is our natural tendency to accept a leader, and Freud simply abandoned the leadership of God and took up the leadership of sex. On the other hand, if we accept the leadership of Kṛṣṇa, our life becomes perfect. All other leadership is the leadership of māyā. There is no doubt that we have to accept a leader. Although Freud would not admit it, he accepted sex as his leader, and consequently he was constantly speaking about sex. Those who have taken God as their leader will speak only of God, nothing else. Jīvera ‘svarūpa’ haya—kṛṣṇera ‘nitya-dāsa’. According to Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s philosophy, we are all eternal servants of God, but as soon as we give up God’s service, we have to accept the service of māyā.
Disciple: Jung sees the mind as being composed of a balance of the conscious and the unconscious, or subconscious. It is the function of the personality to integrate these. For instance, if one has a strong sex drive, he can sublimate or channel it into art or religious activity.
Śrīla Prabhupāda: That is our process. The sex impulse is natural for everyone in the material world. But if we think of Kṛṣṇa embracing Rādhārāṇī or dancing with the gopīs, our sex impulse is sublimated and weakened. If one hears about the pastimes of Kṛṣṇa and the gopīs from the right source, lusty desire within the heart will be suppressed, and one will be able to develop devotional service.
Disciple: This would be an example of what Jung would call integration or individuation, whereby the energies of the subconscious sex impulse are channeled into conscious, creative activity directed toward God realization.
Śrīla Prabhupāda: What we must understand is that Kṛṣṇa is the only puruṣa, the only enjoyer. If we help Him in His enjoyment, we also receive enjoyment. We are predominated, and He is the predominator. On the material platform, if a husband wants to enjoy the wife, the wife must voluntarily help him in that enjoyment. By helping him, the wife also becomes an enjoyer. Similarly, the supreme predominator, the supreme enjoyer, is Kṛṣṇa. And the predominated, the enjoyed, are the living entities. When the living entities agree to help Kṛṣṇa’s sex desire, they become enjoyers.
Disciple: What is meant by Kṛṣṇa’s sex desire?
Śrīla Prabhupāda: You might say “sense enjoyment.” Kṛṣṇa is the supreme proprietor of the senses, and when we help Kṛṣṇa in His sense enjoyment, we also naturally partake of that enjoyment. The sweet rasagullā is meant to be enjoyed, and therefore the hand puts it into the mouth so that it can be tasted and go to the stomach. The hand cannot enjoy the rasagullā directly. Kṛṣṇa is the only direct enjoyer; all others are indirect enjoyers. By satisfying Kṛṣṇa, others will be satisfied. Upon seeing the predominator happy, the predominated become happy.
Disciple: Psychologists say that quite often the subconscious is acting through the conscious, but that we do not know it.
Śrīla Prabhupāda: Yes. The subconscious is there, but it is not always manifest. Sometimes a thought suddenly becomes manifest, just as a bubble will suddenly emerge in a pond. You may not be able to understand why it emerges, but we may assume that it was in the subconscious state and suddenly became manifest. That subconscious thought which is manifest does not necessarily have any connection with one’s present consciousness. It is like a stored impression, a shadow or a photograph. The mind takes many snapshots, and they are stored.
Disciple: Jung could see that the soul is always longing for light, and he wrote of the urge within the soul to rise out of darkness. He noted the pent-up feeling in the eyes of primitive people and a certain sadness in the eyes of animals. He wrote, “There is a sadness in animals’ eyes, and we never know whether that sadness is bound up with the soul of the animal or is a poignant message which speaks to us out of that existence.”
Śrīla Prabhupāda: Yes. Every living entity, including man, is constitutionally a servant. Therefore everyone is seeking some master, and that is our natural propensity. You can often see a puppy attempt to take shelter of some boy or man, and that is his natural tendency. He is saying, “Give me shelter. Keep me as your friend.” A child or a man also wants some shelter in order to be happy. That is our constitutional position. When we attain the human form, when our consciousness is developed, we should take Kṛṣṇa as our shelter and our leader. In the Bhagavad-gītā Kṛṣṇa tells us that if we want shelter and guidance, we should take His: sarva-dharmān parityajya mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja. This is the ultimate instruction of the Bhagavad-gītā.
Disciple: Jung would say that our understanding of Kṛṣṇa as the supreme father and the cause of all causes is an archetypal understanding shared by all humans. All people have the tendency to understand someone to be their supreme father and primal cause, and they will represent Him in different ways. The archetype, however, is the same.
Śrīla Prabhupāda: Yes, it is exactly the same. Kṛṣṇa, or God, is the supreme father. A father has many sons, and all men are sons of God, born of their father. This is an experience common to everyone at all times.
Disciple: Jung believed that because there are so many subconscious factors governing our personality, we must awaken to them. Unless we do so, we are more or less slaves to our subconscious life. The point of psychoanalysis is to reveal as many aspects of our subconscious life as possible and enable us to face them.
Śrīla Prabhupāda: That is what we are teaching. We say that presently the soul is in a sleeping state, and we are telling the soul, “Please wake up! Please wake up! You are not the body! You are not the body!” It is possible to awaken the human being, but other living entities cannot be awakened. A tree, for instance, has consciousness, but he is so packed in matter that you cannot raise him to Kṛṣṇa consciousness. A human being, on the other hand, has developed consciousness, which is manifest in different stages. Lower life forms are more or less in a dream state.
Disciple: Whereas Freud was sexually oriented, Jung was more or less spiritually oriented. In his autobiography—Memories, Dreams, Reflections—Jung writes, “I find that all my thoughts circle around God like the planets around the sun, and are as irresistibly attracted by Him. I would feel it to be the grossest sin if I were to put up any resistance to this force.” Jung sees all creatures as parts of God and at the same time unique in themselves. He writes, “Man cannot compare himself with any other creature; he is not a monkey, not a cow, not a tree. I am a man. But what is it to be that? Like every other being, I am a splinter of the infinite Deity....”
Śrīla Prabhupāda: It is also our philosophy that we are part and parcel of God, just as sparks are part of a fire.
Disciple: Jung further writes in his autobiography, “It was obedience which brought me grace....One must be utterly abandoned to God; nothing matters but fulfilling His will. Otherwise, all is folly and meaningless.”
Śrīla Prabhupāda: Very good. Surrender unto God is real spiritual life. Sarva-dharmān parityajya. Surrender to God means accepting that which is favorable to God and rejecting that which is unfavorable. The devotee is always convinced that God will give him all protection. He remains humble and meek and thinks himself as one of the members of God’s family. This is real spiritual communism. Communists think, “I am a member of a certain community,” but it is a man’s duty to think, “I am a member of God’s family.” God is the supreme father, material nature is the mother, and living entities are all sons of God. There are living entities everywhere—on land and in the air and water. There is no doubt that material nature is the mother, and according to our experience we can understand that a mother cannot produce a child without a father. It is absurd to think that a child can be born without a father. A father must be there, and the supreme father is God. In Kṛṣṇa consciousness, a person understands that the creation is a spiritual family headed by one supreme father.
Disciple: Concerning God’s personality, Jung writes this: “According to the Bible, God has a personality and is the ego of the universe, just as I myself am the ego of my psychic and physical being.”
Śrīla Prabhupāda: Yes. The individual is conscious of his own body, but not of the bodies of others. Besides the individual soul or consciousness in the body, there is the Paramātmā, the Supersoul, the superconsciousness present in everyone’s heart. This is discussed in the Bhagavad-gītā [13.3], where Kṛṣṇa says,
kṣetra-jñaṁ cāpi māṁ viddhi sarva-kṣetreṣu bhārata
kṣetra-kṣetrajñayor jñānaṁ yat taj jñānaṁ mataṁ mama
“You should understand that I am also the knower in all bodies, and to understand this body and its knower is called knowledge. That is My opinion.”
Disciple: Recalling his difficulties in understanding God’s personality, Jung writes, “Here I encountered a formidable obstacle. Personality, after all, surely signifies character. Now, character is one thing and not another; that is to say, it involves certain specific attributes. But if God is everything, how can He still possess a distinguishable character?...What kind of character or what kind of personality does He have?”
Śrīla Prabhupāda: God’s character is transcendental, not material, and thus He has attributes. For instance, He is very kind to His devotee, and this kindness may be considered one of His characteristics or attributes. Whatever qualities or characteristics we have are but minute manifestations of God’s. God is the origin of all attributes and characteristics. As indicated in the śāstra, He also has mind, senses, feelings, sense perception, sense gratification, and everything else. Everything is there unlimitedly, and since we are part and parcel of God, we possess His qualities in minute quantities. The original qualities are in God and are manifest minutely in ourselves.
According to the Vedas God is a person just like us, but His personality is unlimited. Just as my consciousness is limited to this body and His consciousness is the superconsciousness within every body, so I am a person confined to this particular body and He is the superperson living within all. As Kṛṣṇa tells Arjuna in the Bhagavad-gītā [2.12], the personality of God and the personalities of the individual souls are eternally existing. Kṛṣṇa tells Arjuna on the battlefield, “Never was there a time when I did not exist, nor you, nor all these kings, nor in the future shall any of us cease to be.” Both God and the living entity are eternally persons, but God’s personality is unlimited and the individual’s personality is limited. God has unlimited power, wealth, fame, knowledge, beauty, and renunciation. We have limited, finite power, knowledge, fame, and so on. That is the difference between the two personalities.
Disciple: Jung found that philosophies and theologies could not give him a clear picture of God’s personality. He writes this: “‘What is wrong with these philosophers?’ I wondered—evidently, they know of God only by hearsay.”
Śrīla Prabhupāda: Yes, that is also our complaint. The philosophers we have studied have failed to give any clear idea of God. Because they are speculating, they cannot give concrete, clear information. As far as we are concerned, our understanding of God is clear because we simply receive the information given to the world by God Himself. Kṛṣṇa is accepted as the Supreme Person by Vedic authorities; therefore we should have no reason not to accept Him as such. Nārāyaṇa, Lord Śiva, and Lord Brahmā possess different percentages of God’s attributes, but Kṛṣṇa possesses all the attributes cent percent, in totality. Rūpa Gosvāmī has analyzed this in his Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu, which we have translated as The Nectar of Devotion.
In any case, God is a person, and if we study man’s attributes, we can also know something of God’s. Just as we enjoy ourselves with friends, parents, and others, God also enjoys Himself in various relationships. There are five primary and seven secondary relationships that the living entities can have with God. Since the living entities take pleasure in these relationships, God is described as akhila-rasāmṛta-sindhu, the reservoir of all pleasure. There is no need to speculate about God or try to imagine Him. The process for understanding is described by Lord Kṛṣṇa in the Bhagavad-gītā [7.1]:
mayy āsakta-manāḥ pārtha yogaṁ yuñjan mad-āśrayaḥ
asaṁśayaṁ samagraṁ māṁ yathā jñāsyasi tac chṛṇu
“Now hear, O Arjuna, how by practicing yoga in full consciousness of Me, with mind attached to Me, you can know Me in full, free from doubt.” You can learn about God by always keeping yourself under His protection, or under the protection of His representative. Then without a doubt you can perfectly understand God; otherwise there is no question of understanding Him.
Disciple: Jung goes on to point out the difference between theologians and philosophers. He writes, “At least they [the theologians] are sure that God exists, even though they make contradictory statements about Him....God’s existence does not depend on our proofs....I understand that God was, for me at least, one of the most certain and immediate of experiences.”
Śrīla Prabhupāda: Yes, that is a transcendental conviction. One may not know God, but it is very easy to understand that God is there. One has to learn about God’s nature, but there is no doubt about the fact that God is there. Any sane man can understand that he is being controlled. So who is that controller? The supreme controller is God. This is the conclusion of a sane man. Jung is right when he says that God’s existence does not depend on our proof.
Disciple: Jung continues to recall his early spiritual quests in this way: “In my darkness...I could have wished for nothing better than a real, live guru, someone possessing superior knowledge and ability, who would have disentangled from me the involuntary creations of my imagination.”
Śrīla Prabhupāda: Yes. According to the Vedic instructions, in order to acquire perfect knowledge, one must have a guru (tad vijñānārthaṁ sa gurum evābhigacchet). The guru must factually be a representative of God. He must have seen and experienced God in fact, not simply in theory. We have to approach such a guru, and by service, surrender, and sincere inquiry we can come to understand God. The Vedas inform us that a person can understand God when he has received a little mercy from His Lordship; otherwise, one may speculate for millions and millions of years. As Kṛṣṇa states in the Bhagavad-gītā [18.55], bhaktyā mām abhijānāti: “One can understand Me as I am, as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, only by devotional service.” This process of bhakti includes śravaṇaṁ kīrtanaṁ viṣṇoḥ—hearing and chanting about Lord Viṣṇu [Kṛṣṇa] and always remembering Him. Satataṁ kīrtayanto māṁ: the devotee is always glorifying the Lord. As Prahlāda Mahārāja says in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam [7.9.43]:
naivodvije para duratyaya-vaitaraṇyās
“O best of the great personalities, I am not at all afraid of material existence, since wherever I stay I am fully absorbed in thoughts of Your glories and activities.” The devotee’s consciousness is always drowned in the ocean of the unlimited pastimes and qualities of the Supreme Lord. That is transcendental bliss. The spiritual master teaches his disciple how to always remain in the ocean of God consciousness. One who works under the directions of the ācārya, the spiritual master, knows everything about God.
Disciple: In 1938 Jung was invited by the British government to participate in celebrations at the University of Calcutta. Of this Jung writes, “By that time, I had read a great deal about Indian philosophy and religious history and was deeply convinced of the value of Oriental wisdom.” On this visit, Jung spoke with a celebrated guru, yet he avoided so-called holy men. He writes, “I did so because I had to make do with my own truth, not to accept from others what I could not attain on my own. I would have felt it as a theft had I attempted to learn from the holy men to accept their truth for myself.”
Śrīla Prabhupāda: On the one hand, he says he wants a guru, and then on the other, he doesn’t want to accept one. Doubtlessly there were many so-called gurus in Calcutta, and Jung might have seen some bogus gurus he did not like. In any case, the principle of accepting a guru cannot be avoided. It is absolutely necessary.
Disciple: Concerning consciousness after death, Jung feels that after death the individual must pick up at the level of consciousness which he left.
Śrīla Prabhupāda: Yes, and therefore, according to that consciousness, one has to accept a body. That is the process of the soul’s transmigration. An ordinary person can see only the gross material body, but accompanying this body are the mind, intelligence, and ego. When the body is finished, these remain, although they cannot be seen. A foolish man thinks that everything is finished at death. But the soul carries with it the mind, intelligence, and ego—that is, the subtle body—into another gross body. This is confirmed by the Bhagavad-gītā, which clearly explains that although the gross body is destroyed the consciousness continues. According to one’s consciousness, one acquires another body, and again, in that body, the consciousness begins to mold its future lives. If a person was a devotee in his past life, he will again become a devotee after his death. Once the material body is destroyed, the same consciousness begins to work in another body. Consequently we find that some people quickly accept Kṛṣṇa consciousness whereas others take a longer time. This indicates that the consciousness is continuing, although the body is changing. Bharata Mahārāja, for instance, changed many bodies, but his consciousness continued, and he remained fully Kṛṣṇa conscious.
We may see a person daily, but we cannot visualize his intelligence. We can understand that a person is intelligent, but we cannot see intelligence itself. When one talks, we can understand that there is intelligence at work. But why should we conclude that when the gross body is dead and no longer capable of talking, the intelligence is finished? The instrument for speech is the gross body, but we should not conclude that when the gross body is finished, intelligence is also finished. Na hanyate hanyamāne śarīre: after the destruction of the gross body, the mind and intelligence continue. Because they require a body to function, they develop a body, and that is the process of the soul’s transmigration.
Disciple: Jung felt that the individual’s level of consciousness could not supersede whatever knowledge is available on this planet.
Śrīla Prabhupāda: No. One can supersede it, provided one can acquire knowledge from the proper authority. You may not have seen India, but a person who has seen India can describe it to you. We may not be able to see Kṛṣṇa, but we can learn of Him from an authority who knows. In the Bhagavad-gītā [8.20] Kṛṣṇa tells Arjuna that there is an eternal nature. On this earth we encounter temporary nature. Here things take birth, remain for some time, change, grow old, and are finally destroyed. There is dissolution in this material world, but there is another world, in which there is no dissolution. We have no personal experience of that world, but we can understand that it exists when we receive information from the proper authority. It is not necessary to know it by personal experience. There are different stages of knowledge, and not all knowledge can be acquired by direct perception. That is not possible.
Disciple: Jung sees earthly life to be of great significance, and what a man carries with him at the time of his death to be very important. He writes, “Only here, in life on earth, can the general level of consciousness be raised. That seems to be man’s metaphysical task.” Since consciousness survives death, it is important that a man’s consciousness be elevated while he is on this earth.
Śrīla Prabhupāda: Yes, one’s consciousness should be developed. As stated in the Bhagavad-gītā, if one’s yoga practice is incomplete or if one dies prematurely, his consciousness accompanies him, and in the next life he begins at the point where he left off. His intelligence is revived. Tatra taṁ buddhi-saṁyogaṁ labhate paurva-dehikam. [Bhagavad-gītā 6.43] In an ordinary class we can see that some students learn very quickly while others cannot understand. This is evidence for the continuation of consciousness. If one is extraordinarily intelligent, the consciousness he developed in a previous life is being revived.
Disciple: Jung points out that there is a paradox surrounding death. From the viewpoint of the ego, death is a horrible catastrophe—”a fearful piece of brutality.” Yet from the viewpoint of the psyche—the soul—death is “a joyful event. In the light of eternity, it is a wedding.”
Śrīla Prabhupāda: Yes, death is horrible for one who is going to accept a lower form of life, and it is a pleasure for the devotee, because he is returning home, back to Godhead.
Disciple: So death is not always joyful for the soul?
Śrīla Prabhupāda: No. How can it be? If one has not developed his spiritual consciousness—Kṛṣṇa consciousness—death is very horrible. The tendency in this life is to become very proud, and often people think, “I don’t care for God. I am independent.” Crazy people talk in this way, but after death they have to accept a body according to the dictations of nature. Nature says, “My dear sir, since you have worked like a dog, you can become a dog,” or, “Since you have been surfing in the sea, you can now become a fish.” These bodies are awarded according to a superior order (karmaṇā daiva-netreṇa). In whatever way we interact with the modes of material nature, in that way we are creating our next body. How can we stop this process? This is nature’s way.
If we are infected by some disease, we will necessarily get that disease. There are three modes of material nature—tamo-guṇa, rajo-guṇa, and sattva-guṇa, the modes of ignorance, passion, and goodness—and our bodies are acquired according to our association with them. In general, the human form affords us a chance to make progress in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, especially when we are born in an aristocratic family, a brāhmaṇa family, or a Vaiṣṇava family.
Disciple: Despite his many interesting points, Jung seems to have had a limited understanding of Indian philosophy. He does not understand that the cycle of birth and death has a goal, although it appears to be endless. Nor does he seem to know of Kṛṣṇa’s promise in the Bhagavad-gītā that man can overcome earthly existence by surrendering unto Him.
Śrīla Prabhupāda: Overcoming earthly existence means entering into the spiritual world. The spirit soul is eternal, and it can enter from this atmosphere into another. Kṛṣṇa clearly explains this in the Bhagavad-gītā [4.9]:
janma karma ca me divyam evaṁ yo vetti tattvataḥ
tyaktvā dehaṁ punar janma naiti mām eti so ’rjuna
“One who knows the transcendental nature of My appearance and activities does not, upon leaving the body, take his birth again in this material world, but attains My eternal abode, O Arjuna.” Those who continue to revolve in the cycle of birth and death acquire one material body after another, but those who are Kṛṣṇa conscious go to Kṛṣṇa. They do not acquire another material body.
Disciple: Śrī Kṛṣṇa says this repeatedly throughout Bhagavad-gītā.
Śrīla Prabhupāda: Yes, and those who are not envious of Kṛṣṇa accept His instructions, surrender unto Him, and understand Him. For them, this is the last material birth. For those who are envious, however, transmigration is continuous.
Disciple: Concerning karma, Jung writes this: “The crucial question is whether a man’s karma is personal or not. If it is, then the preordained destiny with which a man enters life presents an achievement of previous lives, and a personal continuity therefore exists. If, however, this is not so, and an impersonal karma is seized upon in the act of birth, then that karma is incarnated again without there being any personal continuity.”
Śrīla Prabhupāda: Karma is always personal.
Disciple: Jung goes on to point out that Buddha was twice asked by his disciples whether man’s karma is personal or not, and each time he fended off the question and did not discuss the matter. To know this, the Buddha said, “would not contribute to liberating oneself from the illusion of existence.”
Śrīla Prabhupāda: Buddha refused to answer because he did not teach about the soul or accept the personal soul. As soon as you deny the personal aspect of the soul, there is no question of a personal karma. Buddha wanted to avoid this question. He did not want his whole philosophy dismantled.
Disciple: Jung gives his own conclusion in this way: “Have I lived before in the past as a specific personality, and did I progress so far in that life that I am now able to seek a solution?”
Śrīla Prabhupāda: As we have mentioned earlier, that is explained in the Bhagavad-gītā [6.43]: tatra taṁ buddhi-saṁyogaṁ labhate paurva-dehikam: “On taking rebirth, one revives the consciousness of his previous life and tries to make further progress.”
Disciple: Jung continues, “I imagine that I have lived in former centuries and there encountered questions I was not yet able to answer, that I had to be born again to fulfill the task that was given to me.”
Śrīla Prabhupāda: That is a fact.
Disciple: “When I die, my deeds will follow along with me—that is how I imagine it.”
Śrīla Prabhupāda: That is personal karma.
Disciple: Jung continues, “I will bring with me what I have done. In the meantime it is important to insure that I do not stand at the end with empty hands.”
Śrīla Prabhupāda: If you are making regular progress in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, your hands will not be empty at the end. Completeness means returning home, back to Godhead. This return is not empty. A Vaiṣṇava does not want emptiness—eternal life with Kṛṣṇa is our aspiration. Materialists are thinking that at the end of life everything will be empty; therefore they conclude that they should enjoy themselves as much as possible in this life. That is why sense enjoyment is at the core of material life; materialists are mad after sense enjoyment.
Disciple: Jung believed that one is reborn due to karma, or selfish action. He wrote, “If karma still remains to be disposed of, then the soul relapses again into desires and returns to live once more, perhaps even doing so out of the realization that something remains to be completed. In my case, it must have been primarily a passionate urge toward understanding which brought about my birth, for that was the strongest element in my nature.”
Śrīla Prabhupāda: That understanding for which he is longing is understanding of Kṛṣṇa. This Kṛṣṇa explains in the Bhagavad-gītā [7.19]:
bahūnāṁ janmanām ante jñānavān māṁ prapadyate
vāsudevaḥ sarvam iti sa mahātmā su-durlabhaḥ
One’s understanding is complete when one comes to the point of understanding that Kṛṣṇa is everything. Then one’s material journey comes to an end: tyaktvā dehaṁ punar janma naiti. [Bhagavad-gītā 4.9] When one’s understanding of Kṛṣṇa is incomplete, Kṛṣṇa gives instructions by which one can understand Him completely. In the Seventh Chapter of the Bhagavad-gītā Kṛṣṇa says, asaṁsayaṁ samagraṁ māṁ yathā jñāsyasi tac chṛnu: “Now hear from Me how you can understand Me completely and without any doubt.” [Bhagavad-gītā 7.1] If we can understand Kṛṣṇa completely, we will take our next birth in the spiritual world.
Disciple: Jung conceived of a persona, which seems identical with what we call the false ego. He wrote, “The persona...is the individual’s system of adaptation to, or the manner he assumes in dealing with, the world. A professor, for example, has his own characteristic persona. But the danger is that people become identical with their personas—the professor with his textbook, the tenor with his voice. One can say, with a little exaggeration, that the persona is that which in reality one is not, but which oneself as well as others think one is.”
Śrīla Prabhupāda: One’s real persona is that one is the eternal servant of God. This is the spiritual conception of life, and when one realizes this, his persona becomes his salvation and perfection. But as long as one is in the material conception of life, one’s persona is that one is the servant of one’s family, community, body, nation, ideal, and so on. In either case the persona is there and must continue, but proper understanding is realizing that one is the eternal servant of Kṛṣṇa. As long as one is in the material conception, one labors under the delusion of the false ego, thinking, “I am an American,” “I am a Hindu,” and so on. This is the false ego at work. In reality we are all servants of God. When we speak of a “false ego,” we imply a real ego, a purified ego. One whose ego is purified understands that he is the servant of Kṛṣṇa.
Disciple: For Jung, the purpose of psychoanalysis is to come to grips with our subconscious, shadow personality. Then we can know completely who we are.
Śrīla Prabhupāda: That means attaining real knowledge. When Sanātana Gosvāmī approached Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, Sanātana said, “Please reveal to me who and what I am.” In order to understand our real identity, we require the assistance of a guru.
Disciple: Jung says that in the shadow personality of all males there is a bit of the female, and in all females there is a bit of the male. Because we repress these aspects of the shadow personality, we do not understand our actions.
Śrīla Prabhupāda: We say that every living entity is by nature a female, prakṛti. Prakṛti means “female,” and puruṣa means “male.” Although we are prakṛti, in this material world we are posing ourselves as puruṣa. Because the jīvātmā, the individual soul, has the propensity to enjoy as a male, he is sometimes described as puruṣa. But actually the jīvātmā is not puruṣa. He is prakṛti. Prakṛti means the predominated, and puruṣa means the predominator. The only predominator is Kṛṣṇa; therefore originally we are all female by constitution. But under illusion we attempt to become males, enjoyers. This is called māyā. Although a female by constitution, the living entity is trying to imitate the supreme male, Kṛṣṇa. When one comes to his original consciousness, one understands that he is not the predominator but the predominated.
Disciple: Jung wrote of the soul in this way: “If the human soul is anything, it must be of unimaginable complexity and diversity, so that it cannot possibly be approached through a mere psychology of instinct.”
Śrīla Prabhupāda: According to Caitanya Mahāprabhu, we can understand the soul through training. We should understand that we are not brāhmaṇas, kṣatriyas, sannyāsīs, brahmacārīs, or whatever. By negation we can understand, “I am not this, I am not that.” Then what is our identity? Caitanya Mahāprabhu says, gopī-bhartuḥ pada-kamalayor dāsa-dāsānudāsaḥ: “I am the servant of the servant of the servant of Kṛṣṇa, the maintainer of the gopīs.” That is our real identity. As long as we do not identify ourselves as eternal servants of Kṛṣṇa, we will be subject to various false identifications. Bhakti, devotional service, is the means by which we can be purified of false identifications.
Disciple: Concerning the soul, Jung further wrote, “I can only gaze with wonder and awe at the depths and heights of our psychic nature. Its nonspatial universe conceals an untold abundance of images which have accumulated over millions of years.... “
Śrīla Prabhupāda: Since we are constantly changing our bodies, constantly undergoing transmigration, we are accumulating various experiences. However, if we remain fixed in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, we do not change. There is none of this fluctuation once we understand our real identity, which is, “I am the servant of Kṛṣṇa; my duty is to serve Him.” Arjuna realized this after hearing the Bhagavad-gītā, and he told Śrī Kṛṣṇa,
naṣṭo mohaḥ smṛtir labdhā tvat-prasādān mayācyuta
sthito ‘smi gata-sandehaḥ kariṣye vacanaṁ tava
“My dear Kṛṣṇa, O infallible one, my illusion is now gone. I have regained my memory by Your mercy, and I am now firm and free from doubt and am prepared to act according to Your instructions.” [Bhagavad-gītā 18.73]
So after hearing the Bhagavad-gītā Arjuna comes to this conclusion, and his illusion is dispelled by Kṛṣṇa’s mercy. Arjuna is then fixed in his original position. And what is this? Kariṣye vacanaṁ tava: “Whatever You say, I shall do.” At the beginning of the Bhagavad-gītā Kṛṣṇa told Arjuna to fight, and Arjuna refused. At the conclusion of the Bhagavad-gītā Arjuna’s illusion is dispelled, and he is situated in his original constitutional position. Thus our perfection lies in executing the orders of Kṛṣṇa.
Disciple: Jung noted that the world’s religions speak of five different types of rebirth. One is metempsychosis, the transmigration of souls, and, according to this view, “one’s life is prolonged in time by passing through different bodily existences; or, from another point of view, it is a life-sequence interrupted by different reincarnations....It is by no means certain whether continuity of personality is guaranteed or not: there may be only a continuity of karma.”
Śrīla Prabhupāda: A personality is always there, and bodily changes do not affect it. However, one identifies himself according to his body. For instance, when the soul is within the body of a dog, he thinks according to that particular bodily construction. He thinks, “I am a dog, and I have my particular activities.” In human society the same conception is there. For instance, when one is born in America he thinks, “I am an American, and I have my duty.” According to the body, the personality is manifest—but in all cases personality is there.
Disciple: But is this personality continuous?
Śrīla Prabhupāda: Certainly the personality is continuous. At death the soul passes into another gross body along with its mental and intellectual identifications. The individual acquires different types of bodies, but the person is the same.
Disciple: This would correspond to the second type of rebirth, which is reincarnation. Jung wrote, “This concept of rebirth necessarily implies the continuity of personality. Here the human personality is regarded as continuous and accessible to memory, so that when one is incarnated or born, one is able, at least potentially, to remember that one has lived through previous existences and that these existences were one’s own—that is, that they had the same ego—form as the present life. As a rule, reincarnation means rebirth into a human body.”
Śrīla Prabhupāda: Not necessarily into a human body. From Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam we learn that Bharata Mahārāja became a deer in his next life. The soul is changing bodies just as a man changes his clothes. The man is the same, although his clothes may be different:
vāsāṁsi jīrṇāni yathā vihāya
navāni gṛhṇāti naro ’parāṇi
tathā śarīrāṇi vihāya jīrṇāny
anyāni saṁyāti navāni dehī
“As a person puts on new garments, giving up old ones, the soul similarly accepts new material bodies, giving up the old and useless ones.” [Bhagavad-gītā 2.22] When a coat is old and cannot be used anymore, one has to purchase another. The man is the same, but his clothes are supplied according to the price he can pay. Similarly, you “purchase” a new body with the “money” (karma) you have accumulated in your life. According to your karma, you receive a certain type of body.
Disciple: The third type of rebirth is called resurrection, and Jung notes that there are two types of resurrection. “It may be a carnal body, as in the Christian assumption that this body will be resurrected.” According to the Christian doctrine, at the end of the world the gross bodies will reassemble themselves and ascend into heaven or descend into hell.
Śrīla Prabhupāda: This is simply foolishness. The gross material body can never be resurrected. At the time of death the living entity leaves this material body, and the material body disintegrates. How can the material elements reassemble themselves?
Disciple: Jung further wrote that on a higher level resurrection is no longer understood in a gross material sense: “It is assumed that the resurrection of the dead is the raising up of the corpus gloriaficationis, the subtle body, in the state of incorruptibility.”
Śrīla Prabhupāda: This type of “resurrection” is applicable only to God and His representatives, not to others. In this case, it is not a material body that is “raised up,” but a spiritual one. When God appears, He appears in a spiritual body, and this body does not change. In the Bhagavad-gītā Kṛṣṇa says that he spoke to the sun-god millions of years ago, and Arjuna questions how this could be possible. Kṛṣṇa replies that although Arjuna had been present he could not remember. It is possible for one to remember only if one does not change bodies—changing bodies means forgetting. But the Lord’s body is purely spiritual, and a spiritual body never changes. According to the Māyāvādī conception, the Absolute Truth is impersonal, and when it appears as a person it accepts a material body. But those who are advanced in spiritual knowledge, who accept the Bhagavad-gītā, understand that this is not the case. Kṛṣṇa specifically says, avajānanti māṁ mūḍhā mānuṣīṁ tanum āśritam: “Because I appear as a human being, the unintelligent think that I am nothing but a human being.” [Bhagavad-gītā 9.11] This is not the case. Impersonalists have no knowledge of the spiritual body.
Disciple: The fourth form of rebirth is called renovation, and this applies to “the transformation of a mortal into an immortal being, of a corporeal into a spiritual being, and of a human into a divine being. Well-known prototypes of this change are the transfiguration and ascension of Christ, and the bodily assumption of the mother of God into heaven after her death.”
Śrīla Prabhupāda: We say that the spiritual body never dies but that the material body is subject to destruction. Na hanyate hanyamāne śarīre: the material body is subject to destruction, but after its destruction the spiritual body is still there. The spiritual body is neither generated nor killed.
Disciple: But aren’t there examples in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam of a kind of ascension into heaven? Didn’t Arjuna ascend?
Śrīla Prabhupāda: Yes, and Yudhiṣṭhira. There are many instances—especially Kṛṣṇa Himself and His associates. But we should never consider their bodies material. They didn’t go through death of any sort, although their bodies traveled to the higher universe. But it is also a fact that everyone possesses a spiritual body.
Disciple: The fifth type of rebirth is indirect and is called “participation in the process of transformation.” Examples of this type may be the initiation ceremony or the twice-born ceremony of the brāhmaṇa. “In other words,” Jung wrote, “one has to witness, or take part in, some rite of transformation. This rite may be a ceremony....Through his presence at the rite, the individual participates in divine grace.”
Śrīla Prabhupāda: Yes, one’s first birth is by one’s father and mother, and the next birth is by the spiritual master and Vedic knowledge. When one takes his second birth, he comes to understand that he is not the material body. This is spiritual education. That birth of knowledge, or birth into knowledge, is called dvija, “second birth.”
Disciple: Thus far we have discussed only Jung’s autobiography. In one of Jung’s last books, The Undiscovered Self, he discussed the meaning of religion and its utility in the modern world. He wrote, “The meaning and purpose of religion lie in the relationship of the individual to God (Christianity, Judaism, Islam) or to the path of salvation and liberation (Buddhism). From this basic fact all ethics is derived, which without the individual’s responsibility before God can be called nothing more than conventional morality.”
Śrīla Prabhupāda: First of all, we understand from the Bhagavad-gītā that no one can approach God without being purified of all sinful reactions. Only one who is standing on the platform of pure goodness can understand God and engage in His service. From Arjuna we understand that God is paraṁ brahma paraṁ dhāma pavitraṁ paramaṁ bhavān: He is “the Supreme Brahman, the ultimate, the supreme abode and purifier.” [Bhagavad-gītā 10.12] Paraṁ brahma indicates the Supreme Brahman. Every living being is Brahman, or spirit, but Kṛṣṇa is the paraṁ brahma, the Supreme Brahman. He is also paraṁ dhāma, the ultimate abode of everything. He is also pavitraṁ paramam, the purest of the pure. In order to approach the purest of the pure, one must become completely pure, and to this end morality and ethics are necessary. Therefore, in our Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement we prohibit illicit sex, meat-eating, intoxication, and gambling—the four pillars of sinful life. If we can avoid these sinful activities, we can remain on the platform of purity. Kṛṣṇa consciousness is based on this morality, and one who cannot follow these principles falls down from the spiritual platform. Thus, purity is the basic principle of God consciousness and is essential for the re-establishment of our eternal relationship with God.
Disciple: Jung saw atheistic communism as the greatest threat in the world today. He wrote, “The communistic revolution has debased man far lower than democratic collective psychology has done, because it robs him of his freedom not only in the social but in the moral and spiritual sense....The state has taken the place of God; that is why, seen from this angle, the socialist dictatorships are religious, and state slavery is a form of worship.”
Śrīla Prabhupāda: Yes, I agree with him. Atheistic communism has contributed to the degradation of human civilization. But the basic principle of communist philosophy—that everyone should contribute what he can to the state and everyone has an equal right to his proper share from the state—that basic principle of real communism we accept. According to our understanding, God is the father, material nature is the mother, and the living entities are the sons. The sons have a right to live at the cost of the father. The entire universe is the property of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and the living entities are being supported by the supreme father. However, one should be satisfied with the supplies allotted to him. According to the Īśopaniṣad, tena tyaktena bhuñjīthāḥ: we should be satisfied with our allotment and not envy one another or encroach upon one another’s property. We should not envy the capitalists or the wealthy, because everyone is given his allotment by the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Consequently, everyone should be satisfied with what he receives.
On the other hand, one should not exploit others. One may be born in a wealthy family, but one should not interfere with the rights of others. Whether one is rich or poor, one should be God conscious, accept God’s arrangement, and serve God to his fullest. This is the philosophy of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, and it is confirmed by Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. We should be content with our allocations from God and concern ourselves with advancing in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. If we become envious of the rich, we will be tempted to encroach upon their allotment, and in this way we are diverted from our service to the Lord. The main point is that everyone, rich or poor, should engage in God’s service. If everyone does so, there will be real peace in the world.
Disciple: Concerning the socialist state, Jung further wrote, “The goals of religion—deliverance from evil, reconciliation with God, rewards in the hereafter, and so on—turn into worldly promises about freedom from care for one’s daily bread, the just distribution of material goods, universal prosperity in the future, and shorter working hours.” In other words, the communists place emphasis on material rewards.
Śrīla Prabhupāda: This is because they have no understanding of spiritual life, nor can they understand that the person within the body is eternal and spiritual. Therefore they recommend sense gratification.
Disciple: Jung believed, however, that socialism or Marxism cannot possibly replace religion in the proper, traditional sense. “A natural function which has existed from the beginning—like the religious function—cannot be disposed of with rationalistic and so-called enlightened criticism.”
Śrīla Prabhupāda: The communists are concerned with adjusting material things, which can actually never be adjusted. They imagine that they can solve problems, but ultimately their plans will fail. The communists do not understand what religion actually is. It is not possible to avoid religion. Everything has a particular characteristic. Salt is salty, sugar is sweet, and chili is hot or pungent. These are intrinsic characteristics. Similarly, the living entity has an intrinsic characteristic, which is to render service—be he a communist, a theist, a capitalist, or whatever. In all countries people are working and rendering service to their respective governments—be they capitalists or communists—and the people are not getting any lasting benefit. Therefore we say that if people follow in the footsteps of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu by serving Kṛṣṇa, they will actually be happy. Both communists and capitalists are saying, “Render service to me,” but Kṛṣṇa says, sarva-dharmān parityajya mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja/ ahaṁ tvāṁ sarva-pāpebhyo: “Just give up all other service and render service unto Me, and I will free you from all sinful reactions.” [Bhagavad-gītā 18.66]
Disciple: Jung feels that materialistic Western capitalism cannot possibly defeat a pseudo religion like Marxism. He believes that the only way the individual can combat atheistic communism is to adopt a nonmaterialistic religion. He wrote, “It has been correctly realized in many quarters that the alexipharmic, the antidote, should in this case be an equally potent faith of a different and nonmaterialistic kind....” So Jung sees modern man in desperate need of a religion that has immediate meaning. He feels that Christianity is no longer effective because it no longer expresses what modern man needs most.
Śrīla Prabhupāda: That nonmaterialistic religion which is above everything—Marxism or capitalism—is this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. Kṛṣṇa has nothing to do with any materialistic “ism,” and this movement is directly connected with Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. God demands complete surrender, and we are teaching, “You are servants, but your service is being wrongly placed. Therefore you are not happy. Just render service to Kṛṣṇa, and you will find happiness.” We support neither communism nor capitalism, nor do we advocate the adoption of pseudo religions. We are only for Kṛṣṇa.
Disciple: Concerning the social situation, Jung wrote, “It is unfortunately only too clear that if the individual is not truly regenerated in spirit, society cannot be either, for society is the sum total of individuals in need of redemption.”
Śrīla Prabhupāda: The basis of change is the individual. Now there are a few individuals initiated into Kṛṣṇa consciousness, and if a large percentage can thus become invigorated, the face of the world will change. There is no doubt of this.
Disciple: For Jung, the salvation of the world consists in the salvation of the individual soul. The only thing that saves man from submersion into the masses is his relationship to God. Jung wrote, “His individual relation to God would be an effective shield against these pernicious influences.”
Śrīla Prabhupāda: Yes, those who take Kṛṣṇa consciousness seriously are never troubled by Marxism, this-ism, or that-ism. A Marxist may take to Kṛṣṇa consciousness, but a Kṛṣṇa conscious devotee would never become a Marxist. That is not possible. It is explained in the Bhagavad-gītā that one who knows the highest perfection of life cannot be misled by a third- or fourth-class philosophy.
Disciple: Jung also felt that materialistic progress could be a possible enemy to the individual. He wrote, “A [materially] favorable environment merely strengthens the dangerous tendency to expect everything to originate from outside—even that metamorphosis which external reality cannot provide, namely, a deep-seated change of the inner man....”
Śrīla Prabhupāda: Yes, everything originates from inside, from the soul. It is confirmed by Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura and others that material progress is essentially an expansion of the external energy—māyā, illusion. We are all living in illusion, and so-called scientists and philosophers can never understand God and their relationship to Him, despite their material advancement. Material advancement and knowledge are actually a hindrance to the progressive march of Kṛṣṇa consciousness. We therefore minimize our necessities to live a saintly life. We are not after luxurious living. We feel that life is meant for spiritual progress and Kṛṣṇa consciousness, not for material advancement.
Disciple: To inspire this deep-seated change in the inner man, Jung feels that a proper teacher is needed, someone to explain religion to man.
Śrīla Prabhupāda: Yes. According to the Vedic injunction, it is essential to seek out a guru—a person who is a representative of God (sākṣād-dharitvena samasta-śāstraiḥ). The representative of God is worshiped as God, but he never says, “I am God.” Although he is worshiped as God, he is the servant of God—God Himself is always the master. Caitanya Mahāprabhu requested everyone to become a guru: “Wherever you are, simply become a guru and deliver all these people who are in ignorance.” One may say, “I am not very learned. How can I become a guru?” But Caitanya Mahāprabhu said that it is not necessary to be a learned scholar, since there are many so-called learned scholars who are fools. It is only necessary to impart Kṛṣṇa’s instructions, which are already there in the Bhagavad-gītā. Whoever explains the Bhagavad-gītā as it is—he is a guru. If one is fortunate enough to approach such a guru, his life becomes successful.
Disciple: Jung also laments the fact that “our philosophy is no longer a way of life, as it was in antiquity; it has turned into an exclusively intellectual and academic affair.”
Śrīla Prabhupāda: That is also our opinion: mental speculation has no value in itself. One must be directly in touch with the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and using all reason, one must assimilate the instructions given by Him. One can then follow these instructions in one’s daily life and do good to others by teaching the Bhagavad-gītā.
Disciple: On one hand, Jung sees an exclusively intellectual philosophy; on the other, denominational religions with “archaic rites and conceptions” that “express a view of the world which caused no great difficulties in the Middle Ages, but which has become strange and unintelligible to the man of today.”
Śrīla Prabhupāda: That is because preachers of religion are simply dogmatic. They have no clear idea of God; they only make official proclamations. When one does not understand, he cannot make others understand. But there is no such vanity in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Kṛṣṇa consciousness is clear in every respect. This is the expected movement Mr. Jung wanted. Every sane man should cooperate with this movement and liberate human society from the gross darkness of ignorance.