9. Who Are You, Human? Part 1.

Surprising Discovery Of Human Nature

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Who are you, Human? The way we answer this question will determine the purpose and  meaning of our lives.

Although it seems the answer is simple, the problem of modern humans is that they do not fully realize what humans constitute. We’ll try to answer this fundamental question of existence, based on the ancient wisdom of the Vedas. The ancient scriptures on earth – the Vedas say, that the human is composed of three main structures: the physical body, subtle body, or the mind, and the soul, which is the source of consciousness.

 Physical Needs Of A Human

The physical body is the most obvious reality. According to the Vedas there are four basic needs of a physical body: food, sleep, sex, and defence. We experience a very strong requirement for these needs and for the sake of bodily comfort are trying to satisfy them to the fullest extent.

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To fulfil the requirement of food there are many facets from which to choose: from agriculture, food industry, retail chains, stoves, kitchenware to everyday items like forks, spoons, ladles and other utensils.

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For comfortable sleeping, people try to equip their homes with modern amenities, supplied to them by an ever-changing industry.

The third requirement of the body is the association of the opposite sex. To enable this, there are various types of social entertainment, which men and women engage in, to stimulate interest in the opposite gender. A Vedic treatise on the subject “Kama Sutra” has acquired a worldwide reputation, for its ability to help fulfil the third requirement. There is a family institution, which aims to meet this need.

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Finally, the fourth requirement of a physical body is the need for protection. The physical body and its habitat can be subjected to adverse climatic changes, or aggression on the part of the environment. A person may become ill, get injured, or fall prey to burglars, therefore there is a system of protection and welfare for our body.

To achieve this goal, on an individual level, there are door locks, alarm systems, tear gas, pepper sprays and other means of self-defence, to help protect both our bodies and personal belongings. On a societal level, there are insurance companies, health care frameworks and police, protecting us, and the army, which protects us from external enemies. The better society provides us with these four requirements, the more it is developed from the material point of view.

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 The Needs Of A Human Subtle Body 

“Man does not live on bread alone…” He has more subtle needs. Where do they come from? Subtle needs, of course, come from a more fine structure – the subtle body or our mind. What is its requirement?

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The subtle body needs information, emotions and creative self-expression, so people can enjoy freedom of speech, freedom of thought, freedom of creation and freedom of publication. Our subtle body manifests through this self- expression. Sometimes this subtle body is seen as an aura that transcends the physical body. To carry out the needs of the subtle body there are educational institutions, media, Internet, libraries, concert and exhibition halls, theatres, cinemas, and clubs of interests.

 The Needs Of A Soul

It would seem that an analysis of the physical and subtle bodies can complete the description of a person. Physiology studies the physical body, psychology studies the subtle body, but is that all that defines a person? Are these all the needs that we looked at? The Vedas say that there are more subtle requirements that come from the depths of the soul, which is more minute than our mental body. According to the Vedas, the soul is the eternal and unchanging aspect of “I”, while the physical and subtle bodies are changing. People-Meditating

What are the needs and characteristics of the soul? The needs of the soul are eternity, a comprehensive knowledge and happiness. How then can a product of temporality be desiring of eternality? For example, our physical body may require only those elements, which it is composed of – temporary materials. If something inside of us desires eternal life, then this is the true nature of the willing, that is, consciousness. It is the consciousness that is a sign of the soul.

The second need of the soul is a comprehensive knowledge. This is different from the mundane, practical and applicable knowledge needed to create material comfort. Spiritual knowledge goes far beyond the everyday material practicality and gives answers to unanswered questions of life – who we are, where we came from, what is the meaning of life? It is that kind of knowledge that the soul needs the most.

The third requirement of the soul is the desire to be happy and enjoy in all circumstances. This is evident in every moment of our behaviour: we are always looking for a comfortable place, the tastiest food, choosing fashionable and comfortable clothes, listening to nice music, striving to communicate with interesting people, etc. So it goes without saying that everyone is trying to take the best from life. According to the Vedas, this is how our commitment to excellence, which we were once in contact with, unconsciously manifests itself.

So, these are the needs of a consciousness emanating from the soul. Obviously, they are in conflict with the limited abilities of the physical body. This creates an inner sense of dissatisfaction in life, even in conditions of material prosperity. According to statistics, the highest percentage of suicides is caused by internal discontent. This leads to a sense of meaningless existence, which takes place in the most financially developed countries.

 The Nature Of Human Consciousness

Thus, modern science claims that consciousness is the product of highly organized matter, or brain. However, this assertion is debatable. In fact, a highly organized matter, itself requires a conscious approach or an intelligent manipulation of matter. Therefore, this definition refutes itself. In addition, none of the chemical elements in our body alone possesses consciousness, including the brain cells. No combination of these elements, too, generates consciousness, but, nevertheless, each of us has a consciousness.

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In the language of the Vedas, Sanskrit, consciousness is called by the term jiva. Another term is Atma, which translates as a spark of spiritual energy or just a soul. Scientists of the International Bhaktivedanta Institute prompted the introduction of a scientific term – Spiriton – designating the individual consciousness or soul. It comes about from the English word spirit (spirit soul).

This particle of consciousness is fundamentally different from the smallest particles of matter such as electrons, positrons, etc. The main properties of the Spiriton are as follows:

1. It is the bearer of life;

2. Number of Spiritons is infinite;

3. Spiriton cannot be created or destroyed; it has an eternal nature;

4. Spiriton has consciousness and free will;

5. Spiriton has a personal nature.

Since Spiriton belongs to the category of higher energy, in contrast to matter, which is of the lowest energy, it does not have material characteristics and therefore cannot be detected by physical experiment.

However, there are indirect signs by which we can determine the presence of Spiriton in matter. When the matter is devoid of the presence of consciousness or Spiriton, it is inert, or dead. When Spiriton is inside matter, the matter is showing signs of life, just as the inanimate machine is showing signs of life when a person starts it.

Matter itself is characterized by a low content of information or the lack of specific external shape except for the atomic and molecular structure. The presence of the Spiriton in matter fills it with the high informative content and gives it a concrete and specific form.

To see this just compare the crystal lattice structure of minerals and the extremely complex structure of living cells. The presence of the Spiriton in matter runs a clear and regulated mechanism of metabolism, which is not observed in inert matter. Inanimate matter tends to lose its shape during transformation. But matter with the presence of Spiriton, during transformation and regeneration, does not lose its complex and specific form. Dead matter cannot reproduce itself, but live matter can.

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For example the machine is not giving birth to a little machine, but trees leave seeds behind from which new trees form. The dead matter grows only due to external mass accumulation. But the Spiriton inside matter stimulates the growth of matter from the inside, showing the complex process of consciousness development.

For example, the crystal is just growing in volume, without changing its fundamental qualities, but a living organism is growing, changing its consciousness, and passing through such stages as infancy – childhood – adolescence – adulthood – old age. Effected inert matter shows only the passive resistance of the material.

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The presence of the Spiriton in matter creates a mechanism of adaptation to external influences and manifests itself as an active resistance to obstacles. For example: try to hit the ball. The resistance will be only at the molecular level.

But if you hit the creature (which has Spiriton), it will either run away or will show an active resistance, which dead matter is not capable of. When it’s cold we dress warmly, when it’s hot we open windows wide and dress lightly.

In this way Spiriton influences us to adapt to the environment. Apart from the fact that consciousness has a nature different from the nature of the physical body, this principle can also be understood by some indirect factors. For example, how do we refer to ourselves?

Naming parts of our body, we say: it is my hand, it is my leg, it is my head, it is my body. We do not say: I – the body. Speaking of my body, we mean that the body has a boss – that is, the soul. When a relative dies, family members exclaim, “Where did you go?” Of course, this assertion implies that the body has been left by someone who was a true person, the owner of the body.

Without the consciousness of the soul the body loses all its value, and it’s either buried in the ground or cremated. An interesting fact is that the chemical composition of the dead and the living body is completely identical. Moreover, death is an instantaneous process, and occurs when the luster of the eyes disappears, and an oscilloscope, fixing electrical oscillations in the brain, shows a straight line.

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If you take the time interval between the moment when a man was still alive, and the moment when it was discovered that he was dead; for this insignificant period of time, no change could have occurred at a molecular level, since it would need an infinitely larger energy.

The question for scientists is then: why a person has died, if at the time of death there had been no changes in the biochemical structure? The only scientific explanation lies in the fact that at the time of death the body is separated from the consciousness (soul), the true reason for living. Because consciousness is nonmaterial and has no mass, it separates from the body immediately without any use of energy. From then, the process of decomposition of the body starts to progress very rapidly. This is because the consciousness, having an eternal nature, inhibits the destructive processes while still in the body, and when this eternal element leaves the body there is nothing else to hold back the process of decomposition.

The experience of clinical death also confirms the different nature of the consciousness and the body. About 30% of survivors of clinical death, remember this experience out of the body and reproduce with great accuracy the events that they observed from a time when their physical body was lifeless. This confirms the assertion of the Vedas that the soul is the source of the original senses. These subtle senses of the soul are related to the physical senses through the subtle energy channels in the body. The subtle energy channels, at a gross level, transform into the nervous system and then are connected to the brain and the external senses. It is these inner senses that allow us to see dreams when our outer eyes are closed. That’s how a blind Bulgarian prophetess Vanga had seen the future, and the apparently deaf Beethoven heard the music.

 The Concept Of The Soul According To Subjective Experience

 

LOPATINThe difference between the soul and the body is reflected not only in the ancient texts, but also by some scientists. For example, in 1896, Professor of Moscow State University, Leo Lopatin had published an article entitled “The concept of the soul according to the subjective experience.”

The main idea of his work is that within the body there is a subject of perception, which captures the physical and mental processes that occur to us over time. The very perception of the passage of a motion or process arises only when the subject of perception is at rest with respect to any process or moving object around it. For example, sitting on the train, we feel the motion relative to stationary objects.

But if you look at a train, which moves parallel to ours, at the same speed and in the same direction, the sense of movement is lost.

In this analogy, professor Lopatin states that if our inner consciousness notices the changes of our physical and mental condition, so it has a different nature and is situated beyond time. And since all matter is moving through time, then the soul is not material. Another indirect proof that matter and consciousness have a different nature, is that the consciousness is constantly trying to overcome the laws of nature that fetter our freedom. If consciousness was a product of matter, it would have meekly obeyed the laws of the material world. But we are witnessing the opposite tendency.

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Consciousness is constantly trying to escape from these harsh laws. Science invents a way to overcome gravity, looking for ways to immortality and eternal happiness, which by definition are impossible in the temporary material body. Therefore, between the needs of the soul and the limited abilities of the body there is a constant contradiction, which hinders the full manifestation of the three qualities of the soul – eternity, knowledge and bliss. It is obvious that consciousness has properties different from matter.

Thus, the body, mind and soul are in the same relation to each other, like a hot air balloon (the soul), which strives upward; a basket (physical body), which pulls down the soul, and slings (psyche), connecting a balloon with a basket (or the soul with the body). Another example shows how the body is a machine, the soul, which is in the subtle body shell – a passenger. It remains to find out who is the driver of this complex machine. Obviously, this is not the soul. But what is it?

To be continued …  

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