My Dear Dr. Bigelow:
Please accept my greetings. Recently I have read an article in the Gazette by Rae Corelli entitled "Heart Surgeon Wants to Know What a Soul Is," and it was very interesting. Your comments show great insight, and so I thought to write you on this matter. Perhaps you may know that I am the founder-acarya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness. I have several temples in Canada Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver and Hamilton. This Krsna consciousness movement is specifically meant to give every soul his original spiritual position.
Undoubtedly the soul is present in the heart of the living entity, and it is the source of all the energies for maintaining the body. The energy of the soul is spread all over the body, and this is known as consciousness. Since this consciousness spreads the energy of the soul all over the body, one can feel pains and pleasures in any part of the body. The soul is individual, and he is transmigrating from one body to another, just as a person transmigrates from babyhood to childhood, from childhood to boyhood, from boyhood to youth and then to advanced old age. Then the change called death takes place when we change to a new body just as we change our old dress to a new dress. This is called transmigration of the soul.
When a soul wants to enjoy this material world, forgetting his real home in the spiritual world, he takes this life of hard struggle for existence. This unnatural life of repeated birth, death, disease and old age can be stopped when his consciousness is dovetailed with the supreme consciousness of God. That is the basic principle of our Krsna movement.
As far as heart transplant is concerned, there is no question of success unless the soul is there in the heart. So it has to be accepted. In sexual intercourse, if there is no soul, there is no conception, no pregnancy. Contraception deteriorates the womb so that it no longer is a good place for the soul. That is against the order of God. By the order of God, a soul is sent to a particular womb, but by this contraceptive he is denied that womb and has to be placed in another. That is disobedience to the Supreme. For example, take a man who is supposed to live in a particular apartment. If the situation there is so disturbed that he cannot enter the apartment, then he is put at a great disadvantage. That is illegal interference and is punishable.
The undertaking of "soul research" would certainly mark the advancement of science. But advancement of science will not be able to find the soul. It can simply be accepted on circumstantial understanding. You will find in the Vedic literature that the dimension of the soul is one ten-thousandth the size of a point. The material scientist cannot measure the length and breadth of a point Therefore it is not possible for the material scientist to capture the soul. You can simply accept the soul's existence by taking it from authority. What the greatest scientists are finding, we've explained long ago.
As soon as one understands the existence of the soul, he can immediately understand the existence of God. The difference between God and the soul is that God is a very great soul and the living entity is a very small soul, but qualitatively they are equal. Therefore God is all-pervading, and the living entity is localized. The nature and quality are the same.
The central question, you say, is "Where is the soul, and where does it come from?" That is not difficult to understand. We've already discussed that the soul is residing in the heart of the living entity and that it takes shelter after death in another body. Originally the soul comes from God. Just as a spark comes from fire, and when the spark falls down it appears to be extinguished, the spark soul originally comes from the spiritual world to the material world, In the material world he falls down into three different conditions which are called the modes of nature. When a spark of fire falls on dry grass, the fiery quality continues. When the spark falls on the ground, it cannot display its fiery manifestation unless the ground is favorably situated. And when the spark falls on water, it becomes extinguished. As such, we find three kinds of living conditions. One living entity is completely forgetful of his spiritual nature; another is almost forgetful, but still there is an instinct of spiritual nature; and another is completely in search of spiritual perfection. There is a bona fide method for the attainment of spiritual perfection by the spiritual spark soul, and if he is properly guided then he is very easily sent back home, back to Godhead, wherefrom originally he fell down.
It will be a great contribution to human society if this authorized information from the Vedic literature is presented to the modern world on the basis of modern scientific understanding. The fact is already there. It simply has to be presented for modern understanding. If you desire, I shall give you more information in this connection, and you can present it in scientific words. If you so desire, you can publish this letter in the paper also.
Hoping to hear from you soon.
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami