Science and Kundalini
How can investigation into kundalini lead to an understanding of the phenomena of mystical experience, genius and psychic faculties?
All these three extraordinary manifestations of consciousness for which science as yet has no explanation – depend mainly upon the transformation of prana or bioenergy. The size and shape of the brain remains the same, but there do occur subtle changes in the biological composition of the cells and the nerve fibrils, although we have no means to determine these changes at present. There is also no doubt that a new activity starts in the brain, due to the opening of a normally closed chamber to the influx of a fine biochemical essence, rising from the reproductive region through the spinal cord. This extract serves as nourishment for the highly enhanced activity leading to an expanded state of consciousness. The activity – stimulated by a new and more potent form of bioenergy drawn by the nerves from all parts of the body – flows through the spinal conduit in a luminous stream to cause the explosion in consciousness characteristic of the arousal of the serpent power and its ascent to the sahasrara, allegorically depleted as the thousand-petalled lotus in the brain.
Subjectively, this flow of the essences, culled from the reproductive organs, can be distinctly felt in the space behind the palate, from the middle point to the root of the tongue. It pours into the cranium in an ambrosial stream so exquisitely pleasurable that even the rapture of love pales into insignificance when compared to it. At the same time the erstwhile, narrow-orbited consciousness is perceived spreading on all sides in ever-widening waves of lustrous being, until it attains the dimensions of an effulgent, unbounded ocean of awareness in which the wonderstruck ego, with only a faint recollection of its corporeal existence, appears like a dim and distant piece of floating corkwood, bobbing up and down, lost in the immensity of the expanse surrounding it.
The descriptions contained in the Tantras and other treatises on Hatha-Yoga, about “the dripping ambrosia on the union of Shakti with Shiva,” in actual fact denote the streaming of the reproductive secretions into the brain, on the opening of the central canal with the arousal of the kundalini power. These secretions are then drawn up as if a powerful suction is applied from above to the nerves lining the kanda (the triangular space below the navel) and the muladhara cakra (the plexus close to the anal opening). This marks the initiation of a new organic activity in the body in which the brain, the nervous system, and the reproductive organs are the main participants in an effort to fashion the whole system to a new awareness beyond the normal limits of human consciousness.
I am making these statements from full personal experience of this extraordinary psychophysiological development. This upward flow of the reproductive essences into the cranium through the spinal canal is definitely somatic in nature. The body of the awakened individual develops a new biological function and a new form of awareness with a supersensory channel of cognition. The constant perception of luminosity, both within and without, which is an invariable characteristic of higher consciousness, makes the observing soul appear as if attired in a sheath of light. This is why, in the ancient books on Yoga and on spiritual lore, mention is made of the development of a “shining body” or a “diamond body” or a “perfect body” as an auxiliary to enlightenment. It is a clear indication of awakened serpent power and can be observed without much difficulty by any competent investigator in whom the force is aroused.
The awakening of kundalini takes two distinct forms. One is the upward flow of a radiant energy that appears like a luminous glow in and around the head, and the other is the streaming of a fine biochemical essence into the brain and the nerve centers of the vital organs. The latter manifestation gives rise to distinct sensations, both in the central canal and the nerves affected by the movement.
Although the awareness of the peculiar sensations is a purely subjective experience, I am convinced that the actual movements of the organic essence should also be objectively measurable. The pleasurable sensations experienced in the play of love or the agonizing stabs of pains are also a subjective experience, but they have objective aspects that can be measured by various methods. The arousal of kundaliniand the flow of the reproductive essences, with the component radiant psychic energy, are similarly not only simple subjective experiences, but also have definite somatic symptoms. It is for this reason that I am emphatic that the phenomenon of kundalini provides the much needed empirical corroboration of every genuine form of mystical experience.
There can be no doubt that an enhanced activity of the brain cannot be possible without the consumption of more psychic energy or alternately, without the action of a more potent form of this energy than is used by average human beings. The mysterious force behind every form of nerve activity and sensation, the bidden cause behind the electrical discharges in the nervous system and the brain, is still a riddle to science. It is in this amazing transformation of psychic energy, about which we are still in the dark, that the whole mystery of Kundalini-Yoga lies. Investigation into the phenomenon of kundalini, which brings into the orbit of our observation new areas of activity of the highly elusive psychic force, is perhaps the surest way at present to understand its method of work and its nature in living organisms.
It is surprising that even intelligent observers are sometimes deceived into the belief that transcendental consciousness is merely a passive and semiconscious state of mind, similar to that induced by hypnosis or that which precedes sleep, or intervenes between sleep and full waking consciousness. Since the mystical state is entirely unportrayable, one who has not had the experience can never even remotely frame a mental picture of it. Many teachers of Yoga who lack the Supreme Vision deceive themselves and those whom they instruct when they confuse passive mental states with the expanded state of consciousness called turiya, mentioned with reverence in the ancient treatises. It is the indescribable, marvelous state of tremendously enhanced awareness that the great mystics and seers tried, with all the force of language at their command, to delineate faithfully. But they always failed in the attempt. Modern confusion on this question is mainly due to the ignorance prevailing about the basic facts of samadhi, or mystical trance, not only because a picture of the condition is so difficult to convey, but also because the phenomenon has been and still is so extremely rare and unidentifiable.
From the data that I am putting into the hands of science, the verification of the mystical condition should be possible by observation of certain external symptoms that invariably follow the opening of thebrahmarandra (the “cavity of Brahma”), leading to transhuman states of consciousness peculiar to mystics and Yoga adepts. The union of shakti (luminous prana or bioenergy and the reproductive essence) with shiva (the conscious principle) occurs when the stream of ambrosia enters the brahmarandra and floods the brain, causing an exhilaration and a rapture as if literally a fountain of intensely blissful nectar has suddenly started to pour forth its contents. Consciousness expands in radiating waves far beyond the limits of the body, then of the surrounding objects, and finally beyond the cosmic image present in the mind, until it assumes a colossal proportion beyond the range of all that can be conceived by the mind or perceived by the senses. It is this unbounded universe of consciousness, in which the enlightened Yogi, who has attained to the Sahaja state, lives perennially and has his being.
It is this transformed consciousness, elevated to cosmic proportions, that the ancient seers of India designated by the name of Brahman, Shiva, Vishnu, Nirvana, and so forth, and it is for this reason that an adept, possessing this form of transhuman awareness, is considered to be an incarnation of Shiva or Vishnu or any deity.
The very fact that mystical ecstasy gives rise to the impression that one is in communion with the Creator or has become one with Him is enough to convey the overwhelming proportions of the vision perceived. Descriptions of this state, rendered by all great seers and mystics during the past thousands of years, form the most sublime literature in the possession of mankind. With this position before the mind, the claims made that the visions of God or any other deity can be induced by hypnosis or drugs appear ridiculous in the extreme.
Let us consider the two Hindu divine incarnations, Rama and Krishna. Both are said to have been of a dusky color. In India their complexion is described as “shyam Varna,” that is, of the color of the sky at dusk. According to the traditional mode of depicture, both are portrayed with form and face blue like the sky. In turiya, the transcendental state of consciousness, the inner illumination resembles the sky at dusk, just beginning to glow with the shimmering luster of the starry host. The body of Shiva is of an ashen hue to resemble also the silvery luster of the star-spangled sky. Some ascetics in India smear their bodies with ashes in imitation of the body of Shiva, not only as an emblem of purification, symbolizing the burning away of desire and lust, but also as a sign of Cosmic Consciousness. The saffron robes worn by others serve the same purpose, to indicate the flamelike nature of kundalini.
The luminosity in the head changes its hues and may resemble molten gold or the dazzling radiance of the noonday sun. “May the Goddess Tripura, who prevails in the three states of wakefulness, dreaming, and deep slumber,” says the Panchastavi, “shining in the forehead like the lustrous bow of Indra [rainbow], in the crown of the head like the luminous white orb of the moon, and in the heart like the never-setting splendorous sun . . . speedily destroy all our impurities.”
- What is the difference between the altered states of consciousness experienced with the use of drugs such as LSD, mescaline nitrous oxide, and the like, and the genuine mystical states? In these states, according to published accounts, there definitely occurs an enhancement in the perception of colors. There are also sensations of luminosity and flashing lights. The objects observed seem to convey new meanings, and sometimes there is a sense of identification between the subject and the objects perceived. There even arises a sense of enhanced knowledge about the universe. How then do we discriminate between these drug experiences and turiya or transcendental states of consciousness?
A critical study of various accounts of mystical experience, with a searching eye for the bodily conditions described, should leave no doubt in the minds of impartial observers that the extraordinary mental phenomena described have an unmistakable link with the state of the physical organism. With firsthand accounts like my own – and those of others who have had the experience – it should not be difficult to initiate experiments to determine and measure the biological aspects. Up until now much research has been directed to drug experiences that are entirely subjective, with, perhaps, transient changes in the chemistry of the body. These experiences do not involve any positive biological transformation, but often physical and moral degeneration.
At first sight, mystical experience and the drug state appear to have some features in common. Drugs, such as those mentioned, do produce enhancement in the perception of colors, and there are those sensations of luminosity and flashing lights and even a sense of enhanced knowledge about the universe. However, there is a world of difference between a drugtaker and a mystic. The altered states of consciousness induced by drugs evince a blunting of the intellect and a partial, if not entire, loss of the critical faculty. A sense of dizziness and unreality is almost always present, and the emotional balance is upset.
One may find a cause for boisterous laughter in a commonplace object that presents no ludicrous feature to a normal person, or there may be a sense of depression or fear associated with objects that possess no feature to evoke these emotions. The sense of deep meaning or of tremendously enhanced knowledge, even if actually present and not merely imagined, is transitory. It not only vanishes on coming back to normal consciousness but even leaves a sense of emptiness, a void where there should have been satisfaction at the attainment of new knowledge not possessed before. The subject feels in no way further elevated or transformed. On the other hand, the entry back to the normal state may be attended by lassitude, langor, a sense of nausea, accompanied by physical symptoms of a distressing nature.
Often, the novel states create an addiction to the drug and a disinclination to perform one’s everyday duties. Lost in his dreams, the addict evades his responsibilities. The experience blunts his mental and moral evolution and promises a spurious “transcendentalism” without having to work for it.
Mystical experience is an altogether different proposition. The visionary or trance state is so enrapturing and fascinating that the whole being of the mystic or Yogi is irresistibly drawn toward the inner and outer display that unfolds itself before his vision. The mind becomes rapt in the contemplation of a new, glorious, inner state of consciousness, or of transformed scenes present before the outer eye. It seems as if heaven, with all its splendor and grandeur, has descended on earth to enwrap all the objects viewed, both internal and external, in a mantle of glory, beauty, and peace that is impossible to experience in the normal state. There is no blunting of the intellect, no haziness of mind, no aberrant distortion or alteration of light, color, shade, or shape. The self-recorded experiences of mystics, seers, and Yoga adepts bear ample testimony to this fact. There is no diminution of the observing power of the intellect or its measure of assessment even in the highest states of ecstasy. If it were not so, then no adept or mystic would have been able to describe his experience with such accuracy and vividness, making such life stories and narratives of superearthly experiences so appealing and fascinating for generations of human beings.
Corroboration is not far to seek. Even in this age of reason, do not the accounts left by great Christian mystics, Sufis, and the seers of India provide a fascinating and elevating study for the scholar and the layman alike? Is there any more positive evidence needed to show the great gulf existing between the lofty visions of mystics and Yoga adepts of the past and the hectic experiences caused by the ingestion of drugs? There is a world of difference between the self-revelation of the former and the accounts of the drug users of today.
The altered states of consciousness induced by drugs, hypnosis, or self-caused semitrance states of mind are all merely distorted states of normal consciousness. There may appear lights, brilliant displays of colors, sounds, flashes of creative insight, a sense of happiness and peace, and so forth, but all these varied effects are of the normal awareness, of a fevered or highly colored imagination, not of entry into a higher level of awareness of which but a small glimpse leaves one breathless with wonder and awe. It is only the tremendous potentiality present in the psychic energy released by kundalini that can create a change in consciousness of a magnitude that, for the duration of its operation, keeps the subject enthralled by the overwhelming and inspiring nature of the visionary experience. The accounts contained in the Agamas and Yoga manuals about the titanic state of consciousness, spread everywhere, which is introspectively apprehended by the Yogi, provide firm evidence that this is not merely an alteration of normal awareness. The perceptual faculty is not left at the same level as it was before, but a radical transformation of the observer occurs also, so that he feels one with the universe or the all-pervading or all-powerful Deity which he now perceives in his vision.
Mystical experience is not, therefore, merely an altered state of consciousness with peace, happiness, or creative intelligence, but a tremendously extended state of awareness in rapport with an unbounded sentience perceived everywhere. Peace, happiness, and creative intelligence are possessed in ample measure by common men and women who lay no claim to transcendence. Mystical experience involves a radical change in the whole area of perception, but this is not all. The genuine mystic or Yoga adept simultaneously develops extraordinary talents, psychic faculties, and creative skill. It is well known that Sufi poetry is among the richest in the whole Persian literature, and the poetry of Indian mystics and Yoga adepts like Sur Dass, Tulsi Dass, Dadu, Mira Bhai, Guru Nanak, Kabir, and others is still unequaled. It is the most popular and elevating music sung in India even today.
Scientific investigation of this extraordinary phenomenon therefore offers a vast new territory of tremendous importance. In place of so much research of a mechanistic or utilitarian nature, the subject ofkundalini promises an inspiring work that reaches to the roots of meaning in human existence and evolution. The time is now ripe for such a renaissance.
- What will be the effect of the investigation into kundalini on modern sciences?
The first impact of a methodical research on kundalini will be to open a new way of approach to the investigation of phenomena of mind and consciousness. According to current practice, psychologists depend for much of their exploration of mind on data provided by insanity, neurosis, fixations, obsessions, and other morbid states of mind, as well as dreams. But since almost nothing is known about the psychic force that is the cause of all these varied manifestations of consciousness, the investigations made so far have not been conclusive, and the whole subject is still shrouded in doubt and dispute. Other areas of psychology concerned with personality testing and aptitude are purely utilitarian, and throw no light on the rationale of mind.
Even explanations of the basic facts of insanity, genius, and mystical experience vary considerably, due to radical differences of opinion about them among psychologists of different schools of thought. The study of the effects of an awakened kundalini will definitely throw a flood of light on this still-obscure domain and provide a firm basis for an all-out effort to investigate the phenomena of mind. I am confident about this because the amazing knowledge of human psychology and paranormal states of consciousness, displayed by ancient Indian savants, owes its origin to the observation of the phenomenon of kundalini. Conducted with modern methods of study and combined with current knowledge of physiology, the investigation is certain to yield most valuable data for the understanding of consciousness in its normal, abnormal, and paranormal manifestations.
In evaluating reliable accounts of the arousing of kundalini, there is a wide range of literature to study, in addition to firsthand evidence. Knowledge of kundalini is not confined to India alone. It was known in almost all parts of the earth, including South America and Africa. There is also reliable evidence to show that knowledge of kundalini was current among the elite in almost all the vanished civilizations of the past. The Caduceus of Mercury, which is an emblem of kundalini, was known in Assyria centuries before Egypt, under the name of the “Custodian of the Tree of Life,” another appellation of the Serpent Power. It is even held that the very word “kundalini” is derived from the Assyrian word “kundala,” meaning “coiled.” I do not wish to enter into discussion here as to the exact place of origin of the cult ofkundalini, but there is no doubt that it was nowhere developed and elaborated upon as thoroughly as in India. Suffice it to say that the knowledge of this psychophysiological mechanism seems to date back to prehistoric times. It formed the pivot of most of the ancient esoteric and occult systems of mental and spiritual disciplines.
I accord preference to kundalini over psi phenomena for leading science to an understanding of the nature of consciousness because in dealing with psi we deal with bioenergy in its paranormal manifestations. Since bioenergy or prana is itself impervious to the probe of the intellect and the senses, and cannot be directly observed or detected by any instruments known to science, the utmost investigators can achieve would be to verify the phenomena exhibited, such as clairvoyance, telepathy, precognition, telekinesis, materialization, and the like. But with the current methods of observation they cannot gather any information about the energy itself. It will, therefore, continue to remain a mystery even after investigation has proved that the claims are genuine. If it is conclusively demonstrated that psi phenomena do occur, but without any understanding of causation and the forces involved, this would not substantially extend the present narrow horizons of the human mind. Material objectives would continue to dominate the thinking of mankind, leading to a stultification of the evolutionary impulse and atrophy of the evolutionary mechanism, the vicious precursors of degeneration and decay.
On the other hand, research on kundalini implies study of the psychophysiological organism of man to determine the nature of the biological processes responsible for the generation of the psychic force at the root of all transhuman states of consciousness and paranormal faculties, including psi phenomena. Almost all enlightened seers in India, including Buddha, are in agreement over the fact that healthy forms of Yoga and spiritual disciplines lead to the development of psychic faculties, and that the practitioners should abstain from making use of them to avoid distraction on the path of self-unfoldment. Sincekundalini is the biological lever responsible for success in every form of spiritual exercise, it naturally follows that the same lever is also responsible for the development of psi faculties, which form a corollary to spiritual awakening. We are surely right, therefore, in holding that kundalini should be the prime objective of research.
Scientists should note that cases of awakening of kundalini are not as uncommon as is usually supposed. But since knowledge about this mechanism is extremely restricted, and the masses continue to be in ignorance about it, those individuals who have a spontaneous awakening at one time or another often fail to recognize their own symptoms and attribute the extraordinary states that they experience to some freakish display of the mind or to abnormality. I receive many letters from people, both in the East and the West, who gain new insights into their own experience upon reading the accounts in my book[Kundalini, the Evolutionary Energy in Man.] or in some other works on the subject and wish to be more fully enlightened about their condition and to know more facts about the power. If this has happened with the circulation of only a few thousand copies of a few books, what will be the position when knowledge about kundalini becomes widespread in different countries and among all classes of people? It will then be found, as I believe should be the case at the present level of evolution, that hundreds of thousands of people all over the world – especially among intellectuals – do have experiences of kundaliniin one form or another.
- Let us suppose that someone has a spontaneous experience of kundalini and has no knowledge about its nature or working. Wouldn’t it be risky for such a person to be without guidance and have to depend on his own resources for dealing with the situation?
Certainly there are countless cases of spontaneous awakening of kundalini of which no cognizance is taken at any stage. Unfortunately, some of these trail off into insanity, because the experience is not understood and proper advice is not available. It is an irony of fate that at this critical juncture in the evolutionary development of mankind the world should be in deplorable ignorance about this vital mechanism, known under different names not only in India, but in Egypt, Mesopotamia, China, South America, and Greece many centuries ago. The investigation into the causes leading to psychosis must ultimately lead to the same conclusions that I am here presenting, namely, that in a certain percentage of cases the malady is due to a morbid functioning of the evolutionary mechanism brought about by various causes.
Apart from psychosis, there are also many people in whom the awakening of kundalini leads to neurosis and other psychic disorders. They lead an unbalanced life without crossing the border into the territory of the incurably insane. There are also others who, while having the experiences, manage to continue in the normal tenor of their lives. By study or contact with others who possess knowledge on the subject, they come to understand something of the cause responsible for their extraordinary experiences. An investigation into a number of such cases is sure to bring to light valuable scientific facts about kundalini.
The current methods of treatment often do not succeed in such cases, because nothing is yet known about the evolutionary mechanism in human beings. I remember very well the case of a friend who experienced a definite symptom of kundalini awakening and went with his story to a psychologist. The latter said that such a phenomenon was quite unknown in the domain of psychology and that it must be a delusion of some sort or an unconscious impulse finding its way into surface consciousness. I am sure that if a committee of dedicated scientists set up a research project on kundalini, they will find no difficulty in locating numerous such cases.
Empirical verification of kundalini is most likely to lead to an explosion in the thinking of mankind, because it has no precedent in history. Because of the tremendous possibilities involved, having a most direct bearing on the life of each individual, the upheaval caused will far exceed the effect of the Copernican revolution and every other great discovery of science made during recent times. Guided by instincts, mankind carried on for thousands of years without the knowledge that the earth revolved around the sun, or that the stars and planets were held in space by the force of gravity, or that the surface of the moon has such and such a formation. Man thrived and prospered during this vast span of time without ever coming up against such a crisis as he is facing now, due to the prevailing ignorance about the evolutionary mechanism. If this lack is not supplied soon, he may suffer a disaster of unimaginable magnitude to learn the nature of the inviolable spiritual laws that rule his destiny.
Even today, among those practising Yoga in the ashrams and monastic institutions in India, there occur cases of kundalini awakening during the course of training. Ascetics of this category are not easily accessible for investigation, but individuals might be forthcoming who would allow observation and study of their conditions in the interest of knowledge. With the foundation of a research organization on scientific lines, and with wide publicity, there should be no dearth of genuine cases available for investigation. I am convinced that the data collected even in a few instances would provide enough material for the world of science to place kundalini in the category of recognized phenomena of the human organism, needing further study and investigation to ascertain the nature and full details of its various spheres of manifestation. What is of importance is that the basic facts should be ascertained and studied without preconceptions.
The following passage from The Secret of the Golden Flower, a Chinese book of life, can leave no doubt that the author intends to convey the inward and upward flow of the reproductive energy, the ultimate aim of all forms of Yoga and other religious disciplines:
“The power of the kidneys is under the water sign. When the instincts are stirred, it runs downward, is directed outward and creates children. If, in the moment of release, it is not allowed to flow outward, but is led back by the force of thought, so that it penetrates the crucible of the creative, and refreshes heart and body and nourishes them, that also is the backward flowing method. Therefore it is said: ‘The meaning of The Elixir of Life depends on the backward flowing method! ‘ “
The backward flowing is the Urdhava-Retas of Indian Masters. Yet Professor Jung, in his lengthy introduction to the above book, completely missed the point and made futile attempts to incorporate this teaching within the framework of his own idolized “unconscious.” In the note on page 131 he writes: “To a certain extent our text leaves open the question as to whether, by ‘a continuation of life,’ a survival after death or a prolongation of physical existence, is meant. Expressions such as life-elixir and the like, are insidiously obscure.” It is obvious that this great psychologist had no inkling of what has been the most remarkable phenomenon in the history of civilization, namely, the transmutation of reproductive energy, leading to the two most productive states of the human mind – creativity and mystical experience. It is important, therefore, that the phenomenon of kundalini should be investigated without preconceptions or a desire to validate existing theories.
There are some people who continue to believe that the subtle effects of kundalini may be traced by standard techniques of electroencephalography. But such methods cannot measure the quality of perception. I believe that new techniques and electronic apparatus will be evolved when the phenomenon has been properly evaluated.
What is primarily needed is a receptive frame of mind, accepting the fact of the possibility of the phenomenon, based on the testimony of many outstanding intellects of the past. What is actually happening at present, however, is that even those interested in this investigation direct their efforts to the verification of the physical aspects of Yoga and not to its psychological effect, with far-reaching organic changes in the body that are characteristic of a higher state of consciousness. The study needs imaginative pioneers like Sir Jagadis Chandra Bose, whose brilliant experiments in plant reaction were made possible by his own genius in devising delicate instruments to measure the phenomenon, and who, like other present-day savants, has perfected techniques for detecting the subtle reactions of bioenergy in healthy and diseased animals and plants, without yet having gained acceptance for their results from the orthodox ranks of science.
Why research on kundalini is of utmost importance for mankind at this stage of its evolution is because it can directly lead to the awareness of the fact that Revelation, to which paramount importance was attached throughout the past, is as essential for the welfare and the progress of the race as genius and intellectual talent and that the Serpent Power is the organic source behind them all. Contrary to common belief, the real object of Yoga and the transcendental states of consciousness to which it leads is not merely to experience a state of bliss or to perform miraculous feats but, what is of the highest importance, to open new channels of perception by which Revelation and jnana (perennial wisdom) become possible. If the question is asked, What has been the greatest contribution of the founders of all major faiths and the greatest seers and sages of the past? the immediate answer would be: the revealed literature of mankind. In this priceless contribution miracles, paranormal phenomena, and the like hold no position at all!
Through all the course of history, no spiritual man ever born was able, even partially, to duplicate the miracles performed by science. The miracles of speed, of distant vision, of instant communication over enormous distances, of flying through the air or diving under the ocean, the miracles of surgery and healing, and numerous other amazing technologies cannot but inspire mankind with a confidence in the importance of logic and intellect.
- You refer to achievements of science, but hasn’t science become destructive? Aren’t the nuclear arsenals of the superpowers now a deadly threat to the very existence of the race, and doesn’t the use or rather abuse of technology result in pollution of the atmosphere and the contamination of water, endangering human life everywhere?
Knowledge can be both constructive and destructive. The ultimate arbiter is the human intellect. It is not science that has become destructive, but it is the distortion and vitiation of the human intellect that is responsible for the present unsafe situation of the world. The reason why Revelation is a necessary instrument for the spiritual progress of the race is because intellect, unable to foresee centuries or even decades ahead, cannot determine the evolutionary needs of mankind at a particular time, and is liable to make serious errors in calculation. Human life, both of the individual and society, is so complex and the course of evolution so full of bewildering situations that only a cosmic intelligence can guide it rightly to the destined goal.
Can even the highest intellects in every branch of knowledge, assisted by computers, make an accurate forecast of what will be the state of mankind after the span of only the next half century? Or can they predict the changes in the current concepts of science, politics, and religion in this period? Does this not plainly signify that the race as a whole is drifting toward an indeterminate goal at the mercy of forces over which it has no control?
The error of science has been that it has largely ignored the spiritual side of man and devoted its attention to the physical and organic fields. The outcome is that mankind faces a threat of annihilation through war, of death by poisoned air, water, and earth, and of mental and intellectual distortion because of a highly mechanical and unnatural way of life. On the political side, life has become a seething caldron of aggression, violence, hate, and lust for power. On the spiritual and moral side we see confusion rampant, for there are as many ideas, concepts, systems, and doctrines as there are teachers expounding them. It is not surprising, therefore, that science has failed to create that homogeneity and clarity of thought that is essential for the harmonious progress of mankind.
Science in our day is suffering from the same distemper of mind that affected faith during the period of the supremacy of religion, namely, dogmatism and vanity. It is amazing to what extent materialistic scientists can be led astray by vanity in separating science from spiritual understanding. They understand very well that all we know about the visible cosmos is but a drop in the ocean of knowledge, and that each year they are forced to revise their opinions about certain issues or to add more facts to the existing information. But with all this uncertainty, most of them display a dogmatic attitude toward mind and consciousness. Because science has been one-sided in this investigation, ignoring the spiritual side of man, it has failed to bring about that wholesome transformation in the mental and moral spheres as it has done on the physical plane.
The neglect of the material side in former times brought about the fall of the once highly honored sovereign faiths of mankind. Now, in a similar way, the neglect of the spiritual side is undermining the ascendency gained by science. In both cases, it was the intellect that failed to assess the position correctly and erred in overemphasizing only one side of man and neglecting the other equally important side. It is not science itself, therefore, that is at fault, but the overweening vanity and shortsightedness of overconfident savants who refuse to admit that what they know is infinitely small as compared to what they do not know.
- What are your suggestions, then, for a harmonious development of human beings and the eradication of present-day irrational beliefs and practices in the spiritual realm?
The first thing I would suggest is an investigation into consciousness. We have a huge volume of literature available in India, describing methods for attaining the higher states of consciousness and the nature of these higher states. A documentary research into these volumes, followed by systematic experimentation, can, I am sure, lead to an understanding of the biological relationship between expanded mental states and the brain. When this is achieved, the next step would be to find the laws underlying this relationship. Enough material would be available in the hands of scholars and scientists then to determine the path and the goal of evolution, and to adjust human life accordingly.
One important feature of this investigation will be that with the experience gained by the observation of a few cases, more potent methods for effecting the arousal of the power and more effective measures for averting risks can be devised. Then more and more fruitful experiments can be made until sufficient data about the phenomenon is collected. These, in turn, would lead to a universal acceptance of the evolutionary mechanism and the target in front of it, resulting in the formulations of a regular science dealing with the whole subject.
All that I have to say about this amazing human potentiality constitutes but a drop in the ocean of knowledge that will emerge as soon as dedicated persons begin to devote their wholehearted attention to it.
It can be readily imagined that this consummation cannot be achieved immediately or even in the course of a few decades, but there is no doubt that enough data would soon be collected to enable scholars to understand the nature of the changes occurring imperceptibly in the brain and consciousness. It is not only by the study of and experimentation on the methods leading to higher states of consciousness, but also by the observation of the psychic forces responsible for genius, mediumistic faculties, and insanity that these evolutionary processes can be understood and the nature of the mechanism determined.
As I have pointed out in my earlier writings, the all-inclusive nature of sex energy has not yet been correctly understood even by the leading authorities on the subject. In fact, the very term reproductive or sex energy is a misnomer; reproduction is but one of the aspects of the life-energy, of which the other theater of activity is the brain. The cephalic activity is so slow and subtle as to be almost imperceptible. It is this activity that is the cause of genius, uncanny psychic powers, and also insanity. Once this fact is empirically demonstrated, we come to a turning point in our present concepts about mind and consciousness – even about matter and the universe as a whole.
The first harvest of this change will be the beginning of a new science, dealing with subtle intelligent energies in the cosmos. When this happens the gigantic physical world – now dominating the whole mental horizon of science – will be relegated to its proper position as the visible peak of an infinite creation of which the unbounded major part is sunk below the surface of the space-time ocean, hidden from the sight of men. It is only in higher states of consciousness that a fragment of the submerged portion comes into view, causing a state of wonder and exhilaration beyond description. It is only when the evolving human organism and the cosmos upon which it depends for its existence are viewed in the right perspective, in relation to the ultimate state of consciousness designed for mankind, that the appropriate ways of life and conduct and a salubrious environment favorable to this inner transformation can be devised by science.
Try as we may, without a clear knowledge of the goal ahead we can by no exercise of the intellect determine the right pattern of life, or the right kind of milieu, essential for mankind on the evolutionary path.
A united world, abolition of war, demolition of armaments, disbandment of armies, an environment more in harmony with nature, a life more natural and simple, removal of barriers between man and man, inculcation of altruistic and humanitarian principles, moral education, social equality, and universal brotherhood are some of the basic factors contributing to the harmonious progress of mankind.
What I say may appear idealistic or even fantastic and impracticable to many people. But for one in rapport with the cosmic plane of consciousness, the conclusion is unavoidable. At its present intellectual stature, the alternatives facing the race are either self-caused annihilation, with dreadful agony for myriads, or knowledge of and obedience to the laws of evolving consciousness.
It is amazing how shortsighted we mortals can be. The whole mighty scheme of evolution is designed to carry mankind toward a sublime state of consciousness and a lofty mode of life. It means to usher in an era of such happiness, peace, and plenty, and a life of such fulfillment and bliss, that we cannot frame even a distant picture of it in our wildest dreams. Denied the glorious vision of this cosmic plane, and tied to the earth with unbreakable chains of ambition and desire, even the most farsighted thinkers, building their picture of the future on conditions existing at present, fail to appreciate that but a single turn of events can create such a global upheaval in human thought, or cause such a purgatorial revolution, that a purified humanity may emerge to act, with all the resources at its command, to build a war-free, glorious world to abide in.
We need not turn to history for a confirmation of these views. There is no precedent in the past of such devastating forces at the command of man, such preparedness for mutual destruction, and such a slender margin between the safety of the race and its total death as is the position at present. Mankind is face to face with such a situation for the first time, and the experience gained now, pleasant or bitter, will provide an historical precedent for the future of life itself.
- If the existence of an evolutionary goal is empirically demonstrated, how can this help to clear the present confusion? So many educated people still continue to express divergent views, even concerning the empirically demonstrated truths of science.
There will, of course, continue to exist some conflicts of opinions even when the truths of what I assert are experimentally proved. But such conflict will relate to the details, the causes at the base, the relative potency of the various methods and the like, not to the fundamental facts of the mechanism and the evolutionary target.
To illustrate, let us take the law of gravity, the theory of relativity, or the doctrine of evolution. Although there are still differences of view about some of the yet unresolved issues, there is a general agreement about the broad principles involved. For instance, with the doctrine of evolution, it is now generally admitted that the only way to account for the appearance of life on earth is to assume a process of evolution from the simplest forms slowly developing into more complex ones. Whether this process of development resulted from chance, mutation, or from inherent tendencies striving toward a predetermined pattern, has yet to be ascertained.
In the same way, when we once accept that in the case of man, biological evolution toward a higher state of consciousness provides the springhead for all the phenomena connected with religion, this will lend a different color to the whole realm of the divine and the supernatural. It would then be clearly realized that it is not to propitiate a god or any other spiritual entity that one has to pay attention to the dictums of faith; but that the principle of evolutionary progress toward a spiritual goal has to be accepted in a way similar to the principle of growth and development of a child toward sane and healthy maturity.
Although there is no unanimity of opinion about the best way to bring up a child, the process of growth is universally recognized. Every parent has his own views about it, and we see this diversity also reflected in the accepted educational systems in various countries. However, this diversity and conflict of view does not detract from the patent fact that the child has to grow to manhood, and that all the intelligence and all the resources of the parents should be directed to make this process of growth happy, safe, and most fruitful.
One immediate result of the demonstration of the evolutionary goal will be that a good deal of public attention will be diverted from negative activities toward the clarification of this colossal issue. Scholars and laity alike will voice their opinions, and the press will resound with discussions. The pens of writers and journalists will be busy presenting the case both for and against the new concept, subjecting every article, dogma, and doctrine to ruthless analysis, leading ultimately to a thorough overhauling of the whole unwieldly structure of religion.
Another salutary effect of this ferment and upheaval would be that the false founders of spurious cults, the imposters, racketeers – all those misguided men and women who, in order to exploit to advantage the burning spiritual thirst in human hearts and make this sacred province an arena for the satisfaction of their own desire for power, wealth, name, or fame – will gradually disappear from the scene. When it is firmly established that the ultimate reward of Yoga or other religious disciplines is the crown of Cosmic Consciousness – of oneness with the beatific, deathless ocean of existence – then who would like to barter away the diadem of life eternal for fragile trinkets of earthly success or phychic gifts?
Can there be a greater miracle than creation or than life itself? Those in whom the contemplation of the star-spangled sky on a clear night, or the spectacle of the rolling ocean, or a vast panorama of nature can evoke feelings of wonder, awe, and adoration in regard to the Almighty Author of this marvelous whole are not likely to be impressed by the displays of those who resort to thaumaturgy, sleight-of-hand, or enchantment to mystify the uninformed and create a belief in their own superhuman stature and powers.
Transition from the present-day concepts of religion and the occult toward the philosophy of evolution involves so radical a change in thinking that even the most imaginative men may not be able to envisage the consequences. Once the evolutionary interpretation is admitted, it will clarify and transform the expositions of great teachers of spirituality and religion, past and present. The energy generated in millions of people by the insatiable hunger for supernatural experiences will not be frittered away then in improvising, maintaining, and spreading hundreds of novel, mysterious, sectarian, or obscure creeds and cults. Rather, it will go toward inculcating true knowledge about the evolutionary target prescribed for man and devising healthy universal methods for its attainment.
Throughout the past, there have been scores of mass movements, as at present, but the noise dwindled down, after the death of the founders, with the realization of contradictions and falsities in their creeds. The same will befall the hollow mass movements of our day, religious or political. Truth persists, even though it may appear only in tiny proportions in the beginning. It gathers mass like an avalanche, sweeping away everything that obstructs its path. I am certain that the concept of kundalini in evolution will gain acceptance.
It is not my desire that the concept be accepted unquestioningly and that people try to awaken kundalini in the belief it will provide a panacea for all the ills of the world. On the contrary, it will be my first endeavor to arrange an investigation of the phenomenon under the supervision of competent observers, men of both faith and science. Even when the experiments are successful and the principle demonstrated, there will be no attempt to enlist disciples and followers or to found a new sect or cult. Every effort will be directed to educating the public about the divine power always mysteriously at work in their systems, both in wakefulness and sleep, to make them aware of their responsibility to lead a life in consonance with the demands of this mighty, irresistible force.
The growth of knowledge is resistless. During the last two centuries almost the entire attention of science was directed toward the investigation of physical phenomena and the discovery of the laws and properties of matter. If we now look retrospectively at the convulsions and spasms that attended the birth of modern science, because of the often hostile attitude of faith, we will not feel surprised at the cold and negative attitude shown by so many great savants toward the problems of religion, or to be more precise, toward the phenomenon of life and consciousness. It is as if some hidden tendency of the mind barred the way to it. The entry of modern psychology into the ranks of regular science first broke the ice of this chilly attitude. Now we are witnessing the very reverse of what was observed during the course of development of materialistic science. The riddle of consciousness now looms large before the mental horizon of not only the masses but the intellectuals as well.
Those who through erroneous preconceptions now show a skeptical or lukewarm attitude toward those ideas are sure to witness the swing of the pendulum. Everything about the disclosures I am making I have experienced myself. I have confirmed my experience with the traditional concepts relating to this esoteric science that have been known and verified during the past thousands of years. Hence I am as sure of the authenticity of what I state and of the ultimate acceptance of this truth as I am of the fact that summer is invariably followed by autumn and winter by spring.
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