Adhyatma Vidya-Cognitive Science
SARASVATI VANDANA ON SEPTEMBER 29, 2017 – CELEBRATION OF SHARAD DURGA NAVRATRI
SET YOUR MIND FREE – LET SARASVATI FLOW
Goddess Sarasvati is known as the Goddess of Speech or Vag Devi and She symbolizes importance of Speech Etiquette and Speech Discipline.
Richard Lovelace(1618-1657),English Poet and Soldier
SET YOUR MIND FREE :
Richard Lovelace, a romantic poet was confined within the walls of Gate House, a prison in Westminster, London. From the prison, in 1642 he wrote the poem, “To Althea, from Prison.” The poem has the following famous lines:
Stone walls do not a prison make,
Nor iron bars a cage;
Minds innocent and quiet take
That for a hermitage;
If I have freedom in my love
And in my soul, am free,
Angels alone, that soar above,
Enjoy such liberty.
Those who had confined him could not stop him from exercising his ability to think and dream. No one can imprison or enslave the human mind. A human being essentially seeks to exist in a free state and when imprisoned, the man can still set his mind free to think and dream. A mind that is free, expresses its freedom in speech, in writing, in songs and music. Speech in all of its forms conveys the ability of a man to communicate his thoughts. Fluent and coherent speech requires the formulations of propositions, which are translated into conventional symbols, earlier acquired and readily accessible, which then reach external expression by means of an efficient vocalizing apparatus. The sequences involved in efficient speech production could be interrupted at various levels to produce different types of speech defects.
DISTURBANCES OF SPEECH :
Intellectual impairment due to drugs, disease, and old age cause Speech Disorders.
Broca’s Area – Brain’s Speech Center
Co-ordination of sensory and motor functions is vital for normal Speech.
Since speech is an attribute of a free mind, it is important to understand the problems of disturbances of speech:
1. Intellectual impairment: Speech is deranged as a result of a deficit of intellectual function which prevents organization of meaningful propositions. A person who is intoxicated cannot speak well. There are several medical conditions associated with cognitive impairment, and the level of consciousness. Apart from these problems, a person, who is uneducated as he is unwilling to learn, cannot deliver good speech. In Sanskrit language such ignorant persons are identified as ‘MOORKHA’.
2. Dysarthria and Dysphonia: Precise enunciation of words with good volume requires normal function and co-ordination of lips, tongue, palate, and the vocal apparatus called larynx. Several medical conditions could cause a defect in motor output involved in speaking and contribute to slurring and distortion of speech.
3. Aphasias: These are speech difficulties or absence of speech where the person has no motor disorder and the articulatory system is intact. Three major varieties of aphasias are described. a. Broca’s, motor/expressive/Non-fluent aphasia: Broca’s area of brain produces verbs, builds sentences and predicts what people are going to say. Problems in this area makes the person’s speech non-fluent as the person has profound word finding difficulties. The person speaks slowly and with great effort. The speech is described as ‘telegraphic’ because it has no grammatic structure and small connecting words (e.g., and, or, but), are missing. The person comprehends well. The person can formulate thoughts in appropriate words i.e. internal speech is preserved, but is unable to translate them into corresponding sounds. b. Wernicke’s/Sensory/Receptive/fluent aphasia: Wernicke’s area of brain is involved in learning patterns corresponding to different types of auditory stimulation. It attaches meanings, images, and feelings to sounds and to individual words. Problems in this area would result in severe impairment in comprehension of language (both spoken and written). The person speaks fluently with ease and often in large amounts. However, the speech often goes in circles(circumlocutory) and contains incorrect word usages(paraphasia). The person fails to understand or carry out spoken instructions. Internal speech is disturbed and hence there is impairment of external speech. The person cannot understand what he hears. c. Conductive aphasia: The nerve fibers between Broca’s and Wernicke’s areas are involved in this type of problem. The person has trouble converting auditory input to verbal output. It is characterized by a marked inability to repeat words or phrases spoken to the person. d. Dyslexia and Alexia: Impairment of reading ability in individuals with normal intelligence either due to a developmental disorder or due to acquired brain lesions.
Eloquent Speech is comparable to free-flowing water, the words come out continuously without any apparent effort.
SPEECH AND MENTAL LETHARGY:
A normal healthy person with normal intelligence and abilities to speak, write, read, and sing may not automatically become a fluent speaker. Human mind needs to exist in a ‘fluid’ state to maintain and sustain a high state of alertness and activity. Mental lethargy is described in Sanskrit language as “JYAADYAA”. The mental lethargy could be due to disease (‘ROGA’), ignorance (‘MOORKHA’), or could be due to a depressed condition or state of mental activity which is described in Sanskrit language as “JADATHA”. This condition of mental weakness or diminished energy is characterized by intellectual sluggishness. The mind is dull, lazy or indifferent. Whatever term is used, mental inertia, lack of interest or energy or lassitude is an important issue, and the man’s speech lacks the fluency and the mind lacks the ‘fluidity’ that is needed for coordinating activities. Very often, man creates ‘mental barriers’, and erects ‘mental fences’ and impedes his own intellect from generating creative thoughts and in expressing such thoughts through creative forms of speech and music. There should be no obstacles to the flow of thoughts and to its physical expression. In its natural state, a river flows without any impediments and that ‘fluid’ flowing state is important for effective human communications.
The Concept of ‘Mental Fluidity’ is very important to appreciate Eloquent Speech. Eloquence has a charming quality of its own, it is pleasing to the ears of the listeners and captivates the minds of the members of the audience. Speech should make the same impact in terms of its appeal like a scenic picture.
Kunda’s whiteness symbolizes Purity. White Lotus symbolizes Purity. White and radiant personality symbolizes Purity.
Indian Traditions about Letters, Speech, Arts and Music:
Mind if it is responding slowly, a condition of ‘mental lethargy’ described as ‘Buddhi Mandhyam’, the man cannot realize his creative potential in the field of letters, speech, arts, and music. The Vedic River of Sarasvati is personified as the patron Goddess of Speech (‘VAC or VAK’). Sarasvati enjoys a unique autonomous position and apart from man, the entire Hindu pantheon of Gods pay obeisance to Her and seek Her protection to destroy and dissolve the problem of mental lethargy which impairs mental activity. The mind of man cannot be set free unless the mental barriers and mental fences are totally eradicated and Sarasvati can flow in its natural state without impediments.
A HYMN TO WORSHIP GODDESS SARASVATI :
Jasminum multiflorum, ‘KUNDA’, Star Jasmine, Native of India.
Moon, ‘INDU’ and the radiant personality of Sarasvati.
‘TUSHAAR’, Snow clad peaks of Himalayas, the abode of Snow and Ice.
‘VEENA’, stringed musical instrument, native to South India.
Nelumbo nucifera, White Lotus flower, ‘Shwetha Padma’, Native of India.
The Divine Trinity, Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva join to worship the Goddess of Knowledge and Wisdom.
The Rig Vedic River Sarasvati, the source of pure, nourishing waters. The Sanskrit language and the Devanagari script originated here.
Sarasvati, the destroyer of Mental Inertia and Lethargy.
Bhagavatee, Facilitator of man’s journey from Reality to Ultimate Reality.
‘AUM’, the Sound Invocation for Sarasvati Vandana.
Ya Kundendu Tushar hara dhavala,
Ya Shubhra vastraavritha,
Ya Veena vara danda manditakara,
Ya Shwetha Padma Sanaa,
Ya Brahma Achyutha Sankara prabhrithi bhih
Devai sadaa poojitha(Vanditha)
Saa Maam patu Sarasvati, Bhagavatee
Sarasvati is defined as “Saaram vaati iti Sarasvati”, She who flows towards the Absolute is Sarasvati. For river-like streaming and fluent speech the blessings of Sarasvati would help and the mind is set free by the fluid motion of River.
Shevata Padma – Symbolizes Purity, Creativity, and Nourishing Qualities
Ann Arbor, Michigan, U.S.A.,
WHOLEDUDE – WHOLEDESIGNER – WHOLE MONAD:
The word ‘monad’ means a unit, something simple and indivisible, and refers to unity. In Biology, monad refers to any simple, single-celled organism specifically a simple type of flagellated protozoa or protist. In Chemistry, monad refers to a monovalent atom, element, or radical. In Philosophy, monad is an entity or elementary being thought of as a microcosm or ultimate unit. Monadism is the theory that the universe consists of monads.
MONADOLOGY – THE METAPHYSICAL DOCTRINE OF LEIBNIZ:
Leibniz is associated with the philosophical theory called ‘Panpsychism'( from Greek – pan – all and psyche – soul) which asserts that a plurality of separate and distinct psychic beings or minds constitute reality. Panpsychism is distinguished from ‘Pantheism'(everything is God). According to Leibniz, the world is composed of atoms of energy that are psychic. These basic elements or atoms are named monads. These monads have different levels of consciousness; in inorganic reality they are sleeping, in animals they are dreaming, in man they are waking. Further, Leibniz asserts that God is the fully conscious monad. In the metaphysics of Leibniz, the basic constituent element of physical reality is an indivisible, impenetrable unit of substance. He allows just one type of element in the build of the universe. The unique element has been given the general name of monad. He describes a basic order of three things; 1. created monads, 2. souls with perception and memory, and 3. spirits or rational souls. The degree of perfection in each case corresponds to their psychic abilities. Leibniz tried to reason that everything exists according to a reason and everything which exists has a sufficient reason to exist. He tried to solve the problem of mind-body dualism introduced by Rene Descartes. Leibniz speaks of pre-established harmony that can solve the mind-body problem. Descartes thinks that the ‘soul’ is distinct from the physical body and its nature is to ‘think’. Leibniz opposed John Locke’s theory that the mind is a “tabula rasa”(blank tablet) at birth and humans learn only through the senses. John Locke defined consciousness as a psychological condition. It is described as the perception of what passes in a man’s mind. Consciousness is viewed as a form of relationship or act of the mind towards objects in nature. Leibniz is regarded as a universal genius and is regarded as a founder of modern science. He anticipated the development of symbolic logic and, independently of Newton invented the Calculus with a superior notation. He attempted to build an institutional framework for the Sciences in central Europe and Russia. At his urging the Brandenburg Society(The Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities) was founded in 1700. The purpose of the Academy is that of bringing unity between Natural Sciences and Humanities.
MIND vs BODY – THE UNITY OF SCIENCE AND HUMANITIES:
Due to a lack of unity between Natural Sciences and Humanities, we are not able to describe the reality of man, and have failed to describe the reality of this universe using words to which a definite meaning is attached. The universe is build using units such as Matter, Energy, Space, and Time. Man is composed of atoms, and chemical elements like any other form of physical matter. The difference is that of the nature of existence. The physical, non-living matter requires no supply of energy from an external source to maintain its physical existence. The living things that include all “monads” apart from man need continuous supply of energy from the external environment to sustain existence. The atoms and chemical elements of man do have mass and energy and yet that energy is not available for maintaining the living condition.
The term ‘Soul’ and ‘Spirit’ is often associated with attributes such as intelligence, consciousness, and mental activity such as thinking and discernment. The term ‘intelligence’ should not be limited to the cognitive and discerning abilities of mind or brain. If the term intellect refers to the ability to perform intelligent actions, we may have to consider that all living functions have the characteristics of intelligent actions as compared to mechanical or transitive actions that could be performed by non-living physical matter. I would like to define the word ‘intellect’ as the intuitive ability with which each individual living cell performs very complex, sequential, guided, purposeful, and selective functions to maintain its own living condition. Knowledge is implanted in the substance called living matter to give it the ability to perform intelligent functions. What Leibniz has not recognized is the ‘dynamic’ nature of this basic substance or element that he has named as monad. This substance maintains its constant, unchanging nature while undergoing a change during its entire period of existence. Life is a dynamic process that involves the repair or replacement of its constituent organic molecules and taking immanent action that is called growth and development. This dynamic process is influenced by the operation of Time and manifests itself using the dimension called Space. For this reason, I would like to describe the Creator, the LORD God as a WholeArtist, WholeArchitect, WholePlanner, and a WholeDesigner who uses the building blocks of Matter, Energy, Space, and Time in a creative manner to establish the experience of reality.
- Wholedude – Wholedesigner – Whole Phenomenon (bhavanajagat.com)
- Wholedude – Wholedesigner – Matter and Spirit (bhavanajagat.com)
- Wholedude – Wholedesigner – Spirit (bhavanajagat.com)
- Wholedude – Wholedesigner – Red Blood Cell (bhavanajagat.com)
- Deus ex Machina Objections in Philosophy: Leibniz contra Malebranche (maverickphilosopher.typepad.com)
WHOLEDUDE – WHOLEDESIGNER – SPIRIT:
Life depends upon a virtually uninterrupted supply of materials or matter for its metabolism. If the word Spirit or Soul is defined as the vital, animating principle found in all living things, we need to understand the relationship between Matter and Spirit. The concern about the importance of matter is often ridiculed as Materialism, and man is often directed to value Spiritualism where the point of emphasis is man’s direct relationship with God. The separation of Matter and Spirit as two distinct entities will not help us to understand the reality of human existence. Man has to know that there is no disunity between Matter and Spirit. If Spirit is the medium of direct relationship between man and God, the nature of this medium is discovered from the nature of matter that man consumes as food and drink to establish his life.
WHAT IS MANNA? WHAT IS IT? IS IT FOOD?:
The Old Testament Book of Exodus(Chapter 4, verse #4) and the Book of Numbers(Chapter 11, verse#9) describe “Manna” coming with the dew, and may have collected in dewdrops. It was white, of delicious flavor, and resembled the seed of coriander, and it was both tasty, and nourishing. Being seed like in form, it had to be ground and was used in making bread. As soon as other food was available, the miraculous supply of Manna ceased(The Book of Joshua, Chapter 5, verse #12). No known substance meets the description of this food material. The Bible makes it certain that Manna came as a temporary provision and Hebrew writers described it as “corn from heaven”, bread from heaven, and as “angels’ bread.” However, I see its importance from the statement made by Jesus to make a distinction between physical matter, and Spirit or Spiritual Matter.
GOD IS THE SOURCE OF LIFE WITH MATTER AND SPIRIT:
Life is a complex concept with varied shades of meaning. It may denote physical or natural life. The term Life is often used to describe the actions, or experiences, the activities, and the relations that make up Life. If Spirit is the vital principle of Life, or Breath of Life, God has infused Spirit into the substance of man making him a living Soul. This Spirit inhabits the entire body of the person and makes man a Spiritual being. The Old Testament Book of Genesis, Chapter 2, verse#7 proclaims: “The Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.” The problem of physical death, the period of man’s earthly existence, and the duration of man’s lifetime has to be explained taking into account the imperishable nature of Matter and the Laws of Conservation of Mass and Energy. Jesus speaks to Nicodemus, who was described as a leading Pharisee, and a member of the Sanhedrin. He came to Jesus by night and the conversation is reported in the New Testament Book of John, Chapter 3, verses 1 to 21. He instructed him: “Jesus answered, I tell you the truth, no one can enter the Kingdom of God unless he is born of the water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to Spirit”(verses 5 and 6) and made Nicodemus aware of his need by announcing the necessity of a new birth in order “to see the Kingdom of God.” Man is constituted as a Spiritual being and due to the intervention of sin, man has become ignorant of his own true, or real spiritual nature. To save himself from the burden imposed by sin, man has to be infused with Spirit and Jesus says that man who is born, must experience rebirth. Jesus further explained this relation between Matter and Spirit in the Book of John, Chapter 6, in several verses(#25-69). In verse#35 Jesus declared: “I am the Bread of Life. He who comes to me will never go hungry and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.” Jesus has clearly recognized that Matter and Spirit serve the same function, the function of supporting Life in two different dimensions. Jesus is the source of Life and Spirit and that Spirit inhabits His entire body, in flesh and blood, and is not limited to a secret hiding place in either mind or heart. The Old Testament Book of Leviticus, Chapter 17, verse#14 states: “because the life of every creature is its blood.” If Life is associated with blood, Spirit is also associated with blood. In John 6:63, Jesus states: “The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are Spirit and they are life.” Man who faces the burden of sin called Death, is required to infuse himself with Spirit, and the source of this Spirit is the Word that was spoken.
THE LIVING WATERS – THE SATIATION OF HUNGER AND THIRST – THE EXPERIENCE OF JOY:
It is very easy to understand the experience called thirst. Hunger and Thirst are the symptoms that define the nature of man’s conditioned existence. The conversation between Jesus and a Samaritan woman at Jacob’s Well near the village of Sychar is reported in the New Testament Book of John, Chapter 4, verses # 4 to 42. It is abundantly clear that the nature of Spirit can be understood from the nature of Matter as both of them have a role in providing sustenance to man and maintain his Life. To fetch water from a well, man needs tools like a rope, and a cistern. Similarly, man needs the tools called Faith and Belief to insert or to infuse, or imbibe Spirit into his mind, heart, and body and gain access to eternal Life. Just like the rope, and the cistern, to quench Spiritual Thirst, and to feed Spiritual Hunger, man needs tools called Faith and Belief. When man’s thirst, and hunger are fully satisfied, the satiated person gets the experience called Contentment. When Spiritual Thirst, and Spiritual Hunger are satiated, man gets the experience called Joy. The human experience called Joy is as real as the experience of hunger and thirst.
In my opinion, Matter, and Spirit work together to establish man’s relationship with God. For God is the only unchangeable, or eternal reality; wherever man is, in Life or in Death, God will be there. If this relationship pertains to a matter of Faith and Belief, The Old Testament Book of Psalms, The Book of King David, Psalm 16, verse #10 gives the Hope:
“Because you will not abandon me to the grave,
nor will you let your Holy one see decay.”
Life means the experience of Peace, Harmony, Tranquility, Hope, Fear, Love, Joy, and Wisdom. The problem of Death is experienced as a Fear as Death means the inability to have subjective experience associated with Life. But, man does not exist in the physical world because of the abilities of his physical, or mental work. Man exists because of the nature of Matter, and Spirit and this nature is only an extension of the Divine Nature.
1.Place of Birth: Mylapore, Madras City, Chennai, Madras Presidency, Tamil Nadu, India. Born Hindu, Brahmin, Niyogi, Telugu-speaking.
2. Place of Marriage: Congregational Town Church, Cuddapah, Kadapa City, Kadapa District, Andhra Pradesh, India. January 29, 1973.
- Wholedude – Wholedesigner – Red Blood Cell (bhavanajagat.com)
- Wholedude – Wholedesigner – Matter and Spirit (bhavanajagat.com)
- Wholedude – Wholedesigner – Wholemagic (bhavanajagat.com)
- Wholedude – Wholedesigner – Photoreception (bhavanajagat.com)
- Wholedude – Whole Designer – Phytochemistry (bhavanajagat.com)
- Wholedude – Wholedesigner – Photoperiodism (bhavanajagat.com)
SPIRITUALISM – THE FUNCTION OF CONSCIOUSNESS:
To make the fundamental distinction between the animate or living, and inanimate or non-living things, we may have to describe the nature of functions that can be observed in the actions performed by things. There is a difference between mechanical performance and intelligent performance. In the actions performed by the living things, the agent is perfected by its own actions, and activities. Actions such as growing, sensing, and understanding are called “Immanent” actions because they are activities which affect the growing, sensing, or understanding agent called the living thing. The action of one inert body upon another inert body is called “Transitive” action. For example, heating is a transitive action. In heating, the hot thing loses its own heat while heat is transferred to the cold thing. In the “Mechanistic” view, the continuity of nature is described in terms of the universality of purely mechanical principles. The mechanistic concept asserts that the phenomena of life are merely processes and transformations obeying elementary chemical and physical laws. However, it should not be very difficult to make a distinction between a forest fire and a bonfire, or a fire ignited in the kitchen in the preparation of a meal. Both the actions represent a chemical reaction called combustion, or rapid oxidation. Both actions may generate light, heat, and warmth. But, the forest fire may lack the purposiveness of the bonfire, or the kitchen fire used in cooking. The understanding of the living and the non-living things involves the difference between vital operations and mechanical operations. There is a difference between the vital power of the living thing and the mechanical capacity of inert, non-living thing.
THE VITAL POWER OF LIVING THINGS:
The word “Animal” derives from the Latin( anima, animus ) name for vital principle called “Soul” which is a life principle associated with functions like breathing, or the principle called animation. Breathing is a vital function as it is associated with the “Power” of self-nutrition. The power of self-nutrition is the originating power, the possession of which leads us to speak of things as living, and non-living. Nutrition is a vital power as the action is not a mechanical performance. Nutrition is a function associated with a purpose and it is guided to achieve a future end and it involves the choice or selection of specific means to attain the desired goal of its action. A non-living thing like a stone gets heated on exposure to Sun’s radiation and the action is not goal-oriented; it is not guided action to attain a specific purpose of that non-living agent. A living thing like a plant can convert thermal energy from Sun to a new form of chemical energy that it can further use to perform a variety of its own living functions like growth, and reproduction. Living functions are intelligent functions that involve the use of knowledge or information to perform goal-oriented, sequential actions.
SOUL AND THE CELLULAR FUNCTION OF CONSCIOUSNESS:
Consciousness describes the ability to perform intelligent action. Consciousness describes the difference between vital operations and mechanical operations. Consciousness describes the difference between vital powers and the capacities of inert matter. Consciousness describes the difference between living things and non-living things. Consciousness is a biological, vital, or living(“Immanent”) function that characterizes the actions, and activities of living things. Consciousness can include psychological, and mental functions; but it is not a function that can only be performed by living matter of an anatomical structure, or organ called brain. In literature, religion, and philosophy, the term Consciousness is often used meaning, “attention to the contents or workings of one’s own mind.” John Locke defined consciousness as a psychological condition; it is described as the perception of what passes in a man’s own mind. In popular belief, consciousness is viewed as a form of relationship or act of the mind toward objects in nature. Consciousness is claimed to be a continuous field or stream of mental “sense-data.” Very often, neuroscientists describe consciousness as a neurophysiological mechanism that depends on the functions of the brain. It is true for the Brain Stem Reticular Formation represents an integrative focus of consciousness functioning through its widespread interconnections with the cerebral cortex and other regions of the brain.Consciousness involves recognizing the existence, the fact of knowing something; it describes the fact of being aware of some information. What is that ‘something’ that is known or recognized by Consciousness? A living thing which has a substance called living matter is conscious, or aware of the fact of its own existence in its given environment. There are two aspects of Consciousness that are subjectively registered by the living thing; 1. Consciousness is a state of knowing or awareness of what goes on around the individual living thing in its external environment, and 2. Consciousness is a state of knowing or awareness of what goes on within the individual living thing, its own internal environment. Consciousness is not simple awareness. It is awareness that involves the ability called “Cognition” which involves knowing; the processing of information, the analysis of information, the storing of information, the retrieval of information, and the application of information to perform a selected action. In other words, Consciousness represents the presence of “Intelligence.” A living thing has Consciousness of its nature of existence that demands the supply of energy from its external environment. The living thing uses its cognitive ability, to recognize the substances, the presence of both living, and non-living matter present in its external environment. It uses the power of self-nutrition to attract these substances to acquire energy, manipulate energy, transform energy, and exploit energy to perform its vital, living functions. Thus, Consciousness becomes an absolute attribute of life; it is the fundamental, biological characteristic of living matter or living substance. For the reasons that I have stated, I define Consciousness as a function by which a living thing knows the fact of its own existence; it knows as to where it exists and knows as to how it is existing. Since Consciousness is a function that operates at a level of structural, and functional organization that is the characteristic of complex, organic molecules, this function cannot be observed, or measured by quantum physicists who study structures and functions of subatomic particles. I define Consciousness as the ability to establish a connection, or a relationship between energy-demanding molecules, and energy-yielding molecules. A Fundamental Force like the force of Gravitation is very important for existence of man on planet Earth. Man recognizes the physical reality of his own existence with the help of gravitation which provides the experience of his body mass or body weight. At the same time, it must be noted that man exists on the surface of a very fast spinning celestial object. The perception of this basic reality of Earth’s speed and velocity by the human organs of sense perception would endanger the ability to live. Man’s physical existence is defended, and is protected by the shielding effect of the force of gravitation. Gravitation helps to block the sensory awareness of the speed of Earth’s motions. This function of gravitational force must be distinguished from the intelligent function called Consciousness.
ADI SHANKARA’S UNQUALIFIED NON-DUALISM – THE THEORY OF PURE CONSCIOUSNESS:
The Indian School of Philosophy known as “SUDDHADVAITA”, or Unqualified Non-Dualism of Adi Shankara is based upon a system of thought that may be called “ATMADVAITA” that describes one, universal, eternal, and self-illuminating self whose essence is “Pure Consciousness” without a Subject(“ASRAYA”) and without an Object(“VISAYA”) and from a transcendental point of view, “Pure Consciousness” is the only Ultimate Reality. The phenomenal world and finite individuals could be empirically true, but from the higher point of view are merely false appearances. Adi Shankara based his view on his definition of “Reality: The “Real” is that whose negation is not possible. The only thing that satisfies this criterion is consciousness; because denial of consciousness presupposes the consciousness that denies. It is conceivable that any object is not existent, but the absence of consciousness is not conceivable. Adi Shankara used his immense logical skills and relied upon reasoning to claim that consciousness is the only reality and anything different from it would be unreal. The basic problem of Adi Shankara’s philosophy is that of explaining as to how such “Pure Consciousness” appears in ordinary experience to become individualized as “my consciousness.”
Rudra N Rebbapragada
Ann Arbor, MI 48104-4162, USA
R. Rudra Narasimham, B.Sc., M.B.B.S.,
Personal Numbers:MS-8466/MR-03277K. Rank:Lieutenant/Captain/Major.
Branch:Army Medical Corps/Short Service Regular Commission(1969-1972); Direct Permanent Commission(1973-1984).
Unit:Establishment No.22(1971-1974)/South Column,Operation Eagle(1971-1972).
Organization: Special Frontier Force.
I am pleased to share this view posted by Gaurachandra Das of IIT, Kharagpur, India.
Mystery of Consciousness : Life versus Non-life
Gaurachandra Das, B. Tech, M.Tech, Electrical Engineering-IIT Kharagpur
General Theory of Relativity and Quantum Mechanical Theory (QM) are the two most prominent
theories in the field of Physics. General Theory of Relativity given by Einstein in 1915 states that
direction of light propagation should be changed in a gravitational field. It predicts that “light coming
from a strong gravitational field should have its wavelength shifted to larger values (a red-shift). The
electromagnetic field can have waves in it that carry energy that we call light. Likewise, the gravitational
field can have waves that carry energy and are called gravitational waves. These may be thought of as
ripples in the curvature of space-time that travel at the speed of light.”1 On the other hand Quantum
Mechanical Theory predicts the behavior of particles as waves as they drift away from the classical
domain. Both these stalwart theories till date have been unable to predict the function of consciousness
in living bodies. In fact, they do not even stand unwavering scrutiny and are subject to reformations, time and
again. Albert Einstein himself stated in this regard in 1954-“I consider it quite possible that physics
cannot be based on the field concept, i.e., on continuous structures. In that case, nothing remains of my
entire castle in the air, gravitation theory included, and of the rest of modern physics.”
In the words of Roger Penrose – “I definitely believe that Quantum Mechanics is not a final theory and it is incomplete. I agree with Einstein in that sense.” Quantum Mechanics has proved insufficient to describe
the nature of reality so far. He further says-“Quantum Mechanics has two parts: the first is Schrodinger’s
equation, which tells how a system evolves, it is a very precise equation yet it does not tell you how the world
behaves. The second part of QM is the measurement process. The measurement process is inconsistent
with Schroedinger equation. It is non-deterministic, probabilistic, etc. Although these two parts are
inconsistent with each other, they do fit together in a rather remarkable way. To me, it suggests that
QM is not perfectly correct.” 2 Another is the famous Schrodinger’s cat example. (Experiment parallel
to it is being done in Santa Barbara, California under Dirk Baumeister.) Penrose remarks –
“ Schroedinger pointed out that his own equation tells that you could produce a cat that is both alive and
dead at the same time. It is ridiculous because in reality you don’t see cats that are both alive and dead
at the same time. This means there is something wrong with the equations at the level when the objects
become big enough”.2
Schrodinger’s cat set-up
Along with Hameroff, Penrose constructed a theory of human consciousness in which human
consciousness is pointed to as being the result of a quantum gravity effect in microtubules. That was
presented in his “Orchestrated Reduction of Quantum Coherence in Brain Microtubules: A Model for
Consciousness”. However, he also says “Our present scientific knowledge cannot describe
consciousness. On the other hand, boundaries of what we call scientific are not fixed on this view.
Perhaps we may never be able to understand the Ultimate Reality through a rigorous scientific
approach. Some fundamentally new insights are needed. If perhaps there will eventually emerge some
kind of ultimate theory that may explain part of the reality, that theory must differ enormously from
what we have seen in physical theories so far” 2. So as per his opinion, a fundamentally new theory with
remarkably different features is needed to explain the paradigm of consciousness. Thus, what is this
consciousness, a mystery to the world of physics so far.
Robots are another field in which distinction between life and non-life can be seen approaching a
border-line. Nowadays robots are quoted to be even writing poems. But such collection of words is an
artificial attempt from the word-bank fed to computers and arranged with algorithms. The machine has
no feelings and emotions and the purpose of poetry –“to satisfy the poet’s heart” remains forever
absent to a machine. The computer may also play chess but that is the computational (mechanistic)
part done by it from the strategies fed by the programmer. A machine may also pass the Turing’s test3
but the Chinese room argument by John Searle refutes the conscious sense coming from this
resemblance. Actually to prove computers intelligent, one needs to design a robot that can play any
surprise or unexpected game brought before it, not just the chess game. It should be able to learn any
game by speech or text inputs and then play that game reasonably well. But it is not possible to design
such a robot because playing a surprise game requires an understanding in both learning and devising
strategy. A robot can do computation, but it will never have understanding because it can’t be
A Robot cannot play an unprogrammed game.
After the tragic event of 9/11 many scientists have shown remarkable interest in these ideas concerning
search of an Ultimate Theory, absolute Reality and depths of the conscious paradigm. They look for a
scientific clue from the known sources of scientific knowledge. This brings them closer to the ideas of
fine-tuning and intelligent design in the universe which have a valid and very reasonable role in the
creation. The fine-tuning of water molecule (H2O) and preciseness of universal constants verify this
There are various directions to proceed on the basis of the Anthropic Principle.5 One of the interesting
insights is that Vedantic literature points in this direction about the presence of different universes
which have life and are also spiritual in nature. This idea is feasible from the strong Anthropic principle
as Roger Penrose says – “This is the argument that only the physical constants of nature which have
specific values may be suitable for life. Only in the world where the numbers are suitable for
consciousness we will find beings present in that world. It may be a completely different kind of life,
which is not like us at all, which does not depend on chemistry the way we do. So that may open up the
possibility of a world or spiritual world.” 2
Looking into Einstein’s life, we all admire his great insights for a scientific worldview having
mathematical foundations. At same time he also had some profound feeling for religion. In other words,
he tried to relate both scientific and religious worldviews in his life. He said-“Science without religion is
lame and religion without science is blind.” Another of his famous quotes is –“God doesn’t cast dice.”
This may be a serious question posed to the propaganda that life is a chance phenomenon. Roger
Penrose remarks in this connection – “There are remarkable interrelations between truth and beauty.
Even there is a mystery of our perceptions of mathematical truths. I would say that these are higher and
deeper aspects of reality of which we have little conception at the present time.”2 Einstein didn’t see
any conflict between science and religion while he considered them complementary. He could live
happily by synthesizing both the worldviews. It is from this religious paradigm, especially Vedantic
paradigm where we get a precisely correct understanding of consciousness which is a mystery for the
Universe and life is not created by humans so the proposal to study and demarcate its
ingredients and intricacies by research-based approach may not be well-placed and successful. It may
actually be like an ant’s attempt to study the architecture of Mercedes-Benz, which is quite too much for
the ant! However the religious side in this direction, particularly the Vedantic conception offers
interesting comprehensive facts and insights…for example, Bhagavad Gita says that “the soul (atma) or
spiriton is the cause of consciousness. This spiriton or atma interacts with matter through the agency of
the Paramatma or the all-pervading conscious aspect of the absolute truth. This interaction depends on
higher order, non-mathematical laws relating to psychological principles such as desire and free-will.”6
Bhagavad Gita mentions that “the size of spiriton or atma is 1/10000 of the tip of a hair; it is
inconceivable or spiritual in nature and it is eternal and unborn.”7 In fact, our present science cannot
explain this. As some prominent scientists (as Max Born, Roger Penrose and William D. Phillips) say –
“We need a new science, a higher dimensional science to explain this subtle conception of the source of
life.” Yet, its presence in the form of consciousness can be experienced by us all. Max Born says – “I saw
in the atom the key to the deepest secret of nature and it revealed to me the greatness of creation and
Roger Penrose and Dr T.D. Singh
So, probably, the sincere mind of a great scientist would need to blur these boundaries between
science and religion and sincerely take up this quest to understand life and conscious paradigm. This has
been the attitude of a galaxy of prominent thinkers, scientists and vastly learned men such as Nicholas
Copernicus, Johannes Kepler, Isaac Newton, Michael Faraday, James Clerk Maxwell, Albert Einstein, Max
Born, Srinivasa Ramanujan, Werner Heisenberg, Charles Townes, William D. Phillips and hundreds more.
Albert Einstein says-“I sense these things deeply…the most beautiful and profound religious emotion
that we can experience is the sensation of the mystical. And this mysticality is the power of all true
science. That deeply emotional conviction of the presence of a superior reasoning power which is
revealed in the comprehensible universe forms my idea of God.” In the words of Charles Townes-“I
believe there is no long-range question more important than the purpose and meaning of our lives and
of the universe.” 8 Indeed, such a positive and synthesized approach offers a key to solve this mystery of
life and consciousness, to know the distinction between life and non-life and to delve deeper into
1. General Theory of Relativity http://csep10.phys.utk.edu/astr162/lect/cosmology/gravity.html
2. Discussion between Sir Roger Penrose and Dr T.D. Singh entitled “Science, Spirituality and
Nature of reality”, Bhaktivedanta Institute, 2005.
3. Turing Test : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turing_test
4. Chinese room Argument : http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/chinese-room/
5. Anthropic Principle – see Brief History of Time, by Stephen Hawking, Bantam Trade Paperback,
6. “Life, Matter and their Interactions “ by Dr T.D. Singh, Bhaktivedanta Institute, 2006.
7. “Bhagavad Gita As It Is” by A.C Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. New York: Macmillan 1972.
8. “God is a Person”, Reflections of two Noble Laureates, Bhaktivedanta Institute, 2006.
9. Lincoln Barnett, “The Universe and Dr. Einstein, 2nd Edition, New York, 1957, pp.108-109.
- Spiritualism – the New Advaita Theory of Non-dualism (bhavanajagat.com)
- The Science of Consciousness. http://Bhavanajagat.com/2011/03/31/The-Science-of-Consciousness/
- What is Life? Life is Knowledge in Action. http://Bhavanajagat.com/2010/08/05/What-is-Life-Life-is-Knowledge-in-Action/
- The Study of Consciousness (robertjrgraham.com)
- CONSCIOUSNESS: What It Is And How It Can Be Manipulated [W/ VIDEO] (secretsofthefed.com)
SPIRITUALISM – THE NEW ADVAITA THEORY OF NON-DUALISM:
I am sharing my view in response to a view shared by Srila Prabhupada, the founder of the International Society of Krishna Consciousness in his book, Science of Self-Realization. Firstly, I must state that Srila Prabhupada has not taken into consideration “The Totality of Things.” To describe “The Totality of Things”, the ‘Three Fundamental Distinctions’, or the Three Fundamental Dualisms must be recognized. The Three Fundamental Distinctions are, 1. the distinction between the natural and the supernatural, 2. the distinction between the material and the spiritual, and 3. the distinction between the living and the non-living(animate/inanimate). Substance, material, or matter is a fundamental requirement to establish man’s existence in the physical world. But, this existence becomes a reality if, and only if there is separation of living, and non-living matter or material. A living thing exists by separating itself from its external environment. This separation is supported by implantation of “KNOWLEDGE” in the substance of the matter that gets transformed into living matter. The evidence of the “KNOWLEDGE” that is implanted is detected in two fundamental characteristics of living things; 1. the ‘Consciousness’ or ‘Awareness’ of the fact/state/condition of its own energy-dependent existence by which the living thing knows that it needs energy-yielding molecules found in the matter present in its external environment, and 2. ‘Intelligence’ that involves the cognitive ability to acquire information, process information, store information, and use information to recognize the presence of other ‘Things’ present in the external environment and use them to gain energy and to make structures and perform functions to maintain its own living condition. Consciousness, and Intelligence are the two basic ‘spiritual’ functions of all living things. These are not physical, or chemical functions that are entirely determined by the Laws of Physical Sciences. These are not functions that are dependent upon man’s physical, or mental work. If soul or spirit is defined as the vital, animating principle common to all living things, its presence can be known if the matter is conscious and is intelligent. The separation of man into material body, thinking substance or matter called mind, and an immaterial part or principle called spirit or soul is not correct. The biological existence of man demands Unity. There is no Mind-Body dichotomy as the complete human organism is derived from a single fertilized Egg Cell. The human person will not come into existence if there is no functional, and structural unity between mind, body, and the various tissues, organs, and organ systems. The entity named spirit or soul does not belong to the transcendental, or metaphysical realm or domain. Spirit and Soul belong to the corporeal substance or matter. Man is not an embodied soul and in reality man is a living soul. The purpose of Self-Discovery is not that of God-Discovery. The concern is not about the existence of God, or the verification of God’s existence. Man has to discover his own true or real nature. For this, man has to understand as to what it is to be a substance and as to what it is to be in a condition, or state called existence.
Spiritualism, the new ‘ADVAITA’ Theory of Non-Dualism seeks the Unity of man in body, mind, spirit, and soul. Such unity establishes the dependent condition called existence while man desires freedom in his thoughts, actions, and behavior.
Rudra N Rebbapragada/R. Rudra Narasimham, B.Sc., M.B.B.S.,
Ann Arbor, MI 48104-4162, USA.
Organization: The Spirits of Special Frontier Force.
R. Rudra Narasimham, B.Sc., M.B.B.S.,
Personal Numbers:MS-8466/MR-03277K. Rank:Lieutenant/Captain/Major.
Branch:Army Medical Corps/Short Service Regular Commission(1969-1972); Direct Permanent Commission(1973-1984).
Unit:Establishment No.22(1971-1974)/South Column,Operation Eagle(1971-1972).
Organization: Special Frontier Force.
The following is an article based upon the view shared by Srila Prabhupada in his book, The Science of Self-Realization.
Discovering the Self:
Who are you? Are you your body? Or your mind? Or are you something higher? Do you know who you are, or do you merely think you know? And does it really matter? Our materialistic society, with its unenlightened leadership, has made it virtually taboo to inquire into our real, higher self. Instead we use our valuable time maintaining, decorating, and pampering the body for its own sake. Might there be an alternative?
This very important Krishna consciousness movement is meant to save human society from spiritual death. At present human society is being misled by leaders who are blind, for they do not know the aim and objective of human life, which is self-realization and the reestablishment of our lost relationship with the Supreme Personality of Godhead. That is the missing point. The Krishna consciousness movement is trying to enlighten human society in this important matter.
According to Vedic civilization, the perfection of life is to realize one’s relationship with Krishna, or God. In the Bhagavad-Gita, which is accepted by all authorities in transcendental science as the basis of all Vedic knowledge, we understand that not only human beings but all living entities are parts and parcels of God. The parts are meant for serving the whole, just as the legs, hands, fingers, and ears are meant for serving the total body. We living entities, being parts and parcels of God, are duty-bound to serve Him.
Actually our position is that we are always rendering service to someone, either to our family, country, or society. If we have no one to serve, sometimes we keep a pet cat or dog and render service to it. All these factors prove that we are constitutionally meant to render service, yet in spite of serving to the best of our ability, we are not satisfied. Nor is the person to whom we are rendering that service satisfied. On the material platform, everyone is frustrated. The reason for this is that the service being rendered is not properly directed. For example, if we want to render service to a tree, we must water the root. If we pour water on the leaves, branches, and twigs, there is little benefit. If the Supreme Personality of Godhead is served, all other parts and parcels will be automatically satisfied. Consequently all welfare activities as well as service to society, family, and nation are realized by serving the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
It is the duty of every human being to understand his constitutional position with God and to act accordingly. If this is possible, then our lives become successful. Sometimes, however, we feel challenging and say, “There is no God,” or “I am God,” or even, “I don’t care for God.” But in actuality this challenging spirit will not save us. God is there, and we can see Him at every moment. If we refuse to see God in our life, then He will be present before us as cruel death. If we do not choose to see Him in one feature, we will see Him in another. There are different features of the Supreme Personality of Godhead because He is the original root of the entire cosmic manifestation. In one sense, it is not possible for us to escape Him.
This Krishna consciousness movement is not blind religious fanaticism, nor is it a revolt by some recent upstart; rather, it is an authorized, scientific approach to the matter of our eternal necessity in relation with the Absolute Personality of Godhead, the Supreme Enjoyer. Krishna consciousness simply deals with our eternal relationship with Him and the process of discharging our relative duties to Him. Thus, Krishna consciousness enables us to achieve the highest perfection of life attainable in the present human form of existence.
Ref: Science of Self Realization authored by Srila Prabhupada (Founder – Acharya, ISKCON)
WHAT IS SOUL ????
This story about ‘the quantum theory of consciousness’ that appears under this post is too brief and hence it would be bit difficult to come to a proper understanding of the subject matter. We need to know as to how the terms soul and consciousness are defined. What is Soul? Is it a material principle or is it an immaterial principle? What is Consciousness? Is it a mental function? Is it a psychological function? Is it a biological function? What is the relationship between soul and consciousness? I am sure that these authors may have provided more information on their views at some other place or in their book. But, the story provides some information that is good enough to doubt this theory. Micro tubules are found in all living cells of all living organisms other than bacteria, blue-green algae and viruses. If micro tubules are found inside brain cells or neurons, it is not a surprise. They tend to perform the same functions in all types of living cells called eukaryotes(cells with true nuclei). All the cells of the human body are derived from a single, fertilized egg cell. We need to discuss this topic called soul and consciousness in relationship with this egg cell. Does this egg cell display consciousness? If the egg cell is conscious, does it have a soul? In that context, we have to answer similar questions about Amoeba proteus, is it conscious? and does it have a soul?
I have been writing about some of these issues and like these authors, I have been speaking about the role of Cytoplasm, the living substance found inside living cells. The micro tubules are related to the plasma membrane/biological membrane, the outermost layer that separates the cell from its external environment. This membrane performs functions like cognition and it can process information and transmit information which the cell further uses to perform its various living functions. The cytoplasm exists in a constant condition of motion called ‘amoeboid motion’. The cell structures called micro tubules and micro filaments maintain this motion all the time. Like all cells, the brain cells experience cellular death. We can remove several brain cells or kill them using drugs or radiation while treating problems like cancer. The person still remains conscious and we clearly know the term ‘consciousness’ as used in Clinical Medicine refers to the ‘arousal state’. These authors have not made any distinction between the clinical definition of ‘consciousness’ and the function performed by micro tubules. Their views about gravitational force and its impact upon information processing by brain’s nerve cells have no theoretical basis. We send astronauts into outer space and they function without experiencing any gravitational pull or force and they literally float inside the spaceship.
Dr. R. Rudra Narasimham, B.Sc., M.B.B.S.,
Ex – Personal Number. MS – 8466. Rank. Lieutenant/Captain.
Branch. Army Medical Corps/Short Service Regular Commission,
Designation. Medical Officer, South Column, Operation Eagle(1971-72),
Ex – Personal Number. MR-03277K. Rank. Captain/Major.
Branch. Army Medical Corps/Direct Permanent Commission,
Unit.Headquarters Establishment Number. 22 C/O 56 APO(1971-74),
Organization. SPECIAL FRONTIER FORCE.
Scientists offer quantum theory of soul’s existence
A PAIR of world-renowned quantum scientists say they can prove the existence of the soul.
American Dr Stuart Hameroff and British physicist Sir Roger Penrose developed a quantum theory of consciousness asserting that our souls are contained inside structures called microtubules which live within our brain cells.
Their idea stems from the notion of the brain as a biological computer, “with 100 billion neurons and their axonal firings and synaptic connections acting as information networks”.
Dr Hameroff, Professor Emeritus at the Departments of Anesthesiology and Psychology and Director of the Centre of Consciousness Studies at the University of Arizona, and Sir Roger have been working on the theory since 1996.
They argue that our experience of consciousness is the result of quantum gravity effects inside these microtubules – a process they call orchestrated objective reduction (Orch-OR). In a near-death experience the microtubules lose their quantum state but the information within them is not destroyed. Or in layman’s terms, the soul does not die but returns to the universe.
Dr Hameroff explained the theory at length in the Morgan Freeman-narrated documentary “Through the Wormhole”, which was recently aired in the US by the Science Channel.
The quantum soul theory is now trending worldwide, thanks to stories published this week by The Huffington Post and the Daily Mail, which have generated thousands of readers comments and social media shares.
“Let’s say the heart stops beating, the blood stops flowing, the microtubules lose their quantum state,” Dr Hameroff said. “The quantum information within the microtubules is not destroyed, it can’t be destroyed, it just distributes and dissipates to the universe at large. “If the patient is resuscitated, revived, this quantum information can go back into the microtubules and the patient says ‘I had a near death experience’.” In the event of the patient’s death, it was “possible that this quantum information can exist outside the body indefinitely – as a soul”.
Dr Hameroff believes new findings about the role quantum physics plays in biological processes, such as the navigation of birds, adds weight to the theory.
SPIRITUALISM – THE TRUTH ABOUT HUMAN SOUL OR SPIRIT :
Truth is the quality of being in accordance with experience, and verified facts. Truth or Reality can be established by using a reasoning process called verification and validation. To verify or refute a theoretical claim, we need to clarify statements by demonstrating relation between the theoretical claim and the observational evidence. Such a reasoning process could be applied in two manners; 1. The Coherence Theory of Truth, and 2. The Correspondence Theory of Truth. According to the Coherence Theory of Truth, the standard of Truth is the logical consistency of a proposition with a large system of propositions. According to the Correspondence Theory of Truth, Truth is viewed as a relation between an idea or proposition and its object. To verify Truth or Reality, the Subject and Object of an idea or proposition must have a relationship. Truth when applied to statements or ideas is related to the validity of what we mean and hence it requires correspondence between thought and external reality. It is true that man has the biological ability and capacity called ‘imagination’, but man may not have the ability and capacity to translate the act and power of imagination into actuality, an external experience that could be observed by others. In my imagination, I can seek the existence of an all blissful entity called ‘SHIVA’ while in actuality, I exist in the physical world as a fragile, mortal being. Religion, Philosophy, and Science may represent three distinct fields of learning about Truth and Reality. Scientific knowledge not only provides the knowledge that something is true, but it also provides the reason why it is true. Religion, and Philosophy could use different methods to study Truth and Reality, but the ideas they share require verification, corroboration, and validation. In the study of man, the know-er and the known are one. Man is the observer and the observed fact is that of man’s nature. If man has to know the truth about his self, man has to understand the truth and reliability of his own cognitive powers. If the Subject called man is identified as an Object called Soul, or Spirit, the Truth or Reality of Soul, or Spirit involves a structural/functional relationship between the Subject and its Object.
ADI SHANKARA’S NIRVANA SHATAKAM OR ATMA SHATAKAM :
Adi Shankara ( c. 788 – c. 820 A.D. ), the founder of the Non-Dualist or ‘ADVAITA’ School of Indian Philosophy called ‘VEDANTA’ has shared his ideas about human Soul, or Spirit or ‘ATMA’ or ‘ATMAN’ in Indian Sanskrit language. In six short poems popularly known as ‘Nirvana Shatakam’, or ‘Atma Shatakam’, he has presented his mental concepts about human Soul, or Spirit which he called “AHAM”(Subject ‘A’) . Adi Shankara is primarily concerned about establishing the perfect Identity between this Subject ‘A’ and its Object called “CHIDANANDA SHIVAM(Object ‘C’). However, Adi Shankara makes no attempt in his propositions to establish the basis for this Identity between the Subject ‘A’ and its Object ‘C’. Adi Shankara is proposing that the Subject ‘A’ or ‘AHAM’ has no structural, functional, mental, moral, social, and spiritual relationship with its human body or ‘B’. In his view, the human soul or spirit is not involved, and is not concerned with the existence of human body in which the soul or spirit is thought to be residing. In an effort to establish the school of thought called “ADVAITA” or Non-Dualism, he systematically separates the human body from its human soul. Adi Shankara has further extended this proposition to claim that the Subject ‘A’ is the same as the Object ‘C’ and the reason he has given is that of a lack of relationship between Subject ‘A’ and the human body ‘B’. Since, ‘A’ is not the same as ‘B’, ‘A’ is not equal to ‘B’. And, therefore, Adi Shankara claims that ‘A’ is the same as ‘C’ or ‘A’ is equal to ‘C’. He has not stated that there is or there could be a structural, functional, mental, moral, social, and spiritual relationship between ‘A’ and ‘C’. If such relationship exists between ‘A’ and ‘C’, Adi Shankara has not presented any observational evidence in support of his claim that states ‘A’ = ‘C’. Let us briefly review the six verses. Kindly note that the verses are composed in Indian Sanskrit language and there are several minor variations in the words that are attributed to Adi Shankara. The word ‘NIRVANA’ means ‘MUKTI’ or Release( the release of the conditioned human soul ), death, Sunset, and conclusion of an event( such as the end of Life ). I must clarify that ‘death’ may not be viewed as a static, or final event. Death is a dynamic event like Life which is characterized by changes like growth and development and various stages like infancy, youth, man, and old age. Just like Sunset which is followed by Sunrise, the event called death is followed by regeneration, renewal, and rebirth. Living organisms arrive with a plan for their own dissolution and such organic decay and decomposition is influenced by the cyclical flow of Time.
MAN IS A PHYSICAL, MORTAL BEING, A CREATED BEING WITH A LIVING SOUL:
Adi Shankara excludes the four mental functions known as Ma-nah( the seat of thoughts and imagination, the chief sense organ called Mind), Buddhi(the seat of intellect and knowledge), Chitta(the seat of emotions such as compassion, affection, and devotion), and Ahankara(the seat of ego, self-pride, the sense of pride that is associated with the recognition of ‘SELF’ or ‘I’ as existing or living) as the basis of his true Identity or Essence(What you are). These four aspects of mental activities are described in Indian tradition as “ANTAH KARANAM” or ‘MANO CHATUSHTAYAM”. The human nature which is known as “CHITTA” or “HRUDAYA”, “KARUNA”, or “DAYA” and “BHAKTI” is recognized as Compassion, Kindness, and Devotion; the mental qualities that are needed for formulating Spiritual relationships both within the Individual and between Individuals. Adi Shankara gives no reason for this separation of human nature from its human Soul. Similarly, he excludes the five organs of Sense Perception( often described as “JNANA INDRIYAS”, the organs that provide sensory information and sensory experience ) such as ears, tongue, nose, eyes, and skin and the Five Primordial Elements described in Indian tradition as ‘Pancha Maha Bhutas’ such as Sky, Earth, Fire, Wind, and Water. He thinks that they are not truly related to his True Identity and Essence. He is specifically excluding all known material substances, material structures and forces that operate in the natural world in the description of his True Identity. In my view, I consider that man comes into existence as a newly created object, one of its own kind, original, and distinctive who could always be identified as a specific individual. I claim that man is a created being and man has no choice other than that of existing as an Individual with Individuality. The physical form, the morphological appearance of man always makes him unique and it has to be explained and accounted for. I suggest that human Soul is the internal reality; and Soul is the basis for human Individuality and the Soul is the unchanging principle that allows man to exist with changing external forms with specific physical attributes.
MAN IS DEFINED BY HIS STRUCTURE, FUNCTIONS, AND BEHAVIOR :
In this verse Adi Shankara gives a very detailed description of various tissues of human body and describes all the vital functions and states that the Subject ‘A’ or “AHAM” has no structural or functional relationship with human anatomy and physiology. The term “PRAANA” refers to the vital life-energy and is generally used to describe the chief characteristic to make the fundamental distinction between living and non-living; the important sign of life is the act of breathing or respiration.The term “PANCH VAAYU” refers to, 1. Vyaana – the air that is spread in the entire extent of the human body; 2. Samaana – the air that is in the navel region; it could be the air that is swallowed during acts of eating and drinking and may refer to the intestinal gas; 3. Udaana – the air that is in the throat/neck region; this narrow airway is vital for the respiratory function; 4. Apaana – the air that travels downwards and outwards; it could mean the air expelled from the body as flatus or exhaled air from the lungs; and 5. Praana – the inspired air; air that is in the heart, the chief organ of Cardiovascular System that circulates Oxygen throughout human body. The term “SAPTA DHATU” refers to the seven material essences such as the skin, muscle/tendons/nerves, blood, bones, bone marrow, brain( neural tissue ), and “RASA” which describes fluids like semen and lymph. The term “PANCH KOSHA” refers to the traditional view about the structure of Soul. It is believed that the Soul has five coverings or envelopes and each layer establishes human existence and these are called as the five stages of Self-Realization; 1. Anna maya( related to Nutrition ), 2. Praana maya( related to vital functions like Respiration ), 3. Jnana maya( relates to implantation of Innate Knowledge and Consciousness ), 4. Vijnana maya( relates to the ability to make a distinction between human body or Self and Soul as the Knowing-Self ), and 5. Ananda maya( relates to the experience of Bliss, the experience of Peace, Harmony, Tranquility, and Equilibrium as a Living Experience ) ; these are the five aspects of Self-Realization and refer to complete fulfillment or development of man. I have discussed these five aspects in my blog post:
Adi Shankara also refers to the five organs of action that are described in Indian tradition as “KARMA INDRIYAS” which are the five instruments of Speech(VAAK), Hand-Grip and Manipulation(PAANI), Locomotion( PAADA), Procreation(UPASTHA) and Excretion(PAAYU). Adi Shankara has not bothered to state as to how these different organs and organ systems could function together to support the existence of the human person who lives because of those varied living functions. Life is nothing but to function and in my view, the human Soul is the central element that generates the structural and functional coordination that is required for human existence.
MAN IS A MENTAL BEING, AN EMOTIONAL BEING, AND A MORAL BEING:
Adi Shankara correctly claims that the human Soul may not contribute to human feelings, and thoughts associated with hatred, sexual passion, greed, arrogance, and envy or jealousy. At the same time, he rejects the traditional Indian view about man’s purpose in Life; the purpose of Right Action or “DHARMA”, the purpose called earning money or material wealth to support Life or “ARTHA”, the purpose of Procreation or “KAMA”, and the purpose called God-Realization, Liberation, or “MOKSHA”. In other words, Adi Shankara is suggesting that human life and human existence may have no underlying purpose. He is also not giving any coping mechanism to deal with the problems associated with human emotional experiences like passionate desires. Indian tradition consistently recommends that man can exercise self-control as the human Soul is superior to human mind, human intellect, and human sense organs. If human body has no structural or functional affiliation with its human Soul, it will not be likely that man can exercise self-restraint and self-control. In my view, man, the Mental Being can establish himself as a Moral Being using the discerning ability to make the distinction between right and wrong, and distinguish good from evil by knowing the existence of the Knowing-Self or the Soul.
MAN IS A SPIRITUAL BEING :
Adi Shankara is describing that he has no sense of attachment to the consequences of his actions either good(“PUNYA”) or bad(“PAAPA”). He is recommending that man need not perform temple worship, and there is no need to observe religious rituals, sacrifice, and perform acts of pilgrimage. He is rejecting the desire to seek pleasure and comfort(“SAUKHYAM”) and he may not be able to totally avoid the pain, misery, and the experience of suffering(“DUKHAM”). He specifically undermined the role of food and its five functions in support of human existence. The problem is that of the nature of human existence. In my view, man at any given age, in any given condition, under all given circumstances including good health or ill-health depends upon the Power/Energy/Force called MERCY/GRACE/COMPASSION. Man is not in control of his own existence. Man needs a guiding, and controlling force called the Divine Providence. In my opinion, the human Soul operates as the Connection between man and the Divine Providence that supports, sustains, and preserves human existence irrespective of man’s experience of pain or pleasure. Man has no choice other than that of seeking Mercy, Grace, and Compassion that is called “KRUPA” in Sanskrit language.
MAN IS A SOCIAL BEING :
Adi Shankara very boldly asserts that he is without a trace of doubt(“SHANKAA”) and further adds that the Soul that he calls “AHAM” has no Father, or Mother. Indian tradition calls Father(“PITAA”) as the originating principle, and Mother(“MAATAA) as the sustaining principle. In my view, the human Soul comes into existence(“JANMA”) because of the Supreme Will or the Supreme Soul which is the Prime Cause, the Cause of all types of things and all kinds of Existence. The human Soul is conditioned and is not totally independent and hence, the human soul still needs a Divine Mother Principle to maintain its Spiritual Condition and Spiritual Existence.
MAN IS A CONDITIONED SOUL :
In this final or sixth verse, Adi Shankara tries to eliminate the classical dualism that is called the dualism of Universal-Particular. He claims that his human Soul or “AHAM” is universal entity that is limitless, formless(“NIRAAKAARA”) and is without any attributes or attachments(“BANDHAH”). In his view, the human Soul is essentially free; it is everything, everywhere, every time and is always in a state of equilibrium. He has stated this view without a trace of doubt(“NIRVI KALPA”). I would like to suggest some caution and ask my readers to recognize the importance of separation between the human soul and the Ultimate Reality. I can understand that there is no disunity between man and his Creator. I would ask my readers to know the philosophical system of thought called ‘NOMINALISM’ that does not grant universality to mental concepts outside the mind. Universality could be applied only to words or “nomina”, mental habits, or concepts. Nominalism only maintains the objective existence of the concrete, individual thing. It denies all objectivity whether actual or potential to universals. The human soul is attached to the human being and the human being has his existence on planet Earth and hence is not an universal entity. Since the human condition demands existence only on planet Earth and not the rest of the universe, the human Soul cannot escape from its conditioned status while it exists as a human Soul. The Universal Soul as proposed by Adi Shankara is just a mental concept and it can only exist in the mind of the man and it may have no correspondence with the facts of external world and the Universe.
WHAT IS TRUTH, WHAT IS ILLUSION???
Adi Shankara is fully convinced in his belief that ‘A’ and the human body ‘B’ are not connected or related. It must be noted that, ‘A’ or “AHAM” refers to a singular person called ‘I’ and that singular person ‘I’ is in a state called ‘Being’, one who lives, or exists. If ‘A’ is stated to be existing, I would like to ask the following questions:
1. Who is Existing?
2. What is Existing?
3. When it is Existing?
4. Where it is Existing?
5. Why it is Existing?
If the Subject ‘A’, or “AHAM”( I AM ), has no size, no shape, and no form, how could we establish the fact that ‘A’ is existing? Adi Shankara has not categorically stated the place or site where ‘A’ could be existing. If ‘A’ is existing, we may like to know the purpose of this existence. If there is a purpose for the existence of ‘A’, the question would be, What is that purpose? How is the nature of ‘A’ or the nature of ‘C’ is related to its purpose? The Truth and Reality about human Soul, or Spirit can be verified, can be corroborated, and can be validated by knowing the structural, functional, mental, moral, social, and spiritual relationship, partnership, connection, association, or bonding between ‘A’, ‘B’, and ‘C’. Indian tradition suggests that human body has three aspects; “Tri-ani-pada”, or three-in-one; and the three aspects of human body are, 1. Causal, 2. Spiritual, and 3. Material. There is a material connection between ‘A’, ‘B’, and ‘C’, if the human body has a ‘causal, and a ‘spiritual’ dimension. It would be very interesting to note that Adi Shankara has specifically avoided to describe the connection or relationship between the human Soul and human Consciousness. In Sanskrit language, Consciousness is called “CHETANA” and this term is not used in any of the six verses. Indian tradition believes that consciousness is the evidence for the presence of the human Soul and there is a structural and functional relationship between Soul and the Living Entity that is Conscious. We need to explain the concepts of Subject-Object, Appearance-Reality, Perceptual-Categorical, Immanent-Transcendent, Regulative-Constitutive, Conditioned-Unconditioned Dualism in respect of man’s existence and man’s status in Nature. In the context of human existence, the human Soul, or Spirit belongs to the Immanent Realm.
Rudra N . Rebbapragada, B.Sc., M.B.B.S.,
Ann Arbor, Michigan, U.S.A.
Biographical Information :
1. Place of Birth: Mylapore, Madras City, Chenna Patnam, Chennai, Madras State, Tamil Nadu, India. Born Hindu( Brahmin, Niyogi, Smartha), Telugu-Speaking.
2. Date and Place of Marriage: January 29, 1973. Congregational Town Church, Cuddapah, Kadapa District, Andhra Pradesh, India.
Please view this melodious presentation of Adi Shankaracharya’s Nirvana Shatakam or Atma Shatakam at http://www.Youtube.com site: