The living entity gets a suitable body with a material mind and senses, according to his fruitive activities. When the reaction of his particular activity comes to an end, that end is called death, and when a particular type of reaction begins, that beginning is called birth.

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© 2004 - Hansadutta das
[Posted Nov 7, 2006]

Mercy Killing or Killing Mercy?

His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

Srila Prabhupada
Charlotte Wyatt
Charlotte Wyatt, now 3, has confounded medical prognosis. She was born three months prematurely, weighing just one pound and with severe brain and lung damage. Doctors wanted to turn off her life support, but her parents fought to keep her alive.

This is London
- Nov 5, 2006 - We Must Debate Mercy Killing of Disabled Babies, Say Top Doctors

A doctors' group today called for a debate on the mercy killing of disabled babies.

The medical profession should examine the "active euthanasia" of desperately ill newborns, said the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecology.

It wants an inquiry into whether the "deliberate intervention to cause the death of an infant" should be legalised.

The proposal met with a furious response from some quarters last night.

Labour MP Jim Dobbin compared it to the eugenics policies of the Nazis and said: "This sends the message that only the perfect are acceptable and the disabled can be discarded."

The college suggested that decisions on when young babies should be killed or allowed to die should depend not only on the gravity of their condition.

Its submission to an inquiry on the ethics of treatment for severely ill and disabled newborns raises the question of whether such children should be killed if they are not wanted by their parents.
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What is the moral standard and who dictates it?

Conversation, May 15, 1975, Perth

Reincarnation: Transmigration of the Soul by Hansadutta das

The soul develops different kinds of bodies. There are 8,400,000 species of life or different kinds of bodies. There are different styles of clothing in the department store, and we purchase a suit of clothing according to our capacity to pay for it. If we have a good capacity, we shall buy a good suit. If not, we shall have to go to the Salvation Army or thrift shop and purchase used clothing. Similarly, there are high-grade and low-grade bodies. more

Prabhupada: You cannot give happiness to everyone according to standard. Then unhappiness will continue, so what is the use of your wasting time? Because you cannot give happiness to everyone, what you think, "It is happiness," others will not accept it. Then where is the happiness?

Paramahamsa: We can give them what they want, and that will make them happy.

Prabhupada: It is contradictory. One mans want poison; you give him poison. One man wants food, you give him food. Then what is the standard of your food or poison? Then everything is required. Why do you bother?

Paramahamsa: Well, we have to draw the line somewhere.

Prabhupada: You can do it foolishly. That is another thing. But everything is all right. Poison is all right, and food is all right.

Srutakirti: The standard is the person's happiness.

Amogha: Just like now we have come to the point where the different doctors are thinking very seriously of having this mercy killing passed in the courts. When a person becomes too much diseased, actually he would be happier if he was dead, so why not kill him?

Prabhupada: That is contradictory. He will kill somebody, and he will give life somebody. That is... There is no standard. Everything is all right. Then why do you bother that "This is good"? The same "good" is bad for others.

Screening Babies
Quest for Enlightenment: Discussions on Western Philosophy and Science

Yogesvara: Prabhupada, you remember Aldous Huxley, who in Brave New World predicted a process of genetically screening babies, of breeding men for certain traits? The idea would be to take one strain of traits and breed a class of working men, take another strain of traits and breed a class of administrators, and take still another strain of traits and breed a class of cultured advisors and scholars.

Srila Prabhupada: Once again, that is already present in God's natural arrangement. Guna-karma-vibhagashah: [Bhagavad-gita 4.13]. According to one's qualities and activities in his past life, in his present life he gets a fitting body. If one has cultivated the qualities and activities of ignorance, he gets an ignorant body and must live by manual labor. If one has cultivated the qualities and activities of striving passion, he gets a passionate body and must live by taking charge of others—administration.

If one has cultivated the qualities and activities of enlightenment, he gets an enlightened body and must live by enlightening and advising others.

So you see, God has already made such a perfect arrangement. Every soul receives the body he desires and deserves, and the social order receives citizens with required traits. Not that you have to "breed" these traits. By His natural arrangement, the Lord equips particular souls with particular kinds of bodies. Why even try imitating what God and nature already do perfectly?

Defective Without the Soul
Conversation with Dr. Wolfe, June 8, 1976, Los Angeles

Ramesvar: Child is born dead means defective body.

Prabhupada: Hmm?

Ramesvar: It just means it is defective.

Prabhupada: That is, rascal, that his soul is not there, therefore defective. The body is already defective, your body, my body, but it is effective only so long the soul is there.

Devotees: Jaya!

Prabhupada: The body is always defective. Either child's body or your body or my body, it is always defective without the soul and it is effective with the soul. This is the conclusion. Therefore Arjuna was chastised by Krishna that "You are giving stress on the body. This kind of conception is for the fools." Ashochyan anvashochas tvam prajna-vadamsh cha bhashase: [Bg. 2.11] "You are talking like a very learned man, but a learned man knows always that this body is defective, either living or dead." The same body. Dead means the soul is not there, and living means the soul is there. The two conditions, effective and defective, is depending on the soul. The soul is important. You have to understand what is that soul. That is knowledge. Tattva-jnanartha-darshanam. To understand the truth, what is the truth there, that without something this body is dead, no more value, and with that something the body is so valuable. So one who is intelligent, he'll try to find out what is that truth.

Suitable Body
Srimad-Bhagavatam (3.31.44): Lord Kapila's Instructions on the Movements of the Living Entities
In this way the living entity gets a suitable body with a material mind and senses, according to his fruitive activities. When the reaction of his particular activity comes to an end, that end is called death, and when a particular type of reaction begins, that beginning is called birth.

From time immemorial, the living entity travels in the different species of life and the different planets, almost perpetually. This process is explained in Bhagavad-gita. Bhramayan sarva-bhutani yantrarudhani mayaya: [Bg. 18.61] under the spell of maya, everyone is wandering throughout the universe on the carriage of the body offered by the material energy. Materialistic life involves a series of actions and reactions. It is a long film spool of actions and reactions, and one life-span is just a flash in such a reactionary show. When a child is born, it is to be understood that his particular type of body is the beginning of another set of activities, and when an old man dies, it is to be understood that one set of reactionary activities is finished.

We can see that because of different reactionary activities, one man is born in a rich family, and another is born in a poor family, although both of them are born in the same place, at the same moment and in the same atmosphere. One who is carrying pious activity with him is given a chance to take his birth in a rich or pious family, and one who is carrying impious activity is given a chance to take birth in a lower, poor family. The change of body means a change to a different field of activities. Similarly, when the body of the boy changes into that of a youth, the boyish activities change into youthful activities.

It is clear that a particular body is given to the living entity for a particular type of activity. This process is going on perpetually, from a time which is impossible to trace out. Vaishnava poets say, therefore, anadi karama-phale, which means that these actions and reactions of one's activity cannot be traced, for they may even continue from the last millennium of Brahma's birth to the next millennium. We have seen the example in the life of Narada Muni. In one millennium he was the son of a maidservant, and in the next millennium he became a great sage.

Termination Interrupts Progression
Srimad-Bhagavatam (5.10.2): The Discussion Between Jada Bharat and Maharaja Rahugana

In His sankhya-yoga, Lord Kapiladeva explains: suhridah sarva-dehinam [SB 3.25.21]. Living entities assume different bodily forms. Those who are not Vaishnavas consider only human society worthy of their sympathy, but Krishna claims to be the supreme father of all life forms. Consequently the Vaishnava takes care not to annihilate untimely or unnecessarily any life form. All living entities have to fulfill a certain duration for being encaged in a particular type of material body. They have to finish the duration allotted a particular body before being promoted or evolved to another body. Killing an animal or any other living being simply places an impediment in the way of his completing his term of imprisonment in a certain body. One should therefore not kill bodies for one's sense gratification, for this will implicate one in sinful activity.

Mercy Killing or Killing Mercy?/ WORLD SANKIRTAN PARTY
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