International Forum for NeoVedantins

Story of Sri Ramakrishna:  Part 12
Altered State of Consciousness and Evolution of a God Man
A Study based on the life of Sri Ramakrishna

The Way

The instruments may be the same, but the functions to be examined and studied have altered. We are trying to measure the same old qualities while the need is to shift the focus on realizing the necessity of searching the newer paradigms. Twenty-first century will be the century to look at the man from these angles and then psychology and physiology of God-man will be studied as a new branch of medicine, sociology, and evolution. On the basis of this appeal that science and spirituality should join hands to liberate humanity from the stranglehold of selfishness, greed, lust, and materialistic degradation of culture, the preceding account of the life and experiences of Sri Ramakrishna - the God-man of the modern era is given.

We should put the question not as 'how', but 'why'. Why these changes are occurring? What is the destiny of evolving matter? Sri Ramakrishna answers: so that man can realize God! The whole evolution is seeking to reach that state when and where it would be one with the only reality - Universal Consciousness. This fact we can notice in mystics of the past and the present, of every nation and religion. Sri Ramakrishna is the most recent example in whom the natural tendency was to remain at the higher level of consciousness - the state of samadhi.

As, say, a dog body cannot reflect human consciousness, so this human body may not be capable of containing the vastness of superhuman consciousness. It will fall apart. Our hope lies in the verified records and documentation of changes in the life of Sri Ramakrishna during the period of sadhana. He showed that with proper sadhana, control of senses, extreme efforts and renunciation, one could realize or express higher level of consciousness. There is a scope for psycho-spiritual progress in the human evolution.


The spiritual joy is considered superior to the intellectual joy, which in turn is higher than the sense pleasure. Intense desire to renounce the worldly pleasures with deliberate actions (sadhana) and to seek higher level of pleasure may be responsible for the structural and functional changes produced in the brain cells and centers. In place of the old system of neuronal qualities and connections for various brain functions, new type of cellular arrangement of quality and quantity may be in the process of formation. This transition from one form of nervous system to a newer form thereof may require some time. During this period some of the persons may not be able to maintain the life force, and death may result. In still others, the sadhana will be abortive or the person may gain partial benefit only. Or, some may become mentally deranged due to incomplete and inadequate change in the nervous system.

An iron rod may become hot or cold when placed in hot or ice cold water respectively. Apparently the structure of iron rod remains the same, but its quality changes, manifesting either hotness or coldness depending upon the kind of energy it is exposed to. Some internal non-visible changes might have occurred in the rod.

The brain can be compared with such rod. Depending upon the kind of energy infused by way of activity, it can manifest the 'hotness' of selfishness and possessiveness or 'coldness' of selflessness and renunciation. During this change of expression the gross appearance of the brain remains same. The natural energy of thought current inherited by the normal genetic constitution expresses selfishness as the natural quality of brain. Through sadhana -spiritual discipline- one can attempt to change this quality of human genetic selfishness to supra-human universal selflessness, from greed and lust to renunciation.
This may be brought about by:

Connections between various nerve cells by development of newer synapses,
Modifications of normal connections by changes in anatomical structure, and biochemical neurotransmitters,
Activation of dormant neurons and synapses,
Development of new centers, i.e. both anatomical and physiological evolutionary progress-visible or invisible,

Thus a state of altered consciousness may be brought about which would culminate in samadhi. Drugs, thoughts, methods of concentration by way of four Yogas, etc. are some of inputs required to bring about these changes. EEG, MRI, can pick up the changes by way of direct and indirect evidence in the form of changes in electrical activity, blood flow pattern, estimation of oxygen and other metabolic parameters and other studies. We may not have yet such sophisticated instruments to determine or measure these changes, but inability to confirm the changes should not prevent us from acknowledging the effects or manifestations in a certain person. This would be unscientific, because such effects of changes in consciousness are proved to occur in many persons and, as we have already seen, are recorded, verified, and documented in the wonderful life of Sri Ramakrishna.
Continued part 13...   |  Previous Part 11...  |  Index to all Parts...
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