How many souls are in our bodies-besides us? SP explains

April 3, 2021 in Articles by Damaghosa dasa

How many “souls” are there in our bodies, what kind of control  or dependence do they have, and what happens to these souls we die? SP explains
July 14 1975 Philadelphia
Svarūpa Dāmodara: The question that I wrote to Śrīla Prabhupāda, the answer that Śrīla Prabhupāda gave me was that the cells in the body and the jīvātmā that resides in the heart, they are different living entities. But my understanding was directed to the relationship between the two, the jīvātmā in the cells and the jīvātmā in the heart, how they are related, how they…
Prabhupāda: They are separate identity.
Svarūpa Dāmodara: But it looks like, though, in the material body the one cannot exist without another. They look like interdependent.
Prabhupāda: That may be, but still, they are individuals.
Ravīndra-svarūpa: When the jīva in the heart dies, then all the other cells in the body also have to die.
Prabhupāda: No.
Ravīndra-svarūpa: No, they don’t. But when the body decays, doesn’t everything…
Prabhupāda: No. Dead body so many germs come out.
Ravīndra-svarūpa: Oh.
Prabhupāda: How it comes?
Svarūpa Dāmodara: But that is different, though. When a body dies, then there are many germs from outside that…
Prabhupāda: Living entities within the body, they come out, hundreds and thousands. They have not died. Suppose in this jungle there are so many living entities. If I die, what has got to do with them?
Svarūpa Dāmodara: But science tries to understand what is life and in order to do that they just want to understand what is cell. Because science tries to understand what is life, and in order to do that they just want to study what is the cell because cells are the smallest living units of life. That is their understanding. So once they understand what a cell is, then they know what life is. That is their aim. So if the cells and the jīvātmā within the heart, they are different and they are independent, then they cannot conceive of just having a jīvātmā in the heart.
Prabhupāda: That… The particular jīvātmā who has been given this body, he is living in the heart.
Ravīndra-svarūpa: But according to the scientists, our body is made up of little cells just like a brick wall is made up of so many individual bricks. Each… Like in one piece of skin there is…
Prabhupāda: That’s all right. That is body. Just like I live in a house. The house is made of so many bricks. But I am not brick.
Ravīndra-svarūpa: But they say that…
Prabhupāda: “They say!” They are foolish, we always say. Because I am living in a house consisting of so many bricks, it does not mean that I am brick.
Ravīndra-svarūpa: But is each cell an individual living entity?
Prabhupāda: That I do not know. What do you mean by cell? But there are many living entities within this body. That we know.

Svarūpa Dāmodara: That is different from the concept of cell. there are many living entities like germs…
Prabhupāda: So concept of cell is the cell is just like bricks. Matter and spirit, two things are there. Either it must be matter or must be spirit.
Ravīndra-svarūpa: But it’s seen that the scientists, they can take some skin from your body and by putting in different solutions can keep that skin itself alive for such a long time. They have taken the heart of a chicken out of the chicken’s body and then kept it beating for so many hours even though that heart was away from the main chicken. Or they take some other tissue and keep it alive. So they say that each cell is an individual living being.
Prabhupāda: So we have no objection.
Ravīndra-svarūpa: That is all right. So there is a spirit soul in every…
Prabhupāda: No, no. All right or not all right I don’t say. But if they say like that, we have no objection
Svarūpa Dāmodara: So the understanding to find out what life is is just to study what a cell is. That is their… They say that cells are composed of these molecules.
Prabhupāda: What is the position of the cells when the man dies?
Svaupa Dāmodara: The cells are dead. The cells that compose the body, they are dead. There are may be new living entities coming from different parts, but the cell that composed the human body is dead. They cannot reproduce anymore.
Prabhupāda: So what is your proposal? That cell is life?
Svarūpa Dāmodara: Yes.
Prabhupāda: So can you develop life from the cells? As you said that you take the skin and you keep, so take the cells and develop into life.
Svarūpa Dāmodara: That’s called culturing of the cells. They can culture it.
Prabhupāda: That’s all right. Whether you have done it.
Ravīndra-svarūpa: Well, they have that process called cloning?
Svarūpa Dāmodara: No, no, this is the culture. That means take a cell from a living tissue, and you culture it and you supply the sufficient nutrients. Then theoretically they will grow forever. They will divide. They will…
Prabhupāda: So they will grow to a human being?
Svarūpa Dāmodara: Not a human being, but the cells just divide.
Prabhupāda: Then an ant, an ant?
Svarūpa Dāmodara: No.
Prabhupāda: Then what is this? (laughter)
Svarūpa Dāmodara: (laughing) But the cell is still alive.
Prabhupāda: But you said that as soon as the man dies, they also die.
Svarūpa Dāmodara: That is what my question arose, how these, the relationship between the jīvātmā in cells and the jīvātmā in the heart.
Prabhupāda: The jīvātmā… If the cells are living entities, then why do they not remain? Just like other living entities, they remain in the body and they come out. Even the man who has died, he is not there, but the other living entities are there.
Svarūpa Dāmodara: So it seems that the cells are not independent. They are somehow controlled by the jīvātmā or the… Of course, Paramātmā is controlling everything. But I know sometimes the cells that compose the body of a living body, it seems that they are not independent; they are dependent.
Prabhupāda: That may be. But what about your cultivating living entities from the cells?
Svarūpa Dāmodara: Yes, that can be done. That they have already done.
Prabhupāda: “That can be done,” you say everything. But you never done.
Ravīndra-svarūpa: They call it… You know that? They call it cloning?
Svarūpa Dāmodara: Cloning is a different process, though. Cloning is just they take the life from the genes from different species and put this together and form a new species called hybrids of some living entity.
Ravīndra-svarūpa: The scientists say that the cells reproduce not by mating but by splitting in half…
Prabhupāda: That is possible.
Svarūpa Dāmodara: But once Śrīla Prabhupāda told us, though, that I am in the heart and…
Prabhupāda: I am an individual.
Svarūpa Dāmodara: Yes.
Prabhupāda: So that is my position. I live in the heart, and I go away. Other living entities may remain there.
Gurudāsa: When a heart is transplanted does the soul stay in the heart?
Prabhupāda: Yes.
Svarūpa Dāmodara: I want to clarify another that Prabhupāda told us that compared with the cells, I am a little bigger god, but the cells are smaller. Just like we are serving spiritual master. Similarly, the cells are serving. They have no choice in the…
Prabhupāda: Yes. That is good idea. Yes.
Svarūpa Dāmodara: So similarly, we were discussing with the Balavanta Prabhu one day about the… He was giving a nice example that in a kingdom where the king stays… Just like Śrīla Prabhupāda’s example: living in an apartment. Śrīla Prabhupāda and disciples and many other living entities stay in the same apartment, but a person, an individual, who knows his position, is to serve the order of the head of the apartment. But somebody doesn’t follow. He just goes away from the apartment. So Balavanta was asking what is the use of that? So similarly, when the cells… We can take out from one part of the body and can culture it, but what is the use? It produces, but actually it’s not really behaving as it should. It has no value.
Prabhupāda: Yes. They are just like machine parts. Parts and parcels, they are helping the whole machine work.
Svarūpa Dāmodara: About Guru dāsa prabhu’s point, when the heart transplant, the soul stays in the subtle body. Is that sound?
Prabhupāda: Yes. Soul is always staying in the subtle body, and the subtle body is left when he goes to God or kingdom of God.
Ravīndra-svarūpa: One thing I’m trying to understand is how is it that the soul wants different things and then the material body acts according to the desires of the soul? So there is a cause and thereis an effect. Normally all our cause and effect, we see one material thing causing another material thing to happen. But how is it the spirit causes? What is the connection that spirit causes matter to do so many things? The spirit is manipulating the matter, but how? How is that contact there?
Prabhupāda: Contact? It is already in contact. You are in the material body. It is already in contact.
Ravīndra-svarūpa: But I don’t understand how that contact is working.
Prabhupāda: Contact is working under the direction of God. The individual soul desires, and God arranges to fulfill his desire with the help of prakṛti.
Ravīndra-svarūpa: So when I want to move my hand, when I want to move this hand and so I will to move my hand, actually there has to be God involved in that action. Otherwise the hand won’t move.
Prabhupāda: Paralyzed.
Ravīndra-svarūpa: Paralyzed.
Prabhupāda: When your hand is paralyzed what you can do?
Ravīndra-svarūpa: Do actually I don’t directly do anything with matter. It is all Kṛṣṇa’s doing everything with the matter.
Devotee: “Man proposes, God disposes.”
Prabhupāda: Yes.
Ravīndra-svarūpa: Also I heard that also in every act of…, like if I want to blink my eyelid, also there is a demigod. What is the necessity of so many demigods? Why can’t Kṛṣṇa directly…
Prabhupāda: That how you can know? You are not the director. Director knows how many assistants he requires. You cannot know… You are under the direction. You are not director. [break] …not a mechanic he cannot understand why there are so many parts in the motor car. He is a fool. He doesn’t know. But a mechanic knows that these things are required.
Guru dāsa: If the soul cannot be burnt, why does the desire to be burnt in the material world there? Burnt, drowned…
Svarūpa-damodara: Destroyed.
Prabhupāda: He is not destroyed. When this body cannot work any more… Because this body is a machine. So a machine, if he does not move, then you, have to change to another machine.
Svarūpa Dāmodara: The desire is not… Actually it is not burned; it just changed. The desire is changed to for a higher purpose. We have a choice between the subtle desires. Just change is the there from one to another.
Prabhupāda: No, the same example: just like in a motor car you desire to go this side, but the machine is stopped, so you have to accept another motor car. It is like that, to fulfill your desire. After all it is a machine. Machine is matter. So it has got a time to work. When it is not working, then you change to another machine to fulfill your desire.
Guru dāsa: If God, Kṛṣṇa, desires the motor car to turn right, what makes the car turn left?
Prabhupāda: Not Kṛṣṇa desires. You desire. Kṛṣṇa helps you. Kṛṣṇa desires you give up all this nonsense and surrender to Him. Only He desires that. But if you don’t do, you will desire so many things.
Svarūpa Dāmodara: It remains a mystery to great thinkers that though the soul is pure by nature and transcendental, but somehow it is trapped in the subtle and gross body and…
Prabhupāda: Because he desired. Kṛṣṇa bhuliya jīva bhoga vañchā kare. When he wants to enjoy this material world… In the spiritual world there is only one enjoyer. And in the material world everyone is a enjoyer. He is planning in his own way how to enjoy. That is material world. In the spiritual world the enj…, is Kṛṣṇa, and all others is helping in His enjoyment. But in material world everyone is thinking, “I am enjoyer,” and he is planning in his own way.

Some Conclusions-this conversation goes on for some time but what is said above is interesting because Prabhupada is clearing up many misconceptions of the soul and other souls in our bodies, how this machine called the human body works, and what happens is we desire wrongly than what God wants us to do in these bodies?
Hare Krsna
damaghosa das
Kirtan rasa-this is the real nectar for which we are always hankering for….
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