Dr Harish Chandra's article in SpiritMag Feb '08 - 14
SpiritMag February '08Volume II, No. 6
VIII. The Memory and Its Programming
Last month we had discussed the three constituent units of the mind domain ? mind, memory and intellect. The first unit of mind functions as the link between the subtle mind domain and the gross body. It picks up the incoming knowledge from the sense organs for sight, sound, smell, taste and touch. In the outward direction, it activates the organs for karma and brings the body in action. The memory unit stores the incoming knowledge for future reference before 'projecting' it to the intellect unit that 'displays' the incoming knowledge for the soul's perception. Now, the decision is taken by the soul with the help of the intellect and then relayed to the memory and mind units, and then to the body's motor organs for outgoing karma.
Let us consider some instances in the day to day life to gain appreciation for the miniature size and swift speed of the above three units' functioning ? namely, the mind, memory and intellect. The first instance is related to seeing someone while walking on a crowded sidewalk. I see someone approaching from the opposite direction. Once the pictorial image of his image is brought in by the sight organ, it's picked up by the mind unit and then projected by the memory unit on the intellect unit. Then I, the soul, become aware of it. Immediately, the intellect unit retrieves pictorial images of a number of people from my memory and I conclude that this person is 'X' whom I had met some months ago in another city. Two main functions are taking place: First, direct perception of a pictorial image as a human face. Second, its comparison with a number of human faces stored in the memory and then concluding that it's 'X'. A pictorial image consists of billions of data points and in this case, this is not a two-dimensional picture, rather a three-dimensional sculpted figure is being discussed. Then I compare it with a number of faces before concluding that this is 'X'. All this happens in a matter of milliseconds while the data involved will be of the order of billions of points. This is a simple instance when I conclude that the approaching man is 'X' and then I decide whether to meet him or to avoid meeting him, etc.
Let us now consider a more complex instance involving repeated actions, such as, when I begin to learn riding on a bicycle as a child. The first time I have removed the support wheels, I am fully absorbed in learning the skill to ride a bicycle. All my senses are focused and any change in speed before a turn arrives causes the body to tilt in a particular manner to maintain the balance of the body and bicycle. During the practice sessions, the incoming knowledge particularly by the sight is quickly processed and decision is taken by the intellect to move the body parts in a particular manner. Over the years, the memory has stored such a detailed functioning in its minutest manner that it becomes possible for me to ride the bicycle smoothly with practically no attention, such as, even talking to someone else. The repeated actions have developed detailed functional programs (self-generated software) that are stored in the memory unit that a larger fraction of memory-intellect link can devote to other intellectual functions. It should be noted that the body organs for action/karma have larger inertia (than that possessed by the organs for knowledge), meaning that their activation requires greater attention and thereafter it goes on 'by itself'. Similar attention is required to modify its function or to de-activate it. This instance can be characterized as conditioning of the mind where repeated actions make it almost like an automated function when the memory software stores and executes the self-generated software. Since every individual has a unique style of riding the bicycle like a signature, it must be the self-generated software.
There are instances when I overdo certain functions causing long-term damage to myself. For example, I may be overworking in my office for a stretch of several months. I could have taken recourse to some relaxation regime during the day so that the additional mental fatigue could be dissipated. But, habitually overworking with the mind without associated relaxation leads to a stressful personality. Now my behavior may change that I may get angry on minor provocations and even develop chronic health related problems. Again here too, the memory unit has programmed itself (by overworking without relaxation in-between) to react in a certain manner that is detrimental to my physical and mental health.
There can be more complex instances when moral criteria may gain importance, such as, when one decides to rob, rape or murder someone else. The decision-making begins with an idea of gaining a short term benefit even at the cost of harming another person. Such acts require meticulous planning because there are societal laws to punish those who have committed such crimes. Yet, there are people who commit them. Of course, the first time they do such an act they go through a great deal of 'internal discussion' when an inner voice may even advise them to refrain from doing so. However, they tread on the wrong path and over a period of time they even become habitual criminals.
The above instances relate to the functioning of the mind in a wide range of tasks, such as, a very trivial act of recognizing a person while on a street on one extreme, to committing a grave crime on another extreme. In between, we have an activity where we learn to ride a bicycle. Also, we pointed out that how one could gradually shift to a stressful personality without caring for a mental relaxation regime in the day-to-day life of overwork. The common thread throughout is that we program our mind; we prepare the software for the mind domain. So, we have nobody to blame. Every act of ours bears our signature ? the way we walk, the way we write, the way we sign, the way we develop our personality, and the way we live our life ? all are our karma. The moral of the story is that I can undo all the wrong things that I programmed in my mind by re-writing more positive programs. I can develop a positive attitude towards life and towards others. I can tread on the line of loftier karma. The inner sciences can help me reshape my life. I must not rely on others' tempting but false ideas that 'if I accept this man as my savior then my life is saved'. Though there is a benefit in learning from others yet mere acceptance of a wrong and unscientific notion can do great harm. While I must be open to learning and inspiration from others, I must rely on myself.
Next month we will discuss a very important concept that relates to the core strength of the inner sciences. Can we call inner sciences as sciences? Generally, the layman believes that what pertains to matter can be studied scientifically but not so with spirituality. In other words, he thinks that the matter can be studied by direct perception while spirituality is based on inference. I will attempt to explode this myth by saying that the spiritual sciences are based on direct perception whereas matter is studied through inference. Now that we have briefly discussed the inner functioning of the mind domain, we are in a position to gain a correct perspective on this myth. This is very important that we develop the inner sciences on a strong footing for it to become a worldwide movement towards a lasting universal love, brotherhood and peace.
- Dr. Harish Chandra
Dr. Harish Chandra conducted SCOPE (Stress Control for Personal Enhancement) workshops for the MBA students of a) Indian Institute of Management, and b) the University of Calicut, Calicut during January 24-27, 2008. A similar session was organized in a hotel for public. Besides the above sessions, he interacted with a number of groups on spiritual/inner sciences. The main theme was that while we take care of the needs of the body and mind in our daily life, we must take care of the needs of the soul, too.
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SpiritMag - one year ago
Vol. I. No. 6 SCIENCE AND RELIGION
Last month we discussed what we can expect from "inner sciences" and had briefly mentioned that the religions came into being on the pretext of giving us spiritual peace but they ended up causing so many miseries to the humanity. The worst thing that happened was that the best individuals with intelligent minds and compassionate hearts became averse to the very concept of spirituality. Let us now discuss science and religion the way they are understood by the larger cross-section of people.
Science typically means study of matter and all that is made of matter, right from the sub-atomic particles to the heavenly bodies. It is observed that science is logical and rational. It is reproducible that a scientific theory developed by one scientist in one part of the world can be proven by another scientist in another part of the world. This gives rise to a near-universal acceptance of science. There may be different schools of thought while a particular scientific theory is in its developmental stage. But, as it progresses to greater maturity, it gains universal acceptance as well. We have also noticed that certain scientific theories had to be modified over a length of time. For example, Newtonian laws of mechanics did not work well in certain circumstances, and this gave rise to the theory of relativity and quantum mechanics. Thus, science keeps on progressing based on our current understanding of the behavior of matter though the scientists are humble enough to admit that they never have the final word.
Today religions profess the domain of spirituality ? our consciousness and the associated needs, what modern sciences do not look into. But as we have discussed earlier, the human destiny is to upgrade his level of happiness, or let us call it, his level of inner fulfillment. Such a desire would remain incomplete unless one can explore within the innermost core of his consciousness. This is what religions promise to do. However, as opposed to science, no religion has found universal acceptance and it is not likely to happen even if we decide to wait for some more centuries. And, there is a good reason for that.
No religion is purely on logical and rational basis. Every religion includes one or more dogmatic ideas. Therefore, there was never a time and there will never be a time when the entire humanity will accept one religion ? be it any current major religion or any of the myriads and shades one can think of.
In order to see it better, let us tabulate certain features of Science and Religion as they are seen in these present times -
- Confines itself to the domain of matter.
- Logical and Rational.
- Acceptable to a reasonable open-minded person.
- Void of dogmas.
- Is provable.
- Based on reason.
- Has Universal acceptance.
- Science is one.
- A unifying force for the entire humanity.
- A scientific theory is "discovered" by a scientist.
- Scientists discover the truths hidden in the creation.
- A scientist will not cheat. Even if there is a miracle-like thing, he will explain the truths behind it.
- Scientists have a simple motive � to seek truths for eventual betterment of the society.
- Science exists since the first human walked on the earth.
- Science doesn't cause a conflict or war.
- Claims to include the domain of spirit too.
- May not always be logical and rational.
- May not be acceptable to all.
- Includes dogmatic ideas.
- Is not always provable.
- Based on part reason and part faith.
- Cannot have universal acceptance.
- Religions are many.
- A divisive force.
- A religion is founded by a human being.
- The founder of a religion may or may not be truthful, and is certainly not all-knowing otherwise his religion would have been near-universal.
- The founder of a religion may play a trick for self-aggrandizement, giving it an impression of a miracle. [On that token, a magician is a more honest person who says it up front that he is playing a trick.]
- The founder of a religion (or his later followers) may have some selfish ulterior motives in misleading the God-fearing innocent people.
- Religions appeared much later, the oldest one is said to be 5000 years old.
- Religions have caused maximum number of wars. Even today's 'hot spots' are due to religions.
Above table shows a deep divide between science and religion. We cannot let religions divide and destroy the world as witnessed in the last couple of thousand years. What is the way out?
The way out is to let the scientific spirit prevail in the domain of spiritual studies as well. The need of the hour is a scientific religion ? scientific study of both, the matter and spirit. This is what we intend to explore when we speak about inner sciences ? a journey to explore the innermost domains of both, within us and outside, in a scientific manner.
This may sound impossible to many people because every free thinking person is almost fed up with religions. Religions promised to take us closer to God but in the process they have brought God into disrepute. Nowadays, we often see that if somebody begins to talk about God even in a rational and logical manner then many educated people have an instinctive feeling of distaste. So much harm has been done to the true spirituality by the selfish warlords of religions. They have insisted on positioning a mortal human being as an intermediary between the humanity and true Infinite Cosmic Spirit of God. Different religions came in competition to bring the largest crowd in its fold giving rise to worst kind of clashes and wars. The humanity has traversed backward and has lost millions of precious lives and precious time to the extent of a few millennia at the altar of these religions. But the fact of the matter is, the humanity can not live without true spirituality ? this is our true spirit. Therefore, there is a strong and urgent need of fusion of science and religion to develop a unified theory of both matter and spirit.
- Dr Harish Chandra