His Divine Grace A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
(founder of the Hare Krsna movement)
His Divine Grace A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
(founder of the Hare Krsna movement)
for the above mentioned theory, we are still in darkness as how the homogeneous matter could create an illusion of separated individual existence. When we speak of illusion, it must be derived from reality. For example, if we know how a snake looks like, we can have an illusion of seeing a snake in the darkness. If we don’t know how a snake looks like, how can we have an illusion of seeing one? Similarly, we can ask if all that exists is one all-pervading matter and nothing else, where is the temporary illusion of individuality coming from?
The materialistic scientists’ silence at this point speaks for itself and while they are busy coming up with yet another edition of scientific jargon to camouflage their gross ignorance on the subject, we dare to say that “you” do exist and there’s also an empirical proof to support it –your own perception. While being busy looking for evidence of “you” outside here and there in chemicals, mathematics, or microscopes, it is the closest thing-our own consciousness. It is because of consciousness you are for example able to read this article. Your consciousness is the perceivable evidence that individuality separate from what you are reading exists. The question therefore is not whether individuality exists, but quite the opposite, why it should not? Where is the evidence that it does not exist?
We wonder why modern man wants to deny his existing. Why does he constantly doubt such an obvious fact? The answer is that his consciousness is presently adulterated by various dogmatic beliefs, which keep him so to speak apart from his own self. These various irrational beliefs influence his perception to such an extent that he ends up perceiving the world around him in a distorted way. Just like in the Middle Ages, he has given up on his discriminative powers and let the so-called scientists, who are nothing but a mere replacement of a dogmatic church in disguise tell him what to think. The so-called scientific conclusions are firmly based on the observations made through imperfect senses of imperfect human beings. For example, although the sun is a globe, from the position we’re in right now, we perceive it as a yellow disc. The sun is a globe though, so we see the sun as something completely different from what it really is. Such a faulty conclusion is due to our blindly believing the dictation of our imperfect eye-sight. Our eye-sight just as all the other senses are by their very essence limited though. The scientist however persists that unless a phenomenon can be seen by such limited sense perception, it cannot be accepted as a fact. He can be compared to a fool who, while wearing non-transparent glasses complains about insufficient evidence of the existence of seeing ability. Although his so-called objective scientific conclusions are relative on account of his relative perception and are therefore always changing, ignorance of such a crucial point, namely that his perception is distorted makes all his science completely subjective.
Puṣṭa-kṛṣṇa: This is the scientist's point of view. He's just observing, observing, observing, and therefore he feels almost left out of it. So they want to participate. They're very attracted to the...
Prabhupāda: But he's observing himself or not? Or he's simply observing outside himself?
Puṣṭa-kṛṣṇa: Bhagavad-gītā says that he is observing his body, his field of activities.
Prabhupāda: No, Bhagavad-gītā... I am asking...
Puṣṭa-kṛṣṇa: He's observing outside of himself.
Prabhupāda: Then why does he not observe himself, that "What I am?" "Am I this body? Or what I am? Why I am full of anxieties?"
Room Conversation with Robert Gouiran, Nuclear Physicist from European Center for Nuclear Research -- June 5, 1974, Geneva
Our perception is constantly being conditioned by the ever-changing workings of nature. This conditioning is the root cause of why we develop so many irrational conclusions in regards to the nature of the self. The real science of the soul therefore is not a question of believing an imposed dogma, but quite the opposite, it means to get free from all sorts of irrational beliefs based on imperfect sense perception and come to our original unadulterated consciousness, or Krsna consciousness. Only then, will we be able to see things as they are and thus begin a truly scientific study. The aim of this article is therefore to map various misconceptions concerning the existence of the soul, scientifically point out their flaws based on logic and arguments and establish “you” to be an irrevocable fact based on what you truly perceive.
THE BHAGAVAD-GITA: SUPERIOR SCIENTIFIC TRADITION
5000 years ago, one of the greatest world wars ever is taking place on earth. Arjuna is an ancient Vedic fighter (ksatriya) and one of the prominent personalities on the side of Pandavas, one of the great dynasties which rule the world. Pandavas and Kurus belong to the same family, but because the Kurus made some tricky cheating tactics, the Pandavas were kicked out of the kingdom and had to learn to manage on their own. Now, the time came to set the score straight. Krsna, who is recognized by countless Vedic statements to be the Supreme Personality of Godhead, arranged it like this in order to teach the world the sublime teachings of transcendental knowledge. Although Krsna is the Supreme controller of everything, He takes pleasure in directly taking part in the happenings of His creation and thus during the battle of Kuruksetra He volunteers to act as a charioteer for His friend Arjuna. Arjuna hesitates to fight against his former family members considering it to be immoral and is in great distress about what to do. Krsna however explains that for the soul there’s no death, so there’s no need of worrying. Our body is just like a costume and we play different roles in this material world according to the costume we wear–sometimes as friends, sometimes as enemies and the more we identify with them, the more we become entangled in the illusory reality of material existence. However, as soon as we come out of such bodily conception through the practice of yoga, our original self will manifest. This true self is free and blissful and eternally a part of the Supreme Absolute Whole(Krsna). These are some of the fundamental topics of the sublime, mind-expanding and timelessly deep literature named the Bhagavad-gita(Song of God) and in it we can find the most fascinating and the most elaborate explanation on the topic of consciousness known to man. His Divine Grace A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada(or shortly Srila Prabhupada), who is the last link to the ancient succession of gurus, through which this knowledge has been passed down since the time when Krsna and Arjuna spoke together on the battlefield of Kuruksetra 5000 years ago, has elaborately discussed on the Bhagavad-gita and on the subject matter of the soul in his numerous authorized Vedic translations, lectures, letters and conversations. We will attempt to bring you a summary of the wonderful arguments he has presented to the materialistic men, and you are invited to kindly study them with patience, scrutiny, critical analysis and an open mind.
REINCARNATION 24 HOURS A DAY
After you open the Bhagavad-gita As It Is and notice the beautiful artwork done by American disciples of Srila Prabhupada, you may as well start reading it. First out of curiosity, later out of great interest and finally out of intense desire to grasp its meaning fully verse by verse. Although nothing can match its unbeatable logic, the arguments given seem quite simple at first sight. Sri Krsna for example states in the Second Chapter:
dehino ’smin yathā dehe
kaumāraṁ yauvanaṁ jarā
dhīras tatra na muhyati
"As the embodied soul continually passes, in this body, from boyhood to youth to old age, the soul similarly passes into another body at death. The self-realized soul is not bewildered by such a change."
In the above mentioned verse, it is said that during one’s lifetime the body is going through transformation. No one can deny, in the beginning, we had a body of a small baby, then a body of a child, teenager, grown up body and we will have an old body in due course. This is not a belief, but a fact, which can also be perceivable by our senses. Yet, although our body is going through all these transformations, we ourselves do not change. The body changes, the mind changes, the intelligence changes, our sense of identity changes, but the primal you, the observer of all these changes remains unaffected. Just like in cinema, there is a distinction between a viewer (the observer) and the screen (the observed). Although, the images on the screen change, for example, there's a scene, where someone is chasing the main character, then all of a sudden cut and we see a woman feeding pigeons in a completely different setting, we are able to put the otherwise non-related images into context because we are the viewer and it is called a movie. The chase scene and the feeding scene are two different situations and have hardly anything in common, but because we are watching it from an objective standpoint, we are able to understand the context in which the two scenes are working together in the narrative. We might know for example that the woman, who is feeding the pigeons, is the main character’s aunt Tonya, who just killed the main character’s wife. The two non-related looking scenes connect in our mind and that is the whole excitement of watching a movie.
Similarly, the body of an infant and a body of an old man are two fundamentally different bodies. A child has a tiny body and speaks goo-goo ga-ga, wears diapers, walks on four. An old man has a walking stick, wrinkled skin, hunch back perhaps. But because the observer in the body is the same, he has the opportunity to watch perhaps the most realistic movie ever. It’s called “life”. If he had been changing along with his body, such an experience would not have been possible.
MY FATHER IS GONE. OR IS HE?
suyajño nanv ayaṁ śete
mūḍhā yam anuśocatha
yaḥ śrotā yo 'nuvakteha
sa na dṛśyeta karhicit
Yamarāja continued: O lamenters, you are all fools! The person named Suyajña, for whom you lament, is still lying before you and has not gone anywhere. Then what is the cause for your lamentation? Previously he heard you and replied to you, but now, not finding him, you are lamenting. This is contradictory behavior, for you have never actually seen the person within the body who heard you and replied. There is no need for your lamentation, for the body you have always seen is lying here.
This is an excerpt from yet another Vedic literature called the Srimad Bhagavatam. Yamaraja is here talking to a group of relatives of a deceased Suyajna for whom they lament. Let’s imagine a situation like that, when a person dies. It takes what… a mere moment? Utmost a few seconds and then it’s finished. He’s a goner. Now what do we see? A dead body lying on a bed, right? Now, take a remote and rewind this movie one second before he died. Take a snapshot. Cool. Keep it. Now let’s go one second forward. This is where he already died. Take another snapshot. Great. Now, what you have are two situations. Snapshot one is the living body. Snapshot two is the dead body. If the life is a mere combination of chemicals, what makes the difference between snapshot one and snapshot two?
Mike Robinson: Suppose we assume that a human being has no soul...
Śrīla Prabhupāda: Then you must explain the difference between a living body and a dead body. I have already explained this at the beginning. As soon as the living force, the soul, is gone from the body, even the most beautiful body has no value. No one cares for it; it's thrown away. But now, if I touch your hair, there will be a fight. That is the distinction between a living body and a dead body. In a living body the soul is there, and in a dead body the soul is not there. As soon as the soul leaves the body, the body has no value. It is useless. This is very simple to understand, but even the biggest so-called scientists and philosophers are too dullheaded to understand it. Modern society is in a very abominable condition. There is no man with a real brain.
SSR 1d: Reincarnation and Beyond
If you analyze yourself silently, "What I am? I am this finger? I am this body? I am this hair?" you'll deny, "No I am not this." So beyond this body, what is, that is spiritual. That we can feel. Similarly, as we cannot find our self within this matter, although I'm here, that we can distinguish, the distinction between dead body and living body, something minus. That something is spirit.
Bhagavad-gītā 8.21-22 -- New York, November 19, 1966
If there’s no soul and everything is matter, why are we discriminating between dead and living? Is such discrimination illusion? Why not then wake up from it and release all the murderers(who killed a so-called living body) from prisons, cancel off medical science(which is supposed to keep the body “alive”), stop caring about our body altogether and commit suicide? If we think, we’re just the body, why not wine and dine with a corpse? Cuz that’s what the body is, right? Take for example a person, who died a few seconds ago. All the chemical elements of his body are still present. His organs, his ears, his eyes, his tongue, his brain, his heart –everything of the body is there.
Suppose my father has died. Now I am crying, "Oh, my father is gone. My father is gone." But if somebody says, "Why do you say your father is gone? He is lying here. Why you are crying?" "No, no, no, that is his body. That is his body. My father is gone." Therefore in our present calculation I am seeing your body, you are seeing my body, nobody is seeing the actual person. After death, he comes to sense: "Oh, it is not my father; it is my father's body." You see? So we become intelligent after death. And while we are living, we are in ignorance. This is the modern civilization. While living... Just like people have insurance policy to get some money. So that money is received after death, not during life. Sometimes during life also. So my point is that so long we are living, we are in ignorance. We do not know "What is my father, what is my brother, what I am." But everyone is under the impression, "This body is my father, this body is my child, this body is my wife." This is called ignorance. If you study the whole world, during living time everyone will say that "I am Englishman," "I am Indian," "I am Hindu," "I am Muslim." But if you ask him, "Actually are you so?" That... Because this body is Hindu, Muslim, or Christian, because by accident the body is produced in a society of Hindu, Muslim, or the body is born in a particular country, therefore we say, "I am Indian, "I am European," "I am this," "I am that." But when the body is dead, at that time we say, "No, no, the person which was within the body, that is gone. It is a different thing."
Just try to understand how much ignorant we are. We are all in ignorance. This education is wanted because people, by this ignorance, they're fighting with one another. One nation is fighting with another, one religionist is fighting with another religionist. But it is all based on ignorance. I am not this body.
Bhagavad-gītā 2.11 -- Edinburgh, July 16, 1972
Srila Prabhupada urges people to realize: “we are all in ignorance”. On daily basis we are dealing with our lovers, friends, parents, children, yet we never come in contact with them truly. All we are interacting with is their bodies. In such a hallucinatory state, on the basis of such bodily conception we are very enthusiastically starting wars and ugly creatures like racism, sexism, nationalism, religious discrimination, speciesm are sprouting like mushrooms after rain. But the body is dead. Always. It only appears alive when the spirit soul is occupying it. It is just like a car. A car never moves on its own accord. It’s only when the driver gets in, starts the engine and drives off when you realize that the Knight Rider was just a Tv show and that your car has just been stolen.
FEAR OF DEATH
A very common viewpoint about life after death is that well…that it simply does not exist. You are born, you live, have fun and then one day you just die and that’s it. No questions asked. After death, there’s nothing. This is not a new idea though. Such conception of nothingness has been proposed in the teachings of Lord Buddha some 2600 years ago. Moreover, from the Bhagavad-gita, we understand that the theory was present even before and was propounded by philosophers known as Lokāyatikas and Vaibhāṣikas. Krsna has however addressed it in the following way:
atha cainaṁ nitya-jātaṁ
nityaṁ vā manyase mṛtam
tathāpi tvaṁ mahā-bāho
nainaṁ śocitum arhasi
If, however, you think that the soul is perpetually born and always dies, still you have no reason to lament, O mighty-armed.
Srila Prabhupada in his commentary on this verse writes:
Even if Arjuna did not believe in the existence of the soul—as in the Vaibhāṣika philosophy—there would still have been no cause for lamentation. No one laments the loss of a certain bulk of chemicals and stops discharging his prescribed duty. On the other hand, in modern science and scientific warfare, so many tons of chemicals are wasted for achieving victory over the enemy. According to the Vaibhāṣika philosophy, the so-called soul or ātmā vanishes along with the deterioration of the body. So, in any case, whether Arjuna accepted the Vedic conclusion that there is an atomic soul, or whether he did not believe in the existence of the soul, he had no reason to lament.
Bg 2.26 purport
In other words, if we’re just matter without soul, the question we need to answer is that why we are afraid of death? Why is death uncomfortable? And why are we lamenting?
The modern trend is that people like to pretend to be detached from death and proclaim: Death is just part of life. Accept it and be peaceful. Be positive. However, their very life is based on fear of death. They are spending so much time working in order to get money so they can keep the body going by supplying food, giving it shelter, clothes to protect it from cold and so on. If death is ok, why are they spending so much time for protection of the body? Neither they can explain, why do we need to give up fear of death in the first place. If death is just a part of life, a peaceful process, where is this so-called illusion of “being afraid” of death coming from? How come we’re not born with such “detachment” from the very beginning of our lives?
Rāmeśvara: They say it is impossible for any man to know what will happen to him after death. It is not possible, so why think about it?
Prabhupāda: But after all, there is death. So why you are afraid of death? Why you do not die peacefully? Why you protest against death? Huh? If I want to kill you, will you peacefully die?
Prabhupāda: Why you scream? Why don't you want to die?
Rāmeśvara: Give up my life, my body?
Prabhupāda: Why you are so much attached to live? That is the question. Now die, "I'm dying, let me die." Why you protest? That means your nature is that you shall live. But you are being interrupted by death. That is the...
Morning Walk -- July 11, 1976, New York
Therefore if anyone says that he does not mind death, let him first of all explain why he is spending so much time protecting the body from discomfort. Why he just does not let go of all care for the body and die peacefully?
Bahulāśva: I was speaking with Professor Stahl about this point in Berkeley. And he also had no answers for this question. He thought that there was no such thing as eternal life.
Prabhupāda: Well, then, therefore you are a rascal. Then why you are struggling to live? Why, when you are sick, why do you call doctor, physician? Why this tendency? Why you are making research in medical science, opening hospital? Die. Why you are not willing to die? Then what is the answer? He says, "There is no such thing as eternity," but why you are struggling for eternity? Then what is the answer? Hmm?
Bahulāśva: Well, when we tell them your philosophy, Śrīla Prabhupāda, he became silent. The one... We were having a debate, and the one chairman of the debate, he then he turned to Mr. Stahl. He said, "So what do you think of this answer, Mr. Philosopher?" And Mr. Stahl just sat there very quiet. He couldn't say anything.
Prabhupāda: (chuckles) Everyone is trying to live. That is Darwin's theory also, "struggle for existence." So why you are trying to exist if there is no such thing?
Satsvarūpa: Well, they say, "We don't mind if we're not eternal, but we want to live as long as possible."
Prabhupāda: Why? That is my question. Why? Why this tendency?
Morning Walk -- June 21, 1975, Los Angeles
The tendency is here, because we’re eternal. Just like a fish taken out of water is trying to swim on the beach, a conditioned soul in the material existence is struggling to live for eternity.
Not only Arjuna, but every one of us is full of anxieties because of this material existence. Our very existence is in the atmosphere of nonexistence. Actually we are not meant to be threatened by nonexistence. Our existence is eternal. But somehow or other we are put into asat. Asat refers to that which does not exist.
MY HEAD, MY ARM, MY LEG
Dehī means the possessor of this body. I am not this body. If you ask me, "What..." Just like sometimes we ask the child, "What is this?" He will say, "It is my head." Similarly, if you ask me also, anyone, "What is this?" Anyone will say, "It is my head." Nobody will say, "I head." So if you scrutinizingly analyze all parts of the body, you'll say, "It is my head, my hand, my finger, my leg," but where is "I"? "My" is spoken when there is "I." But we have no information of the "I." We have simply information of "my." That is called ignorance.
Bhagavad-gītā 2.11 -- Edinburgh, July 16, 1972
One can perceive one’s self-identification and feel positively that he exists. He may not feel it very abruptly, but by using a little intelligence, he can feel that he is not the body. He can feel that the hand, the leg, the head, the hair and the limbs are all his bodily parts and parcels, but as such the hand, the leg, the head, etc., cannot be identified with his self. Therefore just by using intelligence he can distinguish and separate his self from other things that he sees.
SB 1972 2.2.35 purport
Puṣṭa-kṛṣṇa: Let's say if your hand is cut off, and it's lying there. Why is it that you are not conscious of that hand? (French)
Pṛthu Putra: Because the nerves are just cut.
Prabhupāda: No, no, if the body and the hand is the same, when it is cut, then it is lying down on the floor. So why there is no consciousness. His question is very intelligent.
Deshimaru: Because the hand is cut.
Prabhupāda: But it is hand. Why there is no consciousness?
Karandhara: It's part of the body. It should have its own consciousness if the body and consciousness is the same.
Prabhupāda: You say the consciousness and body is the same. So when it is cut, why there is no consciousness? Therefore the body is different from consciousness.
Room Conversation with Mr. Deshimaru -- June 13, 1974, Paris
INJECT THE MISSING CHEMICAL
Śrīla Prabhupāda. The gardeners supply water to the green trees, so why don't they supply water to this dead tree and make it green?
Dr. Singh. From experience they know that it will not grow.
Śrīla Prabhupāda. Then what is the element that is lacking? Scientists say that chemicals are the cause of life, but all the chemicals that were present when the tree was alive are still there. And these chemicals are still supporting the lives of many living entities such as microbes and insects. So they cannot say that life energy is lacking in the body of the tree. The life energy is there.
(Life Comes from life:The Individual Living Force)
This is a very powerful argument, when you think about it deeply. If you ask scientists what is the cause of life, if they’re not humble enough to admit that they don’t know yet, they will say something like: “It’s the reaction of such and such chemical with such and such chemical and because the chemical is no longer there, there’s no life anymore.” Just like so many people say, when challenged by the science of soul: “We’re not the body. That’s nice, but if we don’t feed the body, we will die!” But that’s foolishness. If the food or chemical was the cause of life, then we could go on living forever. Just before dying, we would simply take a sandwich and everything would be fine.
Prabhupāda: People die even if he has got many things to eat, still he dies. Can you check it? That does not depend on eating. There are many men. They are dying. Although they are...
Mr. Wadell: I am taking you too literally. Let us forget about that point. It's not worthwhile.
Prabhupāda: No, no, because you say, "They are dying, God is not supplying," that is a mistaken idea. God is supplying. God is supplying. He is dying natural death. It is not that because there is want of supply, therefore he is dying. That is a mistaken idea. Death is not dependent on supply of food. There are so many other causes.
Conversation with Mr. Wadell -- July 10, 1973, London
Now, someone may say: “It’s not just eating. It’s the sun, the tissues of the body, so many things.” But if that is the case, why can’t you just supply whatever is needed and make a dead person alive again?
There are so many arguments. Now, if you say "This body's dead because the blood has become white. Blood corpuscles, they are now become white instead of becoming red." So if that is the possible, so why don't you make the blood red? By some chemical injection or by adding some color, as soon as the blood becomes red... Why don't you do that? No. If you say "That was 'natural' redness. That natural redness cannot be brought," then your science is defective. And even if we accept that natural redness is the cause of living force, there are many natural redness in the flower, in the jewels. Why does it not move?
Bhagavad-gītā 2.17 -- Hyderabad, November 22, 1972
In other words, if the cause of life is matter, then prove it. Replace the blood, make it red again, replace the bones, replace the heart, replace the muscles, replace the skin, basically replace all the organs so that a person can live on. Although appearing as science and a fact, when we push for such a proof, the scientists are silent. They are either working on it, or they say that the science has not come to that stage yet. But if you’re not able to do it now, then the claim that life comes from matter is nothing but faith, which we tend to think science is not.
LIFE COMES FROM LIFE.
While the scientists are busy looking for evidence, if we simply look around, we see that life is coming from life. As opposed to irrational beliefs, this is a perceivable reality. A baby is conceived by living parents. An egg is produced by a living bird. A seed is given by a growing plant. Nowhere can we see a child being conceived by dead parents, seed being produced from a dead tree, etc. Such things belong to the world of imagination.
Śrīla Prabhupāda:We can prove that life arises from life. For example, a father begets a child. The father is living, and the child is living. But where is their proof that a father can be a dead stone? Where is their proof? We can easily prove that life begins from life. And the original life is Kṛṣṇa. That also can be proven. But what evidence exists that a child is born of stone? They cannot actually prove that life comes from matter. They are leaving that aside for the future. [Laughter.]
Life Comes From Life :The Missing Link
Dr. Singh. The scientists argue that before Darwin's biophysical type of evolution could take place, there had to be what they call prebiotic chemistry, or chemical evolution.
Śrīla Prabhupāda. Yes. And the term "chemical evolution" means that chemicals have an origin, and that origin is spirit, or life. A lemon produces citric acid, and our bodies produce many chemicals in urine, blood, and bodily secretions. This is proof that life produces chemicals, not that chemicals produce life.
Life Comes From Life: The Origin of the Interplanetary Gases
Even in our present experience we can know that nothing is generated from inert matter, but inert matter can be generated from the living entity. For instance, by contact with the living entity, the material body develops into a working machine. Men with a poor fund of knowledge mistake the bodily machinery to be the living being, but the fact is that the living being is the basis of the bodily machine. The bodily machine is useless as soon as the living spark is away from it.
SB 1972 introduction
SYMPTOMS OF CONSCIOUSNESS.
The body is subject to six kinds of transformations. It takes its birth in the womb of the mother's body, remains for some time, grows, produces some effects, gradually dwindles, and at last vanishes into oblivion.
The Vedic scriptures describe that although we cannot see the soul, we can still understand its presence in the body by certain symptoms. It is just like seeing smoke coming out of chimney in a distance. Although we cannot see it, by symptoms (the smoke) we are sure that there’s fire inside. Similarly, the soul’s presence in the body manifests as consciousness. And the presence of consciousness in turn can be verified by the above-mentioned symptoms. Let us discuss these in minute detail:
One of the common beliefs in the modern society is that life begins when material elements form a body, which later on develops consciousness. This is not a new theory and Lord Krsna mentions it in the Bhagavad-gita, while describing the nature of asuras, or those who are materialistically inclined:
They say that this world is unreal, that there is no foundation and that there is no God in control. It is produced of sex desire, and has no cause other than lust.
As explained previously, although they cannot prove it, materialistic scientists believe that life develops from a combination of father’s semina and the ovum of the mother. Many times, however, although parents do have an intercourse, there’s no pregnancy. The fact that such a situation (no pregnancy after intercourse) arises means that the intercourse cannot be the only cause of new life. The proponents of the life from matter theory at this point will assume that the living entity in the womb does not have a past. His consciousness simply arises all of a sudden by accident. This assumption however is lacking a solid reasoning when we carefully think about it. How is it possible that consciousness of the living entity at this point has no past? At every point in our life we have a past. When we are teens, we have a past, when we’re adults we have a past and we have a past in our old age also. Things do not appear just like that all of a sudden, but have causes. How can our perception be an exception? We live in a relative world, where everything has its cause. A skyscraper is caused by a group of workers, a computer is made in a computer factory, a garden is cultivated by a gardener. Conceptions of sudden magical appearances are perhaps alluring for a child-like mind, but in reality have very little to do with science.
Without explaining how consciousness can appear just like that, out of nowhere, the scientists’ observation of the life phenomenon remains incomplete. The real scientist should not be satisfied with superficial information, but should try to get to the root of the problem.
Dr. Singh. Śrīla Prabhupāda, the idea of chemical evolution came from a Russian biologist in 1920. He demonstrated that before biochemical evolution, the earth's atmosphere was in a state of reduction. In other words, it was mostly full of hydrogen, with very little oxygen. Then, in due course, the sun's radiation caused these hydrogen molecules to form into different chemicals.
Śrīla Prabhupāda. This is a side study. First of all, where did the hydrogen come from? The scientists simply study the middle of the process; they do not study the origin. We must know the beginning. There is an airplane. [indicates an airplane appearing on the horizon.] Would you say the origin of that machine is the sea? A foolish person might say that all of a sudden a light appeared in the sea, and that's how the airplane was created. But is that a scientific explanation? The scientists' explanations are similar. They say, "This existed, and then all of a sudden, by chance, that occurred." This is not science. Science means to explain the original cause.
Life Comes From Life: Giving Credit to the Primal Creator
If the living entity has no past, how is it possible that there are so many varieties of circumstances where living entities are born into? Just consider that nowhere in the world we can find two exactly looking bodies. How come?
So these things are taking place daily within the womb of the mother—how the child is developing from the day of union of the father and the mother, and, on the first day, it is like a pealike form by the semina of father and mother, and then everything develops. Different types of body, different types of intelligence, different types of brain—how it takes place? If it is simply material, then all children would have come out of the same quality. But it does not so come. Every child, baby born, has got everything separate from the others. How subtle laws of nature is working, we can just imagine. It is not possible to understand by our these material senses even this material formation of the body, what to speak of spiritual understanding.
Bombay, January 6, 1975
For example someone is born in a very rich family, but someone is born poor. To say this is just an accident is not actually scientific. It is simply an excuse for not being able to answer. Just like in the past, the fanatical religionists would say: God did it, don‘t question. The scientists today say: It’s an accident. No one knows. If such a question cannot be answered though, the life comes from matter theory remains incomplete and a sensible man should not blindly accept it.
Lord Krsna in the Bhagavad-gita however is giving a more intricate explanation of the subject matter. He says:
Never was there a time when I did not exist, nor you, nor all these kings; nor in the future shall any of us cease to be.
For the soul there is never birth nor death. Nor, having once been, does he ever cease to be. He is unborn, eternal, ever-existing, undying and primeval. He is not slain when the body is slain.
Srila Prabhupada elaborates in the purport on this verse:
The body is subject to six kinds of transformations. It takes its birth in the womb of the mother's body, remains for some time, grows, produces some effects, gradually dwindles, and at last vanishes into oblivion. The soul, however, does not go through such changes. The soul is not born, but, because he takes on a material body, the body takes its birth. The soul does not take birth there, and the soul does not die. Anything which has birth also has death. And because the soul has no birth, he therefore has no past, present or future. He is eternal, ever-existing, and primeval—that is, there is no trace in history of his coming into being. Under the impression of the body, we seek the history of birth, etc., of the soul. The soul does not at any time become old, as the body does. The so-called old man, therefore, feels himself to be in the same spirit as in his childhood or youth. The changes of the body do not affect the soul.
Bg 2.20 purport
So birth applies only to the material body, not to the eternal soul. It is the symptom of the soul’s presence in the body. The Vedic literature explains that unless the spirit soul takes shelter of the father’s semina, it is not possible for body to develop. It is the life of the soul, which starts the whole process of growth and the body simply develops on the soul. The placement of the soul into a particular womb depends on the living entity’s previous karma, or activities and it is arranged under the supervision of the Supreme Lord.
Srimad Bhagavatam confirms this:
śrī bhagavān uvāca
striyāḥ praviṣṭa udaraṁ
The Personality of Godhead said: Under the supervision of the Supreme Lord and according to the result of his work, the living entity, the soul, is made to enter into the womb of a woman through the particle of male semina to assume a particular type of body.
(SB 3.31.1 first edition)
A man dies after it has been decided what form of body he will have in the next life. Higher authorities, not the living entity himself, make this decision. According to our activities in this life, we either rise or sink. This life is a preparation for the next life.
Due to our limited experience in the material world, where everything we see is temporary, we have falsely developed a belief that the living entity itself must have a beginning and end just like everything else. But it does not.
Śrīla Prabhupāda. We have no quarrel with the chemists if they begin from life, but unfortunately they say that everything begins from darkness—dead matter. That is what we object to. We say, "Begin from life," and they say, "No, begin from matter—darkness." The reason they are in darkness is simple: if one goes from darkness to light, he thinks that darkness is the beginning. Suppose you have been in darkness all your life, and now you suddenly come into the light. You will think, "Oh, light has come from darkness." Actually, darkness occurs when light becomes dim. Darkness does not produce light.
Dr. Singh. Then darkness is dependent on light?
Śrīla Prabhupāda. Yes. Or in other words, in the light there is no darkness. When the light is dim—then we experience darkness. Similarly, when our spiritual consciousness, or Kṛṣṇa consciousness, is dim, our consciousness is material. In the morning we awaken, and at the end of the day we become tired and go to sleep. When life is somehow or other interrupted, we sleep. We sleep at night, and when we get up in the morning we understand that our wakefulness, or "life," has not come into existence from the sleepy condition. I was alive even while I slept, and on awakening I am still alive. This should be clearly understood. A baby comes from the womb of his mother. He thinks that his life has begun from the day he comes out of the womb. But that is not a fact. Actually, he is eternal. He constructed his material body within the womb of his mother while he was unconscious, and as soon as his bodily features were sufficiently developed, he came out of the womb and again to consciousness.
Dr. Singh. And he again falls asleep at death.
Śrīla Prabhupāda. Yes. That is described in Bhagavad-gītā (8.19):
bhūta-grāmaḥ sa evāyaṁ
bhūtvā bhūtvā pralīyate
rātry-āgame 'vaśaḥ pārtha
"Again and again the day comes, and this host of beings is active, and again night falls, O Pārtha, and they are helplessly dissolved."
Life Comes From Life "Everything Is One" Is Nonsense
The soul actually creates an inconceivable energy in the body. It is inconceivable to us, because we cannot explain it through any material law. Nothing material can grow. This inconceivable power makes our body grow though. As we already mentioned, if the cause of growth was simply material elements, why not supply them to the dead body and make it grow again? But that’s not possible.
There cannot be anything material without spiritual energy. What is this body? How this body came into existence? Because the spiritual energy, the soul, is there. A dead child born, it will not grow because the spiritual energy is not there.
Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 1.7.28-29 -- Vṛndāvana, September 25, 1976
Another symptom of consciousness in the body is the sustenance. This is also acintya-sakti, or inconceivable energy manifested. The body is just like a car. So long a car belongs to a proprietor, he takes nice care of it. He washes it, changes tires when it’s needed, etc. As soon as the owner buys a new car and dumps the old one, the old car slowly deteriorates. Just as a car’s maintenance is not possible without a person who maintains it, neither our body can be sustained without the presence of the spirit soul. It is due to the presence of the spirit soul all the digestion is working.
There are many mystic powers in the living entities. The cow eats grass and produces milk. Everyone knows this, but can you take some grass and produce milk? Can you? Therefore there is mystic power within the cow. As soon as the cow eats grass, she can transform it into milk. Men and women are basically the same, but as a man you cannot eat food and produce milk, although a woman can. These are mystic powers.
Dr. Singh. Scientists would say that there are different enzymes or chemicals inside different types of bodies and that these account for the cow's producing milk.
Śrīla Prabhupāda. Yes, but who produced those enzymes and that arrangement? That was done by mystic power. You cannot make these enzymes or that arrangement. You cannot produce milk from dry grass in your laboratory. Within your body, by mystic power, you can transform food into blood and tissue, but in your laboratory, without mystic power, you cannot even transform grass into milk. Therefore you must accept the existence of mystic power.
Life Comes From Life: Chemicals from Mystic Power
Men produce children, animals cubs, seeds flowers. This is because they are alive. As soon as we fry the seed and thus kill the life in it, there will be no flower. Neither can we see dead couples conceiving children. Life comes from life.
Dr. Singh. One of the popular questions that arises when we start studying biology is "What is the difference between a living organism and that which is not living?" The textbooks say that the chief characteristics that distinguish the two are that a living being can move and reproduce, whereas dead matter can do neither. But the books never talk about the nature of the soul or about the consciousness of the living entity.
Śrīla Prabhupāda. But consciousness is the primary indication that life is present. Only because of consciousness can a living being move and reproduce.
Life Comes From Life: The Difference Between the Living and the Nonliving
Dwindling, or ageing means that the soul will soon leave that particular body. If there was no soul in the body, there would be no ageing.
My body is changing, but I am not changing. For example, I am now an old man. Sometimes I think, "Oh, I used to jump and play, but now I cannot jump because my body has changed." I want to jump, but I cannot do it. That jumping propensity is eternal, but because of my old body I cannot do it.
Life Comes From Life: Changing Bodies
Matter is eternal and this has been confirmed by materialistic scientists, who call it the law of preservation of energy. When we die, the elements which formed our body, namely water, earth, fire, air and ether do not disappear. They just transform into something else. Matter temporarily manifests in a particular form when the active principle enters. Our body manifests when the soul enters and it is dismantled as soon as the soul leaves, but the body by itself is always dead(insentient). The fact that the body dies and it is not possible to bring it back to life is a proof that the soul, or the active principle of life in the body, has left.
If you decorate a dead body, it may be very fanciful to the people, that "This dead body is decorated with costly garments and flowers and all things." So, but the dead body is dead. It is not enjoying. You can be complacent that "My father, the body of my father or my relative, is decorated so nicely." But factually, if you study scrutinizingly, what is the benefit out of this? What is the benefit? Dead body decoration? But people do that. They are accustomed to do that.
So similarly, this body is dead. That's a fact. It is dead from the very beginning. Because it is matter. Matter is always dead. So this body made of matter, bhūmir āpo 'nalo vāyuḥ [Bg. 7.4]—earth, water, fire, air. This external body is dead, but it is living on account of that small spark of spirit.
Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 1.15.21 -- Los Angeles, December 1, 1973
DREAM BODY VERSUS AWAKENED BODY
Many of us ask though: “If reincarnation is a reality, why don’t I remember my previous life?” And this is true. Besides some exceptional cases like a boy on Tv who speaks 100 foreign languages and knows how to drive an airplane at the same time, most of us do not have any memory whatsoever about anything which might have happened before we were born. If you ask yourself, what you did exactly at this particular time 1 year ago, it will be very hard to remember, what to speak of the last life?
To answer this dilemma, we can say, that the fact we do not remember an event from the past does not necessarily mean that it never happened. For example your parents remember you as a tiny child, but you have forgotten all about it. That doesn’t mean you did not have a childhood. Similarly, we might have forgotten our previous life, but that doesn’t necessarily prove anything.
Yes, you might say that from your childhood you can remember at least a few things, but there are people who got into a trauma or a similar condition where they suffered a complete memory loss and they don’t remember anything. So this is not an argument.
We are actually having an experience of complete forgetfulness of our present body on daily basis. It’s called sleep.
One point in this connection is that at night when I am dreaming I forget this body. This body, in dream, I am seeing that I have gone in a different place, talking with different men, and my position is different. But at that time I don't remember that actually my body is lying on the bed in the apartment where I have come. But we don't remember this body. It is everyone's experience. Similarly, when you come again, awakening stage in the morning after getting up from the bed, I forget all the bodies I created in my dream. So which one is correct? This is correct? This body's correct, or that body's correct? Because at night I forget this body, and in daytime I forget the other dreaming body. So both of them not correct. It is simply hallucination. But I am correct because I see at night, I see in daytime. So I am eternal, the body is not eternal. This is the fact. Antavanta ime dehā nityasyoktāḥ śarīriṇaḥ [Bg. 2.18]. Śarīriṇaḥ, the owner of the body, is eternal, but not the body.
Bhagavad-gītā 2.28 -- London, August 30, 1973
When the body is annihilated, the soul and consciousness is not annihilated. Just like when we sleep, our consciousness works in a different body, subtle body: mind, intelligence and ego. That we have got experience every night. We sleep on our bed, but my consciousness goes to other country or other place, and work in a different way. Again, when at the end of the dream we come back to this body, gross body. So death means when the consciousness does not come back again to this gross body and enters another gross body. This period is called death.
Bhagavad-gītā 2.13 -- Public Lecture With German Translation Throughout -- Hamburg, September 10, 1969
What is actually happening every night is that the soul temporarily leaves the gross body in its subtle body, which serves as a container. Then in the morning it comes back and we revive our memory. So, just like in sleeping condition when we forget our present gross body, at death we forget it but completely. As long as we’re not self-realized, we must identify either with the gross body, the subtle body in a dream, or the body we’ll have in our next life.
One can experience the distinction between the subtle and gross bodies even daily; in a dream, one's gross body is lying on the bed while the subtle body carries the soul, the living entity, to another atmosphere. But because the gross body has to be continued, the subtle body comes back and settles in the present gross body. Therefore one has to become free from the subtle body also. This freedom is known as mukta-liṅga.
Suppose my father dies, if I have got clear understanding that "My father has not died. He has changed the body. He has accepted another body." That is the fact. Just like in our sleeping state, dreaming state, my body is lying on the bed, but in dream I create another body and go, say, thousand miles away in a different place. As you have got daily experience, similarly, the gross body being stopped, I, as spirit soul, I do not stop. I work. My mind carries me. My mind is active, my intelligence is active. People do not know that there is another subtle body made of mind, intelligence and ego. That carries me to another gross body. That is called transmigration of the soul.
Bhagavad-gītā 2.15 -- Hyderabad, November 21, 1972
Hanumān: In your books you say that the world is like a dream.
Prabhupāda: Yes, it is dream.
Hanumān: How is it a dream?
Prabhupāda: Dream, just like last night you had some dream.
Prabhupāda: Well, it has no value. It is gone. And again, this night, when you'll sleep, you'll forget all these things. You'll dream. You don't remember during night, when you are dreaming, that "I have got my house, I have got my wife I have..." You all forget. So it is dream.
Hanumān: It is true or is not true?
Prabhupāda: No, no. Where is true? You forget at night. Do you remember when you sleep that you have got your wife and you are sleeping on bed? You have gone some three thousand miles away and seeing something else. Do you remember that you have got a place to reside?
Prabhupāda: So this is dream at night. And night dream, what you saw at night, that is now dream. So both of them dream. You are simply visitor. That's all. You are seeing this dream and that dream. You are, you are fact, but what you are seeing, that is dream.
Hanumān: But I have the impression that "This is true, and my dream is not true." What is the dif...?
Prabhupāda: No, no. Everything is untrue. How it is true? If it is true, why you forget at night? Why you forget? If it is true. Do you remember at night?
Hanumān: No, I don't remember.
Prabhupāda: Then? How it is true? As you don't remember the dreams which you saw last night..., That, therefore we say "dream." Similarly this thing, because you forget at night, this is also dream.
Hanumān: But I have...
Prabhupāda: This is day-dream, that is night-dream. That's all.
Bahulāśva: Jaya. Day-dream and night-dream. And the night-dream, then you perceive that as being real.
Bahulāśva: When you dream at night, then you think that is real.
Prabhupāda: Yes. That is real. You cry... It is dream, but you are crying, "There is tiger, tiger, tiger!" Where is tiger? But you are seeing it is fact, tiger. "I am being killed by a tiger." But where is tiger. [break] ...in dream you are embracing some beautiful girl. Where is that beautiful girl? But actually this is happening.
Morning Walk -- January 9, 1974, Los Angeles
DISSATISFACTION WITH MATERIAL PLEASURE
Another example of how we are not this body is our feeling of dissatisfaction with bodily enjoyment. Whatever pleasure you take in this world is temporary, but because we are eternal, we are hankering after eternal pleasure. Just like, for example, you take nice food. You feel temporary satisfaction, but as soon as the pleasurable feeling is gone, again you are looking for another source of enjoyment –you want to take a nap, chat with a friend on a phone, check out how another person likes your profile pic on Facebook, etc. In other words your hankering after pleasure is not over simply because you have satisfied your bodily need of hunger. The hankering is going on perpetually and that’s called life –always trying to enjoy something. The eternal hankering within us for pleasure is of the soul.
Real enjoyment is when I am free from this embodiment of five elements, gross elements, and three subtle elements. I have entered into this, and the action and reaction of these five gross elements, three subtle elements, I am enjoying. Actually, not enjoying. This is called māyā. There is no enjoyment. It is enjoyment in the mind. The mind is also material creation. Real enjoyment is beyond these senses. Sukham ātyantikaṁ yat tad atīndriya-grāhyam [Bg. 6.21]. That is stated in the Bhagavad-gītā: sukham ātyantikaṁ yat tat. The real happiness is not by these gross senses. By transcendental senses, we can enjoy sukham āt..., real happiness. Therefore, because we are not in that platform of enjoying the transcendental senses, we are trying to enjoy by these gross senses, therefore we are becoming baffled and frustrated. This is the cause of frustration. Because that is not the platform of enjoyment.
Sukham ātyantikaṁ yat tad atīndriya-grā... Atīndriya. Atīndriya means "beyond this." It is covered. Covered senses, you cannot enjoy. Suppose I cover your tongue with some cloth and then I give you one rasagullā. Can you taste it? What you'll taste? There are so many things. If you cover the senses, the real senses, and try to enjoy with that covering, what you'll enjoy? That is not enjoyment.
Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 1.2.33 -- Vṛndāvana, November 12, 1972
yathā prakāśayaty ekaḥ
kṛtsnaṁ lokam imaṁ raviḥ
kṣetraṁ kṣetrī tathā kṛtsnaṁ
O son of Bharata, as the sun alone illuminates all this universe, so does the living entity, one within the body, illuminate the entire body by consciousness.
There are various theories regarding consciousness. Here in Bhagavad-gītā the example of the sun and the sunshine is given. As the sun is situated in one place, but is illuminating the whole universe, so a small particle of spirit soul, although situated in the heart of this body, is illuminating the whole body by consciousness.
Bg 13.34 purport
The soul, according to the Vedic scriptures, is situated in the heart. From heart, blood is generated and blood spreads the consciousness all over the body. If I block the vein on my wrist, my hand becomes numb. So when the heart stops beating, the blood no longer distributes consciousness over the body and there’s death, or in other words, the body becomes numb forever.
According to the Muṇḍaka Upaniṣad, this atomic soul is situated in the heart of every living entity, and because the measurement of the atomic soul is beyond the power of appreciation of the material scientists, some of them assert foolishly that there is no soul. The individual atomic soul is definitely there in the heart along with the Supersoul, and thus all the energies of bodily movement are emanating from this part of the body. The corpuscles which carry the oxygen from the lungs gather energy from the soul. When the soul passes away from this position, activity of the blood, generating fusion, ceases. Medical science accepts the importance of the red corpuscles, but it cannot ascertain that the source of the energy is the soul. Medical science, however, does admit that the heart is the seat of all energies of the body.
Guest (3) (Indian man): Where is soul?
Jagad-guru: He is asking where is the soul.
Prabhupāda: Can you see? So soul is within the heart. When the soul goes away you cannot explain what happened. You say, "heart failure." So why the heart failure? The nerves and the bones and the muscle and the blood, everything is there, and still, you say that "It stopped. Heart failure." So just like machine is running but somehow or other stopped, but you do not know what is the cause of stopping. The cause is that the heart, when it goes away, then the machine stops.
Morning Walk -- December 5, 1976, Hyderabad
CONSERVATION OF ENERGY
Devotee (2): Actually by the law of conservation of energy reincarnation can be explained.
Devotee (2): By their own law.
Hṛdayānanda: Why shouldn't consciousness also be conserved?
Devotee (2): Consciousness is also energy.
Prabhupāda: Yes. Energy of the soul.
December 4, 1973, Los Angeles
HOW COME THE WORD ETERNITY EXISTS?
Bahulāśva: This Professor Stahl, he was saying that his experience is that everything is changing and temporary. So therefore he was thinking that that is the nature of all things, that they are temporary.
Prabhupāda: Temporary, this (indistinct). Why this "temporary" word has come into existence unless there is the opposite, "eternal"? Why do you use this word, "temporary"? When you say, "It is fraud," and there must be something as honesty. Otherwise, why this "fraud" has come? Hm? We say, "This is light"—means there is something as darkness. This is relative world. The Professor Einstein said relativity. This is relative: as soon as there is darkness, there must be light. Otherwise, how you understand light and darkness? So unless there is eternity, how do you bring this word, "temporary"? What is their answer?
Bahulāśva: They have no answer.
Prabhupāda: Unless there is father, there is no meaning of the word son. Unless there is husband, there is no meaning of the word wife. This is the relative world, and they are accepting this relativity. So how they can deny? As soon as you "temporary" say, you must accept there is eternity.
Morning Walk -- June 21, 1975, Los Angeles
ARE YOU A COMBINATION OF STOOL, BONES AND MUSCLES?
If you’re still doubtful about the existence of the soul, then just ask yourself: am I a bag of stool, bones, marrow, blood and similar obnoxious things? Because that’s what the body is under the surface. We might see a beautiful person walking down the street, but in reality it’s just urine, stool, muscles, bones, intestines very nicely packaged by what we call “skin”.
Yasyātma-buddhiḥ kuṇape tri-dhātuke. This bag of bones and flesh and blood and urine and stool... This is the bag. This is body. What is this body? You dissect this body. You will find these things. You will find blood, muscles, bones, urine, stool and so many other things. Does it mean that such a great intelligent man is combination of urine, stool, blood, bone? So why don't you create another intelligent man with these ingredients?
Bhagavad-gītā 13.3 -- Hyderabad, April 19, 1974
IT IS THE SAME BODY, IT IS ONLY GROWING
Along with arguments pro existence of the soul, there are many against it. A very frequent argument against the transmigration is that we’re actually not changing different bodies, but it is one body, which simply grows. Srila Prabhupada in this connection explains:
Generally, people who are attached to the bodily conception of life are so absorbed in materialism that it is almost impossible for them to understand that there is a transcendental body which is imperishable, full of knowledge and eternally blissful.
Bg. 4.10 purport
But let’s bring the example of a movie again. Movie actually doesn’t move. It’s just series of photographs projected at high speed on the screen. Because the movie is so swift, we do not perceive the images separately anymore, but our attention is focused on the fluent movement they create altogether. In reality, there's no movement. Every image of the movie is still. The movement is an illusion, but because the technology is so wonderful, we become so captivated when we watch a movie in a theatre that sometimes we laugh, sigh, or even scream while watching it. Similarly, people, who are absorbed in bodily platform, have a difficulty to perceive the different forms in which the living force is passing through throughout his/her lifetime and thus mistake the various bodily forms in time as a whole and not as separate from each other. However when we say: "growing", "changes", "ages", “develops” etc. automatically we are supporting the differentiation. If it's the same body, it should be identical in every single aspect. Such is the definition of the word “same”. As soon as there's just a little tiny difference, it is a different bod.
Guru-gaurāṅga: They also say that it is not... It is the same body, more or less...
Prabhupāda: Same body...
Guru-gaurāṅga: But it is just developed, but it is not a different body.
Prabhupāda: No. Developed means different body. Development means different body. They cannot say it is not different body. Then if it is not different, then go to childhood again.
June 8, 1974, Geneva
It might be similar, but to say that the old man’s body is the same as the body we had in our childhood is simply a lack of sanity. If we wet our pants in our childhood people say it’s cute. We can hardly expect such reaction from people around us if we wet our pants now though. This is the point. And that body is changing every moment by the actions and reactions of the different cells is admitted even by modern medical science.
Dr. Singh. Medical science says that all the bodily cells are replaced every seven years.
Śrīla Prabhupāda. No, not every seven years—every second. Every second, the blood corpuscles are changing. Is it not so?
Dr. Singh. Yes.
Śrīla Prabhupāda. And as soon as the blood corpuscles change, you change your body.
Life Comes from Life
The Tenth Morning Walk:
May 14, 1973
I think there is no difficulty to understand this simple process. Now, the soul is there, and the body's transforming every moment, every moment, imperceptibly. Just like if you have seen some, some your friend's child small, and after five years, you go to that friend's house and see the child: "Oh, you have grown so big? You have grown so big." But the father, mother cannot see. Because they are seeing daily, they do not see that "How my child is growing, daily," but a man who comes all of a sudden after five years, he says, "Oh, the child is grown up."
New York, March 11, 1966
Brahmānanda: Is a person reborn in the same body?
Prabhupāda: Yes, you are reborn every moment. You were like this child sometime. Is this body the same? You think your body is the same when you were a child like that, lying down on the lap of you mother? Is the same body?
Bernard Manischewitz: No, my body is different from a child's body.
Prabhupāda: Yes. So different body means you are changing body every moment, imperceptibly. That is the medical science.
Bernard Manischewitz: Can it sometimes be perceptibly? Can a person...?
Prabhupāda: Perceptibly we can understand that the body is being changed so long you are within this body. Because if the person, the soul, is not in the body, the body does not change. Body changes so long the soul is there. And as soon as the soul goes out of the body, there is no more change. Is it not perceptible?
Bernard Manischewitz: If the soul goes out of the body...
Prabhupāda: There is no more change. It remains the same. Same status. Why? That means so long the soul is there, changes take place.
with Bernard Manischewitz
July 13, 1975, Philadelphia
IF IT'S A DIFFERENT BODY, WHY THE RESEMBLANCE?
Some people also argue that the body is the same because there is a resemblance with my child body, neither do I change my race, gender. In other words, there’s continuity and this continuity preserves the consciousness of us throughout the life, whereas after death, that continuity might cease to be.
Devotee: It is explained in Bhagavad-gītā that one change body during the lifetime, but we see that a black man never becomes white, or that there is a constant, there is something constant within the body though it changes. What is it? How come this is, changes body but still we can recognize someone from his youth to his old age.
Prabhupāda: So when you further advance you'll find there is no distinction between black and white. Just like a flower is coming out, there are many colors. So it is coming from the same source. As such there is no such difference, but to make it beautiful there are so many colors. In the sunshine there are seven colors, and from that seven colors, multicolors are coming out, origin the one color white, and then so many colors coming.
Bhagavad-gītā 4.24 -- August 4, 1976, New Mayapur (French farm)
A famous singer Michael Jackson for example changed from a black to a white person thanks to surgeons. Also, there are transsexuals -people who change their gender from man to woman or from woman to man, but no matter how they change their body, their consciousness is not finished. They do not die by changing their gender.
It is said that by modern medical treatment a male can be transformed into a female, and a female into a male. The body, however, has no connection with the soul. The body can be changed, either in this life or the next. Therefore, one who has knowledge of the soul and how the soul transmigrates from one body to another does not pay attention to the body, which is nothing but a covering dress. Paṇḍitāḥ sama-darśinaḥ [Bg. 5.18]. Such a person sees the soul, which is part and parcel of the Supreme Lord. Therefore he is a sama-darśi, a learned person.
SB 9.1.33 changed
It is the soul upon which the body grows. The soul is the same in the white Michael Jackson as it is in the black Michael Jackson. And as soon as the soul leaves the body, it is no longer changing. So whether it’s white or black doesn’t really make a difference. The successful yoga practitioner is able to perceive all living entities on equal spiritual platform due to his elevated consciousness.
The humble sage, by virtue of true knowledge, sees with equal vision a learned and gentle brāhmaṇa, a cow, an elephant, a dog and a dog-eater [outcaste] .
I AM NOT THE SAME EITHER.
Sometimes people argue, that the “I” changes also. They say that, for example at one point, when they were little children, they thought the world to be an idyllic place, where there’s no danger and every one lives in peace and harmony. However, as they grew up and started to see that this world is quite a horrible place with wars, bombs, hunger, murderers, etc. it has changed them from being naive to being a realist or even at some cases pessimist. We have experiences and experiences change us. We develop as personalities, we grow wiser, or we grow more selfish, or more paranoid, etc. Such statements however are only due to misidentification of the “I” with yet another material element, what we call, a “subtle” body.
In Bhagavad-gītā (7.4-5) it is stated that the eight elements earth, water, fire, air, sky, mind, intelligence and false ego are all products of the Lord's inferior energy, whereas the living entities, who are seen to utilize the inferior energy, originally belong to the superior energy, the internal potency of the Lord. The eight inferior energies work grossly and subtly, whereas the superior energy works as the central generating force. This is experienced in the human body. The gross elements, namely, earth, etc., form the external gross body and are like a coat, whereas the subtle mind and false ego act like the inner clothing of the body.
SB 3.6.9 purport
Now, if you simply take time and analyze this subtle body minutely element by element, you will be able to see how the self is independent from it:
Its function is to accept and reject. Although we try to make it concentrated, the mind is focused but sometimes it’s not. Because we are observing the focused/unfocused mind, we are not the mind. There is an obvious distinction between the observer of the mind and the observed.
Devotee: ... the scientists are thinking now that man is his mind. They were talking about the brain.
Devotee: That if man only knew his mind he would know himself. What is actually the brain? And the mind?
Prabhupāda: Mind, that is also matter, material.
Devotee: They're saying that the mind or the brain is the source of man's consciousness.
Prabhupāda: No. Brain is the instrument for expressing consciousness. Otherwise, when the man is dead, why the brain does not work? Do you follow?
Prabhupāda: Why the brain work stops?
Morning Walk -- January 15, 1974, Hawaii
Srila Prabhupada defines intelligence as “the power of analyzing things in proper perspective.” In other words, that which helps us to control the mind is the intelligence. By intelligence, we conclude: “Let’s focus the mind now on the Krsna form, because it will give us unlimited pleasure”. But, also we have a choice of misusing our intelligence. Just like the modern science develops an atom bomb. It undoubtedly requires a high degree of intelligence to invent it, but the aim is fighting, an activity, which is under the influence of bodily misidentification. We have a choice between proper usage and improper usage of our intelligence, therefore we are distinct from the intelligence.
Intelligence is the immediate next-door neighbor of the spirit soul. Lusty intelligence influences the spirit soul to acquire the false ego and identify itself with matter, and thus with the mind and senses. The spirit soul becomes addicted to enjoying the material senses and mistakes this as true happiness.
Bg 3.40 purport
Also, intelligence changes. In our childhood, the intelligence is not very much developed. In the adulthood it develops more. Although the intelligence changes, I, the observer of the change remain.
Prabhupāda: Everyone has got mind, but the mind acts under intelligence. But the intelligence of different living entities are different. Similarly mind is also different. A dog's intelligence is not equal to the intelligence of the human being. A dog's mind is not equal to the human being's mind. So actually the soul, being put under different types of body using different types of intelligence, and different some mental, psychic action, thinking, feeling, willing.
Discussions on St. Augustine
In the conditioned existence we think we are the body: man, woman, ugly, beautiful, Canadian, Russian, Chinese and we use our mind and intelligence under these false bodily designations. If I think I’m Canadian, then I become very proud of my country Canada and work for the welfare of all Canadians. People also tend to think they belong to a particular religious designation, and they become very proud of belonging to this sect or that sect, even they might not follow the injunctions written in their particular scripture. This is false ego. But we are not the body and that which makes us think we are is also not us.
False ego means accepting this body as oneself. When one understands that he is not his body and is spirit soul, that is real ego. Ego is there. False ego is condemned, but not real ego. In the Vedic literature, it is said: ahaṁ brahmāsmi. I am Brahman, I am spirit. This "I am," the sense of self, also exists in the liberated stage of self-realization. This sense of "I am" is ego, but when the sense of "I am" is applied to this false body, it is false ego. When the sense of self is applied to reality, that is real ego. There are some philosophers who say we should give up our ego, but we cannot give up our ego because ego means identity. We ought, of course, to give up the false identification with the body.
Bg 13.8-12 purport
THE "MY HEAD", "MY ARM", "MY LEG" ARGUMENT IS JUST SEMANTICS; YOU MIGHT AS WELL SAY THE SOUL
If there’s so many “my”, there must be a possessor. How we call the possessor is true, simply question of semantics, but the fact is that there is someone who possesses and that possessor is you.
SYMPTOMS OF CONSCIOUSNESS (BIRTH, DEATH, GROWTH, MULTIPLYING CANBEOBSERVED IN A COMPUTER VIRUS. IS IT ALIVE?
A few years ago, we had an internet discussion with a person, who claimed that a computer virus also takes birth when you accidentally download it. It “takes birth” in your computer and then “lives”, “multiplies” and finally “dies” by the workings of an anti virus. Foolish people like that do not understand that a computer virus does not take birth on its own. It has to be downloaded and triggered by a living person. That person can activate it right away, but he might as well wait for some time and activate it later. The birth of a living being cannot be checked like that according to one’s whims. Therefore the virus is not living. I can delete the virus, download it again and again, delete it, download it as much as I can, it will do the same thing over and over, but can you kill a baby and then make it alive again? No. Why?
BUT THE HAIR GROWS SOMETIMES ON A DEAD BODY TOO! IT IS NOT A SYMPTOM OF THE SOUL.
Revatīnandana: But they say hair continues to come out sometimes from dead bodies.
Śyāmasundara: I think you said once ... You answered that sometimes the fan turns a little bit after the plug.
Revatīnandana: Yes. Mechanism, bodily mechanism has pulled the plug. That's what I said. Some material mechanism is still functioning like a machine.
Prabhupāda: It has stopped, but maybe just like the fan is stopped, but still moving. Like that.
Room Conversation -- August 17, 1971, London
PASSING TO ANOTHER BODY AFTER DEATH IS A QUESTION OF FAITH
This is based on assumption that although the body changes throughout our life and yet we, the consciousness do not, there’s no continuation of the consciousness when the body disintegrates. People who assume like this often ask for a proof that the consciousness continues after death. We do have a nice proof that the consciousness is present when we see the symptoms of consciousness in a body in front of us, but what will prove that the consciousness is still going on after the soul leaves the body and the symptoms can no longer be perceived by our senses?
As we have mentioned in the introduction, in the example of seeing the sun as a yellow disc, our sensual perception is actually imperfect. This brings us to a question of what avail is to us an evidence acquired through such imperfect blunt senses then? There is a chance that even if the evidence was bona fide, we would not be able to perceive it.
Dr. Singh. Opponents will say that according to their observation, the nature of consciousness is that it lasts for only one body.
Śrīla Prabhupāda. That is foolishness. In Bhagavad-gītā (2.13) Kṛṣṇa explains:
dehino 'smin yathā dehe
kaumāraṁ yauvanaṁ jarā
dhīras tatra na muhyati
"As the embodied soul continually passes, in this body, from boyhood to youth to old age, the soul similarly passes into another body at death. The self-realized soul is not bewildered by such a change." Just as this body is always changing (as I can see in my daily experience), there is a similar change at the time of death.
Dr. Singh. But according to the scientists, we cannot actually observe this last change.
Śrīla Prabhupāda. Their eyes are so imperfect that they cannot observe many, many things. Their ignorance does not make the Bhagavad-gītā unscientific. Why don't the scientists admit the imperfection of their senses? They must first admit the imperfection of their senses. Their seeing power does not determine what is and what is not science. Dogs cannot understand the laws of nature. Does that mean the laws of nature don't exist?
Dr. Singh. Well, the scientists admit that argument, but they say the way to become perfect is through objective information and experience.
Śrīla Prabhupāda. No. That is not the way to become perfect. No one can become perfect through imperfect thinking, and our thinking must be imperfect because our senses and minds are imperfect.
Life Comes from Life
The Tenth Morning Walk:
May 14, 1973
Once there was a frog in a well, and when a friend informed him of the existence of the Atlantic Ocean, he asked the friend, "Oh, what is this Atlantic Ocean?"
"It is a vast body of water," his friend replied.
"How vast? Is it twice the size of this well?"
"Oh, no-much, much larger," his friend replied.
"How much larger? Ten times the size?" In this way, the frog went on calculating. But what is the possibility or ever understanding the vastness of the great ocean in this way? Our faculties, our experience, and our powers of speculation are always limited. The speculations of the scientists only give rise to such frog philosophy.
Life on Other Planets
The scientists however accept the existence of matter. Therefore it should not be a problem to accept that the nature of matter is that it deteriorates. Whatever we see around us will be finished at one point: our house, our clothes, the trees growing outside, etc. The body is made of matter and therefore it cannot work forever either.
Just like in your childhood you had a small body. That is no longer existing. That means you have changed your body. Similarly, you'll have to change this body. When this body will not work anymore... Because it is material. Every material things deteriorate and it becomes useless at certain length of time. Any machine, any clock... Therefore it has been taken as dress: vāsāṁsi jīrṇāni yathā vihāya [Bg. 2.22].
However, according to the Vedas, the living entity is eternal. Although our childhood body is gone, we have not died. Therefore the logical conclusion is that our consciousness must continue even after death. How, where, in what type of body that we cannot perceive through our imperfect senses directly. That is impossible. Still, it is possible to understand its existence by the process of hearing from the perfect source.
Anything which is beyond the scope of experience by our imperfect senses can be realized fully by the sound representation. A person transmitting sound from a far distant place can be factually experienced. If this is materially possible, why not spiritually?
SB 1972 1.5.38 purport
If we talk to a friend on a walky-talky, we cannot see him, nor can we hear him. What we hear from the walky-talky is actually not his voice directly, but it is a sound representation of his voice, which is produced by the speaker of the walky-talky. It is not true that by hearing the sound representation, we are bereft of experiencing what he says. In fact, in terms of receiving the information, which is being transmitted, there’s no difference between hearing his voice and hearing the sound representation of his voice. It is not difficult to conclude then that if the person who we are hearing the information from has a factual experience of a phenomenon and if he describes it to us as it is, our experience is direct. In fact, it can be more direct than actually experiencing the phenomenon by our eyes. Coming back to the example of the sun which to our eyes appears as a yellow disc, if we hear from an astronaut on a walky-talky who is actually seeing the sun planet right now from all angles in his spaceship, we are experiencing the sun more perfectly through hearing than through seeing the sun directly with our eyes.
Similarly, we can still have the proof of the soul’s existence in the next body not through seeing it in front of us, but through hearing from the Vedic scripture (a recorded sound). How do we know that the Vedas are correct? Same process –through hearing (studying them). Just like the modern man takes the word of a scientist for granted on so many things without unnecessarily going through the research himself, throughout the history, all classes of transcendentalists are accepting the authority of the Vedic literature. The authority might be different in the two cases, but the process is the same. We get to know about things which are beyond our perception by hearing from someone who has that perception. Either we believe the Vedas or the scientists, because we’re in ignorance we have to believe someone in order to learn new things. The difference is that in the case of modern science the conclusions change, whereas the Vedic conclusion, which is not tinged by material influence of mistake, illusion, imperfect senses and tendency to cheat remains. Vedic statements are a fact in the past, present and future and many of them have been actually confirmed by modern science as well whereas the so-called scientific facts such as man came from a monkey or life comes from matter were conceived at one point and will similarly vanish at one point because they’re manufactured in the factory of an imperfect scientist’s mind.
Karandhara. The basis of what they call "scientific integrity" is that they talk only about what they can directly experience.
Śrīla Prabhupāda. You may talk about your experience, and I may talk about my experience. But why should I accept your experience? You may be a fool, so why should I also become a fool? You may be a frog, but suppose I am a whale. Why should I take your well as all in all? You have your method of acquiring scientific knowledge, and I have mine.
Life Comes From Life: Life on Other Planets
The modern man has a tendency to reject dogmatic thinking and form his own conclusions based on various sources of information. Why not therefore give receptive hearing to a tradition, which has been here for thousands of years and still remains scientifically accurate as an experiment? What is the objection? As the Vedic scriptures are the only source of knowledge known to man, which actually explain the nature of the soul in such a detail, we actually have no other choice than at least study what they say.
As far as the soul's existence is concerned, no one can establish his existence experimentally beyond the proof of śruti or Vedic wisdom. We have to accept this truth, because there is no other source of understanding the existence of the soul, although it is a fact by perception. There are many things we have to accept solely on grounds of superior authority. No one can deny the existence of his father, based upon the authority of his mother. There is no other source of understanding the identity of the father except by the authority of the mother. Similarly, there is no other source of understanding the soul except by studying the Vedas.
One might ask however, at this point, what distinguishes such process of hearing of the Vedic literature from blind faith. Although the Vedas might give a very logical and minute description of the soul’s existence after the body’s demise, we’re still in doubts –it might be true, it might not be true. Because we cannot perceive the soul’s presence, we’re doomed to be in such doubt forever?
This is of course an intelligent observation. We should mention however, that besides the information about the soul’s nature, the Vedas also give a process by which one can actually have a direct experience of the soul’s eternality. If one follows the process, he can have a direct experience of what he has learned from the Vedic scriptures before. So it is not a blind faith. There’s a hypothesis and there’s an experiment. Simply we have to be willing to undertake it.
In the conditioned state, our pure perception of the self is covered. Daily we identify with the senses, with the mind, with the intelligence and with our false ego and thus identified we look for happiness. Although the soul is eternal and thus cannot be satisfied by temporary pleasures, we are again and again trying to enjoy materially and hope that one day we will succeed. This is actually the blind faith. We have subjected our perception to be controlled by such a lust and it is for this reason we have difficulty to perceive our eternality, although it is a fact by perception.
The aim of yoga is to come out of such blind faith and become free from the different coverings on the soul and act with the pure self in relation to the source of all pleasure, Supreme Absolute Whole –Krsna.
Prabhupāda: Actually soul is above intelligence. Above intelligence. Our gross senses, that is our present perception, direct. And beyond these gross senses, there is the mind. And beyond the mind, there is intelligence. And beyond intelligence, there is soul. So come to that platform requires that meditation process to make the sense activities calm and quiet, mind settle, and then come to the intelligence platform, then come to the spiritual platform.
Room Conversation with Dr. John Mize -- June 23, 1975, Los Angeles
indriyāṇi parāṇy āhur
indriyebhyaḥ paraṁ manaḥ
manasas tu parā buddhir
yo buddheḥ paratas tu saḥ
The working senses are superior to dull matter; mind is higher than the senses; intelligence is still higher than the mind; and he [the soul] is even higher than the intelligence.
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. These outlets are not in use when there is superior consciousness, or Kṛṣṇa consciousness. In Kṛṣṇa 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 Kaṭha Upaniṣad 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 the 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 the Kaṭha Upaniṣad the soul has been described as mahān, 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 Kṛṣṇa consciousness. That solves the whole problem. A neophyte spiritualist is generally advised to keep aloof from the objects of senses. One has to strengthen the mind by use of intelligence. If by intelligence one engages one's mind in Kṛṣṇa 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 Kṛṣṇa in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, there is every chance of falling down due to the agitated mind.
In other words, the uncontrolled senses, agitated mind and misguided intelligence are distracting us from perceiving the true nature of the self. This agitation is due to our false conception of being a purusa (enjoyer) of the material nature, disconnected from the Supreme Whole Krsna. Purification of such illusory perception can be done immediately if we engage in the service to the real purusa The Supreme Lord Sri Krsna Himself and this can be done very easily by chanting the maha-mantra:
Hare Kṛṣṇa Hare Kṛṣṇa
Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa Hare Hare,
Hare Rāma Hare Rāma
Rāma Rāma Hare Hare
This is transcendental sound vibration, and this will help us to cleanse the dust on the mirror of our mind. On the mind we have accumulated material dust. Just like on the Second Avenue, due to the constant traffic of motor car, there is always a creation of dusting over everything, similarly, by our manipulation of materialistic activities, there are some material dusts which are accumulated on the mind, and therefore we are unable to see things in true perspective. So this process, this vibration of transcendental sound, Hare Kṛṣṇa Hare Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa Hare Hare, Hare Rāma Hare Rāma Rāma Rāma Hare Hare, will cleanse the dust. And, as soon as the dust is cleared, then, as you can see on the mirror the nice face of yours, similarly we can see our real, I mean to say, constitutional position, "what I am."
Bhagavad-gītā 4.7-9 -- New York, July 22, 1966
Besides the scriptural evidence of the Vedas, there’s logic. Direct perception is not the only type of evidence there is. Hypothesis for example is equally valid. If you changed your body but remained so many times in this life where’s the logic that you will cease to exist when the old body dies?
Satsvarūpa:They have to agree that the baby's body is gone and the young man's body is gone. They have to agree. But they say that that doesn't mean logically that I have to take another body.
Prabhupāda: What is the other logic? If you have changed your body so many times, why not change this body? What is your reason? Natural course it should be that I have changed so many bodies so this body I shall change. This is natural logic. And what is his logic?
Satsvarūpa: So he said... They say it may be or it may not be.
Prabhupāda: But that is your rascaldom. But this is the real logic.
Morning Walk -- June 8, 1974, Geneva
Ultimately however, the best evidence is to hear the information from the perfect authority.
"Since the Vedic knowledge is pure, we accept it. Whatever Krsna says, we accept. This is Krsna Consciousness. That saves much time. If you accept the right authority or the source of knowledge, then you save much time. For example, there are two systems of knowledge in the material world, inductive and deductive. From deductive, you accept that man is mortal. Your father says man is mortal, your sister says man is mortal, everyone says man is mortal—but you do not experiment. You accept it as fact that man is mortal. If you want to research to find out whether man is mortal, you have to study each and every man, and you may come to think that there may be some man who is not dying, but you have not seen him yet. So in this way your researching will never be finished. This process is called in Sanskrit, āroha, the ascending process. If you want to attain knowledge by any personal en-deavor, by exercising your imperfect senses, you will never come to the right conclusions. That is not possible."
(Sri Isopanisad introduction)
SOUL MIGHT BE ETERNAL, BUT HOW DO YOU KNOW THAT THE SOUL TAKES ANOTHER BODY AFTER DEATH?
Too much absorption in the bodily concept of life means that our subtle body(mind, intelligence and ego) will have to be transferred into yet another body to fulfill our illusory bodily desires. This is the law of karma. Krsna says in the Bhagavad-gita:
yaṁ yaṁ vāpi smaran bhāvaṁ
tyajaty ante kalevaram
taṁ tam evaiti kaunteya
Whatever state of being one remembers when he quits his body, that state he will attain without fail.
Our present body is therefore the result of our mental state at the time of death of our previous body. How this process works is explained in the following verse:
The living entity in the material world carries his different conceptions of life from one body to another as the air carries aromas.
It is a false claim that after the annihilation of this body everything is finished. The individual soul is transmigrating from one body to another, and his present body and present activities are the background of his next body. One gets a different body according to karma, and he has to quit this body in due course. It is stated here that the subtle body, which carries the conception of the next body, develops another body in the next life.
Bg 15.8 purport
Prabhupāda: When this body cannot work any more... Because this body is a machine. So a machine, if he does not move, then you, have to change to another machine.
Svarūpa Dāmodara: The desire is not... Actually it is not burned; it just changed. The desire is changed to for a higher purpose. We have a choice between the subtle desires. Just change is the there from one to another.
Prabhupāda: No, the same example: just like in a motor car you desire to go this side, but the machine is stopped, so you have to accept another motor car. It is like that, to fulfill your desire. After all it is a machine. Machine is matter. So it has got a time to work. When it is not working, then you change to another machine to fulfill your desire.
Morning Walk -- July 14, 1975, Philadelphia
WHAT ABOUT HEART TRANSPLANTS? WHEN WE REPLACE A HEART, IS THE SOUL REPLACED AS WELL?
Svarūpa Dāmodara: Śrīla Prabhupāda, what about the heart transplant? The spirit soul is within the heart, but when the... in the medical science nowadays, the old heart can be replaced by a new one. So what happens with the spirit soul with the old one?
Prabhupāda: But that does not mean that new ones will increase their duration of life. That is our challenge.
Svarūpa Dāmodara: But the personality is changed?
Svarūpa Dāmodara: Why not?
Prabhupāda: Why changed? Suppose if I sit from this chair to this chair, why I am changed? I can change my seat. It does not mean that I am changed.
Morning Walk -- December 2, 1973, Los Angeles
The point is that the heart is not the source of life. It is simply a seat for the soul.
Therefore when the soul goes away, these rascals says, "heart failure." Not heart failure, the soul has gone from the heart. Heart is also mechanical thing, but the sitting place of the soul is there. So heart failure means the soul has gone from the heart.
Bhagavad-gītā 13.3 -- Paris, August 11, 1973
Hanumān: Now they're doing this heart transplantation. They're taking the heart of one person...
Prabhupāda: The soul changes from this heart to that heart. That's all. Just like you are running your car. It stops. Then you change, this car to that car. That's all. (laughter) This is it. It is very common thing.
Bhagavad-gītā 2.14 -- Mexico, February 14, 1975
Girirāja: Now they have machines that when the person is in coma, the machines artificially keep the heart beating and the other processes...
Prabhupāda: Then heart beating will go on, either you apply machine or no machine. Heart beating. But when the heart stops, no machine can revive it. So what is the use of machine? But by nature's way when the heart beating will stop, no machine can help. That is not possible.
Morning Walk -- April 7, 1974, Bombay
WHAT ABOUT CLONING?
Although the scientists think that cloning is a new thing, Srimad Bhagavatam, written 5000 years ago gives a vivid description of cloning in the following verse:
After making a decision, the saintly persons and sages churned the thighs of the dead body of King Vena with great force and according to a specific method. As a result of this churning, a dwarf-like person was born from King Vena's body.
PURPORT by Srila Prabhupada:
That a person was born by the churning of the thighs of King Vena proves that the spirit soul is individual and separate from the body. The great sages and saintly persons could beget another person from the body of the dead King Vena, but it was not possible for them to bring King Vena back to life. King Vena was gone, and certainly he had taken another body. The saintly persons and sages were only concerned with the body of Vena because it was a result of the seminal succession in the family of Mahäräja Dhruva. Consequently the ingredients by which another body could be produced were there in the body of King Vena. By a certain process, when the thighs of the dead body were churned, another body came out. Although dead, the body of King Vena was preserved by drugs and mantras chanted by King Vena's mother. In this way the ingredients for the production of another body were there. When the body of the person named Bähuka came out of the dead body of King Vena, it was really not very astonishing. It was simply a question of knowing how to do it. From the semina of one body, another body is produced, and the life symptoms are visible due to the soul's taking shelter of this body. One should not think that it was impossible for another body to come out of the dead body of Mahäräja Vena. This was performed by the skillful action of the sages.
SB 4.14.43 (first edition)
In cloning, certain cells are taken from an organism; they are put in the womb of a mother, who later gives birth to a “clone”. Scientists managed to clone animals and perhaps even a human, that is a fact. Did they create life out of matter? Hardly. They still need a living mother and living cells, which are already there.
Harikeśa: Now they are inventing these different DNA and RNA molecules to change people by injecting them with these different things before they are born, making new people.
Prabhupāda: That is not very difficult thing. If you make some vegetable, if you add more sugar it becomes sweet. If you add more salt it becomes salty. That you can do. That is not very difficult. Our question is wherefrom the life comes? That is our… So they do not give any answer to this. That is their foolishness. What is that life? They say life developed from chemical. Now do it. By chemical combination make in one egg and give it to the fomenting machine. What is that? Fomenting machine? They have got heating machine?
Prabhupāda: Incubator. Put it there. Then we shall accept your science. Why don’t you do that? Then your all theories are useless. This is practical.
Morning Walk — Durban, October 13, 1975
Taking it on the authority of the Vedas, the new cloned body develops only because the soul has taken shelter of it. The scientists can duplicate the body, but they cannot duplicate the person who resides in the body.
Ātreya Ṛṣi: Well, the way they're doing it is through the genetic, yes.
Prabhupāda: Whatever it may be, they are trying...
Ātreya Ṛṣi: Yes.
Prabhupāda: ...to make a xerox copy. So why not the original?
Devotee (1): What is that?
Prabhupāda: Explain to him.
Ātreya Ṛṣi: Why not the original?
Prabhupāda: Yes. The scientists, they are trying to make a xerox copy of Professor Einstein. So why not the original? Hm? What is their answer?
Ātreya Ṛṣi: They cannot keep the original alive.
Prabhupāda: No, that's all right, but let them make one original.
Devotee (1): They can't even begin.
Devotee (1): They can't even make a cell.
Prabhupāda: Then what is their credit?
Devotee (1): They have made a computer.
Devotee (1): They have made a computer, but it takes a human being to program the computer.
Prabhupāda: So what is their credit? If you simply copy something, that is not credit. The credit should go to the original.
Ātreya Ṛṣi: The scientists admit that there is nothing new that they can make. Everything is the manipulation of the laws of nature.
Prabhupāda: Then the thing is that as they are individual person trying to do something wonderful, the individual person who has already done all this wonderful, how much credit He deserves. If by simply copying you want to take so much credit that you will defy the existence of God, you are so fool, rascal, then how much credit should be given to the original person who has made all these things existing. What is their answer?
Ātreya Ṛṣi: They simply don't care.
Devotee (1): Like that man said last night, "We will do it."
Prabhupāda: You will do, that's all right, you will do it, but it is already there. What is your credit, you will do it? It is already there, then what is your credit?
Morning Walk -- June 30, 1972, San Diego
Paramahaṁsa: There's another very interesting factor that scientists, they state that matter is, or that there is, they dispute the fact that there's one soul within the body. There's a special kind of worm, it's an earthworm, that if you cut it in half, both parts will live.
Paramahaṁsa: So they wonder how is it possible that if there is soul, that there could be two souls within one body?
Prabhupāda: Yes, why not. Souls takes the opportunity.
Paramahaṁsa: Oh, it takes the opportunity of the other body, the fertile...
Prabhupāda: Yes, yes.
At Cheviot Hills Golf Course
May 13, 1973, Los Angeles
MAKING LIFE IN A TEST TUBE
Just as with cloning, the scientists simply change the environment for the soul to take shelter in. If they were really making life out of matter, it would be easy when a person dies, to manipulate matter and make that same person alive again. Why they cannot do that?
Svarūpa Dāmodara: They are trying to make babies in a test tube.
Svarūpa Dāmodara: In a few years.
Prabhupāda: What is that test tube?
Svarūpa Dāmodara: In the laboratory, the chemical laboratory, biological laboratory, so they'll take the combinations of the male and the female....
Prabhupāda: Then where is the test tube? It is taken from the living entities.
Svarūpa Dāmodara: Yes.
Prabhupāda: Then where is the test tube? Test tube is a place for combination. As it is combined in the womb. So that is not advancement.
Morning Walk -- April 19, 1973, Los Angeles
The materialistic scientists bring up a material thing which does not change throughout one’s lifetime –DNA, or a genetic code. This DNA they argue is the reason why one man remains the same although his body changes. To this we can again answer that if the DNA was the source of life, then the scientists should be able to create life simply out of DNA, but that they cannot do, so such claims have no substantial value.
Prajāpati: I used that argument once, Śrīla Prabhupāda, and the scientists said to me, "It is the chromosomes, the tiny chromosomes that do that change."
Prabhupāda: That is their jugglery of words, these rascals. (laughter) "Chromosome, promosome." He will manufacture some word. But where is your chromosome of child body? What is that child body? Where it has gone? If you know, "chromosome, promosome," where has your child's body gone? That is the difficulty. These rascals, they do not know anything. Still, they are teachers and manufacture some jugglery of words. That's all. That is the difficulty. "Chromosome." What is that chromosome? What does it mean, chromosome?
Prajāpati: It is a tiny structure of organic matter that can constantly reproduce...
Prabhupāda: That's all right. When reproduce, the last body is gone.
Prajāpati: They say that the chromosomes that are transferred from father to son...
Prabhupāda: Still, the father's body is not the son's body. It is different body.
Prajāpati: It has come from father's body.
Prabhupāda: That all right, but the father's body is different. The father's pains and pleasure and the son's pains and pleasure are not the same. It may be that the father has given the ingredient of the body, but that does not mean the father's body and the son's body the same. Neither the mind is same, neither intelligence is same. It is all different. Otherwise why a son becomes disobedient to the father, "I don't agree with you"? That means, "Your intelligence, your mind, is different from my mind. I cannot agree with you." Therefore everything is different.
Morning Walk -- December 18, 1973, Los Angeles
Scientists in their desperate endeavour to make life out of matter also advocate for a technique called cell culturing, where they keep individual cells alive through artificial means. In this way, they hope they will be able to “create” organs and when they put the organs together, the body as a whole will become alive. Just like Frankenstein. The problem with this is that you need the soul to keep the body going, so even if you succeed to make a whole body through cell culturing, you end up with a zombie- a body which is alive but has no consciousness in it.
Sadāpūta: Śrīla Prabhupāda, would it be possible for them to make a body and have a living entity enter into it?
Prabhupāda: Yes, there is yogic principle. They can enter into a young body and act as young man.
Sadāpūta: So a scientist then could claim he created life. He could... The way they talk, if he made a cell...
Prabhupāda: First of all let them, these foolish rascals, let them understand what is the point who is missing. Then they will replace. They have no knowledge what is missing. They are so fool.
Dr. Wolf: Śrīla Prabhupāda, they would not create. They would only imitate.
Prabhupāda: That is not... It is never created. That is their missing point, that life is never created and they are trying to create.
Room Conversation with Svarūpa Dāmodara -- March 1, 1975, Atlanta
Ravīndra-svarūpa: But it's seen that the scientists, they can take some skin from your body and by putting in different solutions can keep that skin itself alive for such a long time. They have taken the heart of a chicken out of the chicken's body and then kept it beating for so many hours even though that heart was away from the main chicken. Or they take some other tissue and keep it alive. So they say that each cell is an individual living being.
Prabhupāda: So we have no objection.
Ravīndra-svarūpa: That is all right. So there is a spirit soul in every...
Prabhupāda: No, no. All right or not all right I don't say. But if they say like that, we have no objection
Svarūpa Dāmodara: So the understanding to find out what life is is just to study what a cell is. That is their... They say that cells are composed of these molecules.
Prabhupāda: What is the position of the cells when the man dies?
Svaupa Dāmodara: The cells are dead. The cells that compose the body, they are dead. There are may be new living entities coming from different parts, but the cell that composed the human body is dead. They cannot reproduce anymore.
Prabhupāda: So what is your proposal? That cell is life?
Svarūpa Dāmodara: Yes.
Prabhupāda: So can you develop life from the cells? As you said that you take the skin and you keep, so take the cells and develop into life.
Svarūpa Dāmodara: That's called culturing of the cells. They can culture it.
Prabhupāda: That's all right. Whether you have done it.
Ravīndra-svarūpa: Well, they have that process called cloning?
Svarūpa Dāmodara: No, no, this is the culture. That means take a cell from a living tissue, and you culture it and you supply the sufficient nutrients. Then theoretically they will grow forever. They will divide. They will...
Prabhupāda: So they will grow to a human being?
Svarūpa Dāmodara: Not a human being, but the cells just divide.
Prabhupāda: Then an ant, an ant?
Svarūpa Dāmodara: No.
Prabhupāda: Then what is this? (laughter)
Morning Walk -- July 14, 1975, Philadelphia
Pañcadraviḍa: ...take the chemicals and combine them together in a test tube so that a soul can enter into that and...
Prabhupāda: God is not your father's servant, that He will arrange to bring the soul. You are God's servant.
Pañcadraviḍa: So you're... Cannot be done, then?
Prabhupāda: No. If you bring, you can bring soul by some arrangement, then we shall think that you are better than God. But you are rascal. You are thinking like that. You cannot do that. God will not agree to send a soul to your arrangement. You should always remember that you are servant of God. God is not your servant. That is knowledge.
Morning Walk -- April 2, 1975, Māyāpur
SCIENTISTS WERE NOT ABLE TO MAKE A COMPUTER IN THE PAST, BUT NOW IT’S POSSIBLE. SO YOU CANNOT SAY THAT IN THE FUTURE IT WILL NOT BE POSSIBLE TO MAKE LIFE OUT OF MATTER.
Where you get the information that this, from matter life is possible. "In future." But in future.... In inceptive condition you show something. Just like formerly they were flying balloons. So because they were flying, they could say that "Future we shall fly a big city." And in the history we can see that that is not impossible, because in the inceptive condition or initiative condition we see that big things can be flown. But here you cannot even prepare an ant. You have not been able to prepare even a small ant, germ. Show me. So why do you say, "In future I shall do it"?
Room Conversation -- April 20, 1976, Melbourne
Objection might be raised that we have not created ant, but we have created an amoeba by combination of amino acids. Even if you did for argument’s sake, it would still be life comes from life situation, because you are alive. You have manipulated the conditions so the soul can enter. In order to prove the theory that life is made from matter, you would have to make a living entity alive again after it dies and at the same time prove that it is the same entity as before with the same taste, likes, dislikes, language, skills, talents, propensities. That would be a proof that our identity is simply a product of matter.
Svarūpa Dāmodara: Then I asked, "Supposing I give you the chemical materials, say, the molecules likes amino acids and the big molecules like DNA and RNA..." These are the molecules, which they think necessary for the maintenance of life. "Supposing I give you all these chemical compounds, then do you think that you will be able to put life into it. If you get all the chemical materials necessary, but will you be able to put life into it?" Then he said, "I do not know."
Prabhupāda: Then why you are talking nonsense? (laughter)
Morning Walk -- May 2, 1973, Los Angeles
Cyavana: They use amino acids and water and electricity.
Cyavana: But this gave great strength to their theory that life can come from matter because they created a one-celled amoeba. They say they created it, that life actually came into it.
Prabhupāda: They said everything, but where is the proof?
Cyavana: Well, the scientists saw it.
Prabhupāda: Saw it? Now show us. They saw it at their home.
Cyavana: They put the chemicals, and then it moved. It became alive.
Prabhupāda: All rascals.
Yadubara: In so many years they haven't done anything else.
Prabhupāda: Just see.
Cyavana: No, that's as far as they got, but it really boosted their theory, at least so that they thought they would be able to create life.
Prabhupāda: All rascals.
Dayānanda: There's also a scientific argument against that, that there may have been the life conditions or the conditions conducive to life, so therefore life came, but not that that was produced by chemical combination. Just like they're actually opposing that argument, scientific school that opposes the idea that they actually produced the life itself.
Cyavana: Some of them said the life was already there in the water to begin with.
Prabhupāda: In the water, life there is; in the air, in.... That is another thing. But life is different from the water. That is our proposal.
Morning Walk -- March 26, 1976, Delhi
If you put some animals together in one room and if they have sex and an offspring is born, are you the creator of the offspring just because you put them in a room? The life is already there. Make amoeba out of nothing. Unless you do like that, where is the proof that life was not there already? You have simply made suitable conditions for life to manifest.
The body of the soul develops in four different ways according to its different sources. One kind of body, that of the trees and plants, sprouts from the earth; the second kind of body grows from perspiration, as with flies, germs and bugs; the third kind of body develops from eggs; and the fourth develops from an embryo.
SB 3.31.2 (first edition)
Harikeśa: They can make these little amoebas but they can't make ants.
Prabhupāda: Amoebas, that is automatically... By perspiration it comes out. There are four sources of life: udbija, jarayuja, svedaja, and, what is other? Andaja. Andaja means life comes from the egg. That is called andaja. And life comes from, under certain circumstances... Just like trees, grass. It is called udbija. And then jarayaja, just like we human beings or animals, they come from the embryo. And svedaja. And some living entities come out from perspiration.
Harikeśa: So they were saying in this experiment they made that they completely...
Prabhupāda: Four kinds of generating process is there. So what they have studied? That germs come out perspiration, that is already accepted in the Vedas. Under certain circumstances the germs come by, what is called? Scientific name?
Siddha-svarūpa: I don't know.
Prabhupāda: Just like bugs, bed bugs. Due to your perspiration of the body, the bed being unclean, they come.
Harikeśa: So the capability was already there in like seed, and you just watered it.
Prabhupāda: Yes. Yes.
Harikeśa: So when they said they created life in this laboratory experiment, the capability...
Prabhupāda: But that also they cannot do. That also they cannot do.
Harikeśa: But the capability was there and they just watered it. They...
Prabhupāda: What is the capability?
Harikeśa: There was one of these four circumstances for life in that test...
Prabhupāda: Potency, that is potency.
Harikeśa: Yeah. And they just made the circumstance proper so that life came.
Morning Walk -- June 10, 1975, Honolulu
The scientists cannot make life, neither they can make matter as a matter of fact. They simply take whatever is already there, somehow alter it and claim they have created it. That’s cheating.
Hṛdayānanda: That would be real science to know the cause of the petrol.
Prabhupāda: Yes. How petrol is produced in so large quantity? Who has made this arrangement? How it is producing? They are not interested.
Hṛdayānanda: So as you were saying then, just to manipulate the petrol in different ways, that's like the art, as you've been saying.
Prabhupāda: That's all. You cannot produce petrol. Just like gold is already there, manufactured by God. You can make only different types of ornaments, that's all. Everything. This metal covering of this body, you have not produced this metal. They are like the carpenter. The carpenter has not produced the wood nor the metal instrument nor himself, but he is working. This body is also not produced by him. That is also made by Kṛṣṇa. His intelligence is also made by Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa is giving the body. Kṛṣṇa is giving the intelligence. Kṛṣṇa is giving the wood. Kṛṣṇa is giving the instrument. Now, if you produce some furniture, to whom it will belong? To the carpenter or to the supplier of everything? Who will enjoy it? Who will enjoy it? If the carpenter claims that "I have done it," that is foolishness. You have done it as a worker, and you have been supplied with everything, your intelligence, your food, your instrument, your ingredient. Therefore the supplier should be the proprietor, not the carpenter. That is real philosophy.
Morning Walk -- February 21, 1975, Caracas
As we have already pointed out in this presentation, conception of a child is not the result of sexual union, but because a soul takes shelter of that situation. If it was just a question of sexual intercourse, a child would be produced every single time people have sex life. But that’s not the case. Similarly, if the scientists want to proclaim that amoeba can be produced from matter, they should be able to produce it every single time without an error. This is however impossible, because ultimately it is the scientist who supposedly “creates” life and a scientist himself is conditioned by the laws of nature. As such he’s conditioned to make mistakes, although he does not wish to.
Even if let’s say the scientist was creating the environment for the soul of amoeba to enter, we could say that each time the scientist makes a mistake, the soul was not meant to enter by the law of karma. And similarly, each time the scientist gets it right, the soul was meant to enter by the law of karma.
The process of quitting this body and getting another body in the material world is also organized. A man dies after it has been decided what form of body he will have in the next life. Higher authorities, not the living entity himself, make this decision.
So the scientists themselves are under the law of the greatest scientist –God. The whole making life cheating is just taking credit for something that is being done by God already.
One scientist in Delhi, our Delhi festival, he said very nicely that "We scientists, we are just like learning how to bark like dog." Yes. He said very plainly. Because a dog is barking, everyone knows. But if there is a tent and advertisement, yes, that "Mr. such and such will bark like a dog," and people will come and pay ten dollars' fee: "A man is barking. Very wonderful. Let us see." So these rascals, the chemists, they are trying to manufacture living being within test tube, and they are becoming very famous: "Oh, now they are making life in the..." Rascal, there are so many hundreds and millions of life are there, every day being created. What credit you'll get if you manufacture a life within test tube? But the rascals, they are: "Oh, scientists. He is now going to manufacture life." "No, show me how made..." "Yes, we are trying. It will be in future." Yes.
The true science is therefore not to take the credit which belongs to God, but become His instrument and act under His instruction. By such devotional service, perfect knowledge of the soul is revealed from within the heart, where the Lord resides.
Even Brahmā, the creator of the universe, admits that he is not the actual creator but is simply inspired by the Lord Nārāyaṇa and therefore creates under His superintendence those things which are already created by Him, the Supersoul of all living entities. Two identities of soul, the Supersoul and the individual soul, are admitted to be in the living entity, even by the greatest authority of the universe. The Supersoul is the Supreme Lord, the Personality of Godhead, whereas the individual soul is the eternal servitor of the Lord. The Lord inspires the individual soul to create what is already created by the Lord, and by the good will of the Lord a discoverer of something in the world is accredited as the discoverer. It is said that Columbus discovered the Western hemisphere, but actually the tract of land was not created by Columbus. The vast tract of land was already there by the omnipotency of the Supreme Lord, and Columbus, by dint of his past service unto the Lord, was blessed with the credit of discovering America. Similarly, no one can create anything without the sanction of the Lord, since everyone sees according to his ability. This ability is also awarded by the Lord according to one’s willingness to render service unto the Lord. One must therefore be voluntarily willing to render service unto the Lord, and thus the Lord will empower the doer in proportion to his surrender unto the lotus feet of the Lord.
SB 2.5.17 first printing edition