As man is the microcosm of the macrocosm, to find a solution of the various crises that we are facing today, it becomes pertinent to understand the true nature of the macrocosm and man’s relationship with it. According to the Indian tradition “the center of experience is the center of the universe — physical as well as metaphysical, and this supreme center is the real center of man, the Atman (soul) the unchanging basis of an ever changing universe composed of both nature and personality, above cause and therefore above time, the seer of the space-time events, in the abyss of whose silence, the distinction between the space-time and its perceiver, the object and the subject, the non-self and the self is transcending in the perfect truth of perfect non-duality” [Ranganathananda, 1987a: p.122-124]. In contrast, the modern science holds, that ‘the material cosmos is the only reality. It has evolved over billions of years
forming galaxies, suns, and planets, and on earth an incredible variety of complex biological organisms. All human experiences, feelings, thoughts, hopes, dreams and the very consciousness itself are nothing but an activity of the neurons in the brain. All notions such as God, Tao, Brahman, and primordial Awareness are nothing but wishful superstitious fantasies of the brain which is complex enough to recognize its own inevitable demise’ [McFarlane, 1999].
Shortcomings of the scientific view: The primary difference in the above viewpoints is the inclusion and exclusion of subjective experience as a valid means of knowledge. In the Indian thought subjective experience is as real as the objective experience, while in the modern scientific thought it holds no place. The universe of experience is one; and experiences do not distinguish themselves between the subjective and the objective. This categorization of experience as subjective and objective is a man-made division for the convenience of understanding the difference between the destructible (material) and the non-destructible (spirit which pervades the entire creation and is the essence of life). According to Bhagavat Gita (XIII.2) absolute reality rests in the unification of both i.e. the knowledge of ‘not-self’ (ksetra) gained through objective experiences with the knowledge of ‘self’ (ksetrajna) gained through subjective experiences. Modern science only tells us what will happen in a given, such and such condition, but has no opinion on the activity by which it happens [Radhakrishnan, 1988]. Heisenberg remarks “We have to remember that what we observe is not nature in itself, but nature exposed to our method of questioning” [Heisenberg, 1962: p.58]. The exclusive materialistic investigative approach of modern science does not permit it to investigate the reality that exists beyond the material reality. Thus, it is not surprising that modern science refuses to acknowledge man’s ability to transcend the material world and consider him as an object of scientific enquiry except through his body. Lincoln Barnett in his study of Einstein’s contribution to modern scientific thought (The Universe and Dr. Einstein, Mentor edition, page 126-127) remarks “In the evolution of the scientific though, one thought has become impressively clear; there is no mystery of the physical world which does not point to a mystery beyond itself. …………… Man is thus his own greatest mystery. He does not understand the vast veiled universe into which he has been cast for the reason that he does not understand himself. …….. Least of all does he understand his noblest and his most mysterious faculty: the ability to transcend himself and perceive himself in the act of perception”
[Ranganathananda, 1987b: p.183].
With the rejection of anything and everything that has subjectivity attached to it, modern science also rejects the powers of mind. Mind is the driver of the brain and the pathway for desires to actualize and create experiences. The great neurologist Sir Charles Sherrington (1857 — 1952) wrote (‘Introductory’ to the Physical Basis of Mind, Edited by Peter Laslett, page 1): “knowledge of the physical basis of the mind is making great strides in these days. Knowledge of the brain is growing, and our theme is almost equivalent to the physiology of the brain. Mind, meaning by that thoughts, memories, feelings, reasoning, and so on, is difficult to bring into the class of physical things. Physiology, a natural science, tends to be silent about all outside the physical. And so the study of the physical basis suffers from falling between two stools”.
Like we cannot come to know about the electricity energy by studying the bulb, similarly, we cannot come to know about the nature and origin of human
consciousness, the phenomenon of mystical experiences, communion of man with the macrocosm, spiritual dynamics, etc. by studying the material (body) through which it manifests in this world. At the most we can come up with some theories and hypotheses. In 2004 neurologist Dr. Richard Frackowaik admitted “We have no idea how consciousness emerges from the physical activity of the brain and we do not know whether consciousness can emerge from non-biological systems, such as computers ...
………….. Consciousness has not yet become a scientific term that can be defined in this way. Currently we all use the term consciousness in many different and often ambiguous ways. Precise definitions of different aspects of consciousness will emerge, but to make precise definitions at this stage is premature” [Frackowiak, 2004: p.269]. Further, with Quantum Physics establishing that at the subatomic level a dual wave-like and particle-like behaviour exists between the interaction of energy and matter, and the laws of classical physics flow out from the laws of quantum physics, the materialistic worldview of reality becomes a question mark. In the words of John Stewart an evolutionary scientist, “With our current level of knowledge and intelligence, we cannot say much about the nature of any larger-scale processes in which our universe is embedded. But as a number of theorists have noted, an intriguing possibility exists that — The known universe exists (there is something rather than nothing), and it is reasonable to presume that it owes its existence to processes that
exist outside it” [Stewart, 2010].
The Indian perception of reality: The philosophy of ‘oneness in creation i.e. single point reality with multiple manifestations of the same in different shades’ has always been the mainstream belief in India. This belief is based not only on perception but also on reason. In Indian mysticism ‘Man is the Central Mystery of the Universe’, both from the perspective of the ‘science of matter’ and the ‘science of life’. He is an evolution of nature and in him are hidden the deepest secrets of nature. This unique position of man warranted the development of a science which Huxley calls ‘a science of human possibilities’. “It was such a science, the science of religion, which India sought and found in her Upanishads, and which she integrated with the science of matter and life to emerge as the unifying philosophy of the Vedanta” [Ranganathananda, 1987c: p.12]. The Vedanta philosophy of ancient India, which holds good even today, is a way of life, wherein the secular needs of man are given due importance but subservient to his non-secular needs, as the secular needs of man have arisen out of the non-secular needs of man.
Evolution and emergence of new knowledge is a natural phenomenon and it applies to all dimensions’ of life, be it philosophy, religion or science. No knowledge is created in abstraction; it exists in the universe and unfolds itself under certain conditions. Our understanding of the revealed knowledge frames our views about reality. When new knowledge emerges, we revise our understanding. This does not imply that the old knowledge was wrong; it only means that the old knowledge was partial and now it needs to be looked afresh and accordingly modified or supplemented with the new knowledge. Thus, a variety of viewpoints regarding the origin of the creation and its nature are found in the Indian tradition, but as man evolved new dimensions got added to it and old ones refined. However, one finds a common tenet across all theories, that the entire macrocosm has arisen out of an “all knowing intelligent source of energy and the essence of man is the same as that of the intelligent creative energy”.
Sant Kabir the 15th century Indian mystic, expanded the then prevailing Vedantic cosmology of two regions i.e. regions of mind and matter, by adding a third region of spirituality. A somewhat similar cosmology is also found in the Sufi tradition. Post, Sant Kabir a number of Saints have appeared on Earth and have taken forward the thought process which is now popularly known as “Religion of Saints — Radhasoami Faith”. The philosophy is simple and explainable in modern scientific terms. Professor Mark Jurgensmeyer (1995) of the University of California (Berkeley) in his book ‘Radhasoami Reality — The Logic of a Modern Faith’, writes: “Its central notions — that truth and authority can be embodied in a person, that transformation of the self occurs through the purification of perception and energy, that love and community can be experienced in dispersion, that social service is based on personal commitment, and that time and place have ultimate centres — each contain features of modern, and in some cases even post-modern religion. As such, the Radhasoami Faith may be a harbinger of the religion of the future, not only in India but elsewhere in the world”.
According to the Radhasoami Faith cosmology the creation has originated from an infinite spiritual energy source or reservoir known as the “Supreme Creator” or “Being” (with attendant features of supreme energy, supreme intelligence, supreme refulgence and supreme bliss) with its accompanying quantum spiritual force-field spanning the entire macrocosm. Each constituent fundamental particle of this quantum spiritual force-field is known as spirit-force, and is the one which possesses prime-energy. All other forces (mind-force or physical-force) of nature have been evolved by the association of this spirit-force with media (mind and physical matter) of different kinds. The concept of “spirit-force” is no more intrinsically mysterious than “mass”.
The creation comprises of ‘Three Grand Divisions’ viz. the ‘Region of Universal Spirit’ (first division), the ‘Region of Universal Mind’ (second division) and the ‘Region of Universal Matter’ (third division). The Region of Universal Spirit was the first to come into existence and is the subtlest of the three, as it consists of pure spirit-force. Its attributes are eternality, supreme spirituality, supreme energy, supreme intelligence, supreme refulgence, supreme bliss and non-differentiation (qualitative). The Region of Universal Mind was second to come into existence and is also subtle and spiritual, but not as much as the first region. This region is a resultant of the interaction between the spirit-force and the mind-force. The pre-dominance of the mind-force resulted in bring about a qualitative differentiation in subtle form in this region, which in turn became the scaffolding for the qualitative differentiation that exists in gross form in the Region of Universal Matter. This qualitative differentiation is also the cause of the variety of nature (good, bad, ugly) found across nature and mankind. Unlike the first region, the second region is destructible. The Region of Universal Matter is the last region to come into existence and it is gross in nature. Spirituality in this region is the least as the spirit-force virtually becomes dormant, after getting covered by the mind-force in the second region and further getting covered by the physical-force in this region. This region is destructible, lacks intelligence and is ego predominant. The creational hierarchy of these regions is based on the principle of reducing spirituality (reducing spirituality does not mean loss of spirituality, but means the powers of spirit-force becoming latent as it moves downwards from the first region); and the common factor across the regions is the power of the spirit-force which is providing
vitality to the entire creation. The power of the mind-force is confined to the second and the third regions and that of physical-force only to the third region. Thus the life force of the creation is the ‘spirit force’, which is also present in man (known as atman / soul) on this planet Earth (part of the third division ‘Region of Universal Matter’), but it fails to manifest itself fully as it is covered by layers of mind-force and physical-force.
In the economy of the creation each region is divided into six planes, namely, Radhasoami Dham, Agam Lok, Alakh Lok, Anani Lok, Sat Lok and Bhawar Gufa in the Region of Universal Spirit, Sunn, Trikuti, Sahas Dal Kamal, Vishnu Lok, Brahma Lok & Shiva Lok in the Region of Universal Mind, and Spirit or Moon Orb, Sun, Earth, Jupiter, Saturn and Neptune in the Region of Universal Matter (Note: the moon and sun are not the same that are visible from earth). Further, there also exists a buffer zone called Mahasunn between the first and second region, and a buffer zone called Chidakash between the second and third region. These eighteen planes are connected in a sequential order both ways (top to bottom and bottom to top) by two independent spirit-force currents about which we shall talk going forward.
In the pre-creational stage, the ‘Supreme Being’ i.e. the Supreme Reservoir of spirit-entities was in a self-absorbed state with intense rapture within Himself. The spirit-entities located in the apex of the reservoir (positive pole) possessed higher spirituality than the ones located at the bottom (nether pole). The difference in spirituality between the two poles was on account of spirit-entities in the nether pole having a tendency to associate with mind or matter or both.
Over a period of time the potential difference in the spirituality between the two poles on account of polarization grew to such an extent that there was huge commo- tion in the Supreme Being. The prime energy becoming kinetic due to the process of spiritualization (similar to the process of magnetization) and a quantum spiritual force field between the super positive pole and the nether pole was established. The commotion in the Supreme Being was accompanied by the premeival sound current ‘Soa-mi’, which having an
inward focus attracted spirit- entities from the nether pole to the positive pole. Simul- taneously, the first current of spirituality having an out- ward focus or center forming capabilities was issued forth whose vibrations gave rise to the emanation of the prime sound ‘Ra-dha’. The vibra- tions of the two currents when combined produce the sound ‘Radhasoami’ which is the manifested name of the ‘Supreme Being’ and it is constantly resonating
throughout the creation. The (Figure1)
spirit-entities who were successful in shedding their tendency to associate with mind and matter got place in the Region of Universal Spirit, spirit-entities who could shed their tendency to associate with matter got located in the Region of Universal Mind and those who continued to harbor tendencies to associate with mind and matter got
located in the Region of Universal Matter.
Having originated from a single source ‘The Supreme Being’, the creation (macrocosm) is an all-encompassing completely closed system with three sub- systems, viz., (1) Primary — Region of Universal Spirit (includes the Supreme Being as the Infinite Reservoir of Spirituality), (2) Secondary — Region of Universal Mind,
(3) Tertiary — Region of Universal Matter (including man) [Satsangi, 2008a: p.189]. The three regions interact with each other and with man as schematically depicted in Figure 1.