The Spark of Life

Kamala (Elaine Miller), Yoga Clinic, Hobart

What is life? What are we? How many times have these questions been asked? We live on this planet earth in a solar system containing a sun and nine planets, which have their own moons. This solar system in turn is contained in a galaxy which has many other suns, that we have named stars, each probably with their own solar system of planets and moons. Beyond our galaxy are situated many other galaxies, whose existences are being detected by scientists to whom more sophisticated equipment is becoming available.

The human organism too is constantly changing, evolving and is, in fact, infinite in development. Like the universe, it is composed of billions upon billions of parts, vortices of energy, 'wheels within wheels'. Living cells of DNA: and chromosomes are crystallised energy, charged with the role of directing the construction of the body and personality.

Every cell in the human body contains a blueprint which is based on the information contained in its basic construction. This information is carried by 23 pairs of chromosomes which lie in the nucleus of the cell. These chromosomes dictate such things as protein manufacture, the types of protein, etc. all of which determine the activities and characteristics of that particular cell.

When a cell divides, the pairs of chromosomes double up before division, resulting in each new cell receiving 23 pairs, each containing the information in the original cell. The cells that are used for sexual reproduction, namely the male sperm and the female egg, actually divide without doubling their chromosomes. This means that each cell has only half the information contained in a normal cell. The fertilised cell will contain 23 pairs of chromosomes, once more with half being contributed by each parent. The sex of the child is decided by this new pattern of chromosomes, 22 pairs of chromosomes always match, but if the 23rd pair does not match, the sex will be determined as male. If the 23rd pair match, then the sex will be female.

The tremendous task of preserving the structure and function of the living cell is the work of the DNA molecule. Some cells enable movement, others distribute oxygen. Groups of cells form tissues which in turn make up the organs of the body, the heart, liver, kidneys, and brain etc. All these cells are engaged in keeping the body alive. Cells are remarkably uniform in design, a majority of them having a single central body, or nucleus embedded in cytoplasm. This nucleus is the control centre of the cell. The finer granules known as chromosomes complete this single egg shaped cell. In science, the DNA molecule is known as the 'spark of life', because this molecule is not found in inanimate objects.

Three eminent biologists, Drs. Crick, Watson and Wilkins, constructed a physical model of the DNA molecule, showing its workings. It has the appearance of a fine twisted ladder, like a coiled snake. It is interesting to note that many great saints, when referring to the kundalini have depicted it in the form of. a snake! The kundalini, of course, is linked with the awakening of consciousness in man. Also scientists engaged in the study of the DNA molecule have determined that there is a genetic code consisting of 64 words in which all hereditary messages are written and is referred to as 'the language of life'. References to a language of life have also been made by many great saints. Perhaps the DNA molecule is the medium for achieving a higher consciousness as well as producing the living cells that form life.

Life is a pattern that in most cases is followed unconsciously, and instinctively. The awareness of this pattern is essential to the awakening of spiritual awareness, which is man's very nature. In all forms of life this cycle will continue although, like the universe, there is an underlying evolutionary progression. The physical structure of life has been explained, but what is the force that creates this desire to repeat the patterns? Meditate on this.

Identification is what attaches us to the life pattern and so creates desires. It is said that desire sustains life and that energy functions primarily because of desire.

Desire demands of the sense organs, 'Do as I tell you'. In the evening the sense organs groan, 'Oh Desire, we are tired, we cannot do anything now. The objects have lost their charm for us'. So desire goes to mind, and mind fulfils desire by dreaming without the use of the sense organs. Some time later, mind also says to desire, 'Oh Desire, I am tired, my energy is exhausted'. Desire now goes deeper for more energy, and approaches atman. Atman is veiled in ignorance because desire does not want to annihilate itself and merge with atman. Desire goes to the veil of ignorance, then returns to mind and the senses and rejuvenates them. Thus man wakes and commences activity once again.