There is life everywhere in the Universe (and beyond)

Can life exist in other environments? Does life exist only on this planet and exactly as we know it? Could there be life on other planets? Are there of bodies that survive in harsh (to us humans) environments?

Recently, I came across a a piece that said something like “scientists have discovered a planet orbiting a star that may have conditions favorable for life”.

There’s an implicit assumption there, which says “life exists only on this one planet that we inhabit, and only in the ways we know”. This is a very myopic understanding. Why is that, you ask?

नैनं छिन्दन्ति शस्त्राणि नैनं दहति पावकः ।

न चैनं क्ल‍ेदयन्त्यापो न शोषयति मारुतः ॥ २३ ॥

The soul can never be cut to pieces by any weapon, nor burned by fire, nor moistened by water, nor withered by the wind.

Bhagavad Gita 2.23

Because life is actually spiritual in nature, and spirit souls have no need for any specific material circumstances to exist. Only bodies do.

भूमिरापोऽनलो वायु: खं मनो बुद्धिरेव च ।
अहङ्कार इतीयं मे भिन्ना प्रकृतिरष्टधा ॥ ४ ॥

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 constitute My separated material energies.

अपरेयमितस्त्वन्यां प्रकृतिं विद्धि मे पराम् ।

जीवभूतां महाबाहो ययेदं धार्यते जगत् ॥ ५ ॥

apareyam itas tv anyāṁ prakṛtiṁ viddhi me parām jīva-bhūtāṁ mahā-bāho yayedaṁ dhāryate jagat

Besides these, O mighty-armed Arjuna, there is another, superior energy of Mine, which comprises the living entities who are exploiting the resources of this material, inferior nature.

Bhagavad Gita 7.4-5

Souls can inhabit any type of body according to their “karmic earnings” – just like one person can afford to live in an expensive penthouse suite in a desirable location, another one in a sprawling estate, yet another in a shared apartment in a dilapidated building in an unsavory part of town, and yet another one has to just sleep on the side of the street.

Our bodies (I’m talking about human bodies here) consist primarily of water, about 50-75% water. There are also a lot of dissolved gases in there and many materials that qualify as “earth”. Our bodies take up some space, and for anyone who knows about all the amazing chemical reactions taking place inside, there is definitely “fire” inside our bodies too. But in our bodies, there is the mind, the intelligence, and the sense of identity.

And the spirit soul inhabits this body made of the material elements.

If you logically consider this, you will see that there could be bodies made predominantly of earth, very little water. There are gigantic bodies that take up a lot of space, and bodies that can hardly be seen under a microscope. Living entities can exist even where we cannot. Here is an example… deep within the earth, where there is no light, very little water, very high temperature, living entities still exist, “teeming with life” this article says. http://www.geologyin.com/2018/12/scientists-reveal-massive-biosphere-of.html

Why then would one assume that a body cannot exist without hydrocarbons or oxygen or a “comfortable temperature”? We may not be able to detect such a body ourselves with our current limited instruments, but logically, why should the presence or absence of certain chemicals or environmental conditions hinder the soul? There could be bodies made predominantly of air, or fire!

As on this earth planet we have a multivariety of living entities, we can understand from Vedic literatures that in the sun also there is a variety of living entities, but their bodies are made of fire, just as ours are made of earth

A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (On the Way to Krsna)

It may seem far-fetched, that there are living entities with bodies made of fire, but how about these bacteria that survive high temperatures we cannot?

How do we get there to these other worlds? It is not possible to go there by mechanical means, because of the “karmic credit balance” and also practically because a body designed for the earthly environment cannot survive the realities of other environments for too long. A deepwater fish cannot survive in a swimming pool. A freshwater fish cannot survive in the ocean. To survive fire, one needs a body made of fire, to survive gaseous environments one needs a body predominantly made of gases. These types of bodies may be outside of our immediate direct experience, but can we at least logically accept the possibility?

Want to read more? Check this out: https://www.vedabase.com/en/ej/preface

A decaying, limiting, embarassing body made of material elements does not befit the spirit soul, instead, through a process of spiritual purification, one can acquire a body that is purely spiritual, no material contamination. Would you like to obtain a spiritual body? Let me know!

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. According to our activities in this life, we either rise or sink. This life is a preparation for the next life. If we can prepare, therefore, in this life to get promotion to the kingdom of God, then surely, after quitting this material body, we will attain a spiritual body just like the Lord’s.

Bhagavad Gita As It Is, Introduction

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

How many corpses have you carried?How many more do you have?

If you are reading this, you are a spirit soul. As a spirit soul, you are alive and conscious, and actually eternal, knowledgeable, and blissful.

But chances are that the body you currently inhabit is not eternal, is a network prone to ignorance, and often far from blissful

So there you are, dear spirit soul, dear “Atma”, you are carrying around a dead body. It’s heavy.

स्वप्नायितं नृपसुखं परतन्त्रमीश
शश्वद्भ‍येन मृतकेन धुरं वहाम: ।
हित्वा तदात्मनि सुखं त्वदनीहलभ्यं
क्लिश्यामहेऽतिकृपणास्तव माययेह ॥ २८ ॥ svapnāyitaṁ nṛpa-sukhaṁ para-tantram īśa
śaśvad-bhayena mṛtakena dhuraṁ vahāmaḥ
hitvā tad ātmani sukhaṁ tvad-anīha-labhyaṁ
kliśyāmahe ’ti-kṛpaṇās tava māyayeha

O Lord, with this corpselike body, always full of fear, we bear the burden of the relative happiness of kings, which is just like a dream. Thus we have rejected the real happiness of the soul, which comes by rendering selfless service to You. Being so very wretched, we simply suffer in this life under the spell of Your illusory energy.

https://vedabase.io/en/library/sb/10/70/28/

Why is the body called corpselike? Well, it has no value, no use after the soul leaves it! No matter how beautiful a man or woman may have been, while millions might desire that person while they were alive, no one wants to associate with a dead body (with exceptions, there are always exceptions).

Why is that? If it was the body we really wanted, we’d have no problems associating with corpses. What we really crave for is the association with the spirit souls that animates and enlivens that corpse.

Which brings us the point – how do we get a ‘corpselike’ material body?

Material desires! What are material desires? Desire to be #1, the desire to be Lord and Master of all I survey, Desire to be the Center of the Universe, the Desire to be this, that, and other, the Desire to be what we are not.

Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown

William Shakespeare, Henry IV, Part II, 1597

Well before Shakespeare, it was known that material desires create material bodies.

One material body per material desire, at least.

Influenced by the illusory material energy that is all around us, we’re creating our next millions and billions of material bodies right now. The desire for money, the desire for sex, the desire for fame, the desire to be powerful, the desire to have blue eyes or smooth skin or long hair, the desire to do this or that… all corpses in disguise, seductive but deadly.

But why do we want to create yet another corpse? How many have we carried already? How many do we have yet to carry?

Better to be free of this material bondage, repeated, birth, death, old age, and disease!

जन्ममृत्युजराव्याधिदु:खदोषानुदर्शनम्

janma-mṛtyu-jarā-vyādhi-

duḥkha-doṣānudarśanam

the perception of the evil of birth, death, old age and disease

https://vedabase.io/en/library/bg/13/8-12/

A genuine spiritual practice, devoid of the trickery of material sense gratification disguised as religion leads to this perception of who I am, not this body, but a pure spirit soul, eternally part-and-parcel of God.

Not carrying a corpse in the material world, as a spirit soul, free to be me!

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

When and How did the Soul Arrive in the Material World?

Sanjeev, 12th September 2011

Hare Krsna Vaisnavas

Please accept my humble obeisances

All Glories to Srila Praphupada

All Glories to Sri Guru and Sri Gauranga

We learn from the Sastras that because of our past deeds in the spiritual world we, as spirit souls, have obtained this material body and have been put into the material world. Do the Sastras say when and how the conditioned souls accepted the material body?

your eternal servant

Sanjeev

Ashutosh Pandey, 13th September 2011

Hare Krsna!

All glories to Srila Prabhupada

We have been captured in this material world since time immemorial….even if someone tells you your exact date of entry into this material world…. how is it going to help you?? What benefit will you get from this information?? Is it going to bring back your forgotten relationship with Krsna without following what others devotees are following??

More intelligent approach is that now you have realised or say know, you are entangled into this material world because of your own sins against Lord Krsna, better accept fault, get surrendered, approach a bonafide guru, follow the instructions and devote this life to serve the Vaishnavas……you have already taken millions and millions of birth for sense gratification..just devote one life for Krsna….

Even though to quench your inquisitiveness: Shastras are meant for God realisation and hence they mention those characters from whose life one can learn a lot to progress in spirituality. Even if one talks about the day he entered into this material world, the time is not going to be same for every one.

Hope this answers your question

your servant,

Ashutosh

Uddhava Presta Das, 13th September 2011

Hare Krsna

All Glories to Srila Prabhupada

All Glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga

An apt answer….

your servant,

uddhava presta das

Mahabhagavat Das SDA, 13th September 2011

Hare Krishna Sanjeev Prabhu,

Please accept my humble obeisances.

All glories to Srila Gurudeva.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

Prabhu, your question is valid, and it is a nice question also. Ashutosh Prabhu is right that it is not useful to know when exactly.

However, in the spirit of understanding things as they are as per Guru and Shastra, here are a few points to add to Ashutosh Prabhu’s explanation.

Srila Gurudeva has written on this topic also, please read here – switch to the Q&A section – I am not quoting because it is lengthy:

http://www.sda-archives.com/tftd/2009/nov/tftd_110409.html

1. In the spiritual world, time is eternal also, but not like in the material world, in spiritual world, there is no concept of “passing away” – this is mentioned in Brahma Samhita also, Tirtharaja Prabhu had posted on another thread…

“…where there is eternal existence of transcendental time, who is ever present and without past or future and hence is not subject to the quality of passing away even for the duration of half a moment….”

2. In the material world, there is a start and finish to everything, and being materially conditioned, we cannot imagine timelessness. So we want to know, when, where, etc. It is out of scope for us, unless we are spiritually advanced. Mundane example is that it is like an ant trying to imagine the extent of our roads and railways and airways and shipping routes.

3. We have been coming and going higher and lower, on different planets, different universes, different bodies, since time immemorial… in other words, practically we have been here so long that it is more than 1000, 10,000, million, billion years. For example, it is said that every living entity starts off as Brahma in a particular universe… one day of Lord Brahma lasts 4.32 billion of our years. Lord Brahma lives for 100 of such years. It is just totally inconceivable for us, right?

4. We have been on and off in 8.4 different million species over and over again.

5. In this lifetime, we have the mercy of Guru and Krishna and have received the seed of Bhakti which has been planted in our heart.

brahmānda bhramite kona bhāgyavān jīva

guru-krsna-prasāde pāya bhakti-latā-bīja

“”According to their karma, all living entities are wandering throughout the entire universe. Some of them are being elevated to the upper planetary systems, and some are going down into the lower planetary systems. Out of many millions of wandering living entities, one who is very fortunate gets an opportunity to associate with a bona fide spiritual master by the grace of Kṛṣṇa. By the mercy of both Kṛṣṇa and the spiritual master, such a person receives the seed of the creeper of devotional service.” CC Madhya 19.151

Please read the purport here:

http://vedabase.net/cc/madhya/19/151/

I hope this helps. Please let us know if there are any questions, this is a nice topic and should be understood thoroughly. Just the endeavour to understand helps us to advance spiritually, whether we actually understand or not.

your servant,

Mahabhagavat Das

Sanjeev, 13th September 2011

Hare Krsna,

Please accept my humble obeisances.

All glories to Srila Praphupada.

All glories to Sri Guru and Sri Gauranga.

Many Thanks for the very intuituive answers from Mahabhagavat Das Prabhu and Ashutosh Prabhu. This forum is so spiritually enlivening.

May Krsna bless this forum. Hari Bol.

Adding a thread to this question, if the living entity by the process of bhakti yoga gets a second chance to go back to Godhead, will the living entity have learnt his lessons or is there any chance for him to again rebel against the authority of the Supreme Lord and will want to try to enjoy outside his relationship with the Lord once more – meaning coming back to the material world? Will this not then mean that there is no guarantee that the living entity will stay eternally in the spiritual world – it will all depend on his actions there also?

Please forgive my ignorance.

your eternal servant

Sanjeev

Mahabhagavat Das SDA, 13th September 2011

Hare Krishna Prabhu,

Please accept my humble obeisances.

All glories to Srila Gurudeva.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

Thank you for the appreciation. Actually you are making it so nice with your sincere desire to learn and share. Our mission is to know Krishna and make Him known, and this is best done if as many as possible individuals learn properly from bona fide sources and then go out there and teach in words and deeds.

On Friday 31 Oct 2008, Srila Sankarshan Das Adhikari wrote:

“Once having tasted the miseries of this material world and then having regained your original position in the spiritual world you will not make the same mistake twice. Once burned, twice shy. You will not come here again. So now take your human form of life seriously and finish up your business once and for all.”

Then again on 2 Aug 2009, he wrote:

“All of us here in this material world were originally with Krishna in the spiritual world serving Him as His devotees. By misuse of our minute independence we fell down into the cycle of birth and death. Just as it is sometimes said, “Once burned, twice shy,” if we realize our mistake and go back to Godhead, we will not make the same mistake twice. Of course, since we have free will eternally we could fall a second time. But who would stick their hand in the fire a second time after already being burned once?”

your servant,

Mahabhagavat Das

Vishal, 13th September 2011

Hare Krsna,

Please accept my humble obeisances.

All glories to Srila Praphupada.

All glories to Sri Guru and Sri Gauranga.

Very philosophical answer. The quotes from Srila Gurudeva are indeed very deep thinking. No doubt this forum is helping, I am sure, everybody to learn a lot.

I read a quote from Srila Praphupada (Hawaii, 1969) where he said that in this age of Kali, it is more important to create devotees than to construct temples. So your comments are very valid Praphu – we should learn from bona fide sources before being able to teach others as recommended by Lord Chaitanya Mahaprahu.

Hari Bol

Your eternal servant

Sanjeev

Bhaktarupa Das, 14th September 2011

Dear Mahabhagavat prabhu,

Please accept my humble obeissances.

All glories to Srila Gurudeva,

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

Thank you very much for reminding Srila Gurudeva’s wonderful thought for the day. Infact this reminded me of Srila Gurudeva’s another amazing Thought for the Day titled – “Time Went Backwards” published on Friday 2 January 2009.

http://sda-archives.com/tftd/tftd/2009/jan/tftd_010209.html

Quote:

Today on 31 December 2008 I arrived in Santiago, Chile at 12:55pm flying in from Auckland, New Zealand. The most amazing thing about this journey was that I left Auckland at 5:25pm on 31 December 2008, which is 5 1/2 hours after I arrived in Santiago. I arrived in Santiago before I left Auckland. In other words time went backwards. If I told this to someone who is not familiar with what happens when one crosses the international date line, he would think that I had lost my marbles, that I was crazy. Crossing the international dateline always does uncanny things to one’s calendar no matter which way he crosses it.

There is another crossing point known as the Viraja River, which is the crossing point between the spiritual and material worlds. It acts in ways that are even more amazing and inconceivable than the international date line. On one side of the Viraja, the material side, is the realm of past, present, and future. And on the other side of the Viraja, the spiritual side, there exists the realm of timelessness, described as follows by Srila Prabhupada:

“In the transcendental realm there is no creation and no destruction, and thus the duration of life is eternal unlimitedly. In other words, everything in the transcendental world is everlasting, full of knowledge and bliss without deterioration. Since there is no deterioration, there is no past, present and future in the estimation of time. It is clearly stated in this verse that the influence of time is conspicuous by its absence.”

This means that even though we fell from the spiritual world into the material world (due to our envy of the Lord) because there is no time in the spiritual world there is no time that we fell into this material world. And when we become purified by the process of Krishna consciousness and reawaken our original love for the Supreme Lord there will be no time when we returned. We will always have been there.

Just as time goes backwards when one crosses the international date line from Auckland to Santiago, time also goes backwards when the jiva crosses the Viraja on his return trip back to home, back to Godhead. Time will go back to that moment when he fell from the spiritual sky. In other words, he will never have fallen. This is why it is sometimes said that no one falls from the spiritual world even though countless numbers of jivas have fallen into this material existence due to misuse of their minute independence by desiring to take the position of being the center of existence.

Some may argue that time cannot go backwards. But if the Lord has true supremacy over everything within existence, He must have the power to fast forward, rewind, or freeze time. And he can do it differently for each individual person. It’s not that everybody has to be on the same program. This is why some souls exist in the timeless spiritual realm as nitya-siddhas, eternally liberated souls, and some souls exist in the material realm of past, present, and future as nitya-baddhas, eternally conditioned souls.

unquote.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

I had these type of questions in my heart unanswered for a long time. But when I started subscribing to Srila Gurudeva’s emails, all these questions were answered convincingly without me even having to ask them.

Hare Krishna,

your servant,

Bhaktarupa das

Rahul Mangla, 14th September 2011

Hare Krishna,

What a wonderful explaination by Sriman Sankarshan Das Adhikari Maharaj. I suppose this should clear all doubts.

Hari Bol,

Rahul

Please subscribe to daily inspirational emails from His Grace Sriman Sankarshan Das Adhikari, written fresh every day from his travels around the world sharing the highest spiritual knowledge with everyone. Sign up now at www.backtohome.com