Abortions: Physical, Collective and Spiritual

John Martin Sahajananda


I would like to make it clear at the beginning that the primary objective of this article is not physical abortion but  using physical abortion as a catalyst to deal with the more serious than the physical: spiritual abortion.


This article is stimulated by the death of Savitha, an Indian woman, in Ireland. Her death is attributed to the refusal of abortion as the laws of abortion in Ireland are very strict. This caused a strong uproar worldwide. This death has been used to bash the Catholic Church because majority of the Irish are Catholics and their abortion laws reflect the thinking of the Catholic Church. The death of Savitha, if it is certainly due to the refusal of abortion, makes us (Catholics) reflect if a direct abortion may be permitted under certain circumstances. There is no one opinion on abortion. The concept of abortion is very much connected to the concept of beginning of life. When does life begin? There are many different scientific views and religious views on ‘when life begins’. Scientists have studied the marvelous process of birth for decades. The changes in the form of the embryo through each stage are well documented. The question still remains, at what point does human life begin? There are numerous positions on this. Some of these will be reviewed here. The primary purpose of this paper is not so much on the possibilities of physical abortion but to propose that the concept of abortion is not limited only to the physical abortion but also extends to the social, cultural, political and spiritual which are more serious than the physical abortion.  Life should be nourished in every level until it reaches its final destiny, the Divine. We begin with the different views on the beginning of life. I have to say that the first part is heavily taken from the information provided in the internet.

The Metabolic Position

According to this position there is no one point when life begins. The sperm cell and egg cell are as alive as any other organism. 

A Genetic Position

This view is based on genetics. Those who hold this position argue that since a genetically unique individual is created at the time of fertilization, each human life begins at fertilization. This is when the genes from the two parents combine to form an individual with unique properties. The zygote formed at fertilization is different from all others and, if it survives, will grow into a person with his or her own unique set of genes. In this view, the terms fertilization and conception are interchangeable. Thus, in this view, life would be said to begin at conception.

The phenomenon of twinning is sometimes used to argue against this position. Until about day 14, there is the possibility that the zygote will split, producing twins. Those who oppose a genetic view say that there is no uniqueness to the zygote, no humanness or personhood, until the potential for twinning has passed. They ask: if the zygote is an individual “person” at fertilization, then what is the nature of that “personhood” if the zygote should split into two individuals?

Another objection to this view is the fact that the many fertilized egg cells never successfully implant. An estimated 20–50 percent of fertilizations die or are spontaneously aborted. Thus, those who raise this objection hold that, since there are such a large number of zygotes that never fully develop, those zygotes are not truly human.

The Implantation View

This view is related to the implantation of the zygote into the uterine lining. This implantation process begins on day six following fertilization and can continue until around day nine. Hence some suggest that it is not until this time that the zygote can be called human life. According to this view, a zygote less than nine or so days old, having not yet completed implantation, would not be considered alive. If it is not alive, it certainly cannot be human. This new definition would have great implications in the political, ethical, and moral arenas. Personal and governmental decision-making on such issues as embryonic stem cell research, cloning, and the so-called “morning after pill” directly depends on the validity of this definition. If implantation zygotes were not really alive, they could be guiltlessly harvested or destroyed prior to the six-to-nine day mark because “conception” had not yet occurred.

The Embryological Position

The embryological view holds that human life begins 12–14 days after fertilization, the time period after which identical twins would not occur. (Embryo can refer to the developing baby at two to three weeks after fertilization or more loosely to all the stages from zygote to fetus.) No individuality and therefore no humanness are considered to exist until it is not possible for twinning to happen.  Twinning produces two individuals with different lives. (In religious terms, the two individuals have different souls). Even conjoined ("Siamese") twins can have different personalities. Thus, a single individuality is not fixed earlier than day 12. Here, the initial zygote is not human and possesses no aspect of “personhood.” Some medical texts consider the stages before this time as "pre-embryonic." This position would allow contraception, "morning-after" pills, and contra gestational agents, but not abortion after two weeks.

The Neurologic Position

In this view, human life begins when the brain of the fetus has developed enough to generate a recognizable pattern on an electroencephalogram (EEG). Death has been defined as the loss of the cerebral EEG (electroencephalogram) pattern. Hence it is proposed that humanness is attained when the brain has matured to the point that the appropriate neural pathways have developed. This point is reached at about 26 weeks after fertilization. After this level of maturation has been achieved, the fetus is presumably able to engage in mental activity consistent with being human. Others take a different view of neurological maturation and propose that human life begins at around 20weeks gestation. This is the time when the thalamus, a portion of the brain that is centrally located, is formed. The thalamus is involved in processing information before the information reaches the cerebral cortex and also is a part of a complex system of neural connections that play a role in consciousness. This view would allow mid-trimester abortions.

The Ecological Position or Technological position 

Proponents of the ecological view hold that the fetus is human when it reaches a level of maturation where it can exist outside the mother’s womb. In other words, a fetus is human when it can live separated from its mother. Here the limiting factor is usually not neurological development, but rather the degree of maturation of the lungs. The natural limit of viability occurs when the lungs mature, but technological advances can now enable a premature infant to survive at about 25 week’s gestation. Once a fetus can be potentially independent, it cannot be aborted.

The Birthday Position or The immunological Position or The integrated physiological view:

This position sees human life as beginning when the organism recognizes the distinction between self and non-self, when an individual has become independent of the mother and has its own functioning circulatory system, alimentary system, and respiratory system. In humans, this occurs around the time of birth. Here the baby is human when the umbilical cord is cut, and the child survives based on the adequate functioning of its own lungs, circulatory system, etc. This position would allow abortion before 24 weeks gestation. The objection could be that even after birth, the child is not truly independent of its mother. Without care from someone, an infant would die very shortly after birth. This supposed “independence” can be of very much an arbitrary concept.

 Other Views

There are still other points of view as to the question of when human life begins. Some suggest that a fetus is human when the mother can feel it move in the womb. Others say that humanness begins when the child takes its first breath on its own. Francis Crick, one of the co-discoverers of the structure of DNA, says that a child should not be declared “human” until three days after birth.

It shows that there is no obvious consensus among the scientists when human life begins.  When we speak of the beginning of life, are we referring to the beginning of biological life or the beginning of life of a soul or ensoulment?  If one does not believe in a ‘soul’, then one need not believe in a moment of ensoulment. The moments of fertilization, implantation, neurulisation, and birth, are then milestones in the gradual acquisition of what it is to be human. While one may have a particular belief in when the embryo becomes human, it is difficult to justify such a belief solely by science. Now we turn to the religions to the question when life begins.

Abortion and Hinduism  

Hindus consider that the eternal soul has taken the present body. The soul is pre-existing. The soul does not begin but only body has a beginning. They also believe that life begins at conception. But their choice of abortion determined by their belief in karma and reincarnation. Hindus view the soul as dwelling in one physical body after another through a timeless series of births. Hindus fear the fruit of bad conduct Karma is the inexorable principle of cause and effect - what you set in motion will return to you in equal force. Hindus guard their conduct in full knowledge that they create their own destiny by actions and decisions made now.

As regards abortion there are different views: Classical Hindu texts strongly condemn abortion. The British Broadcasting Corporation writes, "When considering abortion, the Hindu way is to choose the action that will do least harm to all involved: the mother and father, the fetus and society." The BBC goes on to state, "In practice, however, abortion is practiced in Hindu culture in India, because the religious ban on abortion is sometimes overruled by the cultural preference for sons. This can lead to abortion to prevent the birth of girl babies, which is called 'female feticide'. Hindu scholars and women's rights advocates have supported bans on sex-selective abortions. Some Hindus support abortion in cases where the mother's life is at imminent risk or when the fetus has a life threatening developmental anomaly. Many Hindu spiritual leaders condemn abortion. They do not prefer general policy but prefer to give advice in individual cases privately. The Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University does not take a formal unchanging political or religious stance on the issue of abortion. They advise that each case requires unique consideration. The final decision will be based on a long series of choices made by the woman on her lifestyle, morals and values. Usually, the choices that created the unwanted pregnancy in the first place have been irrational or emotional ones, not the mature commitment motherhood needs. The Brahma Kumaris counsel those facing an abortion decision, both man and woman, to understand that by abortion they do not escape responsibility for their actions. When both parents have fully understood the seriousness of the choice, the University would support the right to make their own decision. The Brahma Kumaris view the body as a physical vehicle for the immortal soul, and therefore the issue is not "pro-life" or "anti-life" but a choice between the amounts of suffering caused to the souls of the parents and child in course, abortion or motherhood. They view existing legislation in America as fair and reasonable, with the proviso that abortion after the 4th month should be avoided except in medical emergencies, since in their view the soul enters the fetus in the 4th to 5th month.

Swami Bhashyananda, President of the Vivekananda Vedanta Society of Chicago, says that "under no circumstances the Jiva should be destroyed. That is uniformly stated, from the point of conception onward. When such questions are asked, we advise them not to perform abortions...One has to try one's level best to save mother and child both. And beyond these efforts, whatever happens is God's will. But we do not have any opinion on this matter in this country, nor do we get involved in it in India. If people seek our advice, we give our advice."

According to ISKCON abortion is killing. Their position is that according to Vedic literature an eternal individual soul inhabits the body of every living creature. The soul enters the womb at the time of conception, and this makes the fetus a living, individual person." All forms of contraceptives, says ISKCON, and the act of abortion, "interfere with nature's arrangement to provide a soul with a new body and are therefore bound to result in unfavorable karmic reaction...If you don't want to suffer the reactions...then don't have sex unless you want to have a child." 

Abortion and Buddhism

There is no single Buddhist view concerning abortion. Traditional sources, such as the Buddhist monastic code, hold that life begins at conception and that abortion, which would then involve the deliberate destruction of life, should be rejected. Many Buddhists also subscribe to this view. Complicating the issue is the Buddhist belief that "life is a continuum with no discernible starting point". The Dalai Lama has said that abortion is "negative," but there are exceptions. He said, "I think abortion should be approved or disapproved according to each circumstance." Inducing or otherwise causing an abortion is regarded as a serious matter in the monastic rules followed by both Theravada and Vajrayana monks. Monks can be expelled for assisting a woman in procuring an abortion. While traditional sources do not seem to be aware of the possibility of abortion as relevant to the health of the mother, modern Buddhist teachers from many traditions – and abortion laws in many Buddhist countries – recognize a threat to the life or physical health of the mother as an acceptable justification for abortion as a practical matter, though it may still be seen as a deed with negative moral or karmic consequences.

Abortion and Christianity

Contemporary Christian denominations have nuanced positions, thoughts and teachings about abortion. The Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church, Oriental Orthodoxy, and most evangelical Protestants oppose deliberate abortion as immoral, while allowing what is sometimes called indirect abortion, namely, an action that does not seek the death of the fetus as an end or a means but that is followed by death as a side effect. Some mainline Protestant denominations such as the Methodist Church, United Church of Christ, and the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, among others, are more permissive of abortion. More generally, some Christian denominations can be considered pro-life while others may be considered pro-choice. Additionally, there are sizable minorities in all denominations that disagree with their denomination's stance on abortion, an example of which is the group Catholics for a Free Choice. 

Personhood before Birth? There are scripture passages that reveal that there is personhood before birth. Much quoted references are: In Psalm 139:13–16; Jer:1.4-5.Psalm 51.5; Lk.1.39-45; 

For You formed my inward parts: You covered me in my mother’s womb.    I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works,And that my soul knows very well.My frame was not hidden from You,When I was made in secret,And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed.And in Your book they all were written,The days fashioned for me,When as yet there were none of them.

Prophet Jeremiah says:  

Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying:    “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you;Before you were born I sanctified you;    I ordained you a prophet to the nations.” (Jer. 1:4–5)

Psalm 51:5

This verse is frequently used to make the case for human life beginning at conception. It reads:

Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,     And in sin my mother conceived me.

Luke 1.39-44 

Now Mary arose in those days and went into the hill country with haste, to a city of Judah, and entered the house of Zacharias and greeted Elizabeth. And it happened, when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary that the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. Then she spoke out with a loud voice and said, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! But why is this granted to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For indeed, as soon as the voice of your greeting sounded in my ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy”. 

These scripture passages seem to suggest that there is personhood before the birth, from the moment of conception.

Abortion and Islam

Although there are different opinions among Islamic scholars about when life begins and when abortion is permissible, most agree that the termination of a pregnancy after 120 days – the point at which, in Islam, a fetus is thought to become a living soul – is not permissible. Several Islamic thinkers contend that in cases prior to four months of gestation, abortion should be permissible only in instances in which the mother's life is in danger or in cases of rape.

Abortion and Judaism

In Judaism, views on abortion draw primarily upon the legal and ethical teachings of the Hebrew Bible, the Talmud, the case-by-case decisions of response, and other rabbinic literature. In the modern period, moreover, Jewish thinking on abortion has responded both to liberal understandings of personal autonomy as well as Christian opposition to abortion. Generally speaking, orthodox Jews oppose abortion after the 40th day with health-related exceptions, and reform and conservative Jews tend to allow greater latitude for abortion. There are rulings that often appear conflicting on the matter. The Talmud states that a fetus is not legally a person until it is delivered. The Torah contains the law that "when men fight and one of them pushes a pregnant woman and a miscarriage results but no other misfortune, the one responsible shall be fined...but if other misfortune ensues, the penalty shall be life (nefesh) for life (nefesh)." (Ex.21:22-25); causing an abortion on an unwilling woman is thus a crime, but not because the fetus is considered a person. Orthodox Jewish teachings sanction abortion as a means of safeguarding the life of the woman. While the Reform, Reconstructionist and Conservative movements openly advocate for the right to a safe and accessible abortion, the Orthodox movement is less unified on the issue.

Abortion and Sikhism

Although the Sikh code of conduct does not deal directly with abortion (or indeed many other bioethical issues), it is generally forbidden in Sikhism because it is said to interfere with the creative work of God. Despite this theoretical viewpoint, abortion is not uncommon among the Sikh community in India, and there is growing concern that female fetuses are being aborted because of the cultural preference for sons.

Abortion and Unitarian Universalism

The Unitarian Universalist Church strongly supports abortion rights. In 1978, the Unitarian Universalist Church passed a resolution that declared, "...[the] right to choice on contraception and abortion are important aspects of the right of privacy, respect for human life and freedom of conscience of women and their families." The Church had released earlier statements in 1963 and 1968 favoring the reform of restrictive abortion laws.

Abortion and Wicca

Although views differ, most Wiccans consider abortion to be a spiritual decision that should be free from interference by the state or politicians.

Each religion has its own position on the beginning of life and abortion and within a religion there are different opinions. States have their own Laws on abortion.

Abortion and UNO

UNO has given seven grounds on which abortion is permitted, namely:

 1. To save a woman’s life; 2. To preserve a woman’s physical health.  3. To preserve a woman’s mental health.  4. In case of rape or incest; 5. Because of fetal impairment. 6. for economic or social reasons; and 7. On request. Each of these grounds is described below.

 1) To save a woman’s life. The performance of abortion is most commonly permitted to save the life of a pregnant woman. Although some laws or regulations provide detailed lists of the complications that are considered life-threatening, most of them do not specify them explicitly, leaving it to the judgment of the medical personnel performing or approving the abortion. The exceptions are Chile, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, the Holy See, Malta and Nicaragua, all of which have provisions that do not allow abortion under any circumstances.

(2) To preserve a woman’s physical health. In the majority of countries, abortion is permitted when it is necessary to preserve the physical health of a pregnant woman. The term “physical health” has been defined in different ways. In some countries, the definition is narrow in the sense that explicit lists of conditions threatening physical health are established. In other cases, “physical health” is broadly defined, allowing room for interpretation

  (3) To preserve a woman’s mental health. Many countries allow abortion in cases involving a threat to the mental health of a pregnant woman. As in the case of “physical health”, the definition of what constitutes a threat to “mental health” varies. In some countries, the laws or regulations do not specify whether the term “health” encompasses both physical and mental health, but merely state that an abortion is permitted when it averts the risk of injury to a woman’s health. In such cases, it has been considered that the laws and regulations encompass both threats to physical and mental health as grounds for abortion.
  (4) Rape or incest. Many countries, even those with restrictive laws regarding abortion, allow abortion in cases of rape or incest, but such grounds for abortion are less common among developing countries than among developed countries. The laws or regulations of some countries specifically mention rape or incest as a ground for abortion. In other countries, the laws refer to cases in which the pregnancy is the result of “a criminal offense”, without specifying the nature of the offense. Yet in other countries, the laws permit abortion only if the woman who is a victim of rape is also mentally impaired.

 (5) Fetal impairment. Abortion is often permitted when the fetus suffers from some kind of serious impairment, even in countries having restrictive laws on abortion. Several countries specify the type and level of impairment necessary to justify an abortion.

(6) Economic or social reasons. The laws and regulations permitting abortion on economic or social grounds vary widely. Some laws specifically mention economic or social conditions while others only imply them. Most laws that permit abortion on economic or social grounds are interpreted quite liberally and, in practice, differ little from laws that allow abortion on request. 

(7) On request. In countries that allow abortion on request, a woman seeking an abortion is generally not required to justify her reasons to have an abortion. However, in some countries, a woman may be required to state that she is in a situation of crisis or distress. For purposes of this chart, if an abortion can be authorized on request, it is assumed that it can be performed on any other grounds even if the law does not explicitly mention such grounds. 

 Part 2

When Life Begins? A Personal View

I would like to propose that Life (Divine Life) does not have beginning and end. What we call life or soul is the reflection of the Divine Life in different levels of life. There are three levels of life apart from God: Divine Life, Universal Life, Collective Life and Physical Life. The issue of abortion has to be understood according to each level. There may be exceptions and justifications in the physical life to choose abortion but there are no exceptions and justifications to choose abortion in the Collective Life and Universal Life. It is absolutely forbidden.

Divine Life: God is Life. He or She is the source of all manifestations of life. This Life has no beginning and no end. It is eternal. It is omnipresent. It is not conditioned by time and space. It does not become bigger by actions and does not become smaller with non-actions. The creation does not add anything to God and non-creation does not take anything from God. Creating is the self -manifestation of the Divine. The first manifestation of the Divine Life can be described as Universal Life.

Universal Life: It is the universal consciousness. It is the seed of all forms and all types of life. Greeks called it Logos or Nous. Hindus call it Hiranya Garbha or World Soul or Deep Sleep Consciousness. In the Jewish tradition it is called Wisdom. Christians call it ‘the Word’ or The Son of God. St. John says, ‘in the beginning was the Word, the word was with God and the word was God’. In the beginning’ denotes something less than God in manifestation but still one with God since God does not have a beginning. In the Islamic tradition it is called Universal Man or Perfect Man.  This universal consciousness has a beginning and an end. It ends when it merges into the Divine. It is the perfect image of God and in it dwells the fullness of God.

Collective Life: Collective Life can be described as Morphic field.  A "Morphic field" is a term introduced by Rupert Sheldrake, an English biologist. He proposes that there is a field within and around a "morphic unit" which organizes its characteristic structure and pattern of activity. According to Sheldrake, the "morphic field" underlies the formation and behaviour of "holons" and "morphic units", and can be set up by the repetition of similar acts or thoughts. The hypothesis is that a particular form belonging to a certain group, which has already established its (collective) "morphic field", will tune into that "morphic field". The particular form will read the collective information through the process of "morphic resonance", using it to guide its own development. This development of the particular form will then provide, again through "morphic resonance", a feedback to the "morphic field" of that group, thus strengthening it with its own experience, resulting in new information being added (i.e. stored in the database). Sheldrake regards the "morphic fields" as a universal database for both organic (genetic) and abstract (mental) forms. The collective unconsciousness of Carl Jung belongs to this morphic field. Rupert also agrees that the concept of akashic records, term from Vedas representing the "library" of all the experiences and memories of human minds (souls) through their physical lifetime, can be related to "morphic fields".  Since one's past (an akashic record) is a mental form, consisting of thoughts as simpler mental forms (all processed by the same brain), and a group of similar or related mental forms also have their associated (collective) "morphic field". Sheldrake's view on memory-traces is that they are non-local and not located in the brain. Essential to Sheldrake's model is the hypothesis of morphic resonance. This is a feedback mechanism between the field and the corresponding forms of morphic units. I am not sure whether this morphic field comes directly from the universal life or whether it is the creation of the individual consciousness in its evolutionary process. I am inclined towards the second possibility.

Physical Life:  Physical life exists before the conception in seed form. In plants the life is present in seeds and when the proper conditioned are created the seed comes to Life, from which the growth process takes place.  In human beings life is present in semen cell and an ovum cell. When these two join conception takes place from which a new process of growth begins. This growth process comes to an end with physical death. These physical forms are conditioned by the genetic morphic fields. The Divine Life, the Universal Life and the Collective Life are anterior to the Physical Life.

The source of all life is Divine Life or Divine Consciousness. It is the ground of all forms of life: material, plant, animal, human and angelic but the way it reflects in each level is different. The way each life experiences the divine consciousness is different. Only in the human beings this reflection has the possibility to evolve. This Divine Life embraces all the three levels of life described above. This Divine Life is eternal, timeless and non-local. It has no beginning and end. It is the foundation for all the other three levels. In Hinduism it is described as Sat, Atman and Brahman. Sat is a self-existent being. Christians call it God. Jews call it Yahweh. Muslims call it Allah. The other three levels, the Universal Life, the Collective Life and the Physical Life are like mirrors in which Divine Life reflects. The way the Divine Life reflects in each level is different. The Universal Consciousness is like a pure mirror in which the Divine Life reflects in all its purity, in its fullness. The Collective Life is like a conditioned mirror. It is conditioned by the thought patterns. Here the divine life is conditioned by the thought and its mental structures. In the Physical Life, which is the body, the divine reflection identifies with the body and its desires. The physical life starts growing from the moment of conception. This self-consciousness, which is the reflection of the divine in the body, which we call soul, is fully present from the moment of conception and it grows as the body grows. There is no particular time when the ensoulment takes place. The body is in the soul from the moment of its conception. Since the soul is the reflection of the divine its innate desire is to return to its source which is divine. It is like the ray of the Sun which wants to go back to its source. In this journey the soul has to pass through three wombs: Physical Womb, Collective Womb and Universal Womb.  Physical life begins at the moment of conception. It is planted in the womb and it has to grow until it is physically born. In this level it is conditioned by the genetic morphic field. Then it enters into the womb of Collective Life. There it is conditioned by the collective consciousness or akashic fields or mental field. This is the second womb. It has to come out of this womb and enter into the Universal womb. There it experiences the indwelling presence of God and says: I am in God and God is in me. It experiences the fullness of God and is freed from the power of the collective consciousness. Again from there it has to transcend and realize its oneness with the Divine Life and say, ‘God and I are one’. Only in this experience we can say the real birth has taken place. Until that stage the so called soul is still is in the womb. The journey of the soul which began at the moment of conception comes to an end with the realization of oneness with God. It is also the realization that the consciousness which began at conception is eternal and it was there even before the conception has taken place. This experience is described in the Biblical passages which we have seen above. This whole process is like a long dream. Realization of oneness with God is spiritual awakening from this long dream.

The question is: how many persons really complete this whole journey? In some people this journey may end in the physical womb itself. In some people this journey may remain in the collective womb and never see the light of universal Consciousness. Those who come out of collective womb are very few. Those who have come out of the collective womb become the originators of a new Spiritual movement or tradition, like the Upanishad Sages( Hinduism) the Buddha(Buddhism) The Mahavira(Jainism), Lao Tzu(Taoism) I Ching,  Christ(Christianity), Prophet Mohamed( Islam), Guru Nanak( Sikhism) Bahaullah (Baha’i) and other spiritual traditions. Some may still remain in the Universal Womb and never realize oneness with the Divine. These great souls, who are born into the universal consciousness, generally invite people to enter into the experience they have achieved but they may also give some practical instructions for daily living. But the possibilities are that the followers are satisfied with the practical instructions and create a collective consciousness around them or around the person and forget the destiny these great souls have pointed out. When that happens then people remain in the womb of collective consciousness and are never born into the Universal consciousness. In that sense the collective consciousness can become a tomb and not a womb. The destiny of our every human consciousness is to realize its oneness with the Divine. The three wombs, physical, collective and universal should felicitate this process and not to hold the evolutionary process to struck to one specific level. The spiritual evolution of the human consciousness can stop in one of these levels and forget the ultimate destiny.

Jesus Christ as a Model of This Growth: Coming from the Christian background I would like to present the evolution of Jesus Christ as a model of this growth- going through these three wombs. First his physical mother Mary conceived him, nourished, protected him and gave birth to him after nine months. So he had to grow in the physical womb and came out of it. On the eighth day of his birth Jesus was circumcised and so he entered into the collective womb of Judaism. We could say that Judaism conceived Jesus and Jesus had to grow in the womb of Judaism. At the moment of his baptism Jesus came out of the womb of Judaism and entered into the universal womb of God. It was his spiritual birth. In this experience he could say that he was in God and God in him. He also said that ‘before Abraham was I am’. In this level he realized that his consciousness was before his conception in the womb of Mary. He was before Abraham. It meant that he transcended time and space. Finally he came out of the universal womb of God and realized his oneness with God. He said ‘the Father and I are one’. In this experience he realized he was one with God from all eternity. St. John says, ‘In the beginning was the Word. The Word was with God and the Word was God’. The Word became flesh and dwelt among us’. Jesus went through four identities: physical, collective, universal and Divine. The first two levels belong to his historical identity, to time and space, and the last two belong to his eternal identity, beyond time and space. But it is the same consciousness. It is the ray of divine light going through different wombs and finally coming back to the God from which it has originated. It means that the human consciousness does not begin with conception but its origin is eternal and what we call soul or individual consciousness is only the reflection of the divine consciousness in the body. This is the reason why God says to Prophet Jeremiah:   “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you;    Before you were born I sanctified you;    I ordained you a prophet to the nations.” (Jer. 1:4–5)

Psalm 51:5 says:       Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,And in sin my mother conceived me.

This statement may belong to the consciousness identified with the physical body and not that of eternal consciousness.

Various Levels of Abortion: I would like to propose that the concept of abortion should not be limited only to the physical life but also should be extended to the collective life and universal life. When physical life begins it is very much close to the universal life. For example when a seed sprouts there will be only the trunk and the leaves. The branches develop later. In the same way when life first manifested the ‘morphic field’ might have been very simple both in genetic and form. As life evolved, the genetic field and the form field might have become complex.

Physical Abortion: ‘Thou shall not kill’ is the commandment of God. This killing can happen in two places: inside a womb and outside a womb. Abortion is taking life inside a womb. Physical abortion is terminating the growth process of physical life in the womb which begins at conception, before it reaches it culmination in the physical birth. Consciousness is fully present from the moment of conception and it is not inserted somewhere in the process. Consciousness is anterior to the physical body. This consciousness reflects in the physical body. This reflection is called human soul. If it is seen from the divine point of view it has no beginning. If it is seen from the physical point of view it has a beginning. Take, for example, if a mirror and the reflection of the Sun in the mirror. If we look from the Sun the reflection is eternal. If we see from the mirror it has the beginning. This soul is the combination of spiritual and physical life. In the initial stages it may very much identify with the physical body and its desires. Its journey may be externally oriented, external fulfillment.  It grows as the body grows- going through different stages of life-from conception to the physical death. Terminating directly this physical process is doing violence to life. It is something negative. But there can be exceptions where this process can be terminated. These exceptions cannot be generalized but are subject to various conditions in which the decision has to be made. It is specific to each individual. It should be always done keeping in mind the dignity of life of both that of the mother and of the fetus. The commandment ‘thou shall not kill’ is not absolute at the physical level (even though it can be absolute in the collective and universal levels).  There can be exceptions. The rules that apply to the killing outside the womb may be also applied to the termination of pregnancy also. Can killing be allowed in self –defense, either for an individual or a collective person? Can killing be allowed in a so called just war? Can one kill a person who is armed with deadly weapons and killing innocent people and cannot be caught alive and the murder be prevented? We do not expect people to be passive and accept violent death and do nothing about it. In the Old Testament ‘an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth’ is allowed. One of the reasons that can justify direct abortion can be the danger to the life of the mother. If the continuance of pregnancy is danger to the life of the mother then it can be terminated unless the mother does not approve of it. We can say it is killing in self-defense. Importance should be given to the person involved in this process and her thoughts and feelings should be respected. Not to impose an ideal which the person is not able to bear. Jesus told the scribes and Pharisees that they put heavy burdens on the people and they never help a little bit to carry them. I think the person who is affected in this process should have the final word. In one of the Shakespeare’s dramas Plotinus tells to his son: ‘give thy ear to everyone let thy own decision be’. I think the person who is undergoing the abortion should have the final choice after listening to various opinions. This may also apply to the person who is asked to perform the abortion. Each person’s conscience should be respected. In the ultimate level it is between God and the person involved. It is not for others to interfere or judge. I am not a moral theologian and I do not say this in an absolute sense but only as a proposition which is open to correction.

Abortions sometimes need not be completely an individual choice but predominantly can be a cultural choice. For example aborting a female fetus can be cultural choice (as in India) that prefers boys to girls. In the same way killing female fetus or children at birth is due to the cultural phenomenon in which girl children are seen as a burden to the family( for example Dowry system in India). This act cannot be seen completely as an individual act but influenced by the culture. If a society is based on extreme individualism and it is not a life welcoming society then children may be seen as an obstacle to individual’s happiness and abortion can be an easy way to get rid of unwanted children. Again this action cannot be seen completely an individual action but predominantly a cultural action because the whole culture is motivated by this philosophy. Abortion also can be predominantly a scientific act or religious act in the sense if science or a religion believes that abortions can be allowed up to certain months because there is no person or ensoulment does not take place immediately but only after some weeks then this kind of abortion is not completely an individual act but can be considered an action licensed by science or religion because they permit it.

To avoid unnecessary termination of life there should be favorable conditions in the culture or society. If the whole culture is life welcoming culture then people may not fall back on abortion. For example if a culture considers that both boys and girls are equal and welcomes them without any preference then there may be less female feticide. If the dowry system does not operate in the culture and the female children are not seen as a burden or liability then people may be less inclined to go for aborting female fetuses and killing female children at birth. These kinds of abortions are not completely individual actions but also can be termed as predominantly social or cultural abortions. In the same way we can speak of predominantly state abortions if a state legally allows abortions. Of course sometimes the mind of the state may reflect the opinion of the majority of the people.

At the same time we should remember that the termination of a fetus does not do any harm to the consciousness because the consciousness is eternal and it does not die with the physical body.  The reflection of consciousness in this particular body could not complete its whole journey. It is a kind of meeting an accident on the way in which the vehicle is completely damaged and the journey cannot proceed. Consciousness will take another body or another vehicle and start its journey. This consciousness is not the reincarnation of a previous soul taking the present body. It is the reflection of the eternal divine consciousness even though it has the possibility of coming into contact with the past experiences in the Morphic Field or the Collective Consciousness or Collective Life, in its process of evolution. Our spiritual evolution can be compared like a tortoise which lays eggs at the beach. When these eggs are hatched the new born ones start moving to the sea.  Not all may reach the sea. They may have to escape many predators on the way.  In our spiritual evolution the predators are physical desires and ambitions, collective consciousness and universal consciousness which may block this journey to the oneness with God by limiting the possibilities only to their level. 

Abortion in the Collective Life: The process of life that began with the physical conception comes to its fulfillment with the physical birth of the child. After this, begins the second conception and implantation in the collective life. Religions are also part of Collective Life. Just as the physical life has to grow in the physical womb so also a person has to grow in the collective womb until he or she comes out of it and enters into the Universal life. Collective Life embraces many aspects. It can be a social system, a political system, a religious system or an economic system which guides or controls people. Collective Life is like a womb, which gives protection, security and a sense of belonging.  A womb has two functions: to conceive and to give birth. If it only conceives but does not want to give birth then the womb becomes like a tomb. If any belief system or social system thinks that it is absolute-unchangeable then this system may become like a tomb. People may enter into it but they cannot come out of it. It is like killing inside the womb.  If a religious womb or social womb does not nourish its children then the children do not grow and they remain in the womb sustained by the womb but not nourished by it. It is a kind of slow killing. If a system excommunicates its members because they are dangerous to its health then it is a kind of direct abortion. Killing people in the name of heresy and apostasy so on is also a kind of spiritual murder. Discrimination against women in a religious womb is a kind of female feticide. Not allowing equal opportunities for women in a religion or society is female feticide. Blocking the spiritual growth of people in the religious womb is a kind of spiritual killing, spiritual abortion.  If we kill people physically we can see it with our naked eyes but if we kill people spiritually no one will see it because it is not physical. But it is very serious. Jesus was very much concerned with this spiritual violence. He told to the spiritual authorities: ‘you have the keys to the kingdom of heaven neither you enter nor allow others to enter’.

It is not only that a system can do violence to its followers but the followers also may be satisfied with the system and do not want to grow beyond the system. This is also a kind of choosing death. Life is growth. Where there is no growth there is death, there is stagnation.

Killing people in the collective womb is absolutely forbidden. It is a grave sin.  There may be exceptions in the physical womb but there are no exceptions in the collective womb or religious level.  Religions have to conceive children in their womb nourish them, protect them and when it is time to give birth to them into the universal consciousness. The greatness of any religion does not consist in how many children it has conceived in its maternal womb but to how many children it has given birth into the freedom of universal consciousness. If a religion wants only to conceive and does not want to give birth then it transforms its womb into a tomb. Jesus Christ was killed physically and placed in a tomb. This physical killing was only an expression of either political killing or religious killing. It was a kind of direct religious or political abortion. He had become dangerous to the health of religion or political system. He had to be eliminated. He was not allowed to grow beyond his religious or political womb. But Jesus broke open the tomb and came out. He had outgrown his collective womb. He transformed the tomb into a womb.  To make any system, either political or religious, leads to collective abortions. Any dissent will be met with torture, excommunications and physical eliminations.

Abortion in the Universal Life: Our spiritual journey does not end with our coming out of our religious womb. We need to enter into the Universal Life or to implant in the womb of Universal Life. It is entering into the universal consciousness. There it does not go through a time process because it lives in the eternal present, eternal now. In this consciousness a person will say: I am in God and God in me. It is God who lives in me and does his or her works. The danger at this level can be that this consciousness can become absolute and attract the followers only to it. Then people get attached to the person and forget the divine consciousness. There may develop a personality cult. Spiritual abortion in this level could be making that experience as the ultimate experience not allowing any further growth. It is blocking the spiritual growth of the persons to enter into the oneness with God. It is a kind of spiritual killing in the womb. This womb also should conceive and give birth into the life of God where a person can say ‘God and I are one’.

Oneness with the Divine Life: Realizing our oneness with the Divine Life is the ultimate stage of our spiritual evolution. It is reaching our ultimate destiny, like the hatched tortoises that reach the sea. The reflection in the manifested creation realizes being one with the reflector. It is also realizing that it has always been one with the Divine. Jesus Christ said, ’the Father and I are one’. This experience is not something new. It is coming back to one’s own home. It is like the prodigal son who returns to the Father. It is like awakening from the dream. This is also called self-realization, salvation, mukthi or moksha or liberation or Nirvana. The process of life that began with the universal consciousness comes to an end with the return of the soul to the divine consciousness. This is the birth of a soul into God. Only in this level we can say that we have fullness of life. Our life becomes life of ‘fruitfulness and multiplication’. Jesus realized that many people were living barren lives like the barren fig tree. People were living but were not living really. He had compassion on them. He came to give us life and give it abundantly.

Gospel of Life: The message of Jesus Christ is the message of life. It is an invitation to life. Jesus said, ‘Just as the Father has life in himself, he has granted the Son to have life in himself. I have come to give life and give it abundantly’. God is Life. This Life is not a system of truth. It is freedom, creativity, fullness and eternity. This Life has no boundaries.  This Life is not physical but spiritual. There is only one Life which is Divine Life. God gives life to everyone. God wants everyone to share in his divine life. God wants everyone to grow into his/her life. God has granted to Jesus the gift to realize oneness with his/her Divine Life. Jesus was able to say, ‘the Father and I are one’. The mission of Jesus was to invite everyone to enter into this Life. In order to enter into this life people have to be born again (Nicodemus). This rebirth is to come out of the womb of Collective Life (religion) and enter into the universal presence of God, which Jesus described as the kingdom of God. Jesus came out of his religious womb and was born again at his baptism. We can say that he gave the gift of motherhood to his religious tradition. He saw the same possibility for everyone. Jesus realized that in his spiritual tradition people were entering into the religious womb but they were not coming out. They are not growing to their full potentiality. He invited them to come out and realize their full potentiality.

Life is sacred. It is the gift of God. It is not only a gift of God but it is also the manifestation of God. It is God entering into time and space. It is God who has taken flesh. It is the reflection of God that is going through all this process. It is the reflection of God going through human experiences. This life has to be respected in every level: physical, collective and universal.  It has to be received in every level, protected, nourished and given birth into higher levels until it reaches its unity with God. Blocking this growth in any of these levels is taking life. It amounts to abortion or murder.  Every pregnant woman, either physical or collective or universal has the responsibility to accept life as the gift of God, as the Child of God. This is the great message of Jesus’ gospel.  There is a powerful episode in the New Testament: the episode of Mary and Herod. Mary chose her child for God. She said that her child was not her child but God’s child. She was only a foster mother. She chose her child for eternity and not for continuity. She worshipped her own son. Herod wanted children for himself, for his continuity, for his position, power and wealth. That means he wanted children to keep in his womb. He does not want to give birth to life.  He wanted that children should worship him. He was afraid of the child born of a virgin. He was afraid of someone who is outside of the womb. This child can give life to others and make them free from the power of Herod. Herod killed all the innocent children. He was called murderer of innocent children. It is because he chose all the children, before their birth, to be at his service, to be his continuity. It is a kind of spiritual abortion. Herod does not give birth. He or she always remains a pregnant woman. The children to be born have no life of their own but are born to be continuity of Herod. Herod is not just physical but also collective and universal. A collective womb that does not want to give birth is spiritual Herod. In the same way Mary is not just physical but also collective and universal. Physical Herod wants children only for his physical continuity. Even if the children are born they are just extension of physical Herod. This was what Abraham wanted from Isaac but God asked him to renounce it, to offer Isaac for God, to become a virgin mother. Collective Herod wants children for the continuity of a collective ideal and keeps children in the collective womb. The Universal Herod wants children to be at his or her spiritual service. Here the spiritual persons become more important. Physical Mary does not want children for her physical continuity but for God. She gives birth and becomes a mother. She offers them to the Collective Mary (religion). Collective Mary (religion) does not want children for her continuity but gives birth to offer them to Universal Mary. Universal Mary does not keep children for her but offers them to God, to eternity. It is this attitude that makes all these mothers as Virgin Mothers: Physical Virgin Mother, Collective Virgin Mother and Universal Virgin Mother.

Jesus Christ, As Virgin Mother: The mission of Jesus was to give birth to Life. He did not want to keep his followers in his collective womb or in his universal womb. He wanted them to enter into the experience of oneness with God. He was a collective virgin mother and universal virgin mother. ‘The Sabbath is made for human beings and not human beings for the sake of the Sabbath’, he said. This is the statement of a collective virgin mother. He said, ‘I no longer call you my servants or disciples but I call you my friends’. This is the statement of a universal virgin mother. He washed the feet of his disciples. This is an act of a universal virgin mother. He said, ‘I am the light of the world’ and ‘you are the light of the world’. This is the statement of a divine virgin mother. Jesus entrusted his disciples with the mission to grow into this life, to bear witness to this life, to invite people to grow into this life and facilitate the process of this growth into oneness with God. They are called to be collective virgin mothers and universal virgin mothers and divine virgin mothers. Jesus transformed every stage into a womb so that each stage not only conceives but also gives birth. In this way he established a highway to God with clear sign posts so that every individual can make his or her journey to God without any obstacles on the way. Unfortunately, the subsequent Christian tradition blocked this way and limited it only to the Collective Life or Collective Consciousness and closed the door to the Universal Life and Divine Life. This is what I call spiritual abortion. It may be praiseworthy if one does not permit any kind of direct abortion in the name of respect for the innocent life but if one does not respect innocent life in the collective womb and kills it without allowing it to grow into its full potentiality of oneness with God then it can be a counter witness and hypocrisy. It is also possible that individuals also do not want grow and wish to remain where there are. It is a refusal to grow. It is choosing a kind of spiritual death. If we compare the abortions (either imposed from outside or self-imposed) that are taking place in the collective womb with the abortions that are taking place physically the latter seem to be very insignificant.  It can be shocking if one  becomes conscious of this fact.

Life is a precious gift of God. It must be accepted unconditionally in every level: physical, collective and universal. Divine Life has no beginning and end. It is eternal. It is the absolute truth and the other levels are only provisional or relative. They are only preparatory truths. The absolute truth or divine life reflects itself at the moment of conception. This reflection of the divine life has to be allowed to grow in every level until it reaches its final destiny, oneness with God.   Conception in each level has to be celebrated as ‘annunciation’ and every birth has to be celebrated as ‘Christmas’. For example physical conception has to be celebrated as ‘physical annunciation’ and physical birth has to be celebrated as ‘physical Christmas’. The initiation ceremony into a religious community (Baptism in Christianity) should be understood as conception in the collective womb and to be celebrated as ‘religious annunciation’. The birth of a child from the religious womb has to be celebrated as ‘Spiritual Christmas’. Then the entry into the universal consciousness has to be celebrated as ’spiritual annunciation’ and birth into oneness with God has to be celebrated as ‘awakening Christmas’. Only then we are really born. Only then the process of pregnancy comes to an end. Hence a human being has to grow through three levels of ‘annunciation’ and three levels of ‘Christmas’. There may be some exceptions at the physical level where the termination of this life process can happen directly or indirectly. For example a woman’s body produces many egg cells but not all are fertilized. A man’s body continuously produces genes but all are not fertilized. All the zygotes may not be implanted in the womb. Not all the zygotes reach the stage of embryos and not all embryos reach the stage of fetuses and not all fetuses see the light of the Sun. It is possible that some justifiable reasons may demand the termination of this process directly or indirectly. But there are no exceptions and justifications for the termination of this process at the collective level and universal level. It is absolutely forbidden. It is sinful to block the spiritual evolution of the human consciousness. It is a spiritual murder. Making Collective Life and Universal Life absolute transforms them into Herod, transforms wombs into tombs. The question we need to ask is: is the Collective Womb (Religious and political systems) and Universal Womb (religious persons) willing to take the stand for Pro-Life and give birth to their followers into the Universal Life and Divine Life and thus facilitate the spiritual evolution of human consciousness? Or do they want to transform their wombs into tombs and never allow their followers to see the light of the Divine Sun?  To put it simply: Do they want to give life or to take life? Do they want to be Virgin Mary or Herod? It is a very serious question we need to reflect upon. Jesus said: I have come to give life and give it abundantly. He gave his life in order to give life to others. Do we have the courage to follow him?

 Material for the Part 1 is taken mainly from the internet.

 Each tradition can see the similar growth in its founder.











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