Dr. D.K. Satsangi
It has been recognised that human mind is capable of two kinds of knowledge or two modes of consciousness which have often been termed as the rational and intuitive. In the West the intuitive or mystical knowledge is often devalued in favour of rational or scientific knowledge, whereas traditional Eastern attitude is in general just the opposite. But the principal task of both the science and mysticism remains the same as obvious by statement of a Scientist and a Mystic. “I consider science an integrating part of our endeavor to answer the one great philosophical question who are we? And more than that: I consider this not only one of the tasks, but the task of science, the only one that really counts.” -Erwin Schrödinger “Thou art thyself the object of thy search” -H.P. Blavatsky The realm of rational or scientific knowledge is of course the realm of intellect which measures and quantifies, analyses and classifies. Thus we construct an intellectual map of reality in which things are reduced to their general outlines, which is typical of our thinking and speaking. Further because our representation of reality is so much easier to grasp than reality itself, we tend to confuse the two and take our concept for the reality. But the map cannot be the territory. One of the famous aphorisms of Professor Einstein conveys the same idea. “As far as the laws of mathematics refer to reality they are not certain and as far as they are certain they do not refer to reality.” -Albert Einstein. In a Scientific experiment the observer is an integral part in the process of observation and cannot be separated from it. Our world view is a construction of the human mind, an interplay between nature and ourselves as obvious by the statement of Camiline fammarion-
” What comes from sun?.., it is not heat which is scattered through space for the temperature of the space is and remains everywhere glacial it is not light, for space has constantly the darkness seen at mid-night. It is motion, a rapid vibration of the ether which is transmitted to infinity, and does not produce a perceptible effect until it meets with an we construct an intellectual map of reality in which things are reduced to their general outlines, which is typical of our thinking and speaking. Further because our representation of reality is so much easier to grasp than reality itself, we tend to confuse the two and take our concept for the reality. Obstacle which transforms it according to its nature.” Thus when these vibrations fall on our retina, it perceives them as light.
But we know that human eye is capable of perceiving only seven colours or vibrations leaving millions of vibrations coming from the sun unperceived, therefore, the reality of light perceived by us pertains more to the structure of our Retina than the reality of these vibrations themselves. The patterns scientist observe in nature are intimately connected with the patterns of their minds, with their concepts, thoughts and values the claim of value free science is questionable The results of most of the scientific experiments are not directly perceived by the human consciousness but through an instrument or apparatus e.g., movement of sub-atomic particle is recorded as a click on Geiger Muller counter. Therefore, such an observation is merely a reflection of the result of interaction between the particle and the apparatus rather than the reality of the particle itself Because of this critical limitation of science leading to gross error in the perception of reality, one of the main aims of Eastern Mysticism is to rid us of this confusion and to aim at the direct experience of reality which transcends the intellectual thinking. This experience is entirely a non intellectual experience of reality, an experience arising in non ordinary state of consciousness when thinking mind is silenced and awareness is shifted from rational to the intuitive mode of consciousness. This produces an extraordinary awareness where reality is experienced in a direct way without filter of conceptual thinking. Scientists are also familiar with this direct intuitive insight because every discovery originates in such a non verbal flash. The intellect has little to do on the road to discovery, then comes a leap in consciousness, call it intuition or what you will, and solution comes to you, and you do not know how and why” Albert Einstein Because of this critical limitations of human senses in the perception of absolute reality, the main aim of mystic has been to transcend the consciousness from the intellectual to the intuitive sphere of awareness and to remain there for longer and longer period of time. The process in essence comprises of three stages i.e. concentration, contemplation and meditation. In the first stage, scattered consciousness is concentrated at one point by magnifying glass or lens become intense. Maintenance of consciousness in the localized field for a long time spontaneously results into constant flow of consciousness towards that object. This state is termed as state of contemplation.
Constant practice of contemplation leads to the state of meditation or Samadhi. In this state the consciousness of the observer becomes one with the object. These three stages of concentration, contemplation and meditation are collectively termed as Samyama. By performing Samyama on various phenomena of nature Mystics of East have amassed invaluable knowledge about the reality behind the Universe which is treasured in the ancient Hindu and Buddhist scriptures. Both the intuitive and rational knowledge are not opposite but rather complementary to each other. So says Don Juan-“My predilection is to see because only by seeing can a man of knowledge The intellect has little to do on the road to discovery, then comes a leap in consciousness, call it intuition or what you will, and solution comes to you, and you do not know how and why know.” When we turn to the olden times with reverence and with pride here as in every other ancient land, mysticism and science were wedded together. There was no discord between intelligence and spirit.
But later in the Western world the science of older time disappeared in the great flood of barbaric invasion from the East and North sweeping over the European continent bringing out ignorance, with the result the religion became dogmatic and looked at science with hostility. Copernicus had to face the fury of religious bigotry when he proclaimed the helio-centric revolution of earth and planet around the sun. Galileo had to suffer similar fate when he gave out his results of experiments on foreign bodies from leaning tower of Pisa. Every one of us who stand on the side of religion should realize the hostility which was caused and justified by the cruelty lead by dogmatic religion out science when she was young and feeble. Thus came the divorce between science and religion.
The general philosophy for an inductive approach to the investigation of the laws of nature was laid by Francis Bacon. According to him scientist must work with open mind relying strictly on facts based on impartial observation and careful experiment without an pre-conceived notion imposed by tradition, religion, or philosophy. – With the discoveries of Universal law of gravitation by Newton, laws of planetary motion by Kepler Laplace and the theory of determinism by Decarte, the scientific method was firmly established. It maintained that this was the only valid approach to knowledge. Motives or claims to intuitive perception were rejected out of the scientific discourse.
Scientists omitted any reference to cosmic universal principal or God. It was accepted that matter alone was ultimate reality and sensory perception the only source of knowledge and truth. Mind or intelligence were taken as chemical by-products of some random arrangements of molecules, lucky accidents of evolution. The universe was considered a grand mechanical system composed of elementary building blocks, wherein all living organisms, plants, animals and even human beings were simply machines governed by the laws of mechanics. Human values were discarded and knowledge for the sake of knowledge became the venerated dictum of the scientific domain, believing that the growth of knowledge and comforts will ultimately lead to human happiness. This classical mechanics met with great success. It explains the basic feature of the solar system, motion of planets, satellite and comets, flow of tide and other phenomenon. The picture of the Universe running according to Newton’s law was believed to be the ultimate theory of natural phenomenon. The 92 atoms of periodic table were final building block or the material Universe. The classical Newtonian physics, however, faced a serious challenge in the 19th Century. With the discovery of the radio-active disintegration of atoms indicating that the atoms taken to be final bricks were further divisible into electron, proton and neutron, it was found that these particles do not obey Newton’s law of motion. At subatomic level cause and effects are not fundamental. Individual single subatomic event are said to be un-caused they occur randomly and can only be understood when gigantic number of them are considered in aggregate.
The A scientist cannot proceed without the aid of intuition and that religion without science is lame and science without religion is blind. concept of conservation of matter completely changed and matter and energy were found to be inter-convertible, Sharp distinction between space and matter is fading. The idea of external linear flowing time, time which can be divided into an absolute past, present and future that are the same for all observers has been broken down. The idea of absolute space and time is broken down and now space, matter, energy, and void are seen not only inter-related but fundamentally one. In the words of Fritz off Capra-“Modern physics has today radically revised the classical concept of matter. This concept of matter in sub-atomic physics is totally different from the traditional material substance in the classical physics. The same is true for the concepts like space, time or cause and effect. With the radical transformation caused by these concepts our whole world view has begun to change.
Modern science is astonished to realise that these changes seem to lead in the. Same direction towards the view of world which is very similar in view held in eastern mysticism.” The intense scientific materialism of 19th century started evaporating slowly and steadily, bringing modern physics in close embrace of the intuitional or mystical knowledge. Professor Einstein repeatedly declared that a scientist cannot proceed without the aid of intuition and that religion without science is lame and science without religion is blind. The atom was found to be composed of three sub atomic particles which are stable e.g. electron, proton and neutron. But it is now believed that these particles are not the final building units of atom but are themselves composed to quarks. Nature of quarks is disputable – as in some experiments they behave as matter and in others as energy. In some experiments they are found to be behaving as energy in one stage of experiment; and as matter in other stages of the same experiment. If this is the fact then reality behind the material universe is a careless flow of energy.
This world view is very much similar to the Vedic, view which declares that mind; energy and matter are the different stages of one fundamental principle called Brahman only varying in its degree of subtlety. The collision and inter action of the sub atomic particles in the bubble chamber is a very exciting and fascinating study in which the processes of creation, destruction and transformation of matter can be seen at first hand. Bubble chamber photograph shows that an electron colliding with its anti particle a positron, completely annihilate themselves and pass into oblivion. Quite often a pair of electron and positron appears into the scene created out of nothing, slow moving heavy particles may disintegrate into a number of lighter and mass less particles. On the other hand a fast moving lighter particle may change after collision into slow moving heavy particles.
Thousands of such experiments in the Bubble chamber at the sub atomic level establish a constant transmutation of one form of matter into another, creation of one form of matter from nothing and quite often merging into nothingness. Virtual particles whose life is only infinitesimal part of seconds appear from nothingness and disappear into the space. The sharp distinction between matter and space fades away. Buddhists present the same picture by saying that the ultimate reality Sunyata’- emptiness is not nothingness but is a living void which gives birth to all forms in the Space….is void orally to the finite mind and one on that of mayavic perception, that is plenum, the absolute container of all is, whether manifested or unmanifested. ft is that absolute all phenomenal and other say-” The Tao is empty and formless but it has; the potentiality of containing infinity of things. In the Isis Unveiled Madam Blavatsky says-“Space._ is void only to the finite mind and one on that of mayavic perception, that is plenum, the absolute container of all is, whether manifested or unrnanifested. It is that absolute all) 1 Classical Newtonian physics was based on the concept that space was always at rest.
Unchangeable absolute void in which material objects were moving about without any interaction with it. There was also absolute time, a smooth temporal stream moving with identical speed all over the Universe without regard to anything or without being affected by any event. All physical events were traced to small, solitary indivisible and indestructible particle moving about in space under the force of gravity. The picture has completely changed in the modern physics. The transformation was brought about in the field theories. Electric field is a condition of space around an electrically charged body which will exercise force on any other charge in the space. Similarly magnetic fields are produced by charges in motion which will affect magnetic object or moving charges, which the movement of that space. In modern thinking there has been a significant shift from interaction of material particles among themselves to constant interaction between material particles and the force fields around them. In Einstein quantum field theory, quantum field is seen as a force structure which is present every where in space. Particles are merely local condensation of this field. Concentration of energy is subjected to a dynamic change, a change of flux i.e. matter dissolving into the underlying field or being created by localization of field energy. In the words of Professor Albert Einstein-“We may therefore regard matter being constituted by the region of space in which the field is extremely intense there is no place in this new kind of physics both for the field and the matter, for the field is the only reality.
This interpretation of modern physics is totally paralleled by that of Eastern Mystics. In Isis Unveiled Madam H.P. Blavatsky speak of space as the unknown first cause the foundation of all forms and also the Universal solvent. In the Secret Doctrine it has been said “this is not one finger breadth of void space in the whole boundless.” In Chinese thought there developed a notion of cosmic principle known as CHI. which has striking resemblance to the quantum field. In the words of Chaing Tseu-“The great void cannot but consists of CHI- the CHI cannot but condense to form all things, and these things cannot but become dispersed so as to form (one more) the great void”. The void or empty space is only an illusion, a continuation of the human mind, because the capacity of our senses-brain-mind system to see the world is extremely limited. In ordinary life what we cannot see we call it void or space. In this theory of relativity Professor Einstein has stated that every thing in the Universe is in a state of relative motion and there is nothing like absolute rest. The researches have amply confirmed that at every level from spiral nebulae to the minutest particle the electrons or protons everything is in a state of perpetual motion. No Motion means so existence. The Sanskrit word JAGAT connotes born of The void or empty space is only an illusion, a continuation of the human mind, because the capacity of our senses-brain-mind system to see the world is extremely limited. In ordinary life what we cannot see we call it void or space, motion.
Modern Physics emphasises that inter-connection of things and events seem to be a fundamental feature of the physical body. The observer is essentially a participator in the process of observation. In Eastern Mysticism the Universal Interwovenness includes human observer and his consciousness. The VEDAS speak of Brahman unthinkable and indescribable as the unifying thread in the cosmic web. This general review of the concept of modern physics reveals a basic inter-connectedness of matter energy space and time. The elementary particles in the sub atomic region are dynamic processes rather than distinct entities. Physicists have come to see that all their laws or concepts are conceptual models, construction of the human mind and of limited applicability. It has not been possible to find a unified field theory in which all types of forces gravitational, electromagnetic and nuclear are covered. The postulate of a primal cosmic intelligence in nature remains unexplored, though there is a wide measure of agreement that knowledge is heading towards non physical cosmic intelligence principle. Some eminent Physicists have started thinking of including the nature of human consciousness in to their realm of integrated research. Perhaps in these trends which are bringing science and mysticism closer lies the possibility to answer the great philosophical question “WHO ARE WE”? Though • several eminent physicists strongly believe that there is a Central role for the mind in the unfolding of what we call as physical reality yet there are still physicists who believe that human consciousness plays no role whatsoever in the elaboration of reality, and that some day the deterministic world of Newton will once again be restored when physics undergoes further clarification. In the words of EUGENE WIGNER a Nobelist in Physics-“The most important phenomena not dealt with by our physical theories are those of life and consciousness even if the physical theories could completely describe the motions of the atoms in our body, they would not give a picture of the content of our consciousness, they would not tell us whether we experience pain or pleasure this fact is in my opinion the most obvious but also the most convincing evidence, that life and consciousness are outside the area of present day physics”. The Eastern Mysticism consistently refers to the underlying cosmic reality which manifests itself in infinite forms and in which every thing lives, moves, and has its being.
This ultimate reality is known as Brahman in, Vedic tradition, Dhammakaya in Buddhism and Tao in Chinese thought. The matter, energy, mind, spirit, intuition are different presentation of this one fundamental principle. Probably in these ancient traditions lies the answer of the great philosophical question WHO ARE WE? And many more like “Is the life merely results of some lucky chemical reaction or there is a purpose behind its creation?” “Is this Universe a planned creation or merely has come into existence by chance?” etc. SANKHYA philosophy says that the entire Universe is composed of one fundamental reality called BRAHMAN which is distributed in the entire Universe in varying degree of subtlity and is in a state of ceaseless flow or motion. The .formation and dissolution of The Atma or individual consciousness is merely a contracted or centralized form of Universal consciousness. Even though he is nothing but pure consciousness, this is obscured by the mental world of the individual which fills it. Forms are only the result of this constant motion i.e. why the forms are changing every moment. This ceaseless motion is not a purposeless to and fro movement but is well planned and well organized in particular direction. This motion is constantly taking the entire Universe towards a definite goal and is therefore termed as evolution. The process of evolution is taking place at every level in the physical forms and in their consciousn6s. The evolution of BRAHMAN is the journey of consciousness from subtler to subtler unto the subtlest level the divine consciousness its supreme GOAL.
Pratiya Bijna Hirdayam says- “Citisamknocatms cetano ‘pi samkucita-visvamayah.’ The ultimate reality in its chit aspect or as Universal consciousness being absolute independent and self-contained is ultimate cause of manifestation and brings a manifested system to its appointed consummation. This reality emerging as divine power by her own independent will unfolds the manifested Universe on the screen of her own consciousness. “Citisamknocatma Cetano SAMKUCITA-VISVAMAYAH’. The Atma or individual consciousness is merely a contracted or centralised form of Universal consciousness. Even though he is nothing but pure consciousness, this is obscured by the mental world of the individual which fills it
TA T- PA RH NANE CITTAM EVA .4NTARIVIUCKHINHAVENA CETANAPADADHYAROH AT CITIH”.
But the individual mind by piercing inwards towards its Central source can be made to ft’ revert to the State of pure consciousness and thus by acquiring knowledge of it becomes the reality itself Accading to the Vedic tradition the manifested Universe runs its course which is present in the divine mind and unfolds according to the divine ideation which take place in the divine mind. It is only when consciousness of an individual is able to contact the divine mind that it becomes aware of the working of the divine mind and knows the splendor of the inner reality which is hidden on the spiritual – plains behind the apparently purposeless and chaotic form of the physical Universe. Science seeing only this outer shell, and being unaware of the existence of these inner realities, naturally sees the Universe only as a fortuitous concourse of atoms, or a chaotic expression of energy in multifarious forms. Its theories about the nature and origin of the Universe are, therefore, likely to be away from the reality because they are based upon extremely limited data and uncertain and arbitrary assumptions. Speaking about these inner realities Kathopnishad says-
“INDRIABHYA PARA ARTHA, ARTHEBHYASCH PARAIVI MANAH MANASTU PARA BUDDHI, BUDDHERATMA MAHAN PARA MAHATA PA RAM AVYAKTAM, TAD PURUSHA PA RA PURUSHANN PARAMKINCHITSA, KASTHA SA PARAGATL”
Subtler to the senses are their impressions and subtler to them is the mind. Subtler to the mind is buddhi or intuition and subtler to intuition is Attna or spirit. Subtler to spirit are unmanifested Logos and subtler to them is Purushah or God. And what is beyond Purushah? There is nothing beyond Purushah. He is the end He is the final goal.
” YA CCHEDWAMANSI PRAGYA TAD ICCHAE GYANATMANI GYANAM ATMANI MAHATI NIH ICCHAE TAD ICCHAT ICCHAMAM ATMANI”
Let this consciousness The greatest need of today is to bring science and mysticism together, in order to explore the reality of life, to find out the right path for the humanity and to bring a profound change in our world view from mechanistic conception to a holistic and ecological view in order to get us rid of the present world crisis and to create an environment in which not only entire humanity but all lives on this planet can grow and evolve holistically. Therefore rise from the senses to the mind from mind to the buddhi or intuition, from buddhi to the Atma or spirit and finally to purushah or God. It is obvious that solemn purpose of the consciousness is its evolution from subtler to subtler unto the subtlest level, Purushah. Eastern wisdom speaks of attaining this Goal through strict discipline, constant efforts to stop gradually the activity of thinking mind and trying to perceive absolute reality. Patanjali’s Astaang yoga comprising of self restraints fixed observances, posture, regulation of breath, abstraction, concentration, contemplation and meditation and Buddhas noble eight fold path comprising of right understanding, right attitude, right action, right livelihood, right right right are two such right efforts, concentration, contemplation, meditation disciplines or paths. This general review of the concepts of the science and Eastern mysticism, reveals the basic that while Eastern mysticism always keeps the basic purpose of life in mind before deciding the path for the mankind the science unfortunately does not bother to take such care. This is why today our progress has been largely rational or intellectual affairs only the intuitive knowledge is largely devalued in the favour of rational knowledge. This one sided development has reached highly alarming stage and has thrown us in a state of profound world wide crisis.
It is a complex multi-dimensional crisis, our economy, technology and politics. It is crisis of intellectual, moral and spiritual dimensions, the scale and urgency of which is unprecedented in recorded human history. With the stock piling of thousands of nuclear weapons enough to destroy the world several times over, we for the first time have to face the very real threat of extinction of human race and all lives on this planet. The greatest need of today is to bring science and mysticism together, in order to explore the reality of life, to find out the right path for the humanity and to bring a profound change in our world view from mechanistic conception to a holistic and ecological view in which not only entire humanity order to get us rid of the but all lives on this planet can present world crisis and to grow and evolve holistically create an environment in.
(The writer was Former President Delhi Theosophical Federation The Theosophical Society)