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human cloning and srimad bhAgavatam

From: sampath kumar (sampathkumar_2000_at_yahoo.com)
Date: Thu Mar 02 2000 - 12:30:30 PST

Dear friends,
While in Madras recently, adiyen took the opportunity
to meet with a well-known holy man of orthodox Vedic
tradtion. (It is not necessary to name him here on the
bhakti-list). Adiyen has the greatest regard for this
particular 'veda-vith' since he is not only a devout
and uncompromising Vedic practitioner but also a
person with astute knowledge of worldly matters too
("loukeekam"). In adiyen's opinion he possesses in
abundance the rare wisdom that enables the Vedantic
"gnyAni" to perceive clearly what lesser men miss all
too often to see  ----  the many uncommon truths in
the most common things of the world around us.

Adiyen took the liberty to put to the holy man the
same set of questions on "human cloning" that had been
put out on the bhakti-list a few weeks ago. Adiyen was
not sure if the holy man would welcome such queer
questions on genetics and religion. But adiyen was so
surprised when the "veda-vith" not only listened
kindly to all of adiyen's questions with patience and
understanding but also with a great deal of youthlike
enthusiasm.

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

(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"?

(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?

(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?

(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?

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

When the holy man had listened to the above questions,
he closed his eyes for a moment, seemingly absorbing
their significance. Then he opened his eyes and looked
at me squarely in the eye and said with a beaming
smile on his face:

"My young friend, I am sure you do not expect me to
provide you with technical answers to your questions.
I am not a geneticist. Neither are you. I have a bit
of Vedic learning having spent more than 40 years in
Vedic pursuit. But you have none. And yet you ask
questions of such a nature as will require a
respondent to have deep knowledge of not only the
Vedic truth but also of the science of genetics! 

"Both of us have a little knowledge about clones. We
probably have picked it all up from newspapers and
like publications. But our knowledge is incomplete.
Because our knowledge of human cloning is incomplete
it disturbs us deeply. Why?

"Why? We don't really know. But we believe that in
some future world where human clones will co-exist
with normal human beings, there are bound to arise
profound moral and ethical issues which will further
complicate the already chaotic human society we live
in today. The advent of human clones makes us
extremely uneasy. Why? 

" You are asking me now:  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?"

"I ask you now: if creation of a clone or "srushti"
makes man arrogate Godhood upon himself, then by the
same token, through "destruction" (or "sarvanAshanam")
too Man may hope to become God? For, is Destruction
not one of the principal functions of God too? Two
atomic bombs were dropped in 1945. There was utter
destruction in the world then. Are we  to conclude
therefore that Man became God by the utter Destruction
that he wrought in Hiroshima and Nagasaki?

"My dear young friend, Man's claim to Godhead is made
no stronger through human cloning... or "srushti"... 
than it was   through the awesome destruction his
atomic bombs wrought.... "sarvanAshanam". 

"Human cloning, by the way, is not unknown to Vedic
tradition. The ancient 'sruti' has many references to
clones. So what we call the science of genetics is not
entirely alien to the Vedic system of thought. An
entire chapter in the 'Srimad Bhagavata purAna' has
references to clones, if only you cared to read it
carefully.

"But the difference between the science of genetics
and the Vedic system is this: Vedic inquiry goes far
beyond the scope of mere creation of clones to the
ultimate Truth of Creation itself. Genetic engineering
on the other hand looks upon the the creation of
"human clones" as if it were the ultimate triumph of
the human spirit in its quest to become the Creator
Himself!".

(Adiyen has only roughly translated in English above
the words of the holy man whose Tamil, indeed, was far
more forceful and eloquent).

Adiyen then asked the holy man,"Can you please explain
what is there about human clones in "Srimad
Bhagavatam?".

The holy man smiled and said,"Ah, but that is a long
story!".

"Sir, I would nonetheless like to hear it", I said.

"My dear friend, but it's time now for both of us to
perform our 'sandhyAvandanam'. So please go now and
return tomorrow if you are still interested in quaint
"purAnic" stories of the Vedic variety."

The holy man then dismissed adiyen rather abruptly.
Adiyen suspected he secretly hoped I would not bother
him again if asked to go away and return all the way
again the following day.

As adiyen left the holy man's house,  I silently
said,"Holy man, if you think I won't be returning to
you tomorrow to hear out your explanations on
'cloning' in the Srimad Bhagavatam, you are wrong!
Wait until tomorrow when I knock on your door again!".

It's now time for adiyen's 'sandhyAvandanam'. So I
will continue this post tomorrow, if you don't mind.

dAsan,
Sampathkumar  
 



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