University of Arkansas System
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Spiritual Consciousness in Santmat and Other Religions a Comparative Study
“There is a pupil of the eye inside the pupil which itself is inside the pupil of the eye, some rare Sadhu has seen it. There is a lotus of four petals in Trikuti which is the region of Om, reveals great Saint Kabir Sahab. Param Guru Huzur Sahabji Maharaj, fifth Revered leader of Radha soami faith and founder of Dayalbagh also explains; “The greatest discovery that has ever been made or that shall ever be, and the highest truth that has been communicated to humanity or that shall ever be, is that there is nothing higher or nobler than our Atman”.
Truth, Absolute reality, Supreme Bliss , Refulgence and love are realized as essence of the Spiritual essence that is the Originator, Sustainer and Absorber of the entire Creation. This essence is “Chaitanya” or “ Supreme Consciousness’ of the Primeval Spirit Force in creation and also the essence of man. Man is microcosm while the creation is Macrocosm. Thus as in man who has three dimensions of physical body, intelligent mind and essence of spirit there are three dimensions of Physical Matter, Universal Mind and Supreme Reservoir of Spirituality in the Creation.
In the Religious traditions the supremacy of the Spirit is taken axiomatically. Highest levels of Spiritual Consciousness are sought to guide the lives of men and human societies. The essence of mystical experiences has all been one across all religious traditions. In fact “Spiritual Consciousness” has been the fulcrum of all attempts at defining Religion’ which according to ‘Eliade’ is an experience of the ‘Sacred” an experience of the ‘wholly other’ for ‘Otto’ and Scholarly study of the “Sacred” for ‘Tillich’.
According to Dr Radhakrishnan the term ‘Consciousness’ is often used as alternative to Spirit, as where it is said that Consciousness and matter are the two aspects of Parabraham or that consciousness is the purest form of cosmic force yet strictly speaking consciousness is an attribute of active Spirit, It is some times called the universal life, the kosmic force substance.
Charles Tart says that if we start with the supposition that there is only one primal stuff or material in the world, a stuff of which everything is composed, and if we call that stuff ‘pure experience,’ the knowing can easily be explained as a particular sort of relation towards one another into which portions of pure experience may enter. However, the problem arises when the Nobel Prize winner, Francis Crick says that consciousness is just a bundle of neurons or when Patricia Churchland indicates we are just three pounds of meat , we are just this body, just the re-composition of this world.
However, if consciousness is indeed brain based then neurology should be able to help us better understand how it arises from material structures. Mysticism or the pursuit of higher states of consciousness, therefore, will also be part and parcel of such neurological studies, and will not be beyond its jurisdiction. However, if consciousness (or some part of our awareness) is not physically produced then science will not be able to comprehensively explain it as such.
This implies that science will eventually confront a border it cannot cross. The present study confines itself to the study of spiritual consciousness from the perspective of different religious traditions starting from the most ancient Religious tradition that is “Hinduism “ or Santana Dharma as it is variously called then moving to the Buddhist and Jain Traditions.
In the next chapter the strands of “spiritual consciousness” visible in the three “Abrahamic Traditions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam have been identified. A closer scrutiny at the Religious traditions of far east mainly the ‘Taoism’ which held sway over China for a considerable large period of time and “Shintoism’ the state Religion of Japan, reveal that ‘Spiritual Consciousness’ forms the inalienable part of these Religions.
The ‘Spiritual Consciousness’ finds its fullest manifestation in the Sant Mat and the most modern religion “Radhasoami faith”. In the end a humble attempt has been made at listing the various facet of Spiritual Consciousness vividly described in these great religious traditions to which I myself owe allegiance. Every attempt has been made at maintaining the neutrality of the study.