In the April/May/June issue of Hinduism Today we published an eight-page article on an amazing new field of study that has deep connections to Hindu philosophy, cosmology and ontology, with deep resonances in the Upanishads.
Author Varun Khanna begins: "The
study of consciousness has been of interest to scientists, philosophers and laypeople alike for millennia. But the struggle to define consciousness has been more perplexing than productive, due to its intangible nature.
How can we describe something that we cannot perceive with our senses? We can know what it is like to perceive, and what it is like to have consciousness, but for thousands of years scientists have failed to pinpoint with any measure of certainty what consciousness actually is. Furthermore, when attempting to study consciousness, the method by which we can study it is elusive. Is it necessarily limited to the philosophical realm? Can there be a hard science of consciousness?"
You can read the entire article, or download a PDF, here:
At the end we sat down with Chopra and asked, "What are you and the whole movement bringing to humanity that's new, that didn't exist in the Indian paradigm?"
"In the Indian paradigm the ultimate goal," he responded, "of life is moksha, or finding your true Self. As fundamental reality, atman is Brahman; and until you do that, you have what is called suffering. What we're trying to do is go beyond the few Indian luminaries. India is regarded as a great spiritual culture, but you have to remember that the sages of the Upanishads were not that many. I mean, you can count them on one hand. We revere them precisely for that fact that they were luminaries.
"Their message was so great that it has survived. But what we now need is millions of luminaries. And if we have that, we can have a more just, sustainable, healthy, joyful and peaceful world. I think we need to bring forward that knowledge, that wisdom.
"We have moved from the agricultural age into the age of information. Now we are moving to a knowledge-based society, but how about a wisdom-based society--wisdom being that knowledge that can heal ourselves, heal our collective humanity, heal the Earth, and bring healing to all sentient beings? The word health, the word healing, the word holy are all the same word. So health is the return of the memory of wholeness. Today we can bring that through technology, through social media, through education and through collective engagement."
Dharma is religious patterns which when followed promote the wellbeing of the individual, the family and society. Patterns so that the soul matures and gets closer to God, closer to realizing the Divinity within. Dharma is: "The orderly fulfillment of an inherent nature or destiny," working on instinctive, intellectual and intuitive natures. Destiny is fixed: Realization. Personal dharma, "your own perfect pattern in life", is different for the sannyasin and the householder.