About the Book
Material prosperity without divine knowledge is a Godless prosperity. Materially rich, poor souls are groping in the dark to find something which may satisfy the needs of their spiritual self. While science has kept its pledge to redeem mankind from ignorance and superstitions, we have to be careful lest it should go in the wrong direction.
The present work is not the product of purely scholarly interest. It has grown out of vital urges and under the pressure of the peculiar situation obtaining today. While the belief in a Supreme Power is almost universal, its concept, blurred as it is by the fog of wrong notions, varies from man to man. These descriptions often conflict with each other. Never was the need greater than today to make the people conscious of the real nature of God. The present work is a step in this direction.
I am greatly indebted to the author, Shri Swami Vidyananda Saraswati (formerly Shri L. D. Dikshit, Principal and Fellow Punjab University) for acceding to the request to undertake this venture.
I am also highly thankful to Shri Swami Satya Praksha Saraswati, an eminent scientist for writing his learned foreword.
About the Author
A scholar and educationist for almost half a century, Swami Vidyanada Saraswati (formerly Shri Lakshmi Datta Dikshit) served as Principal of Degree and Post-Graduate Colleges for about two decades. In recognition of his scholarship and service to the cause of education he was nominated as an honorary fellow of the Punjab University by the Vice-President of India, as Chancellor of the University. For a number of years he was a member of the Senate, Syndicate and Academic Council of the Gurukul Kangari University. Swamiji has been associated with a number of academic, religious, cultural and social organisations of Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh.
To Swami Vidyananda Saraswati goes the credit of reviving, in recent times, the Sutra-style which combined clarity and conciseness and which once used to be adopted in all systems of Indian Philosophy. His books on Philosophy and the Vedas have been acclaimed as monumental works on the subjects dealt with. He has been honoured by the Uttar Pradesh Sanskrit Academy for his unique work on Vedanta Philosophy.
While inquisitiveness if found in all conscious creatures, inquiry is the privilege of man alone. The moment a conscious being is born and begins to breathe, it utilizes its organs of senses and tries to get itself familiar with its surroundings. Normally the organs given to a creature are to see, to hear, to smell, to taste and to touch. These organs are of such a texture in each species as to provide restricted limits to the sense experiences. Human eye has a range of functioning within the limits of red and violet, whilst the entire spectrum of light extends to far infra-red on one side and to the very short microwaves on the other. Similarly, there are restrictions on our audibility. Man cannot see some good part of the spectrum which other creatures can; he cannot hear those ultracoustic waves which bats and some insects do. Some creatures are very sensitive to the organs of touch and they mainly function through their tentacles. Besides organs or senses, man possesses a wonderful mechanism of memory, without which the functions of senses would be meaningless. There is some type of memory in every conscious being. Behind the memory, we have a wonderful complex by which the creature integrates all his sensational experiences and drives certain conclusions from what one hears, touches, tastes, smells or listens and all these experiences have to be integrated to give a realistic picture. Thus all conscious beings possess a wonderful complex of analysis and synthesis of experiences.
Similar to the limits within which our sense-organs function, we have limits imposed on our motor organs. Senses would have no meaning unless they excite our motor organs. There are muscles in every part of our body and living is perhaps another name of functioning through the motor organs. Breathing also takes place through a peculiar type of motor muscles; our heart functions through the throbs of its blood pumping muscles. And thus, we live through our motor organs and we function through them. These motor muscles work also with limits, and their spectrum of activity also differs from creatures.
The organs of sense are peculiarly and wonderfully connected with these organs of motion and motivation.
With the advances of the modern sciences, man has developed such machines which record experiences and having responded to these experiences, the motor mechanism also starts functioning. Photo-electric cell not only sees, but appears functioning also. You approach the gate of a room, the photo-electric cell takes an account of your presence, and the gates are thrown open for your entrance, and once you are in, the gates are again automatically closed. You have the wonderful mechanism of a tape-recorder, which would record your speech, repeat it verbatum when you so desire. We are living in an age of computers, highly intelligent and wonderfully functioning. The computer with all its marvels cannot excell the brain-complexities of a man who feeds the computers with problems, and which could not have been discovered, had there been no man to have innovated and equipped them with their intricacies. With all their organs of 'senses' and `motion', a computer is still not a living machine. There is a peculiar relation between an automatic machine which rewards external impacts of light, sound waves, electric modulations and so on (and in response to them are put in some sort of motion also), and the living conscious being. He enjoys his experiences and further he enjoys the motivation. In our language, we say that living conscious beings feel a type of satisfaction, joy or happiness in some cases, and may have the converse feelings of sorrow, failure, pain, and the like. A tape recorder is neither happy when it records a fine speech, nor is averse to a poor one. In fact, the tape is not conscious at all when it records a song or plays it back. All living creatures are very much different from machines in this respect. When a computer solves an intricate differential equation, it is neither happy nor sad at the achievement. If there is a technical error, the machine is not responsible for the calculation. Perhaps the responsibility is of a conscious being who operates the machine. The machine, while it works, has no joy, no satisfaction and hence no responsibility and in this sense, we shall again revise all our notions-machine has hence no experiences, no motivation either. The eye of a photo-electric cell is not an eye at all in the sense that we have an eye. In the sense a man hears or talks, the tape-recorder does neither hear no talk. Seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting and touching, in case of a conscious being are not the mechanical records of external impacts. The same is in regard to our functions of motor-senses.
An engine moves and we also move, but there is an essential difference between the two motions. The engine functions without feelings, whilst a living being functions with feelings. I shall not enter into the intricacies of the nature of feelings. All of us are quite conscious of it, that whilst we appear to be like machines, we are not exactly machines, but something essentially different from them. We may well say that living consciousness works through machines and yet it is different from it. Newtonian laws of motion are not applicable to this consciousness. In this sense, I am not the body though I work through the body and the body is mine in the restricted sense. The characteristics of inquisitiveness and inquiry are the intrinsic features of living consciousness and not of a machine.
Man neither knows his body, nor he creates it
Man's body grows in his mother's womb round a tiny speck, known as fertilized ovum. The fertilized ovum itself is a complex system built up by two motile units, the sperm provided by father and something coming out of the ovaries of mother. As the fertilised ovum grows, it imbibes or exhibits certain characteristics, some of which belong to fathers' side and others to mothers'. There are some characteristics which are intrinsic, quite peculiar to each child, and we shall see later on that they can be only explained to satisfaction by accepting that the child-unit has its own past history, its inheritance. The adjustment of chromosomes decides the male and female features of the child.
It is an amazing process by which the child grows in a mother's womb. The body grows for something, which we shall call as the "tiny-little self', and which is unconscious of the entire processes that are to follow. The "tiny-little self', is not the intelligent creature of the body; it is devoid of the consciousness that would come to it later on. As the consciousness grows, that is, as the child passess through various continuous stages, babyhood, childhood, boyhood, youth, adult and fully grown up state and finally towards old age and decay, it appears that the agency which shapes it (him or her) is very much different from "the little self', and which even does not consult the self as regards its wishes. To cut the story short, why shall we not say that there is some unknown agency which has been shaping ourselves through such designs as 'He' alone knows, and He alone is capable of designing and ordaining them. This 'He' has been a mystery for us. This 'He' for me could not be different from the 'He' for you, or for your ancestors, and this 'He' again is the same which has been shaping designs of so many creatures like us, very much different from man, and yet living and conscious. The argument is simple and profound; we live in a world which consists of I, numberless You's and He. I am in the body, I function through this body; there is only one I in each body, and so many like me, and yet different from me which we call You's, bearing a type of kinship and above all another existence, the supreme He, which provides with the limitations of our bodies. We exist bounded for a little time. We have experiences, and inquisitiveness of different degrees. We have motivation and we have also certain types of feelings.
**Contents and Sample Pages**