Wickramasinghe dwells awhile on questions of karma and rebirth
When the egg of a water lizard is split into two, they grow into two separate creatures. A life form comes into being when the sperm of the male joins the ova of a female. The practical biologist takes an ovum, immerses it in chemicals and pierces it with the point of a needle. This precipitates a series of divisions resulting in a bunch of separate cells. These are referred to as "born of a needle point father" by the biologist. As such a life form grows, if you take the skin from the head area and graft it in the tail, it will be in the tail that the eyes appear. If the egg is not sliced into two parts but is tied tightly with a piece of hair, then it will result in Siamese Twins.
Extrapolating along these lines, one can conclude that plant life is no different from lower animal forms of life. Certain lower order animals cannot be differentiated from certain plants. If one claims that these lower order animals are reborn then it is not possible to claim that plants are not reborn.
It was this vexed question that I raised in an article I wrote to the Dinamina around 1912 under the name "Hethuvadi". These were several responses to my article. I easily countered the arguments offered by those who knew little about biology. When my third response was published, the editor of the Dinamina added the following note: "Only those who are capable of offering pertinent responses to this question should write. Those who cannot should not bother to respond."
There was only one more response after this note appeared. It was not a piece that even attempted to resolve my question. The writer asked me a series of questions. What is Hethuvadis religion? Does he believe in any religion? Does he believe in Karma? If not, does he reject it? Does he believe that life ends with death?
I did not respond to any of these questions. I merely stated that I did not believe that answering any of these questions would in no way contribute towards resolving the question on biology that I had raised. That ended the "Vrukshalatha ha sathvayo" debate.
Rev. Polwatte Buddhadatta wrote to me, saying that he was interested in discussing this issue with me through correspondence. I work until late at night at the shop. Immediately after my work is done, I engage in reading. I did not have the time to write lengthy letters. Therefore I curbed my desire to discuss the issue with Rev. Buddhadatta. It was because I did not know that I had a lot of learn from such a debate and that what I knew would be subject to criticism that I controlled this desire. I was simply, lazy.
A friend of mine was appointed as a clerk in an office in Madakalapuwa. His wife was also a friend of mine. We became closer after they came to Madakalapuwa. I never dreamed that this friendship would turn into anything lustful. I had not gone to see my friends for several days. One day the lady came to the shop and hearing that I was not quite well, came upstairs to see me. After speaking with me she went home and wrote a letter to me. Her letter ended with two verse. She believes that my illness was due to some kind of loneliness on account of my feelings for her. The last line of the second verse wished for us to be together. Reading that letter my mind became full of confused thoughts. It was a mix of unhappiness, fear, and desire.
What had been generated within me on her account was a certain platonic love. I knew that it could easily turn into lust. The first time one loves a woman, it is with the thought that seeing her alone is happiness. Then he wants to kiss her face. Later the desire is to share a bed with her. I wrote a letter to her. At the end of the letter, I wrote a verse. I remember only the last line of this verse.
"ma piya kala pathami labanata mathu sasara" (my love, I look forward to making you mine later in sansara)
I believe that it was only about three or four months after the "vrukshalatha
ha sathvayo" debate was done! In that debate I came to be known as someone who
didnt believe in karma or in notions of sansara. In that case, how was
it that such notions as evidenced in that line of verse issued from my hand? Is it the
good man who becomes a hypocrite and one who suffers when the heart comes into conflict
with the mind? Or is it the bad man? The weak? The one with strength of character? The one
without? Anyone other than one who, born and bred among the Sinhalese, and fattened
through the tap root called family life, would answer this question using the intellect.
That answer is akin to a blind man throwing a stone.
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