The Dolly Follies: Questions and Answers about Human Cloning
by Jayadvaita Swami
Can they clone a human being?
They can. They will. They may already have.
Does a clone have a soul?
Yes. A clone has consciousness, and consciousness means soul.
How does the soul enter the cloned body?
No problem. It already happens in nature, with identical twins. One cell splits into two bodies, and by Krishna’s arrangement a soul enters both.
Is there any history of cloning in the Vedic scriptures?
Yes, in Srimad-Bhagavatam. When the goddess Diti was pregnant, Lord Indra by mystic power entered her womb to kill the expected child. He cut the child to pieces—but each piece, to his surprise, became a child. These children became known as the forty-nine Maruts. (An early lesson to cloners: Once you start slicing, you may not always end up with what you set out for.)
Will cloning be good for humanity?
Sometimes good, sometimes bad, always a waste of time. Cloning is but another attempt to coax nature into giving us a better life on earth, a life more like what we want.
But nature, by design, acts in such a way that we always get precisely what we deserve: a mixture of happiness and distress brought about, measure for measure, by our own karma. No matter what you do, you can’t squeeze a better life out of it.
Real advancement of civilization lies not in tinkering with nature, vainly trying to make a better world, but in moving forward in self-realization and getting out of the material world altogether. If we’re not doing that, we’re simply wasting our time.
But as long as we’re here, can’t cloning bring about some good?
Some good, perhaps. But here’s a secret of nature: Whenever we try to exploit her, get more, make things better, she always retaliates. Result: More comfort at the start, more trouble later down the line. It’s “the rubber-band effect”: It always snaps back on you.
As stated in Srimad-Bhagavatam (7.9.17), duhkhaushadham tad api duhkham atad-dhiyaham: As long as we’re in material consciousness, whatever we do to remedy our troubles just makes our troubles worse.
With the comfort of the car comes the poison of exhaust; with the efficiency of nuclear power plants, disasters like in Chernobyl.
In the long run, will cloning make for a better world? No. As usual, worse.
What kind of karma must you have to become a clone?
Bad. Good or bad, karma’s all bad, because karma means repeated birth and death.
Apart from that, precisely what kind of karma must you have? The ins and outs of karma are subtle, too subtle to consistently predict. The cell biologists at the Roslin Institute who cloned Dolly the sheep might come back in their next lives as sheep, perhaps cloned ones, bleating a truly excellent “baa baa” and wearing superior coats of wool.
What will cloning mean for bioethics?
It’ll mean a mess. The pattern is becoming familiar: Science charges ahead, and human life becomes more vexatious, more dangerous, and further off from spiritual realization.
What does the Hare Krishna movement advise?
Live simply, chant Hare Krishna, get out of this material world, and go back home, back to Godhead.