Deciphering Consciousness: Limitations of Modern Science and Scope of Vedic Approach

Jan - Feb 2006

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Deciphering Consciousness: Limitations of Modern Science & Scope of Vedic Approach

The sequencing of human genome, gene cloning, synthesis of biomolecules - Molecular Biotechnology - seems to be heading for creation of ‘life’! But is it really possible to generate consciousness in inanimate matter by laboratory techniques using inanimate matter alone?  Whatever be the hype of modern gene technology, it should not be forgotten that all this has been possible using the naturally living cells only. Moreover the biotechnological developments and promised applications are also confined only to the peripheries of the material world, having no reach in domains of consciousness force.     

The greatest scientific brains, the founders of scientific revolution had grasped this fact and the limitations of the material-based approaches of modern sciences in understanding consciousness.

Ervin Schrodinger, the founder of the energy equations in quantum physics talks a great deal of the “Physical Aspects of a Living Cell” in his celebrity book “What is Life?”.  He argues that the space-time events in the body of a living being, which correspond to the activity of its mind, to its self conscious, cannot be explained deterministically, nor by statistical physics alone.

He discusses that even at the level of bio-molecular activities the quantum indeterminacy plays no biologically relevant role. It is simply impossible for quantum mechanics alone to regulate the activities driven by the mental system. Because a being is not a pure mechanism or physico-chemical process. In this context he cites an interesting comparison, that our (modern science’s) quantum physics is like a machine made standard design whereas God’s ‘quantum mechanics’ is like a handmade embroidery – with unlimited variety, creativity and infinite expressions of beauty. 

In Swami Vivekananad’s views – This universe, described as a macrocosm, is a limitless repository of infinitely many microcosms. The latter correspond to the perceivable as well as the subliminal entities that have an existence in the timeless expansion of the cosmos. Be that the tiniest particle of an atom, a beam of energy waves, subliminal presence of events in the infinite folds of consciousness, or the existence of plants, trees, and living beings like microorganism, insects, birds, animals, men, etc, every microcosm is an eternal component of the macrocosm.  This is what is described in the Vedanta as – “Añu me Vibhu” – the existence of the ultimate in the subliminal; like that of the ocean in the tiny droplets of water.  The microcosms have perfect coherence and linkage with the macrocosm and hence with every vibration of the infinite ensemble of the microcosms. This is what forms the basis of the science of precognition – the realization or vision of the future events, of the unknown, in the inner domains of mind.

The ‘quantum mechanics’ of infinite ‘states’ of microcosm however cannot be defined the way that of the energy states of the physical states of atom could. Because, the Boltzman-Maxwell laws are incomplete to be applied even to the biological molecules (e.g. the proteins). The ‘multiple random functions’ or ‘requirement dependent random and dynamic functions’ account for stochastic ‘informational (energy) states’ of the same protein. Formulating probabilistic models is not feasible here, as there is no single probability space that would describe the stochastic variation in these aperiodic and macro-structures at the molecular levels. [This is the reason why the quantum mechanics and information theory or statistical mechanics that could be so successfully used in Physics have till date not been able to explain Biophysics comprehensively].  

If things are so difficult at the level of biological molecules, how could one apply the same Quantum Theory to understand the infinite ensemble of these biomolecules dynamically existing in the microcosm? What to say about the limitless macrocosm? It is certainly not possible, as also affirmed by the scientific wizards in the related fields, to attempt applying the quantum theory of physics to understand the complexity of life.

In an alternate attempt to explain the Informational Entropy Theory of the Biological System, Dr. Subhash Kak of USA had come out with a model in the early 1970s to incorporate a factor (term) of ‘Quality’ of a structure apart from the standard energy terms. However, despite early enthusiasm no validation of this approach has been possible in the study of the ‘optimal energy and functional states’ of the biologically active molecules. Here again no scientific study has attempted applying such models to the living systems.    

Since the past decade or so several scientists in the modern laboratories and also in the fields of spirituality are trying to formulate a ‘quantum-like theory’ for the physical aspects of “Consciousness”. Prof. R.K. Mishra, former Head of the Biophysics Department of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi had hypothesized a Hamiltonian of Life incorporating an extra term called -factor to model the ‘life energy coefficient’. However, even if one assumes some mathematical space on which this model could have solutions, this would in the most general case, correspond to something like solving infinite equations in infinite variables for each representation of the ‘unknown’ -factor.

As reported by Dr. D.N. Srivastava, Senior Scientist at B.A.R.C., Mumbai in a seminar in 1997, Dr. E.C.G. Sudershan and Dr. Narendran of N.A.S.A. (U.S.A.) are also working on the ‘quantum’ aspects of “Consciousness”.  This approach broadly proposes, a Hamiltonian model with,

Here again, despite the mathematical rigor, the models have remained conceptual (rather ‘philosophical’) with no experimental verification or theoretical analysis to provide substantial explanation of the origin and expansion of  “consciousness”.

Right from the early days of scientific development till its latest achievements, the Quantum Physicists and other scientists working in the related areas, appear to be arriving at one common conclusion, viz, as Erwin Schrodinger has put it –– “Consciousness cannot exist in ‘plural forms’. This idea of ‘eternal singularity of consciouss’ was so prominently cited in the Upanishads…as the Vedanta Principle of Brahm Sarvakhilam Idam… or Ayamatma Brahm.” 

Schrodinger further remarks, “But then the multiple manifestation of life and all activities would be ‘imaginary’ as the Maya described in the Vedas”. 

But, “if everything is imaginary then what is real?” – the question posed by Schrodinger about a century ago still churns the scientific minds. The researchers of ultimate truth have been attempting to find that “Reality” since ages. That is what had led to the Science of Spirituality. This ancient science may provide all the answers, if we enter deep and endeavor experimenting on it as per the adept guidance of our Rishis – the seer-sages of the Vedic Age, the founding fathers of the divine Indian Culture. 

The complexity of understanding the genesis and expansion of consciousness appears to be ever more hidden and vast as the modern science advances in the fields of neuroscience.  The arcane functions of the brain, the endocrine system, the world of emotions – all remain undeciphered despite the epoch making achievements of modern science. The supernormal faculties of mind are far beyond and are still referred as ‘transcendental’ or ‘esoteric’ in modern science.

Professor Adrian Dons of the Department of Physics in Cambridge University has identified the impulses generated by the future events in the fourth dimension of time as the “Psytronic Wave Front” (Paper presented in an International Science Congress in 1965). Notably, the frequency of the psytronic waves is shown by him to match with that of the alpha waves emitted from the human brain. Thus, if the mind remains alert and there is significant rise in these impulses (alpha waves), the process of receiving the signals of future becomes quite feasible and natural….”.

The Rishis and sagacious yogis of yore were perfect scientists of human mind, spirituality and consciousness. They had experienced and researched the cetana component of Nature that pertains to consciousness. This had enabled them to know the subliminal as well as the material-based or perceivable (jaDa) domains of life.   In simple words, while the modern scientific approach proceeds from matter to energy, the Vedic Sciences were derived from realization of the infinite expressions of the universal consciousness-force and decipheration of its manifestation in energy and matter.

The Rishis had realized spirituality as an evolution of human psychology and viewed divinity as the culmination of spirituality. The Indian Philosophy and the gamut of Yoga Sadhanas emerged from their absolute understanding of the arcane creation and the hidden potentials of the human body and mind. The mode of life practiced and propagated by them ensured multifaceted progress of every form of life in total harmony with Nature.

The scientific foundation and depth of knowledge hidden in the system of Ïodas Samskaras convey that despite revolutionary changes in the civilizations and the environment of life, the rishi culture is as relevant to our lives today as it was in the times of yore. The bliss of perfect health and attainment of supernormal powers is indeed feasible, if we adopt the philosophy and teachings of the rishi culture in day-to-day life.  

The Gayatri Mantra, Omkara, Yagya, KunDalini, Tantras, and Yoga Sadhanas have been common among scientific inquisitiveness and popular curiosity of people in the present times.  While yoga  – including pranayam, meditation and trance, has been widely studied and is being practiced for healthcare in many parts of the globe in the modern times, revival of the Indian Culture and the science of spirituality – as propounded by the Rishis - has been pioneered only by Gurudev Pandit Shriram Sharma Acharya, the founder of All World Gayatri Pariwar. 

Under the noble guidance and inspiration of this Rishi of our times, the knowledge of Gayatri and Yagya, the Shikha, Yagyopavita and Ïodas Samskaras has been disseminated in new scientific light from Shantikunj, Hardwar and its research wing Brahmvarchas Sodha Sansthan since past few decades. The research on Yagyopathy carried out here shows innovative modes of alternate therapies and total health. The research findings on effect of Gayatri Mantra Sadhana demonstrate positive impact on wellbeing and the chiseled refinement of mental faculties. These also prove the potential of the spiritual endeavors (with the support of Gayatri Mantra) in reaching the inner domains of consciousness and awakening sensitivity, which is the well storing of peace, happiness, love, compassion and benevolence.


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