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Published on November 6th, 2023 | by Madhudvisa dasa


Dialectic Spiritualism – A Vedic View of Western Philosophy – PDF Download

Dialectic Spiritualism - A Vedic View on Western PhilosophySrila Prabhupada discusses Western philosophy with disciples Hayagriva dasa and Syamasundara dasa.

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The idea for the book Dialectic Spiritualism emerged in 1973 when Srila Prabhupada began asking his secretary, Syamasundara dasa, about Western philosophy. Syamasundara would try to state succinctly the major ideas of certain philosophers, and Srila Prabhupada would give the Vedic view. As Srila Prabhupada traveled throughout the world preaching Krishna consciousness this process continued, until finally, in 1976, Prabhupada’s editor, Hayagriva dasa (Professor Howard Wheeler), supplied further questions for Prabhupada and completed the editing.

Then Srila Prabhupada gave the book its title: Dialectic Spiritualism: A Vedic View of Western Philosophy, and said, “Print it.”

To download Dialectic Spiritualism: A Vedic View of Western Philosophy PDF file please click on the book cover image to the left.

Almost immediately some people objected since professional scholars had not presented the material to Srila Prabhupada, there might be some discrepancies. When the manuscript was shown to a philosophy professor, he called it: “a treatise against philosophy,” and “an unscholarly punch in the nose.

” Then, when Srila Prabhupada left this mortal world in November 1977, the book’s future became uncertain. One student tried to restate the questions.

Then another tried, only to conclude that it would be better to start all over. But Srila Prabhupada was no longer present and the extensive work, on which he had spent so much time, remained unavailable to to the world. Finally, in 1984, Hayagriva resolved to print Srila Prabhupada’s last great opus as it is, and for this we are greatly indebted.

Whatever the criticisms, they are rendered insignificant in the light of Srila Prabhupada’s brilliant insights into the problems of Western philosophy and his lucid expositories of the Vedic view. Much of the confusion arises from a difference in methodology and perspective. For many Westerners, philosophy is a kind of armchair speculation, an intellectual game, but for followers of the Vedas, it is a matter of life and death. Or, more precisely, it is the recognition of the absolute need to stop the repetition of birth and death. For Srila Prabhup wada real philosophy deals with applying absolute knowledge in our daily lives consciously, moment by moment. “We should act in such a way that we have to think of Krishna all the time,” he said. For instance we are discussing the philosophy of Socrates in order to strengthen our Krishna consciousness. Therefore the ultimate goal is Krishna. Otherwise we are not interested in critizing or accepting anyone’s philosophy. We are neutral.”

Obviously this is not the goal of Western philosophy which tends to see man as “the measure of all things” in a physical, humanistic universe. Western thought has always encouraged self-reliance and individualism which are reflected even in today’s street philosophy: “Do your own thing.”

The Vedic view clashes fiercely with such relativistic thinking. Far from celebrating the authority of the individual mind, or the autonomy of ascendence of reason, the Vedas point out four fundamental defects of the conditioned souls.

[from the Foreword to Dialectic Spiritualism: A Vedic View of Western Philosophy]

About the Author

My first contact with a Hare Krishna was a most merciful Mataji in Oxford Street, London who sold me a "Higher Taste" cook book in 1984 while I was on holidays there. I started seriously reading Srila Prabhupada's books in Australia 1985 and by 1986 Srila Prabhupada had convinced me "Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead" and "we should surrender to Krishna." I joined the Hare Krishnas in Perth, Western Australia in 1986. Since then I have been chanting Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare, reading and distributing Srila Prabhupada's books and preaching as much as I can. That's my life and full-time occupation now really. I like it more than anything I've ever experienced before. Srila Prabhupada's books are so amazing... Even after reading them all many times they're still fresh and new. They are truly transcendental! That's it really. Now I'm just hankering to once again see the world chant Hare Krishna, dance and feast and float away in the ecstasy of Lord Caitanya's Sankirtana movement as it did in Srila Prabhupada's physical presence. Let the whole world drown in the ecstatic flood of love of Krishna!

10 Responses to Dialectic Spiritualism – A Vedic View of Western Philosophy – PDF Download

  1. christopher bleszynski says:

    question-is there a german edition of dialectic

  2. Aman Pandey says:

    Hare Krishna Prabhu
    Please accept my humble obeisnces
    All glories to Srila Prabhupada!

    Is there any way to get Dialectic Spiritualism at present? It’s not available on Indian Krishna Store.

  3. Ukarsh says:

    Hare Krsna ,
    When this book will be available in printing just like other books?

    • This book is now out of print and there is no current plan for reprinting it. Hopefully we will be able to reprint sometime in the future but there is no current plan for reprinting it.

  4. Issac says:

    Hare Krsna Madhudvisa dasa prabhuji

    This is the definition of philosophy i came across on And yes i know it is a English word.
    1.the rational investigation of the truths and principles of being, knowledge, or conduct.
    2.any of the three branches, namely natural philosophy, moral philosophy, and metaphysical philosophy, that are accepted as composing this study.
    3.a particular system of thought based on such study or investigation: the philosophy of Spinoza.
    4.the critical study of the basic principles and concepts of a particular branch of knowledge, especially with a view to improving or reconstituting them: the philosophy of science.
    5.a system of principles for guidance in practical affairs.

    About rational i don’t understand much. I met some person and he was talking about mental speculation or intellectual process to know if god exists and then he extends to finding physically if he exists. And another person tells i talk also talks about philosophy and says God is not absolute truth. He said Absolute truth does not exist. So i am or was confused about the definition of philosophy. And i think i was talking to him about philosophy being useless and all i said i don’t need philosophy class. And then i said or at least thought that philosophy or mental speculation goal is Krsna Consciousness. And even i know or feel that of course you ask questions in order to get answers. But they is a problem. With questions they can be many answers. And with those answers you ask more questions. For example What is God. The answer is god is an all powerful, all knowing being. How can God be all powerful and all knowing being. What does all powerful or all knowing really mean or feel like?

    So from this definition i came to know philosophy can be thoughts/ideas/speculations of some particular person like the philosophy of spinoza or philosophy of socrates.

    And also about critical study of a particular knowledge. For example philosophy of science or economics. They can be various views of science and in science. They can be various viewpoints of people who study economics about economics like Gandhian economics (is a school of economic thought based on the socio-economic principles expounded by Indian leader Mohandas Gandhi) or Keynesian economics derives from John Maynard Keynes an economist (whose ideas have fundamentally affected the theory and practice of modern macroeconomics, and informed the economic policies of governments.) Or philosophy of religion

    And from this definition philosophy is only consist of three branches, namely natural philosophy, moral philosophy, and metaphysical philosophy, that are accepted as composing this study.

    Philosophy of religion is a branch of philosophy concerned with questions regarding religion, including the nature and existence of God, the examination of religious experience, analysis of religious vocabulary and texts, and the relationship of religion and science. From wikipedia not dictionary.

    Well if you have any comment or reply or criticism to what i said above i will be glad. But now the question is What is the purpose of philosphy from Krsna Conscious perspective. That is really the treasure(the answer to the purpose of philosophy from Krsna Conscios perspective) i am after.

    • I think you have covered the definition of philosophy and the idea of what it is quite well. In Sanskrit a philosopher is called a jnani. It means thoughtful person. But it is all mental speculation as you have hinted at. And every jnani or philosopher has his own different idea. So really all these philosophies created by imperfect persons are imperfect and are really useless in understanding Krishna. This platform of jnana is higher then the platform of karma. And a jnani can by his philosophy ultimately come to understand the pointlessness of the material world and the futility of sense gratification. So the next step for a jnani is to become an impersonalist. Because they can come to the point of sensing some universal oneness, some great spirit. And because they have deduced that individuality and form and activities in the material world are all ultimately sources of pain and suffering they naturally conclude that personality, individuality, form and activities must be absent in the spiritual existence.

      So philosophers can actually raise themselves off the material platform and onto the impersonal spiritual platform. But they can not have any information about Krishna or the spiritual world because the spiritual world is avan manasa gocara, it is beyond the ability of the mind to imagine and beyond the ability of the senses to experience. So Krishna and the spiritual world are beyond the grasp of the philosophers. The only way we can understand Krishna and the spiritual world is by hearing from a pure devotee of Krishna. There is no other way…

      Chant Hare Krishna and be happy!

      Madhudvisa dasa

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