by purujit dasa
IT IS THE SAME BODY, IT IS ONLY GROWING
Along with arguments pro existence of the soul, there are many against it. A very frequent argument against the transmigration is that we’re actually not changing different bodies, but it is one body, which simply grows. Srila Prabhupada in this connection explains:
Generally, people who are attached to the bodily conception of life are so absorbed in materialism that it is almost impossible for them to understand that there is a transcendental body which is imperishable, full of knowledge and eternally blissful.
Bg. 4.10 purport
But let’s bring the example of a movie again. Movie actually doesn’t move. It’s just series of photographs projected at high speed on the screen. Take a look:
Here’s 10 pictures of a boy walking. These are all different pictures and if you ask people who are into animation, they will confirm that it’s quite a tedious work to draw them all.
Now, let’s check it out how it looks when you play them one after another in a sequence:
That’s right. It looks alive!
Because the movie is so swift, we do not perceive the images separately anymore, but our attention is focused on the fluent movement they create altogether. In reality, there's no movement. Every image of the movie is still. The movement is an illusion, but because the technology is so wonderful, we become so captivated when we watch a movie in a theatre that sometimes we laugh, sigh, or even scream while watching it. Similarly, people, who are absorbed in bodily platform, have a difficulty to perceive the different forms in which the living force is passing through throughout his/her lifetime and thus mistake the various bodily forms in time as a whole and not as separate from each other. However when we say: "growing", "changes", "ages", “develops” etc. automatically we are supporting the differentiation. If it's the same body, it should be identical in every single aspect. Such is the definition of the word “same”. As soon as there's just a little tiny difference, it is a different body.
Guru-gaurāṅga: They also say that it is not... It is the same body, more or less...
Prabhupāda: Same body...
Guru-gaurāṅga: But it is just developed, but it is not a different body.
Prabhupāda: No. Developed means different body. Development means different body. They cannot say it is not different body. Then if it is not different, then go to childhood again.
June 8, 1974, Geneva
It might be similar, but to say that the old man’s body is the same as the body we had in our childhood is simply a lack of sanity. If we wet our pants in our childhood people say it’s cute. We can hardly expect such reaction from people around us if we wet our pants now though. This is the point. And that body is changing every moment by the actions and reactions of the different cells is admitted even by modern medical science.
Dr. Singh. Medical science says that all the bodily cells are replaced every seven years.
Śrīla Prabhupāda. No, not every seven years—every second. Every second, the blood corpuscles are changing. Is it not so?
Dr. Singh. Yes.
Śrīla Prabhupāda. And as soon as the blood corpuscles change, you change your body.
Life Comes from Life
The Tenth Morning Walk:
May 14, 1973
I think there is no difficulty to understand this simple process. Now, the soul is there, and the body's transforming every moment, every moment, imperceptibly. Just like if you have seen some, some your friend's child small, and after five years, you go to that friend's house and see the child: "Oh, you have grown so big? You have grown so big." But the father, mother cannot see. Because they are seeing daily, they do not see that "How my child is growing, daily," but a man who comes all of a sudden after five years, he says, "Oh, the child is grown up."
New York, March 11, 1966
Brahmānanda: Is a person reborn in the same body?
Prabhupāda: Yes, you are reborn every moment. You were like this child sometime. Is this body the same? You think your body is the same when you were a child like that, lying down on the lap of you mother? Is the same body?
Bernard Manischewitz: No, my body is different from a child's body.
Prabhupāda: Yes. So different body means you are changing body every moment, imperceptibly. That is the medical science.
Bernard Manischewitz: Can it sometimes be perceptibly? Can a person...?
Prabhupāda: Perceptibly we can understand that the body is being changed so long you are within this body. Because if the person, the soul, is not in the body, the body does not change. Body changes so long the soul is there. And as soon as the soul goes out of the body, there is no more change. Is it not perceptible?
Bernard Manischewitz: If the soul goes out of the body...
Prabhupāda: There is no more change. It remains the same. Same status. Why? That means so long the soul is there, changes take place.
with Bernard Manischewitz
July 13, 1975, Philadelphia
(to be continued...)