The Goal of Consciousness
This interview was
conducted in New Delhi late in the 1970s by a reporter for a UNESCO publication.
Q: For more than a
decade now, you have been writing books on consciousness and evolution and about
mystical experience. Could you restate your position in clear-cut terms and
point out some of the reasons that might have stood in the way of their
acceptance by scientists so far?
A: The main reason is that
there is still a great deal of confusion about the phenomenon known as mystical
ecstasy. The general impression is that it is just an altered state of
awareness, comparable to the states brought about by intoxicants, mind-altering
drugs, hypnosis, biofeedback, auto-suggestive conditions and the like. Even an
authority like William James has been in error in the comparison he has made
between mystical ecstasy and the states induced by wine and nitrous oxide.
Q: What is the
reason for this?
A: The reason is simple.
The transcendental and transhuman nature of mystical experience are a still
uncharted province for scholars. There is a wide gulf between scholarship and
mystical vision. The staggering nature of the vision and the revolution it
brings about in the life and thinking of one who is blessed with it, and the
light it throws on the problems of existence, are all beyond the power of the
intellect to grasp.
Q: Can you explain
A: Intellectual study is
like the data gathered by a dreamer of the dream world in which he dwells for a
while. The mystical vision is like the awareness gained by one when awake. I
must make this clear, with all the emphasis at my command and in full conformity
to what has been as emphatically stated by mystics of the past, that the
objective world disappears, like a phantom, in the illuminating blaze of
mystical consciousness. The Reality which is unveiled in the duration of the
experience is beyond the grasp of the intellect and the power of language to
Q: Since it is
impossible to describe, how can you hope to convince scientists that there is
still something beyond their comprehension?
A: It is the same as
though the intellectual prodigies of the past, such as Shakespeare and Bacon,
were expected to know of the awful force of the atom. Most of the present-day
intellectuals believe that they are almost at the frontiers of knowledge, but
they have no inkling that the real quest of man has yet to begin. All the
knowledge and experience they have gained, all the discoveries they have made
and all the inventions wrought, so far, have been but a preparation for the next
step in his progress, which is the exploration of his own mind to answer the
Riddle of his being.
Q: It seems to me
that what you are saying points to a new direction for human effort and thought.
A: Exactly. It is entirely
beyond the imagination of our contemporaries. Hence, it is but natural that many
of them should consider what I say as incredible and fantastic. We cannot expect
a more favorable response from the learned, because they are no more informed
about the phenomenon, on which I dwell, than the ordinary class of human beings.
The intellect, proud of her knowledge, is seldom ready to believe that there are
worlds and regions beyond her reach.
Q: But what about
present-day research on consciousness? Isnít there some progress being made in
this area of science?
A: Research on
consciousness, as it is being carried out today, can easily be compared to the
investigation done by a dreamer of the mental condition of the personalities in
his dream. For one who lacks the least awareness about himself, however erudite
he might be, the issue will always arise, and on what? How can one who is
ignorant of his own mind stalk forth to study the mind of another who is as
ignorant of himself as he?
Q: Is that why the
Upanishads say that the effort of the unenlightened, however scholarly they
might be, are like the blind leading the blind when it comes to guiding others
in the knowledge of the Self?
A: Yes. According to the
Indian Masters who have contributed most to the study of the mind, Turiya or the
fourth state of consciousness, experienced in the mystical trance, is the real
state of human awareness and the other three below it, namely deep sleep, dream
and the normal wakeful state, are delusive. The normal state lends substance to
a false appearance which hides the true Reality.
Q: Then research on
consciousness should mean study of ones Self?
A: In truth, this is what
the ancient sages and seers proceeded to do in their search for enlightenment.
It is for this reason that during recent times there has been hardly any new
addition to the brilliant galaxy of enlightened prophets and sages of the past.
This is also the reason why there has been no fresh accumulation of knowledge of
the mystical state of consciousness. When our study of the outer world, during
the same period, has yielded such a rich harvest in transforming the life of
human beings, why do we find the doors tightly shut in our exploration of the
Q: This is the crux
of the problem, Iím sure. What is your explanation?
A: As one who has been
granted a brief glimpse into this profound Mystery, I can say with confidence,
that no amount of objective study of consciousness, undertaken over the next
hundreds of years, with the methods employed at present, would lead the learned
any nearer to the solution of the enigma. On the contrary, except for the
hundreds of volumes of confusing data that would result, the investigation would
make it even more bewildering than before.
Q: But what is the
reason for this?
A: Research on
consciousness demands a new approach, because it marks a new phase in the career
of humanity. Evolving man must now shift his attention from the outer to the
inner world, make his own body the laboratory and reverently approach the Spirit
within to instruct him in the rudiments of this science.
Q: Many people are
eagerly waiting for this to take place. There seems to be an instinctive longing
in many to return to nature, for instance, and to break away from the highly
complex, hectic life of today. Isnít all this just an indication of a coming
revolution in thinking?
A: Yes, the stage is being
set for this radical change in the direction of human effort from the outer to
the inner world. The learned are not able to read the signs, because the future
is entirely shut from their view, and they have no idea of the coming revolution
in the life of humankind as a complement to the evolutionary change that has
Q: Can you describe
this evolutionary change that you believe has occurred within?
A: It will take some time,
but it has to do with the existence of a potential in the brain that can
transform human life and bestow undreamed of intellectual, super-sensory and
artistic gifts to individuals in a manner beyond imagination at present.
Q: But as you have
already said, most of the intellectuals have no grounding in mysticism, so they
continue to apply to it the same methods of analysis and criticism to which they
are accustomed in other branches of knowledge.
A: It is a sad commentary
on the academic life of our time that a subject treated with respectful
attention and reverential regard by the greatest intellectuals of the past,
including such giants as Plato and Newton, should appear so trivial and
unimportant to them that they deem it beyond their dignity to study it with the
care and attention which it needs.
Q: You are
considered to be a rebel to many of the popular ideologies of our time. Perhaps
if you were to put your ideas in the language of the intellectuals, they would
be more acceptable to the readers in the United States.
A: I have made no secret
in my books of the fact that my education has been poor and that all I am
writing is from inspiration, which needs a dive into the depths of my own being
to receive it.
I have never made any
claims of infallibility and have repeatedly said that every word I am writing
should be weighed and put to rigid test before it is accepted. It is for this
reason that I am so keen to lay the foundation of an Experimental Center, to
validate my views about the evolutionary mechanism in the human frame.
Q: Your ideas need
to be expressed by scholars who are trained in the language of academics.
Without such credentials, it might be impossible to make any real headway in the
A: Either that or else
what we need are the resources to broadcast our views far and wide. I am putting
my 1 ideas in the language of the common man and woman rather than in that of
the intellectuals for the simple reason that, in the first place, I am not
capable of writing in the discursive style peculiar to scholars. Secondly, I
wish my message to be easily intelligible to all those who read it.
Q: Do you believe it
is possible to communicate your ideas in the language of modern psychology?
A: Perhaps not. Modern
psychology is bristling with internal conflicts and controversies, and also the
pulls and pressures from individual authorities, each contradicting the other.
How can a study based on a mistaken conception of mind, with excessive emphasis
on the beast and chilling silence over the god in man, provide a suitable
vehicle for explaining the profundities of consciousness or its triumphant march
from the sub-human to the super-human plane?
Q: Then what is the
A: The moment it is
demonstrated that the human brain is still in a state of organic evolution in a
pre-planned direction, not only the current theory of evolution but also
psychological systems, based primarily on the animal origin of mind and not on
its infinitely intelligent cosmic character, will come toppling to the earth.
How can we reconcile the
divine nature of consciousness with some of the revolting explanations offered
by psychologists? The universe is a vast amphitheater and the dramas enacted by
consciousness, on this stage from one end to the other, infinitely varied in
plot and action, are yet closely interwoven and interconnected in a manner far
beyond the grasp of the puny human intellect. Mankind will have to rise to dizzy
heights of evolution before she can begin to comprehend the bewildering play of
From Euclidean space we
have come to the curved space of Relativity. But there are already indications
to show that this is not the end. Who knows what new surprises are in store for
astrophysicists in the years to come? It is a fallacy to suppose that we have
come to the end of the knowledge of the mind.
Q: You claim to be
in possession of extraordinary knowledge, is that not true?
A: I have never laid any
claim to a higher position than the one I possess. In fact, I have emphatically
tried my utmost to make it clear that mystical experience does not represent a
vision of God but only a passage into a new dimension of consciousness in which
it wears an aspect of glory and sovereignty which is not present on the human
I have also repeatedly
asserted that in all other aspects I belong to the class of normal human beings
with the frailties and vanities common to human nature. Nowhere in my writings
have I made any claim to sainthood or nearness to God or to a superhuman
stature, as is often done by godmen to point out the gulf that exists between
them and the normal run of human beings.
Q: But you do claim
to reside in the transcendental state of consciousness, do you not?
A: Yes, but it has always
been my endeavor to make it clear that the transcendental state of
consciousness, experienced in the form of ecstasy by prophets and mystics
throughout the past, does not signify a special favor from the Deity. It is only
a more extended dimension of the perceptual faculty towards which mankind is
evolving irresistibly through the operation of an evolutionary mechanism in the
body, designated as Kundalini by the Indian sages of the past.
Q: As far as I know,
this is the first time that mystical consciousness, or the organic mechanism
leading to it, have been defined in this way, in the language of reason,
divested of the supernatural and mythical.
A: That is my view,
exactly. I have, at the same time made no secret of the fact that knowledge of
Kundalini represents a monumental discovery of the illuminate of India, and that
I am only presenting this knowledge in the language of modern science. I have
also said that the interpretations I am placing on it would be beyond my
capacity but for a strange dispensation of fate, beyond my comprehension, by
which I became the participant in an experience that unfolded the secret to me.
Q: Secret? Can you
expand on this a bit?
A: What I am trying to
emphasize in all my work is that we have our existence in two worlds, the world
of matter and the world of mind. As the result of an inquiry that has persisted
through a prodigious span of time, ever since the dawn of reason, we have come
in possession of a huge amount of knowledge of the material world, which is
available for the study by any one of us. But the study of the world of spirit
needs entry into a new plane of consciousness and a super-sensory channel of
cognition, which are slowly coming into the possession of man.
Q: The secret, then,
is that mankind is slowly coming into possession of this super-sensory channel
of cognition, is that correct?
A: Yes, through evolution.
This is the purpose of the mystical trance or the transhuman states of
consciousness exhibited by the prophets and mystics of the world. They sung
praises of the glory of God because the plane of being where they arrived is a
plane of splendor, beauty and transport, surpassing anything conceivable by a
Q: But even so, if I
understand you correctly, it is a plane of being just a little higher than that
of normal human beings.
A: You are perfectly
correct. Those men and women who arrogate to themselves a transhuman stature or
position of authority, as incarnations of, or surrogates for, the Divine, must
have a poor opinion about the staggering dimensions of the universe or the
inconceivable proportions of its Almighty Creator.
Q: Because it is
simply an evolutionary advance of the normal state of consciousness?
A: Yes. This attitude
could be justified in the pro-phets, sages and seers of the past, when the earth
alone bounded the vision of man and he had no idea of what gigantic worlds lie
beyond, and what a countless host of colossal suns and planets dwells in space.
But from a godman of today, the statements of the kind which are made in the
Scriptures of the past should be an affront to the intelligence of one who has
even a passing idea about the extent of the universe or possibility of other,
far superior, forms of life residing in it. There are some, even among the
learned, who believe in such self-concocted tales, but they scoff at the
rational explanations which I offer.
Q: What about the
future of humankind?
A: From my point of view,
the future luminaries of the race, adorned with transhuman consciousness, would
still be occupied with the exploration of the Mystery of Creation in the higher,
to us, imperceptible planes of being, in the same way as we are now occupied
with the exploration of the material universe. The present-day concepts about
the mind, its behavior, urges and appetites, are mere capricious intellectual
excursions into a territory which needs another channel of cognition to explore.
Q: I would like to
know more about this other channel of cognition.
A: You said yourself that
it was a plane of being that is a little higher than that of normal human
beings, and that is perfectly correct. But it is nothing to merit comparison or
equality with the infinite majesty and splendor of the Lord. It is a variation
of almost the same kind as we observe when we rise in the scale of life from the
lower species to the higher ones.
It amuses me to find
that people in general, including scholars, sometimes, raise mystics and
enlightened saints to the stature of gods who cease to be humans, belonging to a
world of superhuman dimensions and possibilities, where they can defy the laws
of nature, change the fate of common men and women or do whatever they please.
This is a serious error
which stands as an impediment in the understanding of the mystical trance and in
placing this extraordinary state of mind on a rational footing. It is simply the
addition of another channel of perception, designed by Nature for every human
Q: But you still
insist that it is necessary for science to undertake research on consciousness?
A: There will soon be a
time when the evolution of consciousness will be taken up by scholars in all its
different aspects, spiritual, psychological, sociological and biological. When
once the experiment I propose is confirmed, there will be no subject, I am sure,
which will receive as much sustained attention from scholars of every shade and
color, and the rank and file of science, as this.
But the most
colossal task in front of the erudite would be to explain the evolution of mind
in terms of the organic evolution of the brain. As far as I can see, it shall
take long spans of time to cover each single step in the territory of
Q: Then you do
welcome the efforts of scholars and psychologists to write on consciousness, to
the best of their knowledge and skill.
A: Of course, I welcome it
most certainly. But in fairness to all, I must point out that except in the case
of those who have experienced the transformation, no attempt made by a scholar,
merely with the exercise of his intellect, however versatile and learned he
might be, can fathom the mystery.
How does Eternal
Consciousness come to be embodied and then rise, step by step, through aeonian
spans of time, to the realization of its own sovereignty? This is a riddle so
profound that it is hard even to gauge its proportions. I must also add that
present-day ideas about psychology, which emanated from Freud and others, offer
only short-range explanations.
These explanations will be
subject to radical change from time to time, as more and more knowledge is
gained by the illuminate of the future about the nature and working of the mind
and the organ of its expression, namely the brain.
Q: Your opinion of
modern psychology is rather unflattering.
A: I have written
extensively on this subject, but we can compare the present views of
psychologists to the ideas of alchemists before the modern science of chemistry
came into existence. The human intellect, not unoften, takes delight in
providing explanations even for those phenomena which are beyond its probe, as
for example, the existence of God and the origin of the universe, the nature of
the soul and life after death.
These eternal riddles have
strongly drawn the human mind from the dawn of reason to this day without ever
finding the right answer that could solve them once and for all. This is also
the case with the riddle of the mind.
Q: You believe that
the experiment you propose will furnish the solution?
A: It is my endeavor to
divest mystical ecstasy of ancient superstition and modern intellectual
confusion both by drawing attention to the biological factors responsible for
it. Because this objectification of the phenomenon has never been attempted
before, the academic world is still unaware or incredulous of it. That shows the
entirely unsuspected nature of the disclosures made.
From my point of view,
mystical ecstasy is a human experience, the outcome of an organic process at
work in the brain, which signifies the first beginning of transhuman capacities
in man. Except for the organic changes occurring in the subtle levels of the
neuronic structures, science, as it exists today, can have no direct knowledge
of the subjective nature of this experience.
Q: If that is the
case, then no intellectual formulations about it are possible at this time.
A: That is correct.
Q: Your writings
are, to summarize very briefly, primarily confined to the evolution of the mind.
Isnít this what others have said?
A: I do not say that the
human mind is evolving towards an undefined summit as, for instance, Teilhard de
Chardin and others have said. What I firmly assert is that human consciousness
is evolving towards a predetermined target, which I have experienced, and that
this target is the mystical or illuminated state attained by thousands of
mystics and enlightened human beings in the past and that the religious
scriptures of mankind are a harvest of the revelations received from a Higher
Intelligence in this state of exalted being.
What I further
affirm is that the human brain is evolving towards this state of transhuman
perception, through the activity of an organic mechanism, named Kundalini by the
ancients, whose existence can be demonstrated with the methods known to science.
Q: This is a
monumental assertion. Science has been attempting to discover this organic
mechanism for decades, without, insofar as I know, any success whatsoever.
A: From all this, it
follows that I am trying to place the whole domain of religion and mystical
ecstasy on the footing of a regular science, demonstrable with empirical methods
of which the laboratory has to be the human body itself.
Q: Has any thinker,
scientist or religious teacher, present or past, thrown a challenge of this
A: I frankly know of none.
There is no need for me to use dubious intellectual methods to carry my point.
One successful experiment is sufficient to clear the confusion and confirm what
Q: Your writings
include a good deal about other mental phenomena in addition to mystical
ecstasy, could you elaborate on this?
A: My whole philosophy can
be summed up in a few words. Therefore, it is not necessary that my books should
be read and reread to arrive at the conclusions I have drawn from my experience.
I also aver that the commonly known abnormal and paranormal states of mind, such
as retardation, neurosis or insanity, on the one hand, and exceptional talent or
paranormal gifts on the other, all proceed from the working of the evolutionary
mechanism; that with advanced knowledge of this lever the aforesaid evils,
resulting from its malfunctioning, can be cured or obviated and the latter
highly precious attributes cultivated at will.
Q: This is a new and
original contribution to the knowledge of man, I believe.
A: To the best of my
belief no other philosopher or mystic of the past has given the same
interpretation to mystical experience and put a cut-and-dried formula before
mankind. I am not putting forward an intellectual dissertation based on mere
erudition and logic, I am submitting a concrete proposal based on personal study
of the phenomenon, for experiment, to validate the conclusions drawn by me,
which are of colossal importance for the race.
Q: If this is the
case, and I have no reason to doubt what you say, why havenít these disclosures
been greeted with acclaim?
A: The reason is because
the ideas expressed by me are new and original, which therefore need time to
take root in the common mind, and, secondly, because they strongly militate
against some of the current conceptions or misconceptions of both orthodox
science and religion.
How can the erudite, on
either side, readily swallow the utterances of one who proclaims loud that
matter is a mirage, Darwin was wrong, Freud mistaken, consciousness is All, that
humanity is on her way to this awareness in the beatific state, that the great
illuminate were not and could not be the favorites of the Almighty and that
mystical experience does not represent an encounter with God but only a vision
of the divinity in man?
Q: Then what is
needed, urgently, as far as I can see, is something like a New Manhattan Project
to try to scientifically validate your theory?
A: It is only by a deep
study of my thesis that it can dawn on an unbiased intellect that there can be
no other interpretation which can synthesize the diversity of religious
experience and outlook, serve as a connecting link between religion and science
and bring science back from a lopsided, entirely materialistic view of the
universe, towards a more rational and more comprehensive philosophy of Creation.
This philosophy is one in which matter and mind figure as the two aspects of one
incomprehensible Reality dimly perceptible in another dimension of consciousness
of which religion is the still growing child.
Q: It must be
extremely frustrating to you to spend year after year, writing your views down
in books, only to see decades pass without any signs of recognition on the part
of the scientific community?
A: I have been watching
the whole drama of my life without a tinge of regret for the coldness I have
received for the knowledge given out by me, while living virtually in the jaws
of death. I am a frail human being myself, and I know the frailties of my other
follow human beings. Had the secrets disclosed by me come from the lips of a
distinguished personality in science, the discovery would have resounded
throughout the world.
Or were a leading
personality, like the President of the United States, to affirm publicly the
importance of the disclosure, all the newspapers of the earth would open their
columns to the message and the learned fall over each other in expressing their
high appreciation of it.
It was only through the
conversion of Asoka the Great in India, and Emperor Constantine in Rome, that
Buddhism and Christianity became dominant faiths in the East or West.
Q: Apparently the
support of temporal authority was always needed to push forward a spiritual
A: That is entirely
correct. Left at the mercy of the populace, including the learned, without the
enthusiastic support of ardent protagonists, no new idea or line of thought,
diametrically opposite to prevailing conceptions, can find wide acceptance. At
best, it would only serve as a topic for perfunctory discussion here and there.
Even the media, which are supposed to keep track of all new developments, would
give a wide berth to it for its uncommon nature and touch it only if it is
mentioned by one in authority, not because they have become enamored of it but
because it suits their purpose to give publicity to the utterances of a great
Such is the opacity
of the human intellect when face-to-face with a new revelation, showing the way
out of a confusing labyrinth of thought. Ours is not a message that can be
thoroughly grasped or made universal in the course of a few years, but it must
roll across long spans of time to gather the momentum necessary for it to become
a universally recognized philosophy and science.
Q: What if you had
your wish, what would it be?
A: With all my heart, I
wish that in the exploration of consciousness mystical tradition, not the
methods of traditional psychology, were to be followed to bring a correct
awareness of its evolution to the world. Intellectual dissertations, beyond a
certain limit, would only lead to confusion and chaos in a province where
first-hand experience is necessary to know the truth. Like the exploration of
the sky, intellectual exercise can carry us only for a short distance. After
that, the use of the telescope be-comes absolutely necessary for correct
knowledge of the position. In the same way, for the study of the inner
firmament, a dive into the depths of oneís being is essential to know the
A: Music and poetry
provide a better language for expressing the profundities of consciousness than
logic. This is the reason why prayers are sung. The state of mind produced under
the spell of a beautifully sung prayer is more expressive of the indefinable
world of consciousness than volumes of reasoned prose.
The problem is that
it is hard to make an intellectual accept the position that his territory ends
at the very beginning of the mystical trance. It is characteristic of the
intellect that she is seldom prepared to accept defeat and is often
over-confident of her ability to know all that can be known.
It is only when
face-to-face with the unbelievable splendor of the Mystical Vision that, hushed
into silence at the awesome majesty of the Reality unfolded, the tittle-tattle
of this irrepressible gossip, that always talks of this sublime experience from
a distance, comes to an end and her propensity, in the words of Pascal, of
putting two and two together and make it five, is lost.
Q: Perhaps science
will be forced to take up the research project, just as it was forced to
experiment on the atom bomb some 40 years ago, when the threat of its falling
into the hands of an enemy was urgent.
A: Time will prove the
correctness of our stand. I am not the last of the line that has already
appeared to beseech their contemporaries to look within. Others will rise to
repeat what has already been said and win confirmation for the disclosures made,
if lacking still. No power on earth can prevent truth from spreading when time
for it has come, just as no power can stop the sun from bathing the earth in
light when the night is over.
The verdict on what
I have revealed does not rest in the hands of a few scholars in a particular
country, living now or who may rise in the future. The secret we have disclosed,
not by choice but at the decree of fate, is not limited by time and place but
covers the whole earth and is of everlasting value for the race.
Q: It doesnít
disturb you, then, that still more time is needed for a better grasp of your
A: Not at all. I know what
I am up against in the claim I make and the truth I reveal. The day will come
when those whose intuition was right in accepting this disclosure are