Many of you might have felt that life is very complex, surrounded by so many mysteries, although in our day-to-day life, we don’t have time to think about them. Yet, there are moments, when we suddenly start wondering, how this universe came into being. Was there anything before the universe originated? If yes, then what was that? We also sometimes wonder why we die one day. What happens to us after we die?
Another category of questions that may sometimes baffle us include, what is the real purpose of life? What is our ultimate goal? What kind of journey can take us towards that goal?
There may be a long list of such questions. The dilemma, however, is that even though we are living in the Post-modern Era, there are no conclusive answers to these questions yet! Social thinkers admit that they are dissatisfied with the inadequacy of logic and reason, in explaining life in totality. Scientists have also been facing a similar frustrating situation ever since the discovery of the subatomic particles which are also called as the Elementary Particles. The best example of these Elementary Particles are Electrons in an atom. These smallest units of matter do not follow the established Laws of Physics. The core principles of science, which are the accuracy of measurement and the exact reproducibility of those measurements, no longer hold good in case of these elementary particles whose behavior defies logic.
Another strange thing is that these particles suddenly start behaving like an energy wave in certain circumstances. Similarly, an energy wave, in some situations, starts to behave like a stream of particles similar in size to the elementary particles. Each particle in a wave is actually a small bundle of energy, called a quantum of energy or Photon, which behaves like a particle of matter, like an Electron. It is something very unusual for scientists since in Classical Physics, matter and wave are two distinct entities!
A new branch of Physics, called the Quantum Physics, had to be formulated to describe the weird behavior of these elementary particles. Scientists have proposed several theories to explain this strange behavior of the elementary particles, but none has been experimentally tested so far. Physics has, thus, temporarily become metaphysics!
Both social thinkers and scientists have no choice but to accept the ambiguity, which means that they are either okay with accepting no explanation or more than one explanation of a puzzling situation.
Apart from the dilemma posed by this wave-particle duality of Quantum Physics, another major puzzling situation facing the scientists is the lack of a satisfactory explanation for the creation of the universe. The proposed Big Bang Theory, which I will cover in detail in my later episode, has not been able to provide the suitable answers to several puzzling questions.
While the search for the right answers is still on, I want to draw your attention to an ancient knowledge which seems to solve these puzzles. It is the wisdom contained in the Ancient Indian Texts called the Vedas. They are the huge reservoir of complete knowledge. By complete knowledge I mean that it comprises both, the knowledge pertaining to the physical world as well as the philosophy of the non-physical or transcendental reality. All ambiguities start disappearing when we make use of this Vedic philosophy and try to combine it with the scientific knowledge.
Vedas declare that there exists a Consciousness of Cosmic proportions which creates and controls the universe, while it stays on a different plane than our universal plane.
However, before talking about the Cosmic Consciousness, let us try to understand what consciousness is. Have you ever seen an unconscious person? If yes, then you would have noticed that they are totally dysfunctional and are simply unaware of whatever is happening around them. This means that it is our consciousness which makes us aware of ourselves, our surroundings and enables us to be functional.
On the same analogy it can be argued that there is a Cosmic Consciousness behind the universe being functional, but here you can argue that most of the universe is not a living entity, so how can you talk about the Cosmic Consciousness? You may be surprised to know that the answer to this puzzling question is provided by the strange behavior of the elementary particles.
The behavior of these particles cannot be predicted. For example, the decay of an elementary particle cannot be foreseen. It may decay instantly or choose to decay after an unspecified time! This shows that the elementary particles do not behave as lifeless matter. They rather seem to possess consciousness which makes them to decide their own course of action! What is more surprising is that their consciousness is found to be interconnected. When a pair of elementary particles is created in an event, each particle in the pair seems to be linked to the other, even though they may be far apart with no connection between them. Actions performed on one of them invariably affect the other. This quantum phenomenon indicates that even the lifeless matter in the universe has an underlying interconnected consciousness which, however, is visible only at the micro level. This information seems to validate the Vedic concept of Cosmic Consciousness which should be the sum total of the consciousness of all the living beings as well as the consciousness of all the non-living matter.
Vedas further tell us that the human consciousness exists at several levels. It differs from person to person. As we move from lower to higher levels of consciousness, we switch from a self-centered outlook to a broad mindset where we start caring for our community, our nation and even for the entire humanity. Our narrow local worldview transforms into a wider universal worldview. Our mental horizons expand, transporting us to higher levels.
Vedas also tell us that life is a journey where we travel through different states of our consciousness until eventually our consciousness expands to become one with the Cosmic Consciousness. This journey of self-improvement is what I call a Subtle Journey, or an indiscernible journey, since this journey is our progression towards higher levels of human existence which cannot be perceived by others.
This journey is best undertaken through the technique of Meditation, along with its two vital parts of Yoga and Pranayama. Pranayama can be practiced by anyone with little effort. Yoga, however, involves physical postures that require some effort and discipline. These postures are very beneficial for our body. However, if your body somehow does not permit the practice of Yoga postures, you need not worry. Try to keep your body fit through other means of physical fitness. Yoga and Pranayama prepare the body for the journey which, however, is eventually undertaken mainly through the technique of Meditation. So, it is Meditation that is primary.
Meditation is normally practiced sitting on the ground on a slightly cushioned rug, preferably woolen. However, if you have difficulty sitting on the ground, you may practice it sitting on a chair or even on a bed.
As we begin this Subtle Journey by learning the philosophy of Meditation and by practicing the technique, the process starts taking us to the higher levels of awareness of ourselves and the universe. The inner mechanism behind this is that the Meditation technique causes the activation and balancing of our Chakras, which are the energy centers in our inner *energy body. I will be talking about them later. All our Chakras, starting with our initial Chakra at the root of our spinal cord, to our highest Crown Chakra at the head, where the Consciousness resides, start getting activated. We start moving from bad Karma to good Karma, from our narrow mental horizon to a broader one. We eventually realize our full potential when our consciousness expands to become one with the Cosmic Consciousness.
Narsingh Saxena is a Scientist, turned Management Consultant, who is now a Scholar of the Philosophy of Vedas and a practitioner of Vedic Meditation.