In the preceding chapters I have tried to show, firstly, thatthe number of the mystics that had the genuine experience, throughout thecourse of history, has been extremely small, and that all those who claimknowledge of the spirit are not really enlightened. Secondly, that the presentworld is woefully deficient in the knowledge of the brain and that the learned,in dealing with mind or the origin and nature of the universe, usually leavethe encephalon out of count, as if human intelligence exists incorporeally andindependently, and does not depend for its manifestation, quality andperformance on the activity of an organic instrument, beyond our scrutiny atpresent. The result is that much of our knowledge, at the moment, is unilateraland speculative, nescient of the nature of the 'Knower' itself. An intelligentspecies with a brain that shows an altered perception of time, an easypossibility, would frame an entirely different picture of the universe.
The aim of this writing is to draw attention to this seriouslacunae which keeps us in ignorance about our own selves. The position that Iam taking up is that the human mind, as we know it at present, is not aconstant, unalterable entity. It can change and with it the whole picture ofthe universe, which we perceive with our senses. This is a bold statement tomake, and is not likely to be accepted for the simple reason that it underminesthe very foundation on which science is built, namely, the reality of the objectiveworld and the validity of the empirical observation conducted by the mind.
The issue boils down to this: if it is admitted that the humanmind is variable and that this variation can affect the very image of theuniverse, and all the phenomena observed, it would clearly imply that thecosmos is not, in reality, as we perceive, assess and measure it with ourintelligence, but only a creation of our mind liable to change in otherdimensions of the perceptive faculty. From this it would follow that the temporalknowledge gathered by us is relative also and that what is accumulated in onedimension of consciousness can prove incomplete, deceptive or erroneous in theother.
"Our conception of the structure of the universe,"says William de Sitter, "bears all the marks of a transitory structure.Our theories are decidedly in a state of continuous, and just now very rapidevolution. It is not possible to predict how long our present views andinterpretations will remain unaltered and how soon they will have to bereplaced by perhaps very different ones, based on new observational data andnew critical insight in their connection with other data."Where from is this new critical insight to come except from a more evolved mindand brain?
An affirmation of the same position comes from no less than anauthority than Max Planck. He says: "How do we discover the individuallaws of Physics, and what is their nature? It should be remarked, to beginwith, that we have no right to assume that any physical laws exist, or if theyhave existed up to now, that they will continue to exist in a similar manner inthe future. It is perfectly conceivable that one fine day Nature should causean unexpected event to occur which would baffle us all; and if this were tohappen we would be powerless to make any objection, even if the result would bethat, in spite of our endeavors, we should fail to introduce order into theresulting confusion. In such an event, the only course open to science would beto declare itself bankrupt. For this reason, science is compelled to begin bythe general assumption that a general rule of law dominates throughoutNature."
Once the position is accepted, the conclusion becomesunavoidable that all the contexts of our day-to-day experience of the world--theevents which befall and the sights we see, the good and evil, noble and base,beautiful and ugly we meet, or the ideas of God, Soul and the Hereafter weentertain, all emerge from the unfathomable depths of our consciousness. Thismeans that all we come across during the pilgrimage of life is not an objectivereality, but a stupendous, realistic drama, presented by our own mind, andanother enigmatic stuff, we call material energy. The latter is becoming moreand more of a paradox and the more we try to reach its bottom the moreparadoxical and unpredictable it becomes. For all we know, it might be a twinbrother of our mind, both off-shoots of the same tree or a projected image ofmind itself. The corollary that follows this view of creation, forced on us bythe latest concepts in physics, is that since our brain is the junction-point,where this incredible exchange between the mind and his brother takes place, itis to the brain that we must look for a solution of the mystery.
The matter does not end there. What should now become obvious,beyond doubt, is the fact that when contemplating a grand spectacle of nature,during the day, or the shimmering firmament at night, the sense of admiration,awe or wonder felt does not come from the magnificence, loveliness or the vastextent of these external objects, inherent or dwelling in them, but from thegrandeur, beauty and the immensity residing in our own consciousness. In otherwords, it is we who lend grandiosity, charm and vastness to an object, also horror,cheerfulness, humor or sadness to what appears to us as a dreadful, merry,ludicrous or tragic scene. What the world will look like to a mind, dead toemotions and bereft of the sense of beauty and color, I leave it to the readerto imagine.
This still does not complete the picture. The other conclusionthat follows is that all the over four billion human creatures on the earth,the multi-millionaire and the pauper, the king and the beggar, the strongmanand the cripple, the philanthropist and the thief, the beauty-queen and theleper, as long as they live, share the same incredible wonder in theirinterior, as they share the sun, the moon, the stars, the air and water, theprecious bounties of nature that make life possible on earth.
It is a staggering position. But there is nothing incongruous inwhat I say. The scriptures of all the current faiths point to the sameconclusion. Since the Soul is held to be immortal, incorporeal and divine, itmust always stay immaculate, above the corporeality and the blemishes of themortal frame. It would be blasphemous to say that there could be a sightless,lecherous, leprous or penniless Soul. It is because of an impure frame of mindthat attaches more importance to the externals of religion than to its beatificinterior that we are denied access to the Glory that dwells in all of us,irrespective of our station in life.
The main task of religion is to bring awareness of the divinitywithin to every human being. In this unique treasure of heaven no one isricher, stronger, superior or better than the other. This divine Splendor allshare alike, irrespective of their position, wealth, learning intelligence,strength or looks. Like the brilliant orb of the day, it shines alike on therich and the poor, the wise and the fool. The glaring differences anddiscrepancies, elegance and squalor, virtue and vice or excess and want we seearound, belong to the stage and the dress of clay and not to the divine actor,ever undefiled, like a dancing beam of light. The aim of human life is toexplore this 'wonder' in every one of us whose pleasure-ground is the universe.
This is the Message which for the last over three thousand yearsthe exalted class of true mystics has brought to the world. This is the Messagewhich juvenile science, at first, cared not to heed like an impetuous youngsterrefusing to listen to his more seasoned elders, ultimately in his declining ageto regret the rebellious thoughts of his early years. There are myriads who, intheir closing days, review with sorrow their reckless youth. Were there nosurprises and no innovations in the province of thought in store for the humanwit in the ages to come, she would die of boredom in a few centuries. It ischange that keeps her alive. The pendulum is now swinging in the otherdirection to usher in a new era of thought in which the spirit and not matter,the mystic and not the skeptic will dominate.
An indication of this change is provided by the thoughtsexpressed by many eminent scientists of recent times. This is a sample of oneof them: "Yet I repeat once more," declares William James, "theexistence of mystical states absolutely overthrows the pretension ofnon-mystical states to be the sole and ultimate dictators of what we maybelieve. As a rule, mystical states merely add a super-sensuous meaning to theordinary outward data of consciousness. They are excitements, like the emotionsof love or ambition, gifts to our spirit by means of which facts, alreadyobjectively before us fall into a new expressiveness and make a new connectionwith our active life. They do not contradict these facts as such, or denyanything that our senses have immediately seized. It is the rationalisticcritic rather who plays the part of denier in the controversy, and his denialshave no strength, for there can never be a state of facts to which new meaningmay not truthfully be added, provided the mind ascends to a more envelopingpoint of view. It must always remain an open question whether mystical statesmay not possibly be such superior points of view, windows through which themind looks out upon a more extensive and inclusive world.">
The present-day concepts of physics no longer contradict theexperience of the mystic but, on the other hand, find it more consistent withthe new insights into the nature of the physical world. This view has beenexpressed by many of the leading physicists of our time. "A rainbowdescribed in the symbolism of physics," writes Eddington, "is a bandof ethereal vibrations arranged in systemic order to wave-lengths from about.00004 centimeters to .000072 centimeters. From one point of view, we arepaltering with the truth whenever we admire the gorgeous bow of color, andshould strive to reduce our minds to such a state that we receive the sameimpression from the rainbow as from a table of wave-lengths. But although thatis how the rainbow impresses itself on an impersonal spectroscope, we are notgiving the whole truth and significance of experience--if we suppress thefactors wherein we ourselves differ from the spectroscope. We cannot say thatthe rainbow, as part of the world, was meant to convey the vivid effects ofcolor; but we can perhaps say that the human mind, as part of the world, wasmeant to perceive it that way."
Another eminent physicist, James Jeans write, "In morerecent times, Bertrand Russell has expressed what is essentially the sameargument in the words: 'So long as we adhere to the conventional notions ofmind and matter, we are condemned to a view of perception which is miraculous.We suppose that a physical process starts from a visible object, travels to theeye, there changes into another physical process, causes yet another physicalprocess in the optic nerve, and finally produces some effect in the brain,simultaneously with which we see the object from which the process started, theseeing being something "mental," totally different in character fromthe physical processes which precede and accompany it.' This view is so queerthat metaphysicians have invented all sorts of theories designed to substitutesomething less incredible...
"Everything that we can directly observe from the physicalworld happens inside our heads, and consists of mental events which form partof the physical world. The development of this point of view will lead us tothe conclusion that the distinction between mind and matter is illusory. Thestuff of the world may be called physical or mental or both or neither as weplease; in fact the words serve no purpose."
"Even if the two entities which we have hithertodescribed," continues Jeans, "as mind and matter are of the samegeneral nature, there remains the question as to which is the more fundamentalof the two. Is mind only a by-product of matter, as the materialists claimed?Or is it, as Berkeley claimed, the creator and controller of matter?
"Before the latter alternative can be seriously considered,some answer must be found to the problem of how objects can continue to existwhen they are not being perceived in any human mind. There must, as Berkeleysays, be 'some other mind in which they exist.' Some still wish to describethis, with Berkeley, as the mind of God; others with Hegel as a universal orAbsolute mind in which all our individual minds are comprised. The new quantummechanics may perhaps give a hint, although nothing more than a hint, as to howthis can be."
"It seems, at least, conceivable," Jeans adds,"That what is true of perceived objects may also be true of perceivingminds; just as there are wave-pictures for light and electricity, so there maybe a corresponding picture for consciousness. When we view ourselves in spaceand time, our consciousness is obviously the separate individuals of aparticle-picture, but when we pass beyond space and time, they may perhaps formingredients of a single continuous stream of life. As it is with light andelectricity, so it may be with life; the phenomena may be individuals carryingon separate existences in space and time, while in the deeper reality beyondspace and time we may all be members of one body. In brief, modern physics isnot altogether antagonistic to an objective idealism like that of Hegel."
I know it will be hard for me to make myself understood, as Itread on unmapped territory in the effort to bring into focus in the province ofreligion and science both, a vital element that has been ignored so far,namely, the center of life in the body, that is the brain. Since the organ isindispensable for all our activity and even existence in the human form, it isinconceivable that our consciousness can take a leap beyond its normalperiphery without affecting its substance in any way. There is no historicalprecedent of a higher animal, say a horse, ever attaining the mental stature ofa human being, and co-mingling with other humans on a basis of equality. Howcan it then be possible for a human being to consort with gods without somekind of change in the brain? Those who long for self-awareness, clairvoyantgifts, miraculous powers, communication with the spirit world, encounters withmasters, or adventures in the occult realm would do well to give secondthoughts to their cherished dream. The world did not produce another Christ orBuddha, Vyasa or Socrates, Plato or Mohammed, Rumi or Shankaracharya, Francisof Assisi or any other great mystic or master of the occult, because themystery of the part played by the brain in these accomplishments remainsunsolved so far. The aim of this writing is to make this hidden knowledgeaccessible to humanity.
I am confident of my stand, as a psychological cathartic isnecessary to crown the revolution caused by science, and its off-spring,technology, in human life and thought. Without this psychological climax,mankind will continue to move in the accustomed groove and utilize theresources of the earth and also of her fertile intellect only to enhance andsatisfy her physical needs as she is virtually doing now. Her most pressingneed at the moment is to become aware of the spiritual goal planned for her bynature and the methods to attain it. Once this knowledge is gained and theunmatched splendor of the crown destined for her realized, no efforts ofpharisees or saddusees, who thrive on the credulity and nativity of humanbeings, can make the race deviate from the course.
A tidal wave of skepticism, doubt and disbelief, symbolized bythe materialist ideology, is sweeping over the earth, not because Satan and theAnti-Christ have become dominant nor because it is Kali-Yuga of the Indianmythology, but because the time for a further elaboration and enrichment of thereligious creeds and spiritual ideals of mankind has come. Like a cocoon, manweaves a tough sheet of dogma around himself to lie inert and passive untilnature tears it open with a revolution to allow him freedom. But he soon startsto weave it afresh in the newly introduced pattern of life or thought to entombhimself once again. This is true not only of religion but also of politicalorders, social customs, educational systems, even scientific institutions andother long-standing ideas and beliefs. It is easier, sometimes, to bore atunnel through a mountain than to break open the shell which the conservativeelement in human nature builds around itself.
To believe that the universe consists of only those elements andforces that are perceptible to our senses or detected by our instruments is tobelie the latest assessments of science. The very size and the extent of theUniverse, the new formations discovered in the sky and the problems created bythem, the marvels of the ultra-microscopic world and the possibility of evensuperior types of life in other parts of the Cosmos provide more thansufficient material to make it clear that the creation round us is too complex,too vast and too full of unsolved riddles to make us complacent about the factthat what our senses perceive or minds apprehend is all that exists in it. Suchan attitude of mind at this stage of our knowledge can only emanate from onenot in touch with the progress of today.
Written by: Gopi Krishna
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