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Pujya Dr. K.C. Varadachari - Volume -1

Sri Ramchandra's Rajayoga: New Darsana : Part-2 :Psychology

Cosmic Consciousness

The goal of man's consciousness or knowledge seems to be the consciousness of the entire universe.

Philosophy usually aims at this knowledge (vijnana); whether it be through the process of science, or through the process of Yoga or inner physic awakening. That the poets seem to have such moments of universal consciousness seems to be conceded. One embraces all the world, and seems even to feel that he knows the universe. It is not, however, any part of the universe that he discerns, but the whole itself. Individual or particular knowledge of any object is transcended, and the particular itself is seized as mirroring the whole universe. These experiences of the cosmic consciousness have also been narrated by many saints.

The knowledge of events happening far from where one is, and of events to happen hereafter, seem also to fall into this category. It is said to be even non-mediated by the sense organs, which could only see and hear and sense particular objects before them.

Cosmic consciousness has sometimes been said to be similar to some of the experiences of the Upanisadic seers :

  1. It appears like a flash of lightning.
  2. It is the perception of the atman in all, and of all in the atman; and it is that which has become all these( sarvabhutam sarvamidam)
  3. It is that from which all have come into being, by which all are sustained, and into which all merge at dissolution.
  4. It is a liberating experience.

One enters into the cosmic field. It is held that this universe is something that one can know when one passes beyond the individual mind, the senses and even the ego centred in the body for its knowledge. The cosmic consciousness is thus held to be consciousness without the ego-centredness or body-centredness. It has been very difficult to speak about this consciousness in the language of ordinary man.

This cosmic consciousness is held by many to be the goal of man. The experiences some times range from the totality of the whole to the void, or even the absolute without any distinctions.

Some types of cosmic consciousness however feel the cosmos itself extending to spheres far beyond our senses and there have been some who have described the worlds beyond the sense-range and life-range.

Some have seen Gods and Goddesses of their persuasion, and have valued highly this communicability of the cosmic consciousness with their own. In and through this cosmic consciousness, one almost enters the world of mythical gods and powers-the region where one almost sees the preparations for world events here and elsewhere.

But all this is said to be just the product of a fantastic imagination by people who see in this cosmic consciousness a world of maya much subtler than our gross worlds which restrict even the world of maya to give us a world of ignorance (avidya).

Some may see in this meaning of our meaningless world-lila. As a scholar Kapila Sastri remarked, the world of lila is just one removed from the world of maya.

Cosmic consciousness is of the mind region. The mind in this region becomes the most expensive womb of all imagination, along with all the possibilities of the individual mind, sense organ, and motor organ group. Moving beyond, and out of, the body consciousness, one begins to enter into the mind consciousness and lives in it.

Cosmic consciousness is centred on the mind - the cosmic mind which permits the many individuals to experience the mind-state and transcend it. The philosophies, which claim mind to be the ultimate substance, are usually impressed by the vastness of the regions of the mind. Its capacity to move to far distances and conceive of infinity or infinities is very astounding. The Upanisads speak of mind -speed, which is much faster than all physical speeds. Intellect, lifting itself up beyond the levels of perception and observation, delivers certain axiomatic truths, which have proved invaluable in research, even in the physical and biological sciences. Whilst it soars beyond, it also analyses minutely. In one sense the very conceptions of bigger than the biggest and smaller than the smallest, and minuter than the minutest, are all mental concepts, necessary for man's progress in the scales of the scales of the cosmos and microcosm. The mind is not more real than matter, but the mind is certainly subtler than matter, and it may well be that life is the bridge between the two. It is in organic life that we find mind is real to matter, and matter is real to mind.

Cosmic consciousness is more than the material, and more than the mental, even in its higher reaches; in this sense that mind awareness is multidimensional, and reveals certain aspects of transcendence over space and time. Thus certain awareness of things and persons beyond the possibility of perception and inferences also become possible. A higher mental being is omniscient and omnipresent in a sense, which the lower mental being can hardly imagine.

It is the assiduous cultivation of spiritual aspiration to see beyond the gross and the subtle that precipitates the awareness that goes beyond the particular and the universals of conception. Cosmic consciousness must be distinguished from the universal abstract notion of it. This latter is a method by which one abstracts from the perception of the particular in order to arrive at the conception of the universal, which is held to be the goal of perception. This has been said to be practised steadily by philosophers so that the form of the particular, resident in all of them, can be abstracted from them by the mind. The mind thus is made to arrive at the notion of the form. Laws governing particulars are similarly inducted. This is undoubtedly a clear enough substitute for the intuition of the universal. Most abstractionist yoga, and mathematical and scientific ideation or phenomena belong to this order of experience. It is very much likely that it is a very near-cosmic phenomenon, though a construction by the mind. It may perhaps even be said to be a mental perception (manasa-pratyaksa) or conception, without the possible implication of its having been produced by the mind or being a product of the mind itself.

The mind has its own world of phantasy and play of ideations, projections due to desire and wishes .No wonder many psychologists undertake to demonstrate that the mind's sphere of activity within itself is just dream-making. But one may well wonder how it actually works, expect with the material that nature provide. If mind itself is nature, then why is it that the world of objects are not amendable to the mind as such? And why has the mind to secure a freedom from objects when it dreams and lives its own life-a life of self-imposed phantasy that might, when accentuated, lead to grave consequences in life?

Thus there is lot of confused thinking about the cosmic consciousness. It is said to be amoral, mystical and transcending the world, both perceptually and conceptually.

The cosmic consciousness in Sri Ramchandra's Raja Yoga is really cosmic in the sense that it is the awareness of the brahmanda - the universe. One feels that one is a member of that universe, and part and parcel there of. Instead of feeling that he is a particular individual with his own particular separate life to live, he finds himself to be a member of a universe. In this sense what happens is that his own physico-psychical body is infused with vibrations of force far exceeding its personal vibration with which it was endowed. The life that one lives is no longer circumscribed to the individual organism. He finds that a vaster world is open to him. Of course this is not in a sense identical with the experience of the world around us in the physical sense or geographical or planetary sense. Far from it .one feels drawn into a vaster experience -a freer world to live in. A sense of growing freedom is available

This may even be called the astral world-a subtle world of which our world and our bodies are manifestations or grosser forms. Things, which happen in this universe, are causally prior to the events in this perceived world. Men, who have visions of these events in the astral world are those who here, become soothsayers and prophets of the world here. This world seems to be determined by that world. Cosmic consciousness is the concrete experience of that cosmos, which is hidden to the perceptive consciousness, in the sense that it is the future of the present seen, rather than its past. But this is undoubtedly a gain from the worldly point of views, through it is not liberation, except from the sense of ignorance of the future in respect of the now of the world.

In mystic knowledge these areas of experience could be called godly, for Gods have indeed the knowledge of the further, and of course, of the past and the present. Sages too who have access to this astral causal sphere are called knowers of the three time-states (trikala-jnani). The Mind region is said to be the most powerful region of God. And most seekers seek this region and are experiencing bliss. This is also the region of Light. The path of light leads deeper and deeper into this universe of light. From this region all receive their power and help in this world. Departed souls also seek this region. But this region is also stated to be a region where there is the restrictive or binding activity of the ego which expresses itself as, and in, individuals, through in a universe of cosmic consciousness, it remains freed form the individuated consciousness, no longer restricted or deluded by the physical and other limitations. This is what many have sought as the world of liberation, of happiness, of blessed and purified egoism bestowed with cosmic consciousness.

According to Sri Ram Chandra there are eleven circles or rings which, of course, are progressively subtler as they proceed nearer to the centre. The outer ones are grosser than the inner ones. Egoism is already the point of manyness in experiences, and of separative existence and striving. But in the cosmic consciousness these separative features are subordinated to the cosmic unity. There is co-operative manyness and all perceive the necessity of unity, however diverse may be the levels of egoism or individual functions. The glory of manyness in oneness is visible and enjoyed. The view of manyness as an illusion, or as wicked and evil passes over to the conception of luminous integrative manyness, which harmonize. But lower levels of mind may throw up diverse and even contrasting experiences. But one who, patiently, with the help of the Master's transmission, ascends would discover the inner urge that makes for crossing over all these ego-circles. One is not yet in sight of that Reality, which is reflected in the mind and its egos.

The Central Region, however, opens before him a new frontier of Being. The exploration and experience of this divine region is beyond all description. This is the reality of realities through open to human experience by Sri Ram Chandra's Yoga.