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Human cloning

Tatachar_at_aol.com
Date: Wed Feb 16 2000 - 17:59:23 PST

Dear BhagavathAs,

Sriman Sampathkumar raised a set of 
thought provoking questions on human
cloning. Here are some of my observations.
Being a gene jockey by profession, I 
feel compelled to make some comments.

I believe the relation between the Cloned
and the Clone are sort of  Vishishtadvaita. 
Clone owes it's very existence to  the cloned. 
Clone is genetically identical to the Cloned.
However, whatever else the cloned has
acquired (both material and spiritual), to get that
the clone will have to work at it.
If given the identical setting (which is
simply not possible), the clone probably 
would more fully mimick the cloned.

Now to the specific questions raised by Sri Sampatkumar:

>>(1) What is stand of the Vedic religion to human
cloning? Is the clone also a "baddha-jeeva"?<<<

One became many (everything) is a well known 
Vedic theme. This would include replica as well.
Clone is as much a  baddha-jeeva as any other jeeva.

>>(2) Will present day religious leaders like
Sankaracharya, Azhagiyasingar and others support human
cloning or condemn it? Why and on what theological
grounds? (The Christian Church has come out against
human cloning, by the way. But then the Church was
also against the heliocentric view of the universe
when Copernicus first came out with that theory!) <<<
Many are opposed to human cloning because of potential 
moral,  and ethical issues, just as many are opposed to
human abortion, contraception etc. 

For example, one may clone oneself and nurture the
clone solely to serve as a back-up for spare body parts. 
Given this obvious possibility, many would be opposed to
human cloning. However, laws can be passed so that
the clone enjoys all the privileges that a natural human 
child enjoys.


>>(3) A human clone represents an exact biological
replica of the original. Is it a "spiritual-replica"
too? Does it have the "same" atomic soul ("aatmA")
too? Or is the clone to be treated as insentient... a
"jada"?<<

Clone is not a jaDa. It must be treated as an identical twin.
That is, it is as much a  biological as an identical twin.
It has the same spiritual potential as well.
However, how these potentials are expressed
will depend on the nurture.


>>(4) If the human soul can be said to be 'cloned' then
isn't such cloning a bit like "srushti" or creation
itself? Has Man finally become God?<<

Human status as to becoming God or not would be no
different from what applies to one giving birth to 
identical twins.  The same Advaita, Vishishtadvaita,
Dwaita philosophies prevail. A human is God as per
Advaita. However, one does not achieve God status
just by cloning. Because the cloned person is not a 
self created person in a self created universe. Even
the so called clone needs a surrogate mother in the
current technology. 
Man would have to create this universe first. That is
just for starters. Compared to this, Advaita seems so 
much easier.

>>(5) If the original soul (aatmA) has a load of "karma"
upon it, then, does the soul of the cloned human also
have similar "karma"? Or does the clone start its
"kArmic" journey afresh from the first moment of its
cloned creation and existence?<<

Punya and pApa of the past life of the original human
also attach to the clone. This is like parents having
one child versus many children. Each child will have
it's share of past Karma. In the case of clone, it's past
life Karma would be identical to past life Karma of the 
cloned. 

>>(6) Do the "punya" and "pApa"... sin and good deed...
of the original human attach to the clone? And vice
versa? Are the cloned and the clone mutually
responsible for each other's actions in a moral sense?<<

Punya and pApa of the past life of the original human
also attach to the clone. However, any pApa and punya
committed by the original human in the current life,
upto the time of cloning,  will not attach to the clone. 
In some respects,  clone is like an identical twin. Punya 
or pApa of one does not inflict the other.

Also, cloned is like parent and clone is like progeny:
Thus, the cloned and the clone are not mutually 
responsible for each other's action in the religious
sense. Depending on the laws of the land, the cloned
may be responsible for the clone- just as a parent
is legally responsible for the child upto a point of time.

>>(7) If the original human attains 'liberation' or
'mOksha' will the clone also similarly attain it? If
not why not?<<

The clone would not attain mOksha automatically.
Because, I have undergone prapatti,
does not automatically  mean my identical twin 
brother also has undergone prapatti.
(Identical twins are in fact clones).

However, the clone has the potential, like any other
human being, to attain mOksha.
 

DAsan,

K. Sreekrishna Tatachar