Prabhupāda: The whole thing is that because the whole world is full of rascals, they are all talking nonsense. No meaning. No meaning. It is only we, we have pointed out that "You are a rascal.
You speak all nonsense." Now, taking this word atheist, what does he mean by atheist?
Candanācārya: Without theism?
Prabhupāda: No, no, that is not explanation.
Svarūpa Dāmodara: Atheist means not believing in God.
Prabhupāda: Yes. Say like that. Don't say in a negative way. In a positive way. What does it mean? Atheist.
Prajāpati: He says there is no God.
Prabhupāda: There is no God. Then what do you mean by God? Next question. Next question will be what do you mean by God?
Candanācārya: So he'll say the conception which has been presented by the different religions.
Prabhupāda: What is your conception? Why do you go to different religions? You are talking with me. So you say, what do you mean by God? Next question will be this. Don't go to others. Don't fly away. You are atheist. You are posing yourself atheist. Atheist means one who does not believe in God. That's all right. Now what do you mean by God? First of all the thing must be there. Then you believe or not believe next. Just like here is a person. He says, "I believe in him." I say, "I don't believe in him." But the person is there.
Karandhara: Well, he'll say, "God is just an idea."
Karandhara: Yes. But ideas don't always represent facts.
Prabhupāda: So idea is there. You say that it is not fact, but others say it is a fact. So how it will be mitigated? How it will be settled? "God" word is there. You say that it is an idea.
Devotee: A "sky flower" is an idea, but it's not fact.
Prabhupāda: No, just like God, let us stick on word, that God... You say it is an idea only. I say it is not an idea. It is fact.
Karandhara: Well, then they say, "By objective empirical analysis it has to be researched, scientific."
Prabhupāda: Oh, then let us analyze, analyze. Let us analyze. That... We say that God means Supreme, Supreme Being. So how you can say that Supreme Being is an idea? How you can say? You accept Supreme Being. So how you can say it is idea? It is fact.
Karandhara: Well, they say there is no necessity for a Supreme Being.
Prabhupāda: No, there's a necessity. If you don't accept, then you will be beaten with shoes. Because as soon as there is light, you have to accept supreme authority.
Karandhara: But that's an authority we have imposed upon ourselves.
Prabhupāda: Yes, because there is need, therefore you have done it. There is necessity.
Karandhara: Well, some of them say, because people are generally ignorant, therefore we need this idea of God.
Prabhupāda: But you are less than ignorant. You are less than ignorant. You are less than rascal. If I call you a rascal, then I give you some honor.
Karandhara: Lenin said that God is just opiate of the people, just to keep them intoxicated.
Prabhupāda: No, no, no, no. That means Lenin wanted to become God. That's all. The God idea is there, but he cannot be God. Because he was under the laws of God, he died. He died. He could not save himself from death. Therefore he is not supreme authority. He accepted supreme authority, but he wanted himself to become the supreme authority. Now, when he died, he is not supreme authority. He is forced to die. Then there is another supreme authority.
Karandhara: Well, then they can say ultimately death is meaningless anyway.
Prabhupāda: Why meaningless? Then why you are afraid of death when I come to kill you?
Karandhara: Well, that it's meaningless doesn't mean I can't place some value on it at any given point.
Prabhupāda: Why meaningless? It has meaning. Then why you are fighting? Why you fought for Russian Revolution?
Karandhara: Well, they give the example like numbers. Numbers are only useful for a purpose, but actually they are meaningless.
Prabhupāda: The purpose is meaningless then. Then your purpose is meaningless.
Karandhara: Yes, they say ultimately everything is meaningless.
Prabhupāda: Then you are a rascal. You are working for meaningless things. Then you are a rascal. That's all. And that is my version, that you are a rascal number one.
Karandhara: Well, they say everyone can introduce their own meaning to whatever they want.
Prabhupāda: No, then why do you try to get many followers? Let them do their own work.
Karandhara: No, to proliferate your own meaning.
Prabhupāda: No, no, you have got own meaning. You be satisfied with your own meaning. I have got my own meaning. Why do you bother me?
Karandhara: Well, my meaning may be to bother you. That may be part of my meaning.
Prabhupāda: Then my meaning is to beat you with shoes. (laughter)
Karandhara: Lenin, no one ever beat him. He was not beat. He beat everyone else.
Prabhupāda: No, no. He was also beaten—by death. He died also. That means even if he is beaten, he will not accept it. He is such a rascal. He is such a rascal. He is being beaten every moment. He is becoming old. He is becoming diseased. He is dying. Still says, "I am not beaten. I am not beaten."
Candanācārya: Actually, he still thinks that he's beating death because they put his body in a tomb...
Prabhupāda: Yes, he is being beaten every moment, every second, and still, he will say, "I am not beaten." That is rascal number one. One is accepting that "Yes, I am being beaten." He is sane man. And one who says that "I am not beaten," he is getting old, and every moment he is being beaten, and still he says, "I am not beaten."
Karandhara: Well they have a philosophy called existentialism, that so long something exists, we can place value on it, but when it ceases to exist, there is no remorse. There is nothing to lament.
Prabhupāda: There is no nothing to lament, but why don't you exist? Why you struggle for existence?
Karandhara: But they say if you have money in your hand, as long as you have it you can utilize it, but if you lose it, don't worry. It's nothing to lament.
Prabhupāda: But they worry. I have practically seen. They cry.
Karandhara: Well, they just fall short of their philosophy, the philosophy they hold as ideal.
Prabhupāda: So, these are all no argument. No sane man will accept this argu...
Karandhara: Most western people are so frustrated, they accept these philosophies wholeheartedly.
Prabhupāda: Yes. That is frustration. That is not real life. That is another thing.
Karandhara: But like you say in Bhagavad-gītā, they are so angry with all types of speculation that they become frustrated and disgusted.
Prabhupāda: Yes. Frustration is not life. Frustration is frustration, disappointment. That is not life.
Karandhara: They say that frustration is the only reality.
Prabhupāda: No. That's for you.
Karandhara: Absurd, the absurd philosophy.
Svarūpa Dāmodara: That means they do not know the value of life.
Prabhupāda: Yes, that's it. That means rascaldom. That means rascaldom.
Karandhara: One of their chief philosophers, his name was Camus. So after he was propounding this philosophy and writing many books, one night he was driving in his car, and he decided that "There's no meaning, so why not just drive my car off a cliff?" So he just drove his car off a cliff, finished himself off.
Prabhupāda: Mad, madmen.
Karandhara: But his books are in colleges especially. Millions and millions of students accept his books as practically gospel.
Prabhupāda: What is the subject matter of the book?
Karandhara: Subject matter of his books, that life is ultimately absurd. There is no real meaning to it. We place our own meanings on it, but those are...
Prabhupāda: So you are trying... Why you are trying to explain it? Why you are trying to explain it?
Karandhara: Yes, actually he is trying to make reason out of the absurdity.
Prabhupāda: To prove absurd is his reason? That means absurd reason.
Karandhara: Well, that's what he ultimately realized, that everything is absurd. There is no use speaking, writing or even living.
Prabhupāda: No, no, the thing is that you are saying "absurd," I am saying, "not absurd." Who will settle up this? That is the... If you settle your own affair. I settle my own affair. So who will settle up, whether I am right, you are right?
Śrutakīrti: It will be settled at death.
Prabhupāda: That's all. Mṛtyuḥ sarva-haraś ca. The death is equally acceptable by you and me, but... And it is also a fact you don't want to die; I also don't want to die. Then there is authority.
Karandhara: No, but in his case he didn't care. He died willingly.
Prabhupāda: No, no. He didn't care, but he always takes care. That is a fact. He always takes care.
Karandhara: No, but on this instance, he died willingly. He wanted to die.
Svarūpa Dāmodara: But he might be pretending. Might be died, but he was thinking that he'll not (indistinct)
Karandhara: But he killed himself.
Prabhupāda: Yes, he did not want to die, but just to keep prestige, he might have died. That's all.
Karandhara: I think he wanted to die. (laughter)
Prabhupāda: Then if you want to die, let me kill you immediately. You will be happy.
Rūpānuga: He wrote another book called "Nausea" wherein he wrote how life made him sick to his stomach.
Prabhupāda: That means madman. Sometimes madman commits suicide. He's a madman, that's all.
Karandhara: Practically, in the last three hundred, or two hundred years, all the most famous writers, and scholars and intellectuals, they all became madmen.
Prabhupāda: Yes, they must be, because they do not know what is to be known. Their knowledge is imperfect.
Karandhara: Nietzsche, Freud, they all died madmen.
Prabhupāda: Madman means when one becomes frustrated, he becomes mad. That is the...
Karandhara: But the people, after them, they think that their lives were very great. They read their books and accept their authority.
Prabhupāda: There are two classes of men. We don't say their life was great. So therefore I say, who will settle? I am right or he is right? Always you will find the madman will say, "I am right." Another man say, "You are not right; I am right." Then who will settle up? That is the point. You will find always these two classes of men. You say you are right, I say I am right.
Candanācārya: But by committing suicide, didn't he accept that finally death was the only thing that was not absurd?
Prabhupāda: Yes, for them the death is the only solution.
December 15, 1973, Los Angeles