Śrīla Prabhupāda. Almost everyone in the world is under the false impression that life is born from matter. We cannot allow this nonsensical theory to go unchallenged. Life does not come from matter. Matter is generated from life. This is not theory; it is fact. Science is based on an incorrect theory; therefore all its calculations and conclusions are wrong, and people are suffering because of this. When all these mistaken modern scientific theories are corrected, people will become happy. So we must challenge the scientists and defeat them; otherwise they will mislead the entire society. Matter changes in six phases: birth, growth, maintenance, production of by-products, dwindling and death. But the life within matter, the spirit soul, is eternal; it goes through no such changes. Life appears to be developing and decaying, but actually it is simply passing through each of these six phases until the material body can no longer be maintained. Then the old body dies, and the soul enters a new body. When our clothing is old and worn, we change it. Similarly, one day our bodies become old and useless, and we pass on to a new body.
As Krishna says in the Bhagavad-gītā (2.13), dehino ‘smin yathā dehe kaumāram yauvanam jarā/ tathā dehāntara-prāptih: “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.” And a little later (2.18): antavanta ime dehā nityasyoktāh śarīrinah. This means that only the material body of the indestructible and eternal living entity is subject to destruction. The material body is perishable, but the life within the body is nitya, eternal.
Everything works on the basis of this living force. This is the Pacific Ocean, and these high waves are being manipulated by living force. This airplane [Śrīla Prabhupāda gestures toward a passing aircraft] is flying, but is it flying undirected?
Dr. Singh. Someone is directing it.
Śrīla Prabhupāda. Yes. Everything is working under someone’s direction. Why do the rascal scientists deny this? The airplane is a big machine, but it is flying under the direction of a small spiritual spark, the pilot. Scientists cannot prove that this big 747 airplane could fly without the small spiritual spark. So, as the small spiritual spark can direct a large plane, the big spiritual spark directs the whole cosmic manifestation.
Setting the Real Problems Aside
Śrīla Prabhupāda. The Śvetāśvatara Upanisad says:keśāgra-śata-bhāgasya śatāmśah sādrśātmakah jīvah süksma-svarüpo ‘yam sankhyātīto hi cit-kanah [Cc. Madhya 19.140]
According to this verse, the measurement of the soul, the proprietor of the body, is one ten-thousandth part of the tip of a hair. This is very small-atomic. But because of that atomic spiritual energy, my body is working. That atomic spiritual energy is within the body, and therefore the body works, and the airplane flies. Is it so difficult to understand?
Suppose a man thinks himself very stout and strong. Why is he stout and strong? It is only because within him there exists a spiritual spark. As soon as the small spiritual spark is gone, his strength and vigor disappear, and the vultures come and eat his body. If scientists say that matter is the cause and origin of life, then let us ask them to bring back to life just one dead man, one great man like Professor Einstein. Let them inject some chemicals so that just one dead man may come back to life and work again. But this they cannot do. There are so many things they do not know, but still they are called scientists.
Dr. Singh. Sometimes when a problem is too dreadfully serious, we tend to take it lightly.
Śrīla Prabhupāda. Yes. When a monkey confronts a tiger, the monkey closes its eyes, and the tiger immediately attacks. Similarly, if scientists cannot solve a problem, they may think, “All right, let it go on.” This is actually what they are doing, because our real problem is death. No one wants to die, but scientists cannot stop death. They speak superficially about death because they cannot give any relief from it. We do not wish to die, we do not wish to become old, and we do not wish to become diseased. But what help can the scientists offer? They cannot do anything about it. They have set aside the major problems.
Śrīla Prabhupāda. In Bengal there is a story called jangal-kī rājā, concerning a jackal who became king of the forest. Jackals are known for their cunning. One day this jackal came into a village and fell into a tub of blue dye. He fled to the forest, but he had become blue. So all the animals said, “What is this? What is this? Who is this animal?” Even the lion was surprised: “We have never seen you before, sir. So who are you?” The jackal replied, “I have been sent by God.” So they began to worship him as God. But then one night some other jackals began to cry: “Wa, wa, wa!” And since jackals cannot restrain themselves from returning the call of their own kind, this blue jackal also began to cry, “Wa, wa, wa!” And thus he exposed himself before all the other animals as being nothing more than a jackal. Many jackals have been arrested and have resigned from your government.
Brahmānanda Swami. The Watergate affair. It is called the Watergate scandal.
Śrīla Prabhupāda. Practically speaking, at the present moment no honest man can become a government official. This is true everywhere. Unless one is a rogue, a dishonest person, one cannot maintain his governmental position. Therefore no noble man goes into the government. But what can you do?
Dr. Singh. Politicians are the greatest cheaters.
Śrīla Prabhupāda. Yes, they are scoundrels. One philosopher said that politics is the last resort of scoundrels.
Science Should Stop Death
Brahmānanda Swami. Do scientists know the cause of cancer?
Dr. Singh. They have several theories.
Śrīla Prabhupāda. Suppose you know the cause of cancer. What is the benefit? Even if you could stop cancer, you could not make a man live forever. That is not possible. Cancer or no cancer, a man has to die. He cannot stop death. Death may be caused, if not by cancer, simply by an accident. Real scientific research should aim at stopping death. That is real science, and that is Krishna consciousness. Simply to discover some medicine to cure disease is not a triumph. The real triumph is to stop all disease. Bhagavad-gītā (8.16) asserts that the real trouble is birth, death, old age and disease. Ābrahma-bhuvanāl lokāh punar āvartino ‘rjuna: “From the highest planet in the material world down to the lowest, all are places of misery wherein repeated birth and death take place.” The solution to the problem of repeated birth and death is Krishna consciousness, which we are practicing and offering to everyone. The perfect result of this practice is that after the present body becomes useless and dies, one is no longer forced to accept a material body subject to birth, death, disease and old age. This is real science.
[An excerpt from “LIFE COMES FROM LIFE” available at your nearest Hare Krishna Center]
(Conversation recorded on May 3, 1973, on the shores of the Pacific Ocean near Los Angeles)