Showing posts with label CONSCIOUSNESS. Show all posts
Showing posts with label CONSCIOUSNESS. Show all posts

Tuesday, December 8, 2015


In the Rig Veda there are 5 hymns constituting an important dialogue between Lord Indra and Sage Agastya that reflects the significance of traversing the evolutionary path of consciousness, that seems to serve as a crucial pre-requisite to understanding the true nature of the Supreme Absolute Reality (God).
The verses exemplify how sage Agastya, by the sheer force of his thoughts is breaking through the barriers of his mind, reaching the realm of God without first being developed as a fully functional being in all his levels of consciousness.
The eagerness to experience God gets the better of sage Agastya and his senses and he refuses to progressively surrender to the stepping stone (which in this case refers to Lord Indra) in his quest for God. At this point, sage Agastya gets pushed back by Indra who does not allow him to proceed to the realm of God.
Indra says-“that which is beyond time and space (God) cannot be known by that which is in time and space” (Agastya and other mortals like us).
Indra goes on to explain that it is the progressive transcendence (of ego-consciousness) through divine activities that will take a mortal towards the immortal truth. Sage Agastya thenceforth realizes his folly, surrenders his will to Indra and goes on to execute his mandated activities through Indra.

Ego transcendence

One of the obvious implications that can be drawn from the verses is that the sense of “I” that we adorn and the identification with our ego-consciousness is often what prevents us from experiencing the Divine. That would also probably explain why meditation, yoga, etc. are delineated as paths in Hinduism to achieve that distance and ‘dis-identification’ from the ego-centric self.
One could however, question the whole point or practical significance of transcending the ego-bound self, to which it can be reasoned that detachment (the kind that Lord Krishna expounds in the Gita) would actually entail a greater sense of involvement and participation in life’s experiences without being shaken or affected by them. It would imply a sense of free-experiencing that is unimpeded by our conditioned beliefs, emotions, memories, reactions, etc. enabling us to understand things from a larger frame of reference.
Modern psychology and cognitive science is only now exploring the frontiers of consciousness (exemplified in Vedanta) and its impact on human life and behaviour. Current researches (Joel Krueger) in the field also indicate that transcending of the personalized ego often leads to a unified mode of awareness and “That a scholar acquires a new insight, or a moralist a new motive, or an artist a new imagination, or a religious figure a new awakening, are all based upon a disclosure of this kind of unity in consciousness” which is only made possible by that ego transcendence.
Levels of Consciousness
Sri Aurobindo (scholar of the Vedas) was one of the first pioneers in the field of consciousness studies. His work was further compounded by researcher Ken Wilber who (based on Aurobindo’s Vedic insights and Piaget’s Cognitive Development) established the ‘ten levels of consciousness’ that humans had to develop through, re-affirming the fact that psychological and spiritual development go hand in hand; that we can’t have one without the other.
According to the Vedic template reflected in the Taittiriya Upanishad there are five sheaths of existence/being- 1) Anna-maya kosa (physical), 2) Prana-maya kosa (vital), 3) Mano-maya kosa(mental), 4) Vijnana-maya kosa (intellectual) and 5) Ananda-maya kosa (bliss).
The ten levels of consciousness derived from this template are:
1) The Sensoriphysical– reflecting the realm of matter, sensation and perception.
2) Phantasmic-Emotional- the emotional-sexual level (seat of libido and instincts)
3) Representational mind– level of concepts and symbols, fantasy, ego-centric thinking.
4) Rule/role mind– thinking in terms of concrete things and events.
5) Formal-reflexive mind- the level of reflective, abstract thinking and introspection.
6) Vision-logic- the level of synthesis and integration.
The higher levels are :
7) Psychic,
8 ) Subtle (level of soul), 
9) Causal (level of spirit) 
10) Non-dual (Brahman-Atman)
Our centre of gravity is said to rest in a certain level on that spectrum and our thoughts and actions are defined by that level of functioning. Evolution of consciousness then requires a shift to higher levels. Wilber believes that the majority of humankind is still operating on the Mental, or Egoic, level, while only a few have attained higher spiritual consciousness.
Consequently it’s important to note that if an individual has spiritual experiences but his consciousness has only developed to the level of the ‘rep’ mind (level 3) for instance then he won’t be able to understand that spiritual experience in a broad way and won’t be able to integrate it. On the contrary he is more likely to distort the experience for people tend to interpret their religious/spiritual experience according to the level of mental development they are at. This does not imply that there are different levels of God, but that there are different levels of interpretation. The person at the highest levels of consciousness will have a more integrated and holistic understanding of the Supreme Reality.
It’s also interesting to note that those who are at the ‘earlier stages of development’ often tend to think that “their truth is the only truth” as they lack the ability to integrate alternate perspectives. To explain the tangible effects of this phenomenon, Swami Vivekananda once said “Whenever a prophet got into the super-conscious state by heightening his emotional nature, he brought away from it not only some truths, but some fanaticism also, some superstition which injured the world as much as the greatness of the teaching helped.”

Eminent author Ram Swarup
 also explains that even though a person has spiritual experiences, if he has not transcended his ego then his connection with the Divine will be distorted and filtered through his immature mind and his resulting beliefs and actions will prove to be very destructive, as can be witnessed from the history of imperial movements and regimes.  He claims that this happens :
  “because they mix spiritual truth and ego together, which is  a very dangerous and volatile combination… as nectar mixed with poison becomes poison”. 
The prevalent culture also stands as testimony to this phenomenon that is now witnessing the spread of myriad psuedo visionaries with the messiah complex.
It stands to reason then that without the anchor of integrated development a person can be in danger of falling prey to the lower nature of his self which perpetuates various forms of dysfunctions from a simple lack of objectivity to extreme fanaticism.
Researcher Prem Sabhlok also asserts :
“The ancient, medieval and modern history of India as well as of the world has confirmed that with material knowledge based on sense experiences and intellectual reasons and arguments alone, any search for God had always led to fanaticism, fundamentalism, communal tension, destruction of the temples, gurudwaras, churches, etc. of the same God and even has been cause of wars between the nations. With material knowledge, the same God appears different to various sections of the people.”
This suggests that it is often imperative for a super-conscious spiritual experience to be supported by a corresponding heightened psychological development. More importantly, it indicates that material knowledge without spiritual growth can be counterproductive as there is something crucial missing in human awareness that causes us to fall victim to all sorts of delusions and distortions. Vedas refers to this as ‘avidya’-ignorance and goes on to explain how we need to reach a certain stage in consciousness for this avidya to dissolve.
Evolution of Consciousness and Enlightenment
As we progress to higher levels of development on that scale our consciousnesses expands.  “So the more narrow, fragmented and restricted our mode of consciousness,” says Wilber, “the more prone we will be to experiencing psychological disorders or distortions. And the more expanded and heightened our level of consciousness, the more scope we will have for self-actualization and enlightenment.
Therefore… enlightenment in this context implies an expansion of consciousness from the isolated, alienated individual to a kind of global cosmic consciousness.”  It then overall alludes to a progressive expansion from parts of the psyche (persona) to the psyche (ego) to the environment (ecological) and finally to the universe-manifest and unmanifest (Brahman).
While it is often reiterated that there is only one indivisible, all-pervading and immanent reality (Brahman), Vedic metaphysics makes it clear that it is only at the stage of “Turiya” (highest level of superconsciousness) that a person experientially discerns and understands this One Supreme Reality (God) in all its magnitude and the vehement effect of Maya -the cosmic illusion then dissolves.
So contrary to Darwin’s theory of evolution and according to Vedic scriptures, one form of species does not evolve into another, rather it is the soul that evolves through the various levels of consciousness and this transition is not so much biological as much as it is spiritual.
Aurobindo declares, “Man is a transitional being. He is not final. The step from man to superman is the next approaching achievement in the earth’s evolution. It is inevitable because it is at once the intention of the inner spirit and the logic of Nature’s process.”
1. Indra: It is not now, nor is It tomorrow; who knoweth that which is Supreme and Wonderful? It has motion and action in the consciousness of another, but when It is approached by the thought, It vanishes.
2. AgastyaWhy dost thou seek to smite us, O Indra? The Maruts are thy brothers. By them accomplish perfection; slay us not in our struggle.
3. IndraWhy, O my brother Agastya, art thou my friend, yet settest thy thought beyond me? For well do I know how to us thou willest not to give thy mind.
4. IndraLet them make ready the altar, let them set Agni in blaze in front. It is there, the awakening of the consciousness to Immortality. Let us two extend for thee thy effective sacrifice.
5. AgastyaO Lord of substance over all substances of being, thou art the master in force! O Lord of Love over the powers of love, thou art the strongest to hold in status! Do thou, O lndra, agree with the Maruts, then enjoy the offerings in the ordered method of the Truth.
-Rig Veda – Book 1 – Verse 170 – Hymns CLXX (1 – 5)
-Taittriya Upanishad-Sri Aurobindo (1956) The Secret of the Veda
-Ram Swarup (1980) The word as revelation: Names of Gods.
-Vivekananda: Complete Works, Vol.1, Raja Yoga, Ch.7: “Dhyana and Samadhi”
-Ken Wilber (1977) Spectrum of Consciousness
-Prem Sabhlok- Glimpses of Vedic Metaphysics
-Joel Krueger (2007) The Varieties of Pure Experience: William James and Kitaro Nishida on Consciousness and Embodiment
-Jean Piaget- Cognitive Development

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Mind ,Matter, Consciousness

What is mind? No matter!
What is matter?
Never mind!Even as scientists all over the world are making concerted efforts to understand the human mind and the human consciousness, a plethora of provocative questions still remain unanswered. As someone said, if we could satisfactorily explain the workings of our minds, our brains would be so simple and underdeveloped that we wouldn't be able to understand anything! This is a definite limitation of the conventional sciences. And here's where people take recourse to spirituality, imagination and the occult.
Vedic Science Has the Answers!
Professor Ashok Sharma, a former Indian professor of Applied Physics, who was also a scientist at Harvard University, has formulated some path-breaking theories and postulations based on the ancient Vedic Sciences that give us some powerful insights into the gray regions of the human mind, and help us understand our consciousness.Even after treading for long in the realm of science, Prof Sharma feels that science fails to understand consciousness as an independent entity. He says, "Science cannot integrate a non-physical entity, like consciousness, into its conceptual framework, and views human personality as a non-conscious physical system."
What is Consciousness?
Consciousness, according to Prof Sharma, is a non-physical entity, which is essentially different from the four basic entities of space, time, energy and matter of the conventional science. Consciousness does not have any physical attribute or property or action, but is endowed with autonomous will power of creation, retention and annihilation of the knowledge of an individual or that of the universe.Quoting the Upanishads (Shvetashwar, 6/19), he says that consciousness itself is non-differentiable, inactive, placid, indescribable and non associative:"Nirajanam Nishkriam Shantam Nirvadyam Niranjanam"But again, consciousness manifests itself in the form of knowledge.
Sharma's Formula
In the light of the above discussion, Prof Sharma has put forward a formula, where consciousness is represented by a symbol Ψ, which is a set of concepts of knowledge. In the normal state of consciousness, an individual human mind or a conscious system is capable of the finite set of concepts of knowledge I, i.e.,Ψn = I,which he defines as Ego, soul, Atman or Karan Sharir.However, the field of the non-physical entity of consciousness can be expanded to infinity, so as to cognize the total infinite set of concepts of knowledge G, i.e.,Ψ∞= G,which he variously defines as God, Parmathma or Brahma.
Yoga & Meditation
Prof Sharma points out that consciousness is endowed with autonomous will power, and the techniques of Yoga and meditation must be considered as the methods of realization of the self and the development of the will power (Sankalpa Shakti) for the expansion of the field of consciousness Ψ.
Bridging the Gap
Sharma quotes Prof Wigner - "The very study of the physical world leads to the conclusion that the concept of consciousness is an ultimate reality and, all the possible knowledge, concerning objects can be given as its wave function" - and concludes that the gap between Vedic and scientific systems of knowledge has been considerably reduced and scientists have started realizing the necessity of integration of consciousness with the conceptual structure of science.
In Summary
The basic conceptual structure of Prof Ashok Sharma's "Science of Consciousness" can be summarized as a set of the following propositions:The element of consciousness (Chetan Tatva) is the fundamental entity, which is non-physical, inactive, placid, indescribable and non-associative, but endowed with autonomous will power (Swasankalpa Shakti) to create, retain and annihilate all concepts of knowledge of self and the universe, which can be represented by the symbol Ψ. The concept of consciousness is, essentially, analogous to the vacuum states of the relativistic quantum field theory, except for its autonomous will power.The phenomena of existence of the world are, essentially, the existence of the concepts of knowledge of the phenomenal world in the unified field of consciousness. In view of the non-physical nature of the consciousness, the concept of the unified field of consciousness must be clearly distinguished from the unified field of the physical fields.The stimulus-response function of the conscious system of human personality is due to the association of consciousness, with physiological brain, so as to provide the operation of mind, 'Ideation Body' or Karan Sharir. In the normal state of consciousness Ψn, an individual is ignorant about his full potentialities and depends on the knowledge gained through the sensory perception for the expansion of the field of consciousness of knowledge. Since, in the normal state of consciousness, an individual has the capacity of the cognition of a limited set I of the concepts of knowledge, it can be defined as Soul, 'Ideation Body', Atma or Karan Sharir, represented by, Ψn = I.The field of consciousness can be expanded by the development of the capability of non-sensory intuitive cognition of knowledge through the techniques of Yoga and meditation, so as to attain the super-conscious state, in which an individual has direct intuitive revelation of knowledge. The final state of Yogic attainment is to have the consciousness of the infinite set of knowledge of the universe, i.e., Ψ∞ = G, which can be interpreted as the realization of God, Allah, Paramatma or Brahman.
The Future of Science!
Prof Sharma, who now lives in New Delhi, is currently working on the conceptual development of the Science of Consciousness, Social System Science and Social Engineering. He hopes that the heritage of the Vedic system of knowledge should be viewed as the future extension of the present non-conscious science, as the science of consciousness.
Need of the Hour
"There is an urgent need to reinterpret the Vedic texts in modern terms - a task which is now possible with the availability of computers and the recent developments in the fields of cognitive sciences, artificial intelligence and theories of knowledge representation", says Prof Sharma, adding, "However, such an effort requires a concerted effort of the enlightened community of Indians."

Monday, June 9, 2014

The Brain Does NOT Create Consciousness a recent interview on Waking Times aired on The People’s Voice Network, Dr. Eben Alexander, Harvard Neurosurgeon presents compelling scientific research in the field of consciousness that examines the unfolding reality that the brain does NOT create consciousness. Misleading concepts that focus on reductive materialism have kept us in the dark about the true nature of the human soul and its integral part in our evolution as spiritual beings.
“The old paradigm of birth to death represents an outdated concept that is woefully inadequate in defining the unfolding reality of expanded awareness,” he stated in the interview with Waking Times. “Materialist science is at the end of its days as most scientists are changing their views. The old concepts are soon to be relegated to the same dust bin as ‘the earth is flat’ as we develop a more mature understanding and transcend old beliefs.”
Supported by worldwide research that is now delving into the concepts of string theory that involves a complete reworking of our outdated and limited views of space/time means that we are now entering a phase where science will greatly expand its boundaries. The foundation of the research begins with the clear understanding of the “Soul”, or conscious spirit, that exists outside of the body and is eternal.
“Consciousness is at the core to unfolding all of reality”, states Alexander.
The brain operates the body based on input from the personality, but the higher intelligence, or subconscious, is the mechanism that controls the body, and that is the soul that we have yet to acknowledge or even begin to understand. That is the free will component that exists long after the body stops. Near-death, paranormal, mysticism, past life memories, and akashic records are now a common thread that drives home the conclusion that there exists a soul within the human body that transcends the human experience. As we acknowledge the essence of our soul, we let go of the limitations of the illusional earth-based mentality and reach out to the greater cosmos of life. Many additional realms exist beyond the earth and in other dimensions of time/space. As spiritual beings, we can easily access these places.
Edgar Cayce, the father of holistic medicine, pioneered the concept in modern times that we are indeed “spiritual beings having a human experience”, but this is only a reemergence of what our ancestors already knew.
This time on earth will be one where we all transcend the false boundaries that convince us that we are separate entities and develop the understanding of the oneness that we all share, meaning that we don’t have to be either scientific or spiritual. Merging science and spirituality creates a new foundation for our peaceful coexistence in the greater cosmos.
Read Deborah West’s columns at The New Era Times for her personal views.
For more about Dr. Eben Alexander:
For more about Sacred Acoustics:

In this article we will explore how your body is a holographic projection of your consciousness, and how you directly influence that hologram and thus have complete control over the physical health of your body. We will also specifically explore the exact mechanism behind this principle, and don’t worry, I will provide scientific evidence so let your rational mind be at ease. But first … how is this even possible?

Human Thought Determines Reality

One of the key principles of quantum physics is that our thoughts determine reality. Early in the 1900′s they proved this beyond a shadow of a doubt with an experiment called the double slit experiment. They found that the determining factor of the behavior of energy (‘particles’) at the quantum level is the awareness of the observer.
For example: electrons under the same conditions would sometimes act like particles, and then at other times they would switch to acting like waves (formless energy), because it was completely dependent on what the observer expected was going to happen. Whatever the observed believed would occur is what the quantum field did.

The quantum world is waiting for us to make a decision so that it knows how to behave. That is why quantum physicists have such difficulties in dealing with, explaining, and defining the quantum world. We are truly, in every sense of the word, masters of creation because we decide what manifests out of the field of all-possibility and into form.
The thing is, the quantum level of reality isn’t a local and insignificant aspect of creation. It is all around us, and it is the most fundamental level of creation aside from the unified field itself. The human energy field is interacting and influencing the quantum field all around us at all times and the energy of our beliefs and intentions are infused into our energy field because they are defined by the energy of our thoughts and emotions.
Thus the fusion of our thoughts, emotions, beliefs, and intentions, which I will call the human energy field for simplicity’s sake, is perpetually informing the quantum reality within us and around us at each moment of our existence
And because reality is flashing in and out of existence (hypothetically at Planck time – 1044 times per second – as explained by The Resonance Project biophysicist William Brown), every time our reality oscillates between form, and the pure energy state of the field, our awareness which is constant and doesn’t flash in and out of existence informs the field what to reappear as when it makes its transition back to form at the quantum level.
Therefore each time we oscillate into formlessness, we have complete and total control and responsibility over what we choose with our attention to manifest out of the field in the next moment, and our power and ability to do so relies entirely what we believe, and on how we are feeling.
A dramatic example of this is the case of Vittorio Michelli. In 1962 he was admitted to the Military Hospital of Verona, Italy with a large tumor on his left hip. The doctors knew that they could not help him, so his case was deemed hopeless and he was sent home without treatment, and after about 10 months his left hip bone had completely disintegrated. As a last resort, he traveled to Lourdes, France and bathed himself in the spring there (which is a Christian holy site famous for producing miracles).
Immediately he started feeling better, he regained his appetite, and bathed himself in the spring a few more times before he left. After a few months of being home he felt such a powerful sense of well-being that he urged the doctors to x-ray him again, and they were astonished to find that his tumor had shrunk. Over the next several months they kept a close watch on him, and his X-rays showed that his tumor kept on shrinking, until it was gone. And once his tumor disappeared, his hipbone started regenerating.
After two months he was walking again, and several years later his hip bone had completely regenerated. The Vatican’s Medical Commission, in their official report said:
“A remarkable reconstruction of the iliac bone and cavity has taken place. The X-rays made in 1964, 1965, 1968, and 1969 confirm categorically and without doubt that an unforeseen and even overwhelming bone reconstruction has taken place of a type unknown in the annals of world medicine.” (The Holographic Universe, p.107)
Ordinarily this would be deemed miraculous, and indeed it truly is. But I find this miraculous in the sense of the true power of human intention and belief that it displays. Moreover, this is powerful evidence that suggests that there is an energetic structure which our ‘material bodies’ align with, because that is one of the only logical explanations for how Vittorio Michelli’s hip bone knew exactly which shape to grow back into unless there was some sort of energetic blueprint which was instructing its growth, which as the Vatican’s Medical Commission clearly stated, was “unknown in the annals of world medicine.”
In medicine, maybe this was unknown, but the same cannot be said for physics. At the atomic level atoms bond with one another to form molecules which have specific geometric structures as if there is an energetic blueprint which they are adhering to which dictates the shapes they maintain together.
If our bodies are a projection of consciousness, then our consciousness would create an energetic blueprint which our atoms and molecules align with to create our bodies. There is highly suggestive evidence of the existence of this energetic blueprint (or human energy field) in the new research on DNA which proves that it transmits, receives, and thus reads energy directly from the field.
Michelli’s case is a perfect example of our human ability to re-organize that vacuum structure with our energy and intentions, and thus manifest what we desire directly out of the field for truly miraculous results. The fact that he started to feel better and started to believe that he was healed is, I suggest, the key to his healing.
Some may want to stick with the belief that God healed this man, and I would agree to you. But you and I would probably disagree on the nature of this God. For I contend that you are god, as are we all, because the force we call God is the energy and infinite consciousness behind creation, and thus when we tap into ourselves as pure consciousness, i.e. without thought through meditation, then we open ourselves to the infinitude of our own awareness because we inseparably are that infinite creative consciousness. We are it and it is us.
And when we open up to that energy, we allow ourselves to be flooded with a “powerful sense of well-being” and knowing which has astounding power to create reality, and directly affects our biology.

The Body as a Projection of Consciousness

I want you to really internalize the understanding that reality is flashing in and out of form. This is absolutely crucial in understanding our ability to heal, because if half of the time we are formless, then (1) Who are we really, because obviously our bodies and the material world is illusory to a degree; and (2) What is the blueprint which is guiding the rearrangement of our bodies each time we quite literally re-materialize?
The answer to both questions would be consciousness. Our bodies are a holographic projection of our consciousness, and they are the sum total of our beliefs about ourselves. If we can change our beliefs about ourselves, and thus if we can change the energy that defines our human energy field, then we can change the energetic blueprint which our body aligns with as it re-materializes back into form 1044 times per second.
(The exact structure and dynamics of our consciousness which make us both a fractal and holographic expression of this infinite God-consciousness can be found in Nassim Haramein’s Holofractographic Universe theory, and in his work Crossing the Event Horizon.)
Deepak Chopra told a story that illustrates this perfectly in his book, How to Know God. A friend of his injured his foot while working out in a gym because he was unaccustomed to using one of the machines and strained it. The pain in his foot increased over the next few days, and he found it increasingly difficult to walk, so upon “medical examination it was found that he had a common ailment known as planar fasciitis, in which the connecting tissue between the heel and the front of the foot had been stretched or torn.” (How to Know God, p.221)
His friend decided not to have surgery and instead to tough it out, but in time he found it so painful and difficult to walk that he sought out a Chinese Healer in desperation. This Chinese man was ordinary by appearance, and gave “no evidence of being mystical or spiritual, or in any way gifted in healing.” The injured friend of Deepak Chopra continues:
“After gently feeling my foot, he stood up and made a few signs in the air behind my spine. He never actually touched me, and when I asked what he was doing, he simply said he was turning some switches in my energy field. He did this for a minute or so and then asked me to stand up. I did, and there was no sensation of pain, not the slightest. You have to remember that I had limped in, barely able to walk.”
He continues:
“In complete amazement I asked him what he had done. He told me that the body was an image projected by the mind, and in a state of health the mind keeps this image intact and balanced. However, injury and pain can cause us to withdraw our attention from the affected spot. In that case, the body image starts to deteriorate; its energy patterns become impaired, unhealthy. So the healer restores the correct pattern – this is done instantly, on the spot – after which the patient’s own mind takes responsibility for maintaining it that way.” (How to Know God, p.222)
This story has fascinated and inspired me ever since I heard it. As we have seen, reality is flashing in and out of existence innumerable times every second, oscillating between form and formlessness, and quantum physics knows that our thoughts and beliefs influence the quantum reality which is the source of the material world. Therefore it is only natural to assume an energetic and formless source for all of creation, including our physicality.
I think it is absolutely clear that we must start to consider ourselves as more than a physical body. In truth it is much more coherent to think of ourselves as a luminous energy field organizing ourselves in a body, or as pure consciousness manifesting and temporarily experiencing this level of reality through our bodies. New evidence is clearly illustrating that our mind is non-local and is independent of the brain, which means it doesn’t need the brain, or the body for that matter, to exist.[1]
We are so much more than we think we are, and infinitely more than we have been lead to believe. The next step that we have to take, moreover, the next step in our human evolution now involves us learning how to use and hone this power we have to influence reality and literally manifest anything we want directly out of the field, from a new hip, to perhaps better eyesight, or a fit and healthy body, all the way to a new life.
But how is this done?

Healing Your Field, Healing Your Body

To heal, all that we need to do is purify our energy so that the energetic projection of our body is unobstructed. Then our atoms and molecules can align perfectly to this structure because there is no energetic interference to disrupt the image of our body as projected by our consciousness.
We do this by getting in the gap between our thoughts, where our beliefs no longer affect our reality, for, when we are not thinking, we are also free of beliefs and expectations. And by doing this we are aligning ourselves with universal principles, and matching our energy with the energies coming directly from the field of all-possibility – those high frequency energies of love, kindness, inspiration, passion, joy, and so on.
The first step is to consider the possibility that we are not only energy, but that there is infinite energy all around us which we can consciously tap into to promote healing in our body and mind, to become a more happy, healthy, vibrant and creative being. As soon as you start to connect to the infinite energy of creation and your own true nature as formless energy, then you start to become aware of these energies in your body which returns the projection of your body to its natural state.
The projection of your body can only be disrupted by a disturbance in your energy field – your consciousness - caused by unbalanced thoughts and emotions, and limiting beliefs. Our luminous energy field is naturally vibrant, and our energy naturally flows unhindered as a powerful stream of consciousness, but the lower levels of consciousness, which we have been conditioned to live in as part of our social indoctrination, disrupt this flow which if left unhindered would express its perfection everywhere.
Another key concept to understand is that your body is always regenerating. In a talk of Deepak Chopra’s that I listened to, he pointed out that atoms do not age. They do not die, and the same atoms that existed at the big bang around 14 billion years ago exist to this day, some of which are even within you.
Every year 98% of the atoms in your body are exchanged for ‘new’ atoms. You are constantly dying, and being reborn, and literally transforming at the atomic and molecular levels. Every three days you have a new stomach lining, every month you have new skin, every three months you have a new skeleton. And every year you have almost an entirely new body (Deepak Chopra from Living Beyond Miracles with Wayne Dyer).
Deepak Chopra described it beautifully by saying that our atoms “are like migrating birds”. They are not permanent, they are completely independent, and are drifting through space and time and merely being organized into structures such as our bodies by none other than our energy field which organizes them as a magnetic field organizes metal filings, only slightly more complex.
What more proof do we need in order to start looking at our bodies differently, and in general looking at the mechanism of health itself in a new light?
None of the raw materials that form your physical body age, moreover, they are constantly changing. Therefore I ask this of you. Is it really you that is changing? And what is the force that organizes these atoms and molecules back where they are supposed to be, and makes sure that they perfectly and harmoniously continue to do their jobs even while your cells and atoms are migrating by the billions?
Your body is not the real you. Your body is merely a projection of what you believe yourself to be. If you could discover that you are pure consciousness, and that who you really are is an infinite creative awareness that is manifesting reality and co-creating reality with other aspects of yourself (because every being is an expression of the infinite universal consciousness we have labelled as God), then you can start to take complete control over your body, your health, and your life.
Chronic pain, disease, illness, or the old injuries that you have in your body are not actually in your body, they are in your mind. More specifically, they are a function of your perception. Your atoms are always changing, and your molecules are too, but as new atoms come and as new molecules are formed, and as you flash in and out of existence, your energetic field is telling them where to go, what to do, and how to align with one another.
Therefore, you are holding disease, illness, pain, and injuries within your consciousness, and thus, they are imprinted in your energetic field, and only then do they proceed to manifest in your physiology.
If this is the case, then not only is our health completely under our willful control, but the rate at which we age may even be under our control as well. Now I am not suggesting that we can be immortal, because we already are as infinite beings of consciousness. What I am suggesting is that in a time long forgotten, and in the near future, human beings have had and will realize again the ability to live from this field, and live consciously from their nature as luminous beings of pure energy.
At that time human beings will realize that the body is a manifestation of our highest self, and we can not only consciously manifest anything in life, but anything in our bodies as well. And one day we will reach a point where we can continually regenerate our bodies at will because we live from the field of infinite energy, and thus our bodies simply operate at a higher frequency so that we can live in them until our work is completed and we choose to move on.
Fantastic? Yes. But these changes are noticeable within the human body and mind even after a little bit of practice and training, so decide to feel and experience it for yourself, and learn how to meditate. This is what evidence is clearly suggesting and my own experience also indicates to be true. The only hindrance to tapping into this nature of the universe is your own conscious awareness, your level of attention, and your beliefs.
Our ability to heal is directly related to our level of attention and our level of belief. For example we can heal ourselves of any affliction, illness, disease, or injury that is possible so long as we have absolute certainty, a knowing, that we will be healed. This is directly achieved by accessing the most fundamental level of reality through deep meditation.
This is because at the fundamental level of reality, anything is possible, and the restructuring of reality is dictated entirely by our beliefs and expectations. We are pure energy, and there is infinite potential in that energy. It is entirely up to us what we choose to manifest out of the field in our lives and in our bodies.
You have no limitations, and nothing is impossible. It is only your beliefs which dictate what you can and cannot do.
“Miracles happen, not in opposition to nature, but in opposition to what we know of nature.” - St. Augustine

About the Author

West is the creator of Project Global Awakening. A website dedicated to the research of a variety of scientific and spiritual disciplines, and applying that knowledge to help you live an inspired life and change the world. Follow Project Global Awakening on Facebook, and Twitter.
Sources: - [1] Exploring the Nature of Mind and our Holographic Brain, from
Credits: Waking Times

Friday, May 2, 2014

Is There Consciousness Within Science?

Is There Consciousness Within Science?

An Interview with Ravi Gomatam by Thomas Beaudry

. Consciousness"As science went further and further into the external world, they ended up inside the atom where to their surprise they saw consciousness staring them in the face!"

The ongoing interface between Western science and Eastern mysticism is perhaps the strongest statement in modern times as to the relevance of India's ancient spiritual wisdom. That the Upanishads are influencing the reigning paradigm of modern science is good reason to look more deeply within their pages for insight in today's world.

A conference sponsered by the Bhaktivedanta Institute in San Francisco centered on the study of of consciousness within science. The Institutes international secretary, Ravi Gomatam, shared with us what he calls the third wave of the ongoing interface between science and mysticism.

Ravi GomatamBhaktivedanta InstituteCan you tell me something about the Bhaktivedanta Institute?
The word Bhaktivedanta itself connotes the synthesis of science and consciousness. Vedanta represents the rational, intellectual side, and bhakti represents the holistic, subjective inner side. The institute promotes studies and discussions on the need for and development of consciousness-based paradigms to outstanding problems in science. The Institute consists of fifteen well-trained professionals, mostly scientists and a few engineers. Our main branch is in Bombay, and we have only recently begun to hold programs in the West.
Our in-house research is based on specific paradigms for consciousness that are available within the Bhagavat tradition of Vedanta, or theistic Vedanta. We also offer research fellowships through which academic people can interact with us, and we hold broad-based conferences and workshops.

When we do conferences we recognize that the topic of consciousness is a very difficult one to deal with. Consciousness has occupied the attention of mankind for thousands of years. As conscious beings we have wondered about our essential nature, our place and our relationship to the universe in which we find ourselves, our rights, and even what are our duties—especially as we see today so many problems caused directly and indirectly by the application of science. No one can claim at this point that he has a final answer to these questions. Consequently our conferences are very broad-based. We bring together a wide variety of thoughts from different disciplines of science, and we provide a forum for discussion so that some kind of a scientific consensual understanding of consciousness can emerge on its own. Although we have our roots in India's spirituality, our work itself is very contemporary and highly objective.

How do you view the evolution of the ongoing interface between modern science and Eastern mysticism?

Capra on one hand should definitely be credited for putting the subject into the center of the stage. His work was the first wave. His essential point was that the scientific tradition and the mystical traditions are two different approaches to understanding the same reality. He managed to draw some parallels between the emerging concerns of science and existing world views of Eastern mysticism. Despite the importance of his work that started this trend, his drawing of parallels was very superficial. For example, his conjecture that the tracks that sub-atomic particles leave on a photographic plate are the dance of Shiva is really pseudo-science. He had a fair understanding of physics and, for those times, a reasonable introduction to Eastern mysticism. His ideas were commercially successful, revealing that there was a large audience for this topic, and they pointed the direction in which further exploration could be made.

ConsciousnessThe second wave, the work of Ken Wilber and others, recognized the shortcomings of Capra, Zukav, and the like. They showed that the issues of spirituality, whether Christian mysticism, Sufism, or the Vedic tradition, are dealing with a different ontology than that of modern science. Thus Ken Wilber strongly argued that we should not think that science is going to lead directly to the same understanding of reality as that afforded by mysticism. At best science could point towards the need for cultivating mysticism, for which we would then have to shift gears. This was the second wave.But the problem with this approach, although true in the ultimate sense, is that it does not chart specific pathways by which science can come closer to consciousness. Indeed, it even precludes the possiblity of an expanded science that can on day legitimately study consciousness directly. In cleaving the two in this way, in a sense, Wilber reintroduced a kind of Cartesian dualism. Instead of the mind/body problem, it became the spirituality versus science problem. This dilemma then formed the motivation for our recent conference—the third wave.

This third wave, as I see it, will begin due to the willingness on the part of scientists themselves to expand the domain of science in very new ways. The motivation for this is already coming from results in established fields, such as artificial intelligence, molecular biology, theoretical physics, as well as new emerging fields like engineering anomolies. Through these fields the causal role of consciousness in the physical world at deeper levels of matter is becoming established. What is required is to sustain this investigation so that a logical framework for discussion of consciousness results naturally within science. In the process science will doubtless discover a new middle ground between what it now thinks of as matter and what the mystics describe as consciousness. It will involve discovering levels of subtle matter presently unknown to science. This new science will become the empiric evidence for, and system by which we can better explain the causal role of consciousness. No doubt, this will require new tools of theory and experiment. Our own contribution is to facilitate this process of discovery.

That's quite a challenge for science.

Well if we survey the history of modern science we will see that major advancements came when scientists succeeded in integrating seemingly disparate phenomen. Newton, Maxwell, and Einstein are good examples.

ConsciousnessNewton's success was that he integrated stellar motions with movements of ordinary bodies on Earth. It was a grand synthesis that launched Newtonian physics. Newtonian physics had an ontology, or mode of existence of things. In it the fabric of the universe was particles: small particles that constantly acted, reacted, and collided with one another according to very precise laws. The first synthesis was that of motions, small motions and big motions. That was considered a big success. Imagine the euphoria they experienced when they realized that an object falling from the Leaning Tower of Pisa followed the same laws that the sun follows! It was soon shown that these laws of motion could be used to understand not only the behavior of solids, but also liquids, and then gases. In this way the behavior of the entire macrocosm and microcosm was thought to be within our grasp. The second major synthesis came when Maxwell unified the concepts of electromagnetic phenomena and light.

People may be surprised to know that toward the end of the 19th century scientists thought there were no more fundamental laws to be discovered; just do more and more mathematics and everything would be explained. It was the famous physicist Lord Kelvin who said that there were only two small clouds on the horizon: "black body radiation" and "ether drift." But these turned out to be bigger than scientists thought.

In this century the two great leaps science has taken concern these two phenomena. One was Einstein's integration of space and time into one space-time continuum, which explained the absence of ether drift. The second great leap was quantum mechanics. It brought us a connection between two seemingly separate realms—physical measuring devices and human observers. The point I am making is that science has made great steps when apparently disparate phenomena were brought together under one roof. Now the time is ripe to bring together yet another pair—mind and matter. But this too requires a new conceptualization. This is now what we are attempting—to bring together science and consciousness, and take another giant step. With the development of quantum mechanics it became clear that the theory had a fundamental problem. The quantum theory has no ontology. It does not concern itself with what the world is made up of. It doesn't start with an assumption about the world's makeup and then build a theory. Rather, it talks about probabilistic connections between successive observations not the events themselves.

HeisenbergAs Heisenberg pointed out, "Quantum theory no longer speaks of the state of the universe, but our knowledge of the state of the universe." For the first time scientists had a theory that ultimately had no objective foundation. That this may be because quantum theory does not satisfactorily account for consciousness has been pointed out by the founding fathers of quantum theory, Eugen Wigner and John von Neumann, but this line of reasoning has not been adequately pursued.

There are also other areas within science besides quantum mechanics where consideration of consciousness has become central. Artificial intelligence is an example, where the initial mood was very similar to Newtonian hubris. Newtonian physicists thought everything in the world could be explained in terms of laws governing basic motions. Similarly, artificial intelligence researchers thought that all aspects of human cognition could be explained simply in terms of rules governing our behavior. But soon AI researchers found that even the simplest aspects of human cognition could not be reproduced. Now they understand that to suceed in AI we need a basic understanding of human consciousness. In psychology too, behaviorism has proven to be insufficient, and what was called introspective psychology is coming back into fashion.

So our institute is promoting the examination of overtly consciousness-based approaches to these problems within science today. Consciousness has been talked about within science in the past, but always with a view to explain it away rather than explain it. Accepting that consciousness has a causal role in the world is a very bitter medicine for scientists to swallow, but they are beginning to do it. And metaphysicists are also beginning to see that while there is undeniable reality to the subjective dimension, any system claiming to explain it must bear relevance to the objective concerns of empiric science. This is the challenge: to answer the pressing questions arising in science that call for consideration of consciousness with genuine consciousness-based paradigms.

How did you choose your speakers for the panel?

Sir John EcclesThe first thing I did was contact Sir John Eccles. Eccles is very much known for his open stand that mind is different from the brain. Eccles was described by Libet as one of the five top neuroscientists of the century. When he says that brain is different from the mind, in the very least you cannot tell him that he does not know about the brain. He was the first to accept, which he did immediately. Once he agreed, everything else fell into place. We had to choose both theorists and experimenters. Data in this field is very, very rare. We chose two people to present data that were from opposite camps. Benjamin Libet from UCSF had data which seems to show that in some cases our apparent actions of free will, such as when our hand moves spontaneously to set the clock, may well be merely action triggered by the brain a full half second before we desired to lift our hand. According to this data, our free will may well be an after thought! There are other ways to interpret his data, and Libet is the first to admit that his data deals at best with local intentionalities, not global free will. Robert Jahn and Brenda Dunn presented data that shows the opposite, that consciousness has intentionality. These were the experimenters. Although Pribram and Eccles might consider themselves experimenters as well, they presented no data. The rest of the panel consisted of theorists of different fields: neuroscience, psychology, physics, artificial intelligence, mathematics, and philosophy.

You mentioned that there is not much data in this field to draw from. What about the data in neurscience?

Yes. This point was also raised during the panel discussion. It was Pribram who complained that not enough of the existing data was sufficiently discussed at the conference. But John Searle came up with the best rejoinder when he said that the problem of discussing data collected thus far is that all this data was gathered specifically to demonstrate that consciousness does not exist. Therefore how can we speak of consciousness and use this data? First we need to do new research.

The difficulty is that science always goes by an operational definition. In order to make any concept scientific, you must have an operational definition, because then it becomes falsifiable and hence becomes scientific. An operational definition is in itself an interesting concept. What it really means is that you can propose any phenomena, like Newton proposed gravitation, but it must be eventually corelated to some adhoc physical measurements. Consciousness, however, is by definition the one that measures, the one that does the observation. So how are you going to give an operational definition of it?

I think the answer lies in seeing that the interaction between consciousness and gross matter involves subtle levels or realms of matter where other kinds of measurement than the ones that we are presently aware of can be made. The work of Robert Jahn and others are the kind of experiments in which more precise operational definitions of phenomena that are closer to consciousness than gross matter, namely mind, can be talked about. If we learn to see other orders of existence between consciousness and gross matter, such as mind and intelligence, then scientists might be better able to conceptualize the ultimate phenomena.

Why have scientists been so reluctant to discuss consciousness in the past?

Did you know that before Rutherford split the atom in 1911 scientists considered the question of what an atom is a religious question?! For them it was enough that the hypothesis of the atom was useful to explain certain physical processes. Kekule, who discovered the structure of benzene said, "The question of whether or not atoms exist has little signifigance from a chemical point of view; its discussion belongs rather to metaphysics." But today the study of what's inside the atom is physics!

Similarly, scientists in this century have regarded the issue of what consciousness is as a religious or metaphysical question. After all, Western science started out as a protest against religion. Since religion went inward, science saw its own task as going outward. But as science went further and further into the external world, they ended up inside the atom where to their surprise they saw consciousness once again staring them in the face!

Even then scientists thought a hypothesis about consciousness was all that was needed. However, just as the study of the atom has become what we call physics today, the study of what consciousness is, I feel, may very soon become the science. William James said

"When science comes to eventually understand consciousness it will be an achievement in the face of which every other achievement of science will pale into insignifigance."

Many scientists equate mind and consciousness. Yet in your personal presentation at the conference you described mind as subtle matter, different from consciousness. What is your conception of mind, matter, and consciousness?

In my talk, I approached the issue of consciousness from the perspective of AI. The first step here is to show the need for a new paradigm. That artificial intelligence needs a new paradigm has become apparent from the variety of intractable problems in cognition we face in areas such as perception, natural language processing, knowledge representation, and automatic reasoning. We have no general theory of computation yet that can produce human cognition in machines. A task that comes naturally to a one year old child—recognising the face of his or her mother—is hopelessly beyond the capacity of supercomputers. What's required is not just some new hardware/software schemes, but a fundamentally new technology.

To understand what I mean let's compare electronic computers with mechanical calculators. Both are symbol processing systems. In principle, a mechanical system of gears and levers can be constructed to reproduce the workings of any electronic computer. In practice, however, this will not be possible. A mechanical system equivilent to even the simple desktop computer would be so enormous as to fill the entire planet and consume power that all the coal mines on earth cannot supply! This advantage of speed, power, and size is present in electronic computers because IC chips involve operation of matter at a much subtler level, obeying laws of a different kind from mechanical systems. You cant hope to make smaller and smaller mechanical parts and reach IC technology.

Similarly, AI researchers today think that by making IC chips smaller and smaller we will eventually come to mind. But I argue that you can't do that. You have to go to another level to talk about mind. I am postulating different levels of matter. I am suggesting that we have to think of mind as a subtler level of matter that operates much faster and under different laws than IC chips. You cannot reach that level through nanotechnology.

Professor Bremmerman at UC Berkeley has shown that there are absolute limits to infromation processing in physical systems regardless of the details of their internal construction. For example, given a computer of total mass m, the maximum information it can ever process is mc2/h bits/second, where h is the plank's constant. He has gone on to show that even if we consider a computer that has been in operation for the duration of the entire universe, assuming that it has been in operation for the duration of the present age of the universe, its total information capacity will not be enough to solve a travelling salesman's problem involving no more than 100 cities! The conclusion is that the human brain, being a physical device, is subject to the same absolute limitations, irrespective of its internal construction. If the brain alone was involved in human cognition, we should not be able to carry out the kind of complicated cognitive operations that we do! Therefore, I have argued that what is involved in human cognition is information processing involving levels much faster and hence subtler than the brain.

If you accept this idea, that there is more to human cognition than the brain function, then there is already a model of consciousness, intelligence, mind, and brain in the Vedantic texts that closely follows these requirements. This Vedantic model describes mind as a level of matter subtler than the brain. According to this model, thought is to mind what motionis to objects, or beavior is to the body. That is, thoughts have no intrinsic semantic content. An example of this is when a driver drives a car. The idea of the journey is not intrinsic to the car's motion, but a superimposition on the part of the driver. Similarly, meaning is not intrinsic top thoughts of the material mind, but is a superimposition of subjective consciousness.

This idea, that thought is a mechanical output of matter at the subtle level of mind without intrinsic meaning is a novel idea within Western tradition. If this idea can be shown to be of practical relevance to AI, then I feel we can go one step nearer to the paradigm of consciousness, otherwise, to ask current science to jump directly to consciousness is too much. This is a necessary step in what I have mentioned about the third wave—finding the middle ground between consciousness and matter, and thus expanding the domain of current science.

What is the difference between Cartesian dualism and the Vedantic dualism you are discussing?

Descartes said, "I am that, that thinks, the soul, or the reason, or the understanding." He used all of these terms equivalantly. Thinking, reasoning, and soul were all the same for him. This is the problem with Cartesian dualism—that it lumped into one concept called mind all hierarchic cognitive traits. That is why Cartesian dualism has no relevance for science, whereas the Vedantic pluralism—in terms of consciousness, mind, and body—seems to give ideas about the presence of various levels of hierarchy in matter.

If you see a car moving on the street and you want to know why it's turning left or right, one might say, "All you need to do is study the mechanics of the car. The car is a complete system; there is nothing inside." But I come and say no, there is a driver in there. Now that is correct, but it's not sufficient. Still you have to accept that there are several levels of mechanisms within the car, and there is a specific point at which the driver is coming in contact with the car, the steering wheel and control panel. Descartes was correct in thinking that there is an irreducible subjective residio that is essentially the self. That is exactly the same as the Vedic idea tat tvam asi, thou art that. But Descartes was not able to distinguish that there is a subtle material substance called mind that is the point at which consciousness meets matter. There is a hand and there is a glove. The glove is exactly like the hand but it is a cover. So the mind is very close to consciousness but it is matter.

The Vedanta also has a monistic interpretation, monistic idealism if you will. In Shankara's view there is no objective reality to matter. It is all illusion. You hold a very different viewpoint on Vedanta.

Yes. There is a very established tradition of Vedantic thought, monism, that is close to idealism. We are proposing something different,a multidimensional, pluralistic approach to the whole issue of reality. We are talking about individual consciousness and a supreme consciousness or God. We are also talking about matter as an objective reality, the shadow of consciousness, rather than an illusion or something that really does not exist. This is theistic Vedanta.

The question is which Vedantic paradigm can import concepts that can be shown to be empirically and analytically accountable. I do not think that monism can explain any of the problems of consciousness in science in a way relevant to science simply because, according to the monistic viewpoint, in the ultimate analysis matter doesn't exist. Therefore the highesr realizations of monisim by definition can not have any bearing on modern science, which studies the domain of matter.

It seems that in attempting to bring consciousness into science, rather than keep the two separate, you are attempting to bring value into a somewhat valueless technological world view.

I certainly hope so. Today science is totaly without a framework for values. Any highschool boy or girl knows how to calculate the force with which a stone he or she throws will hit someone in the face, but nothing in those equations they use will tell them whether or not to throw it. Given the fact that science is perturbing our universe in greater and greater proportions, it is essential that we address the absence of values within science. We must note that the changes wrought by science and technology to our environment are always irreversible. That is to say we cannot go on polluting our environment for years and then one day suddenly say "Oops, that was a mistake, let's take it back." It is easy to destroy something, but much more difficult to put it back together again.

To solve the problem of values we must know what is valuable. Consciousness is the most valuable commodity. Without consciousness our own bodies as dear as they are to us, are suddenly without value. This of course is a philosophical argument, but nonetheless an pragmatic one. If we accept it, then, to bring values into science,we need to connect science with what is valuable—consciousness.

Cairns Smith is well known for his work in the field of chemical evolution. I was quite surprised to hear some of his remarks about consciousness. What is the Vedic view on evolution?

Charles DarwinDarwinian evolution is biological. It talks about the needs of the biological system by which evolution proceeds. But it is inadequate to explain the appearance of the first biological system. Therefore we have theories of chemical evolution which precede biological evolution. Cairns Smith, as a chemical evolutionist, was pointing out that consciousness is fundamentally different from all other physical phenomena because it acts back on the system that creates it. Consciousness has a two-way interplay that Smith called interactionism. His realization was that this interactionism must be present at the most fundamental level of matter. It cannot evolve suddenly in matter.

He went to the extent of assreting that "To say that consciousness evolved from matter is to say that a TV evolved from a refrigerator. Such things do not happen." He therefore postulated what he calls protoconscious units, which are not themselves conscious, but have the potential for consciousness that molecules and atoms don't have. However, in doing so he himself is dodging the issue. If protoconscious units are not conscious, then they have the same defect as matter in that they can't give rise to consciousness. If they are conscious, then why not call them consciousness rather than protoconsciousness? This is the same thing that Minsky tried to do in his book Society of Minds. He tried to show that there are certain things called minds that are not really minds, but when they all get together, then you get mind. This degenerates ultimately into philosophical emergence, where something comes out at the top of a structure that is not at the bottom of the structure. So you can see that even materialists invoke some fundamental conscious-like units different from known matter in an attempt o explain consciousness.

We can congratulate Cairns Smith for boldly recognizing the conceptual limitations of chemical evolution, but he has not yet taken the next step, which is to postulate consciousness as a separate ontological category coexisting along with matter. This is what I feel scientists in every field should do to solve the problem of consciousness in there respective fields. It won't suffice for scientists to assume that once we posit something as non-material that we cannot study it. We simply have to develop new scientific tools.

As far as the Vedic viewpoint on the different levels of consciousness within different species, I once explained this to Wigner. According to the Vedas, just as matter has fundamental particles called atoms, so consciousness is full of fundamental particles called cit kana. While every material atom is unconscious and therefore devoid of individuality, every spiritual particle is conscious, and therefore it has to be individual. Individuality is a fundamental axiomatic property of consciousness. Material atoms are governed by the laws of physics, and spiritual atoms are governed by love because they are units of free will.

Eugene WignerI explained to Wigner that each unit of consciousness interacts with matter, and we see its capabilities manifest in accordance with whichever material machine or body it interacts with. If you drive a motorcycle and I drive a bicycle, you may go faster than me only because of the vehicle. It has nothing to do with you or I but the vehicles we are using. He asked me if I thought an amoeba had consciousness. I told him that the Vedas do not say that an amoeba has consciousness, but rather that consciousness has an amoeba body! Just as in each vehicle you see on the road there is a different driver, similarly in each body there is an individual conscious entity. According to the Vedas, all species exist at all times. Material bodies do not evolve. But each individual conscious entity evolves, thus acquiring different bodies which correspond with the individual's particular state of conscious evolution..

This paradigm is not contra-intuitive, and different Western schools of thought can be accomodated within it. Take for example reductionism, which claims that our behavior is essentially controlled by the physical laws operating on our bodies. The Vedantic viewpoint accepts that even though I am a conscious individual transcendent to the body, because I am using this particular body, I am constrained by its operation according to material laws. Thus reductionism can be accomodated within this framework.

You can talk also of emergence. The more sophisticated my physical structure is, the more I can show my skills. Higher order structures will show higher order properties, not intrinsically but extrinsically because consciousness can manifest more of its qualities. Dualism is also accommodated because the Vedic paradigm admits that consciousness and matter are different. Phenomenology, which says that beingness is an essential aspect of every structure that has consciousness, can be accommodated.

In short this Vedic model is the proverbial elephant of which different portions are being touched by so many blind men. One blind man says that it is rationalistic, another dualistic, another idealistic monism, another realism, but no one is seeing the entire elephant of this Vedic paradigm. The elephant is that there are two ontological categories, consciousness and matter, and the two interact to form our world.

Can't you also say that matter is a vitiated form of consciousness, that everything is ultimately consciousness?

This involves a higher philosophical discussion. I can see that at some level of God consciousness we can think of consciouness and matter in these terms—as you put it, seeing matter as a vitiated form of consciousness. But presently that vitiated form of consciousness acts differently as matter, and therefore it can be considered as a separate ontological category.

As the discussion of the conscious self enters the scientific arena it seems that we are at a critical juncture. What is the future of science?

I don't think that I can do better than to quote scientists who are greater than myself, who at the ends of their careers have given some reflections. I have some favorite quotes. W. Penfield, one of the top neuroscientists of the century, said in an article called Science, the Ox, and the Spirit:

"The physical basis of the mind is the brain action in each individual. It accompanies the activity of the spirit, but the spirit is free. It is capable of some degree of initiative. The spirit is the man one knows. He must have continuity through periods of coma and sleep. I assume then that the spirit must live on somehow after death. I cannot doubt that many make contact with God and have guidance from a greater spirit. If he had only a brain and not a mind, this difficult decision would not be his."

The tendency to see the human mind in terms of the latest technology of the times is an old one. In earlier times mind was thought of as a steam engine, as a clock, and before that as a catapult. Today the attempt is to equate mind with the brain. But here is something from Ludwig Wittgenstein from his Last Writings on the Philosophy of Psychology: "Nothing seems more possible to me than that people some day will come to the definite opinion that there is no copy in the nervous system which corresponds to a particular thought or to a particular idea of memory."

Szent-Giorgi, the Nobel laureate biologist, said,


"I went through my entire scientific career searching for life, but now I see that life has somehow slipped through my fingers and all I have is electrons, protons, and particles, which have no life at all. So in my old age I am forced to retrace my steps."
So I think the great advantage of discussing the notion of the conscious self within our scientific paradigms is that we can actually enlarge our framework. In order to do that we need help, and I don't think that anyone can deny that the Vedic literatures are the single most vast body of literature that seriously deals with this topic. From page one to the end it is conscious all the way.

Science, as long as it remains bound to emperical reductionism, can say nothing about the conscious self. Many in the contemporary world have tried to define perception such that it fits into their existing paradigms, but this has only made our problems more accute. Time has come to redefine scientific procedures such that they explain the conscious self. We need as many new ideas as we can get. If we are so foolhardy as to reject the entire wisdom preceeding us, such as the Vedic paradigm I have presented, then what assurance do we have that our present-day knowledge will not similarly be rejected by future generations?

Science is rooted in observations, and our conscious self is the very tool by which we observe. Even the strongest giant can not lift the platform on which he stands. As great as scientific knowledge is, it cannot explain the conscious self within its present observational framework. To experience it is to observe it.

[Reprinted from Clarion Call Magazine]