Śrīla Prabhupāda is accompanied by Dr. Singh, Dr. W. H. Wolf-Rottkay and other students.
The Origin of the Interplanetary Gases
Dr. Singh. The scientists say that at one point the earth was composed of dust particles floating in some gaseous material. Then, in due course, this colloidal suspension condensed and formed the earth.
Śrīla Prabhupāda. That may be, but where did the gas come from?
Dr. Singh. They say it just existed!
Śrīla Prabhupāda. Kṛṣṇa says in Bhagavad-gītā (7.4):
bhūmir āpo ‘nalo vāyuḥ
khaṁ mano buddhir eva ca
ahaṅkāra itīyaṁ me
bhinnā prakṛtir aṣṭadhā
“Earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind, intelligence and false ego—all together these eight comprise My separated material energies.” Here Kṛṣṇa explains that vāyu (gas) came from Him. And finer than vāyu is kham (ether), finer than ether is mind, finer than mind is intelligence, finer than intelligence is false ego, and finer than false ego is the soul. But the scientists do not know this. They understand only gross things. They mention gas, but where does the gas come from?
Dr. Singh. That they cannot answer.
Śrīla Prabhupāda. But we can answer. From Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam we know that gas has come from kham, or ether, ether comes from mind, mind comes from intelligence, intelligence comes from false ego, and false ego comes from the soul.
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.
Dr. Singh. Scientists say that once the seed of life is present in the cells, then the living entity automatically develops and functions.
Śrīla Prabhupāda. Yes, but who gives the seed? In the Bhagavad-gītā (7.10) Kṛṣṇa answers this question. Bījaṁ māṁ sarva-bhūtānāṁ viddhi pārtha sanātanam: “O son of Pṛthā, know that I am the original seed of all existences.” And later (14.4):
mūrtayaḥ sambhavanti yāḥ
tāsāṁ brahma mahad yonir
ahaṁ bīja-pradaḥ pitā
“It should be understood that all species of life, O son of Kuntī, are made possible by birth in this material nature, and that I am the seed-giving father.”
Giving Credit to the Primal Creator
Dr. Wolf-Rottkay. But in all humility, Śrīla Prabhupāda, suppose the scientists actually succeed in artificially creating a living cell. What would you say?
Śrīla Prabhupāda. What would be their credit? They would only be imitating what already exists in nature. People are very fond of imitations. If a man in a nightclub imitates a dog, people will go and pay money to watch him. But when they see a real dog barking, they don’t pay any attention to it.
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.
Perhaps the scientists can create imitations of nature, but why should we give them credit? we should give credit to the original creator, God; that is our philosophy.
Dr. Singh. When a scientist discovers some natural law, he usually names it after himself.
Śrīla Prabhupāda. Yes, exactly. The law is already there in nature, but the rascal wants to take credit for it.
Gerontology: Prolonging the Suffering
Dr. Singh. They are actually fighting against the laws of nature, but often they take pleasure in the struggle.
Śrīla Prabhupāda. That pleasure is childish. Suppose a child builds a sand castle on the beach with great effort. He may take pleasure in it, but that is childish pleasure. That is not a grown man’s pleasure. Materialistic men have created a standard of false happiness. They have created a gorgeous arrangement for a comfortable civilization, but it is all false because they cannot create a situation in which they will be able to enjoy it. At any moment, anyone can be kicked out by death, and all his enjoyment will be finished.
Dr. Singh. That is why they say that God hasn’t given us everything—because we are not able to live here forever.
Śrīla Prabhupāda. But God has given them everything necessary to live peacefully, and everything necessary to understand Him. So why will they not inquire about God? Instead, they do things that help them forget God.
Dr. Singh. Now the scientists have organized a whole department in science called gerontology, in which they study how to prolong life.
Śrīla Prabhupāda. Their real aim should be to stop the suffering. Suppose an old man is in great pain, suffering from many diseases, and suddenly the doctors increase his life-span. What is the profit?
Dr. Singh. That is what they do with heart transplants.
Śrīla Prabhupāda. It is nonsense! Let them stop death; that would be an achievement. Let them stop all disease; ah, that would be an achievement. They cannot do these things! Therefore, I say that all their research is simply a struggle for existence. Kṛṣṇa says in Bhagavad-gītā (15.7):
“The living entities in this conditioned world are My eternal, fragmental parts. Due to conditioned life, they are struggling very hard with the six senses, which include the mind.”
Student. Now there is a shortage of oil.
Śrīla Prabhupāda. Yes, we have built a civilization that is dependent on oil. This is against nature’s law, and therefore there is now an oil shortage. By nature’s law, winter is now coming. Scientists cannot stop it and turn it into summer. They wrongly think they are in control of nature. In Bhagavad-gītā Kṛṣṇa informs us that the living being thinks himself to be the doer of activities that are in actuality carried out by nature. The sun is now rising. Can they make it dark? And when it is dark, can they command the sun, “Get up!” They do not realize that if they really want to conquer nature, they should try to conquer birth, death, old age and disease. In Bhagavad-gītā (7.14) Kṛṣṇa says:
daivī hy eā guṇa-mayī
mama māyā duratyayā
mām eva ye prapadyante
māyām etāṁ taranti te
“This divine energy of Mine, consisting of the three modes of material nature, is difficult to overcome. But those who have surrendered unto Me can easily cross beyond it.”
Dr. Singh. So, is it very hard to overcome nature’s laws?
Śrīla Prabhupāda. For the materialists, it is impossible. But if one surrenders to Kṛṣṇa, it becomes easy.
The Real Origin of Species
Dr. Singh. To explain why there are so many varieties of living entities, the scientists say that at a certain time during evolution, the cells’ genes, which normally reproduce themselves perfectly for the next generation, sometimes make a mistake in copying—something like the printing press that sometimes makes mistakes. In some circumstances these mistakes, or mutations, have stood, and different species of living entities have been formed because of the difference in the genes.
Śrīla Prabhupāda. But that “mistake” has been continuing since time immemorial, for you will find that all varieties of living entities have always existed. Therefore the “mistake” is eternal. But when a “mistake” is permanent, it is not a mistake; it is intelligence!
Dr. Singh. But scientists say that if there were no mutations, then there would be only one kind of living entity in the whole universe.
Śrīla Prabhupāda. No. Every living entity has a different mind, and therefore there are so many different species of life to accommodate the different mentalities. For example, we are walking here, but most people are not coming to join us, because they have different mentalities than we do. Why does this difference exist?
Dr. Singh. Maybe it is a mistake.
Śrīla Prabhupāda. It is not a mistake. It is their desire, and at the time of death everyone will get a body exactly according to his desire. Kṛṣṇa says in Bhagavad-gītā (8.6):
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.” What you are thinking of at the time of death exactly determines your next body. Nature will give you the body; the decision is not in your hands, but in nature’s, and she is working under the direction of God.
Dr. Singh. But science seems to have evidence that different species of life do arise by mistakes.
Śrīla Prabhupāda. That is their mistake! In the laws of nature there are no mistakes. In railway cars there are first-class, second-class and third-class sections. If you purchase a third-class ticket but by mistake go to the first-class section, you will not be allowed to stay there. It is not a mistake that there are sections; that is the arrangement. But it is your mistake that you have gone to the wrong section. So, God is so thorough that He knows all the mistakes that will be made. Therefore, according to the mistakes you commit, you enter a particular body: “Here, come here. The body is ready.” There are 8,400,000 species of life, and nature works, assigning different bodies, with mathematical precision. When the government builds a city, it builds a prison even before the city is completed, because the government knows that there will be many criminals who will have to go to prison. This is not the government’s mistake; it is the mistake of the criminals. Because they become criminals, they have to go there. It is their mistake.
In nature there are no mistakes. Kṛṣṇa says:
“This material nature is working under My direction, O son of Kuntī, and producing all moving and nonmoving beings.” (Bg. 9.10) Nature works under the supervision of God, Kṛṣṇa, so how can nature make mistakes? But we commit mistakes, we are illusioned, our senses are imperfect, and we cheat. That is the difference between God and man. God does not have imperfect senses; His senses are perfect.
Dr. Wolf-Rottkay. Because our senses are defective, the technological enlargements of our senses must also be defective, of course.
Dr. Singh. The microscopes with which we detect things must also be defective.
Śrīla Prabhupāda. Material existence means defective existence. If you construct something with defective knowledge and imperfect senses, whatever you construct must be defective.
Dr. Singh. Even if scientists devised a perfect microscope, they would still have to look through it with defective eyes.
Śrīla Prabhupāda. Yes. That is right. Therefore we conclude that whatever the scientists may say is defective.
Dr. Singh. But they seem quite satisfied.
Śrīla Prabhupāda. The ass is also satisfied. The ass is satisfied to carry the load of the washerman. Everyone is satisfied, even the worm in the stool. That is nature’s law.
Dr. Wolf-Rottkay. It is said that even the pauper is proud of his penny.
Śrīla Prabhupāda. Yes. In some parts of India one may sometimes see a dog starving to death. But as soon as it gets a female dog, it is satisfied with having sex. Is that satisfaction? The dog is starving, but still it is satisfied with sex.