My personal perception at this time is that consciousness is a sort of emergent phenomenon. That means first stuff (‘sat’) and then consciousness (purusha, ‘tat’).
As I perceive it, a mind is the electro-bio-chemical ‘activity’ of a brain.
Think of physical layer of a computer network. All you will see are voltages fluctuating on the wires to a ‘rythym’ if you will. Every higher layer of the network, listens (responds) only to the fluctuations at specific pre-determined time intervals, and ignores all other data. Into the arrangement of these voltage fluctuations (bits) is encoded all the information in the world. Some hardware cares about addresses and switching and some other about decoding and so forth. The final meaning of these words I type is ‘known’ to your human brain.
Think of waves on the sea, that are made of water and are in the sea and yet are not water. It is their movement., their activity itself that makes them a wave.
Think of the sound waves or electromagnetic waves. Our brain activity “reads meanings” into the sounds and lights that our senses detect. And it puts out information into the sounds and expressions we make for other living beings to make sense of.
Think of us.
What do we, human beings, do? We bridge synapses, the gaps between neurons in our brains, when we learn. We transfer our “brain patterns” or thought processes to others, when we teach, write converse etc. We alter the landscape of the earth and create new materials : molecules like plastic, new intelligent beings : robots and computers. We put small objects like satellites in space which serve to transmit information among ourselves using electromagnetic radiation.
In addition to transforming the appearance of our earth’s crust and sending new plastic materials (satellites) into space (our solar system)., we Actively Observe Others in the Universe and Ourselves, forming impressions that explain the world. We learn, we are conscious and we have at least the illusion of free will. We recognise this consciousness in other living beings.
Sankaracharya in his vakyavritti of Tat Tvam Asi, says that Tat, the Brahman and Tvam the jeevatma are one and the same and that both are of the form of cit (consciousness).
I bow to my Guru, by whose grace I learned my true nature (Atma Rupam), that I alone am Vishnu and everything is superimposed on me.
Why don’t you recognise yourself? The vigraha (embodiment) of *Caitanya (enlightened consciousness), Ananda Rupa (of the form of joy), **Satya (Existence), the Sakshi (witness) of the Antah Karana (Inner Ear – Inner Sensor) and tat vritti (its modifications).
You are your Caitanyam (enlightened consciousness), which is true, joyful and a witness to your mind.
Know that you are not your body, your senses, your life or your mind or a combination of both. You are a witness to them.
You (Tvam) are the knower of your body and mind and their behaviour, while awake or asleep. You are what makes them appear as if they were conscious. You are that for whose sake other things become dear. You are that which desires never to die and to always be eternal. You are the Knower, the Witness and You are unchanging.
Tat refers to the Brahman discussed in the Vedas and the Upanishads, as the infinite (ananta), the knower of all (sarvagnya), flawless, untainted, subtle, invisible, the greatest joy, truth and consciousness, the supreme, competent, controller, knowing which everything is known, the cause of Prapancha (Universe, Expansion), the goal of the seekers of freedom, which enters creation as the Jiva Atma, which causes our actions and gives us the fruit of our actions.
Maya (Illusion) is the Upadhi for Brahman, it is mistaken for the Brahman, as your body-mind is mistaken for you.
If the meaning of either Tat or Tvam is mistaken (as Maya or the body-mind), then the identity Tat Tvam Asi fails. When Tat (Brahman) and Tvam (Pratyak Bodha) are correctly identified with Sat-Cit-Ananda (Existence – Consciousness – Bliss), a person attains the state of Aham Brahmosmi, and stops accruing new karma. He becomes a Jivan Muktha – one who is liberated in life and need only work off the karma that he started off with. After this he will attain Kaivalyam or Vishnupadam.
Professor Brian Josephson, is the director of the Mind-Matter Unification Project of the Theory of Condensed Matter Group at the Cavendish Laboratory, Cambridge.
Videos of his lectures.
He says, “The problem of how life came into existence is a major challenge for biology. I shall argue for an explanation involving the idea that a more elementary form of life, not dependent on matter, existed prior to the big bang, and evolved at the level of ideas in the same way that human societies evolve at the level of ideas. Just as human society discovered how to use matter in a range of technological applications, the hypothesised life before the big bang discovered how to organise energy to make physical universes, and to make fruitful use of the matter available in such universes. In addition, our various creative abilities are in part expressions of aspects of this original life.” Source
Devi Bhagavatham tells us that Sarva Chaitanya was first, then the universe: (Reference)
At the end of a kalpa
, Sri Hari (Vishnu
) was lying on a small banyan leaf (a Vata Patra
He was curious about himself and how he had come into existence and he was curious about all that was around him.
Then Devi who is Sarva Caitanya – the consciousness of all spoke, “All that you see is Me!”. Sri Hari wondered about the voice and the words and meditated on the Devi.
Then she appeared in the form of Sri MahaLakshmi (Light) surrounded on all sides by all the Sakthis personified. Some of these Sakthis were.. Rati, Bhûti, Buddhi (Intellect), Mati, Kîrti (Fame), Smriti(Memory), Dhriti, S’raddhâ, Medhâ, Svadhâ, Svâhâ, Kshudhâ, Nidrâ (Sleep), Dayâ (Compassion), Gati, Tusti, Pusti, Ksamâ (Forgiveness), Lajjâ, Jrimbhâ Tandrâ. All of them were beautiful and well decked.
Each possessed a clear distinct form and was endowed with a clear distinct feeling. In the hands of them all were divine weapons; on their necks, necklaces and garlands of Mandâra (Hibiscus) flowers; and all the limbs of their bodies were decorated with divine ornaments. They stood above the surface of the water without their feet touching it.
This raised a whole lot of new questions in Sri Janardhana’s (Vishnu’s) mind. Was she his mother or Maya? Was he to be a baby forever or would he grow up? Why was he on a banyan leaf?
Then MahaLakshmi reminded him that she was always his consort and after every pralaya, when srishti or creation happened again Vishnu would come into existence and marry her. Under the influence of MahaSakthi he had forgotten.
Then MahaLakshmi reminded him of what took place every kalpa : “ That Highest Mahâ S’akti (Energy) is transcendent of all the Gunas; but you and I are with Gunas. Know me as the S’akti, all of Sattva Guna (Existence) who is widely known as Mahâ Laksmî. After this the Prajâpati Brahma, full of Rajo Gunas (Light), the creator of all the Lokas, will come into existence from your navel lotus and will create the three worlds. Then he will perform severe tapasyâ and acquire the excellent power to create, and will create the three worlds by his Rajo Guna. That highly intelligent Prajâpati will create first, the five Mahâ bhûtas (great elements), all endowed with Gunas and then create mind with sensory organs and the presiding deities of the senses, and thus with all the ingredients, fit for creation, will create all the worlds. Therefore He is denominated by all as the Creator of Brahmânda. O highly fortunate one! You will be the Preserver of this Universe. When the Prajâpati Brahmâ will be angry at the beginning of the creation on his four mind-born sons, Rudra Deva will appear. He will appear then from the centre of his eye brows. On being born this Rudra Deva will practise very severe tapasyâ and will get the Samhâra S’akti, who is all of Tamo Guna (Darkness) and at the end of the Kalpa will destroy all this universe of five elements. O highly intelligent one! So I have come to you for this work of creation, etc. So take me to you as your Vaisnavî S’akti full of Sattva Guna. O Madhusûdana! I will take refuge at your breast and will remain always with you. ”
…read http://ancientindians.wordpress.com/2010/04/11/vatapatrasayi-sri-maha-vishnu-as-a-baby-devi-bhagavatham/ if you want the rest of the story…
Vishnu told Brahma : Maha Sakti is the Îs’varî (the master) of the Îs’varas of this universe. O Brahmâ! You, I and all other things of the entire Universe are born of the Chit S’akti (the power of consciousness) of Her and Her alone; there is no manner of doubt in this.
My Thoughts :
The text tells us that it is c’it (chitta) or consciousness that is eternal and is the cause of all that we see around us moving or unmoving. Some may refer to it as the Purusha and some as the Devi.
Devi is Sakti (Energy), Devi is Chaitanya (Consciousness).
Energy Fields (electromagnetic, gravitational) are an effect of matter. Consciousness is an effect of matter (electro-bio-chemical activity).
Consciousness is literally a kind of energy (activity) too.
Avyakta (undifferentiated) Sakti (energy), Devi (divinity) is first.
This became the vyakta (differentiated) : matter and energy filled universe.
Was that first undifferentiated Sakti – conscious as our scriptures tell us? Or did consciousness emerge from the system, in patches, later? Does the universe have a consciousness which is either same as or different from our consciousness?
Even More : Philosophies : God and Vedas in different Ancient Indian Philosophies
- Time : Past, Present and Future : Bhuta Bhavya Bhavan Nathah Vishnuh
- Time : Why study time ? : “Kaalah Aham – I am Time” – Krishna
- Time : Kalakantha, kalamurthi, kalagni, kalanasana, Siva : Markandeya : Maghamahatmya
- Time and Space : Are Time and Space “side-effect” of matter? Is Space empty? or full of some”thing” else?
- Time, Matter, Energy and Consciousness : Kaala, Sat, Sakthi, Purusha/Devi
- Life : Pranadah, Pranah, Jivanah, Vishnuh! : What is Life? In science and sanskrit texts : Eating.
- Consciousness : Pragnya, Chitta, Purusha/Devi : in Science and Sanskrit Texts
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