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.

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:

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

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How old is the Universe? When will it all end?

How old is the Universe? When will the Universe end? What transitions take place? Do we have a way beyond speculation?

There is a lot of speculation about the age of the Universe. Every little while, there is some new number, with language like “research suggests”, or “new evidence reveals”, etc. Numbers like 9 Billion years, 13.8 Billion years, etc., are thrown around. All speculative.

Then there’s the Biblican/Abrahamic version, which puts the age of the Universe to just a few thousand years.

There is authoritative information available, however, as to:

  • How old is the Universe presently
  • When will the Universe be dissolved
  • What transitions take place in the Universe
  • How big is the Universe
  • One Universe or more than one Universe

According to the Srimad Bhagavatam, which gives information from the perspective of the Creator of the Universe, this particular universe has a total lifespan of approximately 311 Trillion Years.

Of that lifespan, approximately 50% is completed. So the present age of the Universe is 155 Trillion Years.

This Universe is one of innumerable, just like bubbles in the foam of the waves of the ocean.

There is a partial dissolution of the Universe periodically, every 4.32 Billion Years.

No matter how long all this may seem to be, in the context of eternity, this is but a flash in the pan.

Our Universe, The Source of the Universe is practically Infinite. We are each an infinitesimal part of The Infinite. What does that make us then? Why should we be attached to one particular situation on one particular planet in one particular Universe in one particular iteration of the Creation?

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Guard of Honour

When a dignitary, such as a Prime Minister or President of a foreign nation visits, it is customary to offer them a “Guard of Honour”, a formation of military personnel in their ceremonial regalia, offering honour in the form of a salute or other such rituals meant to receive, with respect, the visiting dignitary.

The visitor, along with a suitable equal from the host country, reviews the Guard of Honour, and accepts their offerings of respects.

Just as no entity exists without a controller, whether it be a court, a corporation, or a government, and no machine operates without an operator, this Universal arrangement also has such an overseer.

Explosions don’t create order, and if they do, don’t show me a theoretical equation full of assumptions. I’d need to see something tangible, like this Universe, a nice house built with the construction mechanism of a random explosion that no one designed or set off. Innocent children can believe that a machine can operate “magically” or “by accident” or even in “random chance”, but as they grow up, they realize there is a mechanism, and someone made that mechanism, and it has been designed to operate in a certain way according to the designer and operator.

In this Universe, when the Supreme Controller appears, a similar guard of honour is offered by the presiding officials of various planets and planetary systems. This Universal Controller visits different Universes on His schedule.

In the Bhagavad-gītā the Lord says that His appearance, birth and activities are all transcendental and that one who understands them factually becomes immediately eligible to be transferred to the spiritual world. The Lord’s appearance or birth is not like that of an ordinary man, who is forced to accept a material body according to his past deeds. The Lord’s appearance is explained in the Second Chapter: He appears out of His own sweet pleasure. When the time was mature for the appearance of the Lord, the constellations became very auspicious. The astrological influence of the star known as Rohiṇī was predominant. This star is considered to be very auspicious and is under the direct supervision of Brahmā. According to the astrological conclusion, besides the proper situation of the stars, there are auspicious and inauspicious moments due to the different situations of the different planetary systems. At the time of Kṛṣṇa’s birth, the planetary systems were automatically adjusted so that everything became auspicious.

At that time, in all directions—east, west, south, north, everywhere—there was an atmosphere of peace and prosperity. There were auspicious stars visible in the sky, and on the surface in all towns and villages and pasturing grounds and within the minds of everyone there were signs of good fortune. The rivers were flowing full of waters, and lakes were beautifully decorated with lotus flowers. The forests were full with beautiful birds and peacocks. All the birds within the forests began to sing with sweet voices, and the peacocks began to dance along with their consorts. The wind blew very pleasantly, carrying the aroma of different flowers, and the sensation of bodily touch was very pleasing. At home, the brāhmaṇas, who were accustomed to offering sacrifices in the fire, found their homes very pleasant for offerings. Due to disturbances created by the demoniac kings, the sacrificial fire had been almost stopped in the houses of brāhmaṇas, but now they could find the opportunity to start the fire peacefully. Being forbidden to offer sacrifices, the brāhmaṇas had been very much distressed in mind, intelligence and activities, but just on the point of Kṛṣṇa’s appearance, automatically their minds became full of joy because they could hear transcendental vibrations in the sky proclaiming the appearance of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

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