5. Complete and Perfect
Knowledge of Evolution
Complete and perfect knowledge of evolution in minute detail is available in the Vedic literatures. His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada has kindly supplied the following Vedic quotations:
asitim caturas caiva laksams tan jiva-jatisu
bhramadbhih purusaih prapyam manusyam janma-paryayat
tad apy abhalatam jatah tesam atmabhimaninam
varakanam anasritya govinda-carana-dvayam
"One attains the human form of life after transmigrating through 8,400,000 species of life by the process of gradual evolution. That human form of life is spoiled for those conceited fools who do not take shelter of the lotus feet of Govinda [Krsna]."1. Brahma-vaivarta Purana .1
jalaja nava-laksani sthavara laksa-vimsati
krmayo rudra-sankhyakah paksinam dasa-laksanam
trimsal-laksani pasavah catur-laksani manusah
"There are 900,000 species of aquatic life; 2,000,000 species of plants and trees; 1,100,000 species of insects; 1,000,000 species of bird life; 3,000,000 species of beasts, and 400,000 species of human life."Padma Purana .2 The meaning of "species" understood by biologists is different from the meaning implied here. The meaning used by biologists applies to the gross physical appearance or the gross morphological feature of the living material bodies. The Vedic meaning, however, which is derived after thorough and careful analysis, is based on the level of consciousness of the living being. For example, biologists say that all human beings belong to one species, whereas the Vedic literatures list 400,000 species. In other words, there are 400,000 grades of human beings on different levels of consciousness.
The process of evolution through these 8,400,000 species of life has been going on since time immemorial. As we noted earlier, the spirit soul never dies and is never born; it is eternal. It transmigrates from one body to another. Lord Sri Krsna, the supreme knower of everything, says: "As a person puts on new garments, giving up old ones, similarly, the soul accepts new material bodies, giving up the old and useless ones." [Bg. 2.22] In this way the transmigration of the soul is going on.
As we noted from Brahma-vaivarta Purana, the most important species of life is the human being. The Vedanta-sutra instructs, athato brahma-jijnasa: "Now, therefore, in this human form of life, it is time to inquire about spiritual realization."Vedanta-sutra 220.127.116.11 Who am I? What is the real mission of human life? What is the ultimate purpose of our existence? Every intelligent person must ask these questions and should search for the right answers from the right source. So-called modern educators claim that the purpose of education is to solve the problems of life. But in actuality they are teaching their students how to increase sense gratification more and more, thereby creating more and more paths to degradation. "Thus perplexed by various anxieties and bound by a network of illusions [in terms of increased sense gratification], one becomes too strongly attached to sense enjoyment and falls down into hell." [Bg. 16.16] In modern universities and colleges no one teaches the science by which to answer the question "Who am I?" Srila Prabhupada kindly points out, "There are so many departments in a university: technological, medical, engineering, etc. But where is the department to know and understand what this life is, what God is, and what our relationship is?"A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, "It is for the Greatest Scholar, It is for the Innocent Boy," Back to Godhead no. 44, p,4.6 The most important department of education, that which teaches the real mission of human life, is completely left out. Scientists claim that modern science is a product of man's curiosity to know. Why aren't they curious to know who we are and what our relationship is with the Supreme Lord, the supreme scientist, Sri Krsna? The Vedas give all the answers perfectly.
Lower forms of life such as animals, birds and plants do not suffer from sinful activities because they never violate the laws of nature. A tiger, for instance, does not commit sinful activity by killing its prey because his body is meant to act in that way; it is properly equipped for that purpose. However, when the spirit soul comes to the level of a human being, the living entity is then subject to the results of his actions (karma-phala). From this human platform the living entity has, therefore, a choice. If the spirit soul wants to leave his material body and attain a spiritual body, he can do so from this human platform; otherwise, at the time of death he can transmigrate to one of the 8,400,000 species according to the desires and consciousness he has developed. Lord Krsna says: "Whatever state of being one remembers when he quits his body, that state he will attain without fail." [Bg. 8.6] From the human platform the spirit soul can escape the miserable wheel of birth and death by developing Krsna consciousness. "And whoever, at the time of death, quits his body, remembering Me alone, at once attains My nature. Of this there is no doubt." [Bg. 8.5] This is evolution from the material platform to the spiritual platform.
Lower forms of life (animals, birds, plants, etc.) are not favorably situated for taking to Krsna consciousness because they are not intelligent enough to understand this great science. On the other hand, it is understood from Vedic literature that there are demigods who are more elevated than human beings, but their position is also not favorable for taking to Krsna consciousness because they are too materially opulent. Too much material opulence is also a disqualification for taking up Krsna consciousness. "In the minds of those who are too attached to sense enjoyment and material opulence, and who are bewildered by such things, the resolute determination of devotional service to the Supreme Lord does not take place." [Bg. 2.44] That is why it is an absolute necessity for all sane human beings to take up Krsna consciousness from this human platform, which is the intermediate birth between the demigods and the lower forms of life. Otherwise, the precious human form of life will simply be wasted.