Sunday, July 19, 2009



First of all “A Big Thank you” to all the readers of this thread.

Based on the inputs I received, I provide a few clarifications. Some of the issues may sound repetitive.

1. Rationale behind the Proposal in Looking for “Markers” in the Brain:

Stripping out the hyperbole, mysticism, esoteric and ‘other worldly’ attributes and complex descriptors, let us see what Non-Dualism is.

On the attainment of Liberation, “I” and “World” become One.

“I” loses its (individuating) status as a subject perceiving a separate object “World” out there.

When a distinct perceiver “I” is no more present, it logically follows that a distant perceived “World” also cannot be present (because there is no one to see it).

What will then remain is only “Amness” or “Beingness” or simply “Existence” of whatever That Is. If this sounds as too much mumbo-jumbo, let us translate this into simple English.

I See the World.” -- Sentence1.
I Am the World” or “The World Is Me” -- Sentence 2.
Just Seeingness or Isness.” -- Sentence 3.

The transformation of Sentence 1. to Sentence 3. in an individual is Liberation.

Sentence 1. is a phenomenon of normal perception. It involves the sense organs and sensory cortex in the brain. As it transforms to Sentence 3., via Sentence 2., there is no apparent reason to say there are no attendant cognitive changes (invoking Occam’s Razor). Further, the change is happening within and to a specific individual. So this change in cognition has to show up in that specific Individual’s brain. (We cannot, though, rule out related changes in other body parts e.g. endocrine system).

2. Purpose of the Study:

Tying up a study with “Purpose” or “Utility” is a mundane technological perspective. Blue sky type of R&D is for knowledge enhancement without predetermined objective. Science (done with an open mind) has brought out unimaginable transformation during the past couple of centuries on our understanding of the Universe, its Laws, Man’s position in the Universe and so on. Amazing examples can be cited from Genetics, Molecular Biology, Astrophysics, Medicine and many other fields. We do not know what the future scientific discoveries will unfold.

Non-Dualism is inarguably a unique achievement of our ancient seers and sages millennia of years ago within the means of inquiry and investigation available to them. Non-Dualism and its derivatives helped in the redemption of sorrow. Basically it ends the “sufferer” and not “suffering” per se. Existence of ‘suffering’, inviolability and inexorability of Natural Laws (Niyati) are accepted as Anaadi (without a beginning) and hence taken as unquestionable in Vedanta.

3. Causal Relations:

Some questions were raised whether the “Markers” would be mandatory or necessary conditions in a Jivanmukta and inducing the electrical/chemical/structural changes will result in a Jivanmukti.

These questions are relevant far into the future. Right now, one has to establish first that certain indicators as ‘signatures’ of the Jivanmukti can be detected in the brain. Further, even if we do find the “Markers”, one-to-one causal relations cannot be immediately postulated in biological systems unlike in deterministic physical systems. That is to say, if we find [A] indicates [B], we cannot say in natural systems that given [B], [B] automatically implies [A].

4. Examples of Jivanmuktas in the Post # 7:

As was already pointed out by me in the Post, the Examples from the past and presently living people are given purely for illustrative purposes. The purpose of the list was only to establish that the Jivanmukti we are talking about is not purely a hypothetical and theoretical concept and we do have real life examples right in our midst. I would like to reiterate that no judgmental value is involved even remotely in the list. Readers are welcome to expand the list.

5. Is “Consciousness” amenable to Scientific query?:
Admittedly, what is “Consciousness”, how do we define it, how can the chemo-electrical pulsing in the brain engender it, is it ‘beyond’ or within the brain are all open questions in Neuroscience and are being hotly debated by experts. Consensus is emerging at least on the approach to tease out these problems. The Cartesian dichotomy between Science and Mind is getting erased now-a-days. Science has made tremendous progress since the days of trepanation, though it is still scratching the surface in Neuroscience. Hence the immediate humble aim now is not directly tackling “Consciousness” but to find out identifiable correlates.

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