Srila Prabhupada on Eugenics
BY: GOPAGOPISVARA DASA
Sep 04, USA (SUN)
With a preface to the article by Sun editors:
With our August 1st publication of the special Sun edition on Darwinism, followed by this week's piece on Modern Eugenics, it has been our hope to stimulate discussion on the philosophical aspects that underlie these social phenomenon.
Today, we present a very interesting response elicited by the Modern Eugenics piece. The author has speculated as to the personal opinions of the Sun editors, which are actually not a mirror image of the content published here. As in the case of the recent article on the Hadron Collider, "The God Particle", we often take advantage of Sun column space to present an array of positions, in the hopes that solid Krsna conscious preaching arguments will follow that we can all learn and benefit from.
The following article by Gopagopisvara dasa is an excellent example of some of the things Srila Prabhupada has stated in his preaching that some devotees find to be provocative. We've recently had the opportunity to see how the GBC/ISKCON is trying to deal with Srila Prabhupada's so-called controversial comments in regards to women. Of course, the women have put a lot of pressure on them to do so -- so much so that the GBC tentatively agreed to provide annotated commentary on Srila Prabhupada's books in order to clarify certain of his positions.
Here, Gopagopisvara dasa has presented certain statements which to some may be far more controversial, in a negative sense, than even Srila Prabhupada's comments on women. The author has done his research and has come up with numerous quotes from Srila Prabhupada. He's interpreted these quotes and woven an argument that Srila Prabhupada would have been in favour of some forms of eugenics, which the author suggests may be compared to varnasrama in some respects.
Personally, I feel that Srila Prabhupada would consider eugenics to be on the same level as Darwinian evolutionary philosophy, which was of significant focus in terms of his defining what is wrong with western culture from a philosophical vantage point.
I feel that Srila Prabhupada's views, as they're presented in this article, are taken out of context and are not properly commented on. These quotes from Srila Prabhupada do not, in my opinion, support the argument that he would be in favour of eugenics. Yes, it's a fact that from the Vedic point of view, the improvement or development of the human race is based on a formula whereby there is careful selection in terms of human society is developed by careful selection of who forms the family unit. In a sense, this is similar to the practice of animal husbandry. But this really has nothing to do with eugenics as it was applied by the big demons.
Of course, it's a fact that history has been written by the victors, and people like Hitler have naturally been vilified to the extreme. Big demons like Churchill, on the other hand, have been glorified in the eyes of the westerners. From Srila Prabhupada's point of view, however, Churchill himself was a demon who starved hundreds of thousands of Indians in order to have them join the army during WWII. This was very demoniac activity, and there were many other atrocities committed by the Allies that are not set down in the history books. Hitler's application of eugenics in terms of eliminating millions of people in concentration camps is a completely demoniac activity. Of course Stalin, who was an ally during WWII, killed far more people than even Hitler, using similar techniques.
So the way the material world operates is clearly presented in the Vedas. There are stories about millions of people dying in battles between the demons and the devotes, such as on the battlefield of Kurukshetra. It shouldn't come as any surprise that Srila Prabhupada has a different view of such things than our conditioned or collective historical perspective here in the West. But in terms of him supporting eugenics, I just don't see the logic. And as far as Srila Prabhupada's opinion about different human species on this planet such as the blacks of Africa or the western Natives, we have to accept all statements that can be verified in the Vedas. Personally, I would certainly not be willing to take an opposite position than the Sampradaya Acarya or the Vedas because of some humanistic attitude, or because I think something is not 'politically correct'.
I also wouldn't necessarily broadcast these controversial quotes, many of which were not stressed by Srila Prabhupada in his purports or lectures. Rather, they are taken out of context from casual conversations and personal letters.
I've heard Srila Prabhupada say that our presentation on the evolution of the soul through different species is similar to Darwinism. Although Srila Prabhupada did make such comments at certain times, there's also obviously a vast difference between the two. Likewise, to say that varnasrama is similar to eugenics is quite a stretch. The author wants us to believe it, so he's presenting all these arguments and quotes from Srila Prabhupada to support that conclusion. But in the end, I don't think he makes a very strong argument.
Srila Prabhupada Would Have
Approved of Eugenics with Certain Modifications
By Gopagopisvara dasa
Eugenics is "a social philosophy which advocates the improvement of human hereditary traits through various forms of intervention. Throughout history, eugenics has been regarded by its various advocates as a social responsibility, an altruistic stance of a society, meant to create healthier, stronger and/or more intelligent people, to save resources, and lessen human suffering.” (Wikipedia)
Somehow, the editors of Sampradaya Sun would like us to abhor that social philosophy, perhaps because it was founded in the modern age, by the brother of Charles Darwin, and culminated in the culling of the Jews from Hitler’s Master Race, but from studying Srila Prabhupada’s books, it is apparent that Prabhupada himself might approve of such a philosophy to create more intelligent people, although not all its methods. With certain modifications, this philosophy may be called “varnashram-dharma.”
Let us first examine Srila Prabhupada’s views on race. Prabhupada certainly believed that there was a master human race, the Aryans, and that they were white or tan. Most other races, such as Africans or Native Americans, were inferior.
The Aryan family is distributed all over the world and is known as Indo-Aryan. (Ref. VedaBase => SB 4.20.26)
The Aryans are white. But here, this side, due to climatic influence, they are a little tan. Indians are tan but they are not black. But Aryans are all white. And the non-Aryans, they are called black. Yes. (Ref. VedaBase => Srimad-Bhagavatam 6.1.6 -- Bombay, November 6, 1970)
Dravidian culture. Dravida. They are non-Aryans. Just like these Africans, they are not Aryans. Now they are mixing up with Europeans and Americans. In India, it was, one from the higher section, brahmana, ksatriya, vaisya, they will be fair complexion. Sudras, black. So if a brahmana becomes black, then he's not accepted as brahmana. Kala bahu (?). And if a sudra becomes fair, then he's to be know that he's not pure sudra. (Ref. VedaBase => Room Conversation -- August 2, 1976, New Mayapur, French farm)
Prabhupada considered the Germans to be Aryans.
So on the whole, the conclusion is that the Aryans spread in Europe also, and the Americans, they also spread from Europe. So the intelligent class of human being, they belong to the Aryans, Aryan family. Just like Hitler claimed that he belonged to the Aryan family. Of course, they belonged to the Aryan families. (Ref. VedaBase => Bhagavad-gita 9.3 -- Melbourne, April 21, 1976)
And speaking about Hitler, Prabhupada often made approving remarks about him. Prabhupada clearly admired Hitler, at least in some ways.
Sometimes he becomes a great hero -- just like Hiranyakasipu and Kamsa or, in the modern age, Napoleon or Hitler. The activities of such men are certainly very great. (Ref. VedaBase => SB 4.25.10)
Ah, yes. So these English people, they were very expert in making propaganda. They killed Hitler by propaganda. I don't think Hitler was so bad man. (Ref. VedaBase => Room Conversation -- June 17, 1976, Toronto)
No, no. Hitler knew it [the atom bomb]. . . . No, no. He knew it, everything, but he did not like to do it. He said. He said. He was gentleman. But these people are not gentlemen. He knew it perfectly well. He said that "I can smash the whole world, but I do not use that weapon." The Germans already discovered. But out of humanity they did not use it. And all the, your American, other countries, they have stolen from German ideas. (Ref. VedaBase => Morning Walk -- November 20, 1975, Bombay)
Therefore Hitler killed these Jews. They were financing against Germany. Otherwise he had no enmity with the Jews. . . . And they were supplying. They want interest money -- "Never mind against our country." Therefore Hitler decided, "Kill all the Jews." (Ref. VedaBase => Conversation During Massage -- January 23, 1977, Bhuvanesvara)
Prabhupada, like Hitler, Margaret Sanger and Charles Davenport, had definitive ideas about the comparative intelligence of the various races:
Sudras have no brain. In America also, the whole America once belonged to the Red Indians. Why they could not improve? The land was there. Why these foreigners, the Europeans, came and improved? So sudras cannot do this. They cannot make any correction. (Ref. VedaBase => John Dewey)
A first-class Rolls Royce car, and who is sitting there? A third-class negro. This is going on. You'll find these things in Europe and America. This is going on. A first-class car and a third-class negro. That's all. Is it not? (Ref. VedaBase => Room Conversation -- October 5, 1975, Mauritius)
But his bodily feature, he was a black man. The black man means sudra. The brahmana, ksatriya, vaisya, they were not black. But the sudras were black. (Ref. VedaBase => Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.16.4 -- Los Angeles, January 1, 1974)
Prabhupada believed that the African races should be enslaved by the Aryans; if they were free to come and go as they please, they would only cause disturbance in society. In February 1977, less than a year before his departure from this world, Prabhupada expressed regret about the fact that America had abolished slavery. In a room conversation, which later received the title “Varnasram System Must Be Introduced,” he refereed to African Americans as follows:
Sudra is to be controlled only. They are never given to be freedom. Just like in America. The blacks were slaves. They were under control. And since you have given them equal rights they are disturbing, most disturbing, always creating a fearful situation, uncultured and drunkards. What training they have got? They have got equal right? That is best, to keep them under control as slaves but give them sufficient food, sufficient cloth, not more than that. Then they will be satisfied. (Ref. VedaBase => Room Conversation Varnasrama System Must Be Introduced -- February 14, 1977, Mayapura)
And Prabhupada was not keen on children from mixed marriages; when the father and mother are from different castes, or races.
Varna-sankara population means a population who cannot say who is his father. That is varna-sankara. Or which caste does he belong, what is his father, what is his family. No, nothing, no information. That is called varna-sankara. So when the varna-sankara population increases, then the whole world becomes hell. (Ref. VedaBase => Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.16.12 -- Los Angeles, January 9, 1974)
Best was a marriage between a couple of similar caste, but scripture permitted a woman accepting a partner from a higher varna. However, the opposite was shunned: a high-class women who married a low-class man would be unhappy her entire life, and might in all probability lead to divorce. And the children of such a marriage would not be fit children, they would be varna-sankara children.
According to sastras, a brahmana could marry the daughter of a ksatriya but a ksatriya could not marry the daughter of a brahmana. They were very much cautious about varna-sankara population in the world.” (Srimad Bhagavatam 1.12.24).
Varna-sankara, or children born of lower-class people, would make the entire world go “to hell.” But children conceived with the garbhadhana ceremony would make society peaceful and organized for spiritual progress.
Most of the children are varna-sankara, meaning "born of undesirable fathers and mothers." Consequently, the whole world is in chaos. (Ref. VedaBase => SB 4.31.1)
Varna-sankara is unwanted population which disturbs the peace of the general society. In order to check this social disturbance, there are prescribed rules and regulations by which the population can automatically become peaceful and organized for spiritual progress in life. (Ref. VedaBase => Bg 3.24)
In Bhagavad-gita Arjuna informed Krsna that if there is unwanted population (varna-sankara), the entire world will appear to be hell. People are very anxious for peace in the world, but there are so many unwanted children born without the benefit of the garbhadhana ceremony, just like the demons born from Diti. (Ref. VedaBase => SB 3.17.15)
In conclusion, I believe Prabhupada would have approved of the goal of Eugenics, to improve the human race by selective breeding (arranged marriages) and the use of the garbhadhana ceremony.