The spiritual man says, “That which is unborn, uncreated, is the atman.” By manufacturing a body in a test-tube, scientists will simply prove that the body is not the soul – the atman. It seems that the body will be manufactured in the future; I do not see any reason why it should not be so. Many spiritualists are apprehensive about this: “What will happen to the atman when the body is created in a test-tube in a laboratory? It will prove that the atman does not exist if we are able to produce a child without the parents’ cooperation and with the help of chemicals.” But such spiritualists do not know that the body is not the atman. It is precisely if the scientist succeeds in his experiment that this sutra of the Upanishad will be proved true – that this body is not the atman. Only this much, and nothing more, will be proved.
Even now we know that the body is not the soul. This fact is proved by the physical sciences. In the future the body will be created by artificial and chemical processes. At present, when the chemical substances of the parents combine and create that cell which is the first cell of the body, then the soul enters it. If in the future that cell is produced in the laboratory, and if that genetic situation is created which is being created by parents up to now, then the soul will enter there also.
But that cell, the cell which is the first cell of the body, is not the atman. It is a manufactured thing, it is not self born. It is made by somebody. Its existence, its birth, depends upon something, so those who know the atman are not prepared to call it the atman. It is not the atman. To know that, we shall have to work our way back and back; we shall have to go down deeper and deeper.
So I myself am pleased and hope that science succeeds in making a test-tube baby as soon as possible, because then we will be helped by scientific investigations to break our identity with the body. Then we will know for sure that the body is a kind of machine, and that to believe in it as the self is foolish. It is foolishness even now, but at present we are unwilling to recognize that the body is a machine. It is a machine even so. It is produced by natural forces, so by understanding the secrets of nature we will be able to produce it, and then we will have the cooperation of natural forces to break our identification with the body.
Entering deep within ourselves, we have to reach that place, that essence, which cannot be created; and as long as manufacturing it is possible, know that it cannot be the atman. So by going deeper and deeper into manufacturing, science helps religion, because whatsoever science can create, that is not the atman. The atman is further than that. The atman is always beyond that which can be made.
So we are greatly obliged to science that it goes on making one thing after another, extending the limits of what can be manufactured and thereby defining what the atman is not; because we call that element the atman which is self-originated, which is unborn, which cannot be created. It means the original.
There has to be, without doubt, an ultimate, a fundamental element for this universe to be created, and this ultimate element must be uncreated. If a basis is required for the creation of everything, then creation is impossible. If you say, “God is required to create the world,” then you will have to say another superior God is necessary to create God. There is no end to this sort of logic. Then we shall never reach that place where we can say, “Okay, here is the place for whose creation no other creator is necessary.”