[Advaita-l] Self-knowledge

Mahesh Ursekar mahesh.ursekar at gmail.com
Sat Feb 4 06:34:58 CST 2006


Sorry about the late reply but I was caught up with things.

Ah, what you describe is science trying to explain love! Material trying to
explain the non-material. We come to a core point in Western philosophy -
the relation of mind and matter. There is an interesing book 'The Quest for
Consciousness" by Christoph Koch (working with the late Francis Crick of DNA
fame) in which his pursuit, among others, it to find how a 'feeling' can
arise due to a 'chemical'. So, the jury is out on that one!

One can get quite carried away with science as explaining the world, but I,
for one, question its depiction of reality. Therefore, in spiritual matters
(unlike most other disciplines), it is critical to read the lives of Masters
and their teaching. Only a sufi saint or a religious mystic will be able to
tell you that love is what is all around us. Love is. Nothing more. And one
knows that this saint is more at grips with reality that people like us,
who, in most cases would call such a person 'out of his or her mind'.

But I need to address your point that injected hormones in the blood produce
feelings of love, anger, hatred. How is this possible if love is
transcendental as the true lover claims? I am a die hard reflective idealist
(my own philosophical term) - what's seen outside is due to what's inside
the mind and vice versa (hence, reflective). If such is the case, all the
laws of physics are inside the mind and because the mind thinks so, the laws
of physics are as they are. Infact, Swami Vivekananda (who, for those who
may not know this, was at one time  to work with the emmient physicist
Nikolai Tesla to verify Swamiji's claim that matter and energy were one -
way before Einstein became famous for the same claim!) also proved the
locality of physics laws via rational arguments which I don't have access

That said, the reason why injected hormones appear to produce feelings of
love is that this is the Kali Yug or 'yantra yug' as an ISCKON monk said,
and the power of our minds is reduced. We "want" to reduce things to
scientific explanations and so the Universe conspires with us make it so! It
is that simple! If you don't believe this, read stories of Himalayan Masters
in which they throw all the so called laws to 'high heaven'! They are love,
we *are made* to experience it - that is the a big difference!

Finally, since we are talking of the great Madusudan Saraswati, no less a
person than Krishna 'laughed' at this great person's intellect. Krishna too
said - you reason but where is the experience? And subsequently, MS became a
lover (of Krishna). Attached is the full story which Amuthan had posted a
while back on this mailing list!

Humble pranams and divine love, Mahesh

On 2/2/06, Aditya Varun Chadha <adichad at gmail.com > wrote:
> Greetings,
> As Amuthan has clearly shown, the destruction of the intellect comes
> AFTER the attainment of self knowledge. Note that in padArthAbhAvanI,
> the the Self has been realized but the intellect has not been
> destroyed. Only upon turIya is this intellect destroyed.
> If intellectual is defined in terms of intelligence, which is
> understood as a function of the mind, which runs on the brain, then
> Self-knowledge having an intellectual nature is incidently well
> supported by science. on Mahesh ji's words about the nonintellectual
> nature of emotions like love, I have the following to say. I am only
> stating well researched results in cognition.
> remailing what I mailed to Mahesh ji privately. apologies to Mahesh ji
> for his receiving it twice.
> the illustration (of the lady and the tigers) does not prove some
> esoteric form of love seperate from the body. scientific explanation:
> the sight (and smell, etc.) of the saintly lady did NOT trigger the
> adrenalin hormone (and others) responsible for the tiger's usually
> "violent" behavior towards humans. The tigers simply did not feel
> threatened. this "feeling threatened" again can be explained in terms
> of survival instincts, which are nothing but hardwired brain (and
> spinal chord) constructs. It is commonly known that tigers do not eat
> human flesh unless absolutely necessary for survival. so their usual
> violence occurs because of the hormones responsible for fear, threat,
> etc. if this reaction does not happen (the lady is observed by the
> animal as graceful, peaceful enough), violence does not occur.
> /*** below is a lot of my arguments about scientific explanations for
> emotions ***/
> in fact being at peace with tigers, lions, etc. is a common
> phenomenon, even among western naturalists. remember that animals have
> much of the same mechanisms as humans, including hormones, and to some
> extent even the structure of the brain. this bond of friendship
> between species that you talk about is well studied and boils down to
> being the same as is the case between human and human: the response to
> stimuli. certain hormones induce "love", others induce "violence".
> there have been scientific studies in which a simple injection of
> certain combinations of hormones has induced emotions like hatred,
> love, anger, etc. How do you suppose this one works? the event of the
> injection was directly followed by a sudden feeling of love (or anger,
> etc.) in the subject. tell me how an injection gave rise to esoteric
> "love" which is not of this body (or in the hormones).
> reiterating, emotions are the observable reactions (secretion of
> hormones) of the brain to stimuli, that are felt by the body (wherever
> these hormones affect). scientists can give you injections for many of
> these emotions, but ofcourse it is considered widely unethical and so
> is not popularised. you only need to search in the academic journals
> for hormonal research.
> e.g.: A senses (sees/smells/hears/touches/tastes/etc.) B. This causes
> certain electrical signals to be sent to the brain. every brain has a
> unique structure, and reacts distinctively to distinct signal
> patterns. within the same species, the extent of this distinctness is
> very little. and so we have a common "sense" understanding of various
> emotions, like love, anger, etc. so the brain reacts correspondingly,
> causing secretion of certain chemicals. this reaction is hardwired
> into the brain probably through the process of evolution.
> /******************* end of scientific explanation for emotions
> ***********************/
> anyway, why is it important for you that love and other emotions not
> be merely physical constructs? remember vedAnta itself teaches that
> emotions are temporary, even bodily. joy and sorrow are temporary,
> etc. we have always heard this. so is personal love.
> Yes, in final brahman-hood the intellect does not remain (beyond
> jIvanmuktI), but before that stage, the intellect plays a vital role
> (for many) in the attaining and sustainence of Atmaj~NAna
> --
> Aditya Varun Chadha
> adichad AT gmail.com
> http://www.adichad.com
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