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 earthA. 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