SRILA PRABHUPADA: All matter is a combination of five gross elements (earth, water, fire, air and ether) and three subtle elements (mind, intelligence and false ego).
KARANDHARA: According to the Vedic science, material energy begins with the false ego and then develops into the intelligence, then the mind and then the gross elements – ether, air, fire and so on. So the same basic ingredients are present in all matter. Is this right?
SRILA PRABHUPADA: Yes. The creation of the material universe is like the growth of a great banyan tree from a tiny seed. No one can see the tree within the seed, but all the necessary ingredients for the tree are there, including the required intelligence. Actually, everyone’s body is simply a sample universe. Your body and my body are different universes, small universes. Therefore, all eight material elements are present within our bodies, just as they are within the whole universe. Similarly, an insect’s body is another universe.
KARANDHARA: How about the atom?
SRILA PRABHUPADA: The same formula applies: all these constituents are within the atom. Anor aniyan mahato mahiyan [Katha Upanisad 1.2.20]. This means that whether something is extremely large or infinitesimal, it is still made of same basic elements. This is true everywhere in the material world. Just as a woman’s small watch has all the requisite machinery for its smooth functioning, so an ant has all the necessary brain substance to manage its affairs nicely. How is this possible? To answer this properly, you must minutely examine the brain tissues in the ant. But this you cannot do. Moreover, there innumerable insects smaller than the ant. So there must be a mechanical arrangement for all this detailed activity, but scientists cannot discover it.