Advanced topics of the ABC tattvaHanuman das
Today, we will talk about the ABC of Krishna consciousness, and some challenges in understanding it.
The ABC of Krishna consciousness is that we are not this body. We are a spirit souls different from the body. And we transmigrate from body to body, according to our activities in the three modes of material nature, father injects a living entity through semen into the womb of a mother. This is the ABC of Krishna consciousness.
But, there are always issues. Those corner cases which confuse us.
The planaria worm with superpowers
So, if a soul is present in each body, what happens when you cut a worm in half. One portion should die, and the soul will remain in another part. That is true for most worms, but not for all of them. In the case of planaria worm, both halves of the worm continue to live:
So, what happened, the soul is running one half of the worm, who is running the other half?
Student: Some scientists argue that there are several souls within each body. They use the earthworm as an example. If you cut it in half, both parts will live. They say this proves that two souls occupied the original worm’s body.
Śrīla Prabhupāda: No. It is simply that a new soul has come to occupy the other half of the worm’s body. (Book, Life comes from life, Ninth morning walk).
The following conversation is on the same, date:
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.
And the third and the final explanation is best of all:
Guru-kṛpā: You take one worm, you cut it, and both parts will go on living. You cut it in three places, and it will all live.
Prabhupāda: Yes. So what is the wrong there?
Guru-kṛpā: Then there’s three hearts?
Prabhupāda: Yes. Immediately manufactured as soon as the living enters. Their chemical composition is that, that even you cut a living entity, he can enter. The living entity enters through the semina of the father in the womb of the mother, the same process. Unless the living entity enters, the body does not form. It is matter only. When the living entity enters, then the formation takes place according to his mind. What do they know about it? Hm? Yaṁ yaṁ vāpi smaran bhāvaṁ tyajaty ante kalevaram [Bg. 8.6]. The matter simply is set up according to the desire. Just like we have constructed this big house according to my desire. The matter has not taken shape like this big house automatically. I am the proprietor. I desire: “Let the rooms be like this.” Similarly, the material elements, the semina of the father and the ova of the mother, mix. It creates a suitable, what is called, cement, and now, according to the desire of the living being, he’ll settle. Not that the cement automatically becomes a room or pipe or this or that. Cement is cement, the same thing, earth, water, air, fire. By mixture it becomes so convenient that it takes a shape and becomes a different body, a different body for the man, a different body for the animal…. (Room conversation, April 20, 1976).
This is the perfect explanation by Srila Prabhupada. What is important to understand is that the living entity is looking for a situation to enter and body will be built according to his subtle desires. But planaria worm is interesting because the new soul can be induced to enter the body by cutting it. However, the planaria worm is not the only organism that effectively replicates itself by cutting. Let’s look at the few more examples.
Now, here is the animal that you don’t even have to cut, it reproduces asexually through a process called budding. Their offspring are just kinda “falling off”.
Similarly, a new soul enters into a new body which is prepared by the “parent” and then detaches itself.
The soul in human reproduction
Today, semen can be frozen, and then later, it can be used to perform artificial insemination. So, where is the soul while semen is frozen? Does it reside within frozen semen?
The first thing important to understand is that soul is independent of matter, Srila Prabhupada writes:
Here it may also be appropriate to explain, in these days of controversy, the origin of life. The life force of the living entity—the soul—is different from the ovum and semen of the human being. Although the conditioned soul has nothing to do with the reproductive cells of man and woman, he is placed into the proper situation because of his work (karmaṇā daiva-netreṇa). Life is not, however, a product of two secretions, but is independent of all material elements. (SB 8.17.23p)
So, semen is just used as a vehicle for the soul. Srila Prabhupada explains:
We learn it from the Bhagwat also that the living being spirit enters into the material body of a female by the vehicle of semen of the male, according to his deeds in the succeeding body. (Essay – How Should one cultivate human spirit)
Also in the Bhagavatam, we find artificial insemination without ovum:
It is learned that this ṛṣi, while taking bath in the Ganges, happened to meet Ghṛtacī, one of the beautiful society girls of heaven, and thus he discharged semen, which was kept and preserved in an earthen pot and from which Droṇa was born. So Droṇācārya is the son of Bharadvāja Muni. (SB 1.9.6-7p)
Upon seeing Urvaśī, the celestial society girl, both Mitra and Varuṇa discharged semen, which they preserved in an earthen pot. The two sons Agastya and Vasiṣṭha later appeared from that pot, and they are therefore the common sons of Mitra and Varuṇa. Purport: Modern science is trying to generate living entities in test tubes by processing semen, but even long, long ago it was possible for semen kept in a pot to develop into a child. (SB 6.18.6)
And the third example is most interesting, due to the spiritual power of the sages, you could cut fetus, and get many children out of it.
Thus Gāndhārī became angry and gave a blow to her own abdomen. As a result, she gave birth to a lump of flesh only, but since she was a devotee of Vyāsadeva, by the instruction of Vyāsadeva the lump was divided into one hundred parts, and each part gradually developed to become a male child. (SB 1.13.3-4p)
So, Gandhari was already pregnant, the baby was already developing, and Vyasadeva saved her baby and gave her 100 sons. So, in that case, 99 new souls entered favorable conditions due to the power of Vyasadeva.
So, cutting living beings to get more of them is nothing new. 🤣🤣🤣 It has been done 5000 years ago. The living entity is placed in favorable conditions where chemicals are prepared by the parent. The parent can prepare the body for the offspring in many strange ways, and you can even freeze the “favorable conditions” and still get a baby. And, it is always important to remember: “Life comes from life”.