[Advaita-l] The nature of spiritual realisation

M. S. Ravisankar ravi at ambaa.org
Tue Sep 30 17:57:56 CDT 2003

> -----Original Message-----
> From: advaita-l-bounces at lists.advaita-vedanta.org
> [mailto:advaita-l-bounces at lists.advaita-vedanta.org]On Behalf Of S.
> Sriram
> Prof VS Ramachandran, a neurologist at UC San Diego, in his research
> outlined that , the Temporal lobe, which when excited by electrical storms
> typically
> caused by epilepsy, results in the individual having a "religious
> experience"
> where they "now understand the cosmos" and feel as one with it.
> This has been characterized in press reports as "The God Zone"


For those who are interested in this topic, I listened few months ago to a
series of lectures by VS Ramachandran on BBC Radio. He talks about this and
various other things. As Jaldhar pointed out, increased activity in
particular part of brain  could be both cause and consequence of spiritual
experiences. One things researchers may be interested is to find drugs that
can create such states. This not something new. For instance, patanjali says
that such states can be produced using medicinal herbs.

janmaushhadhimantratapaHsamaadhijaaH siddhayaH .. 4.1 ..

If I am not mistaken, native american tribes also experiment such things
with peyote etc. (see some  Carlos Castenada's books)

Commenting on Prof VK's remarks, many argue consciousness as an
epi-phenomenon of brain. A scientist would not not accept any of those
points. Dream is state of brain that occurs while processing the data and
organizing it. Even while body is sleeping, the brain is active. This topic
is also researched at length*. I dont thing one can logically disprove that
brain has nothing to do with realization or consciousness. To me it is
basically a matter of faith. If it was so logical, I am sure so many wise
men on earth would not dispute it.

In this context, I am reminded of a dialog with Nisargadatta Maharaj in this
context. One devotee asks him what will happen to "claimed" state of
realization if he is hit hard with brick on his head. Nisargadatta replies
that he will not lose it as it not a something that is associated with
brain. However, he does not explain the details.  Probably, it is like
cycling, you dont store that in brain, but somehow you know it. That is why
people when they get mad, may forget and not remember many things. But still
are able to do physical tasks such as cycling, swimming etc.


*And this topic of consciousness and brain is taken at length from different
view points in a book called 'Mind's I" By Douglas Hoftstadter. I dont
remember much of the book, except the brilliant article by Raymond Smullyan
titled "Is God a Taoist".

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