Book: What is Life
What is Life?
by Erwin Schrodinger
Picture by Russell McNeil licensed under CC BY 2.0

Is life Based on the Laws of Physics?" was one of the chapters in the book, What is Life? by Schrödinger. Schrödinger, as we all are, was perplexed with the question of life - a question that inspired and engaged Dr. T. D. Singh throughout his life. Childhood difficulties nurtured him towards his quest for life and perhaps, it was making of his mission. His thoughts about 'life' were further crystallized after his momentous meeting with the well-known spiritual leader and proponent of Vedic philosophy of the 20th century, Srila A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, who taught him about the deeper aspects of life,' far from the chemistry of life that he was learning during science classes. Dr. Singh was convinced that the existing scientific framework was unable to explain life, its origin and meaning.

Once, during his stay at the University of California, Irvine for his PhD research, he personally questioned Prof. Stanley Miller, one of the world-famous pioneers of pre biotic chemistry (whose famous "Miller's Experiment- electrical discharge reactions to simulate lightening in a so-called using primordial gaseous mixture of H2, H2O, NH3 and CH4, etc., studied in our biology textbooks). Suppose, if I were to give you all of the ready-made biomolecules, DNA, proteins, lipids, sugars, etc., would you be able to produce life within a test-tube by combining these molecules?" Miller replied, "That I don't know." Miller was honest and acknowledged the incomprehensibility of life merely in terms of biomolecules.

Miller Expt.
Miller-Urey experiment

Dr. Singh was convinced that in the search for the deeper meaning of life and the universe, scientific knowledge and spiritual wisdom would have to join hands and proceed together. He noted that the modern scientific approach was insufficient to understand life and its origin and therefore required a paradigm shift and "blood transfusion' from Vedanta. He would often quote Schrödinger who said, “Our science Greek science - is based on objectification. But I do believe that this is precisely the point where our present way of thinking does need to be amended, perhaps by a bit of blood transfusion from Eastern thought."

Dr. Singh studied the Vedantic model of life and its origin, very carefully examining it from a modern scientific perspective. He coined the term "Spiriton" for jivatman or life particle described in Vedantic literatures. Not only did he carefully study the Vedantic conception of life but by following the devotional yogic principles under the guidance of Srila A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, he could realize the deeper truths about life revealed by the Vedanta. He felt the necessity for a paradigm shift within the scientific framework.

He presented his thesis about life which was based on ancient Vedantic Texts in the following simple equation:
Living Being = Genome (Physical/Material Body) + Mind, Intelligence & False Ego (Subtle Matter) + Spiriton (Spiritual Life Particle)

Dr. T. D. Singh in conversation with Eminent Scientists