Los Angeles, June 23, 1975.
Disciple: Srila Prabhupada, the universities nowadays don't teach any courses in the nature of the soul.
Srila Prabhupada: Therefore, the young person says, "What is the wrong if I become a dog?" Because there is no education. He does not know the difference between the dog and the human being. Therefore, he says, "What is the wrong if I become a dog? I will get more facility for sex without any criminal charges." This is the advancement of education.
Dr. Mize: How does the mind, then, come to know that there is a soul?
Srila Prabhupada: You have to be educated. How are these people, my students, convinced about the soul? They have been educated by knowledge and by practice. Everything has to be learned by being properly educated. And therefore, the Vedic injunction is tad-vijnanartham—"In order to know that science"—sa gurum evabhigacchet—"you must go to a guru, a teacher." So the answer is that you must go to the teacher who can teach you how the soul is there.
Disciple: Srila Prabhupada, you're teaching us how the soul is there, and is there a way to describe the connection between the soul and the mind?
Srila Prabhupada: The mind is there in the soul. But the mind is now polluted by material contamination. Just like a madman: he has got his mind, but his mind is contaminated. Therefore, he requires treatment by a psychiatrist. You cannot say the madman has no mind. He has got a mind, but it is contaminated. You have to see about treatment.
So the mind is there—everything is there in the soul. And now the mind, contaminated by matter, is perverted. The same example: a madman has got a mind, but it is useless. He is simply acting in madness. The same madman, when properly treated, will act like a sane man. So the mind is there always, whether we speak of the pure soul or the soul encaged in the material body. Everything is spiritual. The soul is spiritual; the mind is spiritual; the intelligence is spiritual. But it is now contaminated. So you have to see about treatment. When it is purified, by Krsna consciousness, then the mind is controlled, the intelligence is properly acting, and the soul is in his proper position. Therefore, those who are under treatment must observe it strictly. They must not do something wrong, such that the treatment may be hampered.
Disciple: Srila Prabhupada, philosophers generally try to use their minds to speculate about the nature of the soul. But with the mind alone, they can never understand.
Srila Prabhupada: Just like the madman is speculating. He is thinking, "I am president." He is lying down on the street. "Oh, I am completely independent. Why shall I go on the foot path?"
Dr. Mize: When the soul was in the spiritual sky, he also had a mind and an intelligence like he has here?
Srila Prabhupada: Oh, yes. Yes. Unless he has got a mind, how does he misuse his intelligence?
Dr. Mize: But he misused that intelligence in his freedom, his independence.
Srila Prabhupada: Yes. Yes. In the spiritual world, the mind is there also. Spiritual mind. Everything is spiritual. There is nothing material. The body is spiritual; the mind, spiritual; the intelligence, spiritual; each person, spiritual; the land, spiritual; the water, spiritual. Everything is spiritual. That is the spiritual world.
Here in the material world, except the spirit soul everything is material. And he is encumbered with this material atmosphere, by twenty-seven strata, layers. For instance, the five gross elements, then ten senses, and then three gunas, or modes of nature.
In this way, there are twenty-seven layers. The soul is within, and he has to be taken out. That is called liberation. For instance, if you are covered with twenty-seven layers of dirty things, it is a very difficult position. But there is a process to clear the garbage and take the soul out. That is this Krsna consciousness movement—to take the soul out of the covering of twenty-seven layers of material atmosphere. That sloka we read before says nasta-prayesu abhadresu: "almost cleansed"—prayesu abhadra. Abhadra means dirty things. So this clearing process is going on. When the soul is almost cleansed, he feels, "Oh . . ."
And that process: nityam bhagavata-sevaya—constantly being engaged in the service of the Bhagavata: the grantha, or book, Bhagavata and the person Bhagavata. Then the covering will be cleansed away.
And then, when the soul comes out, that is brahma-bhutah prasannatma: "Oh, I am now free." Na socati na kanksati—no more lamentation, no more greediness. Everything finished. Then he begins his real business, as part and parcel of God. That is perfection.
Disciple: Srila Prabhupada, in the thirteenth chapter of Bhagavad-gita, "Nature, the Enjoyer, and Consciousness," in texts six and seven, Lord Krsna mentions those twenty-seven coverings: "The five great elements, false ego, intelligence, the unmanifest, the ten senses, the mind, the five sense objects, desire, hate, happiness, and distress, the aggregate, the life symptoms, and convictions—all these are considered, in summary, to be the field of activities and their interaction."
Srila Prabhupada: In material life, these are our field of activities. The body is a combination of all these things, like a huge computer. The body is made of these material things, but the mechanical parts are very minute, different. All these are matter. But within this matter, because the soul is there, this finest machine is working. Just like our composition machine for publishing my books—kut-kut-kut-kut-kut. But one has to push the button; otherwise, it is useless. However very nicely made the machine, without a living being's touch, it is useless. So this whole big machine, the material body, is wonderful so long as the soul is there. And as soon as the soul is out, the body is a lump of matter. Useless. Not worth a penny. Throw it away.
But in modern civilization, we are giving importance to the machine—not to the person who is dealing with the machine. This is the folly of modern civilization. We are thinking like a child: "The machine is working independently." But that is not the fact. The big airship, the 747, is flying because the pilot is there. And the pilot is a soul, covered by another bodily machine. And that is the missing point in modern civilization: who is working with the machine. That they do not know. That is ignorance. It is said . . . [glancing at a disciple:] you see Bhagavad-gita . . . isvarah sarva-bhutanam hrd-dese 'rjuna tisthati/ bhramayan sarva-bhutani yantrarudhani mayaya. Yantra means "machine." So the modern education is missing the pilot. They are simply wandering with the machine. [Glancing again at the disciple:] Read it.
Disciple: "The Supreme Lord is situated in everyone's heart, O Arjuna, and is directing the wanderings of all living entities, who are seated as on a machine, made of the material energy."
Srila Prabhupada: That's it. They do not consider this body a machine. In spite of all education, they are thinking there is no other element than this machine. And yet actually, they are finding that such a big, nice machine as a computer—without an operator, it does not work. And this huge machine, the material nature, is working without any spiritual touch? Just see how much foolishness. They think, "Automatically working. Nature is working automatically." Do they not think this?
Dr. Mize: They think there's a mind, but not a soul.
Srila Prabhupada: No, that's all right. Something is there which is working. Now, that may be debatable—you call it soul or mind. That is the next understanding. But the machine is not working independently. That should be understood first. Then how the machine is working—that will be the next chapter.
So they have no understanding, even, of how the machine is working. Mudho 'yam nabhijanati loko mam ajam avyayam. . . . Mayadhyaksena prakrtih suyate sa-caracaram: God is directing everything—that fact these mudhas, asses, do not know.
So if you do not know how the machine is working, then what is the value of your education? Education means enlightenment. But you do not know what is the final cause. That huge body is working as nature: so many planets—big planets like the sun and moon—they are oating in the air. Who has made this arrangement? We see it every day. And yet these great professors will never accept that God is the original cause. That thing does not come to their brain. They are putting forward different theories, and those are being accepted. One theory is accepted today, and tomorrow, "No, this is not accepted any longer. Here is another—an advanced theory." That "advanced" means he does not know.