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Sraddhalu Ranade - Complete Interview

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global oneness project Complete Interview Modern science gives us a very interesting perspective of the universe when it says that the whole universe came from a single big bang Sraddhalu Ranade - Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry, India - Scientist, Educationalist, Scholar which emerged from a point, and from a singularity, all that exists has emerged. And according to the relativity equations, space and time emerged with the big bang. The thing itself from which the big bang emerges is therefore spaceless and timeless, and because it is timeless, it has no cause because it has no beginning and no end. And because it is spaceless, it is one and not two. This is a very logical description of what science tells us, taken to its extreme consequence. And this essentiality which is spaceless, timeless, is also the birthplace and origin of the whole cosmos. And the whole cosmos, therefore, exists in that essentiality because there is no other; there is no outside or inside, there is only that. So it's as if one can say all this which we experience is taking place in an essentiality of a spaceless, timeless, and one. That's the most profound oneness that one can know. And because everything emerges from that, everything is also essentially expressing that or even made of that, including us. And it's possible for us to go back into our essentiality of identity and existence and get back to that one. And when we get back to that one, in that one is the whole cosmos and we experience the whole cosmos within us and we experience ourselves in the whole cosmos. These are experiences which people have had throughout human history, across all cultures, across all religions, and each one has expressed it, described it, in vocabularies natural to their cultural context. And that's what makes for the diversity of descriptions, but certain essential components of it are common. This is one way by which a scientist can rationally accept or at least understand what we mean by an essential oneness that supports everything and which we can therefore also experience. To a 12-year-old, I would approach the whole issue slightly differently and ask him to feel something deep inside which is accessible to most children. There's a place deep inside us where we all feel as if everything out there is alive, conscious. We sense a quality of stillness which is almost timeless in which we feel that we exist without dependence on anything outside us. And it's an experience which is not difficult to access and is naturally open to most children and to all of us when we were children. When we are centered there, we look upon the whole world and it looks as if everything is alive, everything is magically beautiful and that anything is possible. It's this magical, mystical feel which all children naturally have which we lose as our consciousness becomes more exteriorized and more outwardly turned as we grow up. So I would ask the children to relate to that and to feel that. And in that they know that the whole universe is not an accidental event, a chance creation, as science would present to us, but there is a purpose and meaning to everything that's happening. And relating to that experience, they know it and we don't need to explain or justify anything. These are two very different approaches to the essentiality of the sense of oneness: More experiential and another, which is more intellectual, analytic. Both lead us to the same place. Modern society has been brought up to think of the world in terms of particulars and divisions. Every time we look at a situation, we analyze it into pieces, components, influences, forces, arts, Every time we look at ourselves, we look at all the different functions and processes. And this tendency of the mind to look at particulars and divide is one of its tendencies. There is another, which is to bring back all those pieces and reassemble them to get back the full picture. So when, for example, the modern mind wants to understand the human being, we cut ourselves up into mind, life, body, and the body into so many organs and functions, and after all the pieces have been cut up and we feel each one is known by cutting, we reassemble the pieces and then we say, "This is the human being." As a process for the mind, it's useful because it gets us to know details and specifics, but by the time you have cut it up and reassembled it, you don't have a living human being. The life, the truth, the soul of the person is gone. You have a dead person, dead form. This is the tendency of the human mind and inevitable because it knows no other way to know or to understand reality. In order to be able to know the essentiality of oneness, one has to sort of say, "Step back from mind." Either move to something deeper or rise to something higher. In both directions one can experience and express something of that oneness. But we cannot be within the realm of the intellect and find it. This insight is extremely important in the modern context because practically all the problems of human life are really problems created by the very functioning of the mind. The human intellect, which has been such a powerful tool, starting from being self-aware to be able to analyze and study the whole world, as a powerful tool it has come to the limits of what it can do, and there is a need to transcend mind. This does not mean abandoning mind, but it means rising to a level of knowing which is more direct, more intuitive, more experiential, which then mind can express with its skill, which is the power of expression more than anything else. This recognition is essential for humanity today if we want to resolve our problems. You'll see the nature of all of modern problems is that you cannot resolve the problem by changing structures, by changing rules and laws, or changing arrangements and relationships. You can only change them by changing consciousness, shifting consciousness to something deeper, higher, closer to the sense of oneness. And the very nature of the modern crisis is a kind of a kick from life, from evolution, to force us to make that shift. We resist because the first instinct of the mind is not to let go but to work it harder. And this mind working harder, spinning, whirling, only increases the chaos. So it's an essential realization necessary in modern times that to solve our problems, we need to step back and out of the limited capacity of the intellect. It should serve a higher truth; it cannot be the leader anymore. This insight can lead us to resolution of most of our problems in every field of life. We begin with just the space of daily life where we're interacting with others. In any situation of conflict or tension, you will find that we tend to find a point of compromise, and if everybody finds a point of compromise, everybody is, generally speaking, on the average unhappy because everyone has compromised something. And everybody aches to overcome that compromise and get the fullness of what they want. The result is a state of constant tension or pressure which, at the first opportunity, becomes a conflict where one side subjugates another's need to assert its own need. This is the precarious balance in which we live and in a state of compromise. The only way we can resolve the conflict is if we find among ourselves a deeper level of identity, a deeper sense of unity, in which I can give my interests without feeling it is a compromise, just as a mother gives up her best for her children without ever feeling that she's making a great sacrifice. She does it almost as if she gives herself to her own other part. And this can happen because she feels a sense of unity with her children, as if they're her own other body. When we can recover something of this sense of a deeper unity, we will find that we can give in our narrow interests and open up to a wider interest of the collective consciousness without experiencing it as a compromise. So the shift to a deeper unitive consciousness is the easiest and most direct way of resolving all existing conflicts in our life. Another angle which I bring in is we are in a constant condition of disharmony with all the things around us--people, circumstances, time, space, resources. The state of disharmony can be healed and a deeper harmony brought up only when we experience a reconnection and a deeper level of oneness. And when we live in that sense of oneness, the deeper harmony spontaneously emerges in all our relationships. So just at the level of personal life, you see how shifting to a deeper unitive consciousness can resolve all of our most painful compromises and disharmonies. But the same principle will apply to specialized areas of organization of life and action in the field of management, in the field of education, in the field of legal systems, national governance, sciences, arts. In each of these fields, the shift to a deeper unitive consciousness as the base changes the whole paradigm of our understanding of life and motivations for action. Modern education is largely a product of the industrial age, and a part of the industrial age is the mindset that all of society is an industry and the human being itself is raw material for this industry. Society is a gigantic machine. Schools, therefore, are seen as factories where these raw materials--the children-- are processed into predesigned patterns needed for society. We need doctors, we need lawyers, we need engineers, we need artists, we need entertainers, whatever form it is. And we try to mold children to fit that piece. If it were true that we are just a product of chance, then this would work fine. But we are not a product of chance. We are an intentional expression of a deeper oneness, of a divine essence, that is the origin of the whole universe and of all of us. And because it's an intentional expression, each child carries deep within him a seed of intention. There is a sense of purpose for why I exist and what I am meant to do. And if you try to force a child into a groove contrary to that inner purpose, there's a reaction. If not an outright rebellion, at the very least the inner enthusiasm shrinks and withdraws, and the child becomes listless, purposeless, ineffective. A large part of modern education has suppressed the innate identity, creativity, and originality of the child and tried to force fit him into artificial molds. And the result is that we have a society that is sick, psychologically, emotionally, in identity. It is sick. We have become or we have trained ourselves to become hypocrites. We pretend to live a life, we pretend to express certain values which are completely a contradiction of what deep inside us we know ourselves to be. But in order to be able to live hypocrisy with effectivity, one has to believe in the hypocrisy and lose ourselves and identify fully with the false appearances that we're being taught to live by. And we are so lost in it that we have forgotten who we are and why we are here. And sometimes it's a knock of life, the shock of an experience, which throws us back inwards, and we begin to introspect and ask ourselves, "Who am I?" "What do I want?" "What do I really want?" "What do I want to do?" And then we find different answers, different from what we were doing. And when we begin to follow that, we find that we are much more happy, more fulfilled, more enthusiastic, and therefore, more effective, more perfectly expressive of our potential in all that we do. The September 11th attack in the USA was a shock to the entire national consciousness and to the rest of the world also. And one of the things we saw in the weeks immediately following that was people who were in well-respected and highly paid jobs suddenly gave up those jobs, retired into the countryside, to pursue their lifelong hobbies or their own deeper aspirations. And it was a very large number that suddenly did that, and it was a result of this shock, which forced them to introspect, and they discovered that they were not what they appeared to be. So in the field of education, the entire educational system can be revamped, rebuilt, so to say, around this perception that deep inside us is a purpose fullness, which already carries within it not only the knowledge of what it must be but the capacity to fulfill what it has come to realize. And if the whole of education can be soul centric, touching that and emerging from that, then all of society will change. And, of course, we can develop this further, observing the psychology of the human personality and the layers through which it develops and unfolds and build around it or unfold around it a new approach, a new paradigm of education. I had the privilege of growing up in the Sri Aurobindo Ashram in India, which is a spiritual community now perhaps more than 70 years old in which, as a community of about 2,000 people, there is no exchange of money within the community. As a social framework of living, it's an unusual experiment. But more important, there is a school there which is built along these lines, on the recognition of a deeper spiritual basis of the human identity and purpose, where from kindergarten to graduation through college, we have no exams, and the whole learning system is centered around encouraging the innate thirst for knowledge and the joy of learning and assisting the personality to unfold, constantly centered on a deeper sense of identity. So having been through such an approach to education which touches all parts of our nature-- the mind, the emotions, and even the physical body training-- when I had my first contact with the rest of the world outside the community, which was at a pretty late age, after the age of maybe around 25-- it was the first time I really went out and looked at things outside-- it was a bit of a shock to see how different most people were and how different society was, and the expectations and motivations of society seemed so alien, so unnatural. And it's been, for me, an interesting journey to understand what sustains society in this artificiality--I would even say falsehood-- because the human being innately reacts against falsehood. We innately shrink from falsehood and are drawn to truth and beauty and love. So what can sustain so powerfully a distortion in the human expression in society for so long? And then I have worked on this to some extent, not only recognizing those very tendencies for distortion within me, as in all human beings, and also the other side, which is constantly trying to bring forward a deeper unity and a deeper harmony. Then there is being in a spiritual community the journey of introspection and inner experiences and realizations which, of course, bring one closer to that reality. So all of this has been a kind of a base of experience which has constantly reflected a deeper study and thinking of these ideas, which are also part of the community where I have grown up. Sri Aurobindo is the founder of this community, and he wrote extensively on education and various other human issues-- social development, political development, philosophical framework of the cosmos and things like that. But for me it has always been an attempt to bridge what I read with something of the experience. I believe that--and I have also confirmed by experience-- everybody, without exception, has glimpses of the experience. To put it in a really obvious form, I would say if the whole cosmos is essentially an expression of the same oneness, then that oneness should be leaking out all over the place because everything is expressing that, essentially. Everything is made of that, essentially. Therefore, into our minds, into our hearts, sometimes even on our senses, the oneness, the eternity, or the infinity of the origin often leaks out. And because we are so obsessed by habit, stuck on small pieces, that we do not fully recognize what that experience means, it comes, we feel good for a while, and it passes, and we forget it. So, for example, all of us--children, adults, everybody-- going into nature, we experience a shift. We experience a sense of beauty, vastness, and sometimes that deepens and we feel a sense of oneness with the whole forest or mountain or valley. And then briefly sometimes it feels as if time stops and we could be here forever or perhaps we were here forever. And in that brief moment when time stops, we have touched that eternity. But it's a kind of a reflection and registers in only a part of our being when we are quiet. And after that, as we move on, it fades rapidly because it did not get ahold in the fullness of our being. If we pay attention to that moment, we can extend it, we can invoke it, we can settle ourselves in it, and live in it even, eventually. At first, the only thing that prevents us from reaching and toucning that is habit and the habit of the consciousness, of the mind particularly, to be lost in activity, chaotic activity, and in the pieces of that activity. So what I would do is to draw upon these moments, flashes of experience, that everybody has had in some form or the other and use that as a reference by which they can relate to this. And I believe that if everbody introspects a little, drawing on these experiences, they get a sense of what it is we are talking of. Necessarily, when we are speaking of something which is a oneness and is most essential, words fail. Words can only communicate signposts, like this way. But at the end of it, the experience itself can never be fully expressed in words. But each one of us can have it. When we try to express it in words, every formulation captures a part of it and misses the fullness in some way. So it's possible for different people to formulate differently an experience that is still essentially the same. And it's this which leads to so many divisions in philosophies or religious experiences, where each religion says, "Oh, the essential reality, the ultimate reality, is like this." And others say, "It's like this," and others say, "It's like this." But what they don't realize is that essential reality is one which can express itself in so many facets. I would even go in another direction when reaching out to someone who doesn't understand by asking, "What are our deepest motivations as human beings?" "What do we really look for?" And you'll find everybody comes up with one word. Sometimes they are different words, but there is one word which is like the deepest truth that I seek. Someone will say true love, someone says truth, someone says freedom, another says perfect knowledge. Whatever it is that the person adores and worships as his ideal, you'll see is an aspect of that one. And then you can ask the person or introspect on, "Why is it that I'm drawn to that?" And you find there's something deep inside you that knows it, and that's what pulls you towards it. And it is this which becomes a reference point for that person's journey to find his way to the source. And everyone has had glimpses of that; otherwise, he wouldn't be chasing it in his life. It starts with a glimpse, and because a glimpse came with my consciousness turned outwards, I begin to crave for it outside me. And it's an old evolutionary habit going back a few billion years, all the way through our ape ancestors and worm ancestors and single-celled bacteria, to be constantly turned outward to the rest of the universe and to experience ourselves as cut off and separate from the whole. And it's a habit of many billion years that's ingrained in us. So automatically, one tends to look for that outside. And you can't find the unity in the divided pieces or forms, obviously. You can only find it by going back into an essentiality of your own awareness. So it takes a little bit of skill, good fortune, inspiration, or external guidance, sometimes a knock of life, to turn us inwards. But the moment we turn inwards, we find that it's far more easily accessible inwards, and once we have it, we find it, and hold it inside, it's present. But as long as we are looking for it outside, we catch glimpses of it and it vanishes by the time you catch it. In the Indian tradition, the image, the symbol given, is of the surface of the waters reflecting the sun, and because the waters are agitated, you get brief flashes of the sunlight, and you say, "Ah, there's the sun," and by the time you have pointed to it, it's gone. And you catch another and it's glimmering, glittering all over, but it never gets to the real thing. So the first thing they say is you must still the waters of consciousness. Then the sun is reflected perfectly and fully. And we are taught by society, education, that we must think harder, feel harder, try harder, be more agitated, more excited, and we are doing the very opposite. And so obviously we get glimpses and then we never catch it. When we become quiet and still, rest in ourselves, then it's there, it's present, and it can be constant. You find that all over the cosmos nothing is ever repeated. Every single experience, every atom, molecule, bubble, or wave is unique. Nothing is ever repeated. And there is a reason for that. It's because that oneness, that essence, that divine source, can express itself in infinite diversity with an infinite potential and chooses never to repeat itself, to explore all its facets. And if the whole of nature is so diverse without any repetition, so it must be for human beings and for our thoughts, feelings, personality types, and cultures. Nothing is ever repeated. Diversity and a rich diversity is the very purpose of evolution, to express oneness in an infinite diversity of possibilities. So on the one hand you will find in human evolution a tendency to create unity. On the other hand, there will be a tendency to centrifuge outwards and break apart the unity. And both needs have their truths and both have their limitation. The centric tendency, which is pushing out, is because each one is unique and is meant to realize and express something unique. And so any attempt to force people together fails and people react after a point and fall apart. On the other hand, all of us are essentially identical in that oneness and therefore, there's something that pulls us all back into the oneness. And we experience this constant pull to come together and work as one on the other hand or push to separate out and express our uniqueness. In the overall movement of evolution, nature has created temporary identities or unities of family, tribe, group identity, of regions, nations, and, of course, species. All of these serve a purpose, but all of them can become suffocating beyond a point. We have tried to create human unity by creating artificial structures and forcing people into such patterns, and every time the human spirit rebels because such a unity suffocates uniqueness. What is needed, and that's the unity of the future, is a unity in which each one knows oneness with all and yet is uniquely expressive of that oneness in absolute freedom. But because we are aligned and united at a deeper level, all our unique actions will automatically be in harmony and would never enter and conflict because we would all be connected on that essential level. So it is to such an essential oneness in consciousness, not of forms, that evolution is pushing us to. So a globalized culture can be truly helpful for evolution only if it accepts an extreme diversity of approaches. But a globalized culture that is homogeneous will harm evolution and would not be accepted by the human spirit, will be rejected in some form. That's part of the struggle that we are facing today. The first requirement for us to be able to come together and resolve our differences is the acceptance that each one is right in his own way, to a limited extent. Each one is wrong to the extent that he moves away from that centrality of what he represents. This is the common framework in which all contraries can be resolved. In the absence of such a recognition, the contradictions persist, become violent, and one side attempts to overwhelm the other by obliterating it, hopes to create some kind of harmony, but either these delay evolution or they inevitably fail because evolution will not allow such an obliteration. So as long as you have groups or people who refuse to recognize that the other side has a valid point and that it has its own limitations and even others a viewpoint and is willing to change, as long as there's this nonrecognition and nonwillingness to change, you will continue to have these strifes. And very often it's the strife which forces people to go back and question themselves and introspect. And it's, unfortunately, the only way by which a humanity that refuses to change can be woken up to the need for change, through intense pain and struggle. If we could avoid it, it would be wonderful. And we should try to reach out to people to communicate that there is a truth greater than all of us, and all our formulations are partial and limited and even distort the truth. If the larger mass of humanity can recognize that, a lot of these problems can be made much simpler-- I won't say resolved, but they'll be made much simpler because the resolution then involves not only an understanding but a change of consciousness. That takes time. But at least when I understand my limitations and the other's strengths and begin to learn from the other as well as share my strengths, then there is a framework of a working harmony. I think most of these ideas of a crash in 2012, of great disasters, they come from a perception of something which is true. If we continue to live as we do at present-- by the same values and the same processes-- the whole of humanity will implode and with it, we might just take away the earth. The whole of modern economics, for example, is built on the premise that the natural resources that are out there are infinite and we can keep consuming them at our convenience without concern for trashing the environment or the waste that we throw back. Now, the economic system itself assumes infinity of resources, and that's not true. Resources are finite and we have pretty much come to the end of them. So the economic system framework by which we are living globally is about to collapse. We could either end up with a massive crash or we could start taking corrective steps. We're already too far down not to experience a lot of suffering, but at least we could minimize it. We have already poisoned the environment. The global warming, which is now such a big publicity, is really a very small part of the bigger problem, and the bigger problem is the pollution that we throw out in nature. Warming is a tiny bit of it. Even if the earth warmed, there are other systems which can cool it back. It's not such a big deal. But the pollution, the poisons, that we throw out will not be resolved easily, and we suffer the consequences of the poison coming back into us. It's a very interesting observation of modern science that the most poisonous nutrition in the world today is mother's milk because all the poisons accumulate in the body and they get right there. And we're feeding our future generations the most poisonous substances. The United States, for example, has banned use of DDT within the United States but allows it to be manufactured, to be sold, to third world countries. But eventually, it gets into the chain and will come back here. There's no way one can avoid it. The poisons we throw out, for example-- a satellite which crashed in I believe it was 1986 had 1½ kilos of plutonium which burnt up in the atmosphere and is part of the air today all over the earth. We are breathing in radioactive waste in the atmosphere, and nobody can escape this. But all of this is possible because we have lost the deeper sense of unity with nature. This Cartesian mindset looks upon us and nature as two different entities, and nature out there is only a resource base for my comfort and my desire and my survival. We forget that we are part of nature, not only as physical processes but even more profoundly at a psychological level and even more deeply at a spiritual level, that we are one energy which is flowing through so many processes. And it is this loss of oneness which has spoiled our relationship with nature. And as we recover that oneness or at least approach it, we begin to realize that we are a part of a huge ecosystem, and all that we throw out comes back to us, even in emotions and thoughts. It's not only the poisons which we throw out in our sewers but the anger, the hatred, the ill will. All of these go out into nature and affect nature's processes. There is an interesting observation that many mystics have made that the weather patterns of a region reflect the state of consciousness of the people living there, and if we are chaotic in our feelings and thoughts, then the weather becomes chaotic. And if we express harmony and love towards nature and to each other, then the weather pattern also expresses a greater harmony. And these are things which people can see, we can experience, one can even verify them objectively, and which we still continue to ignore. So the problem of the environment and nature is not just a problem of changing our chemicals. It's also about changing ourselves and how we relate to the trees and plants. I'll give you an example of a distortion that is introduced in the educational system all over the world and is part of this industrial educational system. We are taught in ecology class that trees are good for us because they give us oxygen, and we should plant more trees. They clean the air, they give us oxygen, they give us fruits, etc. So children grow up being taught that trees are good and so they should be planted. But think about what that is really sending as a message. The message really says you should plant trees because they serve you. It's putting you back in the center. If the trees were not good for you, then you could cut them off with impunity. That's what the message says, that you must value the world in terms of how useful it is for you. And the result of this is a perversion of our relationship with nature. If you go back to all the indigenous traditions-- the American Indian, the Indian, Chinese, and I'm sure the ancient European traditions-- all of them had a different relationship with nature. I know, for example, in India we are taught that plants are beings as living and as sensitive as us, and we are taught to look upon them as children and care for them as children. You don't pluck a leaf because it's like someone pulling out your hair, and if at all you need to take it, you must first take permission of the plant and say you are sorry that you are hurting it and take it carefully. These are values which are ingrained in all of the indigenous traditions which have been now covered up in a very crude, coarse, self-centered lifestyle and philosophies being taught to us, and that is really the cause of the ecological disaster. The moment you value a plant as another being with its own rights-- let's use modern terminology-- it has its own right to life and you can relate to it as a brother, as a friend, as a parent, everything changes and the plants cooperate with you. There is a consciousness that grows in the plant, in the tree, in the flower; there's a consciousness that fills the whole forest, and it is living, self-aware, in its own way, and when we relate to it rightly, it also responds to us rightly, in a harmonious relationship. A lot of our ecological difficulties can be resolved if we correct our relationship with nature and our level of consciousness. All the rest will follow. There was a time long ago, maybe a few thousand years ago at least, that the mass of humanity had a natural sense of the sacred, that the world itself is a sacred space and nature is sacred and our presence here is sacred. It was a period of natural harmony which was disturbed by the development of the human intellect, which standing back in its self-awareness feels itself superior and its relationship with the universe becomes one of dominance. And modern science is the characteristic expression of this power of the intellect to try to use nature to conquer nature and subjugate nature to serve one's own desires. This is an inevitable passage, but as part of this, the mind has also become to a great extent materialist in the sense that it has lost its sensitivity to the sacred dimension, even to the extent of feeling as if all of that is unreal or an imagination. Even when one experiences something of the deeper reality behind appearances, one can easily cover it up and say, "Oh, I must have imagined it." But all of us have experienced the presence of something positive, negative, when we are in nature. All of us have had glimpses of unusual experiences or events where there was a kind of a thought transmission. We think we remember somebody and the phone rings and he calls. We're about to speak something and someone else speaks exactly the same words. These are experiences which happen to everybody, but we cover it up and say, "Coincidence. Chance." If you observe this word chance, it represents the label that covers our ignorance. I don't know what caused it. I covered up that ignorance by saying chance caused it. Chance--you can replace the word by "I don't know." "I don't know" caused it. So although we experience a deeper dimension to life-- parapsychological, paranormal, occult, whatever name one gives to it-- we tend to cover it up because that's how we have been brought up-- to be rational and materially centered. But innate to most indigenous traditions and to our experience is this deeper dimension and whether a person refuses to see it or not, it's there. And where modern science has turned its tools of exploration to this dimension, it has found the reality of this dimension. The only problem with modern scientists is that to recognize this dimension is to suddenly state that all of the science that we have built up is almost trivial compared to this new possibility. And no scientist wants to do that. So there's kind of a resistance to face one's own huge ignorance in humanity. But I have seen a lot of research not only of studying the paranormal, parapsychological phenomena, but also using it. The CIA recently declassified 10,000 documents on remote viewing in which psychics were given coordinates of locations and asked to describe what they see there, and a lot of it was in the Soviet Union. And you find extremely accurate descriptions of machines, events, and all correlated later by intelligence reports. Here's documentation of how this inner potential of the human being has been used, and we can't say it doesn't exist. So to those who are skeptical of an inner dimension, one can offer this evidence, but those who refuse to see the evidence continue to remain in ignorance of it. But it means a lot as far as the future potential of humanity is concerned. This inner potential represents a possibility that we have still to develop as the human potential. The powers of telepathy, psychokinesis, the remote viewing, empathy at a distance, all of these are there in us already. They are nonfunctional or they function in small bursts in an unstable form. That does not mean that they are unreal; it just means they are undeveloped abilities, just as if a child is brought up in an environment that suppresses the full development of his intellect. He will grow up with a weak intellect, but the potential for its full development remains. Just because it's weak now doesn't mean that he can't develop it. So it is with these abilities or parapsychological powers, and we are meant to eventually develop them. But even behind that is a still greater truth, which is that essential oneness which is our spiritual dimension, and that is our greatest destiny and highest potential of the human being, and it is towards that that we must focus most importantly now because if we focus only on the occult and stuff with that, we will only add to the chaos, bring into effect more powerful influences than even the atom bomb. As you know, the ancient traditions speak of Atlantis destroying itself by the use of such occult weapons. There are quite interesting descriptions of such weapons in the Indian traditions, which are not too different from some of the most powerful atomic weapons of today. But they were not physical atom bombs; they were powers which were occult used in a certain way for that result. These are possible, and we will destroy ourselves if we continue to remain at the same grade of consciousness with more powers. That's why the most urgent need today is to transcend even the occult possibility and aim straight at the unitive consciousness. And it is only by change of our consciousness that humanity will rise to a new level of being in which all of this potential--outer and inner-- will be available to us for its proper use. Modern science is essentially a quest to find reality. It starts with the recognition that the world as it appears to be is not what it is. And behind this appearance are processes which are hidden to us, and it goes through a process of digging through appearances layer by layer, and we say, "Oh, this is made of cotton." And we go deeper and we say, "It's not cotton. It's molecules which are themselves made of elements," "which are themselves made of atoms, which are themselves made of subatomic particles," "and which are all essentially energy." This is the farthest that science has gone to. It says the most essential reality of this whole cosmos is a massive ocean of energy that's flowing in certain rhythms, and the rhythms repeating themselves appear to us as particles and atoms and molecules and stable substance. And actually, there is no stable substance here. This is 99.999% empty space in which is a whirling energy, and this is what science comes to. And still it wants to find something in ultimately everything in which even the working of that energy will be consolidated into a oneness. This it has not yet been able to do. The ancient spiritual traditions of the world also were looking for the ultimate reality. Their approach was not through the senses but by an introspective process because, as I said, I myself am a product of that ultimate reality, so if I go back into my own identity, I will get back to that ultimate reality. So by a subjective introspective process, they followed the same journey that science has done through an external sensory approach and came to the same conclusion. So I speak here of the Indian tradition. They said the whole universe is an expression of chit shakti. Shakti means power, energy, but it is not a mechanical energy. It is a conscious energy--chit--so chit shakti--conscious energy. A conscious energy is the basis of this whole world, and energy itself is supported by consciousness that chooses to flow by certain rhythms. This is the point where science meets spirituality because science has a very big problem. Having discovered all the formulas of physics, it asks a simple question that is the ultimate theory for everything that it is looking for: "Why are the formulas the way they are?" "Why is E=mc2 and not m2c or M divided by c2 or any other combination?" And science doesn't have an answer. Wolfgang Pauli was one of those who was a discoverer of many subatomic particles and various theories of quantum mechanics. And I believe it was him who said, "After I die, the first question that I will ask of God" is why the formula was like this." And this is a point where science cannot explain because the formula is stained and we don't even know if the formulas are constant. You probably know of universal constants like the gravitational constant and other measurements. We don't know if they change over time. The speed of light--is it a constant? Does it change over time? And there is some evidence to show that. So science really does not know why the formulas are the way they are, it just describes the universe on the basis of some formulas, but it doesn't know why the universe is the way it is. And the answer is in chit shakti--conscious energy-- a conscious energy that intentionally follows certain rhythms and patterns of its self-expression and the formulas are a description of its habitual patterns, but the formulas are habits of that consciousness and they could be changed. And this is what the ancient yogis discovered, that by going back to that consciousness, which is the creative power, they could modify the laws of physics, override them at will, and the result was extraordinary parapsychological, magical phenomena that they could create at will without any formula. It was just a will of consciousness and the thing happens. So at this point you find a meeting point between science and spirituality. Both recognize that there is an essential reality, that it is one, that all derives from that oneness, both come to the point that it is an energy. Science doesn't yet recognize that it is conscious, though the focus of all its research today is really at that level of what is consciousness. Even in physics a subatomic particle changes behavior according to the observer's intentions and it has touched consciousness but not yet recognized that consciousness is prior to the energy and is the cause of the energy, which the spiritual scientists recognized. They went one more step. The consciousness itself is a consciousness of bliss. It is a blissful one self-existence that consciously pours out to become the cosmos and the big bang, etc. And so it is said everything in the universe is ultimately an expression of a divine bliss. But in the present forms the divinity, its consciousness, and its bliss is more covered than revealed. When that bliss leaks out through forms, we see beauty, we experience love, we see harmony. And ultimately, the whole evolution is meant to manifest that divine bliss. We ourselves, as conscious evolving beings, can realize that consciousness and its full creative power and its divine bliss in the whole expression of life. So the journey of life, they said, was to realize our origin and then to manifest the divine potential in us. So science and spirituality meet at one point, and then the spiritual shows the further way which science can also follow or it can simply accept what's left to us. When we observe evolution, we see several independent lines of development. There is an individual growth, and there is a collective growth. And the collective growth lags behind the individual growth. But within the individual growth there are many facets. And within the collective growth there are many facets. So when Darwin, for example, speaks of survival of the fittest, we generally understand it in terms of who is stronger and overwhelms another, who has adapted to take advantage of circumstances against one who cannot take the same advantage. But actually, a deeper observation shows that not only there is a fitness of strength but there is equally a development of beauty. If survival of the fittest was the only law, then all of us would have a stronger, bigger right hand than a left hand because all of us use the right hand more than the left--at least 90% of humanity. So why hasn't natural selection made one side bigger than the other? Because inherently in evolution is also the urge to express beauty. So we have fitness, we have beauty, and then inherently in evolution is the urge to express knowledge. It's very easy to have a brute form that overwhelms everyone else, but nature always wants superiority also of knowledge. And we find, ultimately, that evolution has several facets of its growth, and the individual is the precursor, and when enough individuals push forward, a capacity or a tendency establishes itself in the whole species and the rest flow effortlessly in that same pattern. There's a principle being commonly referred to today as the hundredth monkey, which comes from an experiment done off the coast of Japan on some islands, where scientists taught some monkeys to wash vegetables in sea water. Having washed them, the monkeys found them more tasty and began to do it automatically. And one taught another and another and another. At a certain point when it reached a critical mass, they found that monkeys on other unconnected islands began spontaneously to wash their vegetables. So there's an initial struggle made by a few individuals, and when they're internalized, a certain change of consciousness, and when there are enough of us who have internalized it, it automatically spreads into the mass of the species at the level of the species' consciousness, at the species' identity. And effortlessly, the mass feels itself shifting into this new habit or change of consciousness. The same applies to human beings. In this present crisis of consciousness and evolution, when enough of us can make a certain shift within us, it impacts the mass. On the other hand, there's another relationship which is more harmful. The mass acts like a weight and drags back the pioneering individuals, and you will see it is a common experience. Anybody who has presented an idea or an artistic expression or a new theory which is too radical, he is first violently criticized-- first he is ignored, then when he turns out to be successful he is violently critized and an attempt is made to suppress. When finally he breaks through and others join, then suddenly the mass is, "Oh, but that was obvious always." These are three phases of the work of a genius. But that initial resistance of the mass is the biggest difficulty in evolution. And the resistance has a positive side. It is intended to consolidate the gains of the past. That's what the resistance holds so that any attempt to change does not change too quickly and lose the past gains. So any new effort must take into account the best of the past and must include it in its new forms and then the mass will more easily slide into the new change of consciousness. If it abandons the gains of the past, the resistance is stronger. There's an evolutionary principle that we can recognize and value and then take advantage of. But that's the unfortunate relationship of the individual with the collective. The collective pulls back, the individual has a struggle, but when enough individuals make a change, the collective follows and the change is almost automatic after that. Whenever there is a pioneer, his task is to establish the new truth and he makes a huge leap--it's a quantum leap-- there are no steps in between. It's a jump straightaway and he's sort of hanging in midair. It makes him look like a bit of a radical. But once he establishes it in himself, it spreads by condition on others who are inspired but to different degrees. And then it's as if gradually the intermediate steps are formed over time, and even at that point it's as if the high ideal lapses back to a diminished or distorted version of it. But that's how the mass of humanity assimilates the ideal, by limiting it and bringing it closer to its present capacity. And this is the reason why religions form. There is a deep spiritual experience and then the mass captures only the outer forms and the crust of it and loses the inner core and is left with mechanical forms to be depleted. And then again someone comes and pushes through and expresses the living truth of it once again, maybe in new forms, and again, it diminishes. This is the pattern of evolution. If, for some reason, the pioneer could establish those small steps in between, then, of course, the change would be much smoother. But it's the job of the pioneer to make a leap and not make small steps. The mass moves by small steps. So at the present crisis we, in fact, need to consider what is more important. In a sense we can best contribute to the whole world if all of us can individually make an effort to change ourselves. And when enough of us can make that change and relate to each other in a new consciousness, then we can best serve humanity. But rather than going out and trying to change others on the basis of our existing consciousness, which is not good enough, often we can see the best contribution we can make to the world is to start making the change within ourselves. And as the next step, when enough make that change, we relate to them on a new consciousness, on new values, on a new level. And a kind of a collectivity of shared higher values begins to form. It may not be in one location; it can be across the world, But the connection on a higher level is what will create that subtle spiritual collectivity. And that's the best way to help humanity. Every religion has two components: There is a component which is made of external forms, rituals, historical forms, and social tendencies of the time of the origin of the religion. And then there is a second component, which is a deeper spiritual or mystical experience. And these two go side by side. Between the two, that which makes the religion resistant to change and even a cause of conflict is the first, which is the forms of the religion. That which makes the religion a means of growth and a source of harmony is the deeper spiritual component. So the present crisis of religions where even some of the forms of religion have become irrelevant or they're being abandoned by the mass of humanity, is really the need to consciously shift to this deeper core of the religion. And maybe from that even express it in new forms because the spiritual truth is not bound to the form of its expression. It can express itself in many ways. And in a way, the clash between religions fighting each other, politically and even with arms, is the method used by nature to break its rigid outer crust to expose its deeper universal truths because at the level of your spiritual experience it has universal truths. If each religion were to introspect and identify its core principles and experience and affirm that over the forms, then you would find a natural harmony emerging between them because every religion has emphasized an aspect of the spiritual experience, of the unitive experience, and therefore, in a sense they can also be seen as complementary. So the introspection of each religion is a necessity today. We cannot create a kind of a mishmash of religions and say, "Oh, we'll create a global religion." That won't work because then we'll just create a mix of forms. We cannot respect other religions purely in terms of its form. We can only respect them in terms of their essence. So this shift to recognizing religions even in terms of their essential message and experience, that also will make a huge difference. I've seen in most teaching of religion in schools or in religious dialogues the emphasis is on forms always and not on the centrality of the experience or the message. That needs to be brought back.

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Duration: 1 hour, 8 minutes and 8 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
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Posted by: global on Oct 8, 2009

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