This conversation between His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada and Professor John Mize took place in Los Angeles on June 23, 1975
Srila Prabhupada: In Bhagavad-gita Lord Krsna advises Arjuna, "The body and the soul are different."
Dr. Mize: The body and soul are different. Yes. So it seems to me, too.
Srila Prabhupada: That's nice. That is the beginning of spiritual education. People do not understand. I have seen many big, big European professors they do not have any clear conception that the body and the soul are different.
Dr. Mize: It still disturbs me, of course: how the body can influence the mind so much the mind not being the soul, apparently.
Srila Prabhupada: Actually, the soul is above not only the mind but also the intelligence. Above the intelligence. Our gross senses provide our present perception, which is direct. And beyond these gross senses, there is the mind. And beyond the mind, there is the intelligence. And beyond the intelligence, there is the soul. So coming to this platform of the soul requires the process of meditation to make our sense activities calm and quiet and our mind settled, so that we can then rise to the intelligence platform and eventually to the spiritual platform. [To a disciple:] Find this verse:
indriyani parany ahur
indriyebhyah param manah
manasas tu para buddhir
yo buddheh paratas tu sah
Disciple (after repeating the Sanskrit): "The working senses are superior to dull matter; mind is higher than the senses; intelligence is higher than the mind; and he [the soul] is even higher than the intelligence."
And now the Purport, by Srila Prabhupada: "The senses are different outlets for the activities of lust. Lust is reserved within the body, but it is given vent through the senses. Therefore, the senses are superior to the body as a whole. Their outlets are not in use when there is superior consciousness, or Krsna consciousness. In Krsna consciousness the soul makes direct connection with the Supreme Personality of Godhead; therefore the bodily functions, as described here, ultimately end in the Supreme Soul. Bodily action means the functions of the senses, and stopping the senses means stopping all bodily actions. But since the mind is active, then, even though the body may be silent and at rest, the mind will act as it does during dreaming. But above the mind there is the determination of the intelligence, and above the intelligence is the soul proper. If, therefore, the soul is directly engaged with the Supreme, naturally all other subordinates, namely the intelligence, mind, and the senses, will be automatically engaged. In the Katha Upanisad there is a passage in which it is said that the objects of sense gratification are superior to the senses, and mind is superior to sense objects. If, therefore, the mind is directly engaged in the service of the Lord constantly, then there is no chance of the senses becoming engaged in other ways. This mental attitude has already been explained. If the mind is engaged in the transcendental service of the Lord, there is no chance of its being engaged in the lower propensities. In theKatha Upanisad the soul has been described as mahan, the great. Therefore the soul is above all namely, the sense objects, the senses, the mind, and the intelligence. Therefore, directly understanding the constitutional position of the soul is the solution of the whole problem.
"With intelligence one has to seek out the constitutional position of the soul and then engage the mind always in Krsna consciousness. That solves the whole problem. A neophyte spiritualist is generally advised to keep aloof from the objects of the senses. One has to strengthen the mind by use of intelligence. If by intelligence once engages one's mind in Krsna consciousness, by complete surrender unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead, then, automatically, the mind becomes stronger, and even though the senses are very strong, like serpents, they will be no more effective than serpents with broken fangs. But even though the soul is the master of intelligence and mind, and the senses also, still, unless it is strengthened by association with Krsna in Krsna consciousness, there is every chance of falling down due to the agitated mind."
Srila Prabhupada: Hm. The yogic process is to control the mind. Our process is, immediately engage the mind in Krsna thinking of Krsna, feeling for Krsna, willing to act for Krsna. Then everything will be all right. Then everything will be all right. If the mind is immediately engaged in serving the lotus feet of Krsna, then on this side and that side, everything will be all right. Sa vai manah krsna-padaravindayoh. Padaravindayoh: the mind is focused on the lotus feet of Krsna. So this is our process: Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare engaging the mind, meditation.
Disciple: Srila Prabhupada, Dr. Mize was saying that he holds to the philosophy of Kant.
Srila Prabhupada: What is Kant's philosophy?
Dr. Mize: It seems one of Kant's major differences with the point of view of the Eastern or Indian philosophies, in particular, is that for him, the soul of man is not something eternal but something created.
Srila Prabhupada: No. The soul is part and parcel of God. Now, God is not created; He is above creation. God created the cosmic manifestation. Before the creation of this cosmic manifestation, God was there. Therefore, He is not created. And the soul being part and parcel of God, he is also not created.
Dr. Mize: The question that bothers me is, Then why would the soul fall? I understand your conception that the soul is part of the spiritual sky originally, or part and parcel of God. And yet he somehow falls out of this blissful condition, due to pride, much like the Christian thesis that the devil fell out of heaven due to pride. So it seems puzzling why the soul would be so silly, so foolish, so insane, as to do such a thing.
Srila Prabhupada: That is his independence.
Dr. Mize: Independence.
Srila Prabhupada: If instead of using his independence properly he misuses his independence, he falls. He falls down on account of his independence. For instance, you have got independence. You are sitting here. You can go immediately. You may not like to hear me. That independence you have got. I have got it, also. I may choose not to talk with you. So that independence is always there. Similarly, as part and parcel of God, it is the duty of the soul to be always engaged in the service of the Lord. For instance, this finger is part and parcel of my body. Whatever I am ordering, it is immediately carrying out. I say, "Make it like this." [Srila Prabhupada's index finger circles and swoops.] It will it will do that. But this finger is dead matter it is acting mechanically. The brain directs the finger, and the finger acts immediately, like a machine. This whole body is just like a machine. But the soul is not a machine, not a mechanical part. It is the spiritual part. So therefore, although I am directing the finger and, being a machine, it is working, at the same time I may direct a friend or servant to do something, and he may not do it. So when the soul misuses his independence, then he falls down. That is material life. Material life means misusing the independence of the soul. Take, for example, a son. A son's duty is to obey his father. But he may not obey. That is his madness. So when the soul misuses his independence and becomes mad, he is sent to this material world.
Dr. Mize: It is puzzling to me that one would be so foolish.
Srila Prabhupada: By independence you can become foolish. Otherwise, there is no meaning of independence. Independence means you can do whatever you like.