About Consciousness Research and
How We Can Help Save the World
Yoga is the generic name employed in India to designate all forms of mental, physical, and spiritual, disciplines necessary to explore the incredibly wondrous world of consciousness. From this point of view, all efficacious methods of spiritual discipline, adopted in any religion of the world, can be classified as yoga.
By Gopi Krishna
Used in this sense, yoga is the master-science of the future, the door of entry to intelligent levels of creation impervious to the five senses and unapproachable to the intellect. Why yoga is as important for the hard-boiled, practical man of the world, as it is for the seeker after God and self-awareness, is because it is only self-knowledge and discipline that can help modem scholars and scientists to know more about consciousness and the profound depths of the human psyche.
And because it is only yoga that provides effective methods for the opening of the sealed super-sensory compartment in the brain which, when opened, can lead to illumination or to the florescence of genius and psychic gifts in human beings.
Yoga is the only gateway to a more elevated humanity, to a well-provided, progressive, war-free, harmonious and happy world. It is the only vessel in which one can cross the stormy ocean of existence to the other shore, where eternal life and unbounded happiness await the passenger.
The Gateway to An Elevated Humanity
Yoga, in short, is the methodology and the science by which the embodied soul can become aware of its own identity and of the glorious world to which it belongs. Material science unearths the laws of matter; yoga reveals the secrets of the soul.
The present-day world is a strange compound of opposites, a fantastic blend of anomalies and contrarieties. We establish democratic institutions to raise autocrats to power, and profess faith in God to ignore Him in our actions and elude Him in our thoughts. We profess concern for human beings and yet devise methods for their total destruction at the same time. And we proclaim love for our nation while bleeding our weaker brethren white for gain.
We applaud fair play in order to have the larger share, and we honor justice in order to outwit the rest. We express brotherly love for our neighbors often just to malign him, and we show our burning desire for peace by secretly preparing for war.
A Great Anomaly of Our Time
Our science-oriented, glamorous culture has created a peculiar social environment ideally suited for highly sophisticated minds with a strongly marked polarity that makes them talk in one way and act in another. We have developed minds which, without a single qualm of conscience, can sacrifice all that they profess of religion, faith, God, morals, virtue or lofty ideals, if that helps in our day-to-day pursuit of the objective dear to our heart, be it position, power, pleasure, fame or wealth.
Another great anomaly of our time is that while science has succeeded in overcoming the barriers of time or distance, demolishing geographical frontiers, and created conditions that make earth one vast neighborhood, the political heads of all countries still adhere to parochial and chauvinistic ideas of the times of the Greeks and Romans.
In other words, the evolution of political thought has not kept pace with the speed with which knowledge has expanded and technology overhauled. Socially, politically, and mentally, man is where he was a thousand years ago.
A Thousand Years Out of Date
Science has created a milieu of such lightning speed, mechanical wonder and complexity around us that we now need a much more balanced and penetrating intellect than is operating at present in order to adjust the society to it.
This anomaly has a marked subconscious effect on every man and woman in our time. Each person experiences the effect without awareness of the cause behind it. Whoever be the head of state whom we elect or vote into power, once installed, soon loses the favor of those who elected him. The ardor and the glamour of the election fade rapidly and, in the limelight of publicity, spots and blemishes begin to appear where all looked stainless before.
Speedily the process of disenchantment accomplishes its task. After only a few years, or even sooner, he meets their disapproval and they fret and fume first under their breath and then openly. The temper of the people is reflected in the papers and periodicals, rumors circulate, whispers and knowing winks become a common sight, until the inevitable comes to pass and someone else is lifted to the chair to start the same cycle over again.
Apart from leaders of state, the ministers and high dignitaries, more often than not, suffer the same fate. The heads of various departments of administration seldom continue for long to earn the goodwill of their subordinates or the people with whom they deal in the various spheres of their operation. Pulls and pressures, plots and intrigues, fall to their lot without respite to the end.
A State of Uncertainty Prevails
Professors, teachers, scholars, thinkers and writers only in a few cases retain their popularity and influence for long. A meteoric quality has attached itself to success. A state of ephemerousness and uncertainty seems to prevail in every sphere of life.
Strikes, lockouts, riots, demonstrations, mutinies, revolts and rebellions, the harvest of this discontentment and disenchantment, plague the life of people everywhere. Why they should occur in such proportion in an era of material comfort and affluence, compared to previous times, is a mystery.
Antipathy towards men and women who hold exalted positions anywhere, administration, industry, business, the church, university etc., or in any way influence the life of people with whom they associate is a common feature of our time.
The mass of humanity no longer feels happy or satisfied with its leading lights in any sphere of activity for long, except rarely, and seeks their replacement by others of its choice, only to be disappointed. This creates constant eddies and whirlpools in the swiftly flowing current of life in every part of the world.
The main reason why there is seething discontentment in almost every country in the world, including the richest and most advanced, in every field including religion, is not because the leaders are less competent than before or less efficient in the performance of their duty, but because the human mind has attained a degree of sensitivity, and the environment a state of bewildering complexity, where a more evolved, superior type of men and women are needed to create confidence and enlist the cooperation of the masses.
The Main Reason for Our Discontent
With every advance in knowledge and every addition to the products of technology, the normal intellect, however powerful, is sure to fall short in meeting the choice of the masses for creating a stable order in the society.
What I am forecasting is likely to become more and more apparent in the years to come. By no political revolution, by no change of government, by no enactment of new laws, by no new discoveries of science, by no new teaching or preaching, can the recalcitrant mind cease to express its resentment and dissatisfaction in some way.
Hence there must occur an increase in acts of violence, sabotage, aggression, terrorism, etc., and an increase in unrest and tension. Humanity stands at this moment on a parting of the ways.
To take an instance, commenting on the disenchantment that has occurred in the domain of science, Time magazine in an article entitled 'Second Thoughts About Man,' makes this statement: After years of sunny admiration, science suddenly finds itself in a shadow. No longer are scientists the public's great heroes or the beneficiaries of unlimited funding. Unemployment runs high in many scientific disciplines; the number of young people drawn to the laboratory in certain key areas has diminished significantly.
Second Thoughts About Man
Indifference to scientific achievement is the mood of the moment. Even such bold ventures as new voyages to the Moon or Mars, construction of giant atom- smashers, and journeys to the depths of the sea, fail to excite a public that is half-jaded, half-doubtful of the future benefits of such extravagant undertakings.
In part, the turnabout came from an increasing awareness of the environmental ravages that seem to accompany technological advance. On a more philosophical level, the reversal is the result of a new mood of skepticism about the quantifying, objective methods of science. Moreover, there has begun to emerge, even within the laboratory, a new fascination with what traditionalists consider the very antithesis of science: the mystical and irrational.
Says Harvard biologist-historian Everett Mendelsohn: "Science as we know it has outlived its usefulness."
It is this Faustian side of science, with its insatiable drive to conquer new fields, explore new territory and build bigger machines, regardless of costs and consequences, that worries so many critics,î says Time.
The Faustian Side of Science
The current disenchantment is also rooted in the growing gulf between scientists and laymen. In an earlier age, one man alone might dare take up a host of scientific challenges. Now science has been sub-divided into so many cubbyholed disciplines that not even a Galileo or a Newton could keep pace with all developments.
Some 25,000 books and a million scientific articles are published each year. Most of them are written in such abstruse jargon and abstract mathematical terms as to be incomprehensible except to specialists. Even computer systems seem unable to cope with the onslaught of information, to say nothing of translating it into an understandable language.
These few quotations should be sufficient to show the disenchantment that has occurred and the controversies that are raging in the heretofore unchallenged domain of science.
Similar states of disenchantment and conflict of views exist in other spheres also, and the reason is that the human intellect has almost reached its tether and is not able to move beyond the field of its observation into the hidden causes that rule our lives and the destiny of mankind.
It is a state of stalemate from which there is no escape, unless a new channel is opened to explore the extra-sensory levels of the universe. This is also what the reputed German physicist, Werner Heisenberg, suggests when he says that rational science may be limited in its ability to comprehend nature, at best it can only arrive at certain statistical probabilities in determining say, where an electron is at any given moment.
To know the cause of discontent and instability the inner world of consciousness must become as important a subject of study and research as the outer one. The men and women who offer themselves or are chosen for positions of honor and trust must have gained an awareness of themselves to guide the footsteps of the race on the path to accelerated evolution.
The most pressing need of humanity is not to spend billions on launching projectiles into space or devising more lethal instruments of destruction, but in removing killing poverty, ignorance and disease and in restoring the balance of the world. It is futile to expect that the present heads of state, or the elite of society, will come to the rescue.
There appears to be little hope that this idyllic dream would come true, not because it is basically Utopian and impracticable, but because it needs a more elevated class of human beings to actualize it, without using coercive or violent methods, but only their spiritual and intellectual prowess.
Nature may have to resort to some other way to achieve the end
We need not wait for a chance combination of genes inherited and passed on through centuries, as in the past, for the appearance of spiritual prodigies who are competent to handle the affairs of mankind in the way they must be handled to ensure stability and peace.
This exceptional class of men and women can come into existence, regularly and in increasing numbers from year to year, with the steady practice of yoga, meaning all spiritual disciplines, directed to activate the paranormal center in the brain and employing that genius in the service of humanity.
I call yoga the master science or the key to the mysteries of the universe, because it is through such spiritual practices that genius can be cultivated. Genius is the source from which all knowledge, science, art and philosophy, has sprung.
What we desperately need now are political geniuses to bring in line the existing systems of politics with the present-day needs of millions of fast-evolving human beings. What we need are geniuses in jurisprudence to revise the outmoded, cumbersome systems dating from the Romans, geniuses in science, geniuses in healing, and geniuses in social science, to remedy the present imbalances and to eradicate the evils and diseases in society and plant it firmly on the path to the sublime state which is its destined goal.
I know that except for some intuitive men and women I will not be readily believed. They are not to blame, because what I say is radically different from what they have been taught to believe. But history is a witness that neither Copernicus nor Bruno, nor Galileo, was believed in his time for what he premised.
On the contrary, each was criticized, castigated and ridiculed for his ideas. Bruno was burned at the stake and Galileo, in his old age, had to recant what he had written to save himself from torture and imprisonment. What is now the position of the ideas and concepts they introduced into the thinking of their contemporaries for the first time? Are they not accepted with gratitude and have they not become a part of everyday thinking?
What I assert, however farfetched, fantastic or incredible it might appear, will prove to be a most important and urgent branch of empirical investigation, a budding new science, demanding all the knowledge and resources of the older science for its progress from year to year.
We cannot deny the fact that we have been dilatory in investigating consciousness, the wonder-stuff behind all that mankind has achieved. It is for this reason that we still believe in the myth that mind, as we know it, and matter alone are the realities which need an explanation to solve the mystery of creation.
The problems arising out of extra-sensory perception, as we know, bother sober scientists, because if they are accepted they will require a fresh evaluation of the universe. ESP cannot be explained on the basis of any known laws, either of the mind or the physical world. As the eminent psychologist McDougall has remarked, if psychic phenomena are accepted, physiology will have to be rewritten.
It is not science but we ourselves who are responsible for our arbitrary interpretation of the universe. And it is only research on consciousness that can correct the error and open new vistas of creation beyond our dreams. It is only this new vision and the effort directed to gain it that can keep the restless intellect calmly on its course.