International Forum for NeoVedantins

Story of Sri Ramakrishna:  Part 11
Altered State of Consciousness and Evolution of a God Man
A Study based on the life of Sri Ramakrishna

Origin of Value System

Just as the lower centers in the nervous system are suppressed, controlled, and influenced by the higher centers, the newly developed centers in the God-man will influence the present day brain functions. Some functions would be suppressed and others added. Just as with the development of neo-cortex in human beings (which was a leap over the monkeys and apes), language, art, music, and mathematics were added to human consciousness, similarly, this new cortical development will add qualities of universal love, brotherhood, renunciation, and discrimination to the future human consciousness.

This will become psychology of the future man, just as the narrow selfish and reflex life pattern of lower animals was replaced with intelligence and reason. The human qualities are employed to do the things unimaginable: like development of science and technology, similarly, the new intelligence will make it possible where, with renunciation and discrimination, it would be quite natural to live in a state of mystic meditation and altered state of consciousness: samadhi.

All this requires disciplined practice. Without conscious and deliberate self-effort it is not possible to evolve in the higher state of consciousness. The man himself has now become the trusty of future evolution. This aspect is nicely discussed in the book 'Practical Vedanta and the science of values' by Swami Ranganathananda:

Richard Dawkins argues in his book 'The Selfish Gene' that:

'We, and all other animals, are machines created by our genes... I shall argue that a prominent quality to be expected in a successful gene is ruthless selfishness. The gene selfishness will usually give rise to selfishness in individual behaviour... Much as we might wish to believe otherwise, universal love and the welfare of the species as a whole are the concepts that simply do not make evolutionary sense.'

'My own feeling is that the human society based simply on the gene's law of universal ruthless selfishness would be a very nasty society to live in. ...Be warned that, if you wish to build a society in which individuals cooperate generously and unselfishly towards a common good, you can expect little help from biological nature.'

'Let us try to teach generosity and altruism, because we are born selfish. Let us understand what our own selfish genes are up to, because we may then at least have the chance to upset their designs, something no other species has ever aspired to.'

However, Swami Ranganathanandaji inquires of these scientists:

'The author (Dawkins) asks us to teach or deliberately cultivate values of generosity and altruism, but does not tell us the source of these values in a human being; biology is not, genes is not, external nature is not that source. From a penetration into the inner world, Vedanta long ago discovered the spiritual dimension of human personality, the Atman, as the source of all values.'

Qualities of love, freedom, and bliss are inherent, in their limitless proportions, in the universal consciousness. This is the only existence. Evolution attempts to manifest these qualities in degrees. Every human being is expressing the same qualities; some can do better than the others. Limitations of mind and matter make these qualities appear distorted, but all the same, love there is. The atom manifests this as love between its subatomic constituents, the molecule in its attachments of various atoms, tissues, organs, and life as the systematic arrangement of molecules, and human being as the organized systems. With each stage, higher and larger aspect of love shines forth. There is no sinner nor murderer, jealousy and hatred are mere expressions of this love in a very selfish individual. Such individuals love themselves only, and if they see their freedom or security endangered, they may attack others: with knife or with selfish thoughts. A saint, on the other hand, loves others as well, as much as he loves himself, and therefore, he is ready to give his life to protect even the life of a goat.

In higher evolved human being there will be more expression of love, bliss, and freedom. He will strive to make others happy. The selfishness will by necessity be replaced by selflessness due to altered quality of the structure and function of his brain. This can be taken as a hypothesis at present, but when we study such mystics those have lived their lives expressing all these qualities, this may become acceptable theory. The necessary attempts to develop the brain centers through spiritual practices cannot be overemphasized. It is possible for us to develop such qualities in ourselves through renunciation and contemplation. Conscious, deliberate and willful sadhana alone can help us reach this state of universal bliss, peace, and love. Scientific study of samadhi is, therefore, a scientific study of human evolutionary trend.
Continued part 12...   |  Previous Part 10...  |  Index to all Parts...
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