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Home sjmtoc 1 Spiritual Aspect of Ayurveda

1.1 Consciousness, Energy and God

(From Yoga Vasistha)
" Since consciousness and energy are inseparably one, the energy comes into contact with (becomes aware of) the Lord and becomes the Lord himself. When the prakriti touches the lord she abandons the prakriti-hood (the state of being movement). She merges into the Lord even as the river merges into the ocean."

Consciousness is the source of all manifestation. As used in this book, “consciousness” is synonymous with that un-namable, unknowable source of all experience, or God. The dual forces of prakriti and purusha arise from and fall back into consciousness. They arise from consciousness when consciousness. They arise from consciousness when consciousness, for no reason, reflects on itself. This reflection starts a subtle vibration of movement, shakti.

The immortal sages state: The only reality is the infinite, unchanging consciousness. And the sage Vasistha states:

Consciousness is never without some movement within itself. Without this movement it might become “unreal” (unknown) . . . . Movement is the very nature of consciousness and therefore inseparable from it.

This is Shiva and Shakti - consciousness and energy - but energy is not consciousness as Vasistha now points out.

However, motion or action cannot be regarded as the quality of consciousness because it has no qualitites nor characteristics: consciousness is pure and utterly tranquil, beyond all description. [And yet, he states] Just as motion within space is experienced by us as air, even so the dynamic energy of consciousness is experienced by the action of motion that takes place in that consciousness.

Cosmic prana is often called shakti. Thus the principle of movement, of motion on the most fundamental level - even before creation - is prana. Creation can now begin because of the two fundamental components: consciousness and the dynamic energy of consciousness. This is prakriti and purusha. Prana continues to become more tangible in the form of prakriti. “ . . . It is the dynamic energy of consciousness that is known as prakriti . . . . That which is superior to this energy (prakriti) is consciousness itself which is the very self of consciousness, supreme peace”.

What then is purusha? Well, this is where the sages show how subtle their perception of life - of reality - was (and in some cases still is). Purusha is also consciousness, it is pure consciousness that cannot be grasped in any way but can only be experienced. Vasistha describes it like this: “It is full of non-consciousness and object less consciousness, it can only be indicated by negation . . . . That state is the void, Brahman, Consciousness, the Purusha . . .” In other words, these two are again nothing more than God. One is consciousness in a dynamic manifestation, and the other is consciousness in a void, un-manifestation. Both are needed, both are different aspects of the same thing; they are the substratum of everything. They are not two, but one; experienced as never ending peace and joy. This is the underlying nature of everything; this consciousness is our nature, our substratum.

When these two, prakriti and purusha, begin to interact, they create an indivudualized awareness. When this awareness begins to reflect on itself, the manifestation is created.

On account of a slight movement of thought, the same reality which is consciousness seems to become the fivefold elements and thence the body. In the same way, the same consciousness becomes worms and other creatures, metals and minerals, earth and what is on it, water and other elements. Thus, the whole world is nothing but the movement of energy in consciousness which appears as the fivefold elements.

We see that the five states of matter, or the five elements, which form the basis of Ayurveda are nothing more than movement in consciousness. That movement in its most subtle form is none other than consciousness but once conscious of itself, it generates cosmic prana or shakti- the inseparable dynamic aspect of consciousness - and the creation starts. Without prana nothing is possible.

What then is responsible for the different manifestations of the five states of matter in relation to worms and humans? How does a person become a person and a worm become a worm? Vasistha relates the cause to the latent impressions, vasanas, that become activated by the consciousness-prana as creation occurs.

The chit-shakti (consciousness-energy) lies in immobile creatures, etc., As latent vasana. It is this chit-shakti that determines the nature of each object; it is the fundamental characteristic of the very molecules of each object.

Vaisitha then is telling us that these latent impressions, or vasanas, are really a unique combination of consciousness-energy. Have talked about vasanas and their psychological effects on people in my first book, Prana: The Secret of Yogic Healing. In Verdict thought - which is the origin of Yogic, Hindu and Ayurvedic philosophies - the vasanas are the cause of unhappiness, rebirth, psychological disorders, and many other problems, including bad health. These vasanas are anything that conditions or imposes a concept on the substratum of consciousness-energy, our true nature. An example is the idea, “I am limited to the physical body”.

If this (chit-shakti, vasana) is not realized as atma-shakti (the energy of infinite consciousness) it creates the delusion of world-appearance; if it is realized as the truth, which is infinite consciousness, that realization destroys all sorrow.

Perhaps I should say that Vasistha is one of the seven immortal sages of the Vedic period. He has the most hymns in the oldest Veda, the Rig Veda, and is the foremost of all the Vedic sages. I strongly suggest reading Dr. David Frawley’s book Gods, Sages, and Kings, for a very inspiring understanding of this period of history and a new interpretation of the Rig Veda.

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