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Evolution of Consciousness in Past and Future

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(This article is also posted under Science > Biology > Evolution)

 

What is Consciousness?

The 17th century French-Dutch philosopher René Descartes has become famous by formulating the phrase: Cogito ergo sum – I think so I exist. Let us analyze this statement. Does he mean to say that if he would not have been thinking, he would not have existed? Or did he mean that if he would not have been thinking, he would perhaps have existed, but he would not know? In both interpretations he apparently identifies thinking with being conscious. Is that correct? It would mean that all beings who cannot think (as we humans do) do not exist, or that they exist but do not know it themselves.  That would imply that plants and animals who cannot think, either do not exist at all, or they do exist, but don’t know it. But we all know that beings who do not think (self-consciously, as we do) have feelings. Human beings also have feelings. So would it not have been more correct to say: “I feel so I exist”? But feeling is regarded as a sense, just like sight, hearing, tasting and perhaps more.  Naturally there must be something which is behind the senses which is the perceiver. This “something” only uses the senses.  It would have been better if he had said: “I perceive so I exist”.  Such a statement includes all living beings – unless living beings exist who do not perceive.  If there would be beings who do not perceive, does that necessarily mean that they have no consciousness? In other words, could consciousness be completely self-enclosed, could there be beings completely knowledgeable about themselves without outer perception and without outer existence? Is there consciousness beyond existence?

The greatest teachers of humankind have taught us that there can be only One Being, not two. This was taught in the Yoga Vasishtha, later by Śankarāchārya, and also so by many Islamic and Christian mystics. Therefore the universe can never be split in two parts: conscious and non-conscious. If we put it in the Cartesian phrase we would say: “I am conscious so I exist.”  This needs further analysis. Can we also turn it around and say:  “I exist so I am conscious”? In other words: Is everything that exists indeed conscious?

 

Is Consciousness a Production of Physical Matter?

Let us wait awhile before answering this question whether everything that exists is conscious. Let us first investigate whether consciousness is universal, or a limited property within existence. In modern western science the general belief among most scientists seems to be that consciousness is a by-product of material evolution. Early forms of existence, like minerals, viruses, prokaryotic organisms, and eukaryotes up to perhaps even plants are supposed to be devoid of consciousness. According to this view consciousness is a function of physical matter, the result of structures and properties of complex organic molecules or molecular processes. But within the western world itself this standpoint is long being criticized, stating that the processes of consciousness, including mind, emotion, mystic experience, spiritual intuition, the recognition of beauty, truth and righteousness, joy and sorrow, are too subtle to be carried by relatively big and slow entities like molecules. This does not exclude that molecules with their surrounding energy fields influence consciousness – nevertheless consciousness itself seems to be of a more subtle nature than physical matter. Also it has become clear that consciousness is apparent in plants (thanks, among others, to Sir Jagadish Chandra Bose), and even one-celled beings, who have been shown to have light perception, a equivalent of a nervous system within their protoplasm, and with the use of these make choices according to apparent preference, as extensively discussed by Albrecht-Buehler[1] on his website, in other words, even from a scientific point of view consciousness exists far beyond the human kingdom.

Then we should not forget that in the field of scientific psychology and parapsychology there exists a tremendous quantity of proof of the existence of consciousness and conscious entities after death. There is a big amount of reports on near-death experiences, out-of-the body experiences, detailed descriptions of clairvoyants and other people with psychic abilities, and of memories of former incarnations. Such memories could not exist if there was not “something” that carried the information in between one incarnation and the next.

Such findings and conclusions can, within the framework of physical inductive science, never go further than what is directly or indirectly perceptible by our sense organs.

The ancient (and more recent) teachings of spiritual teachers depart from the opposite direction. The spiritual teachers have, by going the inner path, and by initiation into and appreciation of the worlds of more subtle matter than physical matter, step by step acquired knowledge of all these worlds or lokas or bhūmis, and ultimately they have gained true knowledge of the spiritual essence of each being, which is named the real Self or Essence, or Ātman.  Many millennia ago such people known as the ṛṣis who wrote the Ṛgveda – the oldest known manuscript of humankind – stated that “Desire (Kāma) first arose in IT. “It” means the unmanifest world as it was before the emanation of our world, or any world. It was the desire to bring about existence that was and is the driving force beyond existence and evolution and creation. It is this same desire which, during the whole of every being’s long pilgrimage, drives them forth to every new step on their path. Desire is a form of consciousness. The conclusion is clear: Existence itself derives from consciousness.  That desire arose even before any manifestation took place which was the beginning of our universe. Before the “big bang” – if such a phenomena ever occurred (which I tend not to believe) there was Consciousness. This means logically that consciousness is older than existence, and remains conscious after the dissolution of existence apart from its active presence during existence.  Consciousness therefore, is universal, eternal, omnipresent and all-pervading. There is but One Consciousness.

 

The Universality of Mind and Desire

What is true for Desire, is also true for Cosmic Mind or Mahat. As soon as there is desire, there must be a distinction, a duality, between that what desires and that which is desired. We can read, for example, in the Vishnu Purāṇa, which contains the summarized essence of all Hindu Puranas, that Mahat was one of the earliest developments in the universe, before the creation of the Egoness (ahaṁkara), the elements and the senses[2]. Desire can only take place towards a desired object – which means that the illusion or māyā of duality of subject and object much be created. The faculty which creates duality and distinction is called Mind – Mahat, as cosmic divine intelligence and manas, as it is reflected in the human nature and elsewhere.

The Mind is the great penetrator of the existing cosmos. It is the power to direct itself towards every object and look at it from different angles. It has the power to speculate, to reflect upon the real nature of the object. But in order to do so, mind is also the creator of apparent limits, of apparent separation and of apparent plurality. Mind, manas or Mahat, produces māyā – literally ‘that which can be measured,’ that is, that which seems limited between a beginning and an end. Māyā is that what can be thought. In reality there are no limits, no beginnings and no ends, because these so-called beginnings and ends themselves have been created and are destroyed and recreated by something which is beyond limitation – that which is Universal, or Brahm. In its higher aspect, the mind knows that. It is in essence one with Buddhi – which does not separate. That means that before Desire arose, Mind – or rather Buddhi, [the minds progenitor and the distinguishing vehicle or vāhana of Ātman], must have existed, and also the Will and the potential of the energies to bring about that which was desired; and also the material of which existence in all its forms had to be built.  Because there is only One, as the highest mystics and initiates state, matter and spirit are not different, but just aspects of One-and-the-same eternal universal Being.

So the mind is the instrument of perception, to which the other senses are subject.

It means that Descartes and the philosophers and scientists in his wake who believed and believe that consciousness as limited to particular organisms and a particular period of evolution are fundamentally wrong, That implies that every further conclusion in which the concept of consciousness has been involved must be incorrect. Scientists may however interject that there is no proof for the existence of universal consciousness. Only humans and some of the most developed animals show proof of having a mind and consciousness. Nevertheless this scientific belief is of no more than an assumed value. If the universality of consciousness were assumed in the same status as nowadays the non-universality of consciousness is assumed, this would make no difference for their observations; no observations contradicts this axiom of the universality of consciousness.  On the other hand many observation which cannot be explained to satisfaction, could be explained by acceptance, at least as a hypothesis, of this great axiom found by those regarded as the Wise ones.

 

What is ‘unconsciousness?’

Another objection of scientists in this regard may be something very obvious: “What about unconsciousness?” Every evening when we go to sleep we lose consciousness, and apart from some occasional dream periods, we seem to have no consciousness until the next day. We spend perhaps a quarter of our lives in unconsciousness. So then what about the universality of consciousness, if even we ourselves during our very life spend many hours in unconsciousness?  This seems to be a strong point from the point of the scientists. The answer to this question needs some occult-philosophical investigation. Therefore we have to dive into the processes of the universe and of all forms of life, including the human species.

In the first place, is un-consciousness the same as non-consciousness? This questions has been studied and answered in India Millennia ago. The Yoga Vasiṣṭa as well as Śankarācārya have made clear that there are (at least) four consciousnesses possible for a human being. They are jagrat (daily waking consciousness), svapna, the consciousness during our sleep [and of which we sometimes remember some dreams which are mostly reflections of the more superficial aspects of svapna], as a third is mentioned suṣupti, the consciousness of deep sleep, and fourth there is the consciousness called turīya, literally the Fourth. These states, according to Yoga Vasiṣṭa as well as modern theosophical teaching are the same as those we experience during the cycle of life and death. Sleep and death are brothers, said Plato, the Greek philosopher of almost 2500 years ago, or indeed identical, as stated in modern theosophical literature.

Then why don’t we remember our nights during the day, and our consciousness between death and rebirth during our earthly life? Well, if we would, we could not concentrate on our present duty, which is to experience and evolve the realm or loka of physical matter. It is a wise provision of Nature. The Great Compassion – which has been called the Law of laws – has urged us to descend to this level to help it, to further evolve it.  We ourselves are both the Great Compassion in our higher essence, and the disciple  of the Compassionate Guru is our lower consciousnesses.  But in future we will function on all levels of existence. It is just a matter of training, of high thinking and patience with all who are slower than we ourselves. Most of us, including myself, have not learnt to function in a controlled way in the realms beyond our waking consciousness. Neither has science, even psychology so far understood much of these states of consciousness. In fact what happens when we fall asleep or die is that we are unable to consciously bridge the gap between the jagrat state and the svapna state, or our physical and astral consciousness. Directly after death and sleep we become unconsiousness for a short while, only to reawaken in the svapna or astral state, and somewhat later, after a comparable lapse of awareness, we reawaken in the suṣupti state of dreamless sleep. Dreamless however, only means that facet of consciousness that is so subtle that it cannot be remembered in our waking state, in which we are limited by the use of our coarse physical brain. In fact, as we are taught in the scriptures, this state of suṣupti, which corresponds to the heavenly state between death and birth, is more alive and more true and less illusionary than our waking or physical consciousness. It is that stage in which our desires have come to rest, our physical concerns have been forgotten. There the more subtle and higher parts of our mind work and fancy freely, unhindered by the limitations of physical and astral molecules (astral molecules are the building stones of the bodies of invisible entities which present themselves in our consciousness as desires and passions]. For our brain minds it is the state of rest during sleep or death. The turīya state is too subtle for us to understand, and only the greatest of yogi’s can willingly enter turīya-samadhi.

The temporary unconsciousness during the transition (or death) from one stage of consciousness into the other is due to a protective veil which was formed during human evolution by compassionate nature to protect us. We just would not be able to bear the shock of the transition, it is said. Even in our daily lives we can hardly bear emotional shocks and confrontations with truth. Nevertheless it is the future duty of each and every human being to rent these veils to pieces and to learn to function freely and without interruption in all stages. Then we have reached immortality – even though our physical and astral bodies continue to die and being rebuilt. Conscious IS. Consciousness as such is One, unbroken, and eternal. Consciousness was there before our birth, and before the creation of humanity, or even our planet, solar system, galaxy or even singularities, etc.

Here is where lies the key to the future development of consciousness of humanity and of each of us.

 

Creation

So all beings and phenomena as we know them are the presentations to our consciousness by the mind which reflects on them and looks at them. In that sense the mind is the creator of our world. Each individual world. My world is not exactly the same as your world, or anyone else’s world. Still, much of our understanding is common good. We can understand each other and communicate our thought. So mind alone is not the ultimate creator. Mind is rather the reflector, the speculator, the partial creator of our world.

Our individual minds are the production of the Cosmic Mind or Mahat. And it must be clear that it is Mahat which ‘creates’ the phenomena on which our individual minds can speculate. So would it be correct to say that Mahat is the Ultimate Creator? Certainly not. Who or what would have created the Creator? This leads to a regressus ad infinitum. The only way in which I can understand it is that creation is itself eternal. It is inherent in the Absolute. It manifests in cycles, again and again. Creation is not making something absolutely new; it is the reawakening of souls or jīva’s taking rest in the Absolute. Each of the individual souls is eternal, ever expressing themselves, ever withdrawing within themselves, and withdrawing within their source, which is a still greater jīva. Creation is never absolute and is not a separate phenomenon on its own. Creation is rather a re-awakening, a re-descending of jīva’s on the lower half of a cycle. New forms are created, but on basis of what was before.

Then was there never a beginning? Is Consciousness eternal, omnipresent, ever moving, expressing and withdrawing? Are both Existence and Non-existence Consciousness? If so, then Space and Time, Motion and Non-motion, Matter, past and future, knowledge and ignorance are mere Māyās. When Time itself is a Māyā, past and future, and space and movement have no ultimate reality. Māyā is just an aspect of the Absolute Consciousness. So existence itself is an aspect of Consciousness. Creation, Maintenance and Destruction are aspects of Consciousness. There is nothing else. It is we ourselves.

Further on in the lecture I hope to explain why evolution started at all. Why did our jīvas begin to make this pilgrimage of apparently endless suffering and illusionary joys on our heavy planet at all? Does it have any other purpose than that we return whence we came? Why did it attract or enliven millions of karmas to bring us down to this earthly realm of pain and ignorance, this mire of lies?

 

History of Consciousness

But first I will now tell you something about the history of consciousness from the remotest past`, and then about the future and far future, as it is destined to develop.

A Big Bang is a big explosion of matter in its coarsest form. An explosion if the most stupid and orderless process one can think of. Explosions are used by terrorists and destroyers. Is this where our universe came from? Nevertheless no child is born by an explosion. No seed “explodes” into a flower. The processes of birth and becoming in nature are extremely subtle. The whole of the big bang theory is a product of a most materialistic society. The very great intelligence of physicists like Hawking is utterly materialistic, and he and many others who even earn Nobel Prices, in their writings do not show the slightest understanding of spirituality. Indeed if they try, they appear rather stupid.  Therefore I trust more in the ancient Indian teachers than in modern western ones. They did not need gigantic particle accelerators to investigate there own mind and the cosmic mind. They looked into themselves.

So how can we phrase the ancient teachings in modern terms?

In the eternal consciousness which knows no space and time, a ‘desire’ awoke. It was a desire of necessity, because Desire (Kāma) is inherent in the Universe. During periods of pralaya it is sleeping we may suppose. Bust sleeping means merely experience in still deeper realms. Consciousness IS. Even when such consciousness is entirely beyond the grasp of the most highly developed human mind.

The very fact that Desire awoke involves the fact that there must be something to desire. This ‘something’ must be an idea or thought. One can only direct one’s mind to something desirable. So, apparently, in that early stage of cosmic awakening there was no differentiation between thought and desire. In other words, as soon as Desire awoke, Cosmic Mind (mahat) awoke. As soon as this awakening took place there was duality: the desirer/thinker and the desired/thought. This is how duality, called Māyā arose from the non-dual, the eternal. Of course the māyā can never be separated form the real. In ultimate analysis there is no difference between māyā and the Real. But we can only learn understand the Real self-consciously by putting ourselves in a duality of object and subject. This is exactly what Brahmā, the creative principle of our eternal universe, does. Brahmā is no stranger from outside. “He” wakes up, sleeps, dies and is reborn from the navel of Mahāviṣṇu, within Brahman, the Eternally One.

Consciousness has thus started to express itself. It is no longer consciousness in its abstraction. It needs a vehicle  to express itself. This vehicle is called original or primordial matter, Mūlaprakṛiti. In the non-dual universe there is no distinction between matter and consciousness. Matter and consciousness are two sides from which we look at the same universal existence. The nature of consciousness and matter is that it can differentiate. Both are continuously in motion, and when asleep they are one and in potential motion. Motion itself is an (either active or latent) aspect of both existence and of non-existence. That is the only way to explain how existence can come forth from non-existence. Absolute non-existence, absolutely devoid of space, time and motion could never give rise to existence. And that is why non-differentiation enters into differentiation. Though the differentiation is māyā, though it is only apparent, it is just an aspect of the All.

To accomplish its cyclic differentiation, consciousness affects primordial matter in such a way that vehicles of expression of that consciousness form. Though all are but modifications of the One Primordial Matter, for our mind they appear to be separate, independent. Of course in reality they are never separate and independent, as little as rain drops are different from the ocean in their essence. Raindrops may seem spatially separated from each other, but that does not change the fact that they are water and have all the basic properties of water, such as boiling point, freezing point, and all their other physical and chemical properties. They only are seemingly different because of the influence of space. Space is a substance also, and the intermingling of the differentiations of the original substance causes temporarily drops (phenomena).

 

Physical and Subtle Bodies

Our world does not only exist of raindrops though. It exists of legion manifestations of differentiations. We call them minerals, plants, animals, deities, humans, gods, and many many others throughout the universe. Each of them represents the unity and the duality: they are one individual animal or plant (or whatever), but each has its consciousness side called jīva or ātma, and its material side, called śarīra or upādhi or kośa or body. There are several bodies in one entity, the physical body is only the coarsest one. The more refined bodies are mentioned by many names as given to them by so many yogi’s and enlightened people who have investigated and perceived them. There is an astral body, an energy body, a mental body, a causal body, others speak of annamayakoṣa, prāṇamayakośa, manomayakośa, vijñānamayakośa, anandamayakośa etc., or sthūlopādhi, or sthūla, liṅga, etc, śarīra or tejas śarīra, audarika śarīra, kārmaṇa śarīra and so on and so forth – all existing together, and all being modifications of the same original matter.

So how did the original, extremely subtle and homogeneous matter differentiate? There were no molecules, no atoms or even what nowadays we call elementary particles. It all started within the original matter, the original element from which all other elements precipitated. The original element has been called Ādi-tattva. Others say it was ākāśa, space, but in fact ākāśa itself was a differentiation due to the influence of sound of an element that had no progenitor (it is called parentless of anupapādaka-tattva in Theosophical literature), because it is one with Ādi-tattva. From space came fire, from fire came air, then water, then earth. Consciousness was there all the time.

Consciousness developed ways of interaction with or perception of the outer world built from these elements. These senses are called Indriyas. This all took place long before any physical body of humans, animals or plants existed. Opposite to western views, who hold that senses and mind and consciousness are but functions of physical matter, the ancients said that physical matter and physical senses where the last to develop.

 

Elements

Let us talk about the elements. The elements, though called earth, water, fire, etc, are much more than the earth, water and fire we see here on our planet. These names rather signify the main characteristics of the real elements: earth for gross matter, water for fluidity and adaptation of form, i.e. the astral realm, air for mind, and fire for aspiration and the higher mind, ākāśa for intuition or the origin of thought, and the higher elements for the higher principles inherent in Nature. The higher elementals and the higher senses have still to be consciously developed in man. So when the Purāṇa speaks of the one element developing forth from the former from high to low, it really speaks about the elemental living beings which form the different layers of the universe in which our consciousness has to get experience and acquire self-consciousness, from spirit down to gross matter. Only through the pilgrimage of our jīva through all these elements from up to down and then from down to up, and so repeatedly to touch all the sub-elements or sub-planes we can gain emancipation, i.e. self-conscious knowledge – which is the very purpose of evolution.

 

Why do we exist and suffer?

If the whole of evolution would lead to mere return to where we came from the whole cycle of rebirth in so many astral and mental and material (or ‘hellish,’ ‘heavenly’ and earthly) realms of suffering and illusionary joy would be utterly useless. Moreover, in that case, cruelty or meanness would be an inherent property of Nature – whereas all religious teachers have always said that compassion and love, not cruelty is the essence. If the last were true, our very existence would be just the līlā of a cruel ‘god.’ If it is said that all beings are there to help each other, this applies certainly also to the primordial creative intelligences of the elements and all beings. All this would not happen if the greater purpose were not compassionate.

One may ask: “Why is there so much suffering?” And: “Why did creation come forth from Brahm at all?” “Could ‘God’ not have avoided that in his omniscience and perfection. Christians might put it in the words: “Why did God create the Devil? How can the evil emanate from the eternal and omniscient and all-compassionate God or divinity? Why did a state of consciousness of utter bliss and calm, of omniscience ever decide to manifest into so many ignorant forms of life? And then, is the task of all existing creatures nothing more than to return to where they came from? Jains could say: “Why does the pure jīva have the innate possibility to go astray and why is there a Law of Karma to punish for that? There must be a purpose, a Divine Plan if you like, which is so valuable that it is worth paying the price. The only answer can lay in accepting the infinity of consciousness.

The greater purpose is our own desire to understand – not just to be conscious, which we in our jīva’s are from eternity – but to become self-conscious. Then we ourselves will have become gods at the end of the cycles we go through. That is the difference between a nigoda or most primitive life-form and a siddha or omniscient divine being. The nigoda is fully conscious on its own level, but has only the slightest possibility (i.e. through the one sense of touch or awareness) to experience and interact with the elemental environment around it. Step by step it reaches the stage of two-sensed being, a being that can also experience the next element, and so up to five-sensed and mental beings. According to Theosophy two more elements will develop in the future. If all senses have developed, this will give us the ability to experience through many yonis the seven layers in which the primordial matter has been unfolded into elements.

 

The Birth of the Universe

If we imagine the birth of our solar system for example, there first was empty space. Then, at a particular spot in space, called Āditī by the Hindus, when the unborn jīva of the sun has settled itself [at the right spot between the existing stars and zodiacal influences,] the spiritual and intellectual beings of nature come first into activity. It is they, who through their energy (called Fohat in Theosophical literature) who churn the Ocean of Milk, in a process called Samudra manthan in Hinduism, who cause primordial matter to electrify and thus form pockets of mutually attracting and repulsing matter, or clusters. Through this ‘churning’ the first differentiation takes place in the most subtle matter. In this process, the more spiritual properties show themselves as separate entities or powers, known in Hinduism as the various gods and saints, like Lakṣmī and Dhanvantari. Associated units of this subtle matter – of molecules as we may say in analogy to our chemical molecules in the earthly elements – thus form. In the next stage, a further differentiation and densification takes place. Thus the next element is formed. And so on until all the five or seven elements have developed, the one unfolding or evolving from the other, in sequence. Only in the later stages the coarse type of matter which can be perceived by our present senses is formed. Then a new star (such as our sun once was) appears in the sky, or rather a radiant nebula which has to differentiate into a sun and its planets. Thus evolution of life within our solar system, and on our planet, began when the ground was prepared for the jīvas to enter the stage.

According to their work or karma or accomplishments in former cycles of activity which are now past, some will become plants – ether ‘primitive’ or higher classifications of plants – others  animals, either ‘primitive’ animals or the more highly developed – again other become humans. Becoming a plant or an animal or a human being depends on the karma, the former work, the attracted properties and the resulting outer features of the jīvas. [Those who develop mineral and plant bodies in many orders (including minerals in their manifold crystalline expressions, water in the form of drops, rivers, seas, snow, vapor etc, fire itself, air itself and even more subtle states of aggregation including those by western science are not regarded as ‘living,’ and when regarded as living entities in manifold forms from anaerobic to aerobic, from prokaryotes to eukaryotes, yeasts, fungi (= moulds and  mushrooms) now, will develop animal bodies in the future, in many distinct lines of evolution, knows as different orders, classes or main groups, like insects, non-vertebrates and vertebrates: fishes, amphibians, reptiles (including dinosaurs) birds and mammals.]

 

Ahaṁkara

The Vishnu Purāṇa  says that when there was Mahat or cosmic Buddhi-Manas, or Cosmic Mind as it is often called,  Ahaṁkara arose. Ahaṁkara means ego-ness, the illusionary awareness of entities of being separate, of being themselves different from others and unconnected with them. In fact that is where suffering and misery started. In Buddhism and Theosophy it has been called the heresy of separateness. Mahāvīra says that all beings are dependent on each other and are there to help each other, even though Jainism supports dualism as a basis of philosophy as well as the uniqueness of each jīva. The Buddhist scholar Nagarjuna spent most of his life proving that every existing thing is empty (śūnya) in the sense that it has no inherent existence; nothing exists on its own behalf because everything is rooted in the same non-dual Being, and thus always remains one with it. The separateness we all experience is due to ahaṁkara, which limits our consciousness to a limited work-space – but we are really only participants in one great work: of evolution from conscious existence to self-conscious human omniscience.

Those creatures who individually become endowed with a complete mind are called men (derived from Manas = to think). Only humans can be self-consciously aware of the divine, and only humans are conscious of themselves, and therefore asking themselves questions about their origin, and about the purpose of existence and the reason for their existence. Only humans can ask themselves questions about the divine, and begin to strive upwards to develop the divine qualities self-consciously. In our efforts we create art, music and science, philosophy, religion and yoga, all this in an effort to embody the divine and come to a closer understanding of it. The two results of any effort are either success or failure. Through our failures (which are only practices which help us towards future success) we become frustrated and develop anger and evil. We begin to leave faith in a God who is supposed to help us. But God is everyone’s very essence, his own jīva or ātman, so someone who opposes ‘God’ only opposes himself. The lower mind opposes the higher mind. Thus we move away from the natural harmony inherent in the cosmos, and face the balancing powers of the greater nature, and this is what we call the universal Law of Karma.

But ahaṁkara is a necessity, as every drop of embodied consciousness has to do its own work, its own research, gain its own experience into the Nature of Being. The mind is unable to concentrate on everything at the same time in all places. That it can only do when the moment of omniscience is reached, after many, many, many cycles of birth and death through all possible yonis, having our experience in all possible states of existence.

 

Development of consciousness in the future.

Consciousness develops layer after layer, and in each cycle develops more and deeper realms in which it is active. Consciousness constantly adds something to itself, it conquers higher en deeper layers. Before we, that means our consciousness, started on its present journey, it was omniscient and translucent without limits, but self-consciousness had not yet evolved. The purpose of our evolution, is, as stated in Theosophy, to transform from unself-conscious gods into self-conscious Gods. It is this purpose of the knowledge of the Self (ātman), or Self-knowledge, where all religions exist for. That is the direction into which every religious scripture in the world points.

As said, all the elements of which the cosmos and man is composed, came forth one by one in the early stages of evolution. Only then could the other jīva’s of the composite creatures, such as minerals, plants, animals humans and man be built. It means that in you and me all the elements are there, including the most spiritual. But the consciousness of all of these beings to all these elements awakens only step by step – by interaction, by experience, by absorbing the essence of the vibrations of these interactions. Every experience is a bit of learning, a bit of progress, a bit of development of consciousness. The future for each creature’s consciousness is further expansion, further knowledge of the cosmic environment. This happens in the realm of feelings in minerals, of vitality in plants, of personal desire or passion in animals, and of mind in man. We as a humanity are in the beginning stages of the development of mind. Much more is to come. It is our destiny and duty to further develop our mental capacities.

But there is more than mind. Our mind can become spiritualized, it can become intuitive, even omniscient. The nature of the mind is clarity – if not polluted by mingling it with worldly desires. The mind by its essential nature is pure, like water is pure at the source. But when polluted, it takes a lot of effort to purify it again. More than mental consciousness is buddhi consciousness, spiritual intuition and infallible distinction between what is right and wrong. Buddhi is the faculty of direct knowledge beyond duality. It is our higher nature. The development of it is our future. Its evolution has begun already a little bit in the brightest minds among humanity. It will be the faculty that leads us beyond Kalki avatar, beyond this kali yuga, into the next cycle.

If we see all the cultures in the world we see an enormous variety. Some are more emotional by nature, some even are partly psychic (such as the Australian Aboriginals – a left-over from ancient times), and still others, including ourselves, put most emphasis on mental (i.e. philosophical and scientific) development. This is also reflected in our educational system at schools and universities. The greatest Prize on earth is the Nobel Prize – given to the greatest Minds. But also, Nobel Prizes are given to the greatest Hearts – and here of course I am referring to the Nobel Prize for Peace.

So the direct future of our culture will be mental development, which has to go hand in hand with the purification of the desires we developed for the greater part in the past. Desires are not to be killed or suppressed, they need to be purified. Desires directed towards the past, like territorial behavior, fights, psychic development, dominance and gratification need to be replaced by desires of the future: helpfulness, compassion, nonviolence, altruism, and the desire to enhance the quality of life for the totality of all in stead of oneself only. The illusion of separateness has to be understood.

But the future is already beginning. It is characterized by the development of our spiritual nature. Because, as explained before, we are still in the larger cycle of Kāma (desire) our future will lie not only in mental development, but in our wish to apply our mental accomplishments for the well-being and development of all. Helping each other on the spiritual path becomes more important than gaining mental knowledge. We will become less materialistic and we will recognize that we are fellow pilgrims on the path of understanding the universe – and that this universe can be best understood when we leave our quarrels and scientific theories and materialism behind, and turn ourselves towards the highest spiritual goals. We, in these days in the midst of Kali Yuga and of duhkha, are preparing the soil for others as well for ourselves.

So, the future seems rosy. But before we have reached the upward half of our present cycle, the materialism and atheism and attachment to psychic development will grow among large sections of humanity. Even today we see this tendency reflected in the fields of politics and science and psychology. A long non-violent fight is before us, and I suppose we will incarnate time and time again to play our small but essential role in adding to the good side of the conflict.

During our future development our spiritual faculties will also develop, and our inner senses will sharpen. We will be wiser, and more ‘clairvoyant’ for the real needs of others, and the culture as a whole. We will be more able to help and be more happy, and we will better be able to understand nature with all her living beings and forces. But such spiritual faculties can only flourish permanently when we are unselfish and remain unselfish, when every thought of the desires of the past is gone.

 

The Challenge of our Time

All my talk so far has been rather abstract. But what does it mean for our stand in this world society at present, in this 21st century? It is clear that we can not solve all problems in one generation. We can not reach the divine goal of liberation and omniscience in one generation. What we have to do is to help cultural evolution when and where we stand. Now as well as in future lives. In our time this means promoting and stimulation spirituality wherever we can. It art, in the sciences, in philosophy, and in the every day walks of life. We have to vehemently fight materialism and bestiality. We have to make clear to the world that there is more than physical matter. We have to make clear that mind and ethics are inherent parts of the Universal Mind, and not results of the workings of physical matter.  We have to stimulate science with ethics. Science as well as free (I mean; non-dogmatic and non-sectarian) spiritual philosophy should be taught at schools and practiced by the teachers. Children will learn first by imitation, and then by recognition of the spiritual qualities within themselves. Children have to be emphatically taught Universal spiritual truths and values, not dogmatic believes, not sectarian believes, but universal ones. No rituals and outward patterns of behavior in the first place, because these are secondary. India has to keep guiding the spiritual evolution of the world culture, as it has done since millennia. We should realize that we have a philosophical, spiritual and mental heritage compared to which Europe and America and others are only poor developing countries. Let us keep the Indian standards upright and high and propose scientific theories based on Universal Consciousness, in harmony with real, heart-felt ethics. We need to stretch our intellectual capabilities to their limit, just as much as or more then the materialists do. Let us prepare the soil for the further development of the human mind and develop our technology for genuinely helpful purposes. Science should be promoted, because that is the most forceful way to train and expand the human capacity to think, which is our duty as humanity. Technology forces us towards painstaking perfection, which no doubt is good. Let us promote trade not for selfish gain, but in the awareness that tradesmen and the commercial sector exist to help others to get what they need as easily as possible. But let us not educate our new generations within the narrowness of belief systems. A Hindu can become a universal Hindu, a Jain a universal Jain, a Muslim a universal Muslim, and so on, and all will be friends from their hearts and cooperators. Nobody has to force himself to ‘tolerate’ someone else, because everyone knows that we are all fellow pilgrims in the quest of life, striving towards full self-consciousness and omniscience. We are there to help each other, and the wiser ones who are there to help those not so far yet. There will be no more dogma’s, and we will understand and sympathize even with everyone’s difficulties and mistakes. After every mistake of failure comes another chance. There will be no more Ayodhya-conflicts, Dargah bombs or terrorism, or whatever the future might have in stock for us. But we need the patience of the ages themselves. Let us kill materialism, selfish grasping and the believe in purposelessness wherever we can. Let us promote beauty in art and ways of living, not vulgarity and despair.  Every human being, indeed every being goes their own path of necessity, each in its own unique way. Let us not put roadblocks on their paths, even if they make mistakes or follow strange pathways. But let the spiritual sound be always in the sky, in the ākāśa, and let us not hesitate to kindly use our humble voice. The world needs India.

 

Reaching Omniscience

Because omniscience belongs to the very nature of the soul, it is every creature’s destiny to reach that. Step by step we will gain experience in every corner of the Universe. But usually we take much more time than is strictly necessary. Once we enter a genuine spiritual path and abandon our attachment to fixed ideas, we are creating a short-cut as it were. We can reach omniscience and the entrance to nirvāṇa much faster than average men. We avoid very much suffering for others as well as for ourselves if we do take this path. We will quickly become examples and teachers for the many in the world who are lagging behind with confused minds.

So you see how here Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism come together. The universe is both uncreated and created, it is both eternal and temporary, it is both unlimited and limited. But from the point of view of Time – the sequence in which Cosmic Mind presents events to us – there is always progress, further development, unfolding, evolution, of consciousness. Without such illusions of duality as past and present, good and bad, higher and lower, we could not strive, and we could have no movement – which apparently we have.

Materialism, egoism and believe in the blindness and mindlessness of Nature are the most dangerous of all illusions. In stead there are spirituality, altruism and omnipresent intelligence to guide the universe. They are the aspects of Consciousness. We should never stop to explain this the world – in words that can awaken sleeping minds to higher thinking.

– Rajasthani

Prepared for a lecture

11 December 2010, Delhi, India

 



 

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