Ever since the birth of science, humans have been playing God. From building atomic bombs and exterminating thousands in one drop to medical miracles that has saved lives of many, science has been able to take a natural process to another level. It’s even more evident in the biotechnology breakthroughs.
But what if I tell you that these biotechnological “breakthroughs” were already performed by the gods themselves, as written in the Hindu scriptures. Here are some religious instances that prove so:
1. Surrogacy: When Rohini carried Devaki and Vasudeva’s baby
According to Bhagavad Puran, there is an instance of surrogacy in the mythical eras. Having been informed by the oracle that the child of his sister Devaki and her husband Vasudeva, Kansh (king of Mathura) sent both of them to prison and killed each time his sister delivered a baby. He killed six of his sister’s offsprings, and by the time the seventh child was conceived, the gods decided to intervene.
They reached out for Goddess Yogamaya and had her transfer the fetus from the womb of Devaki to the womb of Rohini, Vasudeva’s other wife who lived far away from the prison in a village of Gokul. The child was then delivered through Rohini. He is known as Balarama.
This arrangement where a woman agrees to bear a child on the behalf of another person/s, who will become their parents is known as surrogacy, and it was only conceptualized in the 1930s in the U.S. when mass production of estrogen started, and only materialized in 1978 when Louise Brown became the first test-tube baby. As it seems, the concept of surrogacy had its root in the Hindu Vedas.
2. Human Cloning: Birth of Kaurava Brothers
There couldn’t be a better story of cloning than the story of Kauravas in the Mahabharata. Gandhari, their mother, produced a mass of flesh after two years of pregnancy. Then a Rishi Vyasa cut the flesh into 100 parts, treated with herbs and ghee, kept them in pots for two years, and from that 100 living beings came into existence.
The flesh can be considered to be the stem cells extracted from human embryos, and that is how stem cell researching is developing in the modern era.
There is another instance in Hindu Story where Raktabija, a demon, produces a clone of himself with every drop that reached the ground. In order to kill him, Kali consumes Raktabija and all his duplicates and drinks all the blood before reaching the ground, so that there isn’t a stem cell to reproduce more clones.
Though in the modern world, human cloning is still in process. Animal cloning had already taken shape in 1952 when Robert Briggs and Thomas J. King cloned tadpole. Since then, we’ve seen cloning of mice, sheep, monkey, pig, cat, dog, camel, and many others. It is being today to clone endangered species with an aim of protecting them.
Also Read: History of Cloning
3. Xeno-transplant: Ganesha’s elephant head
Ganesha’s elephant head is a common anecdote in Hindu Story. Parvati created Ganesha from sandalwood and ordered him to guard the door and not allow anyone to pass through. After a while, Shiva, husband of Parvati, came back home, but Ganesha didn’t allow him to pass too, trying to follow his mother’s orders. Shiva, becoming furious, ordered his army to kill the boy, but the effort was in vain. So, Shiva, himself, cut off his head.
When Parvati found out, she tried to end the entire creation that Brahma had created. Brahma, the god of creation, pleaded Parvati to consider her will, and she said she would if Ganesha was brought to life and if Ganesha is worshiped by all prior to any other gods. Agreeing to the proposition, Brahma was sent by Shiva to bring back the head of the first creature that he sees laying with its head facing North. Brahma returned with the head of a strong and powerful elephant, and Shiva is said to have performed the process to fix the elephant’s head into Ganesha’s body.
Today, Italian neuroscientist Dr. Sergio Canavero is performing the first human head transplant this year after announcing his plans to do so in 2015. He also has found a volunteer patient Valery Spiridonov for the procedure. If succeeded, that would be the first head transplant ever in human history, but the inspiration will definitely be the Hindu Vedas.
4. Cell Regeneration: Body parts regeneration of gods and demons
Hindu mythology is full of cell regeneration. Whenever the gods and demons had their hands or legs or any of their body parts chopped off, they regenerated to a complete whole.
In modern biology, scientists have been trying to regenerate cells in humans, plants, and animals. It’s already been done in plants and animals, and the process is still at early stages in humans. But there have been breakthroughs to generate cells for regeneration.
5. Genetic Engineering: Birth of Virabhadra
The story comes from Shree Swasthani Brata Katha, a holy book of Hindu. Even though Shiva was not invited to Daksha Yaga, where there was a great horse sacrifice, Sati, wife of Shiva, still went to the occasion because it was her home and her love and affection towards her parents overpowered her role as a wife of Shiva. But Daksha insulted her in front of everyone. Upon hearing such insult, she burned herself by her inner yoga Agni and died.
Knowing this, Shiva became angry and wanted to create something very evil. So plucked a lock of his hair and thrashed it to the ground, from which Virabhadra was born.
He was dark with three burning eyes and fiery hair, wore a necklace of skulls and carried weapons.
It’s an instance where Shiva created something based on his own gene, but with the type of characteristics that he wanted on the thing that he wanted to create.
Genetic engineering has become common in the modern era of biotechnology. Scientists have created species that are improved and novel by manipulating the genome of an organism using gene-editing techniques and tools of biotechnology. The concept of designer babies has become an important topic. Furthermore, it’s reached a stage where each characteristic of the offspring can be predetermined by manipulating the gene during conception.