“Change of body by the atomic individual soul is an accepted fact. Even some of the modern scientists who do not believe in the existence of the soul, but at the same time cannot explain the source of energy from the heart, have to accept continuous changes of body which appear from childhood to boyhood and from boyhood to youth and again from youth to old age. From old age, the change is transferred to another body.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Bhagavad-gita, 2.22 Purport)
Ashton’s vision was not getting better. For a while there, he thought it might be allergies. Perhaps it was the season that made it difficult to see out of his left eye, especially during the nighttime. Then he read up on a condition called “dry eye.” Perhaps it was that. He tried going without contact lenses for one day, but that didn’t seem to help the situation.
Finally, things got so bad that even with his contacts on, he could barely see out of his left eye. Within a few hours of wear, the lens itself became so uncomfortable that it had to be removed. After years of neglect, Ashton made an appointment with the eye doctor. On the day of his appointment, he entered the office, filled out his name, and was then surprised to see a good friend seated in the waiting room.
“Hey, how’s it going? What a small world, eh?” said Ashton to his friend Reed. “How have things been with you?”
“Pretty good,” said Reed, as he put down the magazine he had been reading. “Been having trouble with my vision lately, so I thought I’d make an appointment. How about you?”
“Yeah, my left eye has been really blurry. I’m not sure if it’s related to contact lenses or not. It’s good to see you, though, even if it’s with only one eye.”
“Haha, yeah, same here.”
After catching up on what each other had been up to, Reed brought up something he had just read from the magazine he was holding.
“These doctor’s offices are all the same,” complained Reed. “They make you wait for so long. I just read an interesting article, though. Scientists are saying that in the future the earth is going to be obliterated. We’re all going to be particles at that time. That’s kind of strange, if you think about it. I know you have a different take on things, right?”
“Well, the real question is, what are you right now? Aren’t you particles at the present?” asked Ashton.
“I’m not sure what you mean.”
“We’re actually spirit souls, which are this tiny in size,” explained Ashton, as he held his index finger and thumb very close together in his hand. “So we’re a particle right now covered up by a lot of other particles. We’ve been the same size in the past, as well.”
“Can you prove that?” asked Reed.
“You know that you were in the womb of your mother, right? You know that you were the size of a football as an infant. That means you were a smaller collection of particles. From the Vedas we learn that those particles are just covering the smallest particle that is the soul.”
“Oh, that’s interesting. How do you know the size of the soul? Can you see it?”
“It is said that matter is what is most easily perceived. Finer than matter is the mind. Then intelligence is finer than the mind. Ego is finer than that, and finally you reach the soul, which is the finest. If you took the tip of a hair and divided it into ten thousand parts, the soul would be the size of one of those parts. So basically we’re the size of the smallest particle you could conceive.”
Reed seemed genuinely interested, as this conflicted with all that he had ever been led to believe. Never did he hear anyone speak of the difference between matter and spirit. “I always thought the body identified us. Everyone I know has always operated under that assumption. The stuff you’re saying sounds pretty logical, but how can you prove it? These scientists will want proof of the claims.”
“You can make an experiment out of it, though. There is something called the Brahman vision. You take the principles on faith at first, practice them, and then gradually clear your vision. Science accepts things on faith all the time. You can’t go back and relive the experiments of the past. You have to accept those findings on faith.”
“That’s true,” responded Reed, “but at least you can reproduce those experiments. It’s reasonable to assume that I emerged from the womb of a mother since I see that’s how others come into this world. How can you test to see whether or not God created everything? How can you run a test to see that spirit is different from matter?”
Getting more and more excited at the chance to explain the science of self-realization, Ashton stood up taller in his chair.
“First of all, the scientists can’t prove their theory that we are all just a bunch of particles of matter. They can’t produce life from only matter. They promise that they’ll be able to do it, but there has been no such successful experiment to date. I’m not asking for much. I’ll take a simple sun. Make that in a laboratory. I don’t need a human being. Secondly, we can test to see the presence of the soul.”
“From the moment I walked in here until now, your body has changed, as has mine. Yet we are still here. It means that what identifies us is not related to this body. Imagine that when you went home today you left your jacket here. And then I start speaking to your jacket. That would be silly, right?”
“Yeah, of course. Just because my jacket is here doesn’t mean I’m here.”
“Exactly. So this covering of the body is like a jacket. This body is covering the soul right now. When I die, the covering remains but the soul leaves. That means that the tiniest of particles is what identifies me. I can see this through proper training. I can feel the presence of the soul, even with my one good eye,” said Ashton with a smile. He was about to continue when the nurse made an announcement.
“Mr. Watkins? The doctor is ready to see you now.” At that Reed got up from his chair. “That’s my call, pal. I’m really intrigued by this topic. Can you stick around afterwards? Maybe we can talk some more.”
“Sure thing,” said Ashton. As Reed was being escorted to one of the examination rooms, Ashton could faintly hear him talking to the nurse. “Did you know that you and I are really this small, and that everything else is just a bunch of particles? No, I didn’t hit my head on something this morning. Why do you ask?”
Using eyes that can see near and far,
Considers that just particles we all are.
In the future the same to be,
But past changes cannot see.
Actually, a spirit soul very small,
Essence in bodies short and tall.
First with some faith accept,
Then through practice detect.
The soul the animating force,
To travel to new body in nature’s course.