The medical field has made incredible advances in the fields of diagnosis, and management of a variety of Neurological disorders. The scope of this progress is however restricted to identify and subsequently attempt to rectify the underlying problem. The spectrum of disorders that can be treated range from degenerative disorders, metabolic disorders right up to trauma and tumors of the nervous system. There has also been significant progress in understanding the structure and function of the nervous system. However, areas like consciousness, are still beyond the scope of medical technology.
The known hierarchy of consciousness extends only to sub-optimal grades.- drowsy stuporous, semiconscious or then unconscious. Theoretically there has to be a supra-optimal grade of consciousness- “the supra-conscious”. Medical science has severe limitations in quantifying the optimal level of consciousness. Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging can at best identify the degree and extent of blood flow to the different parts of the brain.
Consciousness can be defined as the ability of an organism to be alert and inter-act with the environment. It is being aware of ones own self and also having the ability to react with “non-self”-surrounding objects or beings. The unicellular organism is also a drop of consciousness bounded by a cell membrane. Higher forms needed an upgrade. Evolution provided segregation of this primitive cognition. The ability to focus this awareness to a specific object or activity. The ability to concentrate. So when a predator is hunting, he will necessarily need to focus all his attention on the prey. This is also coupled with an ability to defocus this awareness. Like the feel of the clothing on our bodies. They are touching us and the tactile apparatus is sending the appropriate signals to the brain, but still the brain has the discriminatory ability to keep this data below the horizon of cognition. But there is the constant “I AM” awareness that forms the background activity of consciousness. This I AM ness permeates all awake states. Intellect, thoughts are all derivatives of this I AM ness.
Further evolution takes place in the realm of elevating this consciousness.
Spiritual masters are the ones that mutate this consciousness to a supra-conscious state.
This mutation results in the “I” being deleted and what remains is just the Amness. Unqualified.This Amness is expansile and all inclusive because the restrictive ‘I’ is eliminated.
This universal Am ness is a state of supraconsciousness since it transcends a particular being. This Am ness is Advaita. To reside in that blissful state is the objective of all attempts at self realization. This term is a misnomer because in this state a separate self does not exist. Just unconditional beingness. And this entire illusion of duality was created because this universal Am ness could not perceive itself. There had to be a subject object dichotomy for acknowledging its own AM ness. Being ness has no beginning or end. There is no concept of time either. Eternity is in the moment. And the moment lasts an eternity. At that state identification with the physical form no longer remains. It is like the pot which is contained in space and also contains space. The consciousness permeates the form from without and also within, A state of wholeness, a state of oneness. Science is based on the act of observation. The seer, the seen and the process of seeing. But supraconsciousness is the state where this trinity has merged. So supraconsciousness is beyond the scope of scrutiny because it includes scrutiny.
The process of initiation by the master is probably starting the journey beyond just awareness of the mind body form. Therefore liberation is not of the person ,but rather from the person.
Dr. Deepak Ranade
(The author is a consultant Neurosurgeon and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)